Sugar Addicts: Know Yourself to Help Yourself

Learning to help ourselves is the real work of being free from the addictive high carbohydrate foods that cause us to get overweight and/or make staying at optimum weight a challenge.

The addictive nature of sugar-starch-artificial sweeteners is real, and means we have to avoid the high carbohydrate foods like the plague;  but what is also important to understand is what triggers the urges beyond the well-known effects of the foods themselves.

As Dr. Lance Dodes has pointed out in his books on addictions, most people are not constantly abusing food, drugs, alcohol, pornography, or whatever the focus of the addiction is, and often may be abstinent for days, weeks, months, or even years, then there will be something that sets off the cycle of abuse or a binge. Learning to stop and consider what sorts of issues have triggered the desire in the first place is key to stopping the behavior.

More often than not it relates at the root level to frustration, a sense of helplessness, which promotes inner anger or rage leading to the desire for some control–all this is usually subconscious. While abusing food is not what we want to do, when we are under too much inner stress or turmoil, it feels like doing something, having some little bit of control, to eat a bunch of sugary-starchy food even though we will regret it in minutes.

The point then is to stop and think about what’s bothering you, and then consider an alternative action like writing in a journal or a blog, taking a walk, doing some artwork, cleaning a closet, etc. Or, if you go through to the binge, to try and look back at what was going on that may have set you off.

The main thing is to refocus that inner frustration away from the thing you don’t really want to do like eating a dozen cookies, and instead do something you will be glad you did afterwards. This is very helpful to me, and it can be very freeing to know you don’t really have to eat a pint of ice cream or worse. I have dozens of alternatives now all lined up. I will be so happy to get all my closets reorganized, and my cabinets cleaned!

The biggest plus, the bonus, is getting to know ourselves better and know what sorts of things are likely to set us off. Whether it is a bad work situation, or unhappy relationship, or fear about something you are afraid you might fail at, the root can come from anything, but at least you will soon learn to recognize the source and divert the urge to something less damaging, or even helpful.

Socrates said that the greatest lesson in life is to “know thyself”; this is surely true about controlling our unhealthy habits or addictions.

Yours in the learning,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

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