Do you struggle with the 3pm sugar crash that leaves you snarfing cookies by the handful?
Do you rush home at the end of the day to inhale a block of chocolate before anyone sees you and hide the wrappers so you don’t get caught?
Do you find yourself inexplicably making food choices that don’t accord with what you truly value and end up miserable and overweight?
I have struggled with all of these behaviours. For many years I was barely even conscious of them. I just ate sugar til the cows came home and never really questioned it. As I became a bit more educated about food, I realised I wanted to eat healthy but something always seemed to stop me. I felt emotionally blocked and driven relentlessly to keep the crap in my mouth. This left me feeling shameful, weak-willed and disgusting.
It’s taken me years to unravel much of this behaviour, and while I’m certainly not perfect (I still struggle with cravings and the odd binge) I have picked up a few tips that might help you release these unhelpful patterns.
Sugar begets sugar. Protein cancels it out.
If sugar or high GI carbs are paper in the fire, then protein is the long burning logs. I’ve found keeping my blood sugar levels stable an effective way of avoiding “crashes” and the awful sugar rollercoaster. For me, this means eating eggs for breakfast, and meat + 3 veg for lunch and dinner. Also, small meals eaten often help keep me steady. If you find yourself elbow deep in the cookie jar at afternoon tea time, try upping your protein intake (eggs, fish, meat, nuts, beans, lentils, tofu/tempeh etc) during the day.
One thing that I keep forgetting to remember myself, and then when I do remember, it’s AWESOME, is Magnesium supplements. This little mineral really helps keep the blood sugar in check, with the added benefit of helping to relax your muscles. Calm for the win!
Food affects your mood, no doubt. But mood also affects the food choices you make.
The craving for sugar is often triggered by feelings of isolation or fear of missing out. In the documentary Hungry for Change, Kris Carr said it beautifully – “Where else is the sweetness missing in your life?”
Has there been an incident recently where you felt left out, stressed out, unheard or unloved? These are really big triggers for me so learning other self-soothing methods was vital to heal the sugar cravings.
This is where fierce self-love kicks into gear. Nurturing yourself physically and emotionally shows the lonely inner child that s/he can have his/her needs met. That s/he is loved. Do you need a 90 minute massage every week? Or is sitting quietly for 10 mins in mindful contemplation each morning enough? A mani-pedi? A run by the river? A bath? Reading tarot cards?
Note: substituting food with material goods like buying shoes or clothes won’t fill the void either. Find the method that you absolutely adore, that calms you down, and fills you up. The thing that feels good AND is good for you. Then go do that. Like, all the time.
So you finished the packet of Tim-Tams in one sitting and you’re full of chocolate flavoured regret? You’re slipping into a food coma and a shame spiral?
As in many areas of life, kindness goes a long way. Beating yourself up, feeling guilty, “should-ing” yourself into a frenzy means IC has shown up. Forgive yourself for following an old pattern, put IC in the hammock, try to find the trigger that led to the binge if you can (ie food, mood etc), and then renew your intention to keep nurturing yourself with that thing you Do that will calm and comfort. You know, the one that feels good AND is good for you.
What things will you Do this week to nurture yourself? Let me know so I can add to my collection