I hear this all the time – I’m a complete sugar addict. If only I could control my sugar cravings. I’m such a slave to sugar.
If you have said or even thought one of those sentences then this post is dedicated to you and helping you see your relationship with sugar from a new light!
All the above claims are unfortunately true. They are all true because when you say them you give them power and make them true for you. You give them meaning as the dominant thought creating a pattern to be repeated. There’s no room for alternative ways of thinking that would positively reinforce your ability to make more relaxed choices around food.
Defining ones self as an addict, slave or will power weakling reinforces the toxic belief that sugar is in control instead of you. It reinforces the negative belief that sugar is a bad food or that there are good and bad foods at all.
While we can debate the negative impacts of sugar (or any food) all day the fact of the matter is moderation is key. Personally I love this analogy from alchemy which is: The dose makes the poison.
One could either be hydrated from the appropriate water intake or drown from trying to consume too much. Dose makes the poison.
One could satisfy a sweet tooth or become diabetic from their sugar intake. Dose makes the poison.
See what I mean?
When our beliefs are such that foods hold inherently good or bad qualities we give away the power we have as individuals to choose for ourselves. Our beliefs hand over our power to the food we are most afraid of consuming.
We lose ourselves in the emotional correlation we have established with in this case, sugar. This relationship sets patterns up that we repeat over and over again despite our desire for a different outcome. Often I like to look deeper into this relationship and pattern to understand it’s triggers and the steps to how this pattern unfolds. What foods are chosen, the amounts and the unique rituals we all have around this experience.
Every relationship with sugar and subsequent beliefs around its power serves a purpose. Think about it. What do you get out of being an addict, slave or will power weakling to sugar? There’s a benefit whether you like that benefit or not. You are receiving something from that relationship with sugar. Do you know what it is?
As an example I was challenged a few years ago to examine this for myself. I needed to identify when in my life I relied on sugar to be in control versus managing the difficulties I faced with my own strength.
I realized there were both positive and negative aspects to my relationship with sugar. In some cases it calmed me and protected me. In other cases it helped me bond with others. In all cases it allowed me to be passive player in my own life. I blamed sugar for my problems. I gave it my strength. I allowed it to control decisions I made and the flow of my day. I allowed it to rule my emotions too.
I allowed life to unfold this way until I was in a position to manage life on my own without relying on this powerful substance. It wasn’t until this happened that I could start to reprogram my system and update the relationship I had with sugar to be healthier for me and the life I wanted to live.
I would encourage you to examine this for yourself. This exercise is a powerful way to identify your relationship with sugar, understand your triggers and reclaim your power. Try writing your own love letter to sugar. Thank it for how it’s helped you so far and then find a way to say good-bye in a loving way.
To get you started I have shared mine below.
P.S Don’t forget to download my at home body image practice. Another FREE tool just for you.
Thank you. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. Some of my earliest all the way through my most recent memories include you.
You were present at every birthday celebration and at the end of every summers evening walk with the family in form of ice cream. As I grew up you were part of what bonded my group of friends over boy talk, sleepovers and nights out. We had so much fun together.
But some bad things also happened in my life and you still seemed to be the only constant. After my family went through financial struggles – you were there and I didn’t feel so different from others. After I was attacked and almost raped the first time at 12 and again at 18 it was you I turned to first to protect me. You helped me hide for a long time. I felt grateful. After every heartache you helped me feel full again. All those times I felt so stressed working 3 jobs while studying in university you helped me feel relief. As a new parent you helped me cope with all my new feelings and challenges that were unexpected.
You were there to help guide me through when I didn’t understand how to manage my feelings. You were there to support me when I wasn’t strong enough to support myself.
Now I need to let you know that you’ve done enough. I’ve gotten what I thought I needed from you and tried that way of life for a long time.
Now I need to live differently. Now I need to be strong for myself, manage my own feelings, and create different outlets to manage stress.
I have goals and I have dreams. Finally I’m in a place where I can achieve them all with my two hands, my mind and my heart. I’m sorry but there’s just no more space for you to be in control anymore.
You may still be invited to some of the celebratory moments I will have. But you will no longer be the one to choose. I will.
Again thank you for all you’ve done. Now it’s my turn to lead the way.
Never did I think I could get emotional over a Dear Sugar letter…. but I did. I also thought this Dear letter could be applied to any person, place or thing. I thought it was clever and the fact that it got to be EMOTIONALLY made it more real than just knowing it INTELLECTUALLY. Thank you for sharing, more so, for illustrating your vulnerabilities in the letter.
Susan – being open and vulnerable shows others that those qualities are still needed in our society. Thank you for always sharing such genuine feedback.