What's so sweet about sugar?
We have found in our hypnotherapy and
counseling work with patients that the desire to eat something sweet often goes
much deeper than meets the eye. We may try to use sugar to console ourselves or
escape when our lives are too stressful, aren't going the way we want, or we
feel unhappy or disgusted with ourselves for one reason or another. The
sweetness of sugar may make up for the bitterness of our lives. Some of us
nurture our inner child by feeding it sugar or chocolate, much as many of our
parents did with us, or use sweets to find the love we never received.
Compulsive sugar consumption can be a self-destructive behavior through which
we punish ourselves and literally make ourselves sick. Or it may be a way for
the rebellious, angry parts of us to let us know that something's not right
with our lives. It's very important to understand our underlying motivations
for overindulging in sweets and to resolve those issues in a positive and
healthy manner. If not, your giving up your sugar addiction may not be
successful or may result in a substitute addictive behavior.
So, how do I "just say no?
Understand your personal
relationship with sweets. As mentioned above, first figure out, on your own
or with help, why you're so drawn to sugar. What is the inner message which is
being broadcast by your subconscious mind? If necessary, get help in resolving
and releasing your underlying psychological attachments to sweets. Pay
attention to what you eat. Take a good look at how much sugar you're
actually eating. Keep a sweets diary in which you record exact quantities and
types of treats eaten. Be honest. Record in your diary how you feel or what
happened immediately before and shortly after you indulged in the sugar.
Make a plan. Decide how much sugar, specifically, you wish to remove
from your diet. Cold turkey is probably best if you're really hooked.
Consider a detoxification diet. It is often helpful to do a cleansing
diet (eliminating all sweets, refined foods, caffeine, red meat, and, if you
wish, chicken, fish, and dairy) or to fast prior to giving up sugar. Once you
clean yourself out and feel really healthy, it often becomes clear how much you
really don't need sugar in your body. Eat lots of whole grains and
vegetables (preferaby organic) and don't smoke. The more you clean
up your diet, the less sugar will appeal to you. Exercise regularly.
Regular aerobic exercise will improve your overall health considerably, thus
decreasing the desire for addictive foods. Relax and manage your stress
so you're not using sugar to do it for you.
If you're still saying "yes" to sugar
There are some nutritional
supplements which may help balance your body and decrease your sugar cravings.
Taking a B-complex is often helpful to stabilize blood sugar and for increasing
general energy. We recommend chromium, a trace mineral which helps insulin
transfer glucose from the blood into the cells, to help correct blood sugar
imbalances. Pantothenic Acid, which nourishes and strengthens the adrenal
glands, is also helpful. There is an Ayurvedic herb called Gymnema sylvestre,
recently on the market in this country, which is reported to decrease sugar
cravings. We haven't yet used it with enough patients to know for sure. We have
found homeopathic remedies, as prescribed for the overall constitution of the
person, to frequently change food cravings for the better. As the individual's
vital force comes into balance, the sugar crav ing may simply fall away as an