A dialogue I have had with quite a few clients in the last years. So much so, that I had to write about it.
“If there’s no junk food in the house - I won’t eat it.”
“If there’s __________(sugar, pastries, chips, pop etc) in front of me, I can’t help but overeat it.”
“I can’t NOT eat sugar!”
But take a deep look at these statements. None of them are actually real! These are all choices we make.
These are all just thoughts.
Beliefs we have about ourselves, about food.
Why are none of these a valid reason for making ‘poor choices?’
Because the food does not reach itself out of the bag and into your mouth.
Because you can always hop in the car and go drive and purchase the junk food you want, so having it in the house or not doesn’t ever really stop you from getting it.
Because now that you’ve identified you have an ‘addictive’ part of you that ‘can’t help it’ you can start to switch that. (Not having awareness of it makes it harder. Being aware of that part of you can bring it to light so you can start to work on it.)
Know that you don’t need to listen to these thoughts or beliefs you have about yourself, and that you do have the ability to see food as therapy. You do have the skills to think about where your food comes from and to question it. You are a crazy intelligent being and you have the power to look deeper, think harder, and ASK MORE questions getting curious about where your thoughts originate from, and where that belief stems from?
If there’s one thing Jimi Hendrix taught me, it’s to Question. Everything.
Because not everyone is tempted, stressed and bothered by sweets the way you are - it’s clearly in your head. (There does exist those of us who practice ‘intuitive’ eating meaning we eat when hungry and stop when full and there are no garbage games in our head about cheat days, calorie counting or guilt.)
And yes! I can already hear you saying - “But it’s not my beliefs! It’s a physical need! My body actually NEEDS sugar! I’ll kill for it!”
Any emotion around food isn’t about the food. It’s your blood sugar.
Cravings are for two reasons - emotional or physical. If you’re not sad and stressed and reaching for sugar for a mental pep up, or hiding in the pantry crying and eating cookies secretly, then it’s a physical craving. If its a physical craving, your body will search for the fastest form of glucose, so if your blood sugar is low it will search for sugar in the white form. All you need to do is eat more starchy carbs and fat to quiet that craving and eat more regularly to balance your blood sugar - so let’s talk about the anti-nutrient (sugar) that is the villain here since most people say these things to me (above) about sugar. Refined sugar acts like a drug in the body. In fact, it affects the very same brain chemicals that morphine, heroin and amphetamines do. What this means is, as you may know and already can admit - that you can become addicted to sugar. If you do eat sugar you get your “high” and do temporarily have more energy for your work. But it actually creates unstable blood sugar (not good for managing weight) and low serotonin (not good for staying happy) which creates an imbalance in your blood sugar (dip) which creates a need for more. It’s a vicious cycle.
But at the end of the day, the sugar doesn’t control you. You can mope and whine and writhe in discomfort that its a craving that is your bodies’ fault and not at all your fault. [Read: Sympathy for the Devil: Overcoming Cravings]
You always have another choice you can make. Your mind is in control. You can move away from addiction.
The potato chips don’t control you.
The cake doesn’t control you.
The licorice doesn’t control you.
The coffee doesn’t control you. [Read: 5 Ways to Control Your Coffee Addiction]
You control you.
By getting more conscious about yourself and your thoughts - and to question them [Read: How to Cleanse Your Doors of Perception] leads you to making better nutrition choices in the long run. You’ll begin to use willpower in its true form. [Seriously Must Read: Why You Don’t Need Willpower]
Begin to see food no longer as the enemy or something to worry about, something to hate, but instead to see food as a potent tool, your friend, a nourishing choice. That's where ALL the magic begins, and your ease + simplicity within nutrition begins to unravel itself.