It’s taken me at least a couple of years to get to where I am now with sugar.
That is, I can now take it or leave it.
I’m not attached to sugar as I once was.
The key to having a healthy relationship with sugar is to understand why you reach for the sweet stuff in the first place.
Which means taking a moment of pause in between the wanting and the reaching — then perhaps pulling your hand back, because you’re reaching out to sugar for the wrong reasons (such as stress, boredom, emotional eating and ‘just because it’s there’).
We can have our cake and eat it too, though — as long as you make it a conscious choice.
So how can you create such a relationship with sugar? If you don’t take the time to recognize and understand why you gravitate toward sweet things, you’ll go back to the same old habits.
To help you understand and create a healthy relationship with sugar, here are five questions you can ask yourself before you grab the sweet stuff (Hint: this is the pause between the wanting and grabbing):
1. How was I feeling/what was going on in my life?
Certain feelings bring up certain sweet cravings. Note what feelings you had when the craving came on — like feeling nostalgic, happy, guilty, tired, angry, sad, overwhelmed, anxious, bored, stressed, lonely, empty, jealous, excited, social etc.
For example, it could be that you’re reaching for it each time you feel lonely, or when you want a reward.
Once you find a feeling that comes up regularly, see if you can dig deeper to find out why were you feeling that way and see if something else could help instead of sugar.
2. What did I eat today?
Did you eat complete meals made of whole, unprocessed foods that are close to their natural form?
Many packaged foods contain hidden sugars. This hinders our ability to create a healthy relationship with sugar, as we can get caught in an addiction cycle.
Eat proper meals made with real food and you'll give yourself the nutrition you need and a much better chance to create the life you wish.
3. What was I doing?
Sometimes our minds think sweets goes hand in hand with certain activities because we’ve built up a habit — like snacking while watching TV and movies, studying, reading, etc.
When we face a stressful situation or resistance, which usually happens when we’re working on something we find challenging, sometimes our minds trick us into thinking we need to eat something, which is easier to do than deal with resistance or stress.
4. Where was I in my menstrual cycle?
For ladies, note the day of your cycle that you got the sweet craving. You may notice that a certain day each month makes you hanker for something.
5. Who was I with?
You may notice that being with someone in particular may cause stress or certain feelings that make you want to reach for sugar — it could be that they are influencing you to eat something or that just being around them brings on certain emotions.
Or you may notice that you tend to get sugar cravings when you are by yourself.
With regular and gentle inquiring, you’ll soon discover some patterns, which you can than act upon wisely.
If you're not enjoying your sweet treat for the right reason, see if there’s something else you can do instead — such as, call a close friend, drink herbal tea with sweet spices, go for a walk, take a bath, read a good book, meditate, do yoga, or eat a proper meal (especially if you haven’t eaten properly that day).
Remember: Don’t be hard on yourself.
It takes time to understand why you're eating what you're eating. The first step is to be conscious of your actions and choices.