I’m thankful to say I have never used drugs or alcohol, but sugar (especially combined with wheat/flours) is powerfully addicting, too! In the same way that these dangerous substances can make a person feel like they have no power to stop using and consuming them, sugar has the same effect. You can hate yourself for sticking another cookie in your mouth, yet actually keep doing it. “Why are you hitting yourself, why are you hitting yourself”, I hear Satan chanting! Realizing it’s addictive is an important step, and knowing also that sheer willpower isn’t enough for most people, is quite liberating.
So what are some things that help- some things beyond just knowing what you’re supposed to eat and not eat and hanging onto those facts for dear life? Here are some ideas that help me…most of the time 🙂 Also, before I get into this, I want to say that I think eating sweets with friends and family some times is a good thing. This post is for people like me who struggle with eating too much, or alone, or too often. So here we go, some choices that may PREVENT STRUGGLE and DEFEAT:
1) Prayer– Duh, right? But seriously, if you want to live in freedom from ANY addiction, you need God on your side…and He IS. But sometimes we need to stop, look up, and let ourselves sink into His presence. All of a sudden we realize we are not alone, and maybe He’ll even give us the presence of mind to see past the moment into the rewards that wait for making the right choice. Any goal we make for ourselves, any desire God has put in us for wisdom and freedom, will require starting each day asking Him for help and humbling acknowledging that when stressful events come, You will need His help.
2) Self-Talk– Take some time to think through the conversation that you have with yourself right before digging into something you didn’t plan on eating and wish you didn’t want. What are you saying? Is it “I deserve this” or “I’ll just have one”? Is it “I have no choice, it’s here, and I know myself well enough to know I’ll eat it eventually anyway” or “I’ve already messed up today so I may as well go ahead and have all I want”? Figure out what dumb lies you are feeding yourself and have a response of truth! For example, if it’s “I’ve had a hard day, I deserve this”, your response would be: “What I really deserve is something that will make me feel great, a gift to my tired body, not something that will make me feel worse both physically and emotionally!” And then give yourself that–a hot bath, or pencil in movie night that night, or check off days on a calendar that you go without sweets and when you get to 30, go buy yourself something! Be kind to yourself…Snickers bars are NOT kind.
3) Breakfast: Don’t skip breakfast, ever, and make sure it is protein packed and very little carbs. I don’t even eat fruit at breakfast. Keeping the sugary taste out of my mouth is crucial to me in the morning.
4) No refined carbs: Breads, buns, tortilla chips, potato chips, gluten free or not, will turn around and make you crave sugar. I think fruit, potatoes, brown/long grain rice, quinoa, etc are fine personally. They are unrefined carbs and I kinda feel like if God gave them to us, then they’re good…but I understand that’s up for debate! If those unrefined carbs make you crave sugar, then go for awhile without eating them and see how you feel. I genuinely don’t recommend going carb-free, but just having one or two small servings a day of unrefined carbs. If you go carb-free, there are some physical repercussions to your kidneys and if you go back to carbs at some point, your weight will come back so quickly. 🙁
5) Exercise: Exercise makes you feel great; endorphins are sweet! And when you have exercised, you are less likely to “mess it up” with doing something bad for yourself like eating sweets!
6) Plan: For most people, they are not going to want to say, “I will never eat this or that again.” Maybe it’s a good idea to pick out some events and holidays that you will have sweets, and when you have cravings just remind yourself that you will have the chance to have your very favorites then. We are big kids…we can do the delayed gratification thing!
7) Sleep: Get plenty of sleep, friends!!! That gives us automatic presence of mind to not do, eat, and say thoughtless things. Also, the hormones that are excreted in large amounts when we’re tired are dangerously similar to hormones that make us feel hungry. We usually can’t feel the difference and consume extra calories when we really just needed sleep.
I am convinced that you have to personally believe the facts you have read about sugar to make a difference, and you have to make changes in your lifestyle to ward off disaster instead of always picking up the pieces! But no one can do it for you, it’s an internal thing…a change from the inside out, because you really want freedom and better health.
Let’s Journey as Well as we can!! That’s being a good steward of what we’ve been given!