In this podcast I talk about how to stop being sugar addicted and ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. I will discuss how Ayurveda and Mindfulness can help us break this addiction to become healthier.
I have always had a sweet tooth. And to be honest it has been one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome for me and my clients when it comes to weight loss and being fit. Although it is not yet seen as something extremely harmful like a drug addiction, it is still a very pervasive habit than can wreak havoc our efforts to become healthier, lose weight, have healthier teeth and a beautiful skin.
The ugly effects on our bodies
The effects of eating sugar, and I am not talking about plant based foods that are naturally sweet like fruits, dried fruits, or cereals, I am referring to processed sugar like white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and other bad stuff, the effects of eating these products are dreadful for our bodies, to say the least. I just wanted to point that out because there is the misconception that all sugar is created equal so therefore all sugar is bad. An example of this are diets that wrongfully forbid you to eat fruits.
Now, processed sugar can make us age faster and not gracefully. Our facial features change because it increases the levels of inflammation and oxidation in the body and it generates wrinkles and lines of expression. Our oral health is also compromised. And of course, it becomes almost impossible to lose weight if you eat sugar. According to Ayurveda, the ancient holistic medicinal system, sugar can also affect our minds and emotions. It can cloud out thinking and will make us moody.
So, there are several ways that I wanna share with you today on how to PREVENT being sugar addicted. Once the cravings appear, I have noticed it is not so easy just to say stop. Don’t eat that desert or the whole bag of candy. It is probably too late at that point. So what we want is to work on prevention rather than intervention.
Let’s start first with mindfulness methods to achieve this result. I start with Mindfulness because I firmly believe that sugar addiction is greatly originated in our minds. And for women in particular, it can be triggered by our emotions.
We are not our mind
First we need to consider that we are not our body, we are not our mind, and we are definitely not our emotions. If we can observe these three aspects of our being, that means we are the observer. And at that point, when we stop identifying ourselves with every single thought we think, as crazy as they are sometimes, we don’t act upon them in a mechanical way every single time but, instead we recognize that those are just harmful thoughts to our wellbeing and we better ignore them. I highly suggest then, that you start a meditation practice to recognize your being, your soul. To feel it. To just be. And see how you can observe your mind objectively.
Be here! Now!
When we practice mindfulness, which is basically being present, using all your five senses to experience reality, then a shift occurs. Because you are not longer 100% of the time in your mind, in your thoughts, then you are able to perceive life as it is. This technique prevents sugar cravings enormously. You realize what you have at that specific time is enough. You don’t need to add any dessert or donut or cupcake to the present moment to make it better. You might be so in sync with your body to be able to identify that you are not hungry. You are well and satisfied. So, with being present in the moment comes freedom of choice! You will be free of making the decisions that you know are best for you regardless if you feel impulses, fears, a desire to act on old patterns of self-sabotage, and outside pressure. You will know how to stop being sugar addicted.
It also means to eat mindfully. Chew your food consciously, tasting all flavors, smelling it! Take the pleasure of feeding your body in healthy ways. Avoid eating in front of the tv or the computer, when talking on the phone, or when angry, anxious, or sad. Being present at this time can bring much fullness to your life. It takes you away from being a victim of eating bad to a powerful position where you take control on what you eat, when, how much, and how. It helps you tap into your body wisdom and make better choices.
Love yourself a little bit more
Practicing self-love affirmations can help too. When we crave sugar we might be dealing with a low self-esteem. I would suggest to do positive affirmations first thing in the morning or before going to bed, apart from a meditation practice. The affirmations can be in the line of: “I love myself just as I am” “I respect myself enough to eat foods that make me healthy and vibrant” “I appreciate the feeling of being healthy, light and grounded”
Sugar does not equal love
Next tip. Sugar is a symbol of love. I mean look at Valentine’s Day! Eating chocolates and the feelings of being in love is something we have learned to associate. Specially for women, emotional eating is something really common. So women get to see sugar as a synonym of love, pleasure, and joy. In order to break the addiction from sugar, we need to change that misconception and understand that love is within us and also within our relationships. It can’t be supplied by a piece of candy. I think at this point, if you feel sugar is a main source of feeling loved and fulfilled, it is time to reflect on the state of our relationships with others and ourselves.
We need love to thrive, to do well at work, to be healthy. We have our right to look for it and feel it whenever possible. But, taking into consideration that sugar is not able to really supply it for us. One tip I would like to share is to start cultivating more love and compassion towards yourself. Affirmations again work. And also the mental talk. Talk nicely to you. Look at yourself in the mirror and compliment the way you look. Treat yourself with flowers, a yummy healthy dinner, a stroll in nature, a nap, or a hot herbal bath after work. Anything that brings the emotion of love into your life. Love is the food for the soul so do things that make you feel in that state as often as possible.
What if you are already craving it?
Now, if you are already feeling a craving then, it is time to replace sugar as an antidote for it and instead engage in something that brings you joy. For example, if I know I am craving a piece of chocolate cake, then I instead of eating it and then feel bad about it, I color mandalas. This is a wonderful distraction to me that brings me calm and joy. When I finish, the craving has passed. I may drink a nice cup of tea, have a good conversation with a friend, read a book, take a nap as well. Find something that you love and that can be a replacement for sugar whenever you are feeling you need to be grounded.
Ayurveda & Sugar
In regards to the physical aspects of how to stop being sugar addicted, I think Ayurveda is a great tool to help us prevent the desire for something excessively sweet.
Therefore, my next tip is to try to include all 6 tastes in your meals. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. Because the regular American diet is mainly composed of sweet, sour and salty tastes, sugar addictions can be likely produced by this internal imbalance. So, it is very important to add the bitter, astringent, and pungent taste to your meals as well.
In particular, I will talk about the bitter taste since it is often neglected by most. So, I would highly suggest to include more leafy green vegetables in your diet which are naturally bitter. Think kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens, watercress, etc. This will ensure, that after a meal you are physically satisfied and well. Now, the sweet taste in Ayurveda does not mean sugar. In fact, it refers to proteins, fats, and carbs which are naturally sweet. So, that’s why not having enough of them at our meals will create an imbalance and prompt us to crave sugar to fulfill our needs. Make sure your carbs are complex like sweet potato, butternut squash, or cereals like basmati rice, quinoa, oatmeal. And healthy fats like avocados, olive or coconut oil, and nuts and seeds are also included.
Plant based power
Of course creating the habit of eating plant based whole foods is an advice I give to my clients whenever they are feeling any kinds of maladies. By eating most of the time foods that come from mother nature, you will make your palate get used to the taste of real food without the added sugar or factory-made sauces. To make a routine become into a long-lasting habit, it is said that it should be repeated by at least 3 weeks or 21 days. So be patient with yourself while getting accustomed to milder flavors.
I hope with these tips you are able to prevent those sugar cravings! Let me know how it works for you.
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Lots of love and light! xx