boredom-eating

7 ways to combat sugar boredom eating

You don’t feel stressed or particularly emotional but you’re still finding yourself later in the evening in front of the cupboard looking for something to eat.

That digestive biscuit ends up in your hand before you’ve even had time to think about things.

Frustration and guilt starts to kick in. Either you’ve got ironing and a 100 other more productive things to be doing right now OR you’re just chilling, knowing you’re not going to do anything productive but at a bit of a loss with what else to do with yourself.

Say hello to boredom eating. The thing that you just ‘do’ sometimes and you don’t fully understand why.

When you think of stress vs. boredom eating you’re essentially looking at times when you have too much to do vs. times when you don’t have enough exciting things to do.

Kinda feels like you can’t win right?

My big boredom eating 

I’m sure most can relate to some form of boredom eating at times but for anyone working at home or in an office, I know it can be a serious issue.

The number of times, even when I was low sugar, that I found myself in my kitchen for ‘breaks’ was ridiculous. For me it was compounded with a lack of community and connection at home too.

Likewise when I was in an office, my breaks from the daily grind of work were usually the cafeteria, or a vending machine or the tea corner (well stocked with sweet goodies of course).

coffee-cup-table-morning

I wasn’t particularly stressed many of these times or more than usual emotional. I was just a bit bored of that spreadsheet task that I’d been doing for 2 hours and I needed a well earned break. Tea and a ‘treat’ was all I knew.

However, there was difference I remember between boredom and stress eating. With boredom eating I’d eat anything – I just wanted the activity and the break. Emotional eating i.e. feeling down or upset – I’d want the foods that comforted me – the indulgent nut butter, the dark chocolate etc.

Interesting to note the slight distinction right? Either way, the amount of unnecessary overeating when I blatantly wasn’t hungry escalated as these actions started to become pretty entrenched habits. Didn’t feel so great about myself. 

Maybe you can relate?

Why are we as humans so prone to this?

Unfortunately studying boredom eating is pretty hard. Until clever brain scanners can track every kitchen move in terms of what’s going on with our brain activity, we are somewhat in the dark.

However, many make a logical assumption of responsibility towards dopamine – the hormone that get’s fired up when you’re in love or when you’re occupied intensely by Candy Crush (two very different things I know!)

in-love

The common link between being obsessed with someone and zapping pieces of fruit to open up some fancy new level is that both keep us excited and away from food thoughts.

So a theory on boredom eating is that we’re trying to quickly fire up that excitement to get a dopamine hit. We go for food (especially sugar) because it does this very well and it’s accessible, quick and easy.

So what can we do to combat boredom eating sugar?

Here’s 7 things for you to try and consider based on some things that I have found from my coaching work, my studies and what worked for me:

1. Brainstorm other FUN activities to do instead

It’s the most obvious and you probably knew I was going to say it.

Sit down with a pen and paper right now and write a list. Think of anything and everything. Things that might need preparation and things that don’t. Things you can do in 2 mins, 30mins and a few variations in between.

Consider ideas for every setting and situation – home, the office or out and about.

Consider what is really FUN for you. Going for a walk might work wonders for someone but it might bore you so much that you eat even more when you get back.

For me, and this is embarrassing – I discovered You Tube supermarket selfie comedians who would sing a rendition of Take That in front of some unsuspecting bystander (I know, random!  

The thing was, I laughed at these. A lot. I forgot about food and wanted to watch another. Now I know this isn’t the most productive use of my time but I’m telling you it really worked in diverting my kitchen cupboard habits at home because it was a quick and easy dopamine fix.

I also tried meditation, messaging friends and squats. Meditation and friend messaging worked well for me but squats just weren’t fun enough.

meditation

2. Make a boring activity fun

Often the boredom eating comes because we know the next thing we need to do is boring and we are procrastinating from doing it by eating food.

Ever avoided ironing with a cup of tea and biscuit? Yep, that’s it.

It’s an absolute killer for overeating because we know when stop eating, we have to do the boring task.

So what to do?

Add something to the task to spice it up.

I seek to find exactly the right tunes when I have to churn through e-mails and if I strike gold with the playlist, I really feel great and forget about a food wander break.

Maybe you could buy yourself a new audio book whilst you clean the house or do the ironing? Paint your nails whilst listening to a study lecture?

http://happysugarhabits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/woman-girl-technology-music.jpg

Have a think and consider what can spice up your boring tasks to get that dopamine fired up again.

3. Don’t keep certain sugary foods around in boring situations (if you know you’re prone)

Try to avoid working or being somewhere where your sugary boredom snacks of choice are to hand.

So if you’re tackling a tedious presentation, go sit yourself in a meeting room away from the cabinet cakes.

Likewise at home, remove sugary items from your cupboards so they don’t look you straight in the face when you open the door.

When there’s simply nothing to hand, your boredom eating urge is forced into an alternative and it might be the case that by creative problem solving endeavours you find something that is fun instead.

4. Postpone for a few minutes

If you can consciously catch yourself and be fully present with the fact you’re eating because you have nothing better to do or that you are engaging in blatant procrastination then you’re in quite a good place awareness wise.

Why not see if you can win yourself over with ‘ok in a few more minutes’ before I snack there.

So give yourself a full unrestricted guilt free pass to boredom eat whatever you want with the condition that it’s at least 5 mins on from that moment.

You will have to do something for 5 minutes and there’s a very chance you get into the flow with that and forget about your free pass. Maybe you won’t on some occasions but it’s worth a good try and it does work.

If it was a weekend and I was on the cusp of boredom eating I would ring someone for 5 minutes. The conversation most of the time would completely distract me and eating urge passed. If it didn’t, I had my free pass and let any guilt go.

5. Distinguish between stress and boredom eating

This is quite tough but like I did earlier when I could identify the different foods I wanted in each situation, when you really start to distinguish and get clear on the trigger of your behaviour, you can better deal with it.

If you observe the majority of your sugar snacking is through boredom, is there anything wider at hand you can do to avert the trigger. Can you change up your routine a bit? Or manage your mental energy in a different way e.g. do boring tasks at a certain time?

Usually there is a logical non food solution to reduce the amount of time when you feel bored. I know I like to batch in person meetings early afternoon rather than do writing at this time because the people element keeps me super engaged at a prime slump time. Little things like this can make a difference when you tune into them.

6. Accept it happening but watch the habits

At the end of the day, accept that boredom eating will happen from time to time. Seeking to eradicate it 100% of the time is unrealistic and can lead to you heavily judging yourself which can lead to another round of emotional eating to soothe the guilt.

Know I still do it now from time to time but try to use these instances to learn about my routine and my energy levels. What I really try to do is be super conscious of habits developing.  

When you do something more than three times in a row and especially if it’s at the same time, it’s the early formation of a habit. Just breaking the pattern either with a different food, an activity or a change of routine can work.

boredom-eating

7. Boredom eat minimal fructose

Up until now, this article could apply to boredom eating any food, but I’m assuming munchies of the sweet nature are your preference here.

If boredom eating is happening frequently as it was for me, it’s best to make it as lower fructose as possible to help you keep strong sugar cravings from also factoring into things.

Ok you’re still boredom eating which isn’t great but you don’t have to think all or nothing here – sometimes a ‘better’ healthy option can do and you can feel happy with that.

coffee-theme-coffee-peanuts

I’ve got loads of low sugar snack ideas here you could try.

Give things a go

I hope as a result of this article you have MORE FUN! Because that’s in a nutshell what this is about.

Fill your time with projects and activities that engage you, get creative in jazzing up the mundane and try out that 5 minute guilt free distraction pass.

Finally accept this happens to the best of us. I don’t have a full proof guarantee of what will work for you but you can change your habits here and choose better options from this moment.

Hope that helps and comment below if you want to brainstorm any activities that you think might work as they might help others too!

Laura xx

stressedlady

Overcoming sugary stress eating: Understanding your stressors

It’s those days when you’re already overwhelmed with the tasks on your to do list, and someone else requests something at the same time and there just doesn’t feel enough hours in the day.

It’s those days when you feel some tension with someone who’s a key relationship in your life and despite having a ton or other things to think about, you’re going over your anger, frustration or upset with them in your head.

It’s those days when things don’t go to plan – the road on the usual route has a diversion and you’re going to be late which is going to make things difficult and send the rest of your day into chaos.

And what happens? You reach for the sugar.

You barely think about it.

It’s your survival coping mechanism of choice.

Easy, quick, cheap and it tastes goood!

The thing is, this isn’t about the sugar, it’s about the stress management, coping mechanism habits and your emotional processing.

To really change patterns of behaviour here, we need to go a little deeper.

stressedlady

Stress 101 here we come..

Let’s start with what stress actually is….

Stress comes from stressors. Stressors can be a demand on you or a threat or a change.

It doesn’t always have to be negative. Getting married, having a baby or moving house can be a stressor as much as an illness, job loss etc. is.

When I packed up my London in October to move abroad permanently, I was excited about this huge life change. I planned to go home for two weeks, enjoy myself at a wedding in Italy, pack up my flat and then move back to Asia.

However when I got to Italy, my skin erupted in small spots under the skin – the worst it’s been since I had acne as a teenager. I didn’t feel in that moment ‘stressed’ because I was on holiday, but what I can see now that I couldn’t back then was how the life event was such a stressor for me.

It took 8 tormenting weeks for my skin to return to normal. I tried going easy on diary, tried natural skin care (coconut oil as a cleanser?!), had dermabrasion but none of it worked.

In the end, it was only when I felt settled and fully transitioned into my new life that my skin settled again so I concluded it was that wider life event.

italyweddingmakeup

Look the photographer even caught me  putting on make-up in between processco! I would like to declare my love for foundation and powder at this point :)

Being aware of your stressors

Take note of the fact your stressors can be big life events like that or they can be smaller day to day things like getting a difficult e-mail, a traffic jam or a confrontational conversation.

trafficjam

Usually they can come in under the following categories:

  • Major life changes
  • Work or school
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too buy
  • Children & family

It’s also worth mentioning that different individuals are more prone to some stressors than others.

Road rage doesn’t bother me, yet it can drive another crazy. However, I know feeling overwhelmed with tasks and confused where to start is a strong stressor that used to push me towards sugar (& sometimes still pushes me towards a less sweet food alternative).

External vs. Internal stressors

In addition to the external stressors, you’ve also got your internal stressors – the ones that you self-generate through your own thoughts (oh joy!).

An especially common internal stressor that you may relate to is the feeling of guilt, judgement and shame after eating sugar. This can then often make people eat more sugar and it’s easy to see how a vicious stress induced circle can start.

Internal stressors exist within the following categories:

  • Chronic worry
  • Pessimmism
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations/perfectionism
  • Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
  • All or nothing attitude

So what to do?

Step 1: Start by picking out your top 3-5 most prominent stressors amongst those categories. The ones that are repeating or ongoing, that you know surface more regularly.

Step 2:  Be honest just how much of the time you use sugar for each of these. If for any of them, you are aware you use sugar (or any food) more than 50% of the time, it’s worth paying some attention here first.

Step 3:  A an immediate strategy, start to experiment with some interventions and things you can do that make you feel better instead of the sugar. I tend to categorise the options here in four categories:

  • Relax
  • Have more fun
  • Get active
  • Get perspective

Can you try a meditation app for overwhelm or watch a silly You Tube video as a work break? Maybe a spontaneous dance or talking to a friend to get a different perspective can help.

Step 4: Dive deeper to understand the emotions that are going on surrounding the stressors.

This is harder and takes time, hence you’ll need to prioritise as you can’t do it for everything straight away.

You can actually be grateful for emotional eating where it’s telling you something valuable and worthy about your emotions and current situation. If there’s one category that really stands out, it could be worth working through this more introspectively with a trusted individual or a pretty journal. 

There’s more to this but this is a start

I realise trying to help you with emotional eating is a bigger task at hand than just with one article but this will give you a starter and some food for thought.

If you take one thing away from this, just let it be a more pronounced awareness of your unique stressors and what categories they fall into.

…oh and that that teenage acne breakouts can happen even when you eat less sugar because life change stressors are potentially always on the cards.

Any categories you can recognise your stressors being strong in? Do you feel you’re defaulting to sugar in any for more than 50%?

 

sugar-coffee

What is right for you? Gradual vs. cold turkey with sugar

Quite often, someone muscles up their fire and motivation to change around sugar and then turns to me and goes OK LAURA, HOW? HOW!!!??

It happens when I meet new friends at co-working spaces, at parties (I know not cool!) and a lot via e-mail from responses to the blog.

What are my options to currently reduce the amount of sugar I stuff my face with?

Should I go cold turkey starting tomorrow or just be gradual with this?

How can I stop this last habit I have snacking on Oreos in the evening after dinner?

How do I avoid succumbing to this ‘healthy cake’ which I’m eating 5 times a week for nothing other than emotional reasons?

How do I reduce my cravings like you did without it being so extreme it doesn’t last?

Is cold turkey a healthy way to do it on both a physical and psychological level?

The confusion

I’m not surprised that you and other people are confused. Different health experts, magazines and articles say different things all the time. I was confused for a long time myself. I read like every perspective on it and got my head thoroughly around all the arguments for both. 

Let alone then working out what to do with fruit, sugar substitutes and the rest of it.

The fear with going gradual is that nothing is going to really happen fast and you’re desperate to change quickly. However cold turkey just feels a bit extreme and you may have even been burnt from previous attempts which have backfired.

I really do appreciate the challenges in trying to work out the best approach, so I’m going to help you weigh it all up and get some key considerations on how YOU should go about your current sugar challenges. 

carrotcake

Pros & cons of each

Let’s get some key points out on the table:

Cold turkey advantages

  • Craving control. It is the quickest way to get physical cravings down. Past 3-5 days, if you’re not going crazy on a natural source of fructose, you will notice a change.
  • Intensive focussed knowledge gain. You learn how much sugar is in different things, become a sugar spotting ninja and are forced to find alternatives to everything. It’s a decent learning curve if you’ve not been on it before.
  • Clear boundaries. Decisions take energy so when you know what you’re doing, you reduce internal stress from ‘should I have that or not?’ type dilemmas.
  • Clear benefit attribution & motivation. Skin suddenly looks amazing and energy is through the roof? It’s extremely obvious that the sugar’s responsible which is helpful to know for future motivation.

Cold turkey disadvantages

  • It’s a ‘diet’. No matter how you cut it, there is restriction. I’ll come onto this later in considerations.
  • It perpetuates ‘all or nothing’ and ‘black or white’ mindsets.
  • Detox symptoms. The more sugar you’re eating, the worse these will be.
  • It’s not very social. Life has to somewhat go on hold if you’re being really strict because preparing, analysing and planning takes time and mental energy.
  • Sustainability. What happens when it ends? This is dangerous territory that requires certain things.  
  • It doesn’t address deeper issues around emotional eating, habits and feelings around sugar. It’s a bit of a quick fix.

Gradual advantages

  • Focussed habit change. Less need for discipline when you adopt a steady habit change strategy.
  • Social life & priorities. You can do everything you normally would but maybe with the odd tweak here and there. You can continue to keep the majority of your focus other on work and life projects.
  • No overwhelm or deprivation feelings. Things feel easy & manageable.
  • Things stick. You reduce sugar in 1-2 places so well, it becomes natural & effortless. You then move onto the next and you really trust these changes.

Gradual disadvantages

  • Sugar cravings can still linger. A relatively high amount of sweetness might still be in your diet so physical cravings can still be a problem.
  • Longer & not as pronounced results. Harder to attribute benefits. More patience and trust in the gradual process is required.
  • Easy to slide with habits. You forget them, lose focus or lose motivation when you’re not seeing much difference and don’t have a structure to follow.  
  • Prioritisation. You need to really know which habits to tackle first which can be hard without the right knowledge.

Now with that lot, you’re possibly even more confused but at least you know all sides of each approach in one go.

food-eating-candy-chocolate (1)

It’s now time to get personal and work out what’s right for YOU…

Personal considerations

I’ve got the benefit of experience here – coaching a ton of people through this change and defining their own cold turkey vs. gradual approach strategy at various points of the go lower sugar process.

To do this, I ask shed loads of questions first, like shed loads.

Questions about your dieting background, questions to help determine the significance of your physical sugar cravings vs. your habits vs. your environment.

Questions to understand what limiting beliefs you have in place and where your personal boundaries are.

Questions to understand why you are currently eating what you do and what makes you tick.

Questions to challenge and call you up on uncomfortable areas that are likely your biggest blockers or the root of emotional eating patterns.  

It’s only after weighing up the answers to all of these questions in one go can I with strong confidence, give someone a sugar lifestyle change strategy that really suits them. This vital information helps me devise prioritised practical recommendations that I know are going to work from all aspects of the holistic approach I use. 

So the bad news is one solution does not fit all and it’s not so black and white.

But the good news is you can do some of this self analysis yourself and use case studies to model traits that you think you align with.

Case study 1: Cold turkey (ish) working well

First let’s look at one of my favourite coaching clients Simon Williams who I met last year in Ibiza! We had to start off gradually as there was, in his own words ‘no way he was going cold turkey on diet drinks’.

Si 2013 Dublin (1)

However I recognised Simon was strong on a mindset front with no dieting history and I knew I could push him a little more on the cravings and nutrition front. We were able to really step up his palate change with a mini adapted detox period (that I framed as a fun challenge) and it worked absolute wonders for him.

Simon got completely in the know with sugar in super quick time (read his full story here), lost quite a bit of weight and improved all his blood results. But the best bit in the end was that he felt that trust with sugary food so he can still have his favourite McFlurry ice cream when he wants it and not worry about spiralling back.

Case study 2: Gradual approach working well

A contrasting example with another more recent client, we uncovered in the first two sessions, the actual sugar was MUCH less significant that she had thought. I’ve written about that too here

Cold turkey sugar type detox programmes not only weren’t working for her, they were perpetuating the real mindset problems that were holding her back from longer term change. Sugar was simply the manifestation of this.

I knew cold turkey was absolutely not the option and we worked much deeper on the diet mentality thought patterns using mindfulness and emotional eating techniques alongside keeping the sugar habits slowly changing in the background so physical cravings were kept in check.

This client in 12 weeks, changed unhealthy thinking patterns that had been dominant for years and years – life changing! Sugar habits shifted gradually without the restriction, trust in social settings could blossom and the emotional yo-yo cycle stopped.

What about you?

As you can see, these are two varied examples. Both had challenges with sugar but the approach required in each was different. If you can identify with either you can start to gauge the approach for you. 

If you can’t, you’re probably wondering, how to I work out what’s right for me?

The best place to start is to evaluate yourself how weak and strong you are in terms of my ANCIENT GREEK TEMPLE!!

Yeah get me – who else uses a Greek Temple in sugar dealings?! ha! See the components of it below….

4-pillars-sugar-reduction

 

But seriously, using this framework starts that all important process of knowing yourself first so you can diagnose a strategy that will get you the quickest most effective results to make you feel healthy, happy and most importantly, in charge.

Simply rate each element of the temple from 1-10 where 1 is weak and 10 is strong. Identify your weaker ones and focus your habit change efforts here.

Know that if your Foundation or Pillar 2 is weak, a cold turkey approach is not to be recommended. If these are stronger then it may well work better for you.

Want to learn more?

There’s obviously a lot more to learn about my legendary Greek temple approach, so if you’re keen to use this as a framework to help you change, make sure you watch my video training on it here

I’m also super excited to say that I’m running my first live webinar THIS WEDNESDAY 10th FEB 2016 at 9pm GMT where I’m going to be going through this approach in more detail.

I’ll be highlighting the most common mistakes I see made in each area and you’ll easily be able to identify where you need to be prioritising YOUR efforts so you can go forth in 2016 knowing you’re doing low sugar in the best way for you :)

There are literally only a few places left now on the webinar so sign up here quickly if you want to make it! See you there!!

 

What are your thoughts on the different approaches? Found something already that works? Have some cold turkey war stories? Please do comment below or ask a question :)

 

motivation-girl

Finding sweet freedom: How to reignite your motivation

Who’s well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions or habits have somewhat fallen to the wayside?

Maybe you’re thinking – what’s the point, this is too much effort or it’s too hard.

You set out to change your sugar habits, address the blatant emotional eating and stop this on vs. off sugar insanity once and for all.

But things haven’t been working.

Is it even worth it?

I haven’t even noticed much difference.

Who want’s to really eat less sugar anyway? Maybe I am just a special case and things are too entrenched. I’ve got too much else going on at the moment.

Note all the thoughts that will pop up trying to revert you back, initiate the self sabotage and face plant you back into the carrot cake at lightening speed (or whatever your sugar fix of choice current is).

Well, it’s my job to keep you going and I’m here to remind you why.

I’ve broken this into two parts:

1) Your motivation for lower sugar life

2) Your motivation for a feeling of freedom around sugar & food in general

success-photo

Let’s start with the first. Lower sugar life. Why bother?

I’m conscious not to just re-splurge all the sugar bashing stuff out there but it’s worth having the upper hand on sweetness for a number of commonly relayed reasons.

When you don’t eat loads of sugar, you can expect improvements to your immune system, disease risk reduction (especially diabetes), steady energy day to day, better cognitive function & potentially a load of physical stuff like improved skin, a shift in belly fat, weight loss etc. You can read a full 141 reasons here if you want.

Obviously everyone is very different here in terms of what benefits they see, but if you know you’re over-consuming on sweet, you’ve without a doubt got things to gain.

But in my opinion, the real benefits to consider are:

1) The internal peace that you feel day to day where you’re confident that you’re no longer abusing sugar to the detriment of your future health

2) The lack of frustration that it doesn’t cut short all your other healthy efforts (like exercise and other healthy meals)

3) No longer feeling crap about yourself (where you feel guilt at eating too much).

At the same time you crave a lot less so you aren’t constantly exerting willpower and resisting. All these things result in a in a day-to-day reduction of internal stress – the stress we create for ourselves.

Low sugar for your close ones

If you have a family or are hoping for one, then transitioning to a lower sugar lifestyle and changing your habits is obviously going to have a ripple effect on those around you too – especially children and parents (although parents are notably harder due to entrenched habits!).

When you learn low sugar preparation, sugar-free snacking/recipes and healthy shopping until it feels natural and effortless – chances are those around you are likely to pick it up too.

For me, gently influencing my parents towards lower sugar lifestyle was, and still is, super important to me because of my interest in their long-term health.

I don’t preach but I can get my Mum excited about avocado on toast (instead of marmalade) and highlight some alternative wine gum options to my Dad. Small things can add up.

Getting suitably low sugar savvy in terms of knowledge (without being judgmental with it) is a worthwhile investment, not just for you but everyone around you that is important in your life.

Ok, so what about Part 2 – the feeling of freedom around sugar & food

I’ve had many people say to me, that they vividly remember their Mum or someone significant in their life restricting foods. They usually can recall an exact memory. Our relationship with food starts young, is heavily shaped by our environment and can be complicated to say the least.

For me, I know ‘dieting’ and restriction was happening early on in my life.

My brother used it to get more chocolate biscuits. It went something like this:

Me: *Reach out to get my favourite Orange Club biscuit 

My loving brother: ‘Laura, I thought you weren’t eating Club bars this week – aren’t you on a diet? You don’t want to get fat do you?! Give them all to ME!!’

Sibling rivalry and pride played it’s part – my response usually took the following format:

Me: ‘Yeah I’m in control Paul and sticking to my diet so THERE. I’m not eating the Club bars – you can have them all – you greedy thing!’ …despite desperately wanting one.

However, an hour later I’d be sneaking off out of his view with the Ginger cake, nearly consuming the whole thing. It was surely my sugar shame habits developing in their infancy.

Just to add, my brother Paul is really a lovely guy, but he was something like 8 years old and taunting me as siblings naturally do. I called him a computer geek that was never going to get a girlfriend EVER so fairs fair.

And he’s now very happily married

And I’m very happily off the diet-restriction bandwagon eating Organe Club bars freely if I want to.

Getting the balance right

The fact of the matter is, you can live low sugar life – get all those benefits listed earlier, but a restriction diet mentality around it can be miserable, unbalanced and unhealthy too.

When you strike your own happy medium between these two camps you become truly free. Free of the negative health benefits of too much sugar, free of the guilt around sugar and free of craving it excessively.

You feel fearless in the face of sugar. You trust yourself. It’s calmer.

What do I like the most about this?

Hands down, it’s the mental capacity and emotional awareness.

These are the true benefits for me around my change.

I have more capacity write, to dream, to plan, to play, to travel. I know myself better that I ever did before. Through addressing emotional eating, I increased my emotional intelligence and I am much better at handling myself than previously. Not perfect mind, but better.

Like many woman, there are days when I think I want to lose weight and feel meh, but despite the urges I’ve resigned to never do it in that restrictive way again that drives the unhealthy thought patterns I used to have.

This has forced me to foster self-confidence separate from my body image – a worthwhile but challenging exercise for sure. Body confidence certainly does play into things. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this in the future.

Get motivated: What will you learn and how will you change?

I want you to imagine who you will be when you’re relaxed around sugar but calling the shots, when you’re in tune with your emotions so you can deal with them in other ways that don’t involve chocolate (or any food for that matter). You’ll eat more in line with your hunger and settle at the natural weight for your body.

Yet you go to a party and you do have a slice of the homemade cake guilt free. Maybe one night you do fancy chocolate and again you eat it guilt free, knowing your day-to-day habits are healthy and you’ll never eat sugar like you used to.

Picture things when you inspire others around you to be healthier, be the role model to the children in your life and feel more confident in your body, your day-to-day actions and yourself.

THAT is your motivation my friend. The fire that will make your small daily actions and baby steps stick. So don’t lose motivation, take the action. It’s worth it, I promise.

Share the love

Of course share this with someone who needs a little extra motivation if you want.

Take action

Feeling ready to plan your steps? My 4-part video training will teach you how to get started – you can sign up for free here or to really accelerate your change, check out working with me 1-2-1.

 

 

magnum-sugar-confession

Changing around sugar: 7 common misconceptions to know about

So I’m frequently introducing myself to new people these days and you’d be interested to know the different responses I get.

Sometimes when I say I help people change their relationship with sugar through coaching, I simply get a confession of all sugar sins right there. This tends to be quite fun.

For example, a few Friday’s ago I met a guy who entertained a few of us into hysterics through his triple Magnum Ice Cream-a-day confession and even when into detail about how the Thai shop attendant now knew his favourite flavours and sometimes shook her head on him.

magnum-sugar-confession

On other occasions I get people telling me everything they know about sugar or emotional eating and this is were I’ve started to spot patterns in common misconceptions. I’m really not a know-it-all in social situations type of person and by listening I learn a lot about how people think and perceive sugar.

So here are the 7 most common ones I hear. Be warned, you might spot them too in conversations from now on!

Note: I much prefer light-hearted Magnum banter to ego-based I know this and that type conversations anyway, don’t you?!

Misconception 1: That white bread is ‘full of sugar’

This one is very common. I will try to explain as succinctly as possible. Brown bread is full of sugar. Brown rice is full of sugar. Broccoli is full of sugar.

The sugar? Glucose. Yes, the sugar of life i.e. what gives us energy and keeps us going.

red-lunch-green-knolling

The issue with white refined glucose like a white bagel is that it’s quick releasing glucose that spikes your blood sugar levels, causes excess insulin release (which can lead to metabolic diseases overtime) and leaves your energy levels in tatters.

 

Alternatively, Fructose is a whole different type of sugar and the issues with it are quite different.

It metabolises in your body very differently to glucose and it’s unique in how it plays into your cravings and desire for sweet. Personally, when I refer to sugar, I tend to refer to fructose rather than glucose, thus for the record I don’t class white rice as being ‘full of sugar’ but I understand why some do.

night-rice-rice-cakes

Misconception 2: All natural sugar is healthy

For a start, ‘natural sugar’ can mean different things to different people. Some people would regard honey, stevia or maple syrup as natural but by the time it gets to you on supermarket shelves it’s usually processed to heck, so its ‘natural’ quality is somewhat debatable.

honey-natural-sugar

Also, anything consumed in excess isn’t healthy, so really it’s the quantity that counts. Natural sugars like fruit still contain fructose. An excess of fructose can still be dangerous, even if it’s from 10 bananas. I’m definitely not anti-fruit by any means but an unlimited natural sugar way of thinking can really catch people out.

I’ve written more fully about my thoughts on to fruit or not to fruit before here and also whether dried fruits like dates are a sugar bomb.

Misconception 3: It’s about how much sugar you eat

Holistically health speaking there are people out there who eat more sugar month to month who are far healthier in mind and body than a nearby zero gram sugar-free queen. Really.

No you don’t want to be consuming large amounts of sugar in your diet consistently (or randomly with binges), but when you get down to smaller amounts and your consumption is balanced in line with your values and lifestyle, it’s more about WHY you’re eating sugar in whatever form that’s important and it’s this that is ultimately the measure of your success.

quit-refined-sugar-for-lent

 

Misconception 4: Sugar is evil (or the devil)

I do understand the use of this term, as it’s understandably evil in people’s eyes when they don’t feel they can control it or have had a close one suffer from the adverse effects of too much sugar. It really can be horrible when sugar’s wholly got the one up on you in this sense.

However sugar is just a substance – we are more intelligent humans with consciousness and knowledge of how sugar impacts on our brains which means we can do stuff about it.

We can turn the tables and take charge if we want to and re-learn how to live moderately with sugar in our lives. The whole sugar is evil thing comes from the ‘addictive’ messages which sometimes do more harm than good from a mindset perspective. I recently wrote this on why you need to stop calling yourself a sugar addict. Worth a read.

Misconception 5: All emotional eating of sugar is bad

I know emotional eating is a real stickler with sugar. A real stickler that I am still not fully immune to.

However, often people think banishing emotional eating outright is the answer to all their food, sugar or overeating problems.

For a start, I refrain from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ classes of behaviour, as we are all human after all and this tends to re-enforce an unhealthy black or white mentality.

Start playing with the notion that not all emotional eating is bad, you just need to avoid it becoming your default or norm and be conscious enough to spot recurring habits from emerging. For example, some harmless emotional eating would be consuming your birthday cake once a year (when obviously not physically hungry for it).

Misconception 6: It’s definitively an all or nothing substance

This is one of the trickiest parts with sugar I admit.

I know myself that when I have piece of my Grandma’s soft golden syrup dosed homemade parkin, I’m very likely going to want three more.

This is normal because, yes sugar does have an impact on your dopamine receptors in your brain that make you want more and yes this is hard to control when you’ve developed a tolerance and habit for it.

However, look around at the people you know who do manage to stop at one (my Mum comes into this group).

Does everyone you see have the all or nothing with sugar? No they don’t. If sugar was definitively ‘all or nothing’ then surely with the amount around, the whole human species would have succumbed and everyone would be ‘addicted’.

Ponder that one and consider sugar as ‘all or nothing’ not so definitive.

Misconception 7: You can just go on a sugar detox or read a book and be done with it

A sugar detox plan can shift your taste buds and do great things, but it can have its drawbacks being a ‘diet’ and can work differently for different types of people depending on their history of eating habits.

When I used to run Mentor Me Off Sugar – the sugar detox programme I ran for 6 rounds over a few years, I had a whole section at the start on perfection where I educated participants on just how dangerous sticking to this too rigidly could be. I also actively encouraged participants NOT to stick to my meal plans (& develop their own variations instead).

I basically tried to make it as non-diet like as I possibly could – and there were materials in abundance on emotional eating and mindset.

Most that did the programme properly did exceptionally well, but I still saw others struggle and particularly after the end a few weeks later.

This pained me and is actually why I stopped running it officially. I need to change a few things about the program, likely even re-brand it and re-structure it before it’s re-released.

On the other hand my 1-2-1 coaching clients progressed in leaps and bounds, not just on a sugar front but they grew significantly in terms of how much self awareness they had, their confidence, their thinking and wider health.

If sugar is deeply entrenched in your lifestyle, your emotional processing and physical cravings are in abundance, then it’s a full behavioural and personal development change that’s needed, and a sugar detox might not cut the mustard as so to say!

With the Internet, it’s not hard to get information, what matters how consistently you act and reflect on it.

Finally, if we meet…

I’m hoping if you’ve read this article and we ever meet in person you won’t be relaying any of the common misconceptions that I’ve heard many times over. Instead you’ll be laughing and de-shaming around your funniest eat-too-much sugar moment instead – because everyone’s got them I’ll let too easily let some guy off his Magnums if he’s made me laugh.

P.S the Magnum guy is sat next to me here in the office and he’s oblivious that his story has made it online until I tell him in a moment 😉

Who needs this?

Know of someone who won’t stop banging on about the amount of sugar in white rice, eats three Magnum Ice Creams a day or thinks the latest sugar detox will solve all issues? Share this article with them and we’ll both be grateful.

Learn A LOT more from me (if you want)

If you’re not already signed up to Happy Sugar Habits, join 1000’s of others on my mailing list to get notified of my new weekly blog…AND get my free video training… AND munch your way through my free low sugar snack ebook (or just look at it and eat your chocolate instead ha!).

Simply click here or fill in the form below.

low-sugar-shopping-list-laura-thomas

A low sugar shopping list guide when you have no time

It’s that time of the year when you’re keen to make some new healthy habits and it’s certainly a great time to do so. Your motivation is high, others are likely on a health kick and there are loads of helpful recipes being shared around on social media.

Although I don’t subscribe to the harsh overly restrictive all or nothing detoxes and diets these days, I do believe you are able to ramp up the number of habit changes in January and really capitalise on the healthy buzz that’s around.

IMG_2691

But where to start?

Healthy shopping, meal planning and getting into a rhythm with healthy cooking where you are a bit more prepared is a very good idea and investment of your effort.

Now, I appreciate this can counter the intuitive eating camp of thinking (eating when you’re hungry what you fancy) but there is a balance to find here between planning and going with the flow. This article is for you if you know you’re on the unprepared side of things or you want some shopping inspiration.

Watch this video where I explain intuitively eating sugar here.

Only through trying and testing yourself with things can you work out your balance and work out your optimum healthy habits.

If you can kick off the New Year with a few new habits around what you do day to day with your healthy routine, things will fall into place more easily.

This will support a healthy lower sugar lifestyle much more long term than drastically changing everything in January only to revert back to old ways in a few weeks when you get fed up or depending on some strict diet meal plans to guide you.

Low sugar shopping list

I had the idea to share the regular healthy shopping list that I used to live by in London a while ago but never got around to it so here it is.

As I write this, I’ve just moved to Chiang Mai in Thailand and I’m excited because I am going to start cooking my own food again. Whilst living in Bali I was eating out a lot because it’s so cheap so I didn’t cook at all and I really missed it. I realised I found a real joy in buying a weekly shop and making it work for a week to 10 days in super efficient fashion by finding new ways to use up leftovers and feeling smug in in being super healthy without spending a fortune. But I lived in Bali, so I’m not complaining!

Healthy shopping with no planning or time

To show you how easy it can be wherever you are, I’m literally going to reel off the stuff I would buy if I was to walk into a supermarket right now with no meal planning done.

Normally I would plan out a few recipes and get ingredients to match but sometimes I wouldn’t have time and so I’d just grab these essentials knowing I could do good stuff with them. In a way I taught myself to eat healthy without having to rely too much on following recipes to the ‘T ‘which was very helpful and flexible.

I’ll also talk you through the thought process I used to go through to make healthy low sugar living really easy, quick & convenient.

low-sugar-shopping-list-laura-thomas

The shopping list and notes

Note: This is for one person but you can easily double for more or quadruple for a family. 

First up, I’d spend most of the time in the vegetables section. I’d briefly think about my week ahead. Am I going to be out most of it or am I at home? Do I want to be making packed lunch salads everyday or have I got events where I’ll get lunch? I wouldn’t get exact about it but just roughly take a mental note of my week ahead.

Salad stuff

  • Spinach (for my base salads & very versatile to use left up)
  • Maybe watercress & rocket too (if it was a 5-day-salad week and I know I’d use it up)
  • Cherry tomatoes plus 1-2 regular tomatoes
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Celery
  • Pre-cut carrot battons (great snack fodder)
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado (mixture of ripe and to be ripened to last the week)
  • Spring onions
  • Fresh parsley and coriander (salads, main dishes and even smoothies!)
  • Lemon and a lime

lemon-parsley-egg-salad1

Greens to go with mains (or in salads too)

  • Kale
  • Broccoli

green-walnut-salad

Things that last a while and I’ll use somewhere in something

  • Red & white onions or shallots (1-2)
  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash

IMG_5459

Dairy

  • A large pot of plain 4% fat yoghurt or Total Greek Yoghurt
  • Organic semi-skimmed milk (occasionally I’d try out almond but unlike many, I seem to be ok with dairy and like it in my diet)
  • 1-2 cheeses of choice (usually goats cheese, cottage cheese or haloumi)

Protein

I’d think about what I have in the freezer and if I need/want to use anything up. If not I’d grab some of the following depending on how much I was around:

  • Salmon fillets
  • Chicken breasts
  • Eggs (at least 12)
  • Lamb mince

IMG_4458

As I write this, I’ve noticed recently that I eat a lot more vegetarian, so I might add more cheese or go for extra beans if I was feeling more vegetarian inclined that week.

IMG_4901

Do I need to re-stock?

These are things I just liked to have around:

  • Nut butter (snacks, on apple for breakfast, in smoothies etc.)
  • Chickpeas (cans – great for making hummus or bulking up a dish)
  • Desiccated coconut (great for homemade muesli and on yoghurt)
  • Cacao nibs (nice on yoghurt again). Watch this video for 5 ways to use them.
  • Rye bread that I keep in the freezer (I didn’t eat bread that often but liked to have it if I fancied and I could toast this straight from the freezer)
  • Nuts or seeds of any kind e.g. almonds, pumpkin seeds (for homemade muesli and snacking)
  • Any particular herbs or spices that I use regularly e.g. black pepper or cinnamon are two I used a lot
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter (grass fed Kerrygold brand)
  • Quinoa
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Frozen berries (for smoothies and with yoghurt as a dessert). Watch this video on how to make smoothies low sugar.
  • Bananas (I keep a few of these chopped and in the freezer for smoothies)
  • Chia seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs and other specialised health foods like Wheatgrass powder (for smoothies and health additions)

Random unplanned treats/exciting things

I’d like to pick something up as a random treat. I think this helps bring excitement to your shopping and psychologically stops you from buying sweet treats. I think this is a super important thing that is more important than you might think so go splash out on something that you wouldn’t normally buy:

  • An unusual new herbal tea
  • Try an almond or coconut milk for a change
  • Tahini (I LOVED tahini!)
  • A new variety of dark chocolate (at least 72%)
  • A new nut butter or variety of nuts I don’t usually buy e.g. macadamia or pecans
  • A quinoa or grain mix in one of those instant microwavable bags that I haven’t tried before (great for salads and quick meal fixes)
  • Coconut cream (to make something like my sweet potato coconut balls)
  • A random (ideally seasonal) vegetable or fruit to try and cook differently e.g. fennel, asparagus or dragonfruit which is my current favourite!
  • Something new and shiny that the supermarket is perhaps promoting that is still pretty healthy and looks fun. It might have a little natural sugar but I’d like to give it a try e.g. the Rebel Kitchen Mylks – yum!

mylk-courgette-porridge

There you have it! This isn’t a shopping list to copy exactly – you will have personal preferences no doubt.

It’s just a bit of a brain dump on how I used to think when quickly on the spot and I wanted eat healthy without thinking or planning too much. Many of my recipes can be made from the things in this list.

Even if you just read this and pick up 1-2 tips then I’m happy. Writing this has made me miss my big Tesco a bit ha!

Please share

If you’ve found this helpful or you know someone else will, I would truly LOVE it if you could share this post with them or people who will be interested (maybe in a FB group or something).

For a start I have some snazzy new sharing buttons on the left hand side or below (if you’re reading mobile) and I don’t want them to go to waste. But seriously, I know this kind of practical information can really help when people are feeling a bit overwhelmed or stuck where to start with healthy lower sugar living so share the love.

Over to you

How does it compare to your healthy shopping habits? Anything you do in a similar way or do you have other healthy tips to share?

Comment below and someone else could pick up on your magic :)

 

 

smartphone-technology-sugar-white

Want to moderate sugar? Then stop saying this

You sit there looking at the empty wrappers of all the chocolates you just ate; or the empty box or limp packet (in my case it was usually ginger nut biscuits).

This is not normal. I really have a problem with sugar.

I’m addicted. I think I’ve been a true sugar addict all my life.

I can never just have one and stop. I’m different and always take it too far. 

Have you ever called yourself a sugar addict like this? Have you referred to yourself as a one to others? Have you used the term in your own self talk or read something about it and thought Yes that’s me!? 

If this is the case, it might be that your sugar addict self imposed status is reinforcing you actually acting like one. Know that if do want to learn to moderate sugar, you could help yourself by paying close attention to this.

Was I a sugar addict?

When I first started Happy Sugar Habits and was trying to communicate the dangers of sugar, I sometimes referred to myself as a ‘sugar addict’ because I felt it was the term that helped people understand my story and my dilemma. And for a while, I believed it myself – I could not be trusted around certain foods.

Note: there are possibly still some references in some older articles to sugar addiction as I used it to communicate.  

Well, let me put it out there, hold my hands up and say I unintentionally miscommunicated and misunderstood this for a while:

I wasn’t actually a real sugar addict.

True sugar addicts can exist but they are not common. Full on addiction of any form is a serious disease. If you suspect you have a food or sugar addiction, you should be seeking professional help as you read this because addiction is chronic and progressive and should be dealt with immediately. It’s not one to sit on.

What I had going on was a very strong historically developed sweet preference which was combined with a restriction based way of eating that triggered binge behaviour; and a load of emotional coping mechanisms and set in stone habits that centred around sweetness and anything with a decent amount of fructose in it.

I had a very unhealthy way of using, consuming and thinking about the sugar in my life. I wasn’t addicted.

So what has the ‘sugar addict’ label got to do with moderation?

Know this…

When you call yourself a sugar addict, you assign blame. Blame to sugar for your behavior. You relinquish the control. You become more of the victim.

Whilst in some cases it might be somewhat the sugar, acknowledging this doesn’t help your learning to be able to moderate sugar.

The problem these days is ‘addiction’ is a commonly used phrase in our modern day language. Anyone can make reference to being an Instagram, jellybean or poodle addict in such a light hearted fashion.

smartphone-technology-sugar-white

The difference is when you start calling yourself a sugar addict not for social interaction purposes, but because you really believe it explains the way you are behaving.

Also note the following quote:

“Dumbing down addiction to apply to any bad behaviour, gives anyone a free pass. The more this is done, the label loses its meaning and real addicts lose credibility as people with a disease” (adapted from Urban Antonio)

If you are truly an addict, as we know with alcohol and drugs, abstinence is the most recommended cure. If you apply that to your ways with sugar, it means potential life long distance all forms of sugar with no room for an ice cream on holiday or the odd slice of birthday cake. Poses a checkpoint to ask what your ideal lower sugar lifestyle looks like for you?

If you are more like I was, then you ARE able to control, re-learn moderation, change the way you think so that you can enjoy a little sugar here or there without feeling like it’s completely charge. It’s tricky, confusing and scary, but it is possible.

However to do this, it really starts with what you’re thinking. You need to stop re-enforcing your belief that sugar is calling all the shots where you are ‘completely addicted’.

But what about everything that says sugar is ‘addictive’?

I could write a lot here on this as there is science behind some of the claims, but I’ll keep simple and practical because I’m guessing, you want to change sooner rather than later right?

Know that I fully acknowledge the following:

YES, sugar does cause specific dopamine based chemical reactions in your brain which gives you a hormone high and as a result makes you seek more sugar. The more you have, the more you want.

BUT we can be pro-active in our behaviour and over time seek other ways to get our dopamine high that don’t rely on sugar as much. Thus we gradually crowd out our dopamine dependence on sweet with other things.

YES fructose does affect our bodies in ways that makes us want to gorge on it, which in turn makes us crave sweetness more and drives sugary habits to increase overtime.

BUT we can take control and tweak what we eat and change our palate overtime to naturally crave sweetness less.

YES some people have more of a predisposition to become food or sugar addicts than others due to genetics.

BUT even if you are one of these people, 50% is down to your your genetics and the other 50% you can still control with your mental, diet and lifestyle choices. So you can still have a degree of power, even if it’s harder.

As these points highlight, sugar is very powerful in what it does to us. I am as passionate as many about it’s physical and emotional dangers having worked with people and seen the struggles first hand.

However, I am here to offer a solution and to keep this practical. In terms of moving you forward, the best thing you can do is start taking the power back i.e. stop attributing all your sweet habits behaviour to being a ‘sugar addict’.

How to do this?

  1. Acknowledge sugar is a bit of a special substance because it’s impact on your brain and your palate preference, but know that you don’t want to assign all your sugar behaviour to those reasons alone.
  1. Stop saying to yourself that you are a ‘sugar addict’ to start your belief change process. Out loud is the first place to stop, then internally. Even at first you still believe it, just stop saying it as an effort to stop the self-fulfilling prophecy where you develop sugar-addict-like habits.

Remember this quote by Gandhi

Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your habits

  1. Notice how you reacted to this article. If you found yourself a little defensive reading some parts, tune into it. It could be that you like using the ‘sugar addict’ term because it helps you explain things. Without it, it can cause some confusion as to what’s really going on and it can sometimes present some harder things to face.

In summary

Don’t get too caught up if sugar addiction exists or not, just start believing you don’t have it and stop saying it to yourself if your long term goal is to live in harmony with sugar around and enjoy it in a small sensible fashion.

This is your path to being able to enjoy that occasional sugar treat in your life guilt and fear free. It’s the path to enjoying Christmas treats happily, trying a dessert at a special restaurant whilst ditching the regular sugar habits that blatantly aren’t serving you.

Time to change…

Has this resonated with you?

Are you feeling truly ready to change around sugar in 2016? Maybe try something different to the traditional sugar detox diets that perpetuate the same on and off cycle that gets tiring.

If you’re ready tackle the deep rooted tough stuff that really holds you back and open your mind up to huge life change, then check out my 1-2-1 coaching 12 week Sweet Mindset Transformation programme.

I’ve got 4 client spots available this January for 4 very special people. Read more here and apply if you feel you’re ready.

Over to you?

I’d love to know what you think on this whole ‘sugar addiction’ topic. Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said? Have you ever called yourself a sugar addict? I welcome all thoughts and comments.

Laura xx

 

 

one-thing-when-eat-sugar

The ONE thing to do every time you eat sugar

Note: I say from start to beginning. I obviously mean from start to end! Always one articulation boo boo in these videos!

Not sure where to start low sugar after Christmas? My free 4-part video course would be a great place to start if you haven’t watched it already. Sign up HERE.

Please comment below and share…What healthy things have you done for yourself this year that you can remind yourself of when you notice that sugar slapping self talk come up?

 

 

food-salad-restaurant-person

How well do you know your overeating triggers?

Thanks for watching!

  • Before you book just make sure you have your overeating incident to hand so you can describe it.
  • Sessions are done via Skype so please leave your address.
  • You CAN do one of these if you have previously done a discovery or clarity session – I would relish the chance to check in with you again :)
  • Be prepared to take action over a two week period to make the change stick.
  • Only one session per person and once 30 are booked I will close off all slots so get in there right now!

overeating-triggers

 

Can you related to that preventative eating trigger I was talking about? Do you know clearly what your own overeating triggers really are?

food-sweet-cookies-christmas

How much do you fear sugar at Christmas? (& tips to fear it less)

You’ve done quite well in patches of the year. You’ve learnt about sugar, where it’s hidden and have had periods where you’ve been really ‘good’.

However, with the sugar season upon you (Christmas & New Year), there’s a little fear inside.

In fact, because you have started lower sugar life and been somewhat successful in places, you’re even more scared with it coming up to Christmas…

Are things going to take 5 steps back?

How am I going to handle all the sweet temptations? Will I eat too many mince pies? Should I try to avoid all the buffet deserts at the Christmas party?

If only I had a bit more control, a bit more discipline. Maybe I should pre-plan and make some more rules for when I attend this function/dinner party/Santa gathering!

So here’s something to consider around Christmas sugar fear…

The holy grail of changing your relationship with sugar, and potentially with food in general, is being able to eat anything you want, when you want without any fear. This includes sugar.

christmas-cookies-553457

So that means having no

  • Fear that you won’t revert back to old ways
  • Fear that you will undo all the ‘good’ times.
  • Fear that you will badly binge
  • Fear that cravings will come back and you won’t be able to keep a handle on them.
  • Fear that you’ll fall off the sugar wagon and be dragged back through the trials and tribulations of trying to quit again.

 

food-sweet-cookies-christmas

This might sound mission impossible to you right now. It would have to me a while ago.

I didn’t realise this until I didn’t feel it because it was just normal to me. Basically since I was at uni I realised, I went through every Christmas a little anxious at how much I would ‘let myself go’ around sweet food (before I knew about sugar in detail in 2012, it was just any ‘unhealthy’ food).

How much would I have to make up for things in January? Would I be craving more sweetness again? Would I have to go on a mini ‘detox’ and big exercise regime? How extreme?

Overeating sugar this time of year is completely normal. Most people do it. But then there’s overeating sugar to excess. Think 2 mince pies verses a whole box of 6. A large slice of panettone verses nearly the whole thing (been there). 1-2 slices of Christmas cake versus a slab which is eaten by going back for more like five times over an hour (also been there).

If you’ve impinged sugar restrictions onto yourself this year you are at risk of being in the latter category and you’re probably are full aware of it. Share your own experiences if you dare!

Hence the fear…

The fear of how you’ll behave when you have free reign at Christmas sweet foods that you have a history with.

There is another way

You might not believe me completely but you can feel fearless of sugar at Christmas. You can develop to have a trust in yourself to eat a more appropriate amount. You can repeat improved habits and change the beliefs about why you behave around like you do. And from my personal experience, it’s pretty awesome and liberating when you do this.

How? How? How?

I believe there is a need for a simultaneous approach that combines sweet tastebud recalibration and lower sugar habit change ALONGSIDE education on intuitive eating, mindset and the danger of restriction. You need both and it’s not always easy to navigate the line between them – but it can be done.

 

sugar-cookies-christmas-xmas

So what to do this Christmas?

Be mindful that I can’t give blanket advice easily here because you’re unique, however I will say a few things:

  • Eat quality sweet (special occasions, expensive chocolate, favourite treats). Don’t eat cheap advent calendar chocolate or a cheap mince pie just because they are free (read ‘Are you a sucker for free sugar‘)
  • Reduce unnecessary sugar with clever tips and new ideas. This embarrassing video I did two years ago has some suggestions. You can also try some healthy versions of festive favourites. I Quit SugarMadeleine Shaw and Deliciously Ella have some genius recipes that are fun to try.
  • Say no to some things when you feel indifferent about eating them or don’t feel like they are filling a strong hunger or enjoyment need. Say yes to others and really empower your choices – enjoy them!!
  • Pretend you CAN’T redeem your sins in January with anything extreme. Does anything change with this frame of mind?
  • Keep an eye out for over restriction or excessive obsessing
  • Focus on other forms of nourishment – gatherings, gift giving, crafts, work Christmas parties. The last are my favourite and I don’t have one this year… boo!

What’s going on with you?

Fearing sugar around Christmas is an important indicator of your relationship with it much more so than the actual sugar grams you eat.

If you do one thing from this article, just check in with yourself deeply and honestly to work out how much fear your really feeling as you enter into tricker seasonal territories.

Want more help to overcome the fear?

I have LOADS to share on this topic, much too much for a single blog post – loads of strategies, loads of tips and practical mindset ‘experiments’ that you can start doing during December to improve your relationship and self trust around sugar.

I’m going to be announcing something soon that is super special (and FREE!) and will help you take charge of sugar at Christmas like no other year.

Please make sure you are signed up here to get my e-mail notifications on it and look out in your inbox over the next few weeks. If you can’t wait then you can also book in for a free discovery session before I close this option at the end of November.

Thoughts?

Relate? Can’t stop with panettone? Wish mince pies didn’t come in boxes of six? Comment below and say what you think!