A LOT of people are addicted to, or have a troublesome relationship with, sugar. And a LOT of people I work with come to me because they want this problem solved once and for all. The problem is …
My name is Patrick McGilvray, and I’m an experienced marathoner, ultra runner, Sports Nutritionist, Master Life Coach, and weight loss coach for runners. I’ve dedicated my life to helping runners just like you properly fuel your body and your mind. So you can get leaner, get stronger, run faster, and run longer than you ever thought possible. This is Running Lean.
Hey there, and welcome to episode 192 of Running Lean. My name is Patrick McGilvray, The Weight Loss Coach for Runners and today, How Do I Break My Addiction To Sugar?
So a lot of people are addicted to or have a troublesome relationship with sugar. And a lot of people I work with actually come to me because they want this problem solved once and for all. Because if you can solve the sugar addiction problem, there’s a lot that you can do to improve your health.
And it makes a lot of the things that I talked about here much easier, like losing weight and getting stronger and getting fitter, changing your body composition. The problem is that most people don’t know how to break their sugar addiction. And they never get to a place where they can enjoy sugar in moderation.
For some people, that’s a thing. And some people cannot do that. They continue this dysfunctional relationship with sugar even though they know it’s doing more harm than good. But wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have such a messed up relationship with sugar? How would your life change if you no longer had that constant craving for sugar? How much weight could you lose? How much better would you feel physically mentally and emotionally?
In this episode, I’m gonna explain why sugar has such a powerful grip on us as human beings, and how you can take back control and begin to break your addiction to sugar once and for all. But first, if you’ve ever worked with a coach, then your experience probably looks something like this. Your coach told you what to do. And then you are supposed to do it.
Does that sound familiar? Yes, knowing what to do is a part of coaching. But there’s a lot more to it than that. But this traditional coaching approach is the equivalent of reading a book. So you get the knowledge piece when you read a book, but you don’t get anything else after that.
And the biggest issue I have with this quote unquote, like traditional coaching approach, is that what works for some people won’t necessarily work for everyone. So what works for them may not work for you. That’s why I approach coaching very differently.
Every person I work with is an individual. And so I’m going to treat you like the individual that you are. We all have different metabolisms, different body types, different goals, different lifestyles, different food likes and dislikes, and on and on and on. And so with my approach, you and I work closely together to put together a plan that’s tailored to you, personally.
A plan that fits you and your lifestyle and your goals and is designed to help you accomplish those things that you want for yourself to help you to become that particular person that you want to become which is different than what this other person wants to become. And then as we go through the process of coaching, we continually monitor progress.
It’s a feedback system, we course correct if we need to. And if things are working great, we keep moving on, we keep going through the process. If they aren’t, then we change something. It’s pretty simple.
But most coaches don’t do this because this is hard. And it takes time. And it requires a wealth of experience to do it properly. But I do it this way, because it’s the right way to do coaching. And it means that you get the best results possible period.
This is all about getting results. If we are getting results, great, if not, we change something until we get results. So if you’re looking for more than the traditional one size fits all type of coaching, I’m here for you, you can join my program, the Running Lean Coaching Project. This is my unique weight loss coaching program specifically designed for runners. Just go to runningleancoaching.com/join to learn more.
And if you want a little help, just getting started with all that stuff. I know I talk a lot about a lot of different things here on the podcast. Sometimes I give you some steps that you can get started that I’m going to do today. You know we’re talking about breaking your addiction to sugar. I’m gonna give you a few steps to help you get started.
But if you want more and you really want some help on proper nutrition, and what strength training should look like, what it means to build endurance and mindset, and improve your mindset. I put together a brand new fun training and it’s free.
It’s called Five Simple Steps To Becoming A Leaner Stronger Runner. I’ll teach you the right way to lose weight and keep it off for good. You will learn why running more and eating less doesn’t work. If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your body composition, you’ll learn a couple things that runners don’t really do well, but really need to do well if you want to lose weight.
And we’ll talk about things like endurance and mindset. And then there’s a couple of keys there that I share with you that are maybe surprising for you, maybe something you haven’t really thought about in the past. Everybody that goes through this training tells me that they have learned something that they didn’t really know before. And it just kind of shed some light on some things for them.
So if you want to learn how to crush your weight loss goals and your running goals, and you’re ready to do that, now you can take this free training, it’s about an hour long, it’s a video based training, and you can go through it in your free time. So whenever it’s convenient for you, just go to runningleancoaching.com and click on Free Training. Cool.
Okay, so today’s topic is How Do I Break My Addiction To Sugar? Now, this episode is inspired by a question that was submitted by a listener. Danielle asked the very simple question, how do I break my addiction to sugar? And it’s a very simple question, right? But it has a bit of a complicated answer. And that’s why I’m answering it here in a podcast episode.
So I’m devoting an entire podcast episode to answering this question, as opposed to just, you know, typing a few sentences and sending that off to her because there’s more to it, especially when we talk about sugar and addiction and things like that.
Plus, I think it’s great that we can all benefit from the question and the answer, because I know that she’s not the only person that has this question. In fact, I get questions like this all the time.
And if you have a question that you would like me to answer, if there’s something on your mind where you’re like, man, I really wish you would talk about this, then feel free to send me your questions. I would love your input. I’m always looking for new topics. And really, I do this for you.
So send me your questions, and I will answer them right here on the podcast. Okay.
So if you have questions about weight loss, body composition, running, nutrition, strength training, whatever is on your mind, you can send me questions via Facebook, just find me on Running Lean Coaching on Facebook, Instagram is @RunningLeanCoach, or you can email me email@example.com, any of those methods will work, just shoot off your question to me, and I will answer it here. Okay.
But I’d love to know what you want to learn about what you want more, you know, light shed upon, okay. Okay, so let’s just kind of start talking about this topic today. How do I break my addiction to sugar?
I want to go back a little bit and just talk about a little bit of our history with sugar because I think it’s important to understand that sugar is not something that we have always been consuming as human beings. I mean, we did eat fruit, and we have always, you know, found fruit to eat, we would forage for things like berries, right, and some fruit trees, I would imagine that were available.
Now, the fruit for the last couple of million years, the fruit that we were consuming was very different from the stuff we’re consuming today. The stuff we’re consuming today is mostly sugar, it’s been hybridized, and bred out to be sweeter and juicier and bigger.
And one good, great example is the peach, which used to be about the size of a cherry. So it’s very tiny and had a really bitter taste to it. So if you were to eat a peach from, you know, 500 years ago, it would be really tiny and not very sweet at all.
And you can see that, you know, peaches are the size of softballs now. And they’re super juicy and incredibly sweet and delicious, right? Very satisfying, especially on a hot summer day. Very good, right?
But that’s a big difference. You know, bananas are another example. They used to be very small, and they had these giant seeds in them. And now the seeds and bananas are teeny tiny, like, we just eat them, right? They’re like teeny, tiny little black things, right?
Those are actually the seeds of the bananas, but they used to be much larger, much, much larger, and they would take up most of the inside of the banana. And again, the banana was not very sweet at all. So understand that, you know, consuming fruit for us, you know, that was our form of sugar.
And of course, we would find honey as well. And that was about the sweetest thing that we would consume as human beings. And for millions of years, we did really well without the introduction of any sort of processed and refined sugar.
And then back in the 16th century, sugar started being imported to Europe from the tropics. And so they were starting to import things like coffee and tea and chocolate and rum. Rum is just fermented sugarcane juice, essentially; tobacco, and then sugar.
And all the European empires were kind of built upon these substances, coffee, tea, chocolate, rum, tobacco, sugar. And they call these things ‘drug foods’. Because all of these foods are considered powerful psychoactive, and arguably addictive substances. Coffee, tea, chocolate and tobacco are unique.
And that they’d become more desired when you combine these things with sugar. So sweetening tea and coffee with sugar became wildly popular, and chocolate as well. So if you were to take just 100% pure chocolate and eat that it would be really bitter and really hard to consume, but combine it with some sugar, oh, now we’re talking, right?
So sugar consumption increased throughout the whole colonized world. And anywhere these items were imported the coffee, tea, chocolate sugar became imported too. So it was one of those things that went along for the ride, so to speak.
And something interesting that I found in my research here is that cigarettes were one of those things that benefited from sugar and most people don’t know this, but there’s this process called flue cured.
So flue cured tobacco is where you dry out tobacco leaves in a hot barn, and this kind of releases the natural sugars from the tobacco leaves. But when they started adding sugar to the tobacco leaves, it made smoking cigarettes much easier and more pleasurable and much easier to inhale deeply.
Cigars and pipes, you really cannot inhale those things deeply. If you’ve ever tried to It is awful, because they don’t have the added sugar in the tobacco leaves. So cigars and pipes are not considered as addictive as cigarettes because they don’t soak leaves in sugar.
So they started soaking the leaves in this sugar solution. And they called it a sauce. So they were saucing the tobacco. And in 1913, RJ Reynolds put out Camel cigarettes, which was the first commercially made sugar soft tobacco blend, and it was a big hit.
So big hit. Sugar also carmelizes as it burns, so it made the cigarettes taste sweeter, it was more pleasing. It appealed to women into younger people like adolescents. And so younger people started smoking, women started smoking more, because it was more pleasurable to do. It wasn’t as harsh.
So saucing tobacco is something that they did they added sugar to tobacco to make it more pleasurable and more addictive. And they did this with chewing tobacco as well. And so easier to inhale and more nicotine is delivered. Because you’re inhaling deeper, there’s a bigger rush.
And then it makes the drug the nicotine whatever much more addictive. So it’s really the sugar component from cigarettes that makes it as addictive as it is right. But listen, as human beings, for millions of years, we didn’t need sugar, we did just fine.
We actually thrived as human beings without sugar is not something that we needed for survival and we still don’t, but then things changed once sugar became introduced into the human body, and you can look at Egyptian mummies from thousands of years ago with rotten teeth and distended bellies. And this is because of the introduction of refined grains and sugars into the diet.
Whereas you look at the dental records or not dental records, but the skeletons, you know, the skulls of Neanderthals, and they had perfect teeth. Now we don’t have their bodies so we don’t know if they had like distended bellies or anything like that, they weren’t necessarily overweight, like we don’t know that.
But we can tell from their teeth that they didn’t have rotten teeth. So they weren’t eating sugar because they didn’t have it available. Okay, so one thing we have to understand is that there’s a lot of negative side effects to consuming sugar.
And then we have to also talk about this like is sugar actually an addictive substance? And if you look at some of the data out there, like for example it If you look at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, at the end, they will say sugar is not addictive.
And from their website, it says neither sugar or any food for that matter is on the DSM five list of addictive substances. So they’re basically saying that you cannot get addicted to sugar. It’s not addictive because it’s not in the DSM five. So what do we think about that?
Well, there’s a journalist, Charles, the man who wrote whether sugar is actually an addictive substance or if people just act like it is, if everyone is acting like it is. And the evidence is pretty clear that it is then the answer to that question becomes pretty clear as well.
And scientists have concluded that sugar is both a nutrient, a carbohydrate, and a psychoactive substance with addictive characteristics. I think that’s pretty clear. I think it is pretty clear what makes a substance addictive.
So there’s lots of ways you can kind of break this down. But here’s three, you crave something intensely, there’s a loss of control over its use, continuing involvement with the substance, despite adverse consequences.
So does something like alcohol fit this description? Do people crave it intensely? Yes. Is there a loss of control over its use? Yes. Is there continued involvement, even though there’s adverse consequences? Yes.
How about tobacco? Absolutely. Opioids? Sure. Definitely sugar. Most definitely. Do people crave sugar intensely? Yes. Do people feel a loss of control over its use? Do they have a hard time not consuming sugar? Absolutely.
Does continuing involvement with sugar, continual consumption of sugar? Does it have adverse consequences on your health? Yes, and your health and your happiness and your mental state, your emotional state? Absolutely.
Too much sugar is linked with tooth decay, consuming more calories, weight gain, high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, fatty liver disease, obesity, and all of these things are linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
So yeah, I’m gonna say there’s a lot of adverse consequences to consuming sugar. Have you ever tried to just quit eating sugar and not been able to do it, despite the fact that it’s causing you issues causing negative health consequences? Lots of people come to me and tell me this.
They’re like, it’s so hard to quit sugar. Even though I know it’s not good for me. Even though when I eat sugar, I don’t feel good. It’s affecting my weight. It’s affecting my health. It’s affecting my running. It’s affecting my body composition. It’s affecting my relationships. state of mind. Yeah, so let’s just agree.
Let’s start from this place right here that yeah, sugar is addictive. It really is. It is an addictive psychoactive substance. So let’s just start with that understanding. Okay. By the way, the AMD the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is funded by the sugar industry. You know, Pepsi, Mars, Candis, and others fund the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
And so they also contribute a lot of articles and a lot of, quote, unquote, studies on how sugar’s not harmful and not addictive and actually good for you. And in my research here, I was looking up some information on sugar and I came across like, I don’t even know the name of it, but it was like the sugar industry’s website.
And it just talks about how great sugar is, how much we love it, and we should be eating it every day. And I’m just like, oh my god, this is crazy, crazy, crazy stuff. So understand that sugar is addictive, okay, and understand that there’s a lot of information out there and a lot of people out there that are trying to tell you that it is and that it’s fine.
I’m gonna let you make up your own mind but I believe firmly and so does the science that sugar is very addictive. Okay, so we have to understand that. And then also we have to understand what we’re getting when we consume sugar.
So sugar has psychoactive effects on the brain similar to drugs like cocaine, sugar can cause your brain to release endorphins and dopamine, which leads to feelings of joy and pleasure. It feels great. Eating sugar, right? This is why we do it. We don’t do it.
Well, I mean, it tastes good, has a great feeling in our mouth. But it also, you know, brings us joy and pleasure. It feels good, just like any other psychoactive drug just like cocaine or tobacco or you know, nicotine or opioids or alcohol, it feels good to consume these substances, right?
But it’s temporary. That good feeling is actually very, very temporary. Just like any other psychoactive substance, there’s an opposite reaction when that substance wears off when the effects of that substance wears off.
So there’s a primary response to the psychoactive substance. And then there’s a secondary response, the primary response is a feeling of joy, pleasure, bliss, it feels good. And this lasts a very short amount of time, maybe 20-30 minutes, 45 minutes, something like that.
It’s very short, when it comes to sugar, other drugs might last longer, other ones are really short, something like cocaine doesn’t last very long at all. Let’s give it about 30 minutes, okay, let’s just say that thing lasts for about 30 minutes, then there is a secondary response.
And that is the opposite. It’s the opposite of that feeling. So instead of feeling pleasure, joy and bliss, it’s depression, anger, anxiety, moodiness, and this can last for like two or three days, two or three days of depressed mood, because of sugar consumption.
Sugar actually fuels anxiety, depression, stress, moodiness, it causes these things. It doesn’t manage it, it doesn’t control it. So it’s a false belief that it’s going to make you feel better. Okay, it does make you feel better, but for a very short amount of time.
But what really happens is there’s that negative that coming down off the substance that causes you to feel worse. And so what do we do? In that situation, when you’re feeling worse, when you start to feel the anxiety of depression, the stress and the moodiness, you go back for more sugar because it’s going to make you feel good again. And then we just keep repeating the cycle over and over and over again, that is what addiction looks like.
You can substitute alcohol, cocaine, opioids, any of that stuff for sugar, and it’s all the same. It’s all the same. So your brain wants you to feel good, your brain thinks that sugar is good for you. Because your brain is always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
You’re seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. And so when your brain thinks you need sugar to feel good, it almost feels like a survival instinct to your brain. “I need this, I have to have it. If I don’t have it, I’m going to die.”
And that’s what that coming down off of sugar feels like, oh my god, I’m going to die. I need some sugar, I need to feel better right now. And this is what leads to compulsive behavior, that thing where we keep going back to the substance over and over and over again, even though we’re having a lot of negative side effects from the thing.
So it can cause a short term high burst of energy and feeling good. But then we have that negative side, those negative side effects and some of the signs of the sugar addiction are the negative side effects of sugar are anxiety, depression, bloating, diarrhea. That’s no good.
Cravings, chills, involuntary shaking, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, nausea, these are just signs that you might be addicted to sugar. So I hope you’re understanding something here today so far.
Anyway, I haven’t even talked about how we break the addiction to sugar, but I hope you’re understanding that this is a powerful thing. It’s a powerful substance, right. So it is very powerful. And we have to change our relationship with sugar and we want to remove that substance from the equation if you want to break the addiction.
Okay, so step one, to breaking your addiction to sugar is to remove the substance completely, there has to be a period of abstinence. This is a hard step, but it is necessary. So if you’re an alcoholic, and you have a problem, you know, drinking, you can check into a rehab or you can stay there for like 30 days, they lock you up, you have no access to alcohol.
They have medical interventions to help you alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. And people can make massive progress by staying away from alcohol for like 30 days, let’s say or other drugs, opioids, same way. What about sugar though? Is that something that is available? Is there like a sugar rehab out there? I don’t think so. Probably not. Maybe there needs to be.
But can you sort of mimic that it’s really hard to do, it’d be really hard to have that kind of an intervention, and to have no access to sugar. It’s everywhere, by the way.
But here’s something that I found really interesting: that there are a lot of symptoms of sugar withdrawal. So when you stop eating sugar, this is why it’s so hard for people to quit sugar, you’re going to experience one or more of these symptoms, and these are all related to the withdrawal of sugar from the system.
So as soon as you remove sugar from your body and stop consuming it, people experience headache, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, lethargy, depression, anger, irritability, bloating, muscle aches, moodiness, emotional swings, intense cravings for more sugar, difficulty concentrating, disrupted sleep patterns. This is crazy.
When you stop eating this quote unquote, food, that everyone says is totally fine. When you just stop eating it, you can experience one or more of all these symptoms or all of them. That is crazy, that food should not be a part of your diet, if that’s what you experienced when you don’t eat it. Right? Isn’t that crazy.
So one of the reasons why we want to abstain, we want to have a period of complete abstinence from sugar is because you need to reset your dopamine levels, consuming sugar regularly will actually raise your levels of dopamine and it feels great, I mean, you know, you’re you’re getting more dopamine and your dopamine is constantly raised.
But that means that your baseline dopamine is a lot higher than it should be. And it takes more of the substance to get you back up to baseline. So chronically elevated dopamine levels, means that sugar is going to be something you have a very hard time giving up. Because the more you eat it, the higher your dopamine gets, and you need to eat a lot of it to get back up to that artificially high baseline.
Okay, so you’ve raised your baseline if you’ve consumed sugar for, you know, consistently for a long period of time. So taking a break from sugar will reset your dopamine, it’ll reset your dopamine back to normal levels. And then you’re not going to have the intense cravings anymore. And you won’t need as much dopamine to get you back to feeling good again.
And this process takes some time, it could take 30 days or 90 days, they say that for some depending on the drug you’re using, let’s say you’re addicted to opioids or something like that, you know, it could take 14 months to reset your dopamine levels, you know, this is sugar, it’s probably not going to take as long.
I always suggest you start with a 30 day break and then see how you’re going from there. Most of the people I work with, most of my clients report that after 30 days of abstinence from sugar, their cravings are basically gone. They no longer crave sugar, so they’re not eating it and it’s not eating and it’s not a big deal anymore. This is a good place to be. This is where you want to get to.
You want to turn down the volume of the desire, you want to turn down the volume of the craving. And to do that you have to take a break for a while, 30 days, and see how you’re doing from there. Right? Take a break. Try for 30 days to deal with the withdrawal symptoms, you got to deal with all that list of crazy stuff that I mentioned some of it, you won’t experience some of it, you will.
And I help people get through that period, you know, there’s different things we can do. But the desire for sugar should get turned way down. And then when you’re no longer craving it now, not eating sugar is not a big deal. Because your dopamine level has been reset. You don’t have those cravings there anymore.
You’ve gotten out of that cycle of needing the dopamine and then coming down off the dopamine and then having to get it back up again. And so everything is normalized, right? But that’s not how most people do it. Most people do this, they say oh, I gotta stop eating sugar.
So they take a break for like a week. And then something happens. Somebody brings in some donuts at work and they just like oh my god, their cravings are so intense and they just like eat all the donuts right? And then they are back in the pattern of, you know, craving the dopamine and then you know, getting the sugar high and coming down hard and then wanting it back again.
And maybe they can take another week where they can, I’m just gonna white knuckle through this next week. But then you’re in this vicious cycle of continually keeping dopamine levels artificially raised and continually giving in to those cravings and so that cycle continues.
You never get off the substance, you just keep using it, you just keep getting enough to keep your dopamine levels from getting too low, right? And this is a very hard way to do it. I’m just gonna tell you right now, it’s very hard to do it this way.
And this is where people get frustrated, and they just want to give up. You know, don’t give up. Right? And if you want help, obviously, I can help you with this whole process, right? But do not give up. Right? Because what you’re doing, you’re just reinforcing this habit.
If you want to break a habit, you’ve got to practice the new habit, repeatedly, consistently. So if the habit is eating sugar, every time you eat sugar, you’re reinforcing the habit that I eat sugar to feel good. And every time you don’t do that, you’re reinforcing the habit of I can, I can deal with this feeling I can, I don’t need sugar to feel good.
So you’re either reinforcing the habit of eating sugar or the habit of abstaining from sugar, you’re always reinforcing a habit, one or the other. Which habit Are you reinforcing? Right. So step one, take a break from sugar, and avoid all types of sugar. And I would say even sugar substitutes, because some sugar substitutes can actually elevate your blood sugar and cause a rise in dopamine.
And so they’re not, you’re not really getting the abstinence that we’re talking about here. And some of them will just kind of trick your brain into thinking you’re getting some sugar and increase dopamine. So not everyone responds the same way to sugar substitutes, it’s probably best to just like eliminate them for a period of time, just get off the sweet stuff altogether.
And remember, your goal is to reset dopamine levels. And this requires a period of normalized dopamine. Now, we do want to do things to get natural occurring sources of dopamine, that we can kind of create ourselves from things like exercise, running, lifting, weights, meditation, quality, sleep, laughing, all these things give you dopamine, and will help you to feel good, without the huge spikes and crashes. Okay, so that’s step one, gotta eliminate sugar from your diet for a period of time, let’s say 30 days or so.
Step two is going to be the reintroduction stage. So this is where you want to reintroduce some sugar into your system, but you have to do this carefully. So once you’ve reset the dopamine, and you no longer have those sugar cravings, and so you’ve turned down the volume of the desire for sugar, this is a good place to be.
So you can try some reintroduction, you can like try a very small amount of dark chocolate, let’s say like 70% or higher, I like 85% dark chocolate, I love that stuff. It’s so good. If you’re used to eating sugar, 85% dark chocolate, it’s gonna taste very bitter, it’s not going to taste sweet at all.
But if you haven’t had sugar in a while, you eat some 85% dark chocolate, you’re gonna be like, Whoa, this is really sweet. It’s interesting, right? Because you’re not just resetting your dopamine, you’re also resetting your palate. So just a little bit of sugar will taste very sweet.
So you don’t need much at all, which is good, it’s a good place to be right. So try a few pieces of dark chocolate, let’s say for an example and see how you feel. Another kind of tip with this is to eat the sugar with a meal or right after a meal because this will lessen the blood sugar impacted or lessen the dopamine impact.
So consuming sugar after eating other foods like fat and protein dampens the blood sugar response. I like to eat a few pieces of dark chocolate right after I eat my dinner, kind of like a dessert almost. But it is. It’s not like hours after dinner. It’s literally like minutes after dinner.
So I eat my dinner and then maybe I clean up my dishes or whatever, then I grab a couple pieces of dark chocolate. And I don’t have big cravings for more sugar when I do it that way. I don’t have big rises in blood sugar and then crashes and it doesn’t cause huge dopamine spikes and it doesn’t cause that craving which is key, right? So step one abstinence, step two is reintroduction of a very small amount of some kind of sugar. And then try this for 30 days, 60 days something like that.
And listen, this is different for each person. So if you find that when you try reintroducing some sugar, your cravings come back and you start binging out on stuff like that, then we have to look at that. And there may be some other stuff going on. We may have to start a reset start over with a reset.
But eventually we want to get to this place where your relationship with sugar changes like that’s really the goal like to no longer have the cravings because when you don’t crave then you don’t really need it. When you don’t need it, it’s no big deal to not eat it. Okay.
Step three is going to be more of a lifestyle and this is you know, moderation that means that moderation moderating your sugar intake is something you’re going to probably do for the rest to your life, if this is important to you, because your cravings over time are going to fluctuate, sometimes you’re going to have cravings for sugar, sometimes you won’t. And this is normal.
Sugar’s amazing, it’s highly pleasurable, it brings you a lot of joy and pleasure and bliss. And your brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. So if there’s a bunch of donuts sitting there, you’re gonna want the donuts and it’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re broken, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, your brain is just doing what it normally does.
If I see a bunch of old fashioned glazed donuts sitting in front of me, I’m going to want to eat the donut, it doesn’t mean I will eat them. Big difference. But I’m going to want to eat them. Okay. So when you’re feeling some kind of stress in your life, or craving, and you want to feel better, right now, sugar is going to make you feel better. But remember, it’s very temporary.
And there’s that opposite effect, more stress, more anxiety, more depression, whatever. So it doesn’t do what you think it’s going to do. It never does. So your goal in living your life is to moderate your sugar intake. You gotta keep that intake pretty low.
It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on occasions. Everybody wants a piece of birthday cake on their birthday, you don’t eat the birthday salad. That’s no fun. But you have to remember, sugar like alcohol is a powerful psychoactive substance. Use with extreme caution, the dosage matters, okay?
Sugar is not a healthy food. It’s not good for you. It rots your teeth, it has no positive effects on your health or your well being. Except for that temporary feeling of bliss. Just like alcohol, alcohol is a poison, right? There’s no health benefits to drinking alcohol. Is it okay to drink alcohol on occasion in moderation and a little bit? Sure, it’s fine. But just understand it’s not a health food.
But if you find yourself having a drink, and then you feel out of control when you do drink, and increased cravings, inability to stop drinking, and your life starts to spiral out of control, because you’re drinking, that’s a problem.
Sustainless sugar, you’re finding that it’s hard to stop, you’re finding you’re out of control, you’re finding you’re binging you’re finding that you have, you keep going back to sugar, even though you’re having adverse health effects from it, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Okay.
And the other side of this is learning how to deal with the emotions, right? We’re learning how to deal with the stress and the anxiety and the things that come up in your life without using any substance without using alcohol without using drugs without using sugar.
And this is a big part of the work that I do with my coaching clients. They learn how to experience their emotions without eating over them. They learn how to lean into the discomfort of having stress or anxiety or fear, frustration, whatever that negative emotion is, they learn how to lean into the discomfort of having that negative emotion without needing to dampen it without needing to make it go away.
This is a key skill that you need to learn as a human being. Because it requires being willing to feel your feelings without doing anything to try to change them. This is not the way we’re conditioned to do things, right? We’re conditioned that if you have a negative emotion, you got to make it go away as fast as possible.
We are very, very quick to want to dampen or remove a negative emotion. But what if you just didn’t do anything? What if you just felt it? What if you just processed it and then moved on with your life?
And that’s what it means to be an emotional badass. You’re no longer afraid of feeling a feeling. It is a skill that you can learn. It’s really a superpower that you can learn and that everyone should learn how to master this superpower here. Okay. So I hope this helps answer your question, Danielle, and please send me your questions and any topics that you want me to cover here on the podcast.
I’d love to hear what you guys are interested in, in learning about, okay. And as always, I can help you through this entire process, ending your addiction to sugar as a huge part of what we do together in The Coaching Project.
If you’re looking for some help, we can talk about it. Just head over to runningleancoaching.com and click on Work With Me. And we can talk about coaching what that would look like for you. Cool. All right. That’s all I got for you today. Love you all, keep on Running Lean, and I’ll talk to you soon.