A gentle transition to a no or low sugar diet without white knuckling it…
If you compulsively eat sugar for emotional support, to self soothe, and to manage stress, you may feel frustrated by a habit that feels out of your control.
You may have tried various detoxes, 30 day challenges, or self help programs to stop eating sugar. They may have helped – for a bit. That’s because will power works for a while – you can muscle your way through the cravings for a short period of time.
But after a while, will power peters out. The stress of trying to stay off sugar can send you right back into it. Trying to control cravings, control your environment, and control what you eat becomes exhausting, stressful and joyless.
Frankly, this fails not because there’s anything wrong with you, but because it’s impossible.
Do you find yourself compulsively eating sugar again and again? You may feel like a failure because you’re not able to quit your habit. You may find yourself see-sawing back and forth between trying to restrict sugar and bingeing on it. You may feel frustrated and fed up.
My friend, has this been similar to your experience? If so, there’s hope, and there’s a way out. You don’t have to feel enslaved by sugar cravings. Neither do you have to twist yourself into a human pretzel, white knuckling your way through a sugar abstinence to be free.
What freedom from sugar cravings looks like
There’s a way to kindly, firmly and gently set limits on the sugar that you eat without white knuckling it. And there’s a way to do so while also having a relaxed, peaceful relationship with sugar and food in general.
Imagine this freedom – where you feel empowered and in control of whether you eat sugar. Imagine the freedom to eat sugar with delight when you consciously choose to do so, but…
- without feeling like you need to eat a perfect sugar free diet
- without controlling every craving or white knuckling it
- without the binge / abstain sugar see saw
Sugar binges do not have to be a compulsive or reactive habit. Sugar does not have to be your coping strategy – how you self soothe, care for stress, and care for your emotions. Living with this kind of freedom around sugar is possible. But to experience it, you need a different approach than a typical sugar detox.
A sugar addict who found the way out
My name is Karly Randolph Pitman, and I struggled with a lifelong sugar addiction. As I look back on my life, I can see that I was a sugar addict even as a child, and regularly binged on sugar. At the time, I didn’t know that there was anything wrong, because I also ate lots of healthy food, and assumed everyone ate sugar like I did. But in high school my sugar addiction worsened.
I developed my first official eating disorder, bulimia, and struggled with multiple eating disorders for the next 20 years. During my late teens, 20s and early 30s, I regularly binged on sugar until I felt sick. Sometimes I purged afterwards, either through exercise, laxatives, or by throwing up.
I suffered deeply, as I also struggled with chronic depression and anxiety. I isolated myself and tried to hide my pain.
What was so frustrating was that I had a lot of nutritional knowledge and know how. I’d read every book I could find on nutrition, healing, diet, and weight loss. At 23, I read Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen des Maisons, and I knew I was addicted to sugar. But I couldn’t translate this knowledge into action.
To add to my frustration, I was also conscientious, earnest and sincere. I was desperate for healing, and tried just about every kind of healing, personal growth, therapy, and spiritual approach to help myself. But I thought that the way to heal my sugar addiction – and all my eating disorders – was through control. And more control. And more control.
It didn’t work.
But along the way I discovered what did…
What heals the roots of a sugar addiction
I’ve described what didn’t work for me, and how many of us fail and think it’s our fault.
What finally helped me heal was to surrender. To let go. To stop trying to control my way to healing, and instead, to open to the needs, emotions, and cravings inside me – to care for them with wisdom and compassion. Rather than beating myself up to change, I began practicing self compassion, self acceptance and self love. This is what began to shift things for me – first on the inside, and then on the outside.
I healed my sugar addiction not with will power, not with control, and not with tough love. I healed my sugar addiction by replacing the refuge, safety, comfort, caring, and support I had found in sugar with true refuge: a nourishing relationship with myself.
The irony is that being kinder to myself empowered me to be firmer with myself around those things that hurt me, like my eating disorders and addiction.
You can do it, too
If this speaks to your heart, and this is something that you desire for yourself, then I invite you to try my course The 30 Day Lift.
It’s a daily, guided audio coaching course that uses self compassion, loving relationship, and gentle discipline to support you in transitioning into a low or no sugar diet. Learn the “how” so you can do the “what” – eat less sugar.
My experience in using the 30 day lift – particularly on round 2 (I’m using it to change other behaviors beyond food as I found it so helpful the 1st time around) – is that all the safety that Karly has built into the beginning of the process is making it safer and safer for me to give up my self sabotaging behavior.
Karly has shown me that giving up these foods (and ways of behavior) is really about growing my self love and kindness. Thank you, Karly!!
With my loving guidance, you’ll move from wanting to eat less sugar into actually doing it, honoring your intention to change how you eat. Rather than relying on will power or “white knuckling it” to create change, you’ll learn an easier way – how to build the foundation that makes growth possible, believable and doable.
This course relies on principles of self compassion, attachment theory, and the latest findings from developmental science to support growth and change. There’s also a current of spirituality that runs through the teachings of this course.
Thank you so much for your 30 Day Lift course. It has helped me tremendously. I was bingeing out of control on sugar and baked goods for 3-4 months before your course due to crazy premenopausal hormones. I have now been sugar-free for 39 days and I feel wonderful. Your teaching about being sensitive and learning to be kind and compassionate to ourselves was very key for me. I am very grateful for you!
The tools you need to eat less sugar
It’s not just about changing what you eat. To successfully eat less sugar, you need to support internal changes like:
- moving your motivation out of the inner critic and into your heart
- shifting your self talk to be more nurturing, loving and kind
- caring for the emotions underneath the cravings
- being able to mix opposing feelings (“I want to eat the sugar” and “I don’t want to eat the sugar.”)
In fact, this internal healing is what makes the “what” – the external changes – possible.
In The 30 Day Lift, you’ll learn how to support your brain, your mind, and your heart so you can take your desire to eat less sugar and actually do it. And you’ll learn how to make these changes in a way that keeps your tender heart intact.
You choose how much sugar to eliminate
You don’t have to give up sugar 100% to benefit from the 30 Day Lift.
In fact, I encourage people to start with simply eating less sugar – for many people, this is what they need and what is a healthy balance for them. (In my own life, I’m no longer completely sugar abstinent myself. I enjoy a sugar treat at times, and joyfully!) If you do want to eliminate sugar entirely, you’ll also learn the tools to take that step.
Learn the best of intuitive eating and sugar free diets
You’ll also learn how to balance having a relaxed peaceful relationship with food with loving limits – such as a limit of not eating sugar. It doesn’t have to be either / or. It doesn’t have to be a diet / restrictive eating / all structure approach vs. an intuitive / relaxed / all freedom approach. There’s a better way…
The 30 Day Lift takes the best of both worlds to find a balanced, middle way approach for staying off of sugar.
Each day you’ll receive encouragement to shift out of painful sugar habits without trying to “white knuckle” it, control cravings, or eat a perfect diet. Then periodically throughout that period, you can participate in live Q&A classes online; replays are always available if you miss a live class.
I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying the 30 Day Lift! WOW!!! It is so comforting hearing your voice every day and having that encouragement each day. I am on day 3 of my container of “sugar free.” I am basically remaining sugar free in all my meals.
I am keeping a journal throughout and doing my best at following through with all my tasks. It has been so awesome and I really love this format!
I actually had a very stressful moment at work today and I thought I need to eat something. But……I actually told myself “It is ok dear one, you can handle this” and voila…no sugar consumed!!
- supported as you move through the change process
- validated in your feelings and experiences
- relieved as your shame, guilt and self blame is softened
- lightened as you forgive yourself for having sugar issues in the first place
- strong and capable to actually follow through on not eating sugar
Read the words of past participants:
Today’s 30 Day Lift class was so deep! This class has been life changing for me.
I just wanted to put a big THANK YOU out there for the daily encouragement emails. It is like a lovely little hug everyday.
I wanted you to know that I am mostly sugar free for 30 days.
(I know we are not supposed to count and lost 14.5 lbs.)
Thank you for all the kind, caring and compassionate information. I really believe these classes gave me a look at how mean I had been to myself in the area of weight and overeating.
Also, I have been able to let go of the perfection and ease up which has allowed me to be where I am today. Once the pressure was relieved, everything seems to have fallen into place.
I am no longer craving all the unhealthy items I had been consuming. The bingeing stopped first then letting go of the sugar and desserts and then realizing it was up to me to decide what I was eating on a daily basis and that only I could make those changes.
Thanks for all your guidance.
I just wanted to mention that I have been on a sugar free and no flour diet for a year and five months! I dropped a lot of excess weight that was easy without exercise. I feel calmer. Never did I think I could do this at all….
This is a wonderful way to live. Free.
The part of the 30 Day Lift that was the most helpful and also the most challenging, was letting go of goals. Implementing an attitude of gentleness and your refusal to brow-beat us into “setting a goal” and “sticking to it” and “evaluating progress” was the key piece that enabled me to get to much much deeper levels.
The 30 Day Lift connected me to my lack of skills to tolerate distress. Through developing my stress tolerance muscles I experienced feeling “normal” with respect to food for the first time in several decades.
My eating had a beginning, middle and end. Sugar assumed a much less significant place in my brain and in my food choices. I largely let go of black and white thinking with respect to sugar consumption.
What I found most helpful about the 30 Day Lift was the support that Karly offered during the course. She had some terrific advice, and she seemed to understand exactly what I was going through. Her encouragement was also of great value. I have been able to remain sugar free since starting this class, I have been able to replay the audios for further support and encouragement, and the emails were a great way to get my day started.
The daily audios of the 30 Day Lift were so very helpful in keeping me focused on where I want to be. Loved hearing your voice and your struggles, made me feel normal. What I have noticed is my head talk is much kinder and I have started to incorporate some of your gentle speaking. My binges are no longer so intense. And I am more aware of my feelings before a binge.
What I found most helpful about the 30 Day Lift was that I enjoyed the daily emails and audio recordings. I looked forward to them every day. I saved them on my laptop. I plan on attending the next 30 Day Lift and will be in a better place within myself to participate more. While I haven’t given up sugar yet, I am much more aware of my sugar habit. I’m listening to the daily audios again each day.
What I found most helpful about the 30 Day Lift was your voice Karly. It’s very soothing to me to listen to. It helps me slow down and think before I react to a situation before reaching for sugar.
In the 43 years I’ve been struggling off and on with the need to binge on sugar, this is the first time I have real compassion for myself about the unmet needs going back to childhood, and poor stress responses I learned, that led me to binge. I’ve been able to keep from binging for 2 plus months, and for the first time I feel I can handle the urge when it comes, finding another way to give myself what I need, not beating myself up.
The 30 Day Lift was fabulous-that’s why I signed up for your When Food is Your Mother class!
I think what was most helpful was the daily reading and audio. Of course the content was incredible and really spoke to me, so hearing your soothing voice and tender words every day was like a balm to my hurting self.
Your approach is nothing less than revolutionary for me.
What I found most helpful about the 30 Day Lift was being exposed to a new (to me) way of thinking about food addiction.
What I found most helpful about the 30 Day Lift was the gentle approach, connecting to values, the idea of re-parenting, re-nurturing. I am trying to mirror your voice in the audio in how I speak to myself. That is truly wonderful. I told one of my friends it’s like having your best friend whisper in your ear “You’re okay, you can do this”. All the courage and inspiration you need.
Not only did the 30 Day Lift help me work through my sugar cravings, which I have battled my entire 36 years of life (I remember craving chocolate as a child maybe 7 years old?). It has also quieted my brain in the internal struggle I have on a minute by minute basis of wanting sugar. An amazing side product that I have found is I am now more productive at work because I am not constantly battling with myself for wanting sugar! I feel such a sense of freedom.
Where do I start? I listen again and again, read again and again and keep learning new things! I’m finally changing, peeling the layers of my eating disorder, developing a loving relationship with myself so that I can then be a better mom, daughter, teacher, human!!
What I found most helpful about the 30 Day Lift was the daily audios and emails, the weekly classes and having my questions answered personally.
Karly’s work touches me in a way I can’t fully articulate! I listen, take notes, listen again, feel so understood and supported, and see that I’m changing!
I’ve now been 56 days binge free! I started the Untangled course which started this amazing change! The 30 Day Lift continued it! And I’m sure When Food Is Your Mother will help with my next layer-emotional eating!!
I just wanted to thank you, with so much love, for the work you are bringing forth. I did the first month of Heal Overeating: Untangled and am now doing The 30 Day Lift. For the first time in my life, I am opening, shifting – and I truly thought I had done it all. I’ve done retreats with Geneen Roth, studied with many “experts,” and this is the first time I really feel something changing within me – it is terrifying and fantastic!! Last night my son was having ice cream, and my go-to thought was, “Oh, it’s Friday night, I “deserve” some too”…..AND I felt the desire, AND also my integrity, that not eating the sugar and staying true to the loving promise I made to myself was so important to me. OMG!!! Just SO much gratitude to you. Can’t wait for When Food is Your Mother…
In love, health and gratitude,
Karly is a pioneer, with what I consider to be a holistic, grounded and complete program for sugar sensitives like myself.
Until I found Karly, I did not use the phrase sugar sensitive. Karly has helped me to grow and blossom and heal in a natural, organic healthy way. I have been inspired by her courage in sharing her strengths and her weaknesses. She has shown me by example that I do not need to be “Perfect” to live a full, successful life.
Karly has taught me that becoming binge free is a process and I find that my desire to sooth myself with food has diminished and been replaced with loving self care most of the time. Thank you Karly!
I’m on day 17 of your 30 Day Lift. I’m 28 now and I’ve been on this “food journey” now for as long as I can remember. Not only do I have food issues, but I have a digestive condition to throw into the mix, which tends to make everything more confusing and convoluted…
I really want to thank you for your work, Karly. I freaking love your vulnerability. It helps me to remember the beauty of sharing my own “dark sides,” because we all have them. And we can all heal faster and with more grace when we’re all committed to the honesty and love it takes to allow ourselves to be seen.
This 30 Day Lift is helping me with food stuff as well as just softening all of my compulsive behaviors. The concept of self-compassion has come into my life in so many ways over the years, but you have had the most genuine impact. Thank you again from the depths of my heart.
Karly’s modeling in the 30 Day Lift is teaching me just how to speak to myself in a loving way. For the first couple of weeks after listening to the daily audio I could hear hear her words of kindness and caring when I needed to handle difficult situations, not just with food, but with anything that would potentially cause an outcome of self-hate. I only needed to hear her voice, really. I only needed to listen. Eventually, I began to hear my own voice with her words….and this practice continues, over and over again.
I want to tell you how much the 30 Day Lift has done for me. I’m 63 years old with a lifelong sugar addiction, and so far this is the only course that has REALLY helped. Your spiritual and caring approach makes all the difference in the world to one who has tried to punish and criticize herself out of the suffering. Your course is brilliant.
First off I wanted to say thank you for doing this program. Where I did take my time with the 30 Day Lift (I tried to listen to the audios daily, but sometimes every other day), I still felt like I got so much out of it. I have finally accepted that sugar is not my friend and that it is one of my big triggers for compulsive overeating. That is a HUGE step for me- to finally admit that when I eat sugar I cannot stop and that sugar is what keeps that nasty cycle going. It was a little difficult to get through the first week, but just as you (and my mother!) said, once you get past that week it’s not bad at all. It’s getting it out of your system so you can focus on truly feeding your body with food and not junk that then allows you to start working on the real issues.
I would say that the three things I’m grateful for the most from your program are, of course 1) stopping the cycle of sugar binging. 2) Getting in touch with myself and learning how to bring it home when life gets busy and stressful. I have been learning how to sit with myself and just be. To listen to the world around me at that very moment rather than thinking or worrying about the next moment. I have also decided that my New Year’s resolution will be to start meditating on a regular basis because I feel that I need that time to come home to myself in order to stay on track with eating properly. And 3) forgiving myself when I mess up. Reminding myself that when I have those negative feelings come up if I do something I “shouldn’t have” that it’s OK and that I’m not perfect, nor should I expect myself to be. I am better now at allowing those feelings to roll off my back and not get so attached to them.
Frequently asked questions
How will this course help me?
Many of us struggle with implementing change in our lives by following written step-by-step instructions.
The 30 Day Lift uses audio, which offers personal and effective support – an experience similar to working with your own private coach. This structured support will help you make the transition during the first 30 days when the changes feel most uncomfortable, new and scary.
(And, there’s also a written component for quick awareness of the key ideas — to forecast what’s to come and serve as a reminder of the insights to which you’ve listened.)
You’ll learn what to do each day for 30 days so you can gently, compassionately reduce the amount of sugar you’re eating or stop eating sugar altogether. You’ll receive daily direction so you stay on course and rest in the safety of having a map to get from “here” to “there.”
What the 30 Day Lift course includes
Here’s what you’ll learn in each day’s lesson delivered by email with audio message:
- Day 1 – The #1 need to eat less sugar
- Day 2 – How to tap into the part of you that helps you change
- Day 3 – How you know you’re ready to eat less sugar
- Day 4 – Why naming your commitment is essential
- Day 5 – What fuels changes with sugar
- Day 6 – The top 5 barriers to eating less sugar
- Day 7 – How to create a supportive environment
- And more…
How much effort does this course ask of me?
There is a commitment of about 30 minutes per day for 30 days. Where can you find this time? All the energy you spend obsessing about sugar, criticizing yourself for what you’re eating, or in trying to force yourself to “be good” and eat “right” can instead be directed to those things that are most important to you – your deeper dreams, goals and purpose.
Why do typical sugar detox plans fail and how is this different?
Most detox or bootcamp challenges fail because the obstacles that get in your way of eating less sugar are not really behavioral or motivational. It’s not about knowledge or know how. The primary obstacles are emotional.
There are 4 main obstacles to healing a sugar addiction:
- Coping with the stress that can send you straight to ice cream
- Coping with painful sugar cravings
- Responding to environmental triggers – sights, smells, proximity
- Responding to the emotions that arise – emotions that can lead you right back to sugar.
The emotions — dealing with them — are fundamental. This includes feelings of deprivation (“It’s not fair that I can’t eat sugar”), feelings of hopelessness (“I’ll never be able to do this,”), feelings of resistance (“I don’t want to and I don’t feel like it,”) and feelings of frustration.
On top of this, many of us use sugar to care for our daily emotions. This habit becomes problematic when we stop eating it compulsively.
Will power will not remove these obstacles. Neither will control.
In fact, control and will power often make them worse, because they increase stress, increase frustration, and force you to suppress your emotions.
What am I really needing to heal a sugar addiction?
What does remove obstacles to eating less sugar is surprising, nourishing, pleasurable, enlivening, and gentle. It’s a more loving, nurturing, compassionate relationship with:
- the emotions that can drive you to sugar
- your cravings
- and your very growth process out of sugar
This change in relationship helps you stop eating sugar in 3 primary ways:
- It softens the very emotions, cravings and stress that drive you to sugar in the first place.
- As you give yourself the emotional support you’re truly needing, and as you rest in it, you no longer need to use the sugar to reduce stress or to care for your emotions.
- With a self loving relationship, you’re able to set healthy boundaries around sugar. The paradox of self love is that it empowers you to say no to things that harm you, like sugar bingeing.
That’s it, in a nutshell. Learn more when you sign-up for the 30 Day Lift…