Are you addicted to sugar? Do you find it impossible to stop eating it once you start? Do you crave bread and sweets? You may be someone who’s “sugar sensitive” – someone whose body reacts strongly to sugar, leading to sugar bingeing, overeating and, eventually, addiction. This wrecks havoc on your body, mind and spirit.
You probably feel horribly guilty and ashamed. But, dear one, it’s not your fault. Sugar sensitivity starts in the brain – it’s your biochemistry.
And yet caring for your sugar sensitivity – and finding freedom from sugar addiction – may mean limiting how much sugar you eat or giving up sugar altogether. Gulp. No more ice cream? Candy? Soda? I promise you: you can do it, and without white knuckling it, will power, and stress and striving. I can show you how.
I’m Karly Randolph Pitman, the founder of Growing Human(kind)ness, a very sugar sensitive being, and a former sugar addict. I think I understand how you feel! I’m here to help you find the deepest healing from sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction resources
I offer several resources to heal – especially if you’re looking for the inside stuff – how you heal the emotional roots of sugar addiction. Here’s a bit about what I offer:
- Step 1: learn how to begin with the best selling Overcoming Sugar Addiction, now in its 3rd edition.
- Step 2: get support for the first few weeks of a reduced/no sugar diet with The 30 Day Lift.
- Step 3: heal the emotional roots of sugar addiction with the CD/workbook, Overcoming Sugar Addiction for Life.
- Learn more – a helpful reading list for sugar addiction – my favorite authors and resources.
Healing a sugar addiction: what to do first
I was sugar addicted for most of my life. I spent over a decade trying to become sugar free, and now help others heal the emotional roots of sugar addiction with a gentle, compassionate approach.
Start by just observing yourself. Keep a food diary and track your eating. How much sugar are you eating? How do you feel after you eat sugar? What triggers a sugar binge? With this awareness, step back and examine your patterns. Does one bite lead to a desire for more and more?
Consider experimenting with a few days without sugar. Track how you feel. At first you may feel awful as you detox from sugar. But after a few days without sugar, the physical cravings disappear. You don’t feel so hooked. This may tell you that sugar abstinence is something you want to pursue over the long haul.
Sugar addiction reading suggestions
Here are some of the most popular blog posts on growinghumankindness.com on healing a sugar addiction:
- Uncover the hidden sources of sugar in your diet
- 10 tips to help you become sugar free
- How to walk away from sugar when you’re tempted
- Why you need to feel sugar cravings more, not less
- Soften sugar cravings with this tool
- Tired of self sabotage? Soften your resistance to giving up sugar
- 4 crucial needs to stop sugar bingeing
- The 3 stages of healing a sugar addiction
Sugar addiction videos
- How I befriended my sugar binge devil
- How to eat less sugar during the holidays
- How I moved from control to care with sugar
Audio message from Karly: A guide for where to begin…
Overcoming Sugar Addiction
book by author
Karly Randolph Pitman
I feel overwhelmed – how do I begin?!
It may seem impossible to live a joyful sugar free life. You may feel overwhelmed. You may feel scared – how can I say no to all forms of sugar? You may feel sad – what will I do without my friend sugar? You may feel panicked – what can I eat if I don’t eat sugar?
Of course. I know, I know. I understand every one of these feelings. I’ve felt them, too.
Start with one day at a time. It’s a gradual, step-by-step process, and you don’t have to do everything at once. The very first thing you can do to support yourself is to add regular, rhythmic self care to your life, what I call grounding.
So if you want to stop eating sugar, start with these basic steps:
- Eat breakfast every morning, ideally within 30 minutes of waking up
- Include fat and protein in your breakfast
- Eat regular meals, ideally at the same approximate time everyday (This is very calming and reassuring to the body.)
- Eat protein with your meals
- Drink more water and less juice, sodas, and more
- Create a nourishing bedtime routine where you’re regularly getting 7 + hours of sleep a night
This is where you want to start. (And if it helps, it took me months – no years! – to get these basics down. While I feel nourished with structure, rhythm and routine, as a woman with a highly distractible brain, they’re super hard for me to implement.)
Building your physical, emotional and spiritual foundation
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much doing these steps will improve your health, foster your physical, emotional and spiritual well being and soften your sugar cravings.
I call this grounding your base camp. It’s what helps you feel rooted, nourished and strong so that you can unhook from sugar – a process that can bring up a lot of emotion and that can also feel physically uncomfortable. You can’t make that journey without a foundation. Grounding is your physical foundation. With grounding, you’re equipped to make the transition. (I explain exactly how to equip yourself to give up sugar in Overcoming Sugar Addiction.)
Your emotional foundation is based on the relationship that you have with yourself. In fact, your relationship with yourself is the container from which you grow – how you soften your habits with sugar.
Creating a loving relationship with yourself
Many of us have a hard charging, critical relationship with ourselves. We minimize, edit, dismiss, supress, repress, criticize, and shame our feelings, emotions and needs. We then meet these unmet needs with sugar. We don’t feel safe with our own hearts, because every time we make a mistake, we jump all over our own case.
To heal from sugar, we use tools like self compassion, self kindness, and self acceptance to change this pattern – to create a more loving, merciful relationship with ourselves. Rather than caring for your unmet needs, painful emotions and feelings with sugar, you’re able to care for them honestly and authentically. Rather than jumping all over your own case, you learn how to support yourself when you make mistakes (like eating sugar) so that you can learn and grow.
You also need a spiritual foundation to heal, which is your relationship with the Divine. This is one reason why I believe that having a regular spiritual practice and rituals are essential for healing – they’re what nourishes your spiritual relationship. The emotional and spiritual foundation blur a bit, as your relationship with yourself and your relationship with the Divine tend to intertwine, directly impacting each other.
How it works together
This emotional healing is the deeper work of healing from sugar, and the part that most people want to skip. I understand – this healing work can be painful, messy, and takes work – a desire to change. It means feeling feelings you may not want to feel! And yet, in my experience, this is how you heal from sugar.
Beyond sugar, this is how you change your relationship with yourself. It’s a homecoming, where you learn to rest in your own heart: where you create an internal sanctuary, a source of refuge that is always there. It’s how you come to the deepest form of rest: the rest of unconditional love.
As your physical, emotional and spiritual foundation grows, you may find yourself growing new habits such as:
- Eating more whole foods without resistance
- Self awareness – observing the food/mood connection, tracking how you feel when you eat certain foods, and learning about your precious body and what makes it feel its best
- Reducing or eliminating the amount of sugar you’re eating
Finding the deepest healing – freedom
Little by little your eating habits change. Little by little your emotional habits change, too. Your new eating habits are a result of feeling physically, spiritually and emotionally grounded – like you have what you need. You can let go of the sugar because you don’t need it to fulfill your needs anymore. You’re meeting your own needs more authentically.
To learn how to create this emotional healing, I invite you to explore my most in depth healing programs, Overcoming Sugar Addiction for Life and Heal Overeating: Untangled. They both include audio teachings and workbooks.
This is why I saw that healing from sugar addiction is not about will power or self discipline. It’s not about control or white knuckling it. It’s not about gritting your teeth and getting serious about “doing it” this time.
It’s about emotional healing. It’s about relating kindly, understanding and listening deeply to those tender, young parts of you who are wanting to self soothe in sugar. This emotional healing is what enables you to say no to sugar over the long haul.
Ready to begin?
If you’re serious about giving up sugar and wanting to begin, I invite you to listen to this free audio on navigating the sugar detox phase. The 30 Day Lift is a gentle, audio based program that can support you through the first 30 days, when you’re transitioning into new habits. Learn more here.
What can I do when I’m craving sugar?
When you’re feeling the urge to binge, what can you do – in the heat of the moment – so you can walk away from the sugar? Here are some helpful tools:
- Download the free Binge Rescue worksheet. This is a map for using self compassion to care for your feelings instead of soothing them in food. It’s a part of the audio program, Heal Overeating: Untangled.
- I love the damage control tool from EBT, emotional brain training – it’s the one I use when I feel totally overwhelmed and nothing else works.
- Use self compassion to care for yourself and rock your cravings to sleep.
How self compassion softens sugar cravings
I talk a lot about using self compassion to heal habits of bingeing. But how do you translate this idea into the nitty gritty of your daily life? In these posts, I share how you can use self compassion to care for painful feelings and soften cravings:
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