I’ve been making changes in my course offerings for 2020 and today I have good news to share.
Last year, I took The 30 Day Lift, my most popular sugar class of all time, rewrote it, rerecorded it, and renamed it as Emerge: Create a New Habit.
The birth of the new name
We renamed this course for two reasons. Apparently, there are other 30 day lift classes out there, but they’re about getting a lifted rear end. That makes me smile!
And I also wanted to speak to the essence of what this class is about – seeding, nurturing, and growing new habits with sugar.
So with the image of a sprouting seed in mind we renamed the class Emerge.
The new life that longs to be born in you
The seed metaphor is fitting, for the healing journey with sugar is very akin to planting seeds.
There’s new life that longs to grow in you – and this new life includes how you relate to sugar and to all the tenderness that lies underneath it.
This new life includes:
- changing how you respond to triggers and cravings
- changing how you care for the needs underneath the cravings
- changing how you respond to limits
- and changing how you eat sugar
Where sugar’s hold comes from
One of the reasons I created this course is to share the understanding of where sugar bingeing comes from.
We know that biological and physiological factors come into play with sugar. (There are lots of good folks who speak to this component of healing – but it’s not my expertise.)
And there are also relational and emotional needs that play a huge part in sugar cravings and that also impact our physiology.
The wise impulse to care for ourselves
When we’re under stress, we’re wired to seek out connection. We all experience this impulse to nurture ourselves – to care for our fears, pain, and overwhelm.
But if our own internal resources are depleted, overwhelmed, or malnourished, and if we don’t have sufficient support in our relationships and communities to help us, then this impulse gets directed to other forms of refuge.
So the sugar seeking is messy. And – this impulse to self nurture is based in wisdom, kindness, and even love.
How sugar becomes a habit
But then two things happen: one, the sugar never really satiates. It doesn’t really give us what we’re needing.
But because we don’t have other sources of refuge and connection, we keep seeking. We keep trying to satiate our relational and emotional needs with sugar.
Over time, this impulse morphs into a habit.
We can feel more and more stuck in sugar seeking as this neural pathway deepens.
Feeling the difference
To let this sink in, take a moment and think of a time when you ate food, when you felt present, at rest, and grounded – when the food was nourishing and satiating.
Now think of a time when you were feeling some kind of limbic reactivity – stress, overwhelm, fear, shame, loneliness, anger – and when you ate to care for your needs.
How did you feel then?
My guess is that these experiences feel really different in the mind, body, and the heart.
That’s because one satiates our physical hunger. And one is trying to satiate our limbic hunger – but it can’t.
The compounding pain of shame and frustration
As we get more and more stuck, and as we experience more and more negative consequences of eating too much sugar, we often turn on ourselves.
We feel bad for our ‘bad habit,’ and blame ourselves.
Now the sugar habit – which feels painful enough in itself – has an extra overlay of judgment, frustration, and fear.
Ouch. It’s so painful.
The tenderness underneath sugar bingeing
As I say often, there’s something really tender underneath our messy habits, including the ways we use sugar for comfort.
It’s probably a really old coping strategy.
You may look back at yourself as a child, adolescent, or young adult and see how much you were eating to care for your hurt.
When these places of hurt get pricked, we can feel overwhelmed and overtaken.
We feel the craving for sugar, our attempt to gain relief, and feel easily hooked.
You can’t change the past – but you can care for the future
We can’t change the past and the hurts we experienced. We can’t change all the sugar we ate either.
But we can influence our future with the seeds we plant today.
We do this by meeting our experience as it unfolds – our cravings, our needs, our vulnerability, our tenderness – with compassion, presence, and a limbic hug.
What healing from sugar looks like
At the ground floor level, a hunger for connection is what feeds our fixation on sugar. And so connection is what also heals it.
Each time we meet a craving – and the hurt underneath it – with a bit more tenderness, a bit more mercy, and a bit more wisdom, we bring love and caring towards those hurting parts of ourselves.
We build resilience – the inner refuge that can ultimately replace sugar for comfort. And we soften the pain – the wounds that drive us to seek out sugar in the first place.
It’s like growing a muscle. We grow our resilience and we ease our pain. We grow our resilience and ease our pain.
We ease our pain, bit by bit. We build our inner resources, bit by bit. We build our outer resources, bit by bit.
We become changed
This doesn’t mean that it’s a quick fix, or that we don’t have hard days with sugar or cravings or our own vulnerability.
But over time, with practice, patience, and support, we change. We change in how we relate to ourselves. We change in how we relate to the hard parts.
We change in how we relate to sugar.
Then, when cravings come, or when the sugar gets messy, we don’t make ourselves wrong. Instead, we see them as opportunities where we can really clearly see the tenderness that’s there:
Oh, there you are. I see you’re having a hard time. Here, let me help you.
The turning point
It’s a profound turning point when we stop blaming and shaming ourselves for our sugar cravings and instead embrace these moments of craving for what they are: ‘the place where the light enters us,’ as Rumi said.
Your sugar cravings are prayers in disguise, sent from your vulnerable selves, asking for help and support: Please see me. Please help me. Please support me.
Over time, we become less afraid of sugar because we trust this process, and trust how it holds us.
What you need to unwind a sugar habit
So to unwind a sugar habit we need a couple of things:
- understanding and compassion for the needs that drive our behavior
- support and connection to care for the pain that seeks sugar for relief
- and patience, trust, and gentle persistence as we build the muscles of new responses
Wanting more hands on help?
If support for sugar is something you’re wanting for the coming year, and you’re longing for an approach that honors the needs under the sugar and that teaches you how to care for them, then the Emerge: Create a New Habit course may be a good fit for you.
Follow the link above to listen to sample audios, to learn about the course curriculum, and to read other students’ experiences so you can see if it’s the right fit for you. Please feel free to email us with any questions!
To the new life that lives in you, and with compassion for all the tender needs that drive us towards sugar, Karly