To eat less sugar, replace the false refuge that you find in sugar with an internal refuge – a nest of safety that brings the safety, security and soothing you desire.
It’s human and natural to seek out sources of comfort, connection and consolation when we feel overwhelmed or alone. For many people, their go to source of connection is sugar.
Why is this?
When we’re under stress, when we’re feeling disconnected, or when we’re feeling stirred up by uncomfortable emotions, our minds tend to flow downhill: to go where they’ve always gone.
If you habitually use sugar for stress relief, to self soothe, or to numb out, you may notice how your mind flows downhill to regular, persistent thoughts and fantasies about sugar throughout your day: thinking about sugar, wanting it, craving it, longing for it, remembering favorite sugary treats, imagining how good a sugary treat will taste…
This is especially true when you’re under stress or are feeling uncomfortable emotions.
Sometimes simply imagining sugar can bring calm and relief. Often, the thoughts lead to action – seeking out and eating sugar. This brings temporary relief for about five minutes or so.
Unwinding the internal drive for sugar
If you’re wanting to change your habits with sugar – where you intentionally, consciously choose when and how you eat sugar, rather than feeling driven by the chronic, recurrent, internal hum for it – you need to unwind this internal drive towards sugar.
One way of doing this is by replacing the drive for sugar (the imagined relief) with an internal sanctuary – a place inside where you offer yourself soothing, connection, strength and security. This internal refuge is like a best friend that is always available, always at your side. It’s how you handle the inevitable stresses, slings and arrows of life without seeking sugar for support.
When we don’t have an internal refuge, we can look for substitutes – like sugar – that temporarily bring relief. But the sugar doesn’t work. A false refuge like sugar can never truly satisfy our longings – it’s not meant to.
Eating excess sugar can also lead to health problems, illness, frustrating weight gain, and an addiction to sugar where we’re no longer choosing how much sugar we’re eating – rather, the addiction is driving us.
How to create change with sugar
The challenge for most people is how – how do I create this internal refuge? It begets a chicken and egg question: if I need to have a true refuge to replace the false refuge of sugar, but without the sugar, I don’t have a refuge, what do I do??
The answer is found in loving relationship – in compassion and connection. We can find this internally, with ourselves. And we can find externally, with others. This is when we turn towards our inherent interconnectedness – when we lean into “the shelter of each other.”
It is healthy and wholehearted to ask for help when we’re struggling – to lean on others. As you transform your relationship with sugar, you’re also changing how you receive and ask for help, support, and care.
Why loving relationship is the foundation for change
With support and safety, we can do hard things. With the love and support of another, we can do hard things like say no to sugar. We can say no to sugar and start the step by step process of building the internal refuge that offers true stress relief, comfort, soothing, and security.
In my 30 day sugar course, The 30 Day Lift, I offer daily audios that support you in building this internal refuge so you can transition into a low or no sugar diet. These audios are like a holding tank – where you feel held and supported so that you can move through the pull and cravings for sugar. It offers a refuge for you to lean on and lean in as you begin building this refuge inside.
So rather than going from the refuge of sugar to nothing – which can feel like an empty abyss – you move from the refuge of sugar into the refuge of connection. You feel held through the transition into a low or no sugar diet. Frankly, it’s this holding that makes the transition possible.
This is how one woman describes her experience in doing The 30 Day Lift:
“What I found most helpful was the gentle approach, connecting to values, the idea of re-parenting, re-nurturing myself. 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.” – Nicole
She’s describing the power of holding – connection, community, and support – to foster transformation.
How to create a “holding tank” for growth
There are many ways to foster this “holding tank” so that you can find relief and greater ease. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a support group to change your sugar habits together, or attend a support group
- Gather emotional support – one way to do this is to find a listening partner – someone who can simply listen as you process and move through all the feelings that arise around sugar. Learn more about listening partners here (the idea comes from Hand in Hand Parenting.)
- Reach out to your support system. Tell trusted loved ones about your struggles, and let them help
- Have someone sit with you for the 20 minutes that it takes for a sugar craving to pass
- Get help when you feel stuck. Rather than toughing it out on your own when you feel driven to sugar binge, reach out for help
Should I take a course and get hands on help?
Yes, you can certainly get help and relief with sugar without taking a course. If you’re still in an information gathering stage, where you’re learning more about sugar and acquainting yourself with your own patterns with sugar, you may not be ready for a course just yet.
But if you’re longing for relief, and you’re willing to open yourself to transformation, it may be time to do more, and commit to a course.
Here’s how a course helps you:
A course offers structure and support, fosters safety, and also creates this “holding tank” – freeing you up to focus on growth. For these reasons and more, a course offers more relief than reading books or articles.
There’s also something to be said about committing yourself to a program for a set period of time, for this commitment tends to bring about changes and experiences that all “feed” into your yearning for growth – and develop it. In other words, opening to growth tends to bring about other forces to help you.
What sugar approach is right for you?
If my approach resonates with you, what I offer for sugar is The 30 Day Lift. In the course, you’ll learn the nuts and bolts of how to build the internal refuge that leads to changes “up on the surface” in how much sugar you eat, how you crave it, and how you respond to cravings.
If you need help with knowing what to eat, meal planning, or changing your taste buds to eat more whole foods, pairing a course like mine that focuses on inner transformation with a course that focuses on “what to eat” may be a good fit for you. You can find “what to eat” courses from Dr. Mark Hyman, Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar, and Paleo nutritionist Diane Sanfilippo, among others.
How you strengthen the inner voice to say no to sugar
Over time, as your practice connection, your “holding tank” expands and broadens. You’ll have greater access to both internal sources of support – those you find within yourself, and within your sense of spiritual connection – and external sources, those you find in your community and support system.
Over time, you rely more and more on these forms of support when you feel overwhelmed or stressed, rather than relying on sugar. How empowering!
But whether you’re looking inward or reaching out for help, you’re not fostering change through force, white knuckling it, or by demanding change.
We always grow through connection and love. It’s like the roots that feed a plant – the roots are the connection and nourishment and security that enables the plant to bloom and blossom and grow.
It’s no different for us. Through connection – the warmth and support of another, the warmth of love – you find the capacity within yourself to change, to say no to the impulse, drive, and longing for sugar. Through connection, you grow. Through connection, you say no to sugar.