Is it just me, or is this year’s Holiday Season particularly egregious when it comes to the amount of refined sugary treats around?
I know Holiday time is bound to have sweets, but really . . .
Here’s what I’ve been reminded about concerning the white, processed, powdery substance:
1. Sugar is addictive—and I don’t mean kinda like addictive, I mean in every sense of the word addictive. Not everyone is susceptible (like alcohol), but those who are, feel the “out of controlness” that comes with addiction. Even those of us with mild cases have serious “cravings” and can feel powerless—particularly if it’s around and visible everywhere all the time (i.e. December).
2. Sugar makes us feel physically terrible—especially if you are “over 21”, our bodies can be more sensitive to substances (caffeine, alcohol, sugar) and we feel the high and the crash more acutely than our younger brethren. Refined sugar has no real nutritional value so there’s no natural stopping point (like you feel when eating protein, for example). Many of us eat until it’s gone and easily “overdose”, thus worsening the physical effects.
3. Sugar makes us feel emotionally terrible—especially after feeling the negative physical effects (which last much longer than the positive ones), we berate ourselves for indulging. It’s “The Voice”—the mean voice inside our own head—putting us down for deeds deemed unacceptable. It doesn’t feel good to have someone yelling mean things at you. And it doesn’t help.
So what to do?
Here are some ideas to consider:
1. Go cold turkey—it is true that once you stop eating the sugary stuff the cravings go away. I mean totally. It takes only a few days, but you have to ride out the waves of cravings. It’s much easier to do if there is nothing around to tempt/trigger. Harsh, but it actually works.
2. Vigilant environmental control—hide it all if it has to be around, but first deeply question if it has to be around. Out of sight, out of mind really works. The opposite is true too—if there are sweets out and visible (at work or at home) they work on your subconscious, eating away at your ability to refrain and leading to a weakened state. Get rid of them and you have more peace.
3. Timing—better to eat sweets after a meal (similar idea to alcohol). When there is something of substance in your stomach, the physical effects of the sugar aren’t as harsh and you have a better chance of eating less.
4. Plan for quality—pick the best, your absolute favorite, then decide nothing else will do. Plan to include it in your week’s calories. This eases the guilt and knocks the wind out of the mean voice.
5. Ride it out—get through the Holidays as best you can then work with the ideas above to get you back to a happy place with your body and sugar.
The decorations may stay up awhile longer, but the day after Christmas is the perfect time to clear off your counters and empty the pantry of holiday treats.
And it’s the perfect day to start your sugar-rebalancing plan.