Trying to quit sugar

With the lockdown came a lot of time at home.

But what does this have to do with trying to quit sugar? With a lot of time at home, and possibly less busy days came a lot of thinking and soul searching. Maybe this brought on anxiety and more time following the news. Less time spent with people who elevate and distract you. With less distraction came more food and kitchen time, recipes tested, and baking done. More time in the kitchen and less distraction led to more time on the couch, leading to even more food and more treats than you would ever normally dream of on a day to day basis.

Now, well now you are stuck in perpetual sugar cycle. Does all this sound like you?

And how are you ever going to release this and get back on track?

Let me tell you the biggest secret, willpower and time off sugar alone will not do it for you! Even replacing sugar with alternatives and baking yourself those cakes and cookies that are healthier won’t do it. They all sound like absolutely great options, and yes they are better than the alternative of having sugar itself and becoming reliant but the real problem is: once you re introduce sugar into your life you will easily return to the old habits that had you hooked the first time. Plus a sweet taste is still a sweet taste and keeps that need alive in your taste buds.

The cravings, the binges, the reliance on sugar post meal or as an afternoon pick me up? Can easily creep back into your life after you did so well removing it. What is it then that will work? What is the POA when trying to quit sugar? And why does sugar do this to us? If you have seen and heard about the science behind sugar then this will make sense: sugar is more addictive than cocaine (some doctors still skeptical about this). It works the same way as drugs do, on our dopamine neurotransmitter which release dopamine on consumption and make us feel that happy sugar high. Sugar also activates our opiate receptors which are our reward centers and leads to impulsive behavior.

The problem is the more we eat sugar the more we reinforce these pathways and so the cycle continues. Sugar is more acceptable, accessible and prevalent than drugs and so it becomes a serious problem.

How do we rid ourselves of this problem then?

Well we need to re-pattern our emotional connection to sugar. Just like food addiction, sugar is an addiction that makes us feel ‘temporarily’ good. Trying to quit sugar is not easy. How you were brought up, what you were made to believe about yourself, your traumas and your families’ reliance on sugar as a soother/ motivator and more are the reason behind it. We need to do the mindset work, by shifting our beliefs and becoming clear on our values and doing the deep work of moving through the traumas of childhood and the emotional connection to sugar.

Where did this need come from?

Find the root cause and you can heal your dependence and addiction. That is how you will see lasting change. More mindset work, as always, is behind our dependencies.

Want more on mindset work? Let me know below! Yours in health


Isilda Da Costa is a personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist who, if she isn’t at the gym training, is busy researching the most up to date information for growing those muscles. She has combined her love of everything healthy by being a health coach in her own health shop in Swaziland. Follow along on @izzy.healthandfitness


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