I am over weight and addicted to sugar. I am on a low carbohydrate diet that works as long as I stay on it. But as soon as I get down, I crave sugar and usually give in. How do I get the will power to stay healthy?
Sugar is a temporary energy hit. The glucose molecule in sugar is fuel for the body and can lift you for a short burst. But after the energy hit, you sink. Then you need more sugar to keep you going. This is a destructive merry-go-round. As you have identified, you need to stay away from sugary food permanently.
Sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. The fructose in sugar is particularly destructive to the liver. Watch this video, Sugar, The Bitter Truth presented by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, where he explores the damage caused by sugary foods. You won’t be able to think about sugar the same way.
All addiction has one similar characteristic: the choice of short-term gain over long-term pain. Being in a desperate mood, you choose the sugar hit. At that moment, you are not considering the long-term consequences of giving into your addiction. Choosing the sugar means risking obesity, adrenal exhaustion and eventually hypoglycaemia and diabetes. If, at the moment of choice, you were fully aware of these probable outcomes and what they mean for your life, you would choose to abstain.
Becoming clear on the consequences of your addiction can help to build your will power. This only works if you see yourself suffering these consequences. Visiting a hospital ward of diabetic amputees will show you the effects of sugar-addiction. Imagine yourself as one of these amputees. You need to feel the traumatic effects of your addiction personally.
Create a potent image, feeling or sense of the consequences of your addiction. Personalise it. See yourself suffering. Now practice bringing that image and feeling immediately to your mind when you reach for your next sugar hit. Low moods are a natural part of life. You need to realise and accept this. They always pass. Allow yourself to have a low mood. Prepare for it. Work out ahead how to manage the mood. Watch that you don’t create a catastrophe out of a low mood. Plenty of people do this. While feeling low, they think of every possible problem, difficulty, setback that they think they might suffer. They stack negativity up upon negativity. And then they wonder why life is so tough.
Don’t do this! Decide now that you will be aware whenever you succumb to this negative thinking. When you realise you are falling into this trap, stop it immediately. Focus on one problem only. Choose the one that you can do something about and take action. The more aware you are of your moods and feelings, the easier it is to choose an appropriate response rather than your addictive substance. Seek counseling if you struggle to work with your moods.
Work towards cutting fructose completely out of your life and you will be surprised. Over-weight clients of mine that have done that find they feel much better, stronger and happier. And, of course, they also lose weight.