The concept of food as an addiction is, finally, gaining more recognition in the mainstream media! Earlier this month, 60 Minutes featured a long segment on sugar toxicity. Prominent doctors and scientists explained how the human body reacts to sugar intake. Insulin spikes, the liver works overtime, and the same areas of the brain that respond to cocaine respond to sugar! Sugar "feels good" - but only momentarily. Like a crack addict, you can develop a tolerance for sugar. As time goes by, you will require more and more sugar to get the same "high".
If the idea of being "hooked" isn't enough to make you take stock of your habits, consider one scientist's explanation of the connection between sugar and cancer. He explained that receptors on tumors may utilize glucose from the bloodstream in order to thrive and grow!
But, as a society, we have addictive habits and are constantly seeking a "quick fix". It's the American way! Consider the number of diets and diet products that claim to offer a quick solution to your weight issues. Truth be told, there is no easy fix. It takes discipline and work to develop a healthy lifestyle. (Don't shoot the messenger!)
So, how then do we break the habit of emotional eating and sugar addiction? Even the scientists on the 60 Minutes segment didn't offer tools for that! Two of the researchers claimed to have cut back on their own consumption of sugar due to the results they found. However, they had not eliminated sugar entirely. They were, very likely, still hooked and not quite sure how to break the habit themselves.
The first step to making any change is to recognize the pattern. Afterwards, you can begin to examine why you are turning to sugar and food for comfort. You need to replace your not-so-healthy habits with healthier coping mechanisms. This takes time, discipline, and commitment. It may be much easier said than done. After all, like the vast majority of Americans, you have probably been "using" sugar for a lifetime. (The scientists on 60 Minutes said that the average American consumes over 130 pounds of sugar per year!)
Start by making small changes. Over time, they will lead to big lifestyle changes. Consider cutting back on soda and other sweetened drinks until you eliminate them entirely. Replace the sugary beverages with plain old water, green tea, or herbal tea. Look for things that make you feel good other than eating. Consider adding more exercise into your routine. Join a club or increase time with friends. Read a book or start a home-improvement project.
You may require objective support to hold you accountable and offer insight into your addiction. Get the professional support you need and deserve! You will be happier and healthier as a result of your effort!
As a Life & Wellness Coach, Psychotherapist, and Personal Fitness Trainer, Coach Jenn A. Nocera, MA, MFT, CLSC, CPFT works with clients to overcome Emotional Eating and develop healthy lifestyles. Contact Coach Jenna at 732-842-3515 or visit www.formulaforexcellence.com.