Food and Sugar Addiction
The Social Context
It’s not your fault; that’s the first thing I need to say.
You see, like everything, food addiction exists in context. You do not exist outside of a social context no matter how isolated you may be. I mention isolation because many of us who struggle with food addiction a.k.a. compulsive eating have found ourselves isolated from people, groups, and community.
It’s important to recognize that if you are in the grips of food and sugar addiction, you’re battling addictive substances. Unlike alcoholics or other drug addicts, food addicts tend to get judged and blamed. “Just stay away from sweets,” “use your willpower,” and “you can do this on your own,” are criticisms you may have internalized.
What people tend to forget or not know is that those highly addictive foods—cookies, cake, chocolate, pastries, bread, bagels, crackers, pizza, french fries, cereal, pretzels, chips, soda, fast food, and all the other combinations of grain flours, processed sugars, trans-fats, rancid oils, and iodized salt—are laced with highly addictive substances. Period.
So… YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. Once these substances enter your body-mind system, it is not uncommon for addiction to occur. That means that you may actually experience withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, headaches, anger, irritability, and a lot more when you pull back from eating those specific ingredients.
The Emotional Context
To discover what lead you to eating for emotional reasons is a journey and not always the first life-lesson revealed. It shows itself or it doesn’t as time allows, based on your curiosity and commitment to the process. Is this discovery the most important insight needed to recover from emotional eating? No.. not really.
Rather than spending endless cycles identifying and unveiling childhood and adult traumas, or at least while you are unveiling these stories, you must “get the good stuff in.” The good stuff in healthy, nutrient-dense food, gratitude practice, learning how to manage your mind, moving your body, stress-reduction practices such as meditation and yoga, support groups such as Overeater’s Anonymous meetings, finding a coach or mentor, reaching out for connection in your community, and/or any other tool in your recovery toolkit.
The idea is to SATURATE yourself with what makes you feel good about yourself—good in your skin—beyond the instant gratification of quick-fix, refined and processed foods. Anytime you “get off track” with your eating or if you have not been on track ever or for a very long time, you’ll want to reach into your basket, grab a tool, and take a few deep breaths.
These words are but a nutshell attempt at sharing this holistic approach to recovery from food and sugar addiction. What’s needed to get to the other side of freedom is a PLAN, SUPPORT, and ACCOUNTABILITY. Next is the ever-important deep dive into mindset practice to connect the dots between thoughts and outcomes.
There is never a one-size-fits-all solution for your individual journey. To dive deeper into your recovery with steady hand-holding, a step-by-step plan, and loving guidance and affirmation, please consider The Shadow & Light Framework 1:1 Health Coaching Program.