This article is about sobriety, environment, and physiology in relation to compulsive eating and sugar addiction.
One of the first recommendations I make to clients who long to end the madness with sugar addiction and compulsive eating is to set-up their environments for successful recovery.
I call this “sculpting your space.”
This includes home, work, and other frequented places.
We talk about removing processed, refined carbohydrate-laden snacks (cookies, crackers, pretzels, cereals…), trashing the rancid, inflammatory oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, and corn, and designating with signage “your” foods vs. someone else’s.
Clearing the sugar and flour from your immediate surroundings reduces insidious temptations and continuous cravings.
This task alone begins a strength-based journey.
Parks ’n Barks Pet & House Sitting
Years ago I started a small pet sitting business because two of the loves of my life, Gypsum and Taheebo, passed away. It allowed me to be with the animals I love while creating momentum on writing projects in a variety of quiet settings. Now and then to this day I accept selective bookings.
Inside clients’ homes, I found myself flooded with poisons—endless boxes of cookies and candy, loaves of grain-inspired breads, heaps of cake, and pints of ice cream. Oh how the excuses began; on many occasions I took a downward tumble. The experience was utterly unpleasant to say the least. I never knew when my chaotic, out-of-control behavior would STOP. I was miserable for days; sometimes weeks before my metabolic system affecting liver, brain, heart, and kidneys, came back into balance.
Here’s what I do now: Picture me walking into someone’s home. I pull out blue painter’s tape from my backpack, and use it as a tool to cover cupboards, pantries, and freezers. This creates a psychological barrier between me and the food-like products that spike my blood sugar, raise my triglycerides, and give me almost instant exhaustion. This strategy helps me make the distinction between MY food and theirs, and delineates an obvious boundary.
You’ve heard of “outa sight; outa mind,” right? It works! When I don’t SEE the stuff, my mind is less focused on getting it; needing to have the sugar/flour drug ASAP.
For this reason, staying away from bakeries and cafes—home of the baked good—supports my abstinence, healthy lifestyle, and liberation.
While we can’t avoid food, we can avoid establishments whose main offering is the substance we’re addicted to. E.g. Most sober alcoholics don’t hang out in bars.
The way our physiology works: When a substance such as sugar does not enter the body for a period of time, our physiological cravings decrease. This is why I coined the term, “You crave what you feed yourself.”
Thus we can make the link between our environments, physiology, and taking the leap to heal sugar addiction and compulsive eating.
Have I touched upon every angle of food addiction in this article? Of course not; nor do I have to. When tempted to think, “But what about…?” Don’t let yourself dwell there. There are MULTIPLE nuances to compulsive behaviors; gaining traction on ONE branch is a step toward healing.