Going sugar free and why we crave sugar

Everything came to a stop in my life when, in July 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

During that year of treatment I knew I had to make changes to my life, which meant making different choices in order to improve my health and my quality of life that would continue to support me after treatment.

Instinctively, I knew I had to change my diet. Top of my list was to have a sugar-free diet, which proved a lot harder than I expected, as it took two years for the cravings to stop.

At some point during my year of ill health, I discovered that I used sugar as an ‘artificial sweetener’ in my life, a substitute or a replacement for something I had been missing – my own inner sweetness – the beauty, playfulness and divinity I felt in me naturally as a small child, but had lost.

When you lose something, if you can’t find the original you take a substitute ... and sugar was mine.

After this important insight, one thing became very clear – my strong desire to reconnect to the sweetness and beauty within me that had always been there, instead of using sugar as a replacement.

However, going sugar free was easier said than done; without sugar, where would I find the ‘sweetness in life’?

My sugar free journey

Giving up sugar was a journey of discovery about my relationship with food, especially comfort foods, which kept me ‘numb’ and ‘heavy’ – numb from feeling discomfort, but also from connecting with the natural sweetness and playfulness I had as a child. I clearly remember how at the beginning it felt impossible to go completely sugar free, such was my dependency.

Because sugar is so addictive my first step was to gradually reduce my sugar intake – going slowly with the process (and not rushing it) meant I gained the awareness of how I used sugar to uplift me or as a treat and reward (most days), and the why and when I gave into my cravings.

I soon discovered that the times that I did eat chocolate or cake was because of the habit to reach for sugar, rather than look at WHY I was needing sugar in that moment. I started to track what was going on beforehand that led me to indulge in whatever sugar was at hand.

What became really clear was that sugar cravings were strongest when:

  • I was tired
  • I was low in energy
  • I was emotional
  • My meal had not completely satisfied me (which meant I needed a sugar top-up after most meals, especially in the evening)

Changing my sleep patterns

After these insights, the first thing I did was to look at ‘sleep’ and saw how I self-sabotaged. Every night I would ignore how tired my body was and continue watching TV till late, which left me exhausted every morning.

Going to bed when my body was tired around 8 or 9pm made a huge difference in reducing my craving for sugar the next day, simply because I no longer felt so tired, which reduced the need for a ‘sugar fix’ to uplift me or get me through my day.

Going to bed early had other major positive impacts, which also reduced my sugar cravings:

  • I did not get as emotional as when not getting enough sleep
  • I had higher energy levels
  • Rising early (without the alarm) meant I had more time to prepare my lunch and prepare myself for work and my day

These positive impacts further reduced my sugar cravings so I was well on my way to a sugar free diet.

Tackling my sugar ‘top-ups’ after meals

How did I combat or stop the craving for needing a sugar top-up after every meal?

The answer was very obvious – my meals did not satisfy or nurture my body and I ate too quickly. This was addressed by the following changes:

  1. Making the time to prepare all my meals: I started to cook everything from scratch so I knew what was in my food – it also felt very self-nurturing and loving to take so much care in every meal I ate, which was new for me.

  2. Eating meat. I had been a vegetarian for some 13-14 years and to my amazement my body’s response to meat was, “Delicious … give me more!” My body gave me clear feelings of satisfaction after eating meat, so much so, that eventually I no longer craved a sugar top-up after meals. Of course this is what worked for me, but we all need to feel what is right for us.

  3. Eating slowly. Allowing the time to enjoy and savour the flavour helped in not over-eating as did the attention, quality and love in my preparation.

Deepening my connection to myself

All these simple changes helped enormously in my sugar-free quest, but still, out of the blue, the sugar cravings would come and I would indulge every time. It then became so clear that I needed a little extra support to deepen the connection to myself.

Every morning for five minutes I started doing the Reconnecting Gentle Breath Meditation® as presented by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. The more I did the Gentle Breath Meditation®, the clearer it became that the gentle breath and the rush that sugar gave me could not sit together in my body – it was one or the other.

That was when I chose the connection to myself instead of food.

That was the moment I no longer needed sugar.

From the impossible to the possible, sugar no longer had a hold on me.

"Eating to fill an emptiness is eating to fill a void that could be otherwise filled with the love that you are."

Michael Benhayon

Filed under

ConnectionSleepNutritionGentle breathBreast cancer

  • By Jacqueline McFadden

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