It is that time of year when the grocery stores begin lining their shelves with sugary items. You are likely seeing oversized bags of Halloween candy, specialty flavored (candy cane) cream for your coffee, and eggnog popping up in the refrigerator section. A part of you may get a little tempted to dip in, put some extra sweets out on your table, after all couldn’t we all use a little boost right now? Before tossing some of these items into your grocery cart, I suggest asking yourself this, how has my overall mood been?
If you have been feeling low in energy, unmotivated, heavy, lonely, negative, isolated or irritated then you may have some emotions looking to be processed. While eating sugar can be a quick way to perk yourself up, it can also reinforce an internal pattern of suppressing what you feel in order to avoid your emotions. Here is the other thing, sugar is addictive. Some science shows sugar as addictive as cocaine. Sugar has been proven to boost the neurotransmitter in your brain called dopamine (which makes you feel better). The challenge is, coming down from a sugar high can be brutal, making you feel even lower (more depressed) than before, which of course makes you want to eat more.
Now I am not a nutritionist but I have worked with individuals with disordered eating and I will tell you I am not a fan of restricting either. Restricting yourself (unless of course your doctor advises you to) can also be a way to control, manage and suppress your emotions. So what do you do? The answer is, you learn to process what you feel. Most people at this point, start thinking, oh my gosh, there is too much to process and the thought of feeling my emotions is overwhelming. The good news, you don’t have to.
You see, what I have learned as an Emotional Detox Coach is you don’t get rid of emotions, you clear, release reactions. It is your reactions, not the emotions themselves which drive you to eat more sugar. In other words, eating sugar may be a way you are managing your highs and lows. I put together a formula called CLEANSE, featured in Emotional Detox, which helps people to release these reactions. In this case, you would choose to release the pattern of controlling, managing and suppressing what you feel.
You see sugar is a reflection of energy, meaning there is something inside of you that may be missing the energy of something you once had or long for (perhaps your old way of life, safety, love, affection) and therefore you are looking for relief. Relief from tension, heartbreak, stress and fear. The challenge is sugar makes this relief temporary. When you choose to process what you feel, you will find, your draw toward sugar diminishes. In other words, you have found another way to gain energy. This is what emotional processing does, it helps you to gain energy naturally (without turning to outside substances).
To help you move in that direction here are a couple of tips:
1. Take Inventory. Notice how your overall mood, energy levels have been. If they have been low consider taking some time to process what you feel, perhaps go from a walk outside in nature, take a few minutes each day to meditate, or incorporate mindful breathing (inhaling and exhaling through your nose slowly, inflating your abdominal on inhale, deflating on exhale).
2. Repeat these Statement Out loud
Eating sugar makes me feel….. and then breathe, do not answer the question, just breath (inhale, exhale)
Not eating sugar makes me feel…and then breathe, do not answer the question (inhale, exhale). Trust your body knows what to process.
Doing one or a few of the practices above once or twice a day will help you loosen up old patterns of controlling, avoiding or managing what you feel so you can begin to experience your emotions with loving kindness and ease.
Sherianna Boyle is the author of the bestselling book, Emotional Detox, Emotional Detox for Anxiety and six other books. She is founder of Emotional Detox Coaching®, host of Emotional Detox Radio Show on healthylife.net and co-founder of cleanselife.com where she offers on demand Cleanse Yoga® and Cleanse Meditations. You can find her at www.sheriannaboyle.com