How to feel sane + balanced around SUGAR this holiday season

How the heck are ya!? It has been so long since I’ve written you, and man, does it feel good to sit down and write to you again.

The reason I haven’t written in a while is because I have some major life transitions going on and so much to share with you… it just hasn’t been the right time to share yet.

But in the next few weeks, I’ll clue you in more on why the heck I have been so absent lately!!

I truly hope you are having a great start to the holiday season. I was in DC with my boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving and will be spending Christmas and New Years in warm Florida!

So, yesterday I was standing in my kitchen craving something sweet, when I realized that I have been craving sweets a LOT lately. Definitely more than usual. It got me thinking that if I am experiencing this, many of you probably are too, so it was worth it to write a post about how to handle a heightened sugar craving.

It’s common that we crave sugar around the holidays for two main reasons:

  1. There are more desserts around, and our taste buds start to get used to having sugar all the time. I don’t necessarily believe in “sugar addiction”, but I do believe that our taste buds can get used to certain foods. So if we are eating sugar more often simple because it’s around, we can start to get used to wanting more of it.
  2. Stress and exhaustion! Holiday time can heighten our stress and exhaustion levels – we’re busy, we’re pulled in various directions, we’re around family more than usual which can be triggering, and it’s just a time when we our energy feels frantic rather than grounded. When we are stressed or tired, it’s common that we turn to sugar to “sweeten” our lives. Sugar brings a moment of pleasure, excitement, or relaxation to an otherwise stressful, exhausting situation.

So, what’s a girl to do?

I have several tips for you today, so see what resonates with you. What follows is not an exact formula, it’s just a variety of tips that I’m staying conscious of to help me, that I thought may help you, too!

Consider where you’re at with your relationship with sugar.

Before we dive into a sugar conversation, it’s important to recognize where you’re at with your relationship with sugar. I teach Intuitive Eating (helping people have a “normal” relationship with food) and I’ve learned over the years that there are different PHASES that people can be in with food. Depending on which phase you’re in, it’s important to focus on different things.

For instance, do you have a restrict / binge relationship with sugar? Do you try to avoid it but then fear that you’ll snap and lose control around it and go overboard?

If this is you, it’s SO important to normalize sugar and take sugar off of a “pedestal”. If you feel that sugar is bad or wrong and you typically restrict it, you’re going to have a binge , “I can’t stop” mentality around it when it does become available.

I used to be this way around sugar, so the holidays were a particularly tough time for me. I would try to be “good” and not have sugar as much as possible, but my willpower could only last so long. Since sugar is everywhere during the holidays, I could only resist it for so long before I’d say “screw it” and have that one cookie that then lead to 20 cookies and everything else not nailed down. Then, I would of course feel awful afterward – physically in pain, and even worse I would beat myself up and be disgusted by my behavior.

If this is you, I would highly recommend spending some time in 2018 working through your relationship with sugar, so that you don’t have that all-or-nothing, restrict/binge relationship with it. When you let yourself have sugar year-round in a way that feels loving toward your body and soul, and learn how to normalize it, these holiday moments feel WAY less difficult. Sugar feels way less “special”, so you don’t feel like crazy around it.

My 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge is an awesome resource that thousands of women have gone through to help them take those first few steps toward normalizing food and intuitive eating. Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions about it.

Watch this sugar workshop that I did!

I did a whole workshop around Sugar because it’s such a hot topic that I get questions about all the time. This would be an awesome time to kick back and watch the workshop to help you prep for these next few weeks! And, it’s free, baby!

Here is acces to my {free} Sugar Workshop. Enjoy!

ADD IN more sweetness and relaxation to your life right now.

Like I mentioned, we usually gravitate toward sugar when we are feeling stressed and tired. The holidays can make us feel like that, without us even realizing it!

If you feel like your craving for sugar is coming LESS from a diet / binge reaction (if it is, see the tips above!) and MORE from an emotional eating place, then it’s time to take a step back and compassionately ask yourself:

What is the sugar doing for me in this moment? What is the positive intention behind WHY I am turning to sugar?

When I ask myself this, I often realize that I am just exhausted and depleted, so the sugar is providing me with a “jolt” of sorts.

Or, I find that I am more stressed than I realized, so the sugar is providing me with a form of relaxation or joy, a way to “come down” from all the stress and pressure I feel, or an escape from dealing with various causes of that stress.

Once you’ve identified what the sugar is doing for you, you can then ask yourself:

What do I really need? How can I take care of these emotions (ie. the stress, exhaustion) in a more loving way?

Usually we need other forms of sweetness, relaxation, or joy to be added in. Some ideas:

  • Is there anything that’s causing you extra stress that you can take off your plate? Any commitments you can say no to? Any ways you can delegate or ask for help?
  • Can you “bookend” your days with moments of relaxation? Maybe 10 minutes of stretching in the morning with calming music, and 10 minutes of journaling or reading before bed.
  • Check-in on your social media consumption right now. We are being bombarded with sales, deals, holiday promotions, and just SO much social media activity. Do you need a break? Is this exhausting you (I know it is SO exhausting for me sometimes!)? This might be a good time for you to limit how much time you spend scrolling on your phone to give you more time to just BE with yourself and in your own life.
  • What’s one form of sweetness you can add into your life? Writing holiday cards to your friends, sending someone you love flowers, cuddling with your best friend or significant other, watching a comedy show and letting yourself just laugh….
Go for more wholesome forms of “sweets”

I always like to strike that balance between giving my body what she needs to feel good but also never feeling deprived. As I’ve noticed myself craving more “sugar”, I have also kept in mind the knowledge I have about how my body reacts to sugar. My body is really sensitive to sugar (my energy crashes, I feel sluggish, I get brain fog, etc.), so I have been finding ways to satisfying my cravings without harming my body (too much! Because this is not a perfect science…).

Some ideas for upgraded forms of “sweets”:

  • Quality chocolate bars (I always have chocolate on hand, always!)
  • I have been loving organic dried mango lately
  • Baking healthy cookies to have around (here’s an amazing recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies that I posted in 2012… what!?… talk about digging into the archives!)
  • I’ve been making hot chocolate tonics in my Vitamix (basically combine hot water, 2 T of cacao powder, 1 T coconut butter, a few drops of liquid stevia… blend!)
And if you do go overboard…FORGIVE, and be gentle, gentle, gentle…

Lastly, there will probably be times when you do go overboard on sugar. That is OKAY! It really is. The key here is to approach the uncomfortable feelings associated with going overboard with LOVE instead of shame.

Think about if you had the stomach bug or if you stubbed your toe. You would probably be gentle with yourself and take CARE of yourself, from a place of wanting to help yourself feel better.

It’s the same with when we feel uncomfortable (physically and mentally) after going overboard with food, or specifically, sugar. Acknowledge the discomfort and rather than make it worse by throwing in the towel and continuing to go overboard, you can say to yourself “okay, I know I went overboard and feel uncomfortable right now, what loving things can I do for myself to slowly start to feel better now?” This takes you to a place of love and compassion vs. beating yourself up.

Maybe it would feel good to drink more water the next day, or go for a slow walk, or eat a nutritious breakfast to recharge and help out your body. Let a LOVING approach guide your actions…

At the end of the day, for most of us, our relationship with sugar is complicated. If you do feel like you have a restrict / binge relationship with it, I highly highly recommend doing whatever you can in 2018 to normalize sugar and take it off of a pedestal so you can feel sane, calm, and “normal” around it. Once you’ve done that, sugar becomes so much easier. You’ll still have these moments when you turn to it for emotional reasons or out of habit, but it feels much easier to manage and understand.

Did this help you? I would love to know… let me know in the comments below!

Lots of love,

Jamie

 

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  1. Incredibly helpful! Thank you very much for sharing this. Your website is such a wonderful resource for me on this journey.

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