I see it more and more often: people who know they eat too much sugar but just don”™t want to quit.

Here are 3 reasons people seem afraid to banish desserts or other sugary foods from their diets. Please inform your clients and class participants.

Fear #1: Not having a “sugar crutch” when you need it
When the going gets tough, the stressed grab cookies. If you haven”™t figured out a different — and more healthful — stress management strategy, sugar may seem like the only way you can relieve the stress you”™re facing.

What To Do Instead
Several options come to mind for stress relief. Here”™s a simple one.

Breathe. Most people recommend slow, deep breathing, which can be very helpful. But from my own experience, as well as from accounts by others, I know that deep breathing won”™t always work. In fact, when we”™re super-stressed, it can be difficult to take slow, deep breaths.

I suggest short, sharp exhalations. Breathe out forcefully enough to make noise — similar to the sound a tennis player might make when hitting a serve. (If you”™re in a location where you can”™t make noise, just breathe out quickly and with power.)

Do a set of 3 sharp exhalations. Stop for a moment and feel the tingling in your body. Do another set of 3. Stop again and feel your body. Do a third set of 3.

By the time you”™ve done that, there should be lots of tingling and a significant change in the way you feel. It should then be possible to slow down your breathing to a deeper, more relaxed rate. If you want to follow with a short meditation, it will work better once you”™ve brought your breathing under control.

Fear #2: Going a little nuts without sugar
Some people are quite aware of what happens to them when they don”™t eat their usual sugary treats. That”™s what they worry about when someone suggests that they get rid of sugar in their diets.

You may have experienced some of these withdrawal symptoms. They can take different, yet predictable, forms. You might feel edgy and restless. You might be irritable, impatient, or unable to concentrate. You may have serious cravings for the foods you”™re trying to eliminate. You might get headaches. You might start thinking about sugary foods — and nothing but them. You might keep walking back and forth to the break room or the kitchen.

What To Do Instead
Short-term relief can be made simple with a teaspoon of liquid B-complex (the entire B-complex, not just one or two B vitamins). Check with your doctor before trying this to be sure it”™s okay for you to have these water-soluble vitamins.

B-complex is highly effective. It will eliminate cravings and other withdrawal symptoms within minutes and typically prevent their return for up to 24 hours.

The vitamins are water-soluble, so you”™ll excrete any excess in urine. This is a short-term strategy only. Long-term craving elimination may require nutrition changes.

Fear #3: Never being able to enjoy eating again
It”™s rough to give up foods we love. It can seem as if nothing will ever take their place. And the foods we use to handle stress, to celebrate, or for comfort and relaxation usually change brain chemistry in a big way.

Anything that changes brain chem can promote a strong reaction when we think about getting rid of it. Let”™s call that reaction “emotional attachment.” Anyone who knows the power those foods can have over them — especially at certain times — is aware that the attachment can be quite emotional.

A client once stomped her food and said (more accurately, whined), “Joan, do you ever enjoy eating?!”

My answer to her applies to anyone else: “Of course!”

What To Do Instead
Eat healthful fats. Or choose savory seasonings. Or use more salt for a while. If you”™re concerned about hypertension, be aware that sugar (and the insulin it triggers) can raise blood pressure even more than salt. And you don”™t have to use extra salt forever, just till you get past sugar”™s grip.

We don”™t need sugar to enjoy eating. Many, many non-sugary foods taste absolutely wonderful. Great news: As you get away from sugar, foods you didn”™t like before may actually taste good!

Vegetables are a perfect example. Every client of mine who hated vegetables was hooked on sugar big-time. And every one of them changed his/her opinion after ditching sugar.

Getting past withdrawal, cravings, and unhealthful “stress junk” is the freedom I wish for your participants. If they haven”™t quit sugar because they don”™t think they can — or fear they”™ll fail — let them know it”™s easy, it really works, and they can do it. And help is available. They”™ll feel great, and great about themselves for quitting.

Joan Kent

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