Whenever I work with a new client who needs to get off the sugar roller coaster, I see some familiar patterns as the client struggles with her or his sugar addiction.

The pattern may include lapses, relapses, frustration, embarrassment, giving up, moving between compliant and noncompliant behaviors, getting past all of these, and finally moving forward decisively.

As the process goes on, mistakes may occur that could be labeled “predictable” because they’re things many clients have done before and conquered. Best of all, they can be modified so the end result is getting off sugar for good.

In this post is a list of mistakes that are common in trying to quit sugar. I made all of them and probably a bunch more. I discovered what I had been doing wrong mentally and emotionally that had kept me from becoming a successful quitter.

My Addiction Created This Sugar Quitting Mindset

I’m a good person to talk to about sugar addiction. I have a PhD in psychoactive nutrition (how foods affect brain chemistry), with a specialty in sugar addiction. Before that, I got a master’s degree in exercise physiology. I’m also certified by ACE (American Council on Exercise) as a Health Consultant.

I wrote a dissertation on using psychoactive nutrition in the treatment of women with binge-eating disorder. In it, to the very best of my knowledge, I was the first person to outline the neurochemical pathways of sugar addiction, and a neurochemical and hormonal explanation for the sugar/fat seesaw.

But there may be a more compelling reason to listen to me about sugar addiction. I’m arguably the world’s foremost recovered sugar addict.

I quit sugar more times than I can count. I tell this to all my clients because it’s helpful for sugar addicts when they know I’m not just preaching from an academic perspective.

In the process of making every mistake in the book — and inventing a few of my own — I discovered a formula that works.

Mindset Mistakes That Mess Up Quitting Sugar

Let’s look at the mistakes that kept me stuck for quite some time — and might be keeping some of your students stuck, as well.

Mistake 1: Expecting quitting to be easy

You’ll probably have good days and bad, easy moments and difficult ones. If you expect quitting to be easy, you might be unprepared for the bad times.

If you expect instead that it will take effort to quit, you’ll be ready to deal with whatever happens.

It’s not that quitting sugar won’t bother you at all, but you’ll be less reactive. Not only to external factors — like tempting foods around you — but also to internal factors, like sugar cravings.

Eventually, you’ll be non-reactive to sugary foods in general, whether you see them, smell them, or even taste a little. It’s definitely worth getting to that point!

As for cravings, liquid B-complex is the most effective short-term solution, as explained in a previous post.

Mistake 2: Not having a solid system

It’s easy to find questionable “wisdom” on websites, in magazines, in books, on podcasts. But it’s not a good idea to cobble your plan from a mishmash of unrelated bits of advice.

Instead, find one plan and stick with it.

Because I quit sugar before it was recognized as harmful, I had to piece my plan together from my research. Not every step was a clear one forward, and there was backsliding. My continued research eventually led to a solid system.

Part of that system is to focus on your sugar addiction first until you succeed in quitting and feel ready to move on to the next issue. This isn’t the time to focus on weight loss, become a vegan, go raw, or schedule your life makeover. Conquering sugar addiction gets top billing now.

Mistake 3: Looking for support … in all the wrong places

It’s only natural to want support. But telling the wrong people about your decision to quit sugar could lead to sabotage that undoes your efforts!

As detailed in a previous post, telling everyone at the dinner table that you’re turning down dessert because you’re addicted to sugar might trigger this:

“Have it; you can eat less tomorrow.”
“Just work out a little harder tomorrow.”
“A little bit can’t hurt.”
“But I made it myself.”

Not one of those comments shows an awareness of the issues a sugar addict faces. If they succeed in getting you to go against your plan, you’re the one who suffers and has to start over again.

Part 2 will cover the changes that are key in making quitting sugar possible — the Mindset Shifts I needed to stop resisting — and finally implement — so I could quit sugar successfully. Some of your students may need to know them, too.

Originally posted 2015-06-29 14:49:24.

Joan Kent

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