I can remember being a young child in Germany. My mom was stationed there, and I went over to join her once she settled in. It was strange being a 9-year-old in a foreign country with absolutely no family or friends. My mother worked all the time and I stayed at home and ate snacks out of boredom. I had not one single friend. As I think back, I rarely spoke. There was no one to communicate with and I never left the house. The one or two times I did decide to venture out I encountered the harsh reality of the world. On two separate occasions I had grown men touch me inappropriately, so I stayed in my room, read my books, daydreamed and learned to cope in one of the unhealthiest ways…eating. I even avoided going to school. I missed so much school that I almost flunked out that year. My teachers never called and told my mother anything. I told you…I was alone and quite frankly, no one cared.
This was one of many childhood memories that I recalled as I worked through my addictive behaviors. It was during my earliest years that I developed my love for sugar. Little did I know that my only friend, sugar, was really the enemy and would stay by my side for far too long. As I continued to cope with the pain of loneliness the best way I knew how I grew to realize the destructive nature of my choices to soothe my loneliness and emptiness with sugar and refined carbohydrates. These are the years where I also missed out on learning to develop relationships. I am just learning in recent years just how intertwined my demons really are with one another. As I continue to “unlearn” my not-so-good behaviors, replacing them with healthier ones, I remain humble because I know just how easily I can go back down that dark road. I am forever humbled to addiction.
I often say it is not important to identify the “why” in a situation but to focus on seeking out healthier alternatives to your current behaviors. Because the “why” you may never know however as I continue my own personal development I can see how going back and dealing with unresolved emotions can help you heal. Also, in dealing with my sugar addiction, I learned how using food to cope became an addiction. Part of my cycle would be guilt after eating certain foods but learning about addiction helped me release the guilt and shame of my behaviors. I wanted to share with you a few discoveries I have made on how sugar affects your brain when you consume it.
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients your body needs to obtain energy (calories). The body needs carbohydrates, protein and fats to function properly, but carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. I won’t get too deeply into nutrition class, but I think it is important to know the basics. There are two classes of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Basically, the difference is in the chemical make-up. With simple carbs, they are absorbed by the body quickly as opposed to complex carbs which take longer to be broken down by the body because it has a more complex chemical structure. What I want to talk to you about today are simple carbs or carbohydrates, which occur naturally in milk, some fruits and vegetables. The problem doesn’t so much happen with naturally occurring sugar but the simple, processed and refined sugars that consume our American diet. Simple sugars found in refined carbohydrates such as soda, cookies and pastries, cereal, juice and other prepackaged foods. There is sugar in almost everything we consume. There have been tons of research done on how sugar affects the mind and body but when you asked the average person, they really don’t understand just how deadly the overconsumption is to your health. It is estimated that the average American consumes about 66 lbs. of sugar a year.
The overconsumption of sugar has been increasingly related to depression, learning disorders, memory problems and overeating. Laboratory tests done in humans suggest the consumption of sugars and sweets can trigger reward and craving states in your brain like addictive drugs. Dr. Mercola, author of Effortless Healing, states that “not only can sugar and sweets substitute for drugs like cocaine, in terms of how your brain reacts to them, they can be even more rewarding.” And you wonder why you can’t seem to stop eating sweets or refined carbohydrates? When you eat sugar, a chemical called dopamine is released that brings you pleasure and your brain remembers HEY tastes good! And when I eat it, with the release of dopamine, you “feel” good. A regular consumption of sugar triggers dopamine which causes a greater excitation of your brain’s reward center and over a period, your brain becomes tolerant to sugar and the need for sugar increases as one continues to consume it causing addictive behavior.
Sugar addiction is real, and it is sad to say it’s not even our fault. The “food like” items that are sold on our shelves for convenience and what we purchase when we go through fast food establishments are full of sugar and we all start consuming this type of diet at an early age. Our young minds and bodies have no warning or say so about the life-long battle that will ensue with one’s health and wellness brought upon us by the sad, sugar filled diet. My addictive behavior started early so if you have children change their diets NOW to one filled with healthy whole foods and the occasional treat. It’s not too late for anyone to change their diet to one filled with whole, healthy foods.
If you are anyone that you may know are struggling with weight loss and/or food addiction, please feel free to contact me. I am a health coach and I specialize in helping those who have these issues. Schedule a complimentary session with me today at https://my.timetrade.com/book/N954H or leave your contact information on the contact form.