If you're trying to give up sugar but you're finding it too difficult, you're not alone. Studies have revealed that sugar can be much more addicting than substances like caffeine and cocaine. It's no wonder we can't quit. We're wired to love the sweet stuff!
February is National Chocolate Month. And on Friday we'll celebrate a holiday that revolves around sweet stuff. But this can be difficult for those who are trying to quit sugar. So think about that before dishing out the candy. Some people find it too hard to resist, no matter how hard they try to do so.
Recently a national team of scientists has discovered a circuit in our brains associated with overeating, addiction, and impulse control. This circuit determines whether or not you have impulse control around sweets. Those with a so-called "sweet tooth" generally do not. Not every brain is wired the same. That's why some people find it rather easy to forego sugary treats and others find it more difficult. I'm the latter. I've tried many times to give up sweets, only to find that my impulse control is compromised. It's not my fault! It's the way my brain is wired. Perhaps you're in the same boat. So don't be so hard on yourself the next time you try to give up sweets, but find that you can't.
Scientists are working out a way to map the link between the circuit for impulse control and the brain's reward system. This study could potentially lead to a way to help people who are dealing with issues of impulse control, whether it's related to sugar addiction or something else.
My short-term advice for now is to hint to your "sweetheart" (why do we even use this term?) that you don't want sweets for Valentine's Day. There's an entire section of the grocery store dedicated to Valentine's Day candy. Avoid it if you can. And if you can't avoid it, don't go to the grocery store while hungry. Shopping hungry makes it so much more difficult to resist Valentine's Day treats. I know this from experience.
One of the biggest anxieties I see people face is dealing with the candy that their children bring home from school on Valentine's Day. Contact your child's teacher and ask them if there can be a toy or card exchange instead, but to limit or eliminate candy in the classroom. Some schools ban candy altogether. This is helpful, as it allows children to realize that it's not a reward. However, a lot of schools don't do this. And those treats end up coming home.
Retrain your brain to not view sweets as a reward. I know this is easier said than done as I have actually tried this before. I'm working really hard to retrain my brain and control my impulses around sweets. It's not easy for some. So seek out support from an accountability parter if you need to do so. In fact, I'd love to be your accountability partner if you need one. You can also sign up for one of the upcoming RESTART classes that I'll be teaching. That way you'll have a group of people quitting sugar along side you. Quitting something is often easier with a group than going at it alone. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you out.