Are You in Sugar Addict Shame? This Blog Post Is Your First Step to Liberation

Free Yourself from the Shame of Overeating to Start a Healthy Relationship with Food.

Shame cannot survive being spoken. Brené Brown

On the topic of sugar addiction, I once heard a recovering drug addict joke that no one has ever woken up in a brothel with Kit Kat wrappers spread around. His point: different addictions have different severity.

That may be true, but I also think that there is something that all addictions have in common: how they make us feel. At least that’s my experience having struggled with a few. Regardless of substance, my addictive behavior has left me with indescribable shame, guilt, and remorse.

Next week, I’m celebrating ten years with no alcohol. It’s pretty insane, bearing in mind that I towards the end of my drinking vowed that I’d rather die than quit. How sick I was!

The past decade has been a whirlwind of trying to find a replacement for the alcohol, which often has turned out to be another addiction and then trying to replace the new dependence with something healthy. The main challenge: quitting sugar.

In a way, it was easier for me to give up drinking than sugar. The last time I drank, I was kicked out from a nightclub for inappropriate conduct (that I can’t even remember the details of since I had a blackout).

Waking up the morning after that type of adventure – which was just one out of many embarrassing and sometimes dangerous drunken episodes – is a different kind of wakeup call compared with the morning after a sugar overdose. Sure, it’s not nice to have diarrhea and food coma, but you probably don’t have to prepare an apology speech for your boss or worry about photo evidence.

Another challenge with food addiction is that we need to eat to survive. Quitting alcohol was relatively easy because I didn’t have to drink vodka. I could just have a glass of water at social events, and no one would even notice the difference. And I could avoid nightclubs altogether not to get triggered.

But the issue with food and sugar is that it’s everywhere. Commercials, in social media, magazines, shops… We’re bombarded with temptations, and it’s so accessible as well. Just a click in an app, and we can have pretty much anything that we want outside of the door in a matter of minutes.

And once we give in to the temptation, we’re hooked: sugar releases the same “feel-good” hormones as when taking drugs. Research proves that sugar can be even more addictive than cocaine!

So perhaps it’s not strange that my chocolate binge eating made me feel like a junkie. I lied to my family to sneak off to buy junk food (which I smashed on the way back to the house so that they wouldn’t notice). At the office, I ransacked the cafeteria and hid in some corner to eat as quickly as possible. I even locked myself up in bathrooms to get my sugar fix out of sight. Because I knew that the way I acted was sick, so I wanted to keep it a secret. And with the secrecy came the shame.

Before jumping into how to achieve liberation from the shame of sugar addiction, I want to give you a glimpse of what’s possible on the other side. Because if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing that sugar is causing pain for you. And if you’re anything like I was, you’re probably also scared of giving it up. (The insanity of addiction!)

But trust me, going sugar-free can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. And if it’s not, you can always go back to eating sugar again. Just try it as an experiment and see what will happen!

My Top Benefits From Giving Up Sugar:

1. Better skin. When my sugar binges were at the worst, I had terrible acne. It quickly cleared up when I went sugar-free, and I now love my skin.

2. Better sleep and mood. Before quitting sugar and carbs, I had insomnia and a bipolar diagnosis due to my mood swings and depressions. Going sugar-free when starting a keto diet a few years ago gave me great sleep and levelled out my mood so much that my doctor realized that the bipolar diagnosis was incorrect. I got off all medications and today, I’m happy and healthy.

3. Better desserts. Yes, that’s right! I thought anything without sugar would taste like cardboard, but not at all. Healthy, sugar-free desserts can even be more enjoyable – especially since they don’t come with sugar coma side effects. My favorite in Dubai is CoYo’s chocolate ice cream from Organic Foods and Cafe. If you like baking, check out The Keto Diet cookbook for tasty dessert recipes.

And now, let’s look at how to deal with the shame. Because without doing that, there is a risk that it all becomes a spiral of shame followed by comfort eating followed by shame and more eating…

How to Become Free of Sugar Addiction Shame:

1. Talk to someone. We’re only as sick as our secrets! Nothing takes a burden off my shoulders as calling a friend and sharing my feelings. It always puts things in perspective – usually, others don’t judge us as harsh as we do.

2. Read an inspiring biography. It’s easy to think that everyone else is “perfect” when scrolling through Instagram, but who hasn’t struggled? My favorite biographies of people who have dealt with the shame of addiction are Dry (super funny), Wishful Drinking, and Scar Tissue.

3. Learn how to deal with shame. There is a whole science behind shame and learning how it works can help us deal with it. Listen to shame researcher and guru Brené Brown’s TEDx talk or conversation with Oprah.

I’m so grateful to be sugar-free today. I enjoy a keto diet, which relieves me from cravings. It’s a healthy and delicious way of eating, and the best part: I don’t need to hide in weird places anymore.

Alexia Bjarkan

Alexia Bjarkan

Keto Coach at The Benefactory.

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