When you Google the term ‘Sugar Free’ you’ll find over 13 million responses. There are pages and pages of sugar free diets, substitutes, recipes, chefs and desserts. There are umpteen sugarless products for diabetics, chocolate, beverages and more.
However, when scrolling through the results to find something… anything to help manage sugar withdrawals, or guidance to stop cravings, or to retrain your taste buds and rewire your brain to make being sugar free easier to handle, there was a big fat unsweetened zero. I gave up searching after page 12.
As a previous sugar addict, I know how hard sugar was to give up; I see it everyday with clients who reach out after failing miserably. They give in to cravings just to stop the headaches or anxiety, the highs and lows that many people experience when they quit.
So how do you manage sweet cravings without severe withdrawals and cave ins naturally? Here are my 3 top tips:
Substituting actual sugar with a non-sugar replacement doesn’t solve the longer-term challenge. Our beautiful brains are a chemical hungry maze. The more sweet things we drink and eat, the more our brains remind us to seek more sweet. Whether it’s sugar or a sugar substitute, the brain doesn’t know the difference. Swapping sugar for a substitute doesn’t stop us wanting more sweet treats. It just means we ingest more chemicals on our quest to be healthier.
The key to becoming sugar free is not in the substitution of sugar, it is in re-training our brain and taste buds to stop triggering us to want it. Wouldn’t it be easier to say goodbye to sugar if we didn’t actually crave something sweet?
To do this we need to interrupt the triggers that cause the cravings in the first place. We need simple strategies to retrain our brain to disconnect the attachment. For example, if you learned to respond to emotional impulses by reaching for something sweet, then it’s important to ‘comfort yourself’ in more healthy ways as you become sugar free.
When sweet cravings dance their merry way across your brain and taste buds, take a deep breath and follow this simple strategy.
Slowly roll your eyes one way
Roll them back the other way
Blink 3 times and take another deep breathe in.
The intensity of the urge will reduce. If the intensity is still above a 3 on a scale of 1-10, repeat the same sequence until the craving drops below a 3.
Some key information to remember about ‘sweet treats’ is that early in life we learned that emotional needs were satisfied with food. More often than not it was something sweet (honey on the dummy or pacifier or a cookie and a cuddle).
Emotional needs will never be met or satisfied by food which includes sugar and it is this realisation that will help those cravings.
We can see that the solution to a sweet craving is to provide an emotional response i.e. give yourself an inner hug, comfort yourself as you say “I am the kind of person who loves my body back to health”
Then roll your eyes one way, back the other way and blink three times. Take in a deep breath… repeat until the craving is below a 3.
Choose Inspired Action Language rather than ‘Have to’s.
If you say “I choose to be sugar free” instead of “I have to be sugar free”, your brain will not trigger the resistance that often occurs when we don’t like being told what to do. We’re programmed from a young age to dislike being told we have to do something.
So whenever you are offered something sugary, remember to use inspired language such as “I choose to…”, I get to…” or I’m free to… “
Please note: Your taste buds will adapt faster than you think, so use my Eye Rolls consistently for the first 2-3 days, drink lots of water to avoid the sugar withdrawal headaches and reach out if you need assistance.
Sometimes it is good to know that the most simple steps can be implemented especially now in the field of neuroscience which is providing some incredible brain training science to help people understand the pathways and patterns of the brain. When these practices are implemented we see incredible results fast for people switching off sugar cravings! Sugar Free September doesn’t need to be be torture month!
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Or the head of a large foundation backed by some of the world’s most prestigious sponsors. I did my due diligence and researched my interviewee. The more I read, well let’s just say the more overwhelmed I began to feel as the accomplishments and accolades, not to mention the adoration from others- built up brick by brick like a mighty wall of quivering anticipation and nerves. This is one chic that may have a little more than a handful of accomplishments under her surgical belt.
What happened next left me smiling, uplifted and holy toledo did it make me Ponder.
Ponderers I would love you to meet Professor Fiona Wood. Fiona is the incredibly impressive Australian that I think is better than Vegemite, as impressive as Bradman and has won the hearts of many. What this woman has done for medicine in Australia, the world and burns patients will leave you in awe.
Some of you may have heard of the Fiona Wood Foundation. The Foundation is a not-for-profit organization responsible for some of the most impressive pioneering in burns, wound care management programs in the world. One of Fiona’s mentors Harold McComb was the original name-bearer of the Foundation- then known as the McComb Foundation in 1999 with scientist Marie Stoner. It was renamed the Fiona Wood Foundation in 2012 in recognition of her work in the field of burns medicine.
One of her most well-known joint achievements was the creation of “spray-on skin” and her involvement in saving the lives of many after the tragic 2002 Bali Bombings.
The mother of six and avid cyclist has so many dimensions, and within moments of chatting, her warmth and infectious positivity and wit were bouncing in a contagious frequency. My nerves and sense of intimidation evaporated as quick as water on a hot Perth pavement. I instantly liked her and was grateful for her time. There was no sense of imposition, but rather a willingness to share and be human together.
K: Fiona you are no doubt an extremely busy lady! Where on earth do you get all of that energy?
FW: Good sleep, eating well, fitness and nutrition are everything to being able to keep everything in balance. It can be pretty rigorous work being on call so health is so important. Daily exercise in the early morning makes you feel great. I enjoy cycling and pilates, swimming not- (she starts laughing heartily) – you know I look like a demented seal trying to catch waves. But I really do believe that fitness as well as choosing a positive attitude is absolutely everything to balance and being healthy and happy.
K: It is an exciting time in many fields of Medicine in regard to improvements and evolution of technology and long-term research coming to fruition, isn’t it? What are some of the aspects of this you are enjoying?
FW: In short- So much! Seriously though, there is a LOT of knowledge to be harnessed, the bit I like the most is the improved quality and outcome for patients, the quicker recovery times and people are surviving more serious injuries. The goal posts are moving. Mind you, for me personally they can’t move quick enough, as I don’t want to stop working until it is even better again. When I was younger I had this idea that you would go to work, solve the problem and everyone can all go home, and all would be well. This was not the case! Every single body as such is unique and technology needs to be integrated individually, burns are so very complex. The differences in scars is where data analysis has a future, and there is a new wave of medical ideas and research that is working. Burn injury and inflammation affects the whole body, so it is so very important that we continue to reach for complete scar recovery. The quality of a scar being worth survival is the goal.
K: I can hear the passion for what you do in your voice, it’s so infectious! This can’t all be nature, there must be some nurture in there. Many people I interview with that kind of insistent passion for doing hard work and persistence for a goal are influenced in some way by another person or mentor. Who was yours?
FW: My parents were incredibly hard working. We were brought up to work and the joy of work for work’s sake, to be useful and to find joy in work, to get that great feeling from a job well done and that has really been a big influence. My parents were passionate about hard work along with the idea that education provides freedom, that it creates choices. They really pushed that. When I started working in the field one of my mentors was Harold McCarb, an incredibly dedicated surgeon. So I have definitely had my influencers.
K: I love hearing you say this! We have always told our three children that even though sometimes education feels like a task, it is a gift and if you start to enjoy learning as a tool and a source of growth it provides opportunity and flexibility as an adult. You never stop learning! The ability to have choices means you are giving yourself your very best opportunity to have fulfilling experiences in life. It looks like we are both pro-work and education. I have been accused of being a high achiever, and sometimes it worries me that this sense of urgency has rubbed off on my kids. Do you find the same thing with your brood?
FW: I don’t know that this is a negative, to be honest! I had 6 children in 8 years and they are all older now, and every one of them is a high achiever and they all love sport, even more than me. They are happy. One of my sons is a multi-athlete, and they all strive to be better. But I don’t think this is a negative thing. It ‘s nice to make great choices and feel positive and joyful in what you do; it is important to feel a sense of purpose. Setting goals and achieving them is great!
K: What would you tell your 25 year old self if you were talking to her now?
FW: Get up in the morning and enjoy what you do, you will do well and better.
K: What are you looking forward to?
FW: I look forward to the beach in the morning, and the kids all over for dinner in the evening. I am looking forward to the results coming through for experiments we have done, it’s a 7 year piece of work that has just been recognised after doing work in Canada, and it’s a wonderful feeling when your team’s work is validated. You just want to do your best surgery, and best work and it’s transforming. I really look forward to that.
K: Finally Fiona- what do you enjoy reading?
FW: I really enjoy science fiction especially futuristic style!
Fiona’s entire focus while we talking was her passion for her patient’s comfort and quality of life, the recovery and the repair. I was aware that she was on a time limit, yet not once did she impose it and I felt we could have spoken for hours. Her positivity was bubbly and effervescent, she really is an extraordinary person extraordinarily serving the world. I love it when you chat to someone and walk away feeling like your heart is full and running over with a kind of bubbling presence.
Fiona said “You can choose every day to actually choose your view on things” I think this is worth such a ponder. Don’t you?
You may have heard of the Mind Body Connection, this unique turn of phrase used to describe some mystical or fad wellness existence that has us scratching our heads and wondering what, how, when and who? We have asked Andrea Lane, an accredited Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapy practitioner and author who specialises in transforming lives for emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. Who better than give us the run down on what on earth this jargon is and does it really help?
So what is it and is there science behind it? How can it benefit you on a daily basis and how on EARTH do we obtain it?
Our thoughts and feelings play an important part in influencing our physical health. Thoughts impacting health is not just a theory thought up over turmeric lattes and mandala classes. It is science. How so? Well, when we have a particular thought or feeling it affects our nervous system by using neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are a naturally occurring group of compounds in our body which act as neurotransmitters or messengers as a simpler term. They carry messages back and forth between the mind and the body. They are involved in a wide range of brain functions, including analgesia, reward, food intake, metabolism, reproduction, social behaviors, learning and memory. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropeptide)
Neuropeptides are constantly changing their configuration that reflect the changes in our emotional state. (Anastasia Christidou) Therefore when our emotional and mental state is out of balance, these neuropeptides may create physical symptoms that appear in the body.
The interesting thing is that when each thought is associated with a particular emotion, and if that emotion builds prevalence it will build up more of these neuropeptides. Imagine it gets stronger each time it is triggered. A meta-analysis of about a hundred smaller studies confirms that when this emotion build up is experienced long term there arises the risk of a whole range of diseases. Some of these can include heart disease, headaches, asthma, arthritis, skin disorders, etc. When that emotion is triggered, a peptide is released within the physical body.
Our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience as our organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands all have peptide receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. An amazing point of reference is Human Givens by Joe Griffin, Ivan Tyrell where unexpressed emotions are examined and with evidence to show that they are literally lodged in the body.
In recent times our perception of the body has changed from what appears to be a vehicle for the mind to live in, to a process that is in constant flow of neuro information and energy. The fifty trillion cells in the body are constantly communicating with each other as they carry out countless of functions to keep you alive. Studies have also shown that nothing holds more power over the body than the mind. Expanding our self-awareness is to harness the unlimited power of the mind. When our self-awareness is narrowed such as when one is feeling stuck in trauma, anxiety, or depression it creates a stress state, the information flow throughout the mind and body is impacted.
Being stuck in toxic emotions can create a negative feedback cycle between the mind and body. As a result to cope we often take on non- nurturing habits such as over eating, poor food choices, denying ourselves exercise, drinking, nail biting, gambling, drug use, to help us cope which in turns creates more internalized pressure and stress.
Becoming aware, the path to happiness and wellness
As Deepak Chopra states if we expand our awareness of ourselves and the world with more compassion and understanding our energy is free to flow which creates more energy, vitality, being open to new possibilities and a new reality. I believe this translates locally within our own body, then those around us, then so on, expanding to the greater community. Being conscious of our mind and our body helps to establish a firm and evolving connection- and ultimately wellness and happiness. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices are well-known tools that allows for the expansion of this conscious awareness.
Ultimately if you deal with the emotion or feeling and the thoughts will change naturally.
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