My Sugar Addiction Part 1: Can I Cure It with Hypnotherapy?

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Hypnotized Sugar Skull

My name is Sarah, and I have a Sugar Addiction. :-(

And just to be clear, I'm not talking about sugar in fruit or grains. I'm talking about white, processed, refined sugar. I'm talking cookies, cake, frosting, ice cream, Twix, Snickers, Payday (omg, I looooove Payday), pralines, cinnamon rolls, donuts, ganache...wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Sorry.

An article in the New York Times popped up on my Facebook feed recently: "Sugar Season. It's Everywhere and Addictive." Reading it, I felt a growing sense of alarm. I've always had a love for dessert. Maybe even a love bordering on obsession. And I've definitely tried to stop eating it many times, but I've always fallen off the wagon. I didn't take it that seriously until I read this article. There's a huge and growing body of evidence that proves that not only is sugar as addictive as destructive drugs like cocaine and nicotine, but possibly even more so. Sugar's refinement process is similar to cocaine and freaking HEROIN. Sugar causes diseases, weight gain, opioid effects, and dependence. Lab rats in a study even choose it over cocaine.

So, I did a little more research.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says that these are 7 signs that you may have a drug addiction. Let's see if I really have a sugar addiction...

  1. Tolerance: Oh yeah. I know people who feel sick after a couple bites of a rich cookie. I could go all day long on Cadbury Creme Eggs, people. Allllllllllllll day.
  2. Withdrawal: I can't say honestly that I ever got the shakes or anything because I couldn't have sugar. But psychologically, when I try and go cold turkey on dessert, I'm pretty miserable.Like, have you ever seen "The Pianist"? Remember that part at the end when Arian Brody has that beard? Like that.
  3. Loss of Control: Yep. Yes. I'll say, "Ok self, we're just having one bite of this delicious homemade caramel corn the hosts of this housewarming party made. Just to be polite, and then no more." Twenty minutes later the tin is gone and I'm demanding that the nice neighbors we've only just met refill it IMMEDIATELY or I will CUT THEM.
  4. Desire to Stop, But Can’t: Well, obvs. If I could quit eating sugar, I would be healthier, fitter, happier, and a better role model for my kids. I could stop having so many cavities and save money and lose fat. I would have better breath and prettier skin and deeper sleep. And here I sit. 2:23 pm and already contemplating what sugary leftover Christmas crap I hid from the kids so I could snarf it up while watching Netflix after they go to bed.
  5. Neglecting Other Activities: Sometimes, I'll eat up a bunch of sugar and then feel so gross I won't cook properly for myself. Or, I'll skip a workout for the same reason. Sometimes I eat so much dessert that I can only lie quietly on my side and look at the wall so as not to disturb the hideous gastronomic Mt. Vesuvius-type eruption of stomach acid boiling away in my mid-section.
  6. Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus: Like giving my husband a 20 minute speech on how I'm never going to eat sugar again and then scheming for an hour, waiting for my him to go to the bathroom so I can run real quick to the fridge and chug directly from the maple syrup bottle and be back on the couch before he comes out?
  7. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: See above. Sigh.

Traditional avenues of behavioral change have already failed me. It's time to bring in the big guns. Yep, I'm talking about hypnotizing myself.

Self-hypnotisim is something that has intrigued me for a long time. I work in the fitness industry and I can't tell you how many times I talk people who want to make big life changes but can't. The stories are always the same. It's about trying to force yourself to do something unpleasant over and over again until a habit forms. But most people can't stick to it because it SUX. I feel the same way about sugar. But what if the change wasn't so painful? What if you could ease yourself into change through some kind of trance?

I felt like it was at least worth the price of a kindle book to find out. So, basing my choice on a recommendation from a proper hypnotherapist, I bought "Guide to TRANCE-formation" by Richard Bandler. He seems to have an affinity for weird shiny leather vests. But I got to quit this sugar, so by golly I'm gonna read his book anyway!

Stay tuned for My Sugar Addiction Part 2: Can I Cure It with Hypnotherapy? Does it work? Can I do it? Will you find me on Skid Row clutching a box of week old birthday cake and quietly sobbing? Let's find out.

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Image: Alex Barth

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