As the holiday season draws to a close, we might notice that somewhere along the way, we boarded a Sugar Train. We likely entered the train innocently enough; at the beginning it might have resembled a subway with frequent opportunities to disembark. But for some, it now feels more like a high-speed train traveling through an underwater tunnel with no exit stations in sight.
The cookies are calling. The chocolate stash has grown exponentially. Dessert happens…regularly; perhaps daily. Maybe we’ve won more sugar standoffs in the past, but now sugar clearly has taken the lead. We can no longer find it within ourselves to say no.
Before we go any further, I want to acknowledge something. Sugar acts upon the opiod receptors, or pleasure centers of our brains, just like recreational drugs such as cocaine do. Studies have shown it to be as addictive as cocaine, if not more so. Plus, if we’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, eating more sugar is especially apt to make us crave more sugar due to poor insulin handling. And, if you happen to have yeast overgrowth (dysbiosis) in your gut, the “bad bacteria” can cause you to madly crave sugar.
So, while it is possible to exit the Sugar Train rather than circling the globe until the end of your days, it is important to work with your biochemistry – and to be gentle with yourself -- to once again gain some control over sugar cravings. Here are some tips to get you started:
Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
Insomnia Increases Junk Food Cravings: Sleep deprivation blunts brain function linked to eating healthy foods.: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201308/insomnia-increases-junk-food-cravings
Evidence That Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake Causes Endogenous Opioid Dependence: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2002.66/full
Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit: http://journals.lww.com/co-clinicalnutrition/Abstract/2013/07000/Sugar_addiction___pushing_the_drug_sugar_analogy.11.aspx
Put your name at the top of the list with 7 ideas for nurturing, self-loving gifts to give yourself this season.
I recently returned from traveling, and on each of the 12 flights I took I heard the safety briefing during which you’re told to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. Which got me thinking...how many times in our lives do we take care of everyone else’s “oxygen masks” before securing our own? And although I completely honor this time of giving, are we including ourselves on the list of people to give a gift to?
My guess is that for many of us, our name does not appear on our gift list. I’d like to suggest that you include yourself among those you give to this season. If we tend to give and do a lot for others (especially as women), we run the risk of leaving ourselves depleted, and often our health suffers.
I work with many people who after many years and declining health, decide that it is now the year to focus on caring for themselves. I am always inspired by their conviction. But if you haven’t already, I encourage you to gather that conviction now, and make EVERY year the year you focus on caring for yourself. Don’t wait until you’re exhausted or in a health crisis to do so.
So this holiday season, make the first gift you give be to yourself. The irony is that it greatly increases our ability to give to others. We thrive when we give from full wells that are spilling over, not rationing our last bit of water to others before taking a drink ourselves.
We see many gift idea lists during the holiday season; here is a list of gifts for YOU.