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I’ve written and talked about overcoming sugar addiction a number of times before. But my guest in this podcast episode has new valuable insights to offer because she knows sugar addiction quite intimately. Karen Thomson was a sugar addict who had to check into rehab to overcome her addiction.
When she was about 4 years old, a family member died and she was traumatized. Since then, she started turning to food whenever she needed her emotional needs met. She started to use sugar and refined carbs as an external fix to the internal trauma that she was trying to deal with.
She struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating. Hitting rock bottom at the age of 24, she checked into a rehab center where she stayed in treatment for 18 months. At that time, her weight was so low that she lost her menstrual cycle. She was severely malnourished.
Fast forward to today, Karen is a happy married woman with children. She now runs a recovery center and has written a book called “Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction.” She’s now making a positive difference in the lives of sugar addicts. She says that while her life is different from what it was, she’s still a work in progress.
Overcoming Sugar Addiction: Interview Highlights
The difference between sugar craving and sugar addiction: Addiction is the compulsive use of a substance or behavior despite the negative consequences on our health, relationships, and our lives in general. Thus, a sugar craving becomes an addiction when you cannot stop eating sugar despite the negative impact it’s having on your health. (You can learn more about the difference between sugar cravings and sugar addiction in my interview with Dr. Sam Shay.)
How she overcame sugar addiction: She learned to acknowledge her feelings, identify them, and ask herself what she could do instead of using food to meet her emotional needs.
What her therapist taught her to deal with her feelings of not being good enough: Go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and say this mantra, “My name is Karen. I’m a good person. I don’t need to please others. God, teach me to love myself.” She had to say the mantra five times, as many times a day as needed.
The hard part about overcoming sugar addiction: Stepping out of your comfort zone, taking steps to heal your old wounds, and choosing life. You need to know how good it feels when you’re free of the addiction, but you also have to acknowledge the damage that your addiction has caused. It’s normal to find it difficult because it’s a growth process. It takes time, practice, and consistency.
On finding solutions to problems: There is no external solution to an internal problem. We look for happiness elsewhere — the perfect relationship, the perfect job, more money, etc. We forget that everything we need is already inside us. It only takes a little bit of dedication and practice to access this wealth which lies within.
Karen’s Solution for Overcoming Sugar Addiction
Karen and I both agree that it’s very challenging to stay away from sugar because it’s everywhere. However, it’s just a matter of putting little things in place. Here are three things that helped her in overcoming sugar addiction:
- Plan and prep your meals the day before. That way, you wouldn’t be left hanging or hungry.
- Make time to meet your emotional needs. Meditating, keeping a gratitude journal, and setting your intention for the day are simple ways of finding inner peace and joy. When you feel stressed, be sure to do a breathing exercise. (I teach a breathing exercise in my free Crave Cure guide.)
- Find a community or a support group of like-minded individuals. These people can help you when you can’t help yourself. They also are a source of encouragement and inspiration.
Last episode, I talked with Megan Blacksmith from Zesty Ginger on how to detox the right way. It’s an episode that I highly recommend. You can listen to it here.
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Links mentioned in this episode:
Karen’s 28 day program: https://thesugarfreerevolution.com/challenge/
The Crave Cure: https://stephaniedodier.com/cravecure
Support me by leaving a review about this episode: http://bit.ly/2gilTsw
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