The consequences a carb rich diet has on our health, may not have passed unseen to anyone these days.
This has led more people to, for the sake of their health, try to make conscious choices in their everyday life. For many this means removing as much sugar as one finds reasonable and are capable of.
However, this is not an easy job as the sugar is hidden in so much food today, which makes us sometimes think that we make better choices than we actually do.
Here we have the foundation for Leva Sockerfri, as a knowledge builder and help to make better choices in life based on the individual’s circumstances and needs.
Living sugar-free, in our opinion, is not about being a taliban and control freak (unless that’s what’s needed at first to cope with the first acute withdrawal symptoms). Instead, it is about knowledge to allow us make motivated choices in our daily life.
We all need to make different choices – all depending on our prerequisites. My solution may not look the same as your solution.
Living sugar-free is therefore an individual definition based on active conscious choices in everyday life – The choices that suits YOU and makes YOU able to go on living the life you want to.
Let’s take a few examples:
Since a child Charlotte has had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and has over the years learned that sugar and starch cause physical problems, with bloated stomach, cramps and gases as a result. She avoids what she knows are triggers to the extent possible and are fine with that. She can, if needed, choose “to take one for the team” and eat something she normally prefers to avoid, well aware of the consequences. This would typically be an evening of stomachcramps and nausea. The next day she will be OK again and can continue life as usual.
Since 2014, Frida has known that she has a sugar addiction that has been going on all her life. She has learned the hard way, that for her there are no good exceptions. Everything has consequence as the cravings arrives as certain as death and the taxman and affect her mentally with cravings and a kidnapped brain for several days. If she is not cautious and with high awareness it is then easy to fall into relapse and let an initial small “slip” quickly escalate into binge eating.
Different prerequisites for us create different conditions for what works and what doesn’t. The basis and basic conditions are the same for both of us – we cant tolerate sugar and starch, but have different consequences.
Do you strive for better choices in everyday life or do you want to live sugar-free because you see and feel that you have consequences?
First of all – are you aware of all your consequences?
If you are – How do you deal with your consequences today? Does it work?
For some, living sugar-free can mean getting rid of the added and abvious sugary food by reducing softdrinks, sweets, ice cream and cakes and that may be enough to feel that increased weight or other ailments are disappearing. Here, initiatives like the Swedish sockerchecken are fantastic for information and public health. If all of this rings a bell with you – Congratulations – You can call yourself a “normie”.
For others, more drastic measures are needed. This may, for example, be due to specific food hypersensitivity/intolerance, inflammation, diabetes or other health reasons. This can mean that you need to remove certain things from your diet. This can be way more and other things than the visible added sugar. Here you need to make your own puzzle, but a good start is always to try to minimize sugar and starch and see if that makes a difference.
Or it may be that different foods create uncontrollable cravings. A craving that causes you to continue to eat past the point where you would really like to stop. This often result in loss of control and weight gain that forces different dieting regimens. For some it may even go as far as anorexia, binge eating or bulimia. If you feel that you have lost control of your eating patterns you can start to think about whether you engage in harmful use by eating on emotions or if you actually have a reward-sensitive brain. More about how to distinguish between these can be read here.
How you can identify yourself in these above definitions also tells you how easy it will be for you to follow common dietary recommendations.
In Sweden, the Swedish Food Agency assumes that you will stay healthy if you follow the national guidelines and dietitians are working with these guidelines as well. Seeing a dietist therefore also means getting recommendations based on that, i.e lists of what to eat as part of a healthy diet. You may even be informed, that given moderation, you can also eat less nutritious things high on sugars and starch. This you can eat as luxury – quality of life (as if we should live to eat and not the other way around). This we are left to follow when we get home and meet the harsh reality of life – often without any other additional help than follow-up by measure at the scale. Very rarely anyone would ask if we are actually able to stick to the recommendations and what support we in that case would need to get there.
In media we can also read that the problem is not wrong recommendations – instead it is a problem of individuals, that we choose not to follow them.
If you are a “normie” as we described above, you may feel that you have no problem whatsoever with eating – That you can eat a piece of a chocolate bar and forget the rest in cupboard? If so – you may find that you don’t have any problem following the general dietary recommendations and feel that you live a good and healthy life based on it without any major physical or mental consequences.
For many, reality though looks a bit different. Some instead realize that they deal with emotions (good or bad) or unwanted situations by automatically diving into the pantry (or pill jar, exercise, job….). Others again realize that they have a biochemically reward-hungry brain (an addict brain). If so lists and recommendations help very little – you eat anyway.
Often we get the stamp that we have no character. That we would be healthier and lose weight, if only we did as the dietitian says. That there is nothing wrong with the dietitian’s advice – that the problem is that you “choose” not to follow them. As if the free choice still exist when the emotions or cravings take over…
Do you recognize yourself in any of the following; That, when you are by yourself, you happily and subconsiously empty the candy bag or chip bag once you have opened it; That you eat controlled amongst other people but empty the ice cream package by yourself in the kitchen after the guests have gone home, or do you find it easier to dress the toddlers and drive 20 km to buy your favorite, instead of getting into the kitchen to cook a meal?
Depending on where you can see yourself in this, the actual choices around what you can and should eat can mean completely different things:
- You eat consciously and remove anything that rewards to avoid a hi-jacked brain and loss of control that causes all plans to crack – Being abstinent in your food choices is the solution for a processed food/sugar addict.
- Eating consciously and actively working with emotional management in a different way than through eating – This is the solution for harmful users
- Eat consciously and skip the food that causes hypersensitivity/intolerance. This is the solution for a normie that cannot tolerate certain foods where the body reacts physically.
- You eating consciously in everyday life and “sin” a little on Fridays or Saturdays – which is often the solution for a healthy “normie”.
Are you normie, have harmful use or do you possibly find that you may have a sugar/food addiction?
Only you can know this, and if you are not quite sure which category you fit in, there are easy ways to investigate further.
For example, try 6 simple questions with UNCOPE, or book an appointment with Frida to do a SUGAR investigation. Getting firm confirmation if your are addicted or not makes it so much easier to determine how YOU need to deal with food and meals.
If you identify yourself with harmful use och addiction of food substances, the first step is to get a proper meal plan that you know what works for you and what not. Only then you can embark on the road to freedom, without constant thoughts of food or food substances you need to.
If you think that this will be enough, sadly you are wrong. Being abstinent in your food choices is only the beginning – and we would be provocative and tell you that you through that have investigated approximately 10% of the entire solution space.
As an example of this, our FREE workbook, which is the base for our clients in treatment contains only three chapters about food – mainly dealing with what to eat, not to eat and how to plan around your meals. The rest of the book (and treatment with us) is about many other parts of our lives and thought patterns that you may need to work on in order to truly live life to your full potential.
The important thing in life is not what you have on your plate – instead it is what you do, feel, think and act.
I it time to regain your power and reclaim your life?