I didn’t give up sugar. My body gave up sugar. That’s the only way I can describe it. I stopped having the cravings and I peacefully moved on. No struggle, no fuss, no fight.
After a VERY stressful start to 2016, my nervous system an anxiety were on overdrive. I was consuming lots of wine, chocolate and ice cream to cope with it all.
One morning, I stepped on the scale. Up 8 pounds it read. I started to feel myself go into constrictive and restraint thinking. No more this. No more that. It was a knee-jerk reaction of unconscious thinking. Thank goodness, I didn’t stay in that moment Instead, I asked myself this question. What can I let go of here? What bad habits can I release?
The answer came back to me.
I can let that one go.
How am I going to do that? I asked myself.
I’m going to do the one thing I KNOW helps me not to be anxious. Walking.
I began walking the nature trails, which were beautiful and so calming. I walked 45-60 minutes daily just exploring and enjoying the new scenery. The Japanese call it ‘Forest Bathing’. Slowing down and involving all of your senses as you walk. Instead of my hard core fitness workouts, I focused more on my low impact barre workouts.
And my sugar cravings? They went away. They just abandoned me… Like my body had been inhabited by a sugar monster and it just packed up it’s bags and left. Without notice.
I am not going to lie, I honestly, didn’t know how that happened. I started to research. What did I do that stopped that addictive sugar cycle? How in the world did that happen? What I found was surprisingly simple and yet profound.
I made some very important changes, and I am going to tell you about one of them today. I want to introduce you to your nervous system and the role it plays in cravings and fat burn.
The automatic nervous system is split into two branches, sympathetic which is your fight or flight response and parasympathetic which is rest, digest and repair. Many of us are living in the sympathetic piece of this system.
Here’s what that looks like. Our modern day lives are highly caffeinated, full of to-do-lists and the perceived idea of pressure and urgency. This lifestyle causes our bodies to release stress hormones specifically, adrenaline and cortisol, that pump through our system. Our bodies then gets the message that it needs to burn sugar to get us out of whatever is causing this stress. Fight or Flight, right? Both of those options require quick movement aka, sugar-burning fuel, to get out of this perceived danger. What are we to do, but eat sugar. When that sugar fuel-supply gets low, the body gives us such strong sugar cravings that we cannot override the desire for sugar. We eat more sugar and we become stuck in the sugar stress cycle. For me, that was my wine, chocolate and ice cream cycle. I was consuming those things thinking I was de-stressing, but eating sugar only feeds the stress/anxiety cycle. It gave me more things to worry about, my weight!
Now let’s look at what living more in the parasympathetic system can do for us. The parasympathetic system drives the body to use excess body fat as fuel, instead of sugar. If properly supported keeps our energy level, our mood stable and our cravings in check. How do we get into this fat-burning system? We connect with nature, we meditate, we slow down. We connect with the joy of moving. We communicate to every cell in the body that we are safe. There is no need to activate that sympathetic system here.
Stop fighting your nervous system. THIS is what it means to stop fighting your body. And for the record, I lost the 8 pounds. 😉
Want help with our sugar addiction? I would LOVE to help you. Find out more about working together HERE.