“Gimme some sugar… go on give it to me give it to me give it to me…I WANT SUGAR!”
That’s generally one of the constant soundtracks in my head.
It can be really loud and common like a teenager in Eastenders, other times an upbeat Take That, or even a whispering Barry White. It makes no difference really, it just nags at me. Especially when I haven’t had enough sleep or I’m stressed, then it can more easily drown out my other, more helpful, thoughts.
Sugar in itself isn’t bad.
I’m not trying to be controversial here. I’ve heard all about how it’s 8 times as addictive as cocaine, rots teeth, causes diabetes, etc. And I agree with all that. But it’s not sugar in itself that is causing these issues. It is, after all, a natural product. It’s from sugarcane, sugar beets, fruits and other plants.
So then, is the problem how it’s been processed and changed into other stuff? Yes, that’s definitely a huge part of the issue and the food industry has a lot to answer for. But that’s not what I’m getting at.
The problem with sugar in my life, my dear Watson, is me. I am the problem. And it is about time I faced up to it. That soundtrack in my head is my voice. But that’s not even the track that compels me to eat sweet stuff. Oh no, that’s the trick you see. The really damaging soundtrack, the one that has the ability to make me shovel donuts, chocolate, cereal, biscuits and anything else sweet into my body is the soundtrack that goes like this:
“You’re worthless, useless, ugly, burdensome, thick, stupid, fat, lard, disgusting, repulsive, noone will ever fancy you, you don’t deserve to be happy, you don’t deserve to take care of yourself, there’s no point in even trying because you will fail, because you’re worthless, useless, ugly….”
And you know what? It is lies. Big. Fat. Ugly. LIES.
That’s what all those therapy sessions and crying out to God has taught me.
If you’ve got a soundtrack anything like that in your head, then that is lies too. It is emotional abuse, and it can cause all sorts of damaging behaviours and hold us back from our full potential.
So how to change this? Unfortunately, my soundtrack doesn’t come with a remote control ‘off’ button. It has been there for a very long time, built up over the years.
Someone once told me that you can’t stop thinking something by thinking ‘I must stop thinking about (whatever the thing is)’ because by default that makes you think about it. So I guess that means what we need to do instead is replace that soundtrack with a new one.
By persistently telling ourselves wonderful positive things that’s how. And this will take some time, but it will be worth it. I’m going to think of different tools to use to help along the way.
Last week I washed out my sugar jar. Now instead of filling it with refined white sugar (I used to have a spoonful in my coffee), I am going to fill it full of sweet, positive words that nurture me. Every day I am going to write something positive about myself on a bit of card or paper and put it in the jar, until it is completely full up. At least one thing per day. Then, at times when my negative soundtrack is loud I can indeed run for the sugar, open the jar and read through lots of positive helpful things. The idea being that this conscious effort will drown out the negative soundtrack. That’s my theory anyway.
Day 1 – ‘I have soft skin’.
Day 2 – ‘I am kind to others’.
Day 3 – ‘I have strong shapely legs’
Day 4 – Nothing. Struggling. Feeling uncomfortable. After years of self-abuse this feels so out of my comfort zone. The old soundtrack is strong and Take That are getting louder, making promises to run off with me in a boat made of chocolate on a caramel sea.
But I persevere.
Day 4 – ‘I am worth it’.
I might not believe it yet, but I haven’t turned to sweet things to eat either. And I’m going to keep on going. I can’t expect this to change over night. But if I want it to change it will. And giving myself some real sugar love is the way forward.