Chocolate and sweets have been faithful companions for most of my life… until a few years ago. My journey with giving up chocolate and sweets has been quite a rollercoaster, spanning more than half a decade. I tried to give up chocolate and sweets several times… over and over again… and I succeeded, but it was never permanent. After the self-restraint I always slipped back and indulged in chocolates and sweets even more, as if there was no tomorrow.
I have always had a sweet tooth – wait, I mean many sweet teeth!
Sugar was my way of sweetening up my life.
In summer, when we went to France for our yearly vacation, I would stock up on sweets and brought bags full of sweets back home. My brothers and I were only allowed to eat sweets on Saturdays. Sometimes, when I asked really nicely and with a sweet voice, my mother would allow me to have some sweets on other days as well.
Then I grew older and started to earn my own money – how delightful was that! I could go and buy chocolates and ice cream, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Who cared about alcohol when I could have chocolates and cakes? Well, it’s not that I avoided alcohol completely… I did start drinking when I was 15 because that’s what everybody did, but boy-oh-boy did that not taste good at all. Good thing I had chocolate to indulge in to take away some of the bad taste of the alcohol!
At some point I realised that I was a chocoholic. Sweets, and especially chocolate, would have a soothing effect on me. Chocolate gave me great comfort when I felt alone, unloved and not met for just being me. What I really craved was to be truly met and deeply loved.
Even when I hadn’t seen my mum all day she would hardly greet me when I came home; she would be watching TV with her headphones on, secretly eating chocolate. I felt incredibly lonely because I felt less important to her than her TV and chocolate. I went into my room and cried for not being met or seen just for being me, a beautiful little girl. So, of course, I ate more chocolate.
I reconciled with my mum long ago and we have had many opportunities to talk openly about this, in addition to everything else in my childhood that I found difficult. We now have a deeper understanding, love and connection than ever before.
The actual journey of ‘giving up chocolate and sweets’ however took many years, going through a lot of trial and error, because it all came from a need to ‘fix’ the problem rather than from choosing a genuine and loving care for myself and my wellbeing. I went through many phases and I would manage to give up chocolate for a few weeks or maybe even a few months here and there, but never permanently.
I would always fall back to being soothed and numbed by chocolate instead of dealing with the hurt inside. I could NOT imagine living my life without chocolate. I remember thinking it would be next to impossible not to have that chocolate sweeten up my life. What would I do with myself?
It was easy to think I would manage to stop right after I’d had a feast! Right then and there I had had enough, I felt sick, emotional, sad and racy, and thought to myself, “that’s it, I’m done”. But I was just like people who have hangovers that tell themselves they will never drink again… until the next weekend, or even the next day. Sometimes I had so much willpower I didn’t have any sweets for several days, but when I went to the store it was as if I had to make up for the days I hadn’t had any sweets. How clever. Of course, then I bought enough supplies of sweets for several days, even weeks. And then I would try to quit again – it was a constant battle, a very vicious cycle.
Through all these years though, it was like I had a little part inside of me that truly never ever gave up and I knew for sure that one day in the future I would not need to use any willpower at all to get rid of my sweet tooth and quit eating chocolate. So I held on to that part in the midst of indulgence. I knew the day would arrive that chocolate wasn’t going to be a part of my life any longer.
I became aware that I was getting more and more sensitive to sweets and I started to feel the effect the sugar had on my physical and emotional health. I would become very emotional before my period, and I could feel the constant underlying raciness inside my body more and more. When I went to bed I could feel my racy pulse and uneasiness inside, which made it hard to fall asleep.
In the end it became very clear that this was a pattern that I no longer wanted in my life and so I started to make choices that helped me heal the hurts that had forever kept me imprisoned, a victim of my past.
I kept connecting more to my body with the help of an esoteric practitioner. With their ongoing and unwavering love and support I am dedicated to go deeper and truly let go of my hurts and my behaviours, layer by layer.
I’m not saying that I’m totally one hundred percent refined sugar free now, but I know I will get there. I am just thrilled to not have the addiction anymore and I feel so much more joy-full and harmonious inside and more mentally stable and less emotional. I’m noticing that there are so many positive side effects from not eating sugar! I have definitely become more aware – more aware of my feelings, more in tune with my mind, my thoughts and reflections. I am learning to truly connect to my body and to honour the signals it gives me.
Chocolate has not been a part of my life for some years now: giving up chocolate for good has allowed me to know that no amount of chocolate can ever fill up the void or drown out the sadness of childhood experiences. I am a grown woman, and what has brought life-changing outcomes has been to take deep care of myself and understand that I am entirely responsible for my own choices.
I am forever grateful for the inspiration by Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon.
Published with permission of my Mum.
By Nathalie Sterk, Oslo, Norway
Are We Consuming Sugar Or Is Sugar Consuming Us?
How I Gave Up Eating Biscuits
Sugar: The Artificial Sweetener… and My Addiction
Why do we have addictions? I feel our addictions are showing us that we have something we are not dealing with in life and our addictions are a way to take the edge of the tensions we feel, perhaps from not healing an old hurt or a dis-ease in our body. Understanding the root cause of our addiction I feel is essential first step to addressing the problem.
I stopped having sugar in my diet years ago but still find that if I have taken on too much in my life then my thoughts will try and tell me that I need sugar to keep going. This is such an illusion as the less sugar I have the more energy I also have.
That’s so true, the less I stimulate my body and the more present I am with myself the more energy I have. It was such a revelation when I realised that sugar and coffee actually made me tired.
Choosing to be aware of the effect of different food in our body is the opportunity to begin to understand why we make the choices we make.
“Then I grew older and started to earn my own money – how delightful was that! I could go and buy chocolates and ice cream, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.” I remember this moment too in my life and it seems like the ultimate freedom but I remember actually feeling more captivated by my behaviours and needs now without the loving discipline of my parents. Without the latter I would not be able to stop eating chocolate if I bought it! It was really not a pleasant feeling. I think it comes down to being able to handle the responsibility of loving ourselves and making our own loving boundaries and discipline so we can feel great because we don’t poison ourselves with food that is not supporting us.
There is such a freedom that comes from firstly realizing that we are addicted to something, and then connecting with ourselves enough so that the addiction drops away
“I’m noticing that there are so many positive side effects from not eating sugar! I have definitely become more aware – more aware of my feelings, more in tune with my mind, my thoughts and reflections. I am learning to truly connect to my body and to honour the signals it gives me.” It is great what you share here, as I have been working on the impact of sugar on my body, and what I am finding is the less sugar I am eating the more awareness I have and I am able to read the signals of my body .
Will power alone never works. Ever. It is not a case of mind over matter. You might get a short-term gain, but never a long-term gain. Build up the self-love and self-care, build a more honest relationship with your body, explore what hurts you might be holding onto, lovingly let them go, and from there true and lasting change can be made.
Our addictions can not only be debilitating to our health and well-being but also erode our confidence in ourselves with our seeming inability to say no to what we know in our heart is not good for us.
Great point Suse, and this lack of confidence gives way to all sorts of negative thoughts and impulses that are not from the truth of who we are. Reconnecting to that place in us where we can feel love lets more love in and supports us to walk with our heart and not be dictated to by our head.
I find it fascinating, what food reflects us about us. Why we, like in your case choose chocolate and others might choose milky yogurts, or general overeating, the list is endless. It is all chosen so that we don´t feel, just in different ways. If you say yes to YOU and everything around you, it is amazing how easily you can drop a behaviour like that. If you are not going for the easy solution and the numbing, it is magical how food behaviours change.
This is so true Stefanie. Just by having an awareness of changing even our smallest movements can change behaviours of a lifetime, including eating habits. It can be that we don’t even realise that we have stopped being addicted to something and have given it up without any effort until we are presented with it some days or weeks later.
If anyone had told me many years ago that one day I would give up eating chocolate I would have been incredulous. Even 17 years ago when I realised that my health was suffering from what I was eating and took gluten, dairy and sugar out of my diet, and replaced ‘normal’ chocolate with gluten, dairy and sugar free chocolate I still never thought it would ever disappear from my life. And then one day about 10 years ago I suddenly realised that I hadn’t eaten chocolate for about six weeks and what amazed me was that I actually hadn’t missed it in the least – and 10 years on I still don’t.
Sugar is a poison in the body. I remember eating something sweet after not eating anything sweet for years and I literally felt poisoned. Imagine then eating that poison everyday and what that must do to the body?
” what has brought life-changing outcomes has been to take deep care of myself and understand that I am entirely responsible for my own choices.” Lovely Natalie this is the key to all healing, the want to be deeply caring for one self and this precipitates wise choices, thank you for sharing .
‘Giving up chocolate – for good’ Great title because for me it underlines that so often I tried to do things to ‘be good’ but it never worked until I connected to what was true for me. Being good about something we are struggling to overcome is linked to using willpower to stop ourselves doing whatever we deem as ‘not good’ – a recipe for failure whenever I have attempted it. When we heal the underlying hurt then the need falls away without effort and no need to ‘be good’ about avoiding something because we naturally choose what supports us.
Helen it is so true what you say “When we heal the underlying hurt then the need falls away without effort and no need to ‘be good’ about avoiding something because we naturally choose what supports us.” I have been currently working on building this in my life as food choices are slowly dropping off, the need is no longer there to eat it.
Chocolate (or whatever we are using to avoid feeling) is not the issue, it is choosing to be honest about what the underlying hurt is that needs to be addressed before we can move on and let go of whatever our addiction of choice is. I am amazed at how easily I have been able to give up certain things but how others still linger on in the background waiting to pop up when I am feeling tired/low etc. Deepening my level of self-care allows me to more consistently make supportive food choices and my body is certainly appreciating it after many years of being bombarded with alcohol, cigarettes and empty food calories.
Helen so true it really is about “being honest about what the underlying hurt is that needs be addressed, before we can move on and let go of our addiction of choice is.” The addiction can be anything, a way to numb us from feeling and reading. The more we deepen our level of self-care the more we are able to make loving choices in what foods we eat.
It reminds me that I became aware why I was eating chocolate. I noticed that I wanted to eat it after someone was behaving judgementful to me. Then automatically I felt wrong and tried to sweeten myself with chocolate.
Then I decided that every time I wanted to eat chocolate I would sit down first and feel what was going on and promised myself that after that I was allowed to eat chocolate anyway. What happened was amazing. I didn’t feel to eat the chocolate anymore because the love I gave to myself to give attention to what I felt in my body made me feel more me and no need was there to sweeten myself with something from the outside.
‘Sugar was my way of sweetening up my life.’ When we heal our hurts and feel our own sweetness we no longer crave
chocolate or other sweets. We ourselves can be sweetening up our lives.
I would like to add: We don t need any substance that heightens our state of being. Because being in our body and in stillness is the sweetest sweet you can ever have. But the first stage is realizing how sweet you are, just being you and ACCEPTING it .
It is a great point you make here Nathalie, of how we seek to fix a problem yet so often fail to understand that the problem exists from our lack of connection to ourselves and living disconnected to love. The ‘problem’ is the end result of a way of living that does not honour who we are and so in developing an honest, loving and caring relationship with ourselves, our body and being, we then change from the inside out, letting go of behaviours and patterns that no longer feel true. We soon realise that there is no replacement or substitute that can compare to living in connection to the completeness of our essence, and so we begin, step by step, to make choices that honour the truth and love we feel.
I used to be a chocoholic and sugar addict. I couldn’t go a day without it. Every time I was peckish I would grab a chocolate biscuit or bar. It was something I never considered stopping as I made it part of my life. It was only when my body said enough was enough with hypoglycaemia, bloating, constipation and sinus issues, (symptoms I could no longer ignore!) that I was able to change the pattern. It was a weaning process. At first I stopped eating milk chocolate and only ate dark. Then I went to dairy free and sugar free (which didn’t taste great so came off that pretty quickly), all the while dealing with what was lying underneath the cravings in the 1st place. I stopped missing it after I felt clearly the impact of the taste and feeling in my body once I had had it. Its probably been about 11 years since I ate it last!
It is many, many years since I have eaten chocolate and I was never a chocoholic, but I did feel a drooling kind of reaction in my body when I saw the photo and read the word Chocolate as if I ate a bit with my eyes in that moment – interesting to observe and ponder what that is about!
True love is more powerful than any addiction.
A lot of times I hear talk about the emotional comfort that chocolate brings, and I certainly was very addicted to this as well. But what is so great hear in this blog, is how the addiction was not ‘overcome’ with techniques and strategies, it was simply something that was let go, because it was no longer needed when self-love became the bigger part of life.
I now have not had chocolate for around 6 years, people are shocked when I tell them that, yet to me it was one of the wisest decisions I ever made.
Well done for going against the sweet/chocolate grain in society. I just saw an advert for a weekend chocolate expo today! It seems almost harder to give up sweets and chocolate than smoking, because it is not only socially acceptable but encouraged in many situations. There are the workplace ‘thank you ‘ chocolates, the tearoom or desk supplies plus the plethora that appear at Easter and Christmas! So while it is so normal and seen as a way to bond or show appreciation, it adds an extra challenge to the mix. Only something extraordinary like feeling how lovely you are can replace it.
I was never a fan of chocolate or sugar as a child ( much more the salty palate) but, as an adult once I gave up gluten and dairy , all of a sudden I had a desire for chocolate. – The spirit trying to find a way.
Cutting out sugar is such a personal journey, to learn to feel what the impacts are on your body from what sugar does, one needs to have a relationship with our bodies and feel what it is that occurs. This is an ongoing and unfolding process.
I am finding it is an ongoing relationship! Patterns of not addressing hurts can mean we fall prey to the pattern of avoidance coping behaviour faster than we consciously realise. From that moment we re-sooth ourselves and this then becomes normal again. I am finding it is a constant refining of the willingness to see and deal with all that I have kept hidden away!
I have sometimes heard sugar to be referred to as the ‘white death’ because of its extrememly addictive nature and the harm that it causes in the body. Having also given up the sweet stuff for some years now, I can feel the immediate effect that even eating a piece of fruit that is too sweet has on my body, or a starchy vegetable that converts to sugar once it is ingested. It has made me appreciate how numb my body was before I gave it up, to not feel the raceyness that would kick in as soon as I ate something sweet. And on a practical level, it makes going to the supermarket so much simpler and cheaper!
Giving up sugar is no different than someone giving up heroin. Both are equally as harmful to the body and need to be treated as such. We cannot afford to continue to ignore the effects of sugar on both adults and children.
Nathalie you are certainly not alone with this one, many article in women’s magazines are written about chocolate and it seems unfathomable to some why anyone would want to give chocolate up or that it is possible to give it up. You are living proof that it is possible and that it is an addiction that can be dealt with.
Hi Nathalie, what an honest sharing, I am sure many people can relate to this addiction upon which an entire industry has been built. Discipline will not work in the end, as you have experienced. The way to take more loving care about our bodies so that when we do eat it the effect on our bodies is felt, makes letting go of chocolate – or any other addiction – much more easy.
We tend go about in life as if we are not responsible, such as if there was no tomorrow and that the way we conduct our lives do not contribute to the whole, the societies we live in. But in fact there is a responsibility to life and that is to return to that original spark we all still carry in us and to let that grow and become more. In that taking responsibility we also have to look at our indulgences such as eating chocolate, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes as in a way we only use these as means to not have to take that responsibility to connect to and live from our inner hearts once again.
When we become aware and start to feel the effects of sugar on our physical and emotional health we have a choice – to continue harming ourselves or to stop and gradually cut out this substance that in truth in the future will be seen for the poison it is.
Nathalie in your description of the ins and outs of your chocolate addiction you nail just how sneaky our spirits are when it comes to feeding the habits and comforts we just know are doing us harm. Yet importantly you say this:
‘Through all these years though, it was like I had a little part inside of me that truly never ever gave up and I knew for sure that one day in the future I would not need to use any willpower at all to get rid of my sweet tooth and quit eating chocolate. So I held on to that part in the midst of indulgence. I knew the day would arrive that chocolate wasn’t going to be a part of my life any longer.’
I’ve had (and continue to have in the areas of my life where I am yet to become all I can be) that same inner certainty. At some level I know these things will come to pass and that the light of the soul is far mightier than the tricky spirit. Knowing this is a great support whenever I lapse or it all feels too hard – knowing there’s only one way forward and I’m going there as, ultimately, are we all.
I’ve often reflected on the choices I made as a child to cope with what came my way and wished I’d had far more of myself. For the remainder of this lifetime I’m focusing on building a stronger foundation, which includes dealing with childhood hurts and removing coping mechanisms, such as described here, so I can return with a more solid sense of myself – a self that is responsive rather than reactive to life and all that comes with it.
Lovely to read your blog Nathalie – I love how your relationship with sugar unfolded over time. I myself had a sugar addiction and used it as a means to stay small and not be seen. Once we see what is at the very root of our choice to our seemingly endless pattern of sugar eating, we can address the issue and bingo the addiction begins to drop away.
It is well worth us exploring why we need to sweeten our lives and reward ourselves constantly… are we living deeply fulfilling lives in honour of all that we are or have we settled for the artificial alternative?
“giving up chocolate for good has allowed me to know that no amount of chocolate can ever fill up the void or drown out the sadness of childhood experiences.” When we open up with honesty and responsibility realising that it is our hurts we are not wanting to feel then true healing can occur, quick fixes never really work, it is just another way to avoid dealing with our hurts which the chocolate endeavours to cover up.
It is interesting Nathalie to consider what sweets and in the context of this blog chocolate in special do in our bodies and why we tend to like the taste of it. Is it because we feel lonely or not loved that we are looking for chocolate or is it just because we like the taste? To me it is the first and we eat chocolate or any other sweet to numb our bodies to not to feel the lovelessness we have allowed in our lives.
This is a great article that reorientates our focus around food. We can get so absorbed in trying to quit, not quitting, going round in circles that we lose sight of the underlying cause. It is great to bring it back to the emotional hurts that we use food to avoid feeling.
One thing I have learnt from ‘The Way of the Livingness’, is that we can’t stop an addiction until we heal why we have the addiction. There are always reasons for us choosing an action that does not support our body. It’s when we choose to feel what that reason is, healing can begin, we find then that abusive behaviour disappears without the use of ‘will power’, or self restraint.