I was a sugar addict for most of my childhood and a large part of my adult life. Before I finally stopped eating sugar I would arm myself with all sorts of reasons it was all OK and just shove the issue under the carpet or stick my head in the sand.
I knew what I was doing but I just wanted to rationalise my behaviour. In other words I was making excuses.
There might be plenty of excuses you use to carry on eating too much sugar even though you may well have heard about all of the negative effects that it can have on you and your overall health.
I totally understand, I’ve been there (and it's why I developed the 21 Day Sugar Detox Program.)
Too much sugar makes you tired, makes you look old, makes you fat, causes mood swings, prevents quality sleep and can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer.
There really are few dietary changes that you can make that can have such an impact on so many areas of your health and wellbeing, not to mention your looks.
Yet more so than ever before, humans are consuming insane amounts of sugar, sometimes without even realising it and global diabetes and obesity levels are through the roof.
A large part of the reason so many people eat so much sugar is simply down to ignorance, most people don’t realise the harm that excessive amounts of sugar can do as well as not realising how much they are eating because it’s hidden in so many of today’s foods.
But a lack of knowledge or understanding is one thing, realising it’s a problem and then making excuses is another thing altogether!
So below, I have outlined 6 of the best excuses I used while I was feeding my addiction and making myself sick. See how many of these you use yourself and maybe ask yourself if it’s time you stopped?
EXCUSE 1: 'I Just Love Sweet Stuff!'
Of course you do. But do you know why? Do you have any real idea just why you think you love chocolate, sweets and sodas? You love it because it’s addictive, and the reason it’s addictive is because it reacts with your brain in exactly the same way that drugs, alcohol and nicotine react with your brain.
In fact sugar has been shown to be as addictive as cocaine in lab tests!
When you eat or drink anything sweet, the fructose in the sugar triggers the release of dopamine, which is the ‘pleasure’ hormone. It tells your brain that this thing is enjoyable and basically begs you to do it again. So people who drink, or smoke, or take drugs could use the same excuse - “I do it because I love it!”
But is that really an acceptable excuse? Especially if it does so much harm? I think not.
I used to smoke - did so for years - and when I finally quit it was by reading a great book called 'The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Alan Carr'.
The principal was to explain exactly why a person smokes and thinks it’s enjoyable - the enjoyment simply comes from the process of satisfying the craving and not from the burning an inhalation of smoke from tobacco and chemicals!
Even though I thought I really enjoyed each cigarette, I was actually just enjoying the release from the craving.
I was enjoying the sensation of my addiction to nicotine becoming satiated. That’s what happens when you get a craving for sugar and you eat or dink something sweet - one of the main sources of pleasure is because you are satisfying the craving.
Now don’t get me wrong - eating a piece of chocolate if FAR more pleasant that inhaling smoke, however the principal remains the same.
I quit smoking over ten years ago and it was one of the best things I ever did (other than quitting sugar!), it’s just a shame it took me so long to understand and realise my addiction to sugar was just as bad!
Several times a day I would get that ‘I fancy something sweet’ feeling. I just though I had a ‘sweet tooth’. I had no idea just how much I was hooked on sugar until I tried to stop!
And here’s the thing, once you do quit sugar, you won’t need to say ‘I just love sweet stuff’, because you won’t have cravings and you will no longer be addicted. You will also have reset your tolerance to sugar, and quite frankly, even more than a small amount of sugar will reveal itself for exactly what it is - too sweet!
EXCUSE 2: 'I Deserve Treats!'
This was a big one for me. The thought that you ‘deserve’ a treat maybe after a hard day at work, or after finishing a big project, or because you are on holiday, or because you fell out with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or because you’re at the cinema, or because… I could go on and on.
I always used to concoct all sorts of excuses to tell myself why I deserved a sweet treat, and looking back, that’s exactly what they were - excuses.
A huge part of how, what and when we eat anything is down to what is called ‘emotional eating’.
Besides the obvious state of hunger, we have massive connections between how we are feeling and the desire to eat and these can often be emotional pathways and triggers that we associate with certain types of food, more often than not junk foods or sweet treats.
Eating these foods literally has nothing to do with our bodies desire for nutrition, it is simply our brain connecting a particular emotional state with a habit.
I cover the subject of emotional eating fully in my 21 Day Sugar Detox Program, where you learn to ‘unlearn’ this type of eating. The type of eating you think you deserve, when what we all really deserve is to stop the cycle of addiction and to give ourselves a break!
What we really deserve is to be good to ourselves, to our liver, our heart, our skin, our bodies.
What we really deserve is to live a life free from addiction.
EXCUSE 3: 'Look At All The Adverts - It All Looks So Tasty!'
Soft drinks companies, chocolate companies, candy and sweet manufacturers spend millions on triggering our responses to go out and buy their products. So falling for any of this stuff really is a bad excuse!
I would see an ad for a coke, or for some chocolate and believe it or not, I would even make a special trip out to the local shop. I was hooked on sugar and all it took was a trigger from an advert.
Basically I was a sucker, and you are too if you believe all the bullsh*t about having a wonderful life, meeting friends and drinking this or eating that. It’s all junk, the ads included.
Sugar has always had such an innocent allure. There could be nothing more innocent than a can of Coke in the sun with friends? What about cookies, they are just as innocent right? Birthday cakes, sweets, chocolate? The thing is it all just looks sooo innocent!
And they all are, in small amounts. But do you eat and drink this stuff in small amounts? I'm guessing if you are reading this then the answer might be no...
Of course their spokespeople claim that everything is fine in moderation but this really is just lip service. Anyway, that rant is for another day and another blog!
EXCUSE 4: 'Everyone Else Is Doing It So Why Shouldn’t I?'
I often talk about the ‘new normal’ in my book and blog posts. It has become the ‘new normal’ to eat muffins in the morning with your coffee. Cake before you even have lunch!
Just because every coffee shop now sells muffins doesn’t mean this is normal behaviour and just because you see everyone else eating huge cookies and cakes with their morning coffee’s doesn't mean that you should too.
This is just one example of how our diet has changed drastically over the last few years. If we were to look even further, our diets have changed even more. Only a hundred years ago sugar barely featured in the human diet - now it’s in almost everything we eat!
Yet our bodies have no real healthy way of coping with all this added sugar.
It has become the ‘new normal’ to pump our bodies with sugar water every time we need to rehydrate ourselves, when all we really need is water. It has become the ‘new normal’ to eat processed foods laced with sugar that simply doesn’t need to be there.
Modern society is slowly succumbing to the ads, to the addctions, to laziness. Eating more junk and doing less excercise. But just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you should to. That’s just an excuse.
EXCUSE 5: 'Life Will Be Miserable Without Sugar!'
Let me put something straight here. Life is miserable with sugar.
Too much of it really messes with your body. For example, it sends you into cycles of too much glucose in your bloodstream to not enough, leading to crashes and energy slumps.
By quitting sugar you will start to feel great!
Did you know that after eating sugar your immune system can be compromised buy up to 50% for up to 5 hours?
Did you know, eating sugar causes gylcation in the layers of your skin, actually making you look older?
For more information on all of the benefits of quitting sugar check out my blog: 17 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar.
I totally understand that the fear of not being able to eat anything sweet again might sound daunting. But the thought of never drinking again sounds daunting to an alcoholic. Never lighting another cigarette sounds daunting to a smoker.
If you are addicted to something then the thought of not having that thing might sound scary. But just like the other excuses, it’s just that, another excuse.
And as I mention later in this blog, a sugar detox doesn't mean that you can't eat anything sweet again. You just need to do a 'reset'.
Trust me, life is far sweeter since I quit sugar...
EXCUSE 6: 'But It’s Too Hard To Quit?'
Well this final excuse really should fall at the first hurdle because even by saying it you must realise the power sugar has over you. Think about it. “It’s too hard to quit sugar’. So that must mean it really has it's hooks in you?
I’m not going to lie and say that quitting sugar is a walk in the park, because it’s not. The fructose that makes up around 50% of all sugars may well have quite a hold over you. It's highly addictive.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it’s all about being prepared and understanding the process.
For further reading on exactly how you can do a sugar detox, check out my blog post: How To Stop Eating Sugar - Your Ultimate Guide To Quitting.
And here’s the bit that might surprise you - I still have the occasional piece of chocolate or the odd sweet treat, but now when I eat these it is always on my terms. I never eat anything sweet because I am satisfying a craving, it is purely as a controlled decision.
If you would like to quit sugar you can sign up to my 21 Day Sugar Detox Program where I will provide a comprehensive program to help you break the cycle of sugar addiction for good.
With meal plans, daily video tutorials and email support along with guided meditation sessions and a whole host of other charts, checklists and support materials, I will ease you off sugar for good, meaning you can start to make sensible food choices.
As a final thought, even though this was meant to be a list of my 6 biggest excuses, I realised it should have been 7 because I missed one out.
And it's actually probably one of the biggest excuses of all!
I'm sure you'll recognise this one... it was…
BONUS EXCUSE 7: 'I'll Do Something About It Tomorrow!'
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. I’m as big a procrastinator as the best of them, and I used the excuse that I would make a change tomorrow what seemed like every day. This allowed me to keep on eating too much sugar today.
It took one hell of a lot of tomorrows to finally get to where I am now - I just wished that I’d done something about it sooner!
But hey, better late than never!
The sooner you quit, the sooner you'll look and feel better. It's as simple as that.
So. What’s your excuse for not giving up?
If you would like to sign up for my next 21 Day Sugar Detox Program click here.