Sugar Free Revolution founder, Karen Thomson, launched the online program and blog in 2014. Karen, a recovering cocaine and sugar addict and founder of the Harmony Eating & Lifestyle Program, identified a need for a support network and program for those people trying to kick a sugar or carbohydrate addiction. Her passion lies in identifying the deep-seated interest in the relationship between people’s self belief and their addictions and assisting them in empowering themselves in body, mind and spirit. Here she shares her inspirational, personal story:
How to stop craving so much sugar
Since I can remember, I always believed that something was off. I relied on and believed that the consumption of substances would help me to fix myself. My addictive cycle led me to depend on alcohol, drugs and pretty much any substance or person that could temporarily make me feel good about myself. A dreaded cycle.
I struggled with low confidence and low self love for the longest time. I always had the feeling that I was lacking in any and every way. I never felt beautiful, confident or adequate. So, I self-medicated these feelings with numerous substances and behaviours.
Quit sugar plan
In 2004, I booked myself into rehab. The next nine months were spent in deep introspection. I started healing my relationships with friends and family. Most of all, I started discovering who I really, truly was.
Recovery from drugs and alcohol for me was relatively easy. It was my recovery from an eating disorder that was a lot more challenging. I spent the next seven years abstaining from eating disorder behaviours like bingeing, purging and overeating.
Unfortuntely, I was guided by a dietician who was not suitable to help me balance my ups and downs. I was encouraged to normalise my eating by having a soft drink or chocolate daily, and before I knew it, my sugar cravings and snacking habits, became far from normal.
Side effects of quitting sugar
I needed my daily sugar fix and there was nothing sweet about that. I would turn into a monster in a desperate attempt to fill that hole in my soul with some external sweetness. Far from identifying this disorderly eating I was partaking in, my dietician commended it. I was finally exhibiting normal eating behaviours. She did not take into account the fact that I was eating all of my emotions and I would do anything to get hold of sugar. If I went for three hours without consuming carbohydrates my blood sugar would drop and I would become grumpy, irritable and irrational. I would then need to rush to the shop, fridge or a friend in a desperate attempt to ingest sugar just to feel normal again! And so the cycle continued.
How to stop eating sugar and lose weight
It was after watching Sports Nutritionist Professor Tim Noakes, on television one day that I realised I had a recognised problem. During his interview he mentioned the addictive nature of sugar, likening it to a drug. In that moment I realised deep at the core of my being that, my name was Karen Thomson and I was a sugar and carb addict.
In South Africa, eating disorders are generally treated as process addictions. This means that abstinence from behaviours such as binge eating and purging are sought. They then try to normalise your eating. My sugar addiction went further than that. I could not treat it purely as a process addiction, the effect that sugar had on me very clearly showed that this was a chemical addiction. One as devious, cunning and powerful as an addiction to drugs and alcohol. I needed not only abstinence from behaviour, but abstinence from the substance.
Effects of not eating sugar
I started following a diet that was low in carbs and high in protein and fat. 'I Quit Sugar' is a great method to follow or be inspired by, as it's similar to a paleo diet. Introducing high fat foods like butter, coconut oil, nuts and avocado into my diet showed positive results almost immediately. I started losing weight, my mood stabilised and I had a lot more energy.
I was no longer dependent on another substance to make me feel normal. I was slowly restoring myself to my natural way of being. If you need extra help you can buy my book, Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction. It's a simple and effective eight week programme to quit sugar for good, for improved health and weight loss. You got this!
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