My brilliant and incredibly emotionally stable daughter Gemma has been struggling, undiagnosed, with hypoglycemia for years and years. We thought it was migraines…and that was bad enough – but it was never that bad, and we never had sweets and cookies around our house, so she always ate fairly well.
But things change. Sometimes, when things go out-of-balance in our bodies – hormones, the good bacteria/bad bacteria balance – things get worse. This summer it all got worse for Gemma, and now, with a real diagnosis, a couple of books and the brilliance and fortitude that is Gemma (and the help of my Chinese Medical doctor) she’s reversing the downward spiral, taking control of her life and her body, and regaining her body’s balance – and the balance of her blood sugar. She’s getting well, and becoming an expert at hypoglycemia and weathering the roller-coaster of recovery from the hypoglycemia roller coaster at the same time
So, when I talk with a client or read a letter, the first thing I think of is that delicate balance of our physical selves and how easy it is to create all kinds outcomes based on what our bodies are doing inside. How our minds and emotions are so keyed into the rhythms of our bodies. And the other way around, too…
We can so heal ourselves in so many ways. Studies are done now about how happiness effects our health. How laughing cures. How we are so profoundly effected by the level of happiness and health of our closest friends (not family – but friends, isn’t that interesting?). And how illness, no matter how subtle and barely noticeable, can affect our moods and energy.
So – let’s get back to our “no sugar” challenge – prompted by this short P.S. to a letter I just received…
“”…PS I need to work on eating healthy if you have any suggestions. Can’t stay away from the sweets no matter what I try. I know a lot of other women have this problem especially when our relationships are crashing. 5’3″ – 145 lbs.”
Okay – is this a problem for many of you?
Because sugar is POISON. Forget the pounds, forget how you “look.”
Let’s even forget about the general term “health” – because that means something different to each of us.
Let’s frame this sugar thing into something that’s meaningful for each of us – specifically and uniquely.
For me – sugar means pain. Literally. My bladder starts to burn, my head gets foggy, I slump. Even an apple not eaten around protein can do this to me – because my system is already so sensitive. So – sugar is about beating up my sensitive self.
When I look at it that way – it’s no wonder I’ve been able to stay away from sugar (even fruit) for years now. Pain is a stronger pressure on me than the pleasure of tasting sugar. (I’ve also discovered that SMELLING cake, cookies, even fruit does the trick sometimes, when my system is a bit out of whack (weather, hormones, seasons can do that to any of us…) and I’m craving it (not very often, thankfully).
In my wonderful interview with Rose Cole a few months back, we talked about the link between sugar and hormones and depression…and that was a wake up call for many of you – and the way Rose framed that was helpful. So if your pain is depression, and not physical aches and pains (though depression can be a physical achey thing, too…) – that might be enough of a motivation for you.
But here’s the thing – most of us are so USED to pain, so comfortable with emotional and physical pain and discomfort – that we feel WEIRD without it! We feel odd being in a pleasurable place. Some of us have so seldom even EXPERIENCED pleasure, pleasure itself isn’t much of a motivator for change.
Sometimes it’s avoiding the pain that’s the motivator.
Thing is – WE ALL WORK DIFFERENTLY! We all work off of both avoidance and pleasure. We all respond to both “carrots and sticks” – the carrot being the dangling pleasure reward, and the stick being the feared pain and humiliation.
But – most of us respond PRIMARILY to EITHER a carrot or a stick.
If pain was a constant in our lives, we are confused all the time, because pain FEELS like BOTH a carrot and a stick. In other words, emotional pain feels like the way a reward is supposed to feel. Pain feels like love. Because that’s the association we grew up with.
If you had a lovely childhood, you might respond mostly to carrots…following the good feelings more naturally, and not worrying too much about the bad. And so…when you get snockered by heartbreak or physical pain…it’s so foreign to you it can do you in. You feel like you can’t cope.
So – whatever our backgrounds – we developed SKILLS!!! Some of the “coping” skills we learned, though – are killing our love lives.
For instance – if people were always trampling on you emotionally, you learned to hide your feelings. Even from yourself.
Your emotional status might have led you to comfort food – to sugar, and then your physical system got screwed up, too.
So – sugar might be not only your poison, but your drug.
It’s hard to imagine something as seemingly innocent as a cookie or a slice of cake or dish of ice cream as the wrecking ball of your love life – but sometimes it IS!
So – let’s get back to the no-processed-sugar for a week challenge – and let me know how you feel. If you’re experiencing emotional and energetic ups and downs, you think it might be linked to food or to your body, and you’d like to talk with Gemma about all the research she’s doing and how she’s handling her recovery, and how you could do it, too, right along with her…you can email her at GemHarp@hotmail.com… (You can see her photo and all she’s doing at http://GemmaLevine.tumblr.com.) Perhaps, if this sugar thing seems to be something you’d like to work with, I’ll put in a category here – we can do support and accountability…
I’ve been very happy without sugar for a very long time now (only eat a bit of fruit, and always followed by protein – I know that’s debatable by many dietary systems, but when you’re dealing with blood sugar – that’s crucial in my book) – and so perhaps we could trade some recipes (Rose Cole always has great sugar and gluten free recipes around on her site…) and support each other to break old patterns and eat for our health.