In case you’re new around here – hi! I’m Sloane, creator of Kale & Kravings and Sloane’s Sweets & Treats (RIP).
YEP – SWEETS. AND. TREATS.
I love dessert, baking, chocolate, ice cream, AND my health. In fact, I eat something sweet on most days.
One popular wellness goal that my clients and audience have is to reduce sugar cravings and/or their fear of desserts. This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that America is experiencing an epidemic of sugar-filled-EVERYTHING, helping to propagate the widespread increase of diabetes, obesity, and chronic disease.
So – how can we include some sweets in our lives, free of guilt, shame, or fear, while being kind to our bodies and avoiding restrictive rules?
That is what this blog post is all about, so READ ON friends! :)
As I mentioned, I used to bake and create a LOT of desserts. I was running a business and would fulfill orders every few days, each time making enough just for the quantity of the orders. That being said, I obviously ate my creations often and would test out new recipes every weekend. I honestly never even thought that dessert was THAT bad for you! My family has always kept ice creams and chocolates and cookies in the house. We eat dessert every night after dinner. My dad TRAVELS with Trader Joe’s chocolate bars, because God forbid he can’t find a dessert after lunch and dinner ;)
I can’t exactly say what happened, but sometime around the age of 17 or 18, I became fearful of dessert.
I was scared that my favorite brownies would make me:
gain weight in my thighs
develop clogged arteries
break out with acne
more likely to develop cancer...
Typing those things out makes me sad for that version of myself, EXTREMELY grateful for the person I am today, and determined to help make sure that nobody else feels those fears.
Now, I never wanted to stop eating sugar completely, but I definitely wanted to cut it down. I figured that 2 desserts per week sounded good (where I came up with this rule, I have no idea), and set out to maintain that rule.
Guess what happened…
I failed. Every. Single. Week.
Monday would come, and my friends and I would venture down to the Bigg Chill (aka my favorite froyo place with vegan cookie dough)…obviously I was getting one! One dessert down, one to go, and it was only Monday. Later on in the week, I would have a hankering for cookies. It wasn’t the weekend yet…if I had the cookies now, then I would have to sacrifice any dessert that I wanted this weekend. What if my family went out for gelato after Friday night dinner? What if my friends wanted to bake at our Saturday night movie night? I couldn’t look into the future, so whether I decided to eat the cookies or wait for the weekend, I felt like I messed up.
…because of a freaking cookie.
SUCH a dilemma!
As an outsider, you can probably see how silly and illogical and upsetting this cycle was. It continued into my first year of college when I continued to break the rule because there were yummy desserts to be had EVERYWHERE and I wanted a bite too! I can’t blame myself…Nash knows how to do dessert ;)
So this went on, and I still loved dessert, and I still wished I didn’t have a sweet tooth. Only once I started examining my relationship with food and realized that I wanted to change my mindset was I able to break free from these silly rules I had imposed upon myself.
I totally get that the rules don’t seem silly AT ALL when they are still a very real part of your life and belief system. Reading these words from me, a girl you may not know personally, may not be powerful enough to completely change your mindset. In fact, I expect that this short blog post won’t change your life.
Here’s what will.
Decide to trust me, when you can’t trust yourself.
Let the f*ck go of your rules, restrictions, fears, hesitations, judgments, expectations, goals, and negative thoughts.
I am giving you permission to borrow my beliefs, my confidence, my tools, and my mindset. Once you try them out for yourself and start seeing results in your own body and mind, then you won’t need my beliefs anymore because you’ll be well on your way to developing your own.
This issue of dessert fear takes some digging, so let’s dive into HOW to break free from your food fears and rules and what to do daily to maintain a beautiful relationship with all of the cookies in your life!
Food is a lot of things. It is calories that give us energy. It is nutrients that make us feel alive. It is smells that bring up emotions and memories. It is tradition that reminds us of community. It is not “good” or “bad”…it’s all just FOOD.
The problem with “health and wellness” these days is that it makes everything wayyyy too complicated. Some people advocate for eating no carbs. Others aim to eat no meat. Some eat all raw, while others eat all cooked. One person may prioritize fats, while another only eats fruit. Many believe that sugar is the evil of all evils, while others drink soda with every meal and follow it with dessert.
The point is this – all of the rules, fads, restrictions, lists, and diets are fake news. There are benefits and downfalls to every single eating pattern out there, and there is not one single way that’s right for every human.
Realizing the uniqueness of humans is the first step to releasing your food rules and restrictions, especially if they are inspired by other people who advocate for those eating patterns. If Sally feels strongly about the fact that grains hurt her stomach, that doesn’t mean that you have to cut out oats, wheat, quinoa, and rice!! If you loveeee a whole avocado with breakfast but Peter only takes ¼, who cares?!
Be grateful for the fact that you are a unique person with individual needs, and tap into what YOU need.
Now, what if the rules you’ve created originated in your own brain and are self imposed?
The above still applies – you have been influenced and conditioned by so many sources (family, friends, social media, TV, doctors etc) so it’s important to take inventory of who you surround yourself with and what their ideas are. If the people you hang out with or follow add negativity to your day, it’s time for a little distance. Click unfollow, seek out new friends, stand up for yourself, and protect your beautiful mind and beliefs. Now is the time to be selfish and prioritize YOU!
Ok, now let’s say you have created the following restriction: no dessert on the weekdays.
Here’s what I want you to ask yourself and seriously reflect on (like seriously…not just a passing thought but go get your journal and pen and sit. with. it.)
1. Where/from whom did this rule come from?
2. What fear is driving this restriction?
3. If you broke it, what would happen?
4. Is that outcome ^ really that bad?
5. If so, WHY?
6. What kind of freedom would you have if that rule didn’t exist?
7. What part of your life are you trying to control with that rule?
8. Where do you feel like you’re out of control?
9. What is keeping you in a state of trying to control instead of trusting in the flow?
10. How can you treat yourself with more love and compassion?
After answering these 10 questions, I hope that you realize a few things.
Fear is the biggest blocker of flow and peace.
It may be that you fear getting fat, being judged, feeling sick, missing your goals, failing to be perfect, being out of control…
While those fears don’t necessarily involve dessert directly, they are the main causes of restrictions that I see in my clients.
That’s why we’re digging deep and doing the mindset work that lays below the surface of thoughts like “candy is bad for you so I’m not allowed to have it”.
The fear, anxiety, and restricting is so much worse for your body than the delicious cake is. The experience of eating the cake will last for 5 minutes. But the chronic stress of fearing your food can last a lifetime.
To free yourself from dessert fear, you must get rid of the rules and trust that your body is capable of properly digesting sugars. You must recognize that a mindful sweet after a meal can bring more positivity to your life than negativity (crazy, right?!). You must allow yourself to honor your cravings and enjoy the sweetness.
You must make this big mindset shift:
Controlling your food intake will not allow you to have control over the areas of your life where you feel lost, confused, or unsure.
Many times, we are fumbling around in the dark and scared of what’s to come, so we latch on to ANYTHING that we can take control of and hold on tight. For a lot of people, this is food.
I promise you that the better, maybe harder, and healthier way to deal with this fear is to address the root cause, work through it, and build your “trust & surrender” muscles.
Effortless flow (i.e. eating what you want when you want without anxiety, enjoying a beautiful day without stress, being productive sans scrambling and rushing) is a natural state that you have access to AND deserve!
Sooo let’s get you there! In part 2 of this blog post (coming next week!), I’ll be giving you action item steps to shift your belief system, elevate your mindset, and enjoy all the chocolate that your little heart desires.