Why are we so addicted to sugar?

chocolate cupcakes on tray

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We are fundamentally wired for survival.

Designed primarily to hunt and gather in times of scarcity, we are built to seek out sugar. With no guarantee of the size, timing or even certainty of the next meal, we became finely tuned to search for sugar and instinctively wired to gain pleasure from consuming it. The body, as a result, has become highly efficient at utilising sugar and storing the excess to fuel a future famine.

Aligned with this evolutionary drive to eat, we have been gifted with a ‘Hunger Management System’ policed by our old friends’ the hunger hormone Ghrelin which signals hunger and counterbalanced by the anti-hunger hormone Leptin which signals satiety by disrupting our natural desire to eat.

Fast forward to the present time.

Sugar and calories now plentiful and equipped with a finely tuned Hunger Management System: Why is portion control, calorie intake and our ability to say no to that second or third piece of cake so difficult?

Food availability has changed. How we choose our food sources and the ease with which we are able to sustain our energy needs has been hugely transformed. Our physiology has yet to catch up with this transition that we see from food scarcity to food abundance.

Whilst we wait for that 4.0 systems upgrade by Mother Nature or further research to give us answers and possibly an external solution; we need to find a strategy to deal with this desire to consume more than we need.

STRATEGIES TO HELP CURB CRAVINGS AND PROMOTE FEELINGS OF BEING SATISFIED.

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Taking Refuge

Finding a life raft in the ordinary.

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Life has a funny way of presenting us with unexpectedly difficult and challenging experiences. For me, it’s usually when I’ve worked hard to get my routine back on track, my head’s in the right space, I feel I’m in a good place and right then something presents itself and throws all my planning and work out of the window.

Rick Hanson, renowned Clinical Psychologist talks about how small moments of ‘awareness’ and ‘mindfulness’ or what I prefer to call- ‘Moments of Pause‘ can offer us a Refuge in the busy lives we lead.

Hanson describes ‘Refuges’ as places or moments that Uplift, Nurture and Protect us. He describes a process of seeking refuge to help us get through our often chaotic and busy lives.

These Moments of Pause or Refuges can act like a life raft and carry us from one situation to the next as we try and tick off our To-Do list, meet deadlines or often just, like me, try and keep my head above water.

shallow focus photography of man wearing black coat and black pants standing beside green trees

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Simple yet effective I’m working hard to try and work these into my day. The process is beautifully ordinary with nothing needed but an awareness of the simple moments of 2-3 minutes you have to yourself during the flow of your day.

These moments could be :

  • During your morning shower
  • Listening to some music you love on the way to work
  • Spending time in nature- even if it’s 5 minutes on your way to work as you pass a patch of wild flowers or see dandelions poking out of the cracks of the pavement, hear the chatter of birds overhead.
  • Or even a hot aromatic cup of  coffee.

I urge you to try this out with me, starting where you are right now to find those ordinary but powerful Moments of Pause to carry you forward through the rest of your day.

This is the process I use from what I have learned from Hanson’s very practical and relatable book ‘Resilient’.

Taking Refuge In the Ordinary

1. Pick small regular events that happen through the course of your day when you feel you may be able to Pause for 2 -3 minutes. For me it’s:

– A few minutes during my morning shower.

-The first few minutes on waking when I realise I have been blessed with another day.

Pick small moments where you feel a sense of safety, you feel nurtured or just peaceful, like those magical few minutes of silence before the rest of the house wakes up and all manner of chaos ensues (or maybe that’s just my house!).

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2. So you have your moment. As you practice this more, like me I hope you will start to find precious moments scattered throughout the ordinary flow of your day that maybe went past before unnoticed.

Now let’s imagine it’s your first hot aromatic cup of coffee of the day.

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All that’s needed is 2-3 minutes of staying with the feeling of being right-here-now, feeling the comfort of your first cup, inhaling the aroma, seeing the froth or the little swirl of milk at the top…its being present to the small details. Smile, take 2-3 deep long breaths while you hold that sense of calm.

Just the simple process of smiling and taking long deep breaths has been clinically shown to improve our levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. Both smiling and long deep breaths have also been shown to raise mood-enhancing hormones called endorphins and  lower blood pressure.

3. If you feel the chaos resurfacing- Imagine yourself standing safe, high and dry with the waves  crashing  down below you or under a shelter of leaves with the rain pouring outside and know this :

‘Eventually the storm will pass, all experiences do,

And the Peaceful Inner Core of YOU will remain’.

-Rick Hanson, Resilient

Just takes 2 -3 minutes, try it for one moment every day and watch your practice and your peaceful inner core grow.

Know that however busy, rushed or chaotic your life may be right now- You always have a Life Raft to get you to the next moment …and the next. Just take a moment to find it.

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Enjoy.

 


Are you having a bad day? I have one word for you : Leverage

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Robin Sharma, a leader in personal mastery, eloquently speaks of Leverage and in one word has transformed my attitude to bad days.       

Leverage,  defined as  ‘To use for maximum advantage”   has enabled me to now reframe a bad or unfavourable situation from:

 

Why ME ?

to

What can I learn from this ?

 

And now this isn’t easy and it takes a great deal of work but I can tell you that its work that’s worth doing.  I have constructed a 3 step plan for myself every time something bad happens.

So what changed? Well I started writing these steps on the back of my hand to remind me and well to live life means to experience the bad with the good so the ‘bad’ was still there I just didn’t see it as ‘bad’ but an opportunity.

 

 ‘Having a Bad day? Try my 3 step plan’

 

Have a read and do take a moment to comment, let me know what you think.  I’m trying to patiently reinforce it with our boys  and there is the challenge right there…

 

To ask an 11 year old to PAUSE and REFLECT and LEVERAGE  before he clobbers his 7 year old brother for destroying his art work… ok work in progress.  I’ll keep trying.

 

Thank you for reading,  I aim to bring value to you through sharing new information, knowledge and my experiences.
 
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