Sugar Is Not The Problem



What if I told you that sugar isn’t the problem when it comes to struggles with weight, it’s actually the solution, and weight gain is an unfortunate side effect?


When it comes to weight, we love, love, love to blame the circumstances in our lives for our weight gain. Personally, I like to blame my thyroid and my crazy shifts in the ER for my weight problems. And I hear lots of other blaming as well from others – women think they are overweight because of work stress, relationship stress, no time for cooking or self-care, too busy with kids, various food allergies, menopause, PCOS. You name it, I’ve heard it. 


One of my favorite excuses I always hear is sugar.  Someone will inevitably always tell me that their problem isn’t their thoughts, it’s that they are addicted to sugar. So I’m going to come right out and say it: Sugar is not the problem. I’ll say that again.


Sugar. Is. Not. The. Problem.



Sugar is what we call a symbolic substitute. A symbolic substitute is really just the best stand-in for the thing we really want. When we want something that’s just a little too difficult to get, or maybe too painful to get, we’re hardwired to reach for the next best thing. For many of us that’s food, and often sweet foods in particular. This means we may wander over to the pantry when we’re bored, stressed or lonely. And when we do that often enough, we sometimes forget that food isn’t the love or comfort or companionship we’re actually seeking.


Food became the solution to our stress and worries, and weight gain was the unfortunate side effect of that. 



And by the way, food isn’t the only symbolic substitute we turn to. For some people, it’s online shopping. For others it’s alcohol, or porn, or gaming. In fact, what I notice is that a lot of women who struggle with overeating also struggle with overspending, and when they solve their overeating and lose their weight, their overspending stops too. Regardless though, the premise is the same. We are experiencing some kind of emotion that is painful or overwhelming, and then to neutralize those negative emotions, we reach for the symbolic substitute.


This is really another reason why willpower just doesn’t work as a long-term strategy for losing weight.


If you don’t find a way to really feel and address the emotions that are causing you to reach for that symbolic substitute.


In my coaching program, we really dig deeper into why we eat when we're bored, sad, or frustrated. It takes a lot of practice to get to the deeper reasons we eat and to understand the root causes of the relationships they have with food. But, it's so important to me that my clients approach themselves with compassion and curiosity.


There is a great tool I can offer you to get yourself in the habit of paying attention to your thoughts. It’s called a thought download.


Set a timer for 5 minutes. Then write out everything that’s going on in your mind. Write non-stop, don’t let the pen off the paper. You can type too, if you prefer. The key is non-stop writing until the timer goes off. 5 minutes. Just get it all out. You can write full sentences, you can do bullet points, whatever feels right. There are no rules here, aside from non-stop writing for the full 5 minutes. 


You might be wondering what the heck this has to do with weight loss?!?!


Well, when you’re trying to lose weight, your brain will give you all sorts of fun thoughts: This diet isn’t working. I’m not losing weight fast enough. It’s too much work. I hate this. But here’s the thing – we have up to 60,000 thoughts per day. 


When you write for 5 minutes continuously during your thought download, the first things you’ll write down are those surface level thoughts that like to dominate your attention. But as you keep going, you start writing down the good stuff – the deeper thoughts – the real fears, anxieties, trepidations, self-judgements – the things that really drive your behavior.


Learning to recognize these thoughts is a skill. And when you can apply that skill to how you’re thinking about your body and your weight and food, then we can start changing your behavior at a really deep level. And when we do that, weight loss becomes so much easier, and it comes from a place of honoring yourself and your body, rather following a diet plan.



Learning how to manage your thoughts and process difficult emotions is the key to your successful journey to better health. 


If you are ready to lose your weight once and for all, get yourself on the waitlist for our first ever round of the Nourish Yourself: Body+Mind group coaching program. This is a 6-month program coming to you this September. With this you get monthly videos and workbooks to guide you through sustainable weight loss. You’ll also get access to multiple weekly group coaching calls – where we coach not just on weight loss, but on all the things you’re working through in your life. You’ll also get access to optional weekly hypnosis calls. And the icing on the cake is weekly, personal one-on-one coaching calls. If you want to know more or get yourself on the wait list, head on over to