For the past six weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of doing text-coaching with talented writer Anne Lamott, who I had the pleasure of meeting after the fabulous talk she gave at her church to launch her new, fabulous book, Help, Thanks, Wow. Anyhow, as a Sugar Freedom Coach, I don’t want to leave Annie in the lurch with no encouragement while I’m away for 10 days on a transformational retreat. So I came up with a way to support Annie while I’m gone. I wrote her this letter, which she now has given me permission to share with you.
I really want to be there for you while I’m off healing and taking back my power. (As you know, I desperately need to go on this transformational retreat until Feb. 10 to recover from My Bittersweet Last Year with Mom, which, as I shared with you and on my Sugar Shock Blog (www.SugarShockBlog.com) and my new Bittersweet Blog, www.BittersweetYear.com), was utterly grueling, draining and heartbreaking.)
To support and stand by you so you can continue to Savor Sugar Freedom, I’ve decided to create a 10 Ways to Continue to Savor Sugar Freedom Checklist for you. I invite you to bring this along with you wherever you go so you can whip it out if temptation strikes.
Whenever health-harming, tempting sugary non-foods—what I call Sweet Baddies (certainly not “goodies” or “treats”)—seem to tauntingly plead, “Eat me, eat me,” I urge you take the following steps first.
1) Follow Your Own Smart Advice. Holler Help!
Put a Sugar Freedom spin on the wisdom you eloquently impart in your book, Help, Thanks, Wow. When you can’t quit obsessing about a gorgeous cupcake, a chocolate-chip cookie or whatever sugary non-food or Sweet Baddie you want right away, lean on God, divine intelligence, or, as you playfully put it, “Howard.”
Just imagine: You’re so close to shoving a Sweet Baddie in your mouth. Your favorite dangerous, culprit-carb non-foods—which, for you and many others, are sure-fire gateways to glutting, depression and Sugar Slavery—keep taunting and tormenting you. They seem to be whispering, “It’s time to stop feeling deprived. Go ahead, put one in your mouth. Now.”
Annie, when temptation like this strikes, it’s time to prove those Sweet Baddies wrong! Let Providence whisk you to Savory Sugar Freedom instead.
You might want to pray like this. “Dear God, I could use a hand. Please help me. I feel out of control when it comes to [name of Sweet Baddie you want]. I know that I shouldn’t have them, but I want them anyhow. Please, Divine Wisdom, show me exactly what steps to take so I have the strength to turn away from [type of Sugary Temptation]. And, God, please help me to remember that this [cake, cookie, etc.] is so very bad for me and can lead to overeating, self-loathing and disease.”
2) Eating Sugar Makes You Unspiritual.
Over-indulging in sweets, as you’ve been discovering, makes you so much less than you can and want to be. Specifically, sugary non-foods can take you down a path to non-spirituality. They can rob you of your sublime, divine-loving essence. People who haven’t gone sugar-free (or close to it) don’t understand this subtle connection, but you “get it.” So please ask yourself before you cave in to sweets or culprit carbs, “Is a piece or bag of [name of Temptation] worth straying off the spiritual path?”
3) Remember How Clear-Headed & Better You Are When You Limit the Sugar.
As you know, eating lots of sugary non-foods can muddy up your thinking, mess with your moods and strip you of your power. When a sugary non-food is bugging you, instead delight in how wonderful you feel when you stick to such wholesome foods as lentils, organic veggies, organic meats, and healthy fats. Now ask yourself, “Is this [Name of Sugary Temptation] really worth losing my clarity, energy, and peace of mind? Wouldn’t I rather be my best self?”
4) Revel in Your Former Success & Then Challenge Yourself to Recreate it.
Think of the accomplishment of which you’re the most proud. Is it that you’ve stayed away from alcohol for so long and enjoyed sweet sobriety? Perhaps you’re delighted that you made your last book deadline? Now, stretch yourself. Realize that, “Hey, if I did [quit alcohol or whatever else you picked], then I can surely stay away from sugar, even if it is addictive.” Annie, you can even have fun and quip, “I continue to choose Savor Sugar Freedom. It’s a piece of cake!” (Pardon the pun!)
5) Do Sugar Procrastination. (Delay).
As we’ve discussed, one very effective sugar-avoidance approach is to procrastinate on purpose. By that, I mean delay eating your temptation of the moment. To refresh your memory about this simple tactic, just read this blog post I wrote about the power of delaying. http://www.sugarshockblog.com/2011/05/delay-away-your-sugar-cravings-.html
6) Write Away Your Cravings and Have Fun With It.
One of the most powerful ways to kick your pesky cravings is to get in touch with the feelings behind them. Journaling is highly effective, research shows. So take 10 minutes before you put anything sugary in your mouth and write about it. And be playful, too. You, of all people, could write the most amusing, entertaining, enlightening Sugar Danger poems or musings. When I return, I’ll look forward to reading what you write. (Even if you weren’t a writer, I’d recommend this. Jotting down your thoughts and feelings is that powerful. Anyone—writer or not—can do it.) Also, read this article I wrote about cravings. http://www.healyourlife.com/author-connie-bennett/2013/01/wisdom/inspiration/craving-sugar-and-carbs
7) Power up with PFF.
As you know, one sure-fire way to become vulnerable to sweets is to skip eating something healthy when you get up in the morning. Temptation also has a way of getting to you when you don’t re-fuel your body at least three times a day with ample protein, fiber, and fat. So make sure to fill up regularly on those quality foods.
8) Ask Yourself the 5 W’s & 1 H.
Of course, knowledge is power. So whenever you’re tempted, ask yourself the questions every journalist needs to answer when writing a story. You want to discover the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. In doing your sugar discovery or Sugary Soul Searching, ask yourself, “Who do I become when I indulge? What is it I really want? When do my sugar cravings get most powerful? Where could I go instead (someplace more nurturing and fulfilling)? Why, oh why, do I want those sugary non-foods? And how would eating those Sweet Baddies make me feel? (Read more about this process in pages 65 to 66 of my book, Beyond Sugar Shock, which I gave you.)
9) Scare Yourself with the Sour News. Then, Create Your Sugar-is-My-Foe List.
Whenever you really, really, really want something sugary, I urge you to get the sour news first. Just take out Beyond Sugar Shock, and read Chapter 3, which tells you about “The Big Preventable Killers: Your Sweet Tooth Can Kill You.” Then write down 5 Reasons Why Sugar is My Foe. In other words, what are the worst things that can happen to you when you eat the sugary stuff. Then rewrite your reasons to avoid Sweet Baddies on a 3-by-5 index card and carry it with you wherever you go so you’ll remember why it’s important to overcome those cravings.
10) Text Me & Then Text Yourself, Too.
Finally, since I can’t read your texts for the next 10 days, text me anyhow when you’re having a challenging time. Just pretend that I’m there on the other end of the phone and that I’ll be replying shortly. Then, until I return on Feb. 10 or 11, reply to yourself with what you think I’d say. Now, if you’re unclear as to how I’d text-coach you, pull out your copy of Beyond Sugar Shock, shut your eyes and open a page. That’s what I’d say to you. In other words, your inner wisdom will guide you to the exact page with the exact information you need. (By the way, I do this technique a lot with your book, Help, Thanks, Wow and with books by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Louise Hay, and Dr. Ken Druck. Just trust that you’ll be guided to get the advice or guidance you need. It has worked every time for me.)
11) Share your challenges on my Facebook page.
If or when something sweet tempts you, just rely on people who understand how dangerous it is to go down that sugary path. Post something on Facebook—on both my (www.Facebook.com/SmartHabitsFans) and your (www.Facebook.com/AnneLamott) fan pages. I’ll bet you that someone who “gets it” will write to you with just the wisdom you’re seeking. Make sure to dash me an email each time (marked high importance) so that I can read these inspirational words upon my return and thank the person.
Annie, I know that you can continue to Savor Sugar Freedom.
Remember, you have the power to say no. Remind yourself that eating sugar and other quickie carbs is a choice. It’s yours to make—or not make. What you put in your mouth helps create your future and the way you handle it. Why not choose the path of joy, inner peace, and health?
I’ll be with you in spirit and rooting for you to continue to Savor Sugar Freedom. Talk to you soon.
P.S. Since you like to share your musings and inspirational thoughts on Facebook, feel free to post this entire letter from me to you. It would be my honor to help your sugar-addicted fans. And feel free to take tidbits and tweet them, too.
P.P.S. Thanks again for your very kind words and letting me share them here.
“I was so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired beyond my sugar. With the help of Beyond Sugar Shock and Connie’s smart, caring text-coaching, I am beginning my 6th week of being off sugar. To me, that is a miracle. I feel so much happier and healthier, more energetic and free.” …I most like to know you are on the other end of the phone and get my texts, help me through temptations, remind me what works and why I am trying a new way of life.” --Anne Lamott