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When Jonesing for Sugar Teaches You the Secret to Life

August 6, 2012
By Guest Blogger
|20Comments|


Sometimes I find myself staring into the depths of a pint of Cherry Garcia at eleven o’clock at night, wondering where all the ice cream went and when I started eating it.

But for all the angst a gal can feel when her spoon scrapes the bottom of the carton, it was the cookie dough ice cream that taught me the secret of life.

The first thing my wildly spiraling sugar cravings taught me is that I don’t want sugar so much as I want love. You know how this works. For a while, when we need love late at night, the brain hamsters tell us that love can be found at the bottom of a bottle of bourbon or jar of Nutella.

But the sugar cravings and the yearnings for affirmation helped me learn to recognize that less-than-desirable states can serve a very valuable purpose. Thanks, less-than-desirable states.

I’ve had my fair share of dating and relationship disasters. I’ve had my fair share of friendships go lopsided and my fair share of feeling lonely. When I’m not paying attention, this loneliness makes itself known when my itchy, clicking fingers head to my Gmail and Facebook accounts, hoping for more likes or love notes.

Jonesing for love is like jonesing for sugar. They feel the same way in the body. They show up in the same addictive behaviors. Eventually, I figured out that looking to a boyfriend or a snickerdoodle to fill a hole is handing my power away to something outside myself.

That’s just way too much power to hand over to a man or a cookie. Especially because the man and the cookies love you, but being your sole source of fulfillment is a lot of responsibility and they have their own lives to lead. Sitting in the kitchen all scrumptious and soft-baked takes effort, you know.

My Recipe for Abandoning the Sugar and the Affirmation Cravings

Loving myself. By guzzling green juice instead of a mocha. By realizing that I’ll feel better if snickerdoodles are banished from the kitchen. By learning to interpret what my emotions are telling me. (Spoiler: It’s not “Go get a cookie.”)

Caring for myself in a deep and nurturing way allows me to climb off the hamster wheel of late night ice cream pints and release the death grip on my phone. Not that these things aren’t wonderful, but they’re best when enjoyed for themselves and not as a substitute for peace. Only I can bring myself peace.

Loving myself doesn’t have to mean radiating in some brilliant yogic glow. No need to set myself up for failure in a world of alarm clocks and traffic and hormones. Loving myself can be as simple as making the best choice I can in each moment. Being gentle with myself.

Caring for myself allows me to love everyone else in my life, bigger and better and bolder. I have a lot more to give, because I surround myself with love daily, even if it doesn’t taste like it.

The Promised Secret to Life

It’s about loving, not being loved.

Slight change in tense, totally different meaning. I want to follow my heart, not my ego. Sometimes the ego is louder but that doesn’t mean I have to listen. For me, the best way to step back from the obsessive cycle of affirmation craving is to be loving. Not loved.

If my job is to love people, rather than constantly searching for proof that I am loved, I feel powerful. Big. Whole. Capable of loving others — giving the hugs, sending the love notes, doing the kind thing. More capable of loving myself, because there’s so much of the good stuff floating around.

Besides, love yourself and the world loves you back. But not once has the world managed to fit itself into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Amber Adrian is a writer with a weird affection for pandas and exclamatory punctuation. Her affection for paperback novels and green juice is totally normal. She writes web copy, essays for recovering perfectionists, love letters and the occasional haiku.

Photo credit: Meaghan



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20 responses to When Jonesing for Sugar Teaches You the Secret to Life
  1. Oh what a beautiful post Amber, thank you. Love, especially love of our own precious Self, is so important. Like you I used to binge and seek love outside of myself in food rather than feel my feelings and love on myself and hence be available to authentically love others. I am happy to say, these days, I don’t look to the food for comfort. I support women who choose to explore their emotional eating patterns and I teach the importance of self-love. In fact my blog post today is about how emotional eating can be a form of self sabotage (http://www.nurturewithlove.com/emotional-eating-as-a-form-of-self-sabotage/).

    I love this paragraph in your blog “If my job is to love people, rather than constantly searching for proof that I am loved, I feel powerful. Big. Whole. Capable of loving others — giving the hugs, sending the love notes, doing the kind thing. More capable of loving myself, because there’s so much of the good stuff floating around” Ahhhhhh that is so healing to read.

    Loving regards
    Ani
    -England, UK

  2. Thanks for this Amber – it’s a lesson I keep having to learn over and over lately! It’s not about being perfect it’s about loving yourself and being ok with where you are and above all, BEING GENTLE WITH YOURSELF :) Love your writing style too – so relatable xx

  3. Amber… Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Big topic on the table (no pun intended, well?…) for me these days… Years! The “gentle” part is new(er) for me. I agree, life is about loving. I, too, like your writing style…like you are chatting with us on the front porch or in the kitchen.

    Loved this part, [ Loving myself doesn’t have to mean radiating in some brilliant yogic glow. ] Sorta gave me permission, allowing me to be the stumbling, learning, imperfect being I am. (sigh of relief)

    This also struck a chord in me…
    [ I want to follow my heart, not my ego. Sometimes the ego is louder but that doesn’t mean I have to listen ]

    For me, I need to make sure I am not misinterpreting my ego, for that part of me I have so often left unheard and behind. That part of me…the wounded part, usually the little girl part, who needs to be heard and acknowledged for her feelings, perhaps unwitnessed pain. Once I recognize this, pause, notice her presence, listen, have a little chat with her, letting her know I am there for her alway, it is then I can move forward, letting her know that the food is not the path to comfort. We, she and I, and all the other wise parts…alll that makes me who I am in total, can then move ahead, nourishing both the spirit and body in a way that supports self love. It is then that I truly can love out. Win/win in my book.

    Thank you for your contribution. :o)
    Thanks Kris! for another wonder guest post! oxox

  4. tz said on August 6, 2012

    Thank you for the wise words..it really does make sense.

  5. everything i needed to hear right when i needed to hear it. you are incredible panda amber.

    seriously, this is beautiful. now i’m gonna go see what i can find at the bottom of MY pint of ben and jerry’s.

  6. Thanks, guys!

  7. Thanks, all! It’s so easy to feel like you’re the only one scraping the bottom of the carton – so I love hearing about similar experiences.

  8. Wonderful post, you really have a way with words, made my evening!!
    peace and love from Croatia

  9. ES said on August 6, 2012

    Thank you, Amber. Great post. Even for GUY’s like me. :)

    “Wookin pa nub in all the wong paces…”

  10. Loved this article! Right on, sister!

  11. Thank you for this. Perfect timing. It’s Day 1 of another juice fast for me and I know the sugar cravings are going to hit me hard. This will be the perfect thing for me to come back to when I want to tear into some chocolate.
    Never thought of love cravings and sugar cravings in this light before and I love it. It is empowering to take care of yourself and take care of others. I think that will be my focus this fast. ;)

  12. FS said on August 8, 2012

    Great article! It really spoke to me and mentions many of the same things I have experienced and am doing currently, unfortunately. It’s important for me to realize that I eat sugar to numb feelings, kind of like an alcoholic. Thank you for writing this. Keep up the good work!

  13. Oh my goodness Amber – you are a poet.

    What a lovely, heartfelt and honest piece of writing you created here.

    My favourite line?

    ‘Loving myself can be as simple as making the best choice I can in each moment. Being gentle with myself.’

    So simple, but something we often forget. Change happens, one tiny, weeny step at a time

    I feel better already knowing that I m about to put myself to bed and I just resisted a nibble of a belgian chocolate tart before sliding between the sheets ;)

  14. Amber what a beautiful twist that isn’t just another how to. I really value the energy and soul you have poured into this post. Truly beautiful and thanks for the reminder. x

  15. Thought provoking. Be content with oneself. Nicely written.

  16. Brilliant. Thank you for your eloquent words.

  17. Love this! Just What I needed to hear! This article was very well written. I loved every word of it. HIT HOME BIG TIME! :)

  18. Thank you Amber. I am a late night, just need one more thing to eat, before I go to bed, kind of girl. And what I really need is a big spoonful of creamy cool sweet love for myself. I did good today. I was patient and kind and even got to support a friend and had the luck of playing with my grandson in the water. And, as another commented, I slid between the sheets instead of opening the fridge. I am imperfect and so is everyone around me. The quote it’s about “loving not being loved” will be my new mantra. Time to show it!

  19. Love this!! Thank you so much

  20. This was such a fantastic post and something that I really needed to read today. It’s something I’ve realised myself recently but I still dip in and out of the bad habits when I’m having a really rotten day, even though I know that a jog will feel so much better than that pint of ice cream! Thanks for the great reminder.