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5 ways sugar is like that asshole boyfriend you dated in your 20s

Sugar.  It makes no sense to eat it.   You know it is bad for you.  You know it won’t end well.   But it is just so sexy.

It’s not just your emotions taking hold here. Sugar is one of the most highly addictive substances on the planet— it is biologically, stupidly addictive.

Breaking a sugar addiction is no easy feat. So, in an effort to help you better understand, and therefore end your dysfunctional cycle of addiction with sugar, I want to draw a parallel to that awful boyfriend you had (we all had) in your young adulthood.

Yeah, sugar is like that loser boyfriend that was hard to shake. You know the one I’m talking about. He played the drums in a rock band, drove a motorcycle, and swept you off your feet with his careless yet cool appearance. He was so stimulating to your senses, but generally made you feel like crap when it was all said and done. You knew better, but you just couldn’t quit him. Until you did. Yeah, that’s sugar.


Here are five ways sugar is like your loser boyfriend from you 20s:

  • He lifts you up, only to bring you down.

He made you feel so special at the start. It was like you were the only girl in the room. He told you that you were beautiful. He’d be there for you always. Then, as quickly as he lifted you up, he knocked you back down. He broke your confidence and made you feel like you were nothing without him.

Sugar is the same way, you see. It sounds so good in theory, doesn’t it? You tell yourself that the pint of ice cream is just what you need. You only live once.  It is going to feel so good to eat it. And you’re right. It does feel good. SO good. Your dopamine receptors go wild. That ice cream absolutely feels like the right choice while you are eating it. Then you crash and burn. Now you just feel tired, irritated, and kind of hung over. Much like how you felt when that loser boyfriend started sleeping with your best friend.

  • He’s so controlling.

You know he’s no good for you, but you can’t quite quit him. He has a hold on you that you just can’t explain. He’s bad for you. You know this. He’s not going anywhere in life, and you want different things…but you keep going back for more. You’re going to end it. This time you mean it. Wait, he promised things would be different, and you were feeling lonely…and….maybe it will be different this time. Yes, this time will be different.

But it wasn’t…was it?

Yep. This is your relationship in a sugar addiction. You know it is no good for you, but you keep going back. After you ate that cupcake last night, you promised that was the last time. “Tomorrow, it ends,” you tell yourself. Then tomorrow turns into tomorrow, and the next day and the next.  The more sugar you consume, the more control it has over you. It is a vicious cycle.

  • Your friends say you act different when he’s around.

You aren’t quite yourself. Your friends say they don’t like the way you act when he’s around. You laugh a little too loudly at his bad jokes, and pretend you like that independent film he won’t shut up about. You are a bad match.

Sugar has the same effect. When you come down from sugar, you might feel anxious, irritable, and not recognize yourself. We aren’t those young girls anymore. We know who we are now, and what we want. Break it off!

  • You know he’s no good for you, but it seems easier to stay than go.

Ending any relationship feels scary and hard. One of my favorite song lyrics by Pink is: “You get so used to this abuse, it kinda feels like home.” That was the break-up anthem of my 20s. It really rang true. Sometimes it feels easier to stay, than it does to take the plunge into the unknown. I mean, you’ve already farted in front of each other. Do you really want to start over?

But just like that relationship you should’ve ended much sooner with the loser boyfriend, once you get past the hard part in the beginning, you will wonder why you didn’t quit sooner.

  • If nothing else, he taught you how you don’t want to be treated.

Sometimes it is that controlling, dysfunctional relationship that teaches us the most about ourselves. You probably thought you’d never survive when that intense romance first ended…but you did. In fact, with a little time, came great clarity. You realized that he wasn’t who you thought he was. His crooked nose wasn’t mysterious. It was just crooked. More importantly, you learned what you wanted from your next relationship, and how you wanted to be treated.

Food is our most primal relationship. It is how we nourish and care for ourselves both physically and emotionally. Dieting and deprivation aren’t the answer. You aren’t depriving yourself by not eating sugar-filled, packaged foods. You are CHOOSING not to eat those foods. You have the power. It’s not, “I can’t have (blank).” It’s, “I choose not to have (blank).” You have to re-frame your view on how you nourish yourself. You need to know that you aren’t perfect in your partnership with food (or any partnership), but you are pretty awesome and deserve to be treated kindly. Treat your body how you would want your partner to treat you. You wouldn’t put up with a partner who left you feeling sick, irritated and anxious. No, you want someone who makes you feel your best and brings energy to your life. That’s food. Nourishing food is your ideal partner.   Sugar is your loser ex.


When you break up with sugar you are going to feel sad and confused. I’m not going to lie. You will want so desperately to get back together at first, but after you make it through a couple weeks, it gets easier. You miss sugar less. Sure, you might occasionally give in to that once hot romance and have a one-night-stand with sugar. That’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy it for what it is. But know that you have the power now. The ball is in your court. Your relationship isn’t what it was. The dynamic has shifted.

You might just find that when you do sleep with that ex, it wasn’t as good as you remembered anyway.  I’m just saying.

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