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How I Improved My Relationship With Food and Overcame My Sugar Addiction

If you read my article, “How to Identify Physical Vs. Emotional Hunger” you are aware of my struggle with sugar addiction, emotional eating, and my binge eating disorder. If you haven’t read it you can read it here.

During my emotional healing journey, I learned that most of my emotional eating was caused by stress. But also learned that I was definitely addicted to sugar. My body needed something sweet every single day. So, as I learned to deal with difficult emotions and stress that were causing me to emotionally eat I also started trying to cut my sugar use down as sugar food was my choice to binge on.

In this article, I will share with you how I reduced my sugar intake and overcame my sugar addiction.

When I first reduced my sugar intake all I did was cut down a little at a time- after a while, foods started to be “ too sweet” for me.

If you struggle with sugar it can be overcome. But if you’re not sure you struggle with emotional eating this is what it looks like in your daily life.

  • You eat when you need comfort.

  • You eat when you are stressed.

  • You eat as a response to your emotions.

  • You eat to escape painful feelings.

  • You seek solace in food.

  • Your eating is out of control.

  • You eat to feel happy.

  • You eat when you feel happy.

  • You eat even though you are rightfully full.

  • You think of eating even though you are rightfully full.

  • You eat when you fear success.

  • You eat when you feel different than others.

  • You eat when you lack support and find it hard to cope with life.

After reading that list. What do you think? Are you an emotional eater?

  • Do you eat more when you feel stressed?

  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry?

  • Do you eat when you are sad, angry, bored, or…stressed?

Other than cutting down on my sugar intake. Additional Things I did to cut down on sugar and overeating in general include:

I Distance Myself From Sugar.

I substituted sugar for stevia and swerve when cooking.

I try not to add sugar, if I do I use stevia or swerve. But nowadays I’ve reduced my intake so much that I can’t tolerate too much. I ordered unsweetened tea. Drink coffee with zero-calorie creamer. Most of my drinks are zero calories. I try not to drink my calories.

I Delay.

I wait 10 minutes before I eat. By ask myself if I’m really hungry or if is it emotional hunger. To understand if you are physical hunger or if it’s emotionally hungry.

Physical hunger:

  • Usually builds gradually

  • Occurs several hours after a meal

  • Often goes away when full

  • This leads to a feeling of satisfaction after eating.

  • Often felt as hunger pangs or a growling stomach, irritability, low energy, and difficulty concentrating

  • Associated with physical needs such as low blood sugar levels

Emotional hunger:

  • Usually develops suddenly

  • Unrelated to time

  • Persists despite feeling full

  • Associated with feelings of guilt and shame after eating

  • Usually associated with boredom, stress, sadness, or loneliness

If I am hungry I grab a healthy food choice. That includes:

  • Eating a pack of hundred-calorie nuts and string cheese.

  • Eating a banana and 12 almonds.

  • Eating one cup of celery and 12 almonds.

  • Eating a Fat Bomb treat and drinking one cup of water.

These snacks help curb my appetite.

I Distract Myself.

I brush my teeth and gargle with Listerine mouthwash 30 minutes after eating. I was told by my dentist that it was not a good idea to brush my teeth right after eating because the mouth becomes temporarily acidic after eating, depending on what you eat. Brushing right after eating may cause enamel damage. Instead, wait 30 minutes, then you brus

  • I go for a brisk walk out in nature and capture photos.

  • I read a book outside on my front porch.

  • I paint a canvas.

  • I paint my nails or my husband gives me a pedicure.

  • I toss Avon brochures within my community.

  • I do other marketing like checking in with my cleaning clients to see how services are going the girls doing a good job cleaning in the evenings.

  • I am working on research and looking for ideas for my Avon and Botanical Collection yearly self-care ritual box subscription.

  • I blend herbs to drop off at stores that sell my botanical collection.

  • I researched info that clients can use as self-care rituals.

  • I work on training and guides for GuttyGirl Club.

  • I clean my emails.

  • I scout homes and businesses looking for my next real estate project.

  • I am working on research for my next book project.

  • I drop off Avon Blessing bags to participate in my outreach.

Distraction is easy for me. I have a lot going on therefore I have many things that can and do keep me busy. It wasn’t always the way. I found that when I had no life but being a stay-at-home mom and cooking and cleaning and really feeling resentful for not liking to ask my husband for money to get things I needed or wanted I ate way too much. I loved putting my kids well well-being first something my parents never did for me. One of the reasons I chose to be a stay-at-home mom in the first place. But I found out that depending on someone else to survive really didn’t fit my personality or self-worth. It damaged it more than helped. I was a stay-at-home mom for five years and during those five years, I was shamed and degraded for my choice to stay home. Although I was in college at the time no one seemed to care they still judged me. This shame along with my inability to cope as a new trucker wife really took a toll on my spirit. I turned to food to feel better. But once I was diagnosed with binge eating and relapsed in 2013 I really focused on healing and was determined to improve my relationship with food.

I Became Determined To Not Slip Up Again.

  • I intentionally sip on peppermint tea, this also does the trick of not wanting to eat anything out of boredom or stress. Plus, it’s a nice treat that helps me feel full.

  • I became aware of the food pusher in my life.

  • I sip on water all day. I try to drink 2 liters, which is eight cups.

I decided to be mindful.

I’m not a breakfast eater. Therefore, I choose a small piece of food so that I don’t make my body think it’s starving and then binge later out of hunger. Because if I don’t do this I will end up starving around noon and it all ends up in another binge later in the day. I find myself having to pull over before arriving at a loan closing, to pick up unhealthy foods because there is nothing around for miles but a dollar tree or family dollar. I don’t want that to happen. Therefore, I don’t restrict food, nor do I eat a big meal. Instead, I eat something small like a banana, yogurt, two scrambled eggs, or toast to have something in my stomach to keep my metabolism running and feel full. I also like to keep nuts and protein bars with me as a light snack as the protein keeps me full. This way I can get right back onto my regular eating schedule and my body won’t feel like I am starving. I give myself permission to eat. I just do it my way and with healthier food choices.

I became aware of my portion size. I was used to eating a family-size bag of chips when I couldn’t cope. At first, I didn’t keep any junk or sugar in the house. If I wanted something I bought it only when I was out and about. Now that I can control my urges and understand my triggers. I decided to eat the appropriate portion size. When I decide to eat I’m mindful of the size and portion of my food. I keep smaller-size bags of chips for the kids. I only buy mini granola bars. And I cook my treats and desserts so I can control the ingredients, most are sugar-free made with a swerve or stevia or monk fruit. I then package them in snack-size ziplock bags. I don’t deprive myself of foods I love I just makeover the recipes with healthier ingredients and swerve. Then I just be mindful of how much I consume. This allows me not to binge eat or overconsume sugar.

I also said a simple quote I found on the internet as an affirmation. “My food is my fuel, not my comfort, my reward, or my motivation.”

I kept repeating that over and over again until I believed it. I must say overcoming sugar is 80% action to shift your unhealthy habits and 20% mindset training.

I hope this helps bring you clarity on what it takes to start your joinery of reducing sugar. Please let me know what is the biggest challenge that you face when it comes to dealing with emotional pain, reducing sugar, and eating healthier.


Help Developing A Plan For Self-Care

Do you want help developing a self-care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability in implementing a self-care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self-care routine, and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self-care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.

Dr. Nikki LeToya White

About The Author:

Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director, and full-time board-certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC

Art Wellness Studio and Botanica provide the Metro Atlanta area with counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include an online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence-based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self-care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In living a life in recovery from sugar addiction. Loving her low-sugar balance lifestyle.

Warm Regards

Dr. Nikki LeToya White

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