A client came to see me wanting to stop eating sugar. She said she had sugar cravings, mainly late at night. After dinner, she’d put the kids to bed and sit down for a cup of tea and a sugary treat. But instead of just having one treat, she’d have 3 or 4 and it felt like it was getting out of hand. She also admitted that she used to have wine for her treat time, but had cut that down.
In the first session we looked at the issue and the work took us back to a time in her life when she partied hard as a reward for working all week. Fun for her at that time was letting go without considering her boundaries. So we worked on being able to have fun while still holding her boundaries firm.
By the second session, her pattern of eating sugary snacks had changed slightly. She would now sneak a snack while putting the kids to bed, but once they were in bed, she would stop snacking. She was also holding her boundaries better in other areas of her life.
This time we went back to time in her childhood where she was aware of her mum’s behaviour. She told me her mum never took a break and it seemed that she had learnt behaviour from her mum that she was trying to take on – namely that being a mother means you are always busy doing something. We discussed a different way of being, maybe taking a break during the day, before the evening rush of dinner and bedtimes, so she didn’t feel the need for a sugar fix to get her through this.
By the third session, the pattern had changed again. This time, she was craving a sugary treat after a savoury meal and feeling that she “should” be allowed to have one. However she really wanted to be able to have sweet foods and it not become a habit. The boundary issue was also coming up again in her life so we also worked on that.
This time we went back to a time in her childhood where she had to do something she really didn’t want to do and she was bought sweets as a treat to cheer her up. So there was the connection between “sugar” and “treat”.
This client only came for 3 sessions. When I spoke to her a while later she said that she felt much more in control of eating sugar. It was no longer controlling her.