My client Kate had a problem:
She was so addicted to soda that she had to have a few cups of coke every day. This was a problem in many ways. First, her addiction was making it difficult for her to lose weight. Second, it was eating away her bank account because she was spending roughly $10/day on buying soda in restaurants or at vending machines at work. This meant she was paying $300 a month and $3600 a year as long as she was addicted to soda. Third, it made her feel out of control — she didn’t even know why she was getting the coke; she just did it left and right. The realization that her addiction was running her mind and the feeling she could not control it caused her a lot of anxiety.
Kate is now completely free from soda addiction, and she eventually lost 35 pounds sustainably. If you are struggling with soda addiction, you may be wondering where it comes from and how you can fix it. These two questions are what this article focuses on.
Addicted To Soda
Where Does Soda Addiction Come From?
The best way to describe the nature of this addiction is ‘programming.’ It’s a program written and solidified over years of experience.
So, how did the addiction start? It might have been because you were introduced to Coke too early in your childhood. Studies show that flavors introduced early on have a higher chance of being adopted as someone’s natural flavor preferences later in life. Or that it could be due to your family and social environment — if you were used to drinking soda a lot growing up, it becomes a part of your lifestyle.
Meanwhile, there are also situations where food is linked to specific emotions. For instance, if you’ve had the tradition of eating a particular food when you’re sad or anxious, your brain sends signals, causing you to experience chemical triggers that fulfill that signal whenever you experience those emotions.
Regardless of the initial reasons, your addiction is now programming because a pattern has formed on the subconscious level to run your decisions. We are always subjects of our subconscious programming — whether it’s good or bad. We often don’t even get to make a decision in these situations.
Why Am I Addicted to Soda?
First, fixing a subconscious pattern requires a solution that works subconsciously. That’s why simply fighting the addiction to soda with willpower isn’t the solution.
Here’s something important you need to know about how your brain works:
Simply put, it takes time and repetition for the brain to form a neural pathway. These neural pathways determine the emotional and behavioral patterns that we experience. Therefore, the neural pathways are the underlying roots of the ‘programming’ that we are talking about.
Here’s a fact you may not know: it takes energy for the brain to sustain the neural pathways — just as it takes energy to do anything physically. Indeed, all your habitual thinking and behaviors actually take energy to maintain. I know it may feel strange to think this way. One of the analogies I found is: if you’ve set up your account for an autopay program, you won’t feel you are spending money even though a certain amount of cash is being taken from your account. At first, you set up the transfer. Now, it happens automatically.
Because in a particular area of life, you’ve already been accustomed to thinking or behaving in a certain way (existing programming), the energy goes to fuel that neural pathway by default. Until–that is–another neural pathway in the same area competes against it for power.
Here’s the best part: your brain only has so much energy for your daily functioning. Do you know what happens when you start forming different neural pathways in the brain? You direct a part of the allocated energy to the new ones. Since the old neural pathways no longer receive sufficient energy to sustain themselves, they will eventually fall apart.
That’s essentially how addiction to soda, or anything else, is resolved organically and permanently–when we create a different focus associated with the same situational/emotional trigger without resisting or fighting the old one.
Not fighting the old one is crucial because the more you fight, the more energy gets sucked into it. It means you’ll still get stuck in the old patterns because you manifest what you focus on.
Stop Fighting the Old, Start Building the New
For example, if seeing the vending machine triggers the action of buying a can of soda, you can purposely choose an alternative action and turn that into a habit. The key is that it needs to be an action that doesn’t make you feel deprived but, instead, gives you pleasure and satisfaction. As most of us have learned over time, as soon as you feel deprived, you are in the mode of fighting and resisting the old pattern. As I mentioned above, the old programming becomes more robust in this mode as it feeds on the energy you’re feeding it.
BUT it’s all made very difficult when your body doesn’t agree.
It’s difficult because your body constantly sends you chemical and hormonal triggers to expose you to all kinds of cravings. That creates split energy — and by that, I mean you won’t have the dedicated stream of energy for establishing the new neural pathways because a big chunk of energy is now being used to fight the old cravings.
THIS is the second essential piece for a real solution: turning the body from working against you to working for you. Chances are if you’ve been dieting and eating unhealthy chronically, your body is not currently working for you in a way that allows for weight loss or resolving addictions.
Why Is My Body Retaining My Addiction to Soda?
Besides the psychological association that you’ve created between specific emotions and soda, there exists the physical reason your body is programmed to crave excessive sugar. What are these physical causes? Many.
For instance, carbohydrate deprivation can cause sugar cravings, as can blood sugar imbalances, nutritional imbalances, and hyperactive stress hormones.
Usually, it’s a couple of problems working together to cause the physical conditions for the addiction to remain. These physical conditions usually include an unhealthy diet, a very restrictive diet, and chronic inflammation.
If you can stop your body from producing the conditions that work against you, the majority of the food anxiety, addictions, and cravings resolve themselves. And guess what — when your body becomes in tune, weight loss happens in a steadily reliable way that feels so easy it makes you wonder what took you so long to get to this point.
This is why Janina Ziegler, another client of mine, said during one of our conversations that “it really feels UNREAL.” Before we worked together and started solving the REAL problem, her body, she was on a 90-day highly restrictive diet program. This diet left her excruciatingly deprived, yet she hadn’t lost a pound. Not only that, she was being devastated by cravings for soda and dessert that were stronger than ever.
After a few months of adopting my approach, she began to see positive results. She lost a whole bunch of weight (I remember 30 or 40 pounds?) once and for all while eating rich, diverse, delicious foods–everything she wanted (including what she used to think was fattening). Equally important was that her life-long food addictions were over.
All of that was wonderful! But the best part was that what she once considered unattainable turned into her new normal. Once her old patterns were turned off, and new patterns took over, her change became permanent.
With all that said, the solution for rewiring the neural pathways cannot work alone. It has to be paired with holistic food and a routined approach that provides nutritional and hormonal balance with real satisfaction and freedom. The latter stops your body from working against you and reminds it how to work for you. This turnaround can happen pretty quickly.
Freedom From Addiction to Soda or Any Other Food!
I want to stress “freedom” here because that’s precisely the result you want. Contrary to what most people think, you cannot have real self-control without access to unbridled freedom. Conversely, the more you restrict yourself, the less self-control you have because your mind and body–both deprived and impoverished–are primed to break every balance. This state of imbalance is where you are stuck right now.
I hope what I’ve written here has helped you understand more about what is fundamentally needed to address your addicted-to-soda situation. I’m calling out soda because that’s one typical example of many food addictions, but the main idea here applies to food addiction of any kind.
These are a part of the philosophies behind a transformative solution that, when masterfully executed, helps my clients break free from any food addictions — and in their own words — ‘live like a normal person again’ while losing 30-50 pounds easily.
How do you enjoy that above-mentioned unbridled freedom found in eating without overeating and gaining weight? Is it even possible? What are the missing pieces that are stopping you from achieving that perfect self-control and balance right now? These are the questions I’ve addressed in this article.
Leslie Chen helps people learn how to stop emotional eating forever without restrictive diets. Her ultimate freedom approach teaches you how to wake up skinny without deprivation, and feel liberated and calm in front of a table full of sweets. Book a 1:1 session.
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