Today's episode of the podcast is a very special recording of an interview I did with Florence Christophers for the Keep the Weight Off Summit in December 2020. Florence is the host of the online annual "Kick Sugar Summit." As a recovered sugar addict herself, Florence teaches people how to overcome their sugar addiction through online courses, private and group coaching and live events.
In this interview, Florence helped me and all of our listeners better understand the difference between sugar addiction and emotional eating, and why it's important to address BOTH aspects if we want to overcome food addiction and obesity. I consider Florence a wise colleague and a great friend, and I hope you enjoy our discussion!
I know you will agree that Florence is absolutely amazing. If you’d like to learn more and sign up for a 30 minute session with Florence, you can go HERE.
28:27 The best research we have is that 8-15% of the population are truly biochemically, physiologically, addicted to sugar.
33:28 There's are three categories of sugar consumers. There's the sugar user, the sugar abuser, and there's the sugar addicts.
38:56 So if you are listening to this and you're like, oh, dang, I think I might be in a sugar addict, well no problem sister (or brother), because we have all the right brain chemistry and nervous system to be able to go and have an absolute, fantastic life on something that isn't self-destructive to our bodies and our minds.
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Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:00:27):
Hey everyone for this week's podcast, I have something very, very special. It's a recording of an interview that I did for the Keep The Weight Off Summit. Back in December of 2020. This particular interview was with Florence Christophers and her topic was "sugar addiction or emotional eating". Frankly, at the time, I did not realize there was much of a difference. And wow, did Florence ever enlighten me and everyone who was listening on the summit? Let me tell you a little bit about Florence before we go to the recording, because she's an amazing friend and colleague.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:01:11):
For many years Florence was crippled with blinding migraines, stage four rosacea, depression and other health disasters, including cancer. Eventually Florence finally made the connection between her runaway consumption of refined carbohydrates and her health challenges and her self abandonment and compulsive overeating. Despite desperately wanting to kick sugar and make peace with food and heal her body, she struggled for decades to break up with junk food and find new and better ways of bringing comfort and pleasure into her life.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:01:54):
Florence says that she's sad to say that it took her 26 years to reach these goals, but she did it. She considers herself a recovered sugar addict and is now on a mission to help others get free, stay free and rock out their happy whole food lives sooner and easier than she did. Florence has a bachelor's and master's degree in philosophy and is certified health coach with expertise in sugar addiction and emotional eating recovery, which by the way, are very different and require unique recovery strategies, which she's going to talk about in this recording. Florence is the host of the world's first online Kick Sugar Summit. She offers group in private coaching, online courses and live events, and she's generously offering a 30 minute coaching session to anyone listening to this podcast who would like to learn more. We'll put the link to her calendar in the show notes, which you can find at journeybeyondweightloss.com, just click on the podcast link and go to episode number 65. So without further ado here is Florence Christophers. Enjoy.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:03:14):
So we mentioned as I was introducing you, that there's a difference between sugar addiction and emotional eating, right?
Florence Christophers (00:03:21):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:03:21):
And so I think I might do a little bit of both at times. How do I know what is the difference between sugar addiction and emotional eating?
Florence Christophers (00:03:32):
Great. Okay. Really good. Yeah, there, it, there's a very important distinction and it's important to know what you are because if you're using strategies to end your addiction using strategies to end your addiction that are better suited to emotional eating and vice versa, it can just prolong the, the journey to recovery. So this is the, the quiz I have for people to try and determine if they're a sugar addict. Now, most sugar, most people on the planet really hope that they're not sugar addicts because everybody knows that if you're addicted to something, your, your path to freedom involves abstinence.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:04:09):
Florence Christophers (00:04:10):
So it's a really important quiz.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:04:13):
Florence Christophers (00:04:13):
But the truth is the truth is, is that there's a relatively small percentage of people that are truly addicted. And here is the criteria to, to judge that. It's taken from the DSM four.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:04:28):
Florence Christophers (00:04:28):
Which is the gosh, what's it called? The, the APA diagnostics Statistics Manual, blah blah.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:04:35):
Just a call manual. Yeah.
Florence Christophers (00:04:36):
Okay, great. And and they used to call it, this used to determine if you're an addict, but they decided that the word addict was kind of loaded and people didn't love it. So they've now called addiction, Substance Dependence. And here's the criteria, according to the DSM.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:04:54):
Florence Christophers (00:04:54):
So I've made this quite specific to the consumption of refined carbohydrates, otherwise known as sugar.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:05:00):
Florence Christophers (00:05:00):
Do you find that you needing increased amounts of your favorite sugary drinks and foods to achieve the desired effect? So if you notice that your, the size of your pop is increased or you've gone from a, a normal sized chocolate bar to the king size,
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:05:25):
Florence Christophers (00:05:26):
Do you experience withdrawal symptoms? That's known as withdrawal. Do you binge eat loss of control?
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:05:34):
Can I ask you a question real quick?
Florence Christophers (00:05:36):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:05:37):
What kind of withdrawal symptoms with somebody who was a sugar addict tipically experience? Like, they're not going to necessarily have the shakes that you would have when you were withdrawing from, like, if you were an alcoholic, like they're not going to go into delirium tremens or something like that. So what can you do?
Florence Christophers (00:05:55):
Yeah. You can absolutely. So…
Florence Christophers (00:05:57):
Oh, you can.
Florence Christophers (00:05:57):
That's actually really common withdrawal symptom for people who have really unstable blood sugars. Even skipping a meal can do that. Ah, your hands can shake. You can feel nauseous, you can get a headache, you can have strong cravings, you can feel tired, you can feel really irritable. You can be moody too, like just, you can get depressed the withdrawal symptoms, depending on how intense your use is and how, how long you've been using and how extensively, how much of your food that you eat during the day comprises of processed foods. Yeah. It can be very intense. There are clinics certainly around the world where people can go into, into detox to, to, to go through the de detox process. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:06:50):
We'll have headaches and we'll be irritable. Great question. Do you binge on sweet foods? Okay. Yeah, we, we covered that one loss of control. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:07:47):
No, I'm not eating those cookies. Thank you very much. No. And then it just keeps calling back. I call that, that part of us it's addicted to sugar, the sugar dragon, and the dragon will just keep poking and badgering and pestering and it's unrelenting. Whereas most people who are not addicted will be able to say, no, I'm not eating a cookie right now. And the, and they don't really have the dragon inside, but whatever, that sort of little pleasure drive that got activated will, more or less just kind of fall away, but it just doesn't fall away in an addict. It just, in fact, sometimes it just gets stronger and more urgent. Okay. Have you experienced unsuccessful efforts to cut back or quit? Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:08:40):
So for many people who are not addicted, if they have a really good reason to break up with sugar or to cut back or eliminate it, and maybe a bit of support, some new recipes, given a little bit of time, you know, within two or three weeks, they'll they'll have made significant progress if they really truly want it. Right. If they have a really good reason, it just, isn't true for addicts. It,
Florence Christophers (00:09:41):
Another criteria is, have you noticed that you've spent significant amounts of time, energy, or money in securing your favorite junk foods? It's called time spent on securing. Okay. So for sugar addicts, this looks like you know, let's say it's like 10:30, 11 o'clock at night. And you've got like this blah, this urge for something sugary to eat and you're, not keeping it in the house. It's not really in the cupboard. You've opened all the cupboard doors. You've looked in the fridge and there's nothing really there. And so you're like, ah, I'll just go put my winter boots on, I'm Canadian, you go put your winter boots on, you wipe the snow off the car, you drive out of the driveway and you're on icy, you know? And you go and you go down to the local junk food store, 7-11, or the grocery store and you going up and down the isles while, the sugar Dragon's going, no, no, no. That right there, that one and two of those please. Right? And you're just being dictated to by the dragon. I mean, that's a huge hassle factor. Yeah. People who are not addicted don't do that.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:10:47):
I had a patient tell me that she's one of these people that she will not go outside her house without full makeup, hair, very perfectly dressed and she woke up one morning at three o'clock in the morning. And she left her house in her pajamas and went to the convenience story to get something that's exactly like what you're talking about. She said, I couldn't believe I did it, but that was just, it was just so strong.
Florence Christophers (00:11:12):
That's it Angela. I love that woman. I love that story. That's it!
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:11:16):
Florence Christophers (00:11:18):
Those people who aren't addicted, they're like, what is wrong with you? I know I've been asking myself that for years. What is wrong with me? This is insane behavior. Yeah. Okay. So this I don't know. I should want to be number these number seven here. Maybe.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:11:33):
Florence Christophers (00:11:34):
Called, recovering from use. Do you spend time, well, more time than you'd like recovering from the consequences of your consumption of refined carbohydrates. So for me, when I ate junk food, I would get migraines or I'd get depressed or I'd be tired or something. And if it was a migraine and last two, two or three days, did I spend more time than I'd like recovering from that chocolate bar date? Oh, hell yeah. When I was in university sometimes on a Friday night, if we went out and partied, we maybe we drank, we had pizza.
Florence Christophers (00:12:08):
That was it. That was enough to send me down, you know, for two or three days, the Saturday, the Sunday, maybe the Monday while everyone else just kept having fun and partying and going to classes on Monday morning. Okay. I was like in the dark wanting to die. Right. Did I spend more time recovering for my consequences of refined carbohydrates? Did everyone else around me could eat in moderation Uhhuh
Florence Christophers (00:13:05):
And I would sometimes say, oh, I'm not feeling very well, mom, I'm just going to stay home. And as soon as the family left, I drag the chair over and I'd pull down the, the bag of brown sugar that was in the very top of the shelf. It's just where my mom put it. She didn't hide it from us. There was never any, any restriction in anything the cupboards were full of junk food. The fridge was full of junk food. The freezer was full of ice cream, popsicles, you name it. It just happened to be where she stored it. And I would drag it down and I'd eat it by this spoon full. I wouldn't eat the white stuff, but I'd brown stuff. And Hmm. yeah, I definitely pulled away from people to spend time with me and whatever my favorite little junk food was mm-hmm
Florence Christophers (00:14:04):
Florence Christophers (00:15:01):
Sometimes I lose control and there's unrelenting cravings. Absolutely. Now they have to, they can only any time in the last year, even, right. They don't have to be at the same time or in the same month you qualify. So it's, it's like a really, it's a really interesting quiz because, and this is why for all addicts, abstinence is our gift. It's the joy of the answered prayer. It's what delivers our freedom because only abstinence allows us to say no to all of these consistently. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:15:54):
But no, there's no, there's no desire for it. There's no unsuccessful efforts I'm finally successful. I just don't eat it. There's no time, time spent securing it. No recovering from use. I never skip time with people to go and spend time with food anymore; in particular sugar. Emotional eaters can still do that. But it wouldn't be sugar refined carbohydrates, and there's no adverse consequences anymore of the consumption. So that's why for those of us are addicts. Abstinence is like, bring it on Florence, teach me how to do this. I just want to be able to break up and stay broken up. No little Rendezvous. No little, oh, it's just a bite. You know? So I will…..
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:16:37):
This is huge because so many of us are told, oh, you know, just have a little bit in moderation. Like it'll be okay, just have a couple of bites of that cake. Well, you know, you put cake in front of me and I have every intention of having a couple of bites. I'm going to eat the whole piece and I'm going to be looking the frosting off of other people's cake. And I actually gone, like after the party, if somebody just ate a little bit off their cake and then they threw it in the trash I trash and extra cake out. It is just like, I have to, it's so like, these behaviors that happen, are just, they're so unreasonable, you know, to watch myself do this going, what the heck is wrong with you? You know, what is it about cake? So…..
Florence Christophers (00:17:25):
Yes, totally. So there's two things. So the thing is the beautiful, beautiful thing about being an addict. And this is something I've embraced with all my heart. I am deeply, deeply grateful that I fall into that category because abstinence is the joy of the answered prayer. It's it's what I want. If I, someone could give me, you know, if I had a fairy godmother with a magic wand that could make it possible for me to moderate. It isn't what I want. I do not miss it. I don't need cake
Florence Christophers (00:18:18):
They're not nutritious. They're mm-hmm
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:19:20):
High fructose corn syrup.
Florence Christophers (00:19:26):
Florence Christophers (00:19:26):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:19:26):
Florence Christophers (00:19:28):
No, not honey.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:19:29):
Florence Christophers (00:19:30):
Yes it is. But I actually stick that in a slightly different category and I'll tell you why.⠀***So the 56 names of sugar are typically sugars that have been processed. They come through factories, they've been concentrated they don't exist in nature in natural form. Right? And then the second category is artificial sweeteners. Now for some people they're like those aren''t sugar. Yes, sweetheart, they are.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:19:54):
Florence Christophers (00:19:55):
For lots of reasons.⠀One, they there's very clear early evidence that they do spike insulin. Mm-hmm
Florence Christophers (00:20:57):
It's just kind of, it just creates, creates a little bit of versatility in their world, but the minute they are eating something with either of those sweeteners in it and they feel that pull, they know exactly what it feels like when you're like, oh, that tastes really good. And you intend to have one and you do have one the first day. And then the next day it's two. And then a week later, you know, you're baking with it and you're like, ah, no, no, no, no dragon. You're trying to drag this in the back door. I'm on to you. Yeah. Not a chance. That's going on the red list. So I put, I put foods under red, green and yellow list. Red is the, I just don't eat it. I know what it does in my body, negative consequence or it stimulates, or it activates the addictive pathway.
Florence Christophers (00:21:42):
So that's the red list. Then there's the yellow list. I really am not sure if it triggers cravings. I'm not sure if there's adverse consequences in my body. So I'm going to create a food rule around it. So for example, I can use Stevia in such and such circumstance or to make a cake, but I only eat it only on birthdays or something special occasion. Something like that. And if you can't hold to your rule, that's where I say to the dragon, look it, I've been a very reasonable woman here. I have left Stevia or maple syrup or xylitol or something in our, monk fruit, in our meal plan. Just for a little flexibility here. And if you give me any more hassle about this, that's going on the red list, right? So you step into your mama, badass mama backbone, energy
Florence Christophers (00:22:38):
Right. Or it'll just keep unrelenting. And if it's unrelenting, you know, it's activating the addictive response. It is not personal. It's a biochemical body thing. Yeah. You, I'll I'll I can say more about that. And then there's the green list. If I'm hungry, I can eat it. Okay.⠀***So it's really, really important to know your own truth, to know your own body; what belongs on the yellow list, what belongs on the red list. And I love that I can trust my sugar clients, addictive clients, because if you can be honest enough with yourself that you need to give up sugar because who in their right mind would give up sugar without a really, really, really good reason. If it truly wasn't your truth; nobody like that's crazy. Right? It's such a wonderful, wonderful pleasure. I mean, it's so versatile, so convenient and so social. mm-hmm
Florence Christophers (00:23:33):
So if you can be honest that you need to give up sugar, you can be honest about stevia and xylitol and any of the other sort of artificial sweetness. So that's the second category and that's where you just kind of need to do a little bit of like your own soul searching. Personally. If you asked me, if you have a health condition of any kind, if you have weight to lose, you got no business dabbling with any of them. Get to your go weight, reverse your lifestyle diseases. Then you can decide which ones you want to bring back in and dabble with and see how they, how they work with you. If you have a health condition of any kind or you're overweight, you need to be a whole food woman. Start there. Cause there's no, there's no medical intervention. There's no super food. There's no supplement.
Florence Christophers (00:24:19):
There's no prayer. There's no pharmaceutical intervention. There's nothing that can undo the sugar. The damage that sugar does once your body's, you know, compromised. Third category is flowers. So, as we know, all sugars are sach, all saccharides are sugars. So saccharides and sugars are synonymous. So we have monosaccharides. We have disaccharides and we have polysaccharides. Monosaccharides is where it's a single molecule of, of sugar. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:25:25):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:26:17):
Can you say that again? Did you just say that white refined sugar is lower on the glycemic index than a piece of toast?
Florence Christophers (00:26:25):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:26:26):
No wonder my patients struggle so much with bread. Oh my gosh.
Florence Christophers (00:26:31):
And right. And so there's this fabulous little graphic I wish I maybe could find it quickly on my computer. It's so great. So the question is, can you guess, which is which, and you've got three little piles of white powder. One of them is icing sugar. One of them is white refined flour, and one of them is cocaine. And you cannot tell the difference. You really can't. You would have to get up real close, smell it, taste it. They're all drugs.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:27:02):
Florence Christophers (00:27:03):
Yeah. They've all been refined. So white refined sugar has gone through the exact same refinement process as heroin. In fact, those sugar, the white refined sugar that we have today could not have existed prior to the late 19 hundreds when we invented the central fugal turbine. So as we know heroin, do you know where heroin comes from in nature?
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:27:29):
Heroin? Doesn't it come from poppy?
Florence Christophers (00:27:31):
It does. Yeah. So if you take the poppy seed and you refine it, you get opium. And then if you take opium and you refine it even more, make it more concentrated, you get morphine. And if you take morphine and you refine it to as much as we can humanly refine it, you get heroin. Wow. That is the same process. White refined sugar goes through from the cane or the beet or the cane stock of cane. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:28:43):
It lights up our brain chemistry, certains some water.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:28:45):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I
Florence Christophers (00:28:57):
Yeah, it truly is. But again, everyone's kind of in, in a bit of a bell curve so 18 to 15% of the population is our best estimate are truly addicted to sugar. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:29:56):
It's not personal. It just is what it is. It's just example, like some people can respond, fit very powerful quickly and intensely alcohol quickly and intensely to cigarettes quickly and intensely to any kind, all, you know, all kinds of other substances and behaviors. So that said back to the third category, interestingly, all the saccharides all are sugars. The, the mono that di and the polysaccharides yeah. Are sugars, but there's only one kind of sugar. That's really, really sweet on the tongue. That sugar is fructose. Yeah. So if any any of these sources of sugar is cut with a molecule fructose, it will taste sweet on your to tongue. So, so many of us just think of sugar as being, oh, if it's really sweet, it's sugar, but if it's not really sweet, then it's not sugar. No, it's still sugar. It just hasn't been cut with fructose.
Florence Christophers (00:30:55):
So grains that are turned into powders are pure sugar. They're pure molecules of glucose that have been made incredibly bioavailable to the body by, by turning it into a powder mm-hmm
Florence Christophers (00:31:52):
So for some sugar addicts, they can do a bit of Evia and they can do a bit of, of honey every now and then. And maybe they can't and only they will know that is up to you to decide that's your truth to discover. And some sugar addicts can actually do a very dark maple syrup if it's only been boiled to concentrate, not tinkered with in a factory or a lab or something like that. Okay. Some people can, some people can't, but let me be clear. It's still sugar. It will still spike insulin. I can still block weight loss, because of course in high insulin, turns off the fat burning switch, cause it's like, I got a lot of sugar to burn here. Don't burn fat body because I gotta get rid of this sugar burn that first. Yeah. Right. So we just need to be really strategic, only sugar addicts really care
Florence Christophers (00:33:36):
It's an 80% of our processed foods. Yeah. The most people are using sugar. They're sugar users mm-hmm
Florence Christophers (00:34:29):
Yes. Terribly terribly. I just want to go and wrap my arms around those babies and support the mothers. So very young, this sugar goes in and destabilizes their brain chemistry. And I can tell, tell you the science around that. So she thinks that what's happening is it's destabilizing our brains quicker and it's predisposing us to become way more of us to be hooked into sugar than, than the average addict. When we do studies with rodents, they'll have them in a cage, they'll give them water and it's done through little tube and they just have to lick it and they get some water. And then what they do is they take out the why it's all cruel, it's wrong. I, I can't believe the things we do with animals, but anyways, then they will put in a little tube where there's cocaine or sugar in there and that's all they get to drink.
Florence Christophers (00:35:15):
If they get, if they want, if they're thirsty, they have to drink the water that is been cut with the drug and they get them drug addicted. Mm-Hmm
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:35:51):
Florence Christophers (00:35:52):
Interesting. Now they're they're related the, they were raised is the same. It's not childhood trauma. It's not right. Like it's, it's a biochemical body wiring process. Now the guy who taught me the technique that set me free, which works really, really quickly and very beautifully and perhaps over time to share that, yeah, his name is Jack. He had this epiphany, that addicts are the lucky ones for so many reasons. A we get to just say no, thanks to sugar and never have to wonder if we're overdoing it. It's like, I just don't need it. Which is a relief. And the other thing he says, we can be pleasured. We are often easily delighted with life. We just need to get plugged into and hooked into things that are pro-life that, that light us up and bring us joy and delight and pleasure that aren't, you know, wrecking our bodies and our minds at the same time.
Florence Christophers (00:36:49):
But that that's possible for us. He goes, there are people that come into the world, fall flat, nothing, lights them up, nothing gets jacked a sunset. Isn't the most beautiful thing they've ever seen. They're like, it's a sunset they're S and it was never true of addicts. And it goes, the other thing about addicts is that they have very strong, nervous systems. You have to, to be able to handle getting high and sugar makes us high. Oh. Especially if we turn them into speed balls and of speed balls is where you combine four ingredients together, caffeine, so chocolate, and then you've got your flour. So you've got, and especially if it's made from wheat, cause you've got your Gludeomorphine in there, which is just like an, a morphine, like another opiate in the, in the body. So you put chocolate with flour and then you add the, the fat, the dairy fat. So you got the fat plus the, the Keso morphine, which acts like a bit of a morphine for some of us, if you're sensitive to it, it's another drug. Yeah. Oh, and then you cut it with some sugar. It's a speedball, right? It's the perfect food. I would eat black force cake for breakfast, lunch dinner, if it would kill me, and it damn near did. Wow. So
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:38:03):
Florence Christophers (00:38:08):
Yeah. That's a drug term for those of you that don't know what, maybe
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:38:11):
That's why my brain is so hooked on cake. It's like, I can, there are other types of sugar. My brain doesn't do that too, but cake, it does
Florence Christophers (00:38:18):
Right. You've got the Glu morphine and yeah. And you've got the sugar. Well, you've got the two there and if you can add some dairy, some buttercream, then you've got some of the fat and the Gazo morphine. Now, if you just added a little chocolate, you'd have your self, a speedball. Now speedball is where you cut. I think I've got this right. It's heroin and cocaine together. Is that correct? I'm not sure. I'm not. Yeah. I think it's like where you put the upper and the downers together. I, I don't, I don't have that kind of body. I could ne I, my nervous system can handle sugar. I can handle getting high, absolutely on sugar. And I can, but I can. I don't think, I, I think I would die with one speedball person that I don't have. I don't have a strong enough system for that.
Florence Christophers (00:38:56):
So if you are listening to this and you're like, oh, dang, I think I might be in a sugar addict, no problem, sister or brother, because we have all the right brain chemistry and nervous system to be able to go and have an absolute, fantastic life to get to feel as good, if not better on something that isn't, you know, self destructive to our, to our bodies and our minds. And it really, really does impact our brain chemistry, which I can chat a bit about. So now let's go to the category of sugar users and abusers, cause those are typically the emotional eaters. Now emotional eaters, truly more or less can take or leave sugar. They like it. Don't get me wrong. It's a comfort food. There's a light, there's a slight lift in their brain chemistry. It's a, it's a pleasure on the tongue.
Florence Christophers (00:39:47):
It can still be a go-to food when they're stressed, but emotional eaters are less responsive to, it's less intense and less quick to impact their brain chemistry. So they'll reach for it. But in a pinch, if they need to eat, cause they're distressed, they've got an emotional they've got, they've got an emotion that they, they, they don't a time or the skills to process in, in that moment. Yeah. They will reach for food and it could, they could overeat chicken and broccoli and salads. And in fact, a lot of my sugar clients after I get them unhooked from sugar, I teach them how it's a three step process. I teach them how to identify the voice of the sugar dragon in their head. And they'll be like, oh yeah, I do hear it. Great. Mm-hmm
Florence Christophers (00:40:38):
And I teach them how to, that's not me. It wants sugar and I don't. So you create this sort of like capacity to move into MetaMind and observe this rogue animal pleasure drive. That is not me. It's not, and we're not our bodies. We're not our minds. We have a body and we have a mind. Yes. And is our animal body that's addicted to sugar. Yes. And it's a teeny tiny rogue pleasure drive that comes out of the limbic brain. And I call it the dragon and we are not the dragon. The dragon has its own agenda as you know, which is why it's unrelenting when it's, when it locks in its eyes on a donut at the staff party. Right. Why it's obsessed with it. And it just keeps bugging us till we give in. Right. Because is not us. It has its own agenda.
Florence Christophers (00:41:20):
So the step number two is to observe it. And step number three is to ignore it. And I walk people how to do it's it's actually relatively easy. Okay. Wow. So
Florence Christophers (00:42:17):
They'll go through, have a jar, peanut butter. That's me. Oh yeah. Peanuts. A crack cocaine. I know. Well mine is macadamia nuts. Mac nuts. Yes. Uhhuh.
Florence Christophers (00:43:14):
Florence Christophers (00:44:08):
We need an adult with us to help us process those emotions and they, and most emotional eaters had inadequate and inconsistent nurturing. Yes. And that's the vast majority of us, truthfully, it's incredibly difficult. It's incredibly difficult to be perfectly consistent and perfectly adequate in our modern culture. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:45:08):
But not always. And so he just can never really never really sure if, if there was someone you could run to for a hug and for comfort, sometimes you could, sometimes you couldn't or sometimes you would run to somebody for that comfort. So she, Susie said this to me, it's cool today. And you're really upset. And the parent goes, oh gosh, well there, goodness gracious. What are you crying about? Like, that's right. There was no validation. There was right. So these feelings get locked in the body. So then we, we start looking the, our body, our animal body starts looking for places to, for, for assistance, with bringing the nervous system down to soothe ourselves. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:46:34):
It, I, I don't, I wouldn't say it's not quite, I want to say it wasn't personal, but it might have been, but just to help us not tell a story or create a limiting belief, a core belief about why it happened. Okay. So for example, let's say I run to my mom it's grade one, and Susie said something terrible told me that
Florence Christophers (00:47:27):
And she'll say, oh, darling. Yeah, like she just, oh, that's, that would be really hurtful. And, and she'll say something like, you know, sometimes when people tease you, they're actually really jealous because your glasses are pretty cute on you. I'll tell you. I think you love like you're super smart. Yeah. Right. She's reframed what happened. I'm ugly. And I'm different into arm special and I'm smart. Yes. Right. And so I could have gone through my, my life with the, with the core belief I'm ugly
Florence Christophers (00:48:29):
But what happens if parents and most parents probably do a pretty decent job of it, but, but not perfectly. So most parents will do this for children in an ideal world. They'll do that for children and roughly in our late teens, as our, as our Neo cortex starts to develop so that we can do that reframing painful experiences ourselves so that it doesn't create a limiting self-belief. And we know we we'd be picked up tools on how our mothers and our fathers and our caregivers soothe us. We start to take that roll over. That was always how it was supposed to be. They show us how they do it for us. They show us how to do it. And then we begin to take over in our late teens. And, and by our early twenties, we have our strong nurturing self already developed.
Florence Christophers (00:49:17):
And our nurturing self can work with our feeling self and with our thinking self to, to do a four step process. So this is kind of the four step process I teach to move through emotional eating
Florence Christophers (00:50:06):
I got it. And it doesn't take long to learn as an adult actually. So your nurturing steps, steps in and says, sweetheart, we don't really need that chocolate cake. I don't, I we're we're full. We're good. Okay. So what's going on? What are you feeling, sweetheart? And then, you know, your feeling self will say I'm actually blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:50:52):
You don't problem solve. You just nurture, you validate and you listen. Perfect. Is there anything more sweetheart? You need to tell me. And it'll in the early days, there'll be a lot. There's a lot of things we haven't been listening to. We've been drowning out through
Florence Christophers (00:51:50):
What, what are those course corrections? How can I get your needs met? Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:52:46):
Right? And they drive the compulsive overeating.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:54:00):
Foundation. Yeah. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:54:02):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:54:28):
Florence Christophers (00:54:28):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:54:33):
Would you consider, would you consider emotional eating as sort of self abandoning them? It
Florence Christophers (00:54:37):
Is self abandonment.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:54:38):
Yeah. Okay. That puts a whole new spin on that. That's it is. It's really good. Yeah. And
Florence Christophers (00:54:43):
It's not, it's not for any other reason though. We didn't learn how to, we didn't, we don't have a developed inner nurture.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:54:50):
Yeah. We don't.
Florence Christophers (00:54:51):
We just don't. Yeah. It's a skill. It's totally learnable.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:54:55):
That's what I'm saying. Like these are the skills we're trying to get people to understand, like if you want to lose weight and keep it off, there are these skills you have to learn. So yeah. Yeah. Awesome.
Florence Christophers (00:55:04):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:55:04):
Just did a whole bunch of questions here. Can I start asking you some questions from our audience? Sure. They are. They are just dying here to know. Okay. So Margie says I love sweets so much. I just can't imagine living the rest of my life without any of that. Especially at a party or a cruise or a vacation help me. What, what would you say to Margie?
Florence Christophers (00:55:28):
Can can she come on the line or
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:55:31):
I don't think so. No. Oh,
Florence Christophers (00:55:33):
Okay. Okay. I wasn't sure how long it would be. So Margie here's the thing is that I, I never ever talk anybody into or out of anything. It's all about what is your truth? So for you, if you were my client, I would say go sick, quiet someplace and ask yourself is, am I a sugar addict to go through the quiz? And maybe I can send it to Angela. You guys can have it.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:55:58):
Florence Christophers (00:55:59):
And if you are an addict, ask yourself if you're of two minds now all addicts, true addicts are of two minds. There's a part of them that really truly knows, like deepen their bones and really, truly wants to stop eating sugar or to significantly cut back. And there's a part of them, the sugar dragon that never wants to do that life isn't worth living without it that's stupid. It goes into panic. You know, it starts pestering you and freaking out. It throws tan temper tantrums. Yes. So the dragon never, ever, ever, ever wants you to break up a sugar, cause it's a junkie. The dragon doesn't care about you. The dragon is, is the, is that rogue pleasure drive that re that that forces cigarette smokers who have mouth cancer from smoking to smoke a cigarette through a hole in their throat. Yeah. Standing, I've seen them standing outside of hospital, smoking a cigarette through their throat, holding onto an IV bag rationally.
Florence Christophers (00:56:59):
They know what they're doing is insane. Mm-Hmm
Florence Christophers (00:57:57):
Forest cake delight the hell out of you. Bring you pleasure. And even if it's, even if rationally, you know, it's harming your body, you're not an addict. Yet. Addicts are born in that moment. When the higher consciousness breaks away from this pleasure drive and begins to observe it and go, I don't, I don't want to be doing this anymore. And you become of two minds. All addicts are ambivalent. That's why my technique works because I teach you how to separate those two and to observe and nor the dragon and yeah. So for you wait for that moment till you're of two minds, and then then there's lots of right ways to kick sugar and you're welcome to reach out to me. I can help you walk through that three step process, but you, you gotta be ready. Yeah. And it's hitting it's whatever addicts and knows this heading bottom.
Florence Christophers (00:58:47):
You need to be ready. There'll be a moment where you go, I'm ready. This is, I know this is telling me now there's three levels of, of knowing in terms of there's clients that come to me who say Florence, I feel like I should get off sugar. Yeah. Yeah. Really passionate about, I saw this study and all the friends in my yoga studio are doing this and oh yeah. I'm really excited. I about sugar to which I'll say to them, you're not ready for me yet.
Florence Christophers (00:59:27):
I think I should give up sugar. I've read some studies. I've seen the science. Yeah. Yeah. I think I should give up sugar and I'll say to them, you're not ready for me yet, but you could probably start with the 28 date challenge or sugar free client or give it two weeks or something like that. Mm-Hmm
Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:00:04):
That is so good. Okay. Here is a, another really good question. Do you have to exclude all sugar, including from whole fruits like fruit?
Florence Christophers (01:00:16):
I never, I never
Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:00:18):
Say this. I do have patients who struggle with fruit.
Florence Christophers (01:00:22):
I never, ever, ever recommend treating whole foods. In the same way as we would refine carbohydrates, it doesn't mean it agrees with your body for some people, the sweetness of a banana or a mango or pineapple, those really strong sugar flavors in the early days of sugar addiction, recovery, or emotional eating recovery.
Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:01:16):
Okay. That sounds great. What about this is another question from Margie should said as a sugar addict, do I give up all wine Baileys and mixed drinks? What about straight vodka or other booze? So what about alcohol and sugar?
Florence Christophers (01:01:32):
Right. So alcohol is a sugar. Absolutely. It's a carbohydrate. It's a saccharide it's fermented. Absolutely. I mean, and some people, some sugar addicts can do wine once in a blue wound do a G tonic, not tonic, tonic got sugar in it, but a whole, some people do like a homemade mix with it. Some people are once in a blue moon will have some alcohol, but they have to be really, truly mindful. Yeah. Is this triggering sugar cravings the next day? Or two days later, they'll have a drink and think they've done just fine. And then two days later they're craving bread and they'll be like, oh, this is kinda weird. And they'll go, oh,
Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:02:47):
Yeah. Okay. Awesome. Okay. Florence, we are four minutes over time. I so appreciate you. This has just been so enlightening. I have loved every minute of this and I think there are lots and lots of comments in the chat about what people are getting out of all of this. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate it.
Florence Christophers (01:03:47):
Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:03:48):
And this concludes my interview with Florence Christophers isn't she amazing again, if you'd like to learn more and sign up for a complimentary 30 minute session with Florence, just how head over to journey beyond weight loss.com, click the podcast link and find episode number 65. And we'll put a link to her schedule in the show notes. Thanks for listening to this week's podcast and we'll see you again next week. Bye.
Speaker 2 (01:04:18):
Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way, just head over to journey beyond weight loss.com/free course to sign up also. It would be awesome. If you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes. Thanks. And we'll see you in journey beyond weight loss.
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