When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons…

‘The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.’
Gloria Steinem


OK, I’m just going to say this.. Straight out.


It’s as addictive as cocaine and amphetamine.


Yup, that’s right. Just as addictive as the drugs you associate with recklessness, the people who squander money on junk, for a high that’s not real, ruining their health… Oh wait…

Hear the sound of a penny dropping…?

Yup. It’s true.

It’s been 10 years now since Princeton scientists discovered rats behave in exactly the same way, whether you feed them coke, speed or sugar water.

Sugar, just like cocaine and amphetamine, has a special relationship with the dopamine receptors in our brain. The Princeton psychologists concluded that sugar releases dopamine into the nucleus accumbens in a similar way to these drugs.

Feel yourself resisting this knowledge? Then welcome to the world of an addict in denial.

Once upon a time, back in the 1990s, I had a friend with a pretty regular cocaine habit who insisted, with a completely straight face, that cocaine wasn’t bad for you. Now maybe he wasn’t addicted but cocaine is not good for our bodies. Ok, maybe high in the Andes, a couple of coco leaves sucked in the corner of your mouth will help you manage altitude sickness, but in its refined form, absolutely not.

And just as cocaine is refined, so sugar is refined. Would gnawing on sugar cane have the same impact on your mood as a can of full fat coke? It’s the refining process thats the issue.

I could write for hours about how sugar wrecks your teeth, your arteries, liver, kidneys… the obesity risks, type 2 diabetes, amputated limbs… but you know this stuff. Same as you know cocaine isn’t a healthy lifestyle choice.

Now not everyone gets addicted to sugar. Some people can take it or leave it. And frankly, in a famine scenario all those ‘Oh, I forgot to eat today’ people would be toast. 

Most of us are designed to survive food shortages, just not the 21st century fast food, muffins (let’s face it, they’re cake) for breakfast, cookies with coffee, constant grazing culture we’re living/dying with. 

Our brains are designed to crave sweetness because our brains are designed to keep us alive in environments we lived in thousands of years ago. Not for the post-World War 2 processed food revolution, fast food a-go-go lifestyles we pick our way through now.

My grandfather was Irish. I am descended from people who got though a potato famine. We did not survive by being fussy eaters.

I am well aware of my sugar issues.Today my sugar addiction lies in what I call ‘sugar in disguise foods’. 

Bread. I love freshly baked bread. German rye bread, fancy walnut bread, good old Italian … I’m salivating just thinking about it. Lashings of butter – oh my…

And yes, a slice would be fine. But can I stop at half a slice? No. Half a loaf? Possibly…

Because here’s another hard, cold truth… flour is sugar in disguise. It behaves in the body just like sugar. It is not good for you. In any form.

I learned how to make myself feel ‘better’ with sugar from an early age. I have an emotional response coupled with an addiction propensity. I know myself. I heal myself. And I get to help others heal too, which is incredibly satisfying.

Am I perfect? I am not. I’m a work in progress, but I do make progress. Eating well is a journey, not a final destination.

And I do believe finding calm around food is available to all of us.

So when life gives you lemons, DO NOT MAKE LEMONADE! 

Fizzy water with ice and a slice is what your body needs.


When anger bites

When anger bites

‘Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.’
~ Buddha ~

If you have drinks on Friday nights, mentally praising the heavens for your two day pass … chances are there’s someone in your work place pushing you buttons.

If you spend your Sunday nights worrying about Monday, that’s another big clue.

Feel sick when you walk in the office or do you find yourself comfort eating to compensate for how you feel after a long day in their presence?

Does this person blame others when anything goes wrong? Is there shouting? Sulking? 

An atmosphere you could cut with a knife when you walk in the room?

Yes, sometimes the work can be dull, but if you’ve got a difficult boss or a colleague who’s a bully then you’re likely to feel anger at least some of the time.

Anger at the injustice.

Anger at the unfairness.

You might call it resentment. You might call it irritation. Especially if you’re a woman, because women are taught at an early age that anger isn’t an emotion you should be feeling.

If I had a pound for every time I was told not to be angry. It wasn’t ‘ladylike’…

But the problem with anger that doesn’t find an outlet is, it simmers…

It stays there in your body and it festers.

Anger is described as an intense feeling in response to feeling frustrated, hurt, disappointed, or threatened. Shame, inadequacy, fear and powerlessness can all be in there too.

And it can cause havoc in the body. A major anger episode can almost double your blood pressure, putting you at risk of stroke or heart attack. Science shows angry people have a 10% increased chance of having a heart attack. 

Your heart is pretty essential, so dealing effectively with anger is so much wiser.

5 keys to handling others’ anger

  1. Find somewhere to ground yourself. Decide on somewhere you can go, inside or outside, where you know you can take a break, get some space, and get clarity.
  2. Establish boundaries and stick to them. Decide what you won’t tolerate. Certain words. Actions. Tones. Know what your internal boundaries are too. Isolate the feeling, the shift physically that signals to you that someone’s anger is intolerable for you and be clear on what that is. Your boundaries are sacrosanct. They are yours. They are not to be compromised.
  3. Nurture yourself. Show yourself a lot of love. Sleep. Good diet. Self care that relaxes you – go for all of it.
  4. Articulate your own anger. Someone’s anger will always trigger yours. Make space to process it. Don’t hold it in. Find your own words for how you feel – journaling is excellent for this.
  5. Stop struggling. Accept what you can’t change. Look for what you can control. You’ll have a lot more success focusing on what is within your power.

5 keys to handling your own anger

  1. Ever heard that phrase: ‘You can be happy or you can be right? Which do you want?’ Your ego wants you to hang on to being right. The ego loves righteous indignation. But in a year from now, in 20 years from now, does it matter. Really? If it’s already happened, can you change the past?
  2. Don’t take it personally. This is just someone’s opinion. It’s not yours. You don’t own it. If you don’t like the look of it, don’t take it on. This is about them, not you.
  3. Let. It. Go ‘Why does this ALWAYS happen to me?’ ‘Why can’t I EVER get my own way?’ Welcome to life, lovely. No one, but no one gets what they want 100% of the time. But when you let go of the need to have everything go your way you’ll start to notice when it does. And extreme language does not help you. It just upsets you. Chill out.
  4. Be Mindful of what’s going on in your body. If I don’t get fed regularly I go from mildly grumpy to growling narkiness very quickly. Five mile hikes looking for the right restaurant do not bode well for my dining partner if I’m ravenous. So I plan ahead. I take snacks. Tiredness. Being too hot. Stress. They’re all anger triggers. Be aware.
  5. Connect to yourself. The more aware you are of your shifting emotions, the better you’ll be at expressing yourself and controlling your own reactions.

If you find emotions effect how you eat, you can join my free Me First Tribe, support group on FB where emotional over and under eaters have a safe, non judgemental space to connect and support each other.

Emotional eating, the morning after

Emotional eating, the morning after

In victory, you deserve champagne. In defeat you need it.
– Napoleon Boneparte

Ever noticed mood changes on the day after the night before a few too many drinks? Perhaps you’ve been out a few nights in a row. You feel off kilter and not just because you’ve got a headache.

Somehow the aspirin doesn’t quite sort you out… you need something else. 


The reason why you’re feeling low is likely to be your serotonin levels are a mess – alcohol is basically sugar-in-disguise – you’ve been bingeing. 

Now you’re crashing and your mind is working hard to get your body back somewhere near balance.

The mind’s job is to move you away from pain towards pleasure and so that’s why you’ll crave sugary drinks. And food. Lots of food. Not broccoli either. Funny, that.

Of course sugar does have a practical purpose – it boosts serotonin. This is why you crave carbs around your period – hormone fluctuations can mess with your serotonin too. So perimenopause and menopause will impact on your serotonin levels when estrogen drops.

Of course, the problem with white carbs is they only work for a few hours, like pain medication. Three hours later and you need more.

It’s not just the wine and Netflix evening that messes up your healthy eating aspirations, it’s the day after too.

So how do you boost your serotonin levels effectively without plunging off into sugar spiking bingeing.

There are complex carbs that do the job. Sweet potato, oatmeal, quinoa, lentils are all ideal. All you need is 30g, according to Dr Judith Wurtman, author of The Serotonin Power Diet.

If you want to get them into your bloodstream fast, eat them without protein or fat, as this slows down digestion.

Nutritional cures for a hangover are one thing. But addiction recovery expert and yoga teacher, Tommy Rosen, has linked poor diet to other addictions. He has first-hand experience of dependency. In conversation with Dr Mark Hyman, medical director of the UltraWellness Centre and best-selling author, Tommy Rosen linked his own progression into addiction with a poor early diet. Plenty of highly-processed preserved meats, lots of sugary foods and absolutely no vegetables were his staples growing up.

Dr Hyman said there is certainly evidence that while some people are satisfied with one glass of wine, others need far more to achieve the same level of satisfaction and that may be linked to a sugar-heavy childhood diet.

If you’ve grown up eating all the wrong foods it doesn’t mean you’re destined to be an addict, but it’s likely that your brain is more familiar with the highs and lows associated with sugar rushes and crashing and so you may even find the highs and lows of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs more familiar than frightening.

Not having your cake and eating it too

Not having your cake and eating it too

‘Pour some sugar on me, in the name of love,’
Def Leppard

Doughnuts… ice-cream… black forest gateaux… cookies… Belgian triple chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate…

If your mouth is watering just reading those words then you’ll have a thing for sugar. I mean who doesn’t, right?

But for some of us, sugar-lust can get out of control – and never more so when we’re feeling low.

Emotional eating is rarely triggered by having a great day. It’s triggered by feelings that bring us down. Like feeling judged, feeling sad, feeling lonely, feeling less than in balance…

Sometimes the strangest things can throw us – and before we know it we’re stood in the kitchen, fridge door open and scanning for the foods that satisfy our personal craving needs.

Of course, a Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) session will help you identify what happened in your past that created these associations. 

Reframing these associations in hypnosis can be incredibly powerful because the subconscious is then on board with what you want. It stops the ‘go on, eat the cake, cake makes you happy’ mantra because the whole of the mind – conscious and subconscious – understands that it was never really about the cake. 

The mind’s job is to move you away from pain towards pleasure. Once the mind understands that the craving is triggered by a memory, the need for the cake evaporates.

Let me give you an example. On my 18th birthday my mum took me to London. A big treat. We had lunch in a pizzeria in the Brompton Arcade and in the afternoon mum bought me a glass necklace in Harvey Nichols as my present. There, we went to the cafe for a drink. 

While I found us a table she bought us three slices of cake each, plus fizzy drinks. I remember remarking on the amount of cake she’d bought, but I also felt duty bound to eat it all with her. You never left anything on a plate in our house. My parent were World War II children, food had been rationed in the UK and going hungry was not unusual. Food was not to be ‘wasted’. Besides, leaving any would have made me ungrateful and I didn’t want to spoil the day.

Children look to their parents constantly for cues on how to behave. ‘Food as a reward’, ‘over-eating as a privilege’ are both powerful messages.

Did this one incident turn me into a cakeoholic? Not entirely, but it was key and it was reinforced with lots of ‘cake = rewards’ messaging over the years beforehand and so my ‘sugar = reward’ thinking was a sealed fate.

Now I understand that these scenes are really about love. The cake is merely the messenger. Connecting to the memory of love is just as powerful. And my subconscious understands that now too.

The need to binge can be complex, but it is invariably about recreating an emotion or sometimes pushing one away.

Understanding is power, but understanding in hypnosis is a phenomenal power because the whole mind is engaged in your desire to change.

I now hear myself say ‘No thank you, I don’t really like cake.’ Because really it’s just a mush of sugar and fat that makes me feel a bit giddy and then slightly sick.

If you want this kind of change for you, contact me for a free first consultation.