Eat less sugar during the holidays
It's painful to be caught in a compulsive sugar habit - especially during the holidays, when sweet treats and special foods seem to be everywhere.
You may feel scared or overwhelmed, especially when your cravings feel out of control.
You may dread holiday get togethers and parties.
You may wonder how you'll get through the season with so much focus on food.
You may want to enjoy the holidays, to feel more present, more connected, and filled with those things that feed you.
But the extra busyness of the holidays - and all the anxiety about food - leaves you feeling more stressed and overwhelmed, eating sugar to self soothe.
Why change can feel so hard
Being stuck in sugar can feel so painful.
But being stuck in sugar during the holidays - when you want to feel connected to others, to yourself, and to what you most care about - can feel extra frustrating, and lonely.
I remember all the times I would hide out in December because I was afraid of overeating at parties. Or I was at home, in my basement, recovering from a food hangover.
When we struggle with sugar, it may feel like the only thing that will work is a drastic detox or diet. Or we may feel like the only way we'll change is if we eat perfectly, as 'good' or clean as possible.
We can get frustrated and get harsh and critical, and be really hard on ourselves.
But punishment and perfectionism don't work. Fixating on our food creates its own stress, and we often end up feeling more anxious, and more hopeless - a loop that leads us back into self blame, and back into the sugar.
There's nothing wrong with you
It's not your fault that sugar has such a hold on you. And it's not your fault that you can't eat perfectly - no one can. Thank goodness - perfection is not the answer, and not the solution.
When we use sugar to self soothe and to comfort ourselves when we're under stress, we're following a wise impulse to nurture ourselves. It's just that this impulse gets directed to trying to do it all on our own, or with sugar. This is probably a really old coping strategy - most of us learned to cope on our own because of the culture we were raised in.
So looking for sugar for comfort is not a personal flaw, but a sign that somehow, we learned to rely on ourselves and sugar when we were hurting.
The good news - we can shift this pattern, and we don't have to do it on our own.
You don't have to eat perfectly to change your relationship with sugar
Here's the other good news - you don't have to be perfect to heal.
Changing our patterns of self care can be messy. It's normal, and how we learn! When we make room for this mess, healing becomes joyful, fillled with greater ease, and an opportunity for intimacy and connection.
But most of us have an idealized image in our heads of what we think our sugar journey should look like.
When our lives don't match this ideal, we panic, thinking there's something wrong with us. We compare ourselves against this ideal and fall short.
This feeling that 'something's wrong with me' or that 'I'm falling short' fills us with stress, anxiety and inner tension that worsens the very sugar habits we're trying to change.
This can show up in a number of ways:
- trying to do everything perfectly or be in control
- panicking or beating yourself up when you make a mistake
- getting easily thrown off course when you hit an obstacle
- feelings of hopelessness about changing
- and lots of worry about 'doing it right'
Bad habits aren't your fault
Change is impossible. And it's not true that there's something wrong with you, or that you're falling short. You merely need a different approach.
It starts with the ground floor - what's behind eating too much sugar. There's something so tender underneath this habit that's driving you nuts.
We all have times when we feel stressed, overwhelmed or like we don't have what we need. We can feel lost, uncertain, and insecure.
And many of us carry pain from past experiences in our bodies. This pain gets pricked in our daily life and stirs us up, physically and emotionally.
When we feel overwhelmed, when our pain gets pricked, or when we feel exhausted and stressed, we may reach for warmth and nurturing – like sugar – to help us feel better.
Then, when this morphs into a habit, and we get more and more stuck in it, we don't like ourselves. We feel bad for our 'bad habit.'
This is where our need for compassion steps in.
What you need to eat less sugar
The answer to eating less sugar isn't found in perfectionism, becoming neurotic about food, or being hard on yourself. Here's what helps:
- Gentleness, ease and patience for the healing journey – unwinding a habit is a process, and one that takes time, kindness, and presence. When you understand and make room for this process, you feel less stressed and less driven to get it right – and right away. This, paradoxically, helps you change and grow.
- Gentleness, ease and patience for yourself – in addition to unwinding the habit itself, you're also building new habits, new ways of caring for your feelings and needs. This also takes time, patience, and kindness. When we acknowledge this, we support ourselves and bolster our courage rather than criticizing ourselves.
- Emotional support. When you're moving through the growth process, you'll have times when you'll panic, when you'll feel like nothing's changing, when you feel bored, when you get scared, and when you feel resistant, when you don't feel like doing the things that help you feel nourished and cared for. During these times, you need emotional support to care for these emotions without getting stuck in them. This helps you navigate the ups and downs of the journey with resilience, trust, and strength – an internal sense of, “I can handle this.”
In teaching thousands of students and listening to their sugar stories, these three things are what I see over and over that lay the foundation for change. Emotional support is especially crucial. Nearly everyone needs more of it, for modern life can feel lonely and disconnected.
That's why I created this course for you.
In Emerge you'll receive support, tools, practices, and understanding to give you greater confidence and competence in helping yourself through the process of changing your habits with sugar.
This course is designed to help you compassionately reframe your experience with sugar so that you can honor your body's natural limits.
This is not a diet (you won't find information on what to eat) nor a bootcamp, nor a course on what or how to eat. Rather, it's a course on nourishing, supporting and growing the internal resilience, strength and levity that helps you make external changes with sugar or other painful habits.
You'll receive daily emotional support to help you when you feel panicked, overwhelmed, like "f** it!" or frustrated.
You'll learn how to apply self compassion to the process of habit change, so you can create more nourishing self talk and build resilience , the inner confidence of, “I trust myself to move through this.”
And you'll receive help to reframe how you see the growth process, so that you can relax and settle in to your healing rather than feeling like you have to try really hard and make it happen on your own.
This course is especially designed for highly sensitive people and those who want a gentle approach.
"This course blew me away, reaching depths that I longed to touch but didn't know how to.
"For so long I have struggled with living in two different worlds- one that genuinely likes, values and practices health and well-being and one that is secretly plagued by emotional and binge eating.
"As I know many in this course have done, I feverishly searched for answers trying to find understanding, relief and change. And I found bits and pieces here and there, but it lacked the depth and comprehensiveness that I was yearning for.
"Today that has changed and therefore I have changed. This course facilitated so many aha and breakthrough moments.
"I was finally able to see and tap into the shame train that I was on since a traumatic incidence in my childhood. That incident connected me to shame which grew deeper and wider through the years and over many life experiences. I also saw with clarity that I gripped to shame because, while it was destructive, it also protected and served me, giving me a reliable entity to lean on.
"Through this course I came to a place where I could look behind with gratitude and understanding while looking ahead with optimism and excitement and chose to step OFF the shame train and wave goodbye. With this massive shift, I was also able to begin practicing self-worth which I think was previously tied to perfectionism but I loosened that grip.
"I am no longer obsessed with finding the right diet, model, lifestyle, etc because I have found the right model ...staying connected to my power, my light, my true self, my worth though compassion and a fierce yet tender love.
"I am not eating perfectly nor am I my ideal weight but I am no longer wrapped tightly around trying to force that. I have confidence, courage and compassion in a new way. And I believe that this is the platform for all other change that needs to take place.
"THANK YOU for bringing so much wisdom, so much intelligence, care and love to this program. It's truly helped me to break free."
- Jenn Urso, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
"[The course] has worked in me to lower defenses, shame and alarm...I also have approached limits with food in a much healthier way without trying or forcing...it seems like an inner shift has taken place outside of conscious effort on my part!
"The beauty of working with Karly for me has been the experience of being accepted and supported unconditionally in the most nurturing way I have ever experienced.
"[It creates the]...most incredible experience with every course I have taken with her -- 4 in total now!"
- Mary, New York, USA
I understand why this feels hard
My name is Karly Randolph Pitman, and I'm your course facilitator. Growing human(kind)ness, the name of my website, means to soften self criticism and shame, and claim the wholeness that is our birthright.
This work arose from two things - from my own experience with decades of multiple eating disorders, chronic depression and anxiety and from bearing witness to others' stories of heartbreak and rebirth.
I first created this course seven years ago as The 30 Day Lift, and thousands have been touched and moved by it. Now I've folded all of their gorgeous collected wisdom into a new, updated course.
One fundamental insight in Emerge is about how you settle into the healing process rather than force it.
'Settling in' to the healing process is how you:
- feel comfortable asking for and receiving lots of help
- soften shame, guilt, and “I should've known better”
- break patterns of isolation
- soften anxiety about needing to 'do this right' or perfectly
- heal the ping pong of being 'really, really good' followed by 'really, really bad'
- and help yourself during your trickiest times
Be filled with ease rather than stress
I want you to feel empowered and whole – to feel empathy and understanding for the places where you've gotten stuck, knowing you did the best you could – while also feeling empowered to change.
I want you to know in your bones that your self worth is not tied to your habits, and to feel relief from needing 'to get it right all the time.' I want you to feel courage when facing difficult emotions or situations, knowing you can handle it, and knowing that you're not alone.
I want you to live from your wholeness, to know that your hardships and challenges are not who you are - and that you can care for them without being them.
And I want you to experience joy and levity and the freedom that arises from making choices – even if those choices are hard – especially when those choices are hard.
Healing your relationship with sugar or any painful habit will help you experience greater well being, which impacts how you relate to yourself, to others and the world. Rather than feeling pressured to produce your 'best self,' you're able to relax and rest in your imperfection , sharing your whole self, in all its wonder and width and breadth.
This creates ease and a space where you can genuinely connect with
softening the pain of isolation that often accompanies bad
habits, and welcoming in
greater connection and intimacy.
These are the deeper reasons why Emerge was created, and how it aims to serve both you and our greater world.
"Karly's approach to habit change through caring for the tender wounds behind a painful habit immediately attracted me to the...course.
"I felt so engaged and supported that I was willing to loosen my tight hold on food, and instead to focus on developing a caring and attuned relationship with myself. Thank you Karly and team for this life-changing experience!"
- Paula, Boulder, CO
My time with Karly's kind, encouraging, humorous and loving voice was very healing for me. She gave me practical tools, planted phrases for showing myself support, lent tips for building a supportive environment around me, and led me in a very inviting and non-threatening way through a kinder re-framing of my developmental wounds.
After my fabulous experience with the [course] I signed up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra's "Shedding the Weight" meditation course and it is astonishing how much more helpful I find Karly's work to be.
I found that [Karly's] combination of maternal warmth, self-kindness, down-to-earth humor, and theoretically-grounded cognitive behavioral approach delivers a rather holistic and intelligent healing experience, whereas [Oprah's] course seems to gloss over attention-starved psychic wounds with repressive positive thinking and irritating generalizations.
Karly's focus on integrative thinking, embracing ambivalence, acknowledging pain, caressing neglected parts of my psyche, and "being the adult in the room" provided an encompassing platform that helped me immensely. I'm really sad that it is over! Honestly, if I could do a 365 [day course] I would!
- Jenn Lindsey
"The biggest benefit for me in (this course) has been allowing myself to slow down, rest, and play...The course materials have created more of a sense of spaciousness and rest in my life...It was a wonderful experience and I'm so grateful for Karly's work and support. THANK YOU!
"I was afraid that I would have to stop eating sugar altogether. I feel that maybe that's not necessary anymore -- I can eat some sugar sometimes and that's ok."
- Josephine, Massachusetts, US
Each day for 30 days you'll receive a message from me to build the mindset that helps you make changes with sugar.
You'll listen and learn how to use self compassion in the daily, nitty gritty of your relationship with sugar so you can eat less sugar without being overwhelmed by perfectionism, stress, and trying too hard.
- How to soften perfectionism and taking on too much
- Caring for overwhelm, especially if you're highly sensitive
- What to do when you hit an obstacle
- And how to care for mistakes so they don't derail you
There will also be a private Facebook group where you can connect with other course members and share your insights.
There's also a special bonus section on help for cravings and sticky emotions
Bonus: Help for cravings, resistance, and boredom
- Six tools you can use to soften cravings
- How to soften feelings of resistance, boredom, and hopelessness
- How to respond to your trickiest times, like night time and social occasions
How to participate:
Each day for 30 days you'll listen to a message where you'll receive gentle support to change your relationship with sugar.
After class ends, you'll continue to have access to the course materials so you can use and reference them. Once you buy the course, it's yours to keep!
Live class teaching and Q&A
You can also join me for four live Q&A webinars on zoom. You can join these webinars from anywhere in the world and
from many different devices. They're recorded if you can't join live.
Q&As are on Tuesday, November 26, Thursday December 5th, Thursday, December 12th and Thursday December 19th at 1 p.m. Central.
In their own words, the most helpful part was....
Your course has helped me tremendously. I was bingeing out of control on sugar and baked goods for 3-4 months before your course due to crazy premenopausal hormones.
I have now been sugar-free for 39 days and I feel wonderful. Your teaching about being sensitive and learning to be kind and compassionate to ourselves was very key for me.
- Diana Morgan, United States
"I want to tell you how much the [course] has done for me. I’m 63 years old with a lifelong sugar addiction, and so far this is the only course that has REALLY helped.
Your spiritual and caring approach makes all the difference in the world to one who has tried to punish and criticize herself out of the suffering. Your course is brilliant."
- Carol Heffler, United States
I’m 28 and I’ve been on this 'food journey' now for as long as I can remember. Not only do I have food issues, but I have a digestive condition to throw into the mix, which tends to make everything more confusing.
I really want to thank you for your work, Karly. I freaking love your vulnerability. It helps me to remember the beauty of sharing my own 'dark sides,' because we all have them. And we can all heal faster and with more grace when we're all committed to the honesty and love it takes to allow ourselves to be seen.
This [course] is helping me with food stuff as well as just softening all of my compulsive behaviors. The concept of self-compassion has come into my life in so many ways over the years, but you have had the most genuine impact. Thank you from the depths of my heart."
- Lauren Godlove, United States
"I had been suffering from terrible cycles of overeating and compensatory dieting, and for years I couldn't figure out what was ‘wrong’ with me. Karly introduced me to the radical idea of self-love, which has changed the way I feel and act about essentially every aspect of my life.
By learning to accept and care for myself one moment at a time, I have been able to shift one after another of my painful patterns, in far-reaching and lasting ways. I no longer binge on sugar, or any food. I have come to feel entirely comfortable and beautiful in my body, which has responded to my new self-care by evolving into its most effortless, strong, lithe, and joyful shape.
By letting go of my obsessions with self-mastery and perfection, through Karly’s practices, I have freed up energy for more interesting and important pursuits, like my writing and my family.
I never thought I could be a flexible, intuitive person, who feels safe and comfortable flowing with the ups and downs of life – but now I absolutely am, thanks to the inspired work of this remarkable teacher.
You will never be the same, and you will never look back!"
- MHP, United Kingdom
"Karly is a pioneer, with what I consider to be a holistic, grounded and complete program for sugar sensitives like myself. Until I found Karly, I did not use the phrase sugar sensitive. Karly has helped me to grow and blossom and heal in a natural, organic healthy way.
I have been inspired by her courage in sharing her strengths and her weaknesses. She has shown me by example that I do not need to be "Perfect" to live a full, successful life.
Karly has taught me that becoming binge free is a process and I find that my desire to sooth myself with food has diminished and been replaced with loving self care most of the time."
- Rhianne NewLahnd, Arizona, United States
I just wanted to thank you Karly, with so much love, for the work you are bringing forth. I and am now doing the [course]. For the first time in my life, I am opening, shifting – and I truly thought I had done it all. I’ve done retreats with Geneen Roth, studied with many “experts,” and this is the first time I really feel something changing within me – it is terrifying and fantastic!! Last night my son was having ice cream, and my go-to thought was, “Oh, it’s Friday night, I “deserve” some too”…..AND I felt the desire, AND also my integrity, that not eating the sugar and staying true to the loving promise I made to myself was so important to me. OMG!!! Just SO much gratitude to you.
- Liz Murray, United States
I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying the [course]! WOW!!! It is so comforting hearing your voice every day and having that encouragement each day. I am on day 3 of my container of "sugar free." I am basically remaining sugar free in all my meals.
I am keeping a journal throughout and doing my best at following through with all my tasks. It has been so awesome, I really love this format!
I actually had a very stressful moment at work today and I thought I need to eat something. But I actually told myself "It is ok dear one, you can handle this" and voila, no sugar consumed!!
- Lizanne Miskelly, North Carolina, USA
"My experience in using the [course] – particularly on round 2 (I’m using it to change other behaviors beyond food as I found it so helpful the 1st time around) – is that all the safety that Karly has built into the beginning of the process is making it safer and safer for me to give up my self sabotaging behavior. Karly has shown me that giving up these foods (and ways of behavior) is really about growing my self love and kindness."
- Char Brooks, United States
About Karly, the course creator
Hello! I'm so glad you're here. I’m Karly, your guide through the course. I help highly sensitive people who struggle with shame, sugar, overdoing and perfectionism and who yearn to create a kinder, more compassionate relationship with themselves.
There's a deeper story that lives underneath the surface story of your struggle, and this story is both more true and more merciful. It's this story that I help midwife into being. There is so much beauty - and so much tenderness - that lives in and underneath your struggles.
Growing human(kind)ness, the name of my website, means to soften self criticism and shame, and to claim the wholeness that is our birthright. This work arose from two things - from my own experience with 20 years of multiple eating disorders, chronic depression and anxiety, and from bearing witness to others' stories of challenge, growth and rebirth.
I teach classes, write books and courses, and speak to groups.
I offer this teaching in service to all who feel the shame of human stumbling and who yearn for wholeness, and a desire for a more compassionate and connected world. Underneath all my work you'll find a love for the human heart.
I live in Austin, Texas with my husband Patrick and our family, two dogs, a very frisky cat, lots of dust bunnies, and beautiful oak trees. I love good stories, good music, good food, good words, lifting heavy things, and long walks.
Uncertain about whether you can do it?
It's easy to frame bad habits as something 'outside' of your wholeness, something that doesn't or shouldn't belong – as if your health includes everything BUT this painful part.
But any kind of overdoing – sugar, work, food, perfectionism – is not a detour from your goodness. It's a deeper embrace of it: where all of you is welcome and included.
It's a paradox, but this compassionate embrace is what helps you shed habits that hurt.
If you've struggled with a compulsive sugar habit, and you feel a nudge or desire to change – even if you don't feel like you know how to do so – then you're at a turning point in your journey.
Some part of you is longing to grow.
We all carry capacities inside that can feel dormant or undeveloped – capacities like telling ourselves no, feeling uncomfortable feelings, and standing in our strength.
There are other qualities inside us that also long to express themselves, to emerge and grow – qualities like trust, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and patience.
We may not trust these capacities or ourselves – we may think they don't exist or are impossible. But they're there.
These qualities long to express themselves through you, to be born into the world. But like all that is 'low and lowly,' they aren't born through victories or successes, but through the things in you that feel small and shameful: through the least of these, through the very thing you're struggling with.
Perfectionism, overdoing, or a 'bad habit' are opportunities for healing, how these capacities grow and arise in you. Like the mud that cradles the lotus blossom, your 'bad habit' is the very place where you emerge in your fullness, and where your story of being 'shameful' or 'bad' can fall away.
So while this journey may feel scary, new or uncertain, it's a great place to be!
Whether or not you choose to take this particular course or
whether you find help elsewhere, I want to
thank you for embarking on this journey. Thank you for your
courage, desire and yearning, for opening both to the vulnerability
and the new life that longs to emerge in you.
May your dreams be supported with kindness, care, and support, and may you find ease. Blessings and blessings to you.