Monday, August 12, 2013

Overcoming Sugar Addiction

I've posted about this many times before so if you're bored...feel free to sign off now.  I won't get my feelings hurt...much. 

I've been in a really ugly place when it comes to my relationship with my weight and sugar (any kind of carb actually).  The peace of mind I found after I quit drinking has been steadily going away for the last year or so and I didn't understand why.  Yes, I fucked around with my medication and that put me in a bad place but I'm out of that now and still, I can't seem to shut up that bitch that lives in my head.  She yammers on and on and on and no amount of meditation or yoga will make her be quiet.  Do you know why?

Because it's not the bitch that's yammering on and on, it's that motherfucking beast that also rents space in my head.  Addiction.

It's no secret that after we get sober we crave sweets - it's physiological.  We've eliminated a huge carb part of our diet and our bodies and brains are left craving the substance we've removed.  For me, it was a helluva lot safer for me to stuff my face with M&M's than to open a bottle or three of wine.  BUT - I've only succeeded in trading one addiction for another and that's what's been going on in my head.  That stupid fucking beast that starts as soon as my feet hit the floor and continues all freaking day.

Upon opening my eyes, "I am not going to eat poorly today.  No sugar.  No chocolate.  No cookies.  No cake. Today starts my journey to a healthier me."  Sound familiar?

Breakfast selection - Bagel or english muffin or greek yogurt with blueberries and honey or oatmeal (instant).  Breakfast result?  Fed the beast...he quiets down.  (Interesting that I think of my beast as male and the bitch that lives in my head as female. Good Lord if they ever mate I'll be in a world of trouble....oh well, that's another post entirely.)

Lunch - Usually a salad but I'm left craving bread to go with it.  Sometime I indulge, sometimes not.  If not, I'm down at the little store in our building buying sugar by 3:00 pm.  If I have eaten bread for lunch, I can usually make it home before he starts up again.

Walk in the door after work - search frantically for something sweet.  Sometimes I can stop myself and get a grip, sometimes not.

Dinner - ALWAYS has some kind of carb component.  It might be a better carb like whole wheat pasta or brown rice, but more often it's either potatoes, white pasta or white rice.  The good news is we always have a protein and a green vegetable.  More often than not I skip the carb and eat the meat and green vegetable.  But I always want bread to go with it.

After dinner - This is my weakest moment.  I'm tired and that damn beast is STRONG because I've been feeding him all goddamed day (little g).  I have little resistance as I go for the chocolate chips or cookies or whatever is in the house that I can get my hands on. 

And now that I'm really paying attention guess what?  It feels just like it did when I was drinking.  That all consuming feeling that if I have to, I'll get in the car and go get some chocolate.  I've asked the kids to go get it for me.  I've asked the hubs (after all, I've already taken off my makeup and I'm wearing my comfy bra...I can't go out in public without MAKEUP - some things are non-negotiable).  I've even made a batch of brownies (for the kids of course) just to get my fix.

Um...wait...what?

I can't live with this voice in my head chattering on and on about how I deserve the chocolate and how I'll start to eat healthy tomorrow or next week or next month or after the holidays or WHATEVER!  I can't live like that again.  I've battled that fucking beast before and I'll do it again.

And guess what else?  I'm not even sad about this one.  So what if I can't eat chocolate?  I thought I couldn't live without chardonnay and not only am I doing it, I'm happier than I've ever been!  So what if sugar and chocolate are everywhere?  Alcohol is everywhere too!  Normies are everywhere and some of them are my best friends and I watch them drink while I drink diet coke (which I am also supposed to give up...um...we'll see how that goes) and it no longer bothers me. 

I read a really good ebook this weekend that I was going to quote for this post but since it's expired and I don't know why (note to self - check this out) that really explained this addiction issue and helped me to understand that I'm not weak, it's not that I lack willpower, it's just that I'm an addict.  In fact, it looks like the sugar addiction was hardwired in my DNA and that those who are wired this way are more likely than anyone else to become addicted to drugs and alcohol (and also suffer from anxiety and depression).  By eating sugar as kids and young adults, we build a tolerance to the happy hormones eating it releases and we look farther and wider for our next fix. This next fix is generally a more adult selection - drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, gambling, shopping, etc.

And, according to the author, like drug and alcohol addiction, there is no cure and really, moderation is not possible.  We have to either abstain, or deal with that fucking beast yammering on and on and on till the end of days. 

So I'm going to test the hell out of her theory.  For 30 days, I'm abstaining from as many forms of carbohydrates (artificial, refined, natural, candy, cakes, pasta, bread, etc.) as possible and am going to pay very close attention to what's going on in my psyche.  I know that for at least the first two he's going to be raging like the damn fool beast that he is but that, in and of itself should be a sign to me right?  I mean, normies don't have beasts living in their head SCREAMING at them to eat a piece of bread do they?  Nope, they eat in response to their bodies telling them that they are hungry - not to their heads telling them.  Ding, ding, ding, ding...we have a winner!!!!

But, if it's like my other addictions (nicotine and alcohol), over time the beast should begin to wither and eventually, sleep.  I know it never dies...it just sleeps.

And it doesn't even snore so I should, finally, be able to find that peace of mind that I seem to have misplaced.

Namaste

11 comments:

  1. Sometimes I find myself home alone I realise half way through the evening how much I've snacked. It just happens and I hate myself when it does.

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  2. Good luck on your 30 days, I hope it goes well! I crave sweet and chocolate too...much like I did alcohol :X I *know* I need to do exactly what you are doing, but I'm not ready yet.

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    1. Please take your time...don't jeopardize your sobriety for the sake of a few cookies. Your time will come.

      Sherry

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  3. I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes. Sherry, my obsession with food is part of the reason why I never drank. I KNOW my tendencies and I know I hold such great potential to be an alcoholic/addict....thus my rigid care in what I consume. I'm scared shitless of what I could become. There is nothing noble about it.

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  4. Hi Sherry, just dropping by to say hi!

    Good luck on your 30 days, hang in there and know that it'll get easier. The first few days were very uncomfortable when I tried it in early January (byebyebeer did a stricter version and Mishedup cut out all sugar and stuff on the Whole30). You may even notice some good health benefits too--better breathing, less aches and pains.

    The book "Potatoes Not Prozac" was pretty interesting from a sugar standpoint. The writer theorizes that many alcoholics are addicted to sugar and that's why we turn to alcohol in the first place, especially the sugary wines. It's worth a read. As is some of the Whole 30 stuff you can find on-line.

    Thinking of you... just remember whatever you are feeling will pass... look at the 30 days as a science experiment. :)
    -Christy

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    1. Hey Christy!

      Thanks for stopping by...it's always nice to see your name pop up!

      I've read Potatoes not Prozac as well as her other book about breaking sugar addiction. Very interesting theories, especially as they pertain to sugar, potatoes and depression. The rebook I referenced today is called Break Your Sugar Addiction Today by Cynthia Perkins. She basically asserts the same principles but without the potatoes. I've glanced at the Whole 30 stuff but I think I'll check it out again. Thanks for the reminder.

      Right now I'm trying to eat only animal based protein and non-carb vegetables with some nuts and seeds thrown in here and there. Today was okay except that without diet soda I have no caffeine either which resulted in a huge headache by this evening...jury is still out on the caffeine. Plus, I didn't plan for any mid afternoon snacks (the cut up peppers I brought didn't do shit) so I ended up at the little store anyway but instead of sugar I bought almonds. They worked.

      Two very good lessons learned.

      Science experiment? I think we must share a brain...that's EXACTLY how I'm approaching this. Whatever gets you through the night...is alright. (That was just for you my friend.)

      Sherry

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    2. Whatever gets your through the night... yes ma'am!

      But my god, caffeine too! Pshew. I know you're doing the right thing, but I know that' got to be a killer.

      The good news is, it will be easier to reintroduce foods back to your diet one at a time to assess how your body feels and responds to them. Kind of like a reverse elimination diet.

      There's another book out there, something about Wheat Belly? I'm sure it says the same ole same ole though.

      Throw some little baggies of almonds in the bottom of your purse--that way if you ever get stuck or have a raging craving, you'll have an emergency "just in case" stash.

      Keep it up! -C

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  5. What does the bread comfort- why does it make it better? I ate a huge pecan pie square last night to feel better after a tough meeting.

    It's like, it's mine- my pleasure. And then my pleasure to berate myself for eating it, or eating it all. I struggle with it too. xoxoxo

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  6. I don't know if I've ever recommended a book I haven't read yet, but an AA friend who has also (shock) struggled with sugar told me great things about Eat to Live (http://www.drfuhrman.com/shop/ETLBook.aspx).

    I'm putting in a hold request at my library, but the idea of eating nutrient dense foods as a way to reduce cravings feels right.

    My sugar cravings come and go, but lately I've found I physically crave vegetables and healthier food in general. I'm hoping it continues in this direction as long as I keep trying. Hang in there, you're not alone.

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    1. I think I've read that book! I'll have to check it out.

      Craving vegetables? I hate you.

      (jk)

      Sherry

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  7. Sherry! Write about this till you're blue in the fingertips! i love this, because I am in the same boat!! I haven't spoken about it on my blog much because I have the same thoughts you do - everyone will get bored of it. So I just sit and suffer...lol. I am off the no-sugar wagon and it sucks. There are times I feel that I can get a hold of it, but much of my behaviours mimic those of my drinking days. And that is what sucks. I hide candy wrappers. I feel "safer" when I have a stash of chocolate hidden somewhere. I mean, really? With all the shit I have learned and gone through, I am reduced to this? Ugh. This sucks, and I am so glad that there are others out there who struggle the same! Honestly, if there was a Sugar Anonymous, I would be at a meeting right now. Get me a sponsor, lol. Anyway, I am curious how this goes for you. I know I am going to be there soon. I was camping not too long ago and I didn't crave as much. Eating healthy foods also makes me crave much less. The problem is getting a hold of those healthy foods and finding the time to prepare them. But I have seen the connection between eating well, exercising and not craving. Interesting how the body and mind works.

    I'm with ya here, my friend.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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