Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Moment of Epiphany

Why am I always thinking about food? Why do my cravings always gravitate to carbohydrates and, more often, sugar? Why, once I put that first, blissful bite of sweetness into my mouth, do I continue stuffing sweet after sweet, carb after carb into my gob?

Do any of you know what I'm talking about? Are any of you closet eaters, to boot? I am. A pantry is just a dining room for me! More to the point, though, is that I am addicted to sugar. This is something that I have been consciously aware of for a while, now. Subconsciously, as a kid, I would think, "Gee, this cereal is already sweet enough, but why not make it sweeter?" I think that it was at the age of twelve that I finally really realized just what sort of a deep rut I was in already; making it deeper and far more difficult to climb out of. When I was twelve, I decided one day that I would stop eating two, big bowls of cereal every morning for breakfast.
Twelve. I was twelve and I was used to eating as much cereal loaded with as much sugar as I liked. No one stopped me. No one said anything to me about it. It just clicked that something about this wasn't right. I would go to bed at night wondering just what tasty cereal I would eat in the morning, only to end up having a bowl of each. Or, you know, it's Saturday, why not a third mixing the two?
That isn't right. I wish someone had stopped me, but, food, sweet food, starchy food has always been my comfort blanket. It's always performed a seductive, mouth-watering dance in my mind that I have never, ever been free of. Practically every second of every day of my life since I can remember has been filled with thoughts of "What will I be able to eat next? Will it be sweet? Will it be salty? Will there be dessert. There better be dessert." And if there wasn't dessert, I went to bed disappointed, hoping breakfast would be sweet as candy.
I am 26, now. One day, in my early twenties, I had a candy craving. No candy in the house, so I began to fantasize about the candies that I enjoyed. In marched the candies that I adored, but ate only once in a while. My fantasies enhanced my craving and I went to the grocery store, headed straight for the candy aisle (when they had certain candies available in bulk) and found just what I was looking for: sour gummi worms. I bought another type of candy, too, but these are what I recall from this particular episode. I think I bought a half a pound, but it might have been a full pound. I drove home, mission accomplished, stash in hand. Though I offered a few to my housemates, I ate that entire load within two hours. I knew I was going to be sick, but I didn't care. The bright, dreamland-colored drugs were satisfying whatever it was that made me desire them above all else. I don't even know what else was going on as I shoved worm after worm into my mouth, torn up by then by all of the sour-sweetness. Even now, if you can believe it, my mouth waters just thinking about them.
I was sick that night. I haven't had them since.
But there have been times when I will drive to the store for "something sweet" to stop the craving, to feed the addiction. I never knew, save that time with the gummi worms, just what I would end up with. I would go in, most of the time thinking, "Maybe a pint of Ben&Jerry's will do me," knowing full well that it would be gone within the hour of returning home. More often than not, I would peruse the ice cream aisle, then the cookies, then the chips, finding at least one thing from each row to bring home and make myself ill. I would convince myself, "Hey! It's been a while since I've had a junk food and movie night. This is okay." Then, I'd get to the self check out lane and make up a story in my head of last minute party shopping. You know, just in case anyone asked.
This was, and still is, my shame. I am by no means obese; a little overweight, yes, but not obese. I am 5'8" and my weight fluctuates between 165 to 170.
Is all of this a side effect of my hypothyroidism? Maybe, but there is no denying that I am addicted, full on drug addicted to sugar.
And it was only an hour ago that I finally looked up "overcome sugar addiction" in the search bar. I have been going through withdrawals because I'll think, "I've been good, a cookie wouldn't hurt." It's never just a cookie. Then I'm mad at myself again for giving in to this drug! A drug that is completely legal and, for all the world knows, the majority of us are under its happy-comatose inducing spell.
I won't have it! I just won't let myself be a slave to some chemical anymore! I won't!
So, I found some sites, but one really stood out. I'm hoping they can all help me. I certainly identify with Karly Randolph-Pitman in the audio file on the first page of the linked site. 10 Steps to Control Sugar Cravings

In the words of the wise GI Joe, "Knowing is half the battle." Anyone else feel lost in their fight against Sugar Addiction?


  1. I'm also 5'8" and I weigh 228. Yeah, I understand sugar addiction ; )

    I've started a complete lifestyle makeover and have lost around 8 lbs so far....the first 7-10 days of sugar withdrawal was up there with nicotine withdrawal. HORRIBLE.

    However, the first time I took a bite of a sweet after not having one for over a week, it was a whole other ball game. Instead of eating a huge piece of cake, I had a regular portion and couldn't even finish that.

  2. Wow girl! I'm glad you posted this. Helping my fiance in her research on body image issues often leads to studies about sugar addiction and "comfort eating." The research I've done has been really limited and still it is a common thing to see!

    Here's something else to toss in the bag: my friend has challenged himself to stop drinking for a year, just to do it. Immediately he started craving sweets. Turns out the same receptors for sweets also crave alcohol, so if you don't have one your body will crave the other. I don't want to see a blog next week about your new found love of banana daiquiris ;)

  3. i, just last night, was alone (tuesday...poker night) and wanted a sweet treat while i watched the bad tv i don't watch when jason is home. i had finished off the cupcakes i made on a whim last week, but still had chocolate frosting. i did think about just eating the frosting, but instead, thought...it's just butter, cocoa, and sugar...the beginning of cookies. so i added some cashews, some flour, and a pinch of baking powder and made 5 cookies. then i shoved a piece of chocolate in the center to melt. i ate 3 and only stopped because i had to get to bed for my early rise the next day. i am completely addicted to sugar, but i did make it through the first two weeks of south beach diet (no sugar, no WINE) and it IS possible to not eat sugar. if i can resist, you can resist! I have been overweight all my life, and look at me now...only slightly overweight (i am 6 inches shorter and only 10 pounds lighter than you!)
    don't worry...you can kick the habit. and there is the possibility that if you stop for awhile, you will be able to have a small treat once in awhile and not over due it. (i cut ice cream out for awhile, and now i don't need to finish off an entire pint of b&j's in one sitting!)
    good luck!

  4. inannasstar~8 pounds! That's great! Good job! Yeah, before/after my binges, when the withdrawals set in, I definitely feel it. Luckily, I don't bite my nails anymore, but I rub my arms more than I remember when I'm on a sugar high, or, in my case "normal."
    Curtis~ I'm glad to have offered some insight and inspiration to Rene's self image bloggings! Until one looks up the info, one never truly knows, eh? Though, you don't have to worry about my getting addicted to alcohol. Although I would have a glass of wine occasionally, I don't see myself finding solace at the bottom of a glass. Besides, wine has sugar, as inannsstar says, so I'll most likely have to cut that right out. I look forward to seeing what Rene has to say about sugar addiction. *^_^*
    jen~Ah, the cookie downfall we always put ourselves through. See, in a case like that, I would have found a reason to stay up later just to finish off the batch. Then, in the morning, after breakfast, I would be sad that I didn't have one to eat on the way to work. I understand that there are various levels of sugar addiction. On that note, I fear it may take more restraint on my part to quit. *U_U* Your support (all support, really, but yours, knowing just how far you've come) means a lot to me. *^_^* By the way, you carry yourself well; I just don't believe that you weigh what you say you do!


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