I’ve always been a fan of self-help books and more recently I’ve been diving more into personal development. One could argue that these are one in the same and maybe they would be right. My most recent endeavor was a self-help book to help me quit eating crap sugar. Over the years, I’ve battled with this issue. I never really looked at it like a true “addiction” because, like alcohol, eating sugar is not only widely accepted, it’s widely encouraged. Celebrating something? Have cake. Mourning something? Have some “comfort” food. Bored? Have some ice cream. At a gas station? This candy bar looks good.
Everywhere you turn, there’s a nice sugary treat just waiting for you. Staring at you. Beckoning you to eat it.
There have been many times in my life where I said I was going to stop eating sugar. No more candy. No more cakes. No more sodas. No more chips. No more crap food.
I think my longest stretch without these confections has been around the ten day mark. I can usually go a week or so without over indulging in sweets, but I have so many triggers that it’s rare to even get that far.
First, is my tic tac problem. I always have tic tacs with me. They may be the “one and a half calorie breath mint” but their main ingredient is…you guessed it, sugar. It’s number one on the list and I like to pop them in my mouth 5 at a time. I quit drinking sodas years ago. I have never gone back. I can easily take a sip of a soda to “taste” it and not have to go drink a whole two liter. I cannot say the same for ice cream and cakes and cookies.
It’s a think I’ve been mostly ashamed of this sugar thing my whole life. While other people are eating just one piece of cake or one cookie, I am waiting for the party to end so I can go get a whole box. I’ve even figured out my pattern. If I eat a donut or more recently, a cronut, for breakfast, my whole rest of the day is basically in the trash. I crave sugar all day long. The salads and healthy breakfasts that I love don’t taste as good after that first sugar rush of the morning. I’d rather eat carbs all day after that. If I start out healthy, then I’m usually good until two seconds of boredom kicks in and then I’m seeking out that comforting sweet treat. vbrf4b
It was easier for me to quit drinking than it has been for me to quit sugar. I just keep trying and failing. I was so desperate for change that I ended up getting this book called “Good Sugar Bad Sugar.” The author is renowned for his quit smoking books. He’s also written some quit drinking and quit overeating books. Neither of those are on my list at the moment to read, but the Good Sugar Bad Sugar book intrigued me. I thought maybe he had some secret ingredient that would help me stop over sugaring myself.
I went for the audible. It was about a six hour listen. I started early in the week, listening on my way to the beach and back. Yesterday, I spent most of the day with headphones in listening to the rest of it.
He didn’t say anything that I didn’t already know. “Processed sugar is bad.” “Processed sugar is highly addictive.” “Carbs also turn into sugar in your body so pasta and potatoes might be an issue for you too”
But one thing he mentioned that I never really thought about was the psychology of acceptance when it comes to sugar addiction. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, I can’t stay, I have to get to my sugar anonymous meeting. Heroin addicts have a support group. Pill addicts have a support group. Alcoholics have a support group. Even overeaters have a support group. I’ve never heard of a sugar addicts support group. To be fair, I’ve never sought one out. So maybe they do exist. The author mentions that we have been addicted long before we ever had a choice to deny sugar. In the womb, we probably ingested sugar from our mother. Shortly after being born, we were switched to formula which no doubt has sugar in it. I clearly remember my mother saying that when we were fussy as babies, she would give us a bottle with sugar water in it. This seemed to be the norm in the 70’s according to her. When we graduated to cups it was kool aid. When we were old enough to walk, we were trick or treating, bringing home bags of candy and sitting down to eat while watching cartoons. And the examples go on and on and on and on. I am not blaming my mother for my sugar addiction.
I blame society and their acceptance of such things.
I’ve rarely thought about how different my life would be if, when I was younger, my mother handed me an apple to eat or a banana instead of a candy bar at the store. Nor have I thought about what my life would have looked like if I had not been fed macaroni and cheese from a box or tiny spaghetti circles from a can. The only salad I ever had as a kid was from a Pizza Hut buffet line before eating myself sick on cheesy greasy pie. Those salads usually consisted of 3 things for me: iceberg lettuce, shredded cheese, and about half a cup of french dressing. I don’t think you could even call it a salad. It was more like dressing soup with a bit of lettuce.
So when I started “eating healthy” in my 40’s, yes, you read that right, IN MY 40’s, there were lots of fruits and veggies that I hadn’t tried. I’m 46 now and there are still many things I haven’t tried yet. One thing that did not change as I attempted to get healthier was the way I eat my sugar…lots of it, never in moderation, always until I feel like I want to puke. It’s been my dirty little secret.
I’ve finally chosen to deal with this issue head on. I really enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to anyone trying to understand their addiction to sugar. I’m not saying it will “cure” you, but I do think it is a really good jumping off point.
So, here’s to day 1 of no processed sugar. I hope a year from now, I will be writing an anniversary blog about the day I quit sugar.