Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Post I've Been Avoiding for Weeks Now . . .

This little guy and I have been back and forth, fighting each other for years.  I've posted about Sugar Monkey's exploits in my life many times--these are a few favorites: The Grand Experiment, Bye-Bye Monkey,  and The Monkey Is Off My Back.  And many more, trust me.

I had to declare him victor for the month of October.  And when I say "victor,"  I actually mean that he kicked my trash so hard that my body no longer recognized the difference between beta carotene and red dye #40.  Bags of Halloween treats. Milkshakes and desserts. Cookie after cookie after cookie after cookie . . .

I had the best intentions at the beginning of the month, swearing an oath with my sister that I'd abstain for the month. That oath admittedly lasted maybe two days.

I know many people who struggle with their weight, some fight just a few pounds, while others combat the title obese. My struggle isn't so much with weight (even though it is in my mind often) as it is with a different word.  A negative word.  A word that conjures visions of hopelessness and sadness and an endless spiral downward.


I'm not trying to equate my fight with sugar to battles with cocaine or alcohol or pornography or anything else equally heinous.  What I am trying to express is how addiction--any addiction--makes you feel about yourself.

Worthless.  Angry.  Powerless.  Sad.  And the words of self-abuse that bounce in your brain are more destructive than any substance you let in--"How can I be so weak, so stupid, so short-sighted, so worthless?"  And then, of course the way to feel better is to indulge yet again.

I know the effect sugar has on me--how it spikes my moods and creates a person that is even more impatient, more intolerant, more exhausted, more prone to temper.  For some inexplicable reason,  recently I haven't been able to care.

This last week has been almost a caricature--unnatural, copious amounts of candy and treats, to the point where I wasn't eating anything of substance over most of the day.

Then I had an image come to my mind of my body actually trying to make sense of all the garbage I was throwing into it, wondering where to dispose of all the excess fat and how to process all the glucose and how to keep my body functioning with few necessary nutrients.  That's when it hit me.  This body of mine is strong.  It always keeps me functioning.  And one day, it will just give up, unable to continue with the crazy diet I give it.  What am I going to do about it?

I've given myself ultimatums and goals--once even going over 50 days without sugar, only to gradually slip down the slope into a lake of Snickers bars and self-loathing.  I have yet to find the answer.

What I do know is that I'm thankful my battle is with sugar--not with some mind-altering substance that would render me helpless.

And I won't give up.

Enough of this. 


  1. We need to talk Jen. It's been eight months for me now. Since our Canadian Thanksgiving, I started feeling like I could handle a treat here and there. It just snowballed until halloween. I'm back to my sugar free, low carb ways. You're right... it is an addiction, and needs to be taken seriously, and dealt with in the same way. At least for me, that is what I need to do to stay healthy.

  2. i wonder if the mood spikes are from being angry at yourself from making a promise with yourself and then not being able to keep it? maybe it's an unrealistic goal to have nothing. setting yourself up for failure? you are def right about being glad it's not an addiction to things like alcohol and drugs. terrible, vicious addictions. i have a family of alcholics and drug addicts and it is truly devastating. however, addiction for sure comes in many forms, and if it is affecting your life and causing you unhappiness then that is a great thing to want to change. maybe baby steps would work better? i can't go entirely without sugar. especially around the holidays.i am so much better off and better to manage my cravings for it if i know i am going to have one treat from the halloween bucket after lunch every day. have you ever tried doing anything like that? i know my friend tells me she just can't stop at the one. i don't have any guilt about it. now, it's not a regular sized candy bar. they are just the small bite sized halloween ones. i always have them year round and i really do eat one every day after lunch. sometimes after dinner too:) you can do it, whatever your goals may be!

  3. There may be a predisposition in your genes to be a sugar addict. Remember Grandpa? And me? I definitely have the addiction and the only way I can take care of it is to not have much temptation around. I know better than to try to go completely without because that has never worked for me. I will allow myself something every day and I can do fine. Sometimes it involves going to the store more often than I would like because if I have more around, I will eat more. If I buy little then I eat little. After a while I am able to have more around because I am used to little, but the battle will never be over for me. I only have will power in other areas. The important thing is to make sure you are hungry when it is time to eat meals, so consciously time your snacks at other times. With the schedule you have, you need the nutrients of all those salads your family likes. Good luck finding your balance between nutrition and sugar. LOVE

  4. Oh I hear ya Jen! I go back and forth with sugar too. While I can't and won't cut it out completely, I have been trying to have treats in moderation and to focus on fresh fruits, veggies, lower carb options. It's not easy.

    And, as much as I love sugar, my monkey is probably more in the form of greasy, salty snacks. I love me some kettle cooked, salty chips. Mmmm. I have to stay away from them as much as I can or I end up binging.

  5. Oh, I was going to say too that I also notice major mood swings when I'm not eating well. It was actually what inspired me to start eating healthier a few months ago. My mood swings were so off the charts, I knew I needed to figure out a natural way to keep them in check or someone was going to have to medicate me. And, it worked! I can still be moody. But, nothing like I was experiencing before.

  6. Ugh, addiction of any form is hard. For me, it's been my phone. Yes, I'll admit it, I'm addicted to checking my phone for emails. Ridiculous right? How does one stop that addiction? Throw the phone away? That doesn't seem entirely rationale now does it? We all struggle, you're not alone. Maybe start small, like 1 week? Then gradually build up from there. 50 days or even 30 days to do anything is HARD for anyone. Don't be so hard on yourself.

  7. You're not alone on this sugar thing. Somedays I just eat sugar all day long. Last night I was just crying to my husband that I'm spiralling out of control with my snacking. So here I sit as I read your post...right in front of me I have laffy taffy, 2 mini kit kats and tootsie rolls. For lunch I had a piece of cheesecake. I feel like when I have sugar...I need more sugar. So for me, it's best to not have any sugar at all. If you come up with a solution...please share! I am feeling like I need some sort of detox...ASAP!

  8. I like what Em said. But yes, addictions no matter what our vice are real. So I wish you luck in whatever you choose to do

  9. Wow Jen... I am so on board with you on that. You could be writing about me and my life. It surely could be worse...but I have also considered that one day my body will just say...NO MORE! Terrible addiction that sugar, and I too will try to break it until one day that monkey is finally off my back for good. Good luck fellow junkie. :o)

  10. Just thought you needed a shout out!! You just reminded me that I have a bag full of fun size snickers in my freezer and before I could finish this post, they were beckoning me. So I had to go get myself one. (or two ;)
    - tawnie

  11. I'm with you on the sugar addiction. It's something I keep fighting with on a regular basis because I know how bad refined sugar and sweets is to the body. In fact, I've been trying to eat less of it so that E can eat less of it too but this Halloween, she's had a taste of what real candy is and she's hooked. That alone makes me rethink the whole having too much sweets in our home thing.

    But I do agree that it's hard and even more so when you get off it for a while and it sneaks back into your life through one or two pieces and then quickly snowball back into a bad sugar habit.

    I think it's great that you admitted this out loud because I know I would have a hard time doing it. I always convinced myself that having one or two slices of chocolate cake everyday doesn't constitute a sugar addiction but we all know I'm just fooling myself. Reading this post made me reflect on that fact and while losing weight is not something I'm obsessed about I do worry about diabetes since my grandmother has it.

    You have a lot of people supporting you as well as many of us who are on the same boat :) I say we fight this addiction together and know that falling off the wagon every now and then doesn't mean that we've failed.

  12. I agree. Addiction to those bad carbs is a very real thing. And when I give in, I feel worse. In every way.

    I've been doing better since I started the green smoothies. They seem to blunt and sometimes even extinguish the cravings.

    Something to consider?