addicted to sugar

Addict

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

-Frank Sinatra

I was listening to the radio the other day and the host was asking one of his staff if they could stop drinking for a month (this was after he challenged another staffer to stop smoking illicit things for a month). The staff member, Richard, loves beer. He’s a craft beer fiend and drinks a lot of them. Is he an alcoholic? Probably. What was his response? He said he could probably stop drinking but why should he?

This post isn’t necessarily about alcohol. But it is about addiction. What is my addiction? SUGAR. Sugar is most definitely my #1 challenge. It comes in lots of different forms…I eat a ton of fruit, which is healthy but also very sweet and depending on what it is, very high in sugar (i.e. bananas!). I also love chocolate.

I’ve gotten much better over the years eating it in moderation and if it’s not GOOD chocolate, I don’t waste my calories. Have you ever bitten into a piece of candy or cookie and realized it wasn’t as good as it looked? Yeah, that happens to me and now I spit it out. If it doesn’t taste good, why am I still eating it?!? I also make sure that I’m eating things that are a little more “whole” like a really good ice cream with natural ingredients, or fancy chocolate from a boutique. I’m usually taking a pass on the crappy stuff that doesn’t really satisfy my craving.

If you want to read some old posts about food addiction and sugar, I have a plethora. Here are just a few: Food AddictionFat Pills and Why We Get Fat.

A few years ago I did a Sugar Detox challenge. It came about for a lot of reasons but one of them was the Candy Room in my office. I wanted to break the habit of grabbing a handful of candy from this room and mindless eating it at work or whenever I walked by the office. The Sugar Detox Outcome was positive. I realized a lot of things in that single week of refraining from sugar:

I eat candy more out of habit than desire.

I didn’t miss the candy like I thought I would.

I realized that diet soda makes me crave candy.

And what have I taken away from that nearly 2 years later? I’m still eating sugar. I gave it up for one week and that was it. I occasionally go through phases where I stop eating it, or I refrain from eating candy at work but I eat dessert at home. Basically, I can’t seem to give it up entirely.

Awhile ago I took a week off from exercising. It was shortly after I saw the knee specialist who ordered me to rest for 6 weeks. I was feeling depressed and decided to just rest from everything, even though I was cleared for some exercises. I was worried about getting out of the habit of exercising, I was worried taking a week off would cause me to gain weight. I told myself for that week I’d just be really good with my calories and everything would be ok. And I did do pretty decently with my calories for that week. I didn’t go over my allotment but I also didn’t make excellent choices. There were several days where I skipped eating my apple as a snack so I could allot those calories for some chocolate. Was I within my calorie range? Yes. Was I eating in moderation? Yes. Was it the BEST way to “spend” my calories? Probably not!

Some people can’t do the “everything in moderation” concept. I totally understand that. I’m the opposite though, I cannot do the “really restrictive” thing. If I tell myself I’m going to stop eating X, then all I want is X! Then I get hyper focused on it and it becomes an obsession. That is not a healthy path to go down, either, and I’m sure it’s just another sign of addiction.

So how do you moderate an “addiction”? Do you abstain from it completely or try to limit the intake of what you desire?