Is My Eating a Sugar Addiction?

Sugar bagBeula asked, “Do you think you are a sugar addict? If so what does that mean to you? I am also watching Paul McKenna and am currently so mixed up about my eating I could spit.”

I’ve been reading people’s responses to this question as you’ve asked it on a couple of blogs and it’s interesting. I’ve never thought much about sugar addiction other than to think it sounded enormously extreme. It was more that I had a food addiction. It didn’t matter whether the food was sweet or sugary. I like salty and spices and tart and cool, crunch and creamy, hot and cold. I like food.

The foodplan I’ve followed most of my weight watching life doesn’t target specific foods to give up. It’s been more about what foods to include instead. And that felt right to me. By doing that while also journaling and recording what I actually ate, I could see patterns in eating certain foods. Some were things I couldn’t control at all, and some of those had sugar – no one would ever accuse me of overdosing on celery.

But I also learned that there are food groups other than sweet, salty, fried and au gratin. Things I used to binge on routinely can now only be eaten in small doses because I get heartburn and physical discomfort. I’ve learned to listen to my body, not just words on a page or lectures from an expert.

It takes a long time to learn to listen when most of our lives we’ve been shutting up the pain and hurt and confusion and loneliness with food. We want instant success, instant answers, and jump down our own throats when we don’t get the fast weight loss we want – so then we eat more because we’re upset.

Part of what’s going on for me may be a denial of a sugar addiction. I read blogs of people who eat clean, healthy, nutritious food and think it sounds boring. But too much junk food can lead to more junk and an imbalance. I guess for me I don’t really feel the need to eliminate sugar completely if I can find a way to get things in balance.

It’s a hard line to walk and I’ve certainly failed more times than I’ve succeeded with it. But I’m learning and moving in a spiral, I think, not just around and around the hamster wheel. Having spent so many years eating badly, it’s hard to know what balanced eating is.

I’m finding Paul McKenna’s programs to be interesting and with nuggets of wisdom. I like that it’s a short series and not a single program because the repetition of ideas and tools helps reinforce them and their effectiveness. Simplistic? Sure. But sometimes simple is a good thing. We load so much stuff onto diets and eating and spend so much time examining our navels that we don’t just live and take small steps and see what happens.

I Want to Eat Everything

Emotional eatingLast week I quietly strung together almost seven days of eating carefully and relatively easily within my food plan. This week it’s very different. I want to eat everything in sight unless it is a vegetable or fruit. So I guess it’s not everything I want, it’s specific tastes. My basic comfort food pyramid of salt, sugar, and carbs.

I want to crunch things but not baby carrots because they are healthy. Potato chips or soy crisps or popcorn work because they are salty and meltingly crunchy instead of crispy crunchy, the way an apple or those stupid little carrots taste.

I want chocolate, good chocolate or crummy chocolate as long as it’s sweet and rich and creamy tasting. Okay, really crummy chocolate isn’t going to do it for me right now. I want good stuff and since Valentine’s Day is just days away, there is and will be chocolate everywhere within hand’s reach – and later this week it will be on sale for 50-75% off. Uh oh, now that’s scary.

But then there is the lure of bread. Ahh, I love bread. It is my ultimate comfort food, which is why I can’t buy loaves of it to have in the house because I’ll sit and eat it mindlessly, slice after slice. Potato rolls I seem to be able to more or less manage – but a friend mentioned breadmakers the other day and my mind has gone off into scary tangents of justification. No, no, I can’t go there.

So I sit here with a stomach ache from eating too much of all the wrong things today. Fritos in the morning when I wasn’t even hungry, just wanting something with crunch and salt. Small meatball sub at lunch with extra marinara sauce. Little vanilla creme sandwich cookies – 2 packs of them, for no particular reason except they are addictive and were there when I was feeling squirrely. Mrs. Prindables chocolate covered caramels that were supposed to go to the office. Ha ha ha.

I managed to eat a balanced breakfast and a reasonable salad with layers and flavors and – blech – vegetables. I drank lots of water. But somehow that got overwhelmed by the other stuff. I knew what I was doing and did it anyway.

So what’s going on? I’m squirrely. I hate being cold with my toes turning into little ice cubes. I hate the gray and drear and sameness of the days. I’m tired of it being dark so early, even though it’s better than it was. I want long weekends when I can get out and explore and take pictures without taking off my insulated gloves and freezing my fingers.

I want to not have to worry that tomorrow is my weigh in day and it’s not going to be pretty. I’ll go anyway, but I don’t want to. I’m tired of doing a daily (private) inventory and have been blowing it off instead of doing it because it feels like work now and not a helpful tool.

I want a change. I want to be warm. I want to be planning a great vacation without having to worry about money. I want to be satisfied with healthy foods and not just the things that all the experts tell me will kill me. I want to not have the attitude that I’m going to die of something anyway so why not enjoy myself while I go. I want my tummy to stop hurting.

I want to feel better about myself. Maybe tomorrow I will.