Friday, February 28, 2014

Sugar is My Ultimate Frenemy

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Guys, I have to confess something---

I have probably eaten my weight in sugar (mostly chocolate) since Christmas. Literally.

It all started innocently enough--I gave myself the old "It's the holidays" excuse back in November, which got me right back into the bad habits I've had with sugar pretty much my whole adult life.

I don't know exactly why my addiction with sugar started, really---I mean, I always loved sugar and chocolate growing up (who doesn't?), but my mom always made sure we ate healthy, balanced meals growing up and limited treats like ice cream or cake to special occasions like birthdays or once a week on family night.

As a young adult/teenager, I knew I ate a LOT of sugar, but because I didn't eat that much other junk food and because I always stayed pretty fit and slender I never worried about my habits. When I entered college, I was excited to be on my own and do my own grocery shopping, but I wasn't stupid---my mom had taught me how to eat well and cook for myself, so I planned on applying what I'd grown up with to my adult life.

What I hadn't factored in was my slowing metabolism and the fact that all of a sudden, I had easy access to sweets all the time because my roommates and I all loved to bake treats, my then-boyfriend was constantly buying DQ shakes and ice cream bars and bringing them over to share, and I had begun keeping a large bag of Tootsie Roll midgees on hand for when I had nothing else sweet to eat after meals.

Predictably, I gained the infamous "Freshman 15," and thus began my history of feeling like I was fighting against food all the time. Although I never took my diet to the extremes, I tried it all---amping up my exercise to lose the weight, going off of sugar entirely for long periods of time, cutting out carbs and increasing my protein, only eating twice a day...

Because everyone else's eating patterns around me basically mirrored mine, I always felt like my diet was pretty good (mostly just because I didn't normally get fast food and I always tried to eat at least some fruits and vegetables every day). And maybe by comparison, my diet wasn't as bad as it could have been--

But it definitely wasn't ideal.

After gaining 25 pounds on my mission (and striving to lose most of it for good), I felt like my diet shifted significantly---I finally understood that a diet that cut out certain food groups forever would never really work for me, but I also knew that the nonchalant attitude I'd had towards certain aspects of my diet (esp. towards sugar) would have to be modified as well.

And for awhile the past couple years, I felt like I'd been doing pretty well.

Until lately.

For the past two months, I feel like my college freshman self again---rationalizing that since I'm cooking healthy meals (some of the time) and not eating out much (or at least not every day), I was justified in my habits of buying family bags of Hershey's kisses and baking cakes and cookies every Saturday night.

Since I've conveniently been avoiding a scale, I've been pretty good at ignoring the problem (because if I ignore it, it will go away. That's how problems work, right?).  However, the truth is in the running---when I trained for my marathon two years ago, I was about 8-9 pounds lighter and eating pretty healthily all the time. I was a speed machine, and I was able to pump out most of my long runs with minimal problems.

Lately, I've felt myself slowing down rather than speeding up, and lethargy is starting to set in around 4 miles every time I go out.

Something must be done.

So, although chocolate often acts like my dearest friend in weeks such as this when I've buried myself alive with papers to grade and burned the candle at both ends, I know it's not doing me any favors in the long runs. Like the worst frenemy (friend/enemy, in case you didn't get the reference), it's good at leading to more drama and stress than comfort, and it doesn't seem to just want to go away on its own. I know going off sugar long-term is just not in the cards for me, but I know I have to cut myself off it cold turkey and then gradually re-introduce it back so I'm not so habituated to eating sweets every single day, multiple times a day.

I *think* I'm going to try and start Monday and go through the next workweek and see how things go.

Wish me luck. (And maybe don't get too close--as any addict can tell you, the withdrawal period is not exactly the friendliest of times...)

Do you feel like you have a sugar addiction? What do you do to wean yourself off?

5 comments:

  1. Growing up my family was the same as yours -- sweets + treats were for special occasions or FHE. So, when Vince and I got married it was a huge shock to me that after dinner almost every night he would want dessert! Over the years, I've developed a major sweet tooth because of that habit and its so hard to limit the sweets! But this year Vince and I are really trying to eat better and so far so good -- we didn't cut out sweets altogether (because knowing us, we would end up breaking that and going nuts on sweets!) but are limiting it and its going well so far! *knock on wood*

    Good luck to you!

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  2. I hardly ever craved sweets as a child or young adult. Sure, I liked them but chips were more of my downfall. Since being married to a serious sugar addict who is always bringing candy into the house and wanting cookies and doughnuts and being pregnant with Ruby (where for some reason I just craved sweets) I feel like it is a serious problem. I crave sweets ALL THE TIME. Holidays are the worst too. Since when is every holiday mean you eats tons of sugar?

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  3. I agree that sweets are SOOO hard to avoid with the addition of EVERY holiday focusing so much on the goodies. The only time I successfully have eaten sugar free was in College and it felt GREAT! The way we did it, my roommates and I (and Caleb joined in too) had a "contest" to see who could go without sugar the longest. The competition made it more fun, but having the people closest to you involved REALLY helped. There was a little prize for whoever lasted the longest. We let loose on holidays, but only on the actual holiday, not the weeks surrounding a holiday. Now I am totally addicted to sweets.

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  4. Yes!!! I definitely have an addiction. I always just try to remember: the more good you put in your body, the less bad you'll crave... not always the case (like lady time) but keeping absurd amount of fruit around usually helps me remember to stick to fructose not glucose!

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  5. Yes. But I was the opposite from you in college. I ate way less sweets and even though I baked a lot I usually gave all of what I baked away (aka you and our other roommates ate it). Marriage has ruined me. Living with a man that loves sugar has ruined me. Now i crave sugar all the time! This year I am getting better. I hardly bought any candy for Christmas and did no baking. I pretty much just stopped buying candy for holidays because last year was out of control. I get enough just from m other people that I don't need to buy any myself.

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