Monday, May 10, 2010

pour some sugar on me

I like to think I'm a healthy eater. I've been a vegetarian for 24 or so years. I generally don't eat junk food. I could eat salads every day and be happy. My favorite foods on the planet are watermelon and fresh peas. And yet, I'm seriously addicted to sugar.

There. I said it. I'm a sugar addict.

For years (and I'm talking years) I banned sugar from my diet. I was anorexic for more than a decade so I basically banned everything from my diet, sugar being at the top of the list. Carbs and fat too. It got so I didn't miss them and even after getting to a healthier place eating-wise, I still had entire categories I wouldn't dip a toe into. No ice cream, butter, chocolate. It was easier to maintain control that way. I was never an out of control binge eater but when I was younger I could polish off a carton of ice cream, a bag of Milanos, a box of chocolate croissants and didn't want to risk going back there.

Having kids helped me get to a better place about food. The internal battle used to be excruciating. When she was little Iz would offer me a cookie, a lick from her ice cream cone and I'd try to find diplomatic ways to decline. But the problem was two-fold–I was being an unhealthy role-model and I was denying myself. So, over the years, I've eased up tremendously, with caveats in place. I eat chocolate, but only certain kinds. Chocolate sorbet is fine, although gelato is off-limits. I went through a butter love period a few months ago but plumped up quickly and have gone back to olive oil. Cheesecake is ok but most other kinds aren't. I don't eat store bought cookies but scarf down chocolate chunk ones from the health food store. Call it organic and I buy into the fallacy that it's not only low fat and low calorie, but it's good for me (delusional, I know).

But, at this point, it's all about sugar. I can't go to bed without eating something sweet. I drink hot chocolate in the morning, telling myself it's all about the calcium. I stop by the new Italian coffee shop on my way home from yoga for a sorbet a day. Or stop at Tasti D-lite for a cone with sprinkles. I do love sprinkles. I'm addicted to iced coffee with half and half and 2 splendas, just to ramp the delish factor up a bit. When I bake a cake I now, I happily eat the edges off as if those bitty pieces don't count, scrape icing off ice cream cake, devour these mini ice cream cones that don't even call themselves ice cream.

Some days, I'm not sure I'm eating anything but sugar. I haven't weighed this much in years. I went up a pants size for the first time since my 20s. I feel like my body is confused at the constant crashing and cravings.

So, I'm giving sugar up. I'm making a sadhana (40 day commitment) to not eat sweets for 40 days. Yes, I waited until today so I could finish my (low fat) Mother's Day ice cream cake. But, my body needs some nurturing and attention. I've let myself believe that that immediate satisfaction, that sugar high, that in the moment indulgence was good for me after all those years of denial. But, I swung too far.

Wish me luck folks. I've been at this for less than 2 hours and am already having a hard time.


MOLLYC said...

Good luck. I am also an addict, but have found that life is just not worth living without sugar. However, that said, I have gone off it for extended periods. I found that the first two days are hard, but then once you have sugar out of your system, you don't crave it as much. Good luck! molly

Elissa Stein said...

I completely agree about life not worth living without sugar. At this point though I'm kind of thinking it's all I'm eating. Once my system gets to a more balanced place, I'll be back to chocolate sorbet for summer. In moderation.

lisa adams said...

It's funny how when something is a choice it's so hard. I love sweets. And coffee. During the past few years I've been on meds that changed the taste of food completely and I couldn't drink coffee. I didn't miss it because it tasted so awful when I tried.

Now I'm off that med and sitting here drinking a cup. And loving it. But to voluntarily abstain would be much harder.

I commend you for doing this... looking forward to seeing how you feel after the cravings subside a bit... I'm not sure I have the discipline to successfully get through 40 days of it. But I'd sure be more motivated if you are pleased!

Amy Oscar said...

Godspeed - and bravo, my friend. Giving up carbs and dairy myself right now. Not easy but Im already seeing the results. Keep us posted.

MrsWhich said...

It's possible your sugar cravings are actually your body craving something else and getting confused. A nutritionist or even naturopath could help you figure out if it's psychological or physiological. Either way, forced restriction may be a starting place, but I think you know from experience that there is likely more to do. Good luck, whatever way the wind blows on this!