Saturday, February 25, 2012

sugar-free sanity

Today marks one week and one day since I've had sugar, and I feel so much better!!!  Healthy eating and exercise are now back in my routine.  I've continued with the habits that I mentioned adding to my daily routine based on the Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program.

I feel sane (at least when it comes to food!) and at peace.  The cravings have diminished tremendously. The guilt, shame, mood swings and depression have lifted.

Now.  The million dollar question.  How do I stay here?  It would be completely logical to stay in this place. I feel better, my moods are stable, I'm eating enough protein and fiber that I'm not constantly hungry......I can't even begin to describe the difference in my state of mind when I'm not binge eating.

Addiction isn't logical, though.  When addiction tries to rear its' ugly head, it reminds you of how good certain foods taste.  How enjoyable it is to curl up with a good book or an I Love Lucy marathon and eat junk.  

Through a combination of nutrition, exercise, prayer, asking for help when needed, and other healthy resources/habits, I can and will overcome this.  Sugar-free sanity is a great home, not simply a temporary vacation spot.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ice cream

I think I've mentioned before that my daughter loves ice cream.  One of her favorite gifts to receive is a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery.  She received several of these for her birthday and for Christmas, so I take her there every few weeks or so.

Yesterday, I promised I would take her there after her orthodontist appointment this afternoon.  I wasn't really worried about taking her there; she knows that I haven't been eating sugar so I knew that I wouldn't be tempted to purchase ice cream for myself.

I've actually never purchased anything there.  Cold Stone is relatively new to our area, and I feel that there prices are rather high.  Before I began this journey I didn't go there because they were expensive.  Now I don't buy anything because I don't eat sugar.

That doesn't mean that it isn't difficult going in there, though.  Just because I haven't eaten there before doesn't mean that I can't imagine what everything tastes like.  This visit was made harder by the fact that in recent weeks when I was binge eating, ice cream became a regular purchase.

I could have waited in the car, but my daughter likes me to go in with her.  (She's not particularly shy, but for some reason when ordering at restaurants, etc. she tends to prefer that I do it for her. )  I almost immediately began the pity party.  You know the drill...."this isn't fair"  "why can't I be normal"  "why can't I eat ice cream"  "why do I have to deprive myself".

I tried to quickly switch my thought process to a healthier direction.  I'm not depriving myself....I'm treating my body with respect.  Maybe it's not fair....but I have plenty of blessings in my life to be upset about not eating sugar.  It's hard though.

How do you change your thought process when you feel deprived?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

eating disorder and sugar addiction

Yesterday didn't go well - I binged on sugar.  It's over now, and I'm moving on.  I asked my husband to go grocery shopping with me this morning so I wouldn't buy junk that I shouldn't.  Taking such an action, which is likely logical and simple to others, is a foreign concept to me.  I don't like asking for help.  I don't like facing the reality of sugar addiction.  Even if I comprehend that sugar addiction is real, I feel like others don't.

I had a long talk with my husband this morning, and it helped tremendously.  While he can't relate to food issues, he's watched me struggle long enough that he understands more than I thought he did.

I've known for many years that I have binge eating disorder.  I diagnosed it myself before I was ever "officially" diagnosed.  For the most part, I fit the textbook definition.  However, over the years I've always thought that there was some elusive aspect of my struggles that didn't make sense.  Yes, I could somewhat understand that an eating disorder isn't about the food.  "It's not about what you're eating, it's about what's eating you"  makes sense to me.  But only to a certain point.  I've always felt that there was something different about me.  When I'd read about BED and someone's trigger foods, I didn't understand why their list was so much shorter than mine.  Perhaps their trigger foods were 3-5 items.  If I were to list my trigger foods, the pages would likely rival the number of pages in War and Peace!!

In this way, it was about the food.  I love food.  Especially sweets, breads, and cheese.  I could never quite understand how, if an eating disorder wasn't about food, why I would binge at times where there were seemingly none of the "normal" triggers.  I wasn't sad, bored, lonely, anxious, etc.  Then I concluded that I was probably just severely in denial.

Now that I'm finally comprehending that sugar addiction is real, and not a figment of my imagination, I feel that I can move forward!!  It's not my fault!   My brain chemistry may be a bit kooky, but that doesn't make me a bad person.  I am not weak.  I am not severely lacking in will power.  My ability to say no to sugar is simply broken.  There are ways to overcome this brokenness, and I intend to find them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I'm continuing to eat healthy and exercise.  I'm using a pedometer to track my daily steps as part of the fit challenge at work.  I've switched to a higher protein breakfast, and I'm making sure that I eat protein with lunch and dinner to maintain stable blood sugar levels and decrease cravings.  I'm not eating refined sugar or white flour.  I was doing most of this before my recent relapse, but I'm getting back into the swing of things.  As mentioned earlier, I've also added certain vitamins to my daily routine as recommended by "The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program."

I'm also trying one more recommendation from the book.  I've struggled with taking this step, because I'm skeptical.  About three hours after dinner and one hour before bedtime, I'm eating a white potato with the skin.  Yes, a white potato.  The reason for doing this is to increase the serotonin levels in your brain.  Here's the explanation on the web site (  

The potato creates an insulin response that effects the movement of the amino acid tryptophan from your blood into your brain. Your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel mellow and happy. Serotonin also helps you to "just say no" to sweets and other things by putting the brakes on your impulsivity.

In some ways, eating a white potato every day sounds too simplistic to help.  In other ways, it seems like a crazy thing to do when I'm avoiding refined carbs.  However, the research in the book and the credentials of the author are persuasive, so I'm giving it a try.  

Has anyone else tried this?  Any feedback?  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

tips for overcoming temptation

I've had some trouble with cravings today, but I have not given in!!!!!!  I noticed that there didn't seem to be near as many treats at work as I expected on Valentine's Day.  Perhaps this is due to the fit challenge.  I don't really care why - I just know that it made my day easier!  I saw a few cupcakes, which made me long for sugar.  I immediately stopped those thoughts in their tracks by reminding myself that it just isn't worth it.  A few minutes of pleasure isn't worth the pain.

A tip I read in a book recently said to "play the tape to the end".  (Anyone remember tapes?  Wow.  that seems so long ago.)  This means that rather than focusing on how good something will taste, and how good it might make you feel temporarily, it is best to remember how you will feel after eating it.  Another recommendation I've read is that when you first have a craving, immediately tell yourself that you will not succumb to the temptation.  As soon as you begin that "should I or shouldn't I" conversation in your head, your chances of giving in and eating the food increase exponentially.

Along with that idea, it was mentioned that you should have certain rules in place.  Apparently our brain responds better to rules than vague thoughts.  For example, if craving ice cream your thought process could be "I don't eat sugar" rather than "I shouldn't eat ice cream because it's bad for me."  Not sure what I think about this particular recommendation yet.  Any thoughts?

Monday, February 13, 2012

turned the corner

Today has been so much better.  I've turned the corner and am back into a sane, healthy world.   This is what I've done to begin healing from the abuse that I've put my body through over the past few weeks.  Actually, months if I'm honest with myself.

*I vented to my son and my husband this weekend about my sugar addiction.
*I admitted to my husband how much money I've been spending on my addiction.  He already knew, though.  Somehow I thought I was hiding it.
*I began modifying my healthy eating plan to incorporate some of the recommendations in "The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program".  (increased my protein intake at breakfast, added Vitamins C, B complex and Zinc to my daily vitamins)
*No refined sugar today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*Today was the first day of the Fit Challenge at work. I wore my pedometer.  I also discussed healthy choices on several occasions with co-workers.  It's nice to be in this together!
*I walked about 40 minutes with my sister.
*A friend at work was very encouraging to me.  She reminded me that I've come too far to give up!
*My husband send a bouquet of beautiful roses to work!! This made my day.  I've never had a flower delivery before, and this was particularly special because he knew that I've had a really rough few weeks and I needed some encouragement.
*I turned over the bank card that I usually use for purchases to my husband.  I have an emergency card in my wallet, but it is for an account that we keep extremely limited funds in.  Since I seldom, if ever, keep cash with me the lack of the bank card will mean that I don't have money to buy junk food.

Will keep you posted on more healthy choices!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

up 19 pounds???!!!!?????!!!!

I got on the scale this morning.  I heard it groan.  I really hadn't planned on weighing in, because I know that often doing so when I'm in the midst of sugar hell will just depress me further resulting in eating more.  However, I'm beginning a fit challenge at work on Monday, so I need to know what I'm dealing with.  I have gained 19 pounds in less than a month.  Nineteen pounds.  How is that even possible??  ok.  that's a silly question.  I know how it's possible.  There is only one way to gain that much weight in such a short period.  Binge eating.

I'm actually glad I weighed in.  Rather than making me depressed, it gave me a much needed reality check. I need to face what I'm doing to be body by giving in to sugar addiction.

I will stop the progression into the sugary pit from hell.  I have divorced Ben & Jerry.  I have ended my love affair with Oreo and Chips Ahoy.  I'm moving back into sanity with low fat, no refined sugar, healthy foods.  Exercise will move back into my normal routine.  I'm done feeding into this addiction.  Pun intended.  :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

changes to help with sugar addiction and lagging motivation

I recently read a phenomenal book.  If you know or have ever suspected that you may be addicted to sugar, I highly recommend reading "The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program" by Kathleen DesMaisons.   I've known for many years that I have binge eating disorder, but it's only very recently that I've recognized/admitted to myself that I'm addicted to sugar and this is likely what my eating disorder is all about.  Actually, I've probably known this for quite sometime but didn't really put it into words.  After all, addiction is such a strong term!  It's used to describe dependance on far more serious things like alcohol and drugs, right?  On the other hand, it can be used flippantly in conversation when talking about being "addicted" to reality shows, Monolo Blahnik's, and other things.

To read about actual scientific studies that show that some people are particularly sensitive to sugar and their brain chemistry is wired differently validates my thoughts on the matter.  It is somewhat freeing to think that my problems are not my fault, and are not simply reflective of a character defect or lack of willpower.  However, I have to be extremely careful not to use this as an excuse.  Sugar addiction may not be my fault, but I take entire responsibility for the choices I make and what I do about it.

The book give concrete steps to follow to help, and I intend to tweak my current plan to see if that will help.  I've still been eating sugar daily, so detox will be painful.  I'll share more on the changes in the coming weeks.

Two other positive steps I'm taking to get back on track involve a fit challenge at work, and participating in Girls on the Run with my nieces.  The fit challenge at work is set up to provide motivation based on competition in areas such as exercise, fitness, taking more steps in a day, etc.  This begins on Monday, so I'll being wearing a pedometer to track my daily steps and exercising again for my own benefit and so I don't let my team mates down.

Girls on the Run is a program that encourages healthy habits in young girls such as good self esteem and exercise.  My sister and I will be walking/jogging while my nieces run and we will help out the leader as needed.  This is twice a week, so I know that at the very least I'll be walking 2+ miles these two days.

Forward we go!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

standard american diet

The standard american diet (SAD) is mentioned quite a bit in literature, blogs etc.  It definitely isn't healthy, and our general lack of knowledge and lack of concern about nutrition is disturbing. I thought of this today while at the grocery store.  While I was in line waiting to purchase my items, I noticed a gentleman ahead of me with two shopping carts full of items.  I overheard him mention to the cashier that he was purchasing the items for a local pre-school.  What was he purchasing?  Loaf after loaf of white bread.  Cookies.  Instant mashed potatoes.  I didn't examine the entire contents of his two shopping carts, but I didn't see a single healthy item.

Why is this the norm?  Why wasn't he purchasing whole wheat bread and fruit?  Is the assumption that kids won't eat whole wheat bread or fruit?  

We all need to take full responsibility for our choices, but it can be so difficult to make healthy choices when surrounded by foods that are full of fat, sugar, and salt.  Let's face it.....for most of us these types of foods are very appealing.  Even if we know that we will regret eating these after the fact, the immediate gratification is so tempting.  

As I mentioned before, I  live in an area that has one of the largest populations of obese people in the country.  Are other areas like this?  Do some of you live in areas where most people eat healthy and exercise?  

On another note, I have continued to eat crap this week.  I've made horrible choices.  I've made regular stops at the grocery store for cookies, ice cream and other junk food.  I'm once again bingeing in secret and hiding the evidence.  This is a dangerous trend that is quickly becoming a habit.  I'm having difficulty finding the motivation and desire to get back on a healthy track.  I can't seem to look past the immediate gratification of eating sugar and see the long list of negative ramifications.  I haven't thrown in the towel yet, though.  I can do this.