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Food Addiction

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I firmly believe that I am a sugar addict. Before I started on this journey, I had to have something sweet daily - sometimes after every meal as a "treat" (funny how a "treat" became a necessity after every meal!). A typical meal in my Old Life would look something like this:

Medium vanilla latte (if I was feeling healthy, I would try to ask for non-fat milk and sugar free syrup)
Most days, I felt too sick to eat breakfast, but if I stopped for coffee, I'd often pick up one of their pastries - be it a coffee cake or a scone (and we all know the proportions for those are obscene!)

Sometimes I'd bring a banana to work or nibble on some almonds. But mostly, I'd skip snack and move right into lunch

Jimmy John's sandwich (Ham and Cheese)
Diet Soda
Low-Fat chips
Another vanilla latte

If I didn't already eat my cookie at lunch, I'd have it here. Otherwise, I'd swing by Rite Aid or Walgreens or some place like that and pick up a candy bar

This is where things REALLY got crazy! Sometimes I'd pick up a meal from Dairy Queen. Other times I'd get a pizza and have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Sometimes I would pretend to be healthy and have bagels and cream cheese - only I might have more than one bagel.
Dinner was always followed by dessert, be it cookies, cake, or chocolate bars.

Looking back, no WONDER I couldn't lose weight! There is so much processed food in this list - and WAY TOO BIG of portions! (Also, no wonder I felt sick to my stomach in the morning, after eating all this!!)

One of my problems (besides the obvious portion sizes) was simple: I loved (love!) food! There is a really small list of things I absolutely will not eat because I don't like it. And of course, the things I REALLY love almost always end up being the most fattening.

Just before I started my diet, I did make an attempt to eat better. But I had constant cravings for sugar. I needed it - not much different than a crack addict needs cocaine!

There are people who believe that everyone who is fat is just a lazy person that won't take care of him or herself. I refuse to believe that 100%. Yes, I was lazy and didn't want to change my diet. Yes, I refused to believe that there was a problem and I needed to change. But part of that problem was my addiction to food - to sugar, specifically.

Once I cut myself off from the huge amounts of processed sugar I was eating, from all the bad things that I had grown accustomed to having, the weight came off. Eating healthier became easier, more natural, and I started to like the taste of more natural foods. And while there are times I'd like to have a piece of cake or a burger, I don't have anywhere near the cravings I used to have.

Food addiction, I believe, is just as much of a problem as other addictions. It harms yourself, your body, hindering you from the lifestyle you want. It makes resisting temptations very difficult - and while I do believe our American society focuses too much on fast food and convenience foods, *I* was the one who chose to eat regularly at Dairy Queen, no one at DQ was forcing me into the drive-thru!

Like the 12 steps of AA says, the first step is recognizing you have a problem. So, I'll come clean: I'm Carolyn, and I'm addicted to sugar. I've been (mostly) processed sugar free since November 16th.

Letting go of sugar won't be easy; I get bombarded with images of yummy processed food daily. But I have a choice - I don't need to let my cravings for sugar hold me back from my goal of Lifetime Health. It's a challenge, but one that I am more than willing to confront!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Gosh, it's so wonderful to have this open sharing here on SP - I've been saying that I am a sugar-addict for ages - and there are articles where people say that it's not an addiction, it's a behavioural thing - but, despite the technical terms for 'addiction' we all know what we feel around the stuff! Well done Carolyn! I've lapsed back into eating it again - and feel much worse for it!
    1283 days ago
    Oh, let me join you: I'm Kari, and I'm addicted to sugar! The last time I had sugar had to have been over a year ago, probably longer. I'm not exactly sure.

    I think a lot of people that become significantly over weight are addicted to sugar, or even food in general. Not the food itself, but the feeling one gets from consuming the food. I know I was addicted to it!

    Well, I guess I'm still addicted, and always will be addicted.

    I remember a while back, during a different diet phase, and I hadn't had sugar in a while, and I broke down and had something. Can't remember exactly what. Some kind of sugary cereal bar? Anyway, it tasted TERRIBLE. Like straight syrup, full of chemicals. But of of course, I kept eating stuff like that until I got used to the taste of preservatives and such again.

    Which is crazy, now that I think about it. I didn't like the way it tasted! Why did I ever go back to eating it?? I guess it's... an addiction!

    Great blog post! You can confront - and conquer - this challenge!!
    1286 days ago
    Well said! emoticon

    A lot of the research I've done talks about how many people (yes me included) are addicted to processed food (sugar, salt & fat). I experienced so much of what you describe. I believe I did go through some withdrawal symptoms when I started "eating clean" by eliminating fast food, restricting processed food and increasing the fresh (one ingredient) foods. Now I am so delighted by the vegetables I get to eat every day and shopping is my adventure to find the perfect produce for the week!
    1287 days ago
    Yes - letting go is not easy. I have had to struggle with my own battles as well. Fortunately for me - I am finding that I am actually allergic to what I was craving. My stomach thanks me for taking notice and doing something about it!

    Sugar - is another thing. I don't use a lot of it at all. I try to stay away - and to keep stuff like that away - and usually I can do pretty good. Only have a craving from time to time and it is probably emotionally motivated. Chocolate!

    1287 days ago
    from one addict to another...good for you for coming clean. we do this day at a time. thank god we have SP and this amazing community!!!
    best wishes in your recovery!

    1287 days ago
    Wow great blog! And sounds like were all in the same boat, (maybe we should make a club) No i'm not being funny or mean it just seems like a lot of us are having the same addictions. Thanks again you post really good blogs!
    1287 days ago
    The good news is that when one reduces their sugar intake it eventually loses its hold. I am surprised to no end how sweet some old favorites now seem.

    God bless you with continued success!
    1287 days ago
  • AGOALOF150
    Way to go! You made it through what is likely the most difficult time-christmas!

    1287 days ago
    I know that I am a food addict too. Addicted to sugar, flour, wheat, volume and caffeine. The only relief I get from the addiction is when I totally abstain from all of those substances. I love my abstinent life!
    1288 days ago
    emoticon I too am a food addict .. Carbs/ sugar everything Processed . I am so proud of you for being able to say it, write it and post it. That is not easy .. letting the world know .

    How great is your accomplishment 5 months clean... that is AWESOME !!

    you rock.

    Dawn emoticon
    1288 days ago
    It is definitely an addiction. Your menu sounded a lot like mine. I have not given up processed sugars completely but I have improved dramatically. I no longer buy pre-packaged stuff but I will eat the baked goods that I make. My only rule is that I can only keep a little and I have to give the rest away. The people at my job just love me!
    1288 days ago
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