Over my lifetime, I have had a love / hate relationship with sugar.
In my younger years, sugar gave me joy, helped me cope, and coated my throat with its wonderful sticky sweetness. I would enjoy sugar in all forms – white, fluffy breads; extra sugar in my coffee or tea; fake sugars when I felt like being “good”; cakes, candies, ice cream, oh my; pure colorful, flavored sugar that would be dipped with an even more tasty sugar stick … I rarely discriminated.
Several years ago, I was told to cut back (actually told to stop, but I heard “cut back”) my sugar intake completely by a few professionals.
When I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, my therapist and psychiatrist encouraged me to stop to help with my mood swings. “What are you talking about?” I snapped at them, and then burst into tears. Yes, I clearly had violent mood swings. Yet, the thought of giving up sugar was disastrous to me. Sugar gave me (fake) energy and was a source of comfort. I did realize that soon after having sugar, my body and mind would crash. Literally. I became irritable, cranky, and truly looking for my next fix. I felt like I would throw someone if they got between me and my stash of cookies.
My doctors instructed me to stop due to my intense intestinal issues. They informed me that my sugar intake may have something to do with my symptoms. More specifically, anything artificial, including fake sugars, food colorings and any other un-natural ingredients, was messing up my system. Not my sugar! How could something I love so much be so cruel to me?!
My nutritionist helped me get through this difficult time. I felt like I was losing my best friend. To not have sugar anymore? Are you f@*#ing kidding me?!?! You thought I had mood swings before, watch out. Plus anger was added to the mix. I became intensely angry at sugar. How could it do this to me!?
All these professionals were right. Sugar was truly not my friend. Sure, it all tasted good for a moment, but after that, all sugar did was make my insides cringe, my mood shift, and I felt lethargic and sluggish. Yet my attachment and love for sugar was strong. Through the pain and discomfort, I continued to have sugar. Denial, this became my new best friend.
It took a long time, but I finally decided to listen to these professionals and cut sugar loose. Of course, it was a struggle. I had a really hard time saying goodbye. I would still sneak some treats here and there and rationalize that if I only had a little bit, it would be okay. But just like anyone who has ever been in recovery, one is never enough. I also had to kick denial to the curb as well.
Today, I have almost completely cut sugar out of my life. I don’t crave it. In fact, if I even taste something with a bit of sugar, it tastes insanely sweet to me. I used to take a dozen sugar packets in my coffee (a bit of an exaggeration), now I only need milk. It tastes very sweet to me. My body has adjusted. My sugar cravings are gone.
My moods are better. My stomach is better. Plus I have lost weight and I feel amazing. There used to be a sugary film feeling around me. As if my insides were coated in a candy shell. They probably were. Now my body is clean. I feel lighter. More energized. Able to taste my food. Enjoy real energy, not fake sugar highs. The professionals were right. Sugar truly messed me up.
There are times when I struggle and times when “just a bite” really works. Part of me still loves sugar. I remember all the good times we’ve shared. I can still close my eyes and literally taste a glazed donut. It’s a memory that will not go away. And that’s okay. The memory is enough. I do not want the reality now. Sorry sugar, my love for you is over.
Filed under: Addiction/Substance Use, Health, Hope Notes, Just for Laughs, PerinatalMoodDisorders, Self-Care, Stress Reduction | 6 Comments »