Today marks four months that I have been off sugar, wheat, potato, and dairy products!!!! When I started down this road on January 2, I was feeling generally sluggish, tired, and cranky far too often for my liking. I wasn’t thinking ahead to how long it would last. I just knew that I needed to make a change.
So here I am four months later – feeling more alert and experiencing less brain fog. Which, let’s face it, is a damn good thing given all the mental activity I’ve had going on since Jan. 1!!
Just to be clear – I haven’t been a monk. I’ve had a few little treats here and there, but they were all conscious decisions and not “slip ups.” For instance, the night that I finished my book proposal, I went out with my mom and a friend for a celebratory dinner the three of us shared a sinful dessert. I ate three or four bites, and I got to feel like I’d had a big treat. I think this is a living example of striving for excellence vs. perfection.
Interestingly, I’ve noticed that every time I allow myself to indulge in a “treat,” the next day I feel cranky and have some brain fog.
But even with four months under my belt – and even with that immediate feedback from my body – I still have to be vigilant.
This weekend I was talking with some friends about our addictive patterns. One of them described his behavior with sugar – when he gets stressed out he starts eating more candy, then he gets cranky, then he starts exercising less, then he starts gaining weight and feeling bad about himself, and so on. At the beginning it looks like it’s just one Hershey bar, but before too long, he’s swirled into a hole that’s about so much more than chocolate.
As I listened to him, I recognized my own pattern in spades. Here is my path to self-abandonment…
I love the taste of sweet things – whether it’s chocolate cake, a piece of fruit, or a sweet potato, I can’t get enough of the TASTE. When it’s a sweet potato or a piece of fruit, I may overeat but it doesn’t cause me to crave anything else.
Sugar, on the other hand, does. Having the sweetness of sugar in my mouth causes me to crave more sugar in different textures. I fill my mouth with the taste over and over, never feeling satisfied even when I’m full.
When some sugar leads to a LOT of sugar, my blood sugar starts doing crazy things, and I turn to pasta and pizza to help me feel more grounded. Now I’m not just overindulging in sugar, I’ve added wheat (another of the things that makes me feel cloudy). French fries and chips naturally go with sandwiches, so then I’m back on potatoes. And because I’m no longer taking care of myself, I crave more sugar as my coping mechanism. So why not add some ice cream (even though I’m lactose sensitive) on top of the whole thing?
I never stopped to look at the pattern quite so closely until the weekend, but now it’s obvious:
Sugar is my gateway drug.
(click to tweet)
And stress is the environment that triggers the descent.
I can’t say that I’ll never climb back on that ride again – I know that any thinking about anything as being “For The Rest Of My Life,” it’s an automatic ticket to self-sabotage.
But I can say that for the last four months, I’ve done great and I want to keep it up.
Today’s miracle: The first step to healing a pattern is recognizing it.
I’ve discovered my gateway drug to self-abandonment…now it’s your turn.