When sugar becomes an addiction

To really understand my sugar addiction I have to go way back into my childhood. While my parents didn’t feed us kids a lot of candy (quite the contrary actually), I did have access to it by way of an allowance. As soon as I had money I spent it all on candy. Every last penny. I remember having a piggy bank filled with coins: 5DM (German Marks) each. The little bank was full. Well, I eventually started robbing my little bank. 5 Marks got you lots of candy. 5 Marks and you were rich! I went on my first diet when I was 14 years old. At that point that simply meant skipping my daily Twix bars. But the truth was, at that point in my life I was already addicted to the sugar.

After the birth of my first daughter (I was only 20 and totally overwhelmed with everything) I found my happy place in candy. Chocolate, chips, gummy bears… you name it. I was back to my ideal weight only 2 weeks after giving birth and then gained 60lbs eating candy. I lost all of that weight plus some by cutting calories in half, by not eating any candy at all.

My second child brought on 60lbs, which I lost doing low carb. I was 26 then. The weight then just dropped off me. It was awesome. Of course low carbing really wasn’t good for me, and so, after dropping my weight I went right back to my old ways.

Baby 3 came around, and I gained 70lbs, and lost 40. I managed to lose 10… gain 5… lose 5… gain 10… for years and years I went through a vicious cycle of diet, diet pills, exercise, no candy, binging with exactly one result… extreme frustration. After years of dieting I’d had enough. I came to the sad conclusion that a woman in her mid 30s simply could not lose the weight, and because I was sad and frustrated, I ate sugary things. Lots of them. I baked them, I bought them, and then I ate them.

A bar of chocolate (milk chocolate, not dark) didn’t last a day. I couldn’t just have a small piece. As soon as that first piece melted on my tongue things went out of control. I thought I was doing a good thing by simply breaking off one piece and putting the rest into the cupboard. Ha, all it did was make me walk to the cupboard 15 times until the entire bar of chocolate was gone. I did this secretly of course, because I didn’t want anyone to know that I had just chowed down 550calories worth of sugar. Then I hid the wrapper underneath the other trash. And then I felt guilty for the rest of the day and ate less of everything else to even out the calorie intake. The next day I would go to the gym and work out extra hard… on the elyptical… or the treadmill, never in the weights section.

Going paleo was my life saver… still is. But to say that my addiction to sugar is gone, would be a lie. It is still very much alive and kicking. I still walk through the candy aisle at Target and see that good German Rittersport chocolate, and think to myself… heck, one bar won’t harm you. Then I take two. The first one likely won’t make it home. Better hide the wrapper.

I’ve fallen off the bandwagon when I hurt my back… and now I find myself running and chasing it to jump back on. Sometimes I make it on with one foot. But well, it’s difficult to hop alongside the bandwagon on one foot. Easy to trip and fall. Yes, I fall… all the time.

I’ve recently read some controversial posts by a paleo guy who insists that sugar doesn’t make fat. Sugar should just be eaten like any other food. Assuming this is true… sugar doesn’t make fat… I still have one major problem with this message. Sugar, when consumed in large quantities does make fat. And for someone like me, who is so addicted to this stuff, that we lose all willpower as soon as the first piece of chocolate hits our tastebuds, the message should be very clear. Stay away from sugar at all times!

When I started my paleo journey, I didn’t eat any sugar… Well, that’s not true. I still ate honey and fruit. And those things are just fine. I don’t go all out when I have a paleo muffin or brownie. I won’t eat a second and a third apple. I will get back to that point.

Step #1: stop buying it. As easy as this may sound to someone who is not addicted, to me that’s my first challenge. Bring it on. I’m so very ready.

Anybody out there who struggles too? Anybody?

One thought on “When sugar becomes an addiction”

  1. Thank you for writing this post. I am also very much this way. I thought paleo/primal had broken me of this sugar addiction, but that was only when I was consistently super low carb and not eating ANY sugar at all. Not even any honey, maple syrup or even fruit!!! I was very lean, which I thought was great, but it caused too much stress on my body, and I stopped menstruating. Basically, as I recently discovered, I'd given myself PCOS.So, I stopped restricting, and I gradually let myself have fruit, and then natural sugars, and then I slipped a little with refined sugar….and then the sugar demon got me again. I gained way more than I'd intended to, and it felt like my life was out of control. I'm really trying to fall in love with eating clean again, but breaking that habit is very very difficult. : (

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