Thursday, August 1, 2013

A post about sugar and food and emotions and shit...

I know it's kind of boring to go on about food and diets and sugar and shit but forgive me if I just have to do exactly that for a bit.

When I gave up alcohol I used to drink at least one if not two sugary soft drinks every evening at 5pm (ginger beer or some such).. sometimes I'd have one at lunch as well. I had no idea how full of sugar they were until other bloggers started going on about sugar and I checked the label .. sometimes 45g per bloody bottle of sugar! Loads of sugar.

So I cut that crap out and now I don't have anything much in the evenings.. just water with dinner and a green tea later on.

But don't think I'm a bloody saint because I'm not. I seem to struggle constantly with a sugar 'pull'. Often at night I'll want something sweet.. a biscuit or a little bit of chocolate or something. Boiled sweets if we have them in the house.

If I'm really struggling with some stress or angst or something, you know, emotional, I'll practice really dysfunctional behaviours and make myself a tiny bowl of muesli and heap 2 huge desert spoons of sugar on top and then eat it in bed. It's a sugar binge folks.

I did that on Tuesday night.

Then yesterday I ate crap all day (cheese on toast times a million for lunch) and then had heaps of sugary slice with the kids after school (they made me go to the deli.. they forced me.. honestly).. and then more sugary fudge in the evening with Mr D.

Is it any surprise I got into bed feeling shitty and grumpy and gross? Slept badly and today feel grumpy. It's got to be the sugar, right? Tell me it's the sugar.

Now for the food bit of this crazy disjointed post. I'm a faddy food/diet person always trying to not be the little piggy that I naturally am. Got really into the MyFitnessPal app earlier in the year and spent a good few weeks obsessively entering in all that I ate and trying to limit my daily calorie intake. Gave that up. Did a 8-week fitness/diet challenge at the gym. Mixed results. Right now I'm trying the 5:2 diet where you 'fast' for two days a week (only 500-odd calories) and eat normally the other 5 days.

So today is a fasting day. My fourth ever. And I feel sluggish after my sugar binging of yesterday and hungry already and it's only 9.24am.

But mostly I'm just wondering if all this is related to my alcohol addiction and my need to put shit in my body to deal with emotional states and I'm probably just naturally coming down off the high of the weekend with all that busy social activity but right now in my life I'm no good at managing myself naturally and so I lurch along the days following a high fueling my moods with cheese and sugar and the like.

That was a very long sentence!

How do people that aren't recovering alcoholics or food addicts or sugar addicts or whatever live their lives??? Tell me! I want to be one of them! I want to be even and calm and cool and controlled and healthy and smooth all the time. That's what I want.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. Maybe they are not healthy or calm or controlled all the time. Maybe everyone is in the same boat.

  2. I've only been sober 9 days and the sugar tooth has kicked in. I'm letting it go for now, but at some point I'll have to face it and change my diet for the better.

    Your comment about other people is interesting. One idea might be that some people are more into addiction than others. Sure, I stopped drinking. But the truth is I'm addicted to EVERYTHING hehe :-)

    It seems to be a never-ending process of keeping addiction in check.

  3. My much loved Mrs D!

    NOBODY is 'even and calm and cool and controlled and healthy and smooth all the time'. Repeat this each time you beat up on yourself for trying to deal with emotions by eating. We all do this to some extent, we all need to do this.

    Appetite is good and appetites merge, it is hard to distinguish between them. That's why we talk about chocolate being 'decadent' or 'wicked' as if indulging in a glut of chocolate is a sexual orgy. This is how our culture works by mixing up associations and overlapping desires and moralities and ambivalence about our bodies, health, happiness, comfort etc. We buy sleek fast cars because they remind us of sexy dangerous men or women, we think of warm milk at bedtime as a kind of mothering, we feel virtuous when we have muesli for breakfast even if there is no virtue involved and our bodies would have done just as well on toast with melting butter.

    I keep trying to unravel my hunger for food from my hunger for everything else and I can't do it, don't know where to start. I'm just glad I'm not still juggling my desire for alcohol in there with everything else.

    Think of what the brilliant food writer MFK Fisher wrote:

    “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”

  4. Hi Mrs D,

    I think you're onto something about the sugar and booze being connected. I gave up sugar and grains altogether for a while almost 2 years ago, mostly because I was getting a bit fatter and I felt like crap. I was super moody, and had crazy blood sugar crashes. I started eating a kind of Paleo diet, though that phrase is used so widely it's almost meaningless. My version was mostly whole foods, plenty of veg and meat and some fruit, no added sugar, no grains, lots of animal fat from free range cows and pigs, plus the usual olive oil. What it did for me was even out my moods and get rid of food cravings. I used to have to eat every 3 or 4 hours, and now I don't eat between meals at all, and not because I have any innate virtue on that score. After a while, I added back some sugars, as in maple syrup and honey, and later I started eating a little bread again and some sugar once in a while, but never by itself. Now I'm not saying I recommend doing all that, as I think it's a bit hard core and probably not necessary to go that far. But cleaning up my diet did get rid of the emotional food cravings, and I think it's helped me have way fewer cravings since I've quit the drinking too. I really did have the same "GIVE ME MORE NOW" feeling with sugar and bread that I had with booze, and the same crappy feelings later, and that's something I wanted to deal with. (Yes, I know, it might have made sense to kick the booze first. Oh well.) Good luck with figuring it out!

  5. I don't know Mrs. D but I'm on a mission to figure this mother fucker out because it's driving me crazy. I'm seeing my shrink at the end of the month and I want some answers or I want him to point me to someone who will give them to me. If it is yet another addiction (sugar) then so be it - I'll have to kick it to the curb like the others...but if it's not, someone is going to have to tell me why I crave that shit so much (especially chocolate).

    So I'll keep you posted - in the meantime remember that you have fought a hard battle and you are just getting on the other side of it. You are wonderful, and loving and such a great friend. Tell yourself that also the next time you're feeling bad about eating.

    Then email me and tell me to do the same cause I seem to forget the good stuff too.

    Love and hugs,

  6. I definitely think it's related. I mean it has to be, right? I recently told a friend I thought my sugar demon was quieting down when I hit 2 years. It's still loud and annoying at times, but maybe I've accepted its presence a bit more and learned if I pig out, then I need to skip dessert the next time around and this will not kill me. I also got this in my inbox yesterday, which I thought was pretty cool:

  7. I used to say, "everything in moderation" but that didn't fucking work out for me now did it? :) I think it is related. Sugar addiction is a serious problem but I think Greg D is right. While some people appear smooth and collected, no one really is that way ALL of time. Ellie said something that stuck with me on a ep of BH recently, "No one is going to go out and get arrested after eating a chocolate bar." (that might be wildly paraphrased). Yes, we all know it is dangerous to trade one addiction for another but also, why can't we give ourselves a little break? Maybe I am jut trying to justify my own chocolate habit, but maybe a sugar binge here and there (not every day) is ok IF it helps keep Wolfie at bay. Speaking of faddy type diets, check out the Four Hour Body. The author promotes a "slow carb" approach with one wonderful, glorious cheat day. :) I am exceptionally good at cheat day while being about a C student on regular, slow carb days but I am losing weight and cheat day is a huge comfort. Just a few (oh geez, a bunch) of rambling thoughts... Thanks for posting this!

  8. Hiya!
    A good read to get the sugar connection is POTATOES NOT PROZAC. Sugar sensitive individuals have the type of body chemistry that make natural dysfunctional drinkers. When the woman who wrote PNP quit drinking (she saw herself on a slippery slope - her dad was an alcoholic) she started eating lots of sugar and processed carbs and gained a ton of weight. Then she educated herself in nutrition and got herself sorted out and other too - ex-drinkers hugely benefit from certain vitamins/minerals/foods. It's a really good read!
    Cheers from Calgary, Canada

  9. I am in the same boat. I am "good" for a while, then crash and burn. Sugar has really been a thing for me, and I have been trying to stop again, but it's been difficult, and I wonder if there really is a balance, or if I am just not meant to have it. I think the latter, but pray for the former. Then wonder if all sorts of things to rationalize my way to a sugar bender. And like you said, they SUCK (well, I am saying I felt the same - lethargic, crappy, bloated, etc. Moderation...what the hell is that? And I want to meet more people like that so they can tell me their mystical secrets.


    I don't think it happens like that, though. Some of us just have that something that keeps nagging us. I seek serenity, and if sugar needs to take the highway, then it will have to...but part of me still wants to keep it here.

    I have heard about that Potatoes not Prozac, and I think I am going to pick it up. Glad to know that I am not alone in the sugar thing, and I think it's important stuff. The more I read about it, the more I see it as an epidemic.

    Great post, Mrs. D :)


  10. Awwwww love you Mrs. D.

    I did the 5:2 for a while too before I started back with my marathon training. There's a lot of health benefit to giving your body a rest and allowing for cellular regeneration. What I enjoyed most about it though was learning what it felt like to be hungry. I had really forgotten, always snacking, always eating on schedule hungry or not. The first few fast days were tough, just like early sobriety, but then I actually found I had a little more energy. Let us know how you're doing with it. I think it's normal to be so confused about food and to like the tasty yummy stuff, that's not strange at all. We're all works in progress. Love you and your blog! Christy

  11. I KNOW I self medicate with chocolate and sugar..much like I self medicated with alcohol. I work out tons to counteract the effects on my weight, but it is still bad for me I know :X I've thought about going a month free to see if it helps me learn to moderate...but I'm scared. Much like my drinking, I keep putting off quitting. Next month always seems like a better time to tackle my sweet addiction.

  12. Oh and I don't calorie count. I will go totally OCD with it and make myself crazy. I just try to eat tons of produce, lean protein, and whole grains. With that and the exercise I feel good until I go nuts and binge on sugary crap.

  13. I love reading your writing, Mrs. D! Thank you for being a part of my sobriety. Sure it's true that no one is going to go out and get arrested after eating a chocolate bar. And if it was just A chocolate bar, as in ONE, no biggy. That's moderation. For me though, it's never one. One makes me want two and two makes me want three (cookies, candies, whatever). I feel the same feelings of powerlessness over sugar as I do over alcohol. I found that after I had some sobriety under my belt, I had to cut sugar out. I still eat natural sugars (fruit). Fruit is fine and tasty and I eat lots of it, but I never feel like eating 10 bananas so I can still have my balance and not start feeling out of control. Thanks for your blogging, Mrs. D. Keep up the good work!

  14. I quit drinking when I went on a paleo diet. I drank everyday for about 30 years w/2 years off while in college. We don't have governors like an engine. Now bananas and honey - real honey taste good again! No processed foods allowed. I truly feel better without the highs and lows from carbs and sugars. Try it for thirty days. Seriously.

  15. The beauty of the Potatoes Not Prozac book is that the program deals with the sugar addiction (which is what alcoholism is, too) at a cellular level and heals it. No white knuckling necessary. It makes emotional sobriety possible. Working the program I forgot to eat sugar one day. That was so far removed from my hoarding/eating/ bingeing on sugar days.

    And there is no failure in the program which was hard for this perfectionist to wrap my head around but part of why I love it, too. The program uses food to heal which is a lovely concept that works!