To my surprise, the Instagram challenge that I posted last week has really got me thinking. First, my self-portrait discovery from Day 1. Then Day 8’s challenge to photograph a bad habit. I immediately thought of my co-workers candy jar. I have been dipping into her candy jar on what has now become a daily (sometimes several times a day) basis. I went for a long time restricting my sugar intake and I felt good about it. But then like a full body rash that started as a few small bumps, my need for sugar spread.
First, it was an occasional treat. Then it became 2-3 times a week. Then it was everyday. Now if find myself heading to the candy jar whenever she leaves her desk. Shameful, I know. If this sounds like an addiction story that is because it is. Around Feb/March I went through a full blown sugar withdrawal. I removed it from my diet completely for 30 days. The first week, I suffered headaches, exhaustion and, to my families dismay, extreme irritability
By the end of the week, I had won the battle and my sugar craving subsided until I not longer felt out of control. In fact, I felt very in control of what I eat and why. It was eye opening. Since then I have fallen off the no sugar wagon (and let it back over me) and have allowed myself a treat here and there… and there and …there.
With the challenge picture, I came to realize I am back to that sugar loving lunatic that is stealing chocolates from her co-workers candy jar and justifying it as a little treat. “Oh, it’s just one piece of chocolate,” I would tell myself, but I was back for other that afternoon. I realized with the taking of this picture, I need a 12-step program for sugar addiction.
Sugar addition is known to cause cravings, binge eating and, of course, weight gain. Once you have some you want more, then more, until you are craving sweetness in everything you eat. It’s not really our fault, we are biologically pre-programed to crave sweetness. What our bodies do not know is that food manufacturers have been steadily increasing the amount of sweetness we taste in our foods. The addictive properties of sugar have had cash payoffs for these manufacturers. Truthfully, I don’t blame them, they are only giving us what we ask for. It is up to us to know what we are eating.
So how do we break this habit? It’s simple, but not so simple. Stop eating sugar. The problem comes in that sugar… well, it’s everywhere. The temptation of a co-workers candy jar, your son’s birthday cake, your favorite morning breakfast cereal that you end up eating three bowls of. (That’s sugar craving working it’s magic).
There are several resources to educate yourself on the hidden sugar in food, and how to overcome temptation. Here is a great program from SparkPeople. There is also a very informative article from the Huffington Post about 7 steps you can take to remove sugar from your diet. There are other resources out there but for me. I know the only way to beat back the sugar monster is to stop visiting the candy jar.