Discovery is Recovery
For the love of sugar! It’s my kryptonite. For some people it’s pasta, others it’s bread, and for my daughter it’s potatoes. My first memory of losing control with sugar was when I was twelve years old. My grandmother bought these mini ice cream sandwiches and stored them in the freezer out in the garage. We were only supposed to have one, but my sister and I would sneak outside and eat I don’t know how many at a time. I would call myself a sugar-aholic. Eating just one piece of sugar is just the beginning. There’s no such thing as eating just one. If I start the day eating sugar, then I’m eating it all day.
Searching for a solution, I came across two trains of thought. Quit sugar completely. Cut it out of your life forever. The other thought was eat it in moderation. If you cut it out completely, then it will become the forbidden fruit and you are more apt to lose it one day and smother yourself in a mountain of chocolate iced cupcakes. My nutritionist had allowed 100 calories of chocolate in my eating plan so that can’t be a bad thing.
A couple of years ago I decided to take the route of quitting sugar altogether and even did it cold turkey. I had already done it with smoking, and caffeine, so why not? If I can’t control myself, then quit it. I had actually read a story a bunch of years back about a lady who was a pasta addict and she decided to quit. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness. What a horrible idea!” Then I turned the concept on myself but with sugar instead. The horror and shock of such a horrendous idea was too much. I would sometimes think about it over the years and quickly shove the idea away. But, I did do it and was successful at it for a year. The thing I found though was that I had been using sugar to make myself feel better, and as a reward for achieving goals. Now, when I wanted to feel better or reward myself, I became depressed. I had nothing to help me now. I’d even get a cake pop and try to eat it, but found the taste repulsive which made my depression even worse.
I’ve also tried eating sugar in moderation, as my nutritionist had suggested. This worked for a little while, until that big hit came. The one where a co-worker upsets you, or you catch a bad cold and just want comfort food. I lose it every time. I was really sick this week with allergies and had a really bad week with unhealthy choices. It makes it much worse when you are a sugar addict.
Both options have their challenges. Deal with the emotional loss of sugar after quitting cold turkey, or try to find some control and will power to only eat it in moderation. My daughter has been a great inspiration to me. She’s been making a ton of progress with her weight, eating and self control. Growing up with a sugar addict for a mom hasn’t made her transformation easy. So I decided to chat with her and try to come up with a plan. She asked, “What food do you eat for comfort that is not sugary? ” My answer was,”Cheese enchiladas and grilled cheese sandwiches!” Hmmm…not healthy, but a start to finding a solution.
After some inner searching and conversation we came up with this plan. Bring some string cheese to work, which is where I’m usually weak, to deal with the stress and comfort eating. For the sugar, try to eat a healthy sugar. So I’m getting some small oranges and splitting off the wedges. When I want sugar, I’ll eat one of the wedges. I’m also going to try to take a walk if i’m having a really bad struggle When I quit smoking I drank some water when I wanted to smoke. I imagined that with each drink I was cleaning away some of the damage I had done. Want sugar? Then walk.
Which option would work best for you? Quitting cold turkey or eating sugar in moderation?
Until next week!
Eat Well and Prosper!
I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been pondering some things, and I’m worried that my blog will not be a source of encouragement as I intended it to be. I have to accept that this is real life. Not some fairly tale weight loss story that you see in the book stores. You know the kind. The person was seriously overweight, and they made all these changes, and it was so easy, and this is all you have to do to have their success. “If it worked for me then it will work for you.” I want that too, but they don’t work for me. I’ve come to realize that it’s not an educational thing, or even a physical one. I do have physical issues that I have to work around, but I can do it. I have all the training I need to be successful. I’ve seen a dietician and worked with a physical trainer in the past. I know the magic calorie number to stay under to lose weight. I know that cardio alone isn’t enough. I’ve come to understand that this is an issue with my mind.
Last time I wrote I compared how my struggle reminded me of my issue with cigarette smoking. All it took was about a week to get over the physical addiction of the nicotine. After that it was all in my mind. At least quitting smoking is easier. You have to smoke in designated places, and even when you do people give you horrible stares. But eating is everywhere. It’s at work luncheons, fast food restaurants that are everywhere you drive, birthday parties, the frozen food section at the grocery where they keep the ice cream. I know that eating bad things is bad for me, but I do it anyway. I’ve come to think that I have a lot in common with the people on the show My 600 Pound Life. Many of the things I hear on there can be applied to myself. So why can’t I say no to the temptations all around me?
After some pondering I think the issue is because I’ve never had healthy role models growing up. My grandma, bless her heart, was a country girl who worked in the fields with her other eleven siblings, and at the end of the day they ate chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes. The calories didn’t matter because they worked it off all day long. So this was how we ate, and on top of that, food was a gift and reward to us for more reasons than one. No one emphasized eating healthy, or working out regularly. We had veggies because grandma grew them, but they weren’t pushed upon us to eat them. So today it’s an effort to include them in my meals. I’m good with meat and fruit, but veggies aren’t on my radar.
It’s not just me though. My husband grew up with food being a reward and a way for his mom to show her love. Especially today this continues to be the case. We don’t have friends who are conscientious of healthy food habits, and we don’t’ have that background to draw from, so we both continue our bad habits from childhood. On the other hand, my sister-in-law grew up with good food and health habits from her mom, and she hands this down to her kids. From my view, she makes it look effortless. It’s just the way it is. And it probably is. She grew up that way. They live four hours away, so they aren’t close enough to make a visual impact on how we live.
After all this thought, the new questions for the week are these. How does living a healthy life become second nature for people who didn’t grow up with healthy role models? How can we make eating right and working out just something we do? To say no thanks, without batting an eyelash, when offered a cup cake? What does it take to change our mindset?
I’ve contemplated quitting this blog and taking this journey offline. This is real life, very personal, and not always happy. I fear also that one day while I’m looking for a new job, a possible employer will stumble upon this and say uh no. I’m not hiring this person. She’s a food junkie with no control. Employers today look you up online sometimes before making a decision. But I have to stop being afraid. That’s one of my issues. If I have at least one person who is finding this helpful, it’s worth it to me. I mostly feel very alone in this fight. I don’t have much support to be successful. Hopefully this will help at least one person feel like they are not alone. If you stumble onto this blog and find this journey interesting, please like it so that I know it’s helping someone out there.
I hope you have a great week.
Eat well and prosper!
Casting stones is something we all do to some extent whether we want to be honest with ourselves or not.
“Look at that person smoking. Just put it down and stop. That’s all it takes.”
“Man, getting a flat so soon? I’d just quit.”
These are things that have been said to me. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve smoked, and the second comment was made when my bicycle had a flat just one mile into an eighty mile ride. That one was rough. People kept passing by snickering and pointing and making horrible comments. I finished that ride but their comments were demoralizing and really hurt.
And even though I know how comments like that can hurt, I’ve caught myself doing it too. I’ve found though, that if you turn the comment back on yourself, you may find things out about yourself that needs fixing. For example, the most common place for me to cast stones is while watching the show My 600 Pound Life. Sure, they can’t hear me so what’s the harm right? Uh… no. I can hear me. I’ve found myself saying things like, “Why are you eating that? Don’t you know you are killing yourself?” For this person it may be true. The doc is always telling them that they don’t have much longer to live if they stay at this weight, but couldn’t this apply to anyone of any weight? Not just someone who is 600 pounds? I mean, how many useful calories are there in a pint of ice cream? And don’t say, “Hey, there’s milk in there.”
Ever since that revelation dawned on me I’ve turned the question back on myself when I’m eating badly. “Why are you eating that? Don’t you know you are killing yourself?” I’ve noticed that it reminds me of something back when I used to smoke cigarettes. I remember going to bed and asking myself, “Why did I smoke so many cigarettes today? I feel horrible. Why do I keep doing this?” And then then next morning the first thing on my mind was getting outside so that I could smoke a cigarette. It makes no sense. Smoking is an addiction and you can get caught in a logical loop that gets you nowhere when you try to solve the question. Addictions aren’t logical. Recently I’ve started asking myself at night why I ate like I did that day and that reminded me of my smoking days.
Maybe this is the way to battle my love of food. Treat it like my smoking addiction. The idea alone tires me out. It’s a hard road full of mental arguments. For me, quitting smoking was 20% physical addiction and 80% mental addiction. I had to figure out what made me want to smoke and decide what I could do in place of smoking. I smoked because I was bored, it was time to smoke (work breaks), I was angry or frustrated, I was driving, I deserved it as a reward, and of course the popular one, after sex. With smoking I replaced the cigarette with a drink of water and imagined that the drink of water was cleansing my body. With each drink I was getting healthier. Hey, it worked.
So what are my triggers to eat? And what can I do in place of eating? I’m going to work on listing these out this week and post them along with my plan next week. I’m also going to do some research as well. I’ve realized that even though I’m not 600 pounds, that I too am killing myself with food and that I have a long road of mental re-programming, but it feels good to have a plan that seems to click for me.
If you catch yourself casting stones this week, try turning it back around, and see if you learn something about yourself. How can you use that to improve?
Eat Well and Prosper!
I hope everyone had a great couple of weeks! I missed my post last week, partly due being really busy, but deep down I know it was because I was feeling guilty. Food was not my friend and I ended up gaining three pounds and felt so defeated. This week I’m back on track and was able to lose two of those, which got me thinking. Are my motivators just not strong enough? What drives a person to be strong enough to turn down that friendly offer of a hostess chocolate cup cake? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate them.
Originally my motivators were being able to live a healthy life, lose weight, gain strength, and to be able to have fun in the outdoors like hiking, camping, getting better at kayaking and jumping back into cycling. Those are a lot of motivators so what’s wrong with them because they don’t seem to be keeping me from eating that cupcake?
In my effort to try to get a better understanding I decided to ask a few people what motivates them. My first target was one of my co-workers who has decided to get back into kick boxing. His classes ranged between 30 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes and he IS able to turn down the cupcakes. We also have some peer pressure from another co-worker who likes to say, “You have to treat yourself sometimes”, as he hands over that cupcake that he wants to share. And still my kick boxer says no thanks. His motivators are to look good for his fiance and to be able to protect her. Those were such strong motivators and to the point.
Another co-worker said his motivation was to be healthy, but he has been having a hard time getting to the gym. I plan to talk to others, but I think this gave me a good start to figuring this out. My kick boxer included just two things and to were to the point. As I’m looking back at mine I have quite a list, and just now realized as I’m writing this, that the second part of my sentence after the word strength are things that I have not been doing. Why am I waiting to have fun? Those things will help me achieve losing weight, being healthy and gaining strength.
After some contemplation I’ve decided that my motivators are strong enough, I just need to get busy doing the fun things and realize that they are just like the kick boxing. They enable me to achieve my goals and are even rewards for doing a great job.
I’ll be back next week, and until then, Eat well and prosper!
Back in the day, when I ate freely without a care in the world, I liked going to Schlotzsky’s and getting The Original sandwich. Oh how yummy that was. And the bread? To die for. You can imagine the shock that surely registered on my face when I checked the calories on MyfitnessPal and learned that The Original was 780 calories! For me that would count towards my breakfast, morning snack and lunch. I was devastated. Would I never get to eat Schlotzsky’s again?
After I was able to settle down from the shock and despair- ok that’s a bit dramatic, but the idea of not getting to eat it again was sad- I decided to check on the calories for the small. The small Original still comes out pretty high at 540 calories. This is still quite a bit. I guess I could forgo my afternoon snack to make up for it, but I usually get hungry around 3pm, so this still didn’t work.
I’ve been on a quest to find a way to eat the things I love, but to do it in moderation, so I started devising a way to make this happen. As it turns out, the majority of the calories are in the bread. No surprise there really. If it’s scrumptious,then it’s usually the culprit. Once I realized the bread was somewhere around 200 calories by itself, I decided to alter it by taking the meat from one side and adding it to the other side, making the now half sandwich feel like a deluxe original. I just didn’t eat the other half of the bread.
I didn’t feel cheated by doing this and actually felt full when I was done. I even did this in front of co-workers, conquering my peer pressure eating, even after answering the question, “What the heck are you doing do that sandwich??”