My name is Crystal, and I’m addicted to sugar.
As I shared back in my Real Food series, we were eating all real food for quite a while. Recently we have gotten a bit off track. The sad thing is, I mostly have myself to blame–I’m the biggest backslider in my family.
I haven’t talked about this too much here in this space, but the sad, embarrassing truth is that sugar is an addiction for me.
I am the daughter of an alcoholic who has been sober for many years now. However, there are many addicted people in my family, which suggests that I have a genetic predisposition to addiction. Knowing this, I have steadfastly avoided all addictive substances–no cigarettes, no drugs, no alcohol…I had 2 c-sections with virtually no pain meds (except initial epidural during surgery) because I was so adamant about avoiding anything potentially addictive.
The Hidden Danger
The thing I didn’t realize until fairly recently (the past few years) is that processed foods, refined sugars in particular, are extremely addictive. At least they can be for people whose brains are more predisposed to addiction.
So, I have this problem, and it can be and has been a big problem. Even when I do well for a while, it always seems to rear its ugly head again. I could link to study after study that talks about how sugar is as addictive as cocaine to mice. And lots of other scientific research and information from the medical community. But you can find all that yourself with a quick search for reputable articles.
I didn’t need those studies to tell me the truth because I knew. The symptoms were all there. Symptoms that I recognized in myself that I had seen over and over in loved ones–a reckless abandon to this thing that has control of a person in spite of how destructive it is.
I won’t list all of the “addiction” symptoms that I have seen in myself regarding sugar. They are rolling through my mind even as I write this, but I’m ashamed to share all the embarrassing details. Just know that sugar and food addiction is real.
It’s also sinful.
I know this may step on some toes, but we don’t do ourselves any favors when we paint ourselves as victims and try to live in that place of “I can’t help it.” That just isn’t so. Yes, it’s a real thing. It’s not easy. In fact, I believe in part that my food struggles are meant to humble me. I remember so often that I judged my dad for being an alcoholic. I judged other family members for being drug-addicts while their families suffered. And I wondered…why don’t they just stop??? Now I know. It’s not as easy as one might think.
But it’s not impossible either.
The reality is, I don’t have to live in sin. Christ died to set me free and I want to live in that. Addiction of any kind does not have final say over my life. The pull of sugar, or any other addiction, isn’t more powerful than the sustaining grace of God.
Like I wrote about before…if I fail 100 times, the only option left to me is to try yet again.
Each time I feel a little bit closer to victory and I will not let that slip away from me.
Where I am now…
I was doing very well until about a couple weeks ago. My problem is that one splurge is all it takes to undo all the mental victories I’ve gained and put me right back at the beginning where cravings are concerned. Oh sometimes this truth is so discouraging to me! But, I still know God is so much bigger!
But, this past week and a half or so has been one of those times when I have fallen down. It has been a complete free-for-all for me food-wise in ways that I haven’t succumbed to in quite a while now. In the past when I’ve fallen, I’ve stayed down. It’s so much easier to give up and wallow. But I’m determined not to do that this time.
My body is not liking my current eating habits! I had been feeling so much better emotionally, and had seen some improvements with certain physical problems as well (mainly headaches and severe heartburn). However, with the reintroduction of sugar, many of those symptoms have returned.
It’s not worth it!
40 Day Sugar Fast
I’m ready to get back on track. A friend introduced me to a 40-day Sugar Fast that is going on right now, starting Monday April 4th. There is a facebook group for support. The group is a bit overwhelmingly large for me, but I’m hoping the support of doing this with lots of other women–or maybe even gathering a smaller support group, will help me stick with it.
[Edit: I heard from some of you that the group was too large for your comfort as well, so I created one that will be much smaller. I hope it will help us all on our journeys. I’d love for you to join here.]
This fast seems to be very laid back in terms of rules. I’ve seen many people in the group define it differently. For me, I am only giving up refined sugars (and going back to our strict real food diet in general). This means that I am allowing myself any/all fruits, as well as honey and 100% pure maple syrup in moderation.
A few people from the group said you shouldn’t eat too many fruits. Here is why I’m allowing them:
- Non-triggering. For most people, fruits are not a “trigger” food. Eating an apple doesn’t have quite the same effect as eating a whole package of ice cream, ding dongs, or whatever your junk food of choice may be.
- Nutritional Value. Fruits have a lot of nutritional value. They have fiber. They have vitamins, and lots of other good stuff. The sugars in fruit are more complex and not the simple and refined sugars we find in processed foods and sweets.
- The Greater Good. This is kind of a combination of the 2, but it bears repeating separately–if eating natural, whole food, fruits helps you kick the refined sugar habit, then it’s well worth the compromise even though they contain natural sugars.
Anyway, so there we go. I’ve been very open with you all tonight and I know some of you are probably shaking your heads and thinking all this food addiction stuff sounds crazy. And that’s okay. Because I know that there are also some of you who are reading it and maybe you’re feeling for the first time that you’re not alone and that someone else understands. That’s who I’m writing this for.
PS–I’d love for you to leave a comment [or click reply if you’re reading via email] and let me know if you’re planning to join in the 40 day detox that starts on Monday!
Let’s pray for one another and encourage one another in this journey to be healthier and honor God with our bodies.