Confessions of a Sugar Addict on Halloween

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Confessions of a Sugar Addict on HalloweenA 2013 study out of Connecticut College found that lab rats’ pleasure centers light up more for Oreos than for addictive drugs like cocaine. I’m not part of a scientific experiment, but I’ve observed that I behave in patterns consistent with addiction when sugar is involved. As I write this, I’ve been sugar-free for eight whole days. Halloween is just as good a time as any to share some confessions. Maybe you can relate.

  • I know that that sugar is harmful, yet if it’s in the house, I’ll seek it out every time I go by the kitchen. That snack mix containing M&M’s I made for my daughter’s birthday party…I ate it by the handful all day long. For several days.
  • I’m a lifelong vegetarian, but if marshmallows are around I’ll eat them even though I’m disgusted to know that they contain gelatin made from animal bones.
  • I’m not satisfied with just a square or two of “healthy” dark chocolate.
  • I gobble up my favorite candies out of my daughter’s Halloween bucket….Snickers, Mounds, Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Peppermint Patties, M&M’s. Those are all gone almost immediately, but the non-chocolate candy will last for months, which goes to show who’s really eating the Halloween candy.
  • I continue to eat sweets even after I’m not hungry anymore, and even bordering on feeling sick. I took half of my daughter’s birthday cake made from premium ingredients to a party and left it there because I didn’t trust myself with it in the house.
  • I can’t ever just eat one or two cookies.
  • I’ve been known to hide in the pantry eating sweets to ease stress or numb negative emotions.
  • I tell myself that I don’t want the sweets in the house anymore so I’ll binge eat so they will be gone. 
  • I can give up sugar for three weeks or even three months, but the thought of giving it up forever terrifies me.

My solution to avoiding the above behavior is to just not buy the stuff. But, things start creeping in during holidays and birthdays. I trace the unwanted pounds I have right now back to one specific decision I made nearly two years ago. It was Christmas market time in Germany, and likely the last holiday season I would enjoy there because my husband was completing his third assignment in Germany and we had orders to come back to the States. What is the likelihood we’ll ever get sent back? So I decided to just eat what I wanted at the Christmas markets. Since I’m a vegetarian, my choices were often limited to sweets. Lebkuchen, stollen, chocolate and marzipan crepes, chimney cakes. Oh the chimney cakes! They’re pieces of dough wrapped around a stick and baked, sometimes over an open flame. They’re dipped in cinnamon and sugar that create a sweet crust around a warm, soft pastry. Forgive me, I just lost myself in a fantasy.

That Christmas season turned into a stressful overseas PCS, which turned into another PCS not even a year later, and now nearly two years have gone by and I still haven’t bounced back. My body just doesn’t forgive me like it used to.

Right now, I’m in the middle of a three-week elimination diet because a friend asked me to be her accountability partner. She didn’t ask me to actually join in with her, but I felt like I needed a reboot. We message back and forth about cravings, and triggers, and frustrations. But we also express the desire to give up sugar. Just give it up. Forever. I really want to, but I’m scared. I’m scared of not having the pleasure of eating delicious treats. I’m scared of not being able to participate in social events. I’m scared of being that girl that doesn’t eat cake at parties. Why am I not more scared of sugar-related diseases?

What about you? Would you consider giving up sugar… forever? If so, do you want to be my new best friend? I don’t think change like this is possible alone.