Sunday, May 18, 2014

Road to Sobriety

First, a disclaimer:
I'm not trying to compare my struggles to those of alcoholics or drug addicts. By no means am I trying to minimize what they go through or elevate my experiences to theirs. No, I'm just trying to highlight how dependent I became on sugar - that it was my drug of choice. And trying to break the addiction has been very hard for me. 

I've been sober for 3 weeks now. I decided that my relationship with sugar was an unhealthy one, and that I needed to part ways. I needed to give up on sweets - chocolate, baked goods, candy.  They were my crutch when I was unhappy, bored, or hungry. And I didn't want to be dependent on them anymore. So I gave up added sugar. Fruit and dairy sugars were fine. They weren't what my body craved, and they had lots of healthy things attached to them. But cane sugar? I declared it my enemy. 

The first week of detox was hard. I paced and cried. I was in serious withdrawal. My body itched for sugar. I was miserable. 

The second week was easier. I felt a little better, and was encouraged by this change. It convinced me that I was doing the right thing. 

The third week was even better. My taste buds are changing, re calibrating. Things that didn't used to taste sweet now do. Things that used to taste bland now have more flavor. I'm developing an appreciation for sourdough bread. And coffe with cream instead of milk and sugar. 

Last night I went to a grown up birthday party. (Happy Birthday Debbie!) A beautiful Oreo ice cream cake was served. Previously, I would have found a way to justify having a second piece. But now, it didn't seem as appetizing. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything by not having any. This is a huge change for me. Huge. 

So I'll keep going. 

I must admit that I haven't avoided all extra sugar. It sneaks in through odd doors: pita, crackers, veggie dip, mustard, vanilla yogurt, multigrain bread. Avoiding it completely requires that I make everything from scratch. And while I generally cook a lot, making my own ketchup and mayo are a bit further than I'd like to take this. 

But I'll keep going. At some point, I'll start eating natural sugars, such as honey and syrup. I'm not sure when. Maybe when I've stopped losing weight? I'm still 10 lbs above my ideal. And giving up sugar has reduced that from 13. Maybe by then, I will have morphed into one of my little old ladies at the hospital who bites into a piece of fruit and declares, "Ooh, too sweet!" 

One can hope. 

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