The evidence was crumbled up and partially hidden in plain sight: right there in the side panel pocket of the driver side door of my car.
Part of me hoped that my husband wouldn’t see it and call me out.
Part of me kind of hoped he would so I had an opportunity to explain myself and justify my reasoning out loud.
Part of me knew it was inevitable that my “crimes” would be discovered.
Even though I’m try my best to only feed our family real, whole foods and keep processed foods as an occasional treat; even though I am a health professional and lead clean eating groups and provide advice, encouragement, and counseling to persons seeking to lead healthier lives; and despite the fact that I have firmly asserted that sugar addiction is a real disease to be battled among millions of Americans and that I am one of them…I gave into temptation and utilized part of a gift card to purchase a bag of Twix bites in the Kohl’s check out line.
The weird thing was how I justified it to myself:
“It’s free! You’re using a gift card!”
“You’ve been sooo good for two weeks now”
“No one has to know” (<-yes… I literally thought this)
“It’s cheaper than the ice cream you’ve been dreaming about”
“You won’t eat the whole bag, you can save some to treat yourself later” (go ahead and roll your eyes here…)
“You deserve it. You’re a hard working and pregnant mom!”
Sigh. You’d think at age 30 and after getting an Exercise Science degree, after conquering a battle with being overweight, after seeing family members suffer the consequences of poor eating habits, after getting my Master’s in Public Health, after being married to a health-conscious physician and signing on to be a Beachbody coach I would KNOW better.
I do not.
The thing about sugar addiction is that it is so hard to avoid.
If you’re an alcoholic: avoid places with alcohol. If you’re addicted to certain things online you can get a block for your electronic devices. If it’s drugs: you can relocate and remove terrible influences from your life. I am by no means undermining the struggle of these addictions. Nor am I asserting that one is harder to conquer than the other or that simply removing the object removes temptation.
What I am trying to do is show that when your addiction is sugar you cannot out run it. Not only is it used to celebrate every life event, it is used to reward children for eating their “undesirable” food, it is given as gifts, it is at every single check out counter at every single store (whether they sell other food or not), it is directly advertised to us as something to desire to “treat ourselves” with, that will change our moods, make us happy and that it is common and okay.
What’s worse is that it DOES change my mood: for a second, maybe a minute. The moment I mindlessly indulge in candy, something lights up in my brain. I can almost feel the sensation of activity and wires exciting right before it turns into an uncontrolled binge. I can’t stop after one bite. I would love to be that person that can treat myself in moderation, but (especially this soon after the indulgences of the holidays) I am not.
Thus began the spiral.
On Friday, I ate half that “family” size bag of Twix bites in the car on the way home.
This led to a lessoning of my will power and I snacked on biscuits and cake at a birthday party on Saturday
Josh then found them and called me out, but my shame made me (ironically) desire their comfort more and the next day I finished the bag.
Now, I felt I was completely off the wagon and I indulged in pizza and cake at another party later that evening and donuts in church on Sunday.
How do I feel about that?
Well, thankfully I do not feel ashamed any more.
I do feel sick and swollen, though. The uneasy/queasy feeling has returned to my body and I feel really tired and less energized than I have been recently. I am sore and a little grumpy.
And worst of all: my cravings are back full force. It just took one little “treat” to kick me off and now I am constantly fighting a battle again. It’s freaking hard. It’s not a joke.
I want to believe that I NEED chocolate. That if I just had one taste it would take away the feeling and I would feel better again. Just one.
It’s amazing the lies we can tell ourselves, isn’t it?
I’m thankful that I have learned that indulging in a “treat” only sets me up for failure. That I have an addictive personality. That treats are not treats when they make you physically feel awful afterward and they are definitely not treats when they happen every few days/ every day/ multiple times a day: THAT is a habit.
So what do I do?
I keep posting to my clean eating challenge groups. I keep being honest with myself and others. I keep trying. Because my health, my children’s health, is worth it. What is a real treat? Exercise: you truly feel better afterward and are filled with pride, endorphins, and strength. Eating well: you’re given energy and positive mood and your body just functions better in ways that you can’t understand until you’ve treated it right.
So here is me, confessing:
My name is Amanda, and I am a sugar addict.