Addiction and Abuse. Another look.

Addiction and Abuse. Another look.

I’ve been missing (inaction) from this blog for a little while. I haven’t been in a gutter or anything that dramatic, but I haven’t been using all the tools that help me manage my sugar addiction. I haven’t overtly eaten processed sugar, but I’ve wandered into the field of grazing and I’ve felt like I could be called Moo-reen.

I haven’t gained back all of the seventy five pounds I lost when I was first learning to live with my sugar addiction, but I feel lousy. I’m six pounds over my official goal weight.  But it’s not about the scale.  It’s about feeling out of control. It’s about eating to numb a buzzing feeling inside my skull that comes right back when I stop eating. It’s not nice. To me or my body. Or any body that happens to be near me.

It occurred to me the other morning that I’m not only abusing food, I’m abusing my health. And any other thought about that is only trying to avoid the truth of the matter. I’ve been fooling myself–not fueling myself. I’m not suggesting that anyone who eats between meals is abusing food, but I am saying that I’ve done enough personal research to know it’s what I’ve been doing.

There’s a lot of research about addictions. And there are controversies surrounding different schools of thought. Sugar addiction probably seems rather tame compared to what others face with “controlled” substances. I don’t really want to get into the nitty gritty of that other than to say I have developed more compassion for people who struggle with any addiction.  It’s not a matter of just saying no. I think it’s a matter of getting the right kind of help and using the right kinds of tools. Being aware, accepting reality, and adapting lifestyle for a positive outcome.

I don’t have much power over sugar unless I use the tools that I’ve proven to help me.  In fact, I’ve proven that it’s pretty much impossible for me to be in control without help. But with my tools, I’m possible. It’s the pause and trophy (apostrophe) of taking a moment to think about the prize of feeling good and healthy that makes the difference. What I do in that pause is to be aware of what I might eat and how I will feel if I eat it. I swirl and whirl words in my head to help me get through moments where the pull of sugar is strong.

I have learned that I have to be Aware of what’s going on (in this case grazing out of control) and Accept that it’s something I need help with (sugar addiction). There’s a locked door and a key in that last sentence.  When I Adapt my behaviors (use the tools that work for me) I can go through the door to better health and control over my eating instead of having my eating control me.

Words have been missing, of late. I need to bring back words. Add diction. And move forward to ab use. Yesterday, instead of rolling along with another out of control eating day, I threw out the jar of homemade nut and seed butter that I couldn’t seem to stop eating and I went to my exercise class. I used my abs. Ab use helps core strength. And that helps me stand strong and healthy.

I think I had gotten a little off track because I had been reading too much about what was working for other people with the idea that it might work for me.  I think it’s okay to be open to new ideas or the observations of others, but it’s not okay for me to abandon the tools that work for me.  (Adding in ideas of nutrient percentages or a fierce adherence to numbers sent my brain into a tizzy. I didn’t know what to do, so I ate till I was dizzy.)

It’s a big deal for me to recognize what my reaction to nutrition and diet information is doing to me. I don’t think I’m the only person affected like this, even though it might seem a little convoluted. But even if I am the only person that can be derailed by opposing thoughts on eating plans, I think recognizing it (being aware) is part of the solution to overcoming the problem.

I’ve proven that I don’t do well with diets. I think it’s a little bit funny that I balk at restricted food plans and yet restrict myself from eating things with added sugar or processed flours. The reason I can deal with my personal food restrictions is because I’m aware of how I feel when I eat those foods. I remember and refrain. Not because someone wrote a book and said I shouldn’t eat sugar.

I’ve pretty much gotten the no sugar thing settled. No sugar or honey or maple syrup or agave or monkfruit or erythritol. I shy away from stevia and sucralose. Aspartame isn’t apart of me. I can eliminate the temptation of eating nuts by toasting them with butter and sugar. It’s just how it is. I can bake and cook with sugar and processed grains. I enjoy the process. I enjoy the smells. And I enjoy the compliments. I actually enjoy the imagination of how it tastes. But I won’t eat it. Because it has sugar. And I don’t eat sugar.

Recently, I started writing down recipes for meals I cook. Although there is the benefit of knowing how I made something so I can make it again (and it can be tracked more accurately), I am thinking that it has affected the therapeutic effects of cooking freestyle. Perhaps the idea of a recipe detracts from my perception of creative cooking? It may be a strange way of thinking, but it could be my reality. Now that I’m aware of it, I can deal with it. But before I was aware of that, I think it was part of the reason I started grazing again.

Grazing is one of the signs that tell me I’m on shaky ground with addictive behavior. When I’m solidly using my tools, it’s easy for me to say, “No thank you. I don’t eat between meals.” Because I don’t. Just like I don’t eat sugar.  It doesn’t seem like I should have to resolve this over and over, but occasionally I do. Because I can slip up. And I do.

That’s where the writing comes in. Writing and exercise. Add diction and Ab use.

In my book, The I’m Possible Journey, I state that I’m not promoting a diet or a prescription for people to follow. I promote paying attention to and being aware of individual needs and feelings.  I’m glad I chose the subtitle “Learning to Live with Sugar Addiction” because it’s ongoing. When I stop learning, I’m more apt (or more e’en) to slip up.

The thing is (and the think is–that’s what I typed first) that when I slip up I can recover. And I do recover. It’s not a reason to slip up. But it’s reason to continue. My I’m Possible Journey.

There. I feel better. I feel like me again. Did you miss me? I did.

PS. I’m adding a link to an article I enjoyed recently. It’s about slip ups. And shame. And getting back on the wagon. It’s written by a South African woman who is passionate about sugar addiction recovery. She powers The Sugar Free Revolution. I discovered her work after I published my book and started exploring social media. We have exchanged a few tweets and emails. Perhaps someday we’ll meet. But in the meantime, I enjoy reading her writing and the sense of validation it gives me in knowing someone else is on a similar journey. Read Karen Thomson’s article about sugar relapse.

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5 thoughts on “Addiction and Abuse. Another look.

  1. Thanks for being so honest about yourself. Maybe the problem I have after loosing about the same amount of weight you lost after a Knee replacement, is that I did not constantly make myself aware of the danger of gaining the weight back, Since then, five years ago I have remarried, am so happy after being a widow for 34 years, love cooking for my new husband and of course eating with him. We eat very healthily, no junk food, but lots of good food in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. Much much more than I ever had while I was on my own once I lost the weight. I have had recurring knee pain, which I am seeking specialist help for and cannot any longer walk alone, or use my exercise bike so find myself lethargic and in constant pain. I WILL NOT give up…I want to get back off the weight I have regained and get into better shape. YOu inspire me with your honesty. Thanks so much. Keep up the blogs…love them…Margaret LeVasseur

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your response to my blog. Congratulations on your happy life! So sorry you have to deal with pain and difficulties exercising. Awareness is the first step and you’re on it! Best wishes and keep in touch!

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  2. You have been sorely missed, welcome back. Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson’s book came out this month, “The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free Bright Line Eating” it’s making plenty sense to me. I’ve been off the flour and sugar 13 months and at LifeTime 9 months. Wishing you success1

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing this piece , Maureen. I have been half in lately and this gives me lots to think about as I work to get myself re-established. We are each a work in progress and progress is the key!

    Liked by 1 person

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