Addictions. They’re something that plague a lot of people. My best friend’s dad is addicted to alcohol—so is my boyfriend’s dad, actually. My grandfather is addicted to gambling, and we found that out in a truly difficult way (that’s a story for another day). I’ve known people who’ve destroyed their lives with drug addictions. Many of those people standing in the huge lines in the morning at Tim Hortons because they have to get their coffee? Also addicted. Hell, even my ex-boyfriend’s dad was addicted to nasal spray.
I’ve never been one to have an addictive personality. I don’t get headaches from not having coffee even though I choose to drink it every day. Alcohol was never really my thing. Drugs never caught my attention…
But I do have one bad weak spot—sugar.
My boyfriend and I moved at the beginning of February. So we didn’t have a whole box of food to move, we ate everything in our apartment and then for our last week in our old place we bought food for pretty much every meal. That doesn’t sound awful, right? Well, except for the fact that we were often making runs to 7-Eleven, I was buying little candies to chew on at my desk at work, and we often ordered dessert when we went to a sit down restaurant.
It’s been two weeks now, and although I’ve gone back to grocery shopping and preparing most of my own food, I just can’t seem to shake my need for sweets.
Nothing New Here
This isn’t the first time I’ve had this major craving to sweets. My first job was at a Pizza Hut and the only free stuff we got was the soda. Since it would get so hot in the kitchen, I was drinking coke by the cup full. When I left that job at 17 years old, I had gained weight and was battling an addiction to soda. It didn’t help that my mom drank coke like crazy, too.
I finally managed to kick soda, and honestly have never been able to drink it the same way again. The only time I really indulge is when someone brings me back Vanilla Coke from the U.S. (that stuff is liquid gold to me). Now the texture is almost sludgy.
I dealt with another sweets addiction when I was in college. There was a small convenience store on campus and I was buying chocolate bars or those little gummy candies almost every day. It ended up becoming my way of coping with the stress of my course load.
Sure enough, after I graduated, it took me months of absolute discipline to kick the sweets. It actually got to the point where I started using that My Fitness Pal phone app and I started tracking my meals. Once I realized how many calories and grams of sugar I was consuming in one day, it was a real wake up call, to say the least.
Now, I’m back on the sweet stuff again.
First, you get the sugar. Then, you get the power. Then, you get the women. Seriously, is there any topic that doesn’t have some kind of Simpsons reference?
Is It Addiction?
I don’t want to make my problems seem like they have the same impact on my health as, say, an addiction to smoking or alcohol, but I feel like this must not be good for my health.
My boyfriend, who often accompanies me on these sweets runs, always likes to say that sugar is our generation’s cigarettes. Everyone consumes it and it’s in nearly everything, yet at the moment there are doctors telling us sugar is bad, but there isn’t as big of a push to help people realize how much sugar they eat in a day. I sometimes feel like there’s a bigger push to stop things like pesticides and GMOs, which, for the record, I don’t think are that big of a problem, especially not GMOs. Activists say chemicals like glyphosate are poison to us, but what about processed sugar? Shouldn’t it be more on our radar just how much we’re consuming compared to how much we should be consuming?
I almost feel like this is an addiction and I keep relapsing. I do well for a little while, but then something happens in my life that just keeps taking me back to the sweet, sweet goodness of sugar.
According to WebMD (you can say what you’d like about whether or not this is a trusted source), scientists aren’t sure if people can be physically dependent on sugar, but they say some animal tests show it’s a possibility. They also say that humans are born liking sweets and that it was probably an evolutionary trait so humans would look for foods like ripe fruits. Unfortunately, humans have harnessed the power of the sweet stuff to make highly concentrated foods like candies and chocolates, so of course we love it that much more than fruit.
In fact, there was a BBC documentary series called “Addicted to Pleasure” that showcased how commercial exploitation got our species hooked on a list of addicted substances. Guess what made the list? Sugar—along with whisky, tobacco, and opium…
The worst part of it is that I can’t seem to stop myself from eating it once I start. Even if my teeth and tummy are clearly unhappy, I always seem to see my hand reaching back into the bag of sour cherry gummies.
It almost feels silly to say that my addiction is to sugar, but it does feel like an addiction. One that’s difficult to stop because it’s always around. I work near plenty of shops that sell it and there’s a receptionist near my desk that always has a cup of candy for people passing by. Needless to say I often pass by…
What Will Sugar Do To Me?
Well, make me gain weight, obviously. I’m grateful that I’ve always been a slim person, but because of that, whenever I do gain weight, it all goes to my stomach and it’s pretty noticeable. Every time I get on these sugar kicks, I probably gain about 10 pounds, which for someone small like me, is too much.
According to that same WebMD article, it’s also known to worsen cholesterol and there’s an association between sugar intake and diabetes, which also runs in my family. Great. They also say sugar is bad because it will either add more calories to your diet, or it will displace other nutritious foods. For me, it’s more of the latter.
We also can’t forget that it’s horrible for teeth.
How Do I Stop This?
It’s a question I keep asking myself. I will likely begin using My Fitness Pal again to remind myself just how much sugar I’ve been consuming, but beyond that, how can I increase my will power? How can I stop myself from taking my co-worker’s candies, or buying something when I stop at a pharmacy just to pick up some lip balm?
Have you had some kind of food addiction? If so, how did you kick it for good? I seem to keep finding temporary solutions but nothing seems to stick.