As long as I can remember, I’ve had a raging sweet tooth. Most of my childhood memories are tied to sweet treats. At four, I was caught in the middle of the night passed out in front of the refrigerator with the icing from my brother’s birthday cake smeared across my face. In high school when I was home alone most afternoons, I would regularly eat half a quart of ice cream or would polish off a jar of marshmallow creme. My Vietnamese grandmother came to stay with us one year, and I remember her commenting on my eating habits and my inevitable health issues as I ate popped marshmallows by the handful in the kitchen. In college I gained about ten pounds my freshman year not from the booze, but from the all you eat dining hall which included endless ice cream sundaes and cherry coke. And only a few weeks ago, I was caught sneaking brownies out of a professional networking event under my shirt. Don’t worry, they were worth it. Seriously, anyone who knows me knows I like to eat and probably has a slightly embarrassing story about my gluttony.
Now, I’m not overweight, nor do I want to lose weight – that’s not the issue. The issue is my lack of control. I feel completely powerless when faced with a plate of cookies, bag of M&Ms, cherry pie, etc. Most people can eat one slice of pie and move on. As for me, I eat a slice of pie, and then continue to think about eating more pie non-stop until I either gorge myself on the rest of it, or gorge myself on any other available sugar – and I do mean ANY other available sugar. I can’t have ice cream anymore, but I’ve ruined entire quarts of Nick’s ice cream digging all the “goodies” out. In desperate moments, I’ve eaten jars of maraschino cherries or spoonfuls of brown sugar straight from the bag.
I don’t know what it is, but after the first couple bites of anything sweet, it’s like a switch goes off in my head and I suddenly need to eat ALL the sugar. I’ll even continue to eat after I start feeling sick. For some reason I have this need to finish everything; I don’t feel satisfied until the pie pan or bag of candy is empty. The worst part is that I know it’s an embarrassing habit, so I do all these shady things to keep my husband from knowing when I’m going on a sugar binge. I’ll hide wrappers under the mattress or in the closet, and often stay up just a little bit later than him to sneak extra bites of chocolate.
When I recently found myself crouched on the kitchen floor one night casually polishing off a jar of cranberry chutney, which by the way wasn’t even that good, I finally took a step back and realized that I have a problem that at some point I need to address.
Initially, I thought a total sugar cleanse was the way to go. I looked into the 21 Day Sugar Detox, but who am I kidding? Give up not only sweets, but fruit and carbs?! So I took the ideas of a sugar cleanse and eating Paleo, and decided to make the parameters more doable for me. Instead of giving it all up, it makes the most sense for me to focus on eliminating refined and high glycemic index carbohydrates from my diet. Almost everything in this category triggers my overeating; I will house a loaf of french french bread just as quickly as I will a plate of cookies. However doing this still allows me to eat most fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
I realize that trying to cut back on sugar right before Christmas isn’t the most ideal time to do so, but as they say, there’s no time like the present! I want to try this out for the next four weeks, so if you see me on “the reg,” don’t let me slack! I’ll check in to let y’all know how it goes. I haven’t decided whether or not to give myself a break on Christmas Day – I’m leaning towards yes. I don’t want to be THAT person while hanging out with my in-laws. Thoughts? Anyway, wish me luck!