Remember this song???
“You might as well face it, you’re addicted to…” by Robert Palmer. Did you ever think it could be possible to be addicted to food? This song popped into my head as I’ve been reading more and more about food addictions, as well as overcoming my own love for sweets.
While I was on a brief (well the brief turned much longer since it is almost the end of October now) hiatus from real life in paradise, I realized a number of things:
1. People love to eat, including me;
2. There are a LOT of people that eat a LOT of carbs—white, brown, slow, and quick–like sugar;
3. And, menus are often very deceiving in what is considered to be healthy.
When we returned, I embarked upon an interesting 30 day journey with food (www.whole9life.com): September 17th-October 17th. I accepted the 30 days very seriously to pursue a healthier relationship with food, as well as to figure out my body—what causes bloating, what makes me feel sluggish, what gives me the most energy. I researched the Whole30 a great deal and decided to try it: no dairy, no grains, no sugar (Zip, zilch, nada, even in those hidden, sneaky places), and no soy or corn.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking—no sugar, I could NEVER do that? No dairy-ha! (Believe me, I heard it!) Then you ask: “What do you eat? There’s nothing left.” Experimentation time: lots of vegetables, pastured meat, wild caught fish, and those good healthy fats that I talked about previously—coconut oil, avocados, and some tree nuts. Basically, I became even closer with every farmer I ever loved and even opened my circle to more. I avoided preservatives. I spent a lot of time reading labels, and avoiding sauces and additives. Talk about getting creative!
What I learned: I’m seriously addicted to sugar.
I literally crave specific sweets when I’m sad, upset, angry, etc. Sometimes it isn’t just the sweet, but the actual experience associated with the dessert. The problem is—there are a lot of things that happen to our bodies when we consume a lot of carbohydrates and then the ridiculous number of foods that contain sugar—some of which you probably didn’t even know had sugar because you didn’t think it would be an added ingredient. For instance, the most difficult foods to find sans sugar: bacon, ketchup, barbecue sauce, even some spices. You could often hear from my mouth, “Really, there’s sugar in that!?!”
I was really strict and it wasn’t that hard—but, it was still a challenge. I love fruits and they are acceptable, but I needed to ensure that my fruits were not driven by my sugar addiction (fructose is naturally occurring sugar not added). I had to avoid fruits as snacks and include them as part of my meals–as a matter of fact, just this morning I had bananas with ghee and sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice with my eggs, bacon, and spinach.
What proved to make my journey even more difficult was the illness of my beloved four-legged son—dealing with his diagnosis and failing health. I learned a lot about myself, especially hormones and emotions. Instead of turning to food, I had to learn more about how to cope with life. The day Clubber went home with his Great Grandma proved to be the most difficult as we stopped to get ice cream in memory of him. As difficult as it was, I politely declined. There were so many times I actually had to stop and think about my emotions and how they were driving my cravings.
I’ve had a fairly healthy relationship with food for a long time now; however, I enjoy desserts. I typically save them for the weekends, but I realized that even then I still had an unhealthy relationship that was beginning to cause serious detours in my eating regiments. Although I ate healthy, my body would crash in between meals, and if I didn’t have something with me to eat there could be a huge personality change, as well as drop in blood sugar.
The journey was schedule for 30 days. I should have went longer, because my body needed a bit longer but with the passing of my four legged best friend, I decided to see where the journey had left me. Instead of eating to live, believe me I lived to eat. This journey changed that a lot for me. I looked at food much differently, and even after I still choose certain foods to ensure I don’t become overly burdened with sugar again. An interesting by-product is that I lost a little–I HATE weighing myself but I did and I obtained a # I thought I never could achieve. Interesting.
Instead of using food as a means to fuel our bodies and survive, many have come to use it as a means to cope, a way to live life, etc. Now, don’t get me wrong—it is OK to love life and enjoy a meal with friends and family. However, it is NOT ok to overly consume and feed your face just because, especially if you’re already full or not even hungry at all. If you simply think about something prior to eating it, if you know it may derail your body slightly, you may be able to (a) convince yourself it isn’t worthwhile, or (b) be able to have a healthy relationship with the item, only indulge as much as you need to feel satiated, and then ensure there is no guilt associated with the treat. Interesting, huh? My husband actually would laugh at my “flow chart” of analysis prior to considering a treat. Laugh ahead, but it worked every time. And, the first treat that I had was so wonderfully yummy. I enjoyed every bite of my Flavor Cupcake and even thought of Clubber while I was eating it. The first time I didn’t have him at my feet in the kitchen with a small puddle of drool. Oh, how he loved to share the icing with me. Finally, a healthy experience with a treat. No guilt. No backpedaling. No consideration of how I’m going to have to work off those calories. Just a smile, and an enjoyment of the experience.
Think about your relationship with food. Do you eat to live, or live to eat? Do you read your nutrition labels? These are all things that should be taken into consideration in order to ensure our bodies are being filled with food that actually fuels our bodies. It seems the norm to just consume something sold in the grocery store, because we trust. However, our trust has cause a lot of addictions with foods, and even more the issues with obesity.
It’s time to take a deep breath and dig a little deeper into your journey. My next journey will begin January 1st and I will be pursuing at least 45 days, possibly 60–it’s time to rock listening to my body even more.