Thursday, October 9, 2008

Update, and Sugar Cravings

First of all, let me say thank you all SO MUCH for the words of support, encouragement, and advice. What a great bunch of people you are, reading and sharing my journey with me. I draw strength from you. And I got SO MANY wonderful suggestions too. I have been keeping a notebook for a few months, writing down all the books, programs, websites, etc that readers have suggested. So please know I take your ideas to heart.

I had bought the book "Potatoes, Not Prozac" that several of you suggested some time ago. I pulled it out yesterday and am reading it now. I really think many of you hit the nail on the head by pointing the finger towards sugar and refined carbs. I have toyed with the idea of trying South Beach again, but then I decided to wait, because with my husband coming back tomorrow and my daughter going to the hospital next week, that's a rocky time to start a new program. So I am concentrating on my water and tea habits, and also on cutting back on the refined carbs. If I can just NOT eat candy, cookies, and donuts I will be making big progress, so that's my simple aim at the moment.

Today was better. I didn't weigh (I think I am not in a good frame of mind to deal with it at the moment). I was getting ready to make myself breakfast this morning when I started thinking about sugar. Every morning I start my day with a cup of tea with 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar in it. Then I have breakfast, which was going to be oatmeal this morning. Oatmeal is great, and healthy, but I have found that when I am eating a lot of sugary foods, I "need" to add a lot of brown sugar to my oatmeal... about 4 teaspoons. Well no wonder I am craving stuff all day, starting every morning with 6 teaspoons of sugar! AND NO PROTEIN. So there I stood, figuring this out as I was boiling my water for oatmeal. I dumped the water, put away the oats, and got out a pan to make scrambled Egg Beaters. I warmed a high protein, high fiber, low carb tortilla and put the eggs in there with a slice of low fat cheese and some low fat turkey sausage. And that was my breakfast. It's a start.

I also got out the instant (ick) coffee I have been drinking this week and threw it away. Coffee is addicting to me... and I like it very sweet. I had bought some of that nasty fake flavored creamer stuff and was putting like 1/4 cup or more of it in each cup of coffee. So I threw that out too. I was nearly out of white flour so I bought white whole wheat flour to replace it (it is 100% unbleached whole white wheat... all the nutrition of whole wheat but it is a lighter color to trick the kids). I drank lots of water and tea. I made it through today with NO candy, NO cookies or any of that junk. And for dinner I made a steak and green beans. I had a small spoon of mashed taters. I drank water. Later on I felt major sugar cravings so I ate a fresh peach. I feel a lot better already.

I found this AMAZING web page with great insight about why we crave sugar. Check it out: Why We Crave Sugar, but Not Lettuce or Broccoli. (I have not read the book or plans advertised on that site. I just like this particular page of information!) I believe I am sugar sensitive and that there IS a biological cause for my overeating. That takes away some of the guilt I was feeling, but it also gives me the responsibility to care for myself in a way that will allow me to be healthy and happy.

So that was my day. I also wanted to speak to some of the wonderful and helpful comments I received in the last post.

I have tried Weight Watchers. I think it is one of the best programs out there. I have all the books and info and could do the Points system on my own, but I have found counting calories to be simpler. If I could find the discipline to count calories OR points, I am sure I would do well. I just have to get my head straight. As far as the meetings go... money is an issue at the moment, and child care would also be an issue (which is why I haven't gone to TOPS, either). If my husband sticks around, I can look into some kind of meetings long term. He is only going to be here visiting for 2 weeks and then gone again for I don't know how long... depending on how things go I guess. I HAVE found child care for an hour a week if I get in with the counselor, so that is a good thing. I am definitely pursuing the counseling. They even have a sliding fee scale. And I've been attending a few OA meetings online, to get a feel for what they have to offer, and to build support.

I don't *think* I am depressed, technically speaking. When I am out with my kids doing things, I am happy. Even when I sit with myself, I am content in the face of all the CRAP I have had to deal with lately, except for the eating. I am very distressed about the eating problem. I think my moods are a result of sugar overload. Well okay I am also VERY worried about my marriage and my daughter but I feel like I am handing it OK. Except for binging. I am happy to get out of bed in the morning, I really enjoy life in general. But anyway I am open to a depression assessment if this continues on much longer. Because if I cannot gain control over the eating issue I WILL get depressed.

Food is my comfort for sure. I have been paying attention to WHEN I get those cravings, and it is when I am upset and don't want to deal with something. When I am trying to get my child to sit in time-out and she is laughing and darting around the room in the style of the kids on Supernanny for 20 minutes, I get the urge to grab food every 10 seconds when she is actually ON the chair. M&M's are great for assuaging the frustrations of putting your kid on the "naughty spot" 40 times in a row. (She is really a good easy kid. We do time-out rarely. But when she does it, SHE DOES IT!!!!) I also get the urge to binge while trying to "help" my sons with their homework. Or after spending 45 minutes on hold trying to get health insurance and then getting disconnected. A very wise "Anonymous" left this comment: "For me, the reason I ate was to calm my anxiety. By eating too much I could feel terrible about just one thing, not a myriad of things. Food reduced my angst and worries to just one single point." That is SO ME. Wow. I am totally doing that. Now I have to figure out what to do INSTEAD.

I know I am strong. I know I am not "bad." But I sure am disappointed in my relapse. I hope this is short-lived and I can get back to feeling proud of my weight, but I do still feel proud of myself for being able to cope with all this stuff alone, and for loving my kids so much and putting them first. I am proud of my clarity of thought (most of the time) and I am proud that I have not quit blogging and disappeared into some black hole of donuts, leaving you all wondering, "what happened to her??" I hate when blogs go dormant and we never know if our blogger friends are just having a bad time, or if they are dying in the hospital or something. Because it's pretty obvious we all care about each other around here (and for that I am SO grateful).

And thank you who commented on turning to God/religion. I have had a hard time with that... mixed emotions... mainly because I have had bad experiences with two religions and am nervous about investing in a third. Maybe in time. I am a spiritual person, and when I let that side of myself come out, I do feel better.

I can't thank you guys enough. What a wonderful bunch of people. I am sending out prayers, good karma, and positive thoughts to all of you for peace, hope and joy in YOUR lives with whatever challenges you are facing. And I have NO DOUBT that a year from now we can all be celebrating our healthier lives. I am not giving up. You can't either.

Be well :)


MB said...

Sugar is like crack to people like us. Once we start eating it, it is hard to stop and we just want more and more. I think it is a good idea to get away from all that sugar in the morning, I eat low sugar apple/cinn. oatmeal in the a.m. but I think it just makes me crave more sugar throughout the day.

Sounds like you are dealing with a lot of stress right now between your daughter and husband, no wonder you've been looking to the old comfort foods.

You are so strong and determined. You should stop and make the choice when you are looking at that donut. Do you really want it? or do you want to feel good and take care of yourself?

Take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lynn,

Accepting that sugar, empty carbs and processed foods made me binge was a huge relief to me.

If I eat a cookie, I immediately want another cookie and another, and another. I'll eat all the cookies if I can (if there is a package and there are no witnesses).

I do love the taste of all those foods, but I hate the way they make me feel after - the guilt, the self-hatred, the out of control feeling. I have worked to eliminate/cut back on those foods - if they know they tempt me - why would I want to tempt myself??

The house is a junk free zone (for the most part), I do have the occasional treat - but in a controlled environment - no more packages to keep dipping in to.

I posted about this on 3FC just the other day, but I always thought a life without those foods would be miserable. How would I live without M&Ms???

But, I finally feel free. I feel normal. I didn't know I was sugar's bitch until I gave it up.

Goood luck!

bbubblyb said...

Sounds like you're feeling better today which is great.

You're thoughts about it being sugar and refined carbs being the problem I think is dead on. I'm currently doing "burn the fat, feed the muscle" by Tom Venturo. It makes a ton of sense and his big thing is to eat a balance of protein and good carbs at every meal, eat 5 to 6 mini meals a day, and to eat enough calories. I think that's where so many people go wrong they don't feed their bodies enough food so of course they are hungry all the time and eventually cave and eat more. I weigh 235 lbs, do 5-6 hours of exercise a week and eat 2100-2200 calories a day and still lose about a lb a week. Anyway, I didn't mean to type out a diet plan I know you don't need to worry about that right now.

As for the oatmeal, you need to get yourself some protein powder so when you want oatmeal for breakfast you have some protein to go with it minus the sugar of course. I make my own protein bars once a week and it's like eating a slice of oatmeal pie every morning *smile*. Your breakfast did sure sound good though but sadly I never have time for a breakfast like that other than the weekends.

Way to go on no junk today, it really is one day at a time or even one meal at a time.

As for TOPS it's only $24 a year if you haven't looked it up already. I've been going over a year and it has been the accountability I needed plus it's a great group of people. I've even taken my kids on occasion if I had to and the ladies have always been fine with it.

I hope things go well with you and hubby in the next few weeks and with your daughter. I'm sure it's been tough on you and who wouldn't turn to food for some comfort. I was totally an eater when my anxiety was high. I really believe I'm fat because of how I've handled anxiety and stress all my life. Ice cream was my soother of choice now it's a good walk. Exercise can make you feel just as good mentally as ice cream I think.

As for God, why do you need to even consider "religion" why not just talk to God and have you're own relationship with him. That's how I always look at prayer and spirituality.

spunkysuzi said...

I can totally understand the sugar/simple carb craving thing!! I have to keep it out of my house, it's the only way i can stay on plan.

Lauren said...

great to see you are checking out all your options. I had a slip up tonight that I'll be writing about tomorrow. if you have any questions or want some support with the OA stuff, I am here

Lori said...

Kathleen DesMaison also has 2 other books - The Sugar Addict's Recovery program (which really changed my life) and Your last Diet.

Sugar addiction is totally real.
Glad to hear you are feeling better.

Sheri said...

Lyn, first and foremost, Bravo and way to go with your breakfast and not having any candy and junk!!! Like you I too have been opting for fruit at night. Years ago I read that if you crave sweets, eat dates. Believe me, they do help.

You mentioned finding self-discipline. Unfortunately, it won’t be found, it has to be built up by living in the present moment and making one right decision at a time, exactly like you did at breakfast. You also mentioned turning to food when you’re upset and don’t want to deal with something. I get like that too. However, for me as much as you, consider this: “The more excess food eaten is a path providing less stability for your daughter having a ‘Mom’ in her future”. What would her life be like growing up without the one person she counts on the most? Love your kids even more than ‘so much’, love them excessively so you do everything in your power to be there in their future.

When those emotional and fear-filled moments arrive maybe you could opt for a pen instead of food. Journal writing until what is racing through your mind subsides is a tremendous calorie free release. When I do this I always start with Dear Jesus, because He is my Lord and Savior and I know I can count on him more than any other soul in my life. He is not a religion, or the people you find in the church, but he is where you can safely place your faith and your woes. My continued faith in him brings me calm and peace, which is why I write my struggles and ask for his help, knowing it will come in his time not mine, and not necessarily in the way I expect. Try this when your daughter is finally sitting in her chair, or you’re sitting on hold. Maybe with the homework you could repeat the “patience, this too will pass” over and over in your mind.

I’ve found that eating, though I still struggle sometimes, only adds to my stress in the long run, because not only do I have to deal with my daughter and single parenting like you, then I have to deal with my own guilt. That can be overwhelming enough on its own.

I hope I haven't offended you in anyway. These are the thoughts that came as I read through your post, and I realize they are as much for me as for you.

Karyn said...

I want to write original words of advise, caring and encouragement, but everything has been said - and said well, so I guess I am not going to be original.

I am sincere, however, when I say that I care about what you are going through, Lyn. I care that you are feeling discouraged about your weight loss efforts, that you struggle with control. I care that you are dealing with highly emotional issues involving your husband. I pray that those things can be worked out, and that he will become a stregth in your life rather than a problem. I pray that you find answers for your little girl (who sounds like an absolute delight, BTW). I also pray that you will call out to God for strength and peace - because when you reach out to Him (not a church or religion) you will find Him.

So, no new advise since your readers have already given you so much GOOD advise.....just sincere caring to add to all the other caring words. Sometimes you can get too much advise, but you can never get too much love. :)

~TMcGee~ said...

I follow your blog religiously and when I read it yesterday, I wanted to comment so bad. But, I couldn't...because it scared me. I found myself reading exactly what I am struggling with (sugar addiction, binges, shame, guilt). Forgive my selfishness, I should have sent you a note of encouragement.
This morning, when I weighed myself, I was up by 2 pounds and I found myself thinking of you and what you are dealing with. I came downstairs, a little discouraged and after puttering around, I checked your blog. I just want to say, thank you. Thank you for not giving up, thank you for seeing a bright spot in the midst of the storm. You are such an example to many (public readers and shy lurkers like me) and you probably don't know how many lives you are touching through your words. Your blog today encouraged me to go on and keep on reaching for the goal.
I'm only a month and a half into my journey but yesterday, I wanted to go ahead and give up. I wanted to give up until I read your post today. So, again, I say thank you and I really hope things work out not only in your weight loss but in your relationships etc as well.
Take care,

Hide those cookies said...

I believe that sugar can become a biological addiction. I notice that the more sugar I eat the more I NEED. You are such an inspiration. I admire that you are working to push through this and are so willing to share this part of yourself. Thanks!

Twix said...

I had time to read teh first half. I'll be back later to read the rest! I'm in such a rush but I wanted to check in on ya. :D

What about another idea for breakfast. I don't know if this will help you or not. I have two breakfasts. One is the eggs and bacon or sausage ro some other meat with toast(one slice) and the other is usually cream of wheat or oatmeal. I like oatmeal and I wasn't about to give up the piggy for breakfast so I do both most morning, not every morning. Sometimes I mix it up with yogurt and fruit. That way I'm getting the best of both worlds. And I'm staying within caloric ranges as well. In fact I have been trying to eat 4 to 5 time aday and I find it helps with teh craving. Maybe you can try that and see if it helps. And your right we have to watch out for those high processed foods!

Ok got to run no time to edit...sorry!! :D Have a great day today!!!

Ames said...

I apologize if I am repeating what someone else may have mentioned. But, there has been research to show that a good source of protein at breakfast staves off cravings later in the day. Perhaps, this is a piece to the puzzle, too.

And, as so many others have said, eating sugar begets eating more sugar.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had a better day today :) I've been reading your blog for a while but I think this is the first comment I've left, and I'd like to tell you just how much I admire your perseverance. I find you an incredible source of inspiration.

What you said about overeating giving you just one thing to worry about reminded me of a passage in 'Trainspotting' by Irvine Welsh, where one of the characters said almost exactly the same thing about heroin (off it, you have all the problems of life, but on it, you just have to get more).

Honi said...

I wish I could say I was a sugar addict and be done with it.. when truthfully my issue is portion control.. and eating too fast.. when i eat slow, taste my food and eat just my portion . I am fine..but if i go fast.. then forget it.. I can polish off a pot of mashed potatos easy... I have been working hard at portion control and trying different things.. I find I like those steam and mash sweet potatos.. I mix in a little splenda brown sugar, and a little spray butter and a handful of chopped pecans for the whole package.. then I take my portion, today with my lunch I had a portion of sweet potatos ( which normally I DO NOT LIKE but for some reason like these) and I feel SO FULL NOW.. i that that by eating slower i get full quicker and can actually leave a little food.. and certainly not go back for seconds.. IT is going to be a long road. and the only way we can get through it is find tricks that work for us.. whatever they may be.. Find you path.. as you are doing.. and it will all come together.. I am sure.. one step at a time.. Listen to yourself.. thats waht I do.. when I am frustrated and I want to cry.. well now I cry instead of eat.. before I would eat.. if I am mad.. well guess what I allow myself anger... and I dont eat.. so its a huge learning process and we just have to patient and firm with ourselves as well...
Best to always!

gena said...

First, a big "ATTA GIRL!" As hard as it is sometimes, you are making progress. I had a thought reading today's entry about sugar (which resonates for me on SO many levels): Instead of a spoonful (or six) of sugar, how about a single spoonful of REAL maple syrup? I little goes a long way, and I wonder if it can satisfy the craving for the sweetness without triggering the sugar begetting more sugar cascade? I put it in my oatmeal and even in my tea. If/when you're ready to experiment, that might be useful.

In the meantime, One Day At A Time. And, when you get stressed out, sometimes taking five good, slow, deep breaths can help. Keep on keepin' on! said...

Glad to hear you are having a better day -- we do care :-)

KK said...

Great post and great job on figuring out what the "bad" stuff is for you and making smarter choices. YOU CAN DO IT!! Hang in there.

Stephanie said...

Lyn - I just read your blog entry from yesterday and then, your one today. It sucks to have a relapse like that - I know! Sounds like you're on your way back. Just remember, it's a decision. Once you decide that you're going healthy no matter what, it gets a lot easier. It is when we haven't made that actual decision (or we change our minds for awhile) that we struggle greatly.

You've been successful already - you know you can do it. Make the decision again - make it every morning - and you will reach your goals. I am SO rooting for you!

One more thing to keep in mind - Your struggle is never going to disappear. You are never going to be "done" with the food issue. You will reach milestones and have times of great strength and success but there will also be setbacks and valleys. I know this because I am an alcoholic and I used to just get so pissed off that this THING was never over - it was never gone, I was never relieved of having to worry about it. So it goes with all addictions and obsessions. It's not a bad thing, really - it forces you to take care of yourself and always be looking out for yourself. We have to become our own best friends, as opposed to our own enemies, if that makes any sense. I am still working on it, every day! Good luck to you, you can do it.

Jan said...

I use stevia instead of sugar on my oatmeal. I am still addicted though. The stevia that I buy is the NOW brand and it is in packets like equal, only green.

Splenda makes me dizzy, so I never use it. I am battling your battle. Good luck to us both, it's a bear.

redballoon said...

A big hand to you for having the courage and resolve to take the steps you did, pulling out your Potates Not Prozac book, taking note of all the sugar you eat and changing your breakfast for something higher in protein. Excellent, excellent start.
And staying away from the scale at this time is a very good idea. You have to clean up your eating before you can worry about fat loss.
Background work and THEN you can start on the outside.
Congratulations and I am so happy for you.
Keep being strong. You are an inspiration to so many of us.

KG said...


When I read your blog I feel like I am reading about myself. I think we are very much alike Lyn. Sleep deprivation has decreased my life expectancy by at least 10 years, I swear. Thanks for stopping by my blog and listening. I am right here alongside you on this crazy journey. Hang in there!


Twix said...

Wow! I can so relate to the eating because I'm so anxious. I do this too! High stress and anxiety do not set well and we do have to find better ways to be dealing with it than stuffing ourselves quickly. Maybe we should try time outs...hah. But who would keep us in our corners huh? With five kids of my own I totally understand where you are coming from!
I hope it doesn't look like my blog dropped into some outersapce black hole. I have been so uber busy and riding such an emotional roller coaster I honestly don't know what to write about. I'm just sucking it in and rolling and rolling and hope to land on two feet. I know you can relate to this. You get pulled from so many directions!

Hey I just got done watching King Corn tonight and I must say wow, again, you should see this film. It's such an eye opener on how corn affects our daily lives right down to the metabolic roots of it. Snick and I are such nerds! The few hours we get to ourselves each week we like to watch documentaries if any are out there and seem interesting. Boy time seems to be flying here recent. I can't seem to figure out where it all went! Can you?!

Hnag in there, I am so happy to see you keep making progress in your health. It's an encouragement to me and to others. Just keep trying to do what's best, healthy, for you. Don't give up on Lyn. You are so worth it!

Have a progressive weekend, don't look back. Just keep looking and going forward. You can do this! I knwo you can! :D

Ceres said...

I have started to pay more attention to my sugar cravings as well, and it's really true that the more sugar I eat, the more I crave. I'm not ready to go off sugar completely, but limiting it to a bare minimum sounds like such a good idea right now!

Sarah said...

Hi. I've been lurking for a couple weeks now but I love your posts.

The people that said above the sugar is like crack, it's so true. Especially for me. For so long I would tell myself, just reduce how much you eat and you'll be fine, but still the little bit of sugar or anything that would spike my blood sugar was just the little twinge I needed to justify having 2nds, then thirds, etc. The best thing I have ever done for myself was to stop eating it altogether. Seriously, a heroin addict doesn't think, "I'll just have a little", and that's how I've had to face this. Yes, occasionally I still have something with real sugar in it but it is few and far between and because I know the signals, I expect the cravings. But then not only does it make me want more sugar, I end up eating way more than I should of other better-for-me stuff just to trying to sate the sweet tooth. So I've decided it's just better for me to stay away from it for good. And once you haven't eaten it for a while, the cravings get a lot easier to manage.

It also helps that I've started making my own versions of things I love with alternative sweeteners (I only use natural, no chemicals, lots of studies say your body's cravings react to them the same way they do to sugar).

I really enjoy reading your blog. Makes me feel not so alone in this journey. :)