Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sugar Fits

I am so irritable right now, I can't even think straight. PMS, UGH!! Anyway, I wanted to share a moment I had. Yesterday I ate pretty well all day... to a point. I had my usual healthy breakfast. The husband wanted to go out to a buffet for lunch, so I chose a Thai place with a ton of great veggie options. I had 2 plates of carrots/broccoli/cabbage mix, and some nice chicken breast. I only had 1/4 c of rice and 2 spring rolls, and a cup of green tea. Great! No snacks. Then around dinnertime the PMS just got worse and worse. I was planning on making pasta for the kids (with veggies) and just having an artichoke myself, since I wasn't very hungry. But while I was boiling their pasta, I fritzed out and scarfed a hot dog out of the fridge. Yeah, I buy hot dogs about twice a year. Which IS an improvement over how we used to eat them almost once a week (yikes), but still. They used to be a binge food. I knew better than to have any here.

So after my hot dog, I felt ill (of course). I picked at some baby carrots at dinner. I was feeling the hormones, for sure. When my husband went to put our daughter to bed, I did something I haven't done in AGES: I threw on a coat, bolted out the door, and drove to the grocery store for the SOLE PURPOSE of getting a piece of chocolate. I didn't care what anyone thought. I needed to have some candy and to hell with everything else.

And then I did something else I have not done in who knows how long: I sat in the parking lot and ate in my car. As I sat there in the glow of the storefront lights, watching cars drive by and shoving a King Size Reeces Egg in my mouth, I was sadly reminded of the many times in my past when I used to buy a ton of cookies, donuts, or candy from this grocery store, then drive through the adjacent Taco Bell and buy 2 chalupas and a couple of tacos and a Coke, and then sit in the parking lot shoveling it all into my mouth, alone, ashamed, disgusted.

It was just a Reeces Egg (and a chocolate bar). But I felt like I'd gone back in time. I looked around me and thought, "I don't want THIS to be my life. Not again." I thought about why I did it. I felt guilty. I looked at the bit of Reeces Egg remaining in my hand and I thought, "this stuff is poison. It is stealing my life. I hate it." And suddenly, for the first time in my life, I wanted to give it up. I mean REALLY wanted to give up all the candy, sugar, cakes, and sweets... forever.

I went on Atkins back in, oh, 2002 or so, and lost a bit of weight. I liked losing the sugar cravings, but when you want to binge, you'll find a way: I used to eat entire BRICKS of cream cheese, and plates full of bacon. Yeah, I know that's not really permitted even on Atkins, but I rationalized it. I used to bake entire cookie sheets full of mushroom caps stuffed with bacon and cream cheese and eat them ALL. Of course, I gained back any weight I lost doing Atkins.

I went on South Beach back in 2003. I lost about 35 pounds in under 4 months, and I felt GREAT. I loved the freedom from carb craziness,and the desire to binge almost left me. But the problem was, I resented having to give up "my foods." I wanted cake, candy, and bread the whole time I was on SB. I was sort of giving it up against my will, and just waiting for the day I could eat those beloved foods again. And when I found ways to "cheat," I went overboard. Lots of people eat sugar free fudgesicles on the South Beach Diet. And lots of people eat dark chocolate or sugar free chocolate, sparingly. And nut butters are allowed in moderation. And all I really wanted was to be inhaling an entire package of chocolate-covered Dove ice cream bars, so after losing 35 pounds, I started taking dark chocolate and melting it with peanut butter, and then smearing it all over those sugar free fudgesicles. It would harden and be like a mini Dove bar. And I would eat a whole package of fudgesicles that way. You cannot lose weight eating like that. It set off my cravings, and all I really wanted was a cupcake, so I started eating sugar again. I regained all the weight and then some. Same sad story.

And so I've said, I can't do South Beach because I refuse to give up candy and cake and stuff forever. But when I was sitting there in the car last night with loads of sugar pumping through my veins, I said, "enough is enough! I don't care if I never eat another candy bar again. THIS STUFF IS POISON!"

I'm giving it another shot. I'm going back to the basics: veggies, lean meats, nonfat dairy. Nuts and beans in moderation. No sugar for awhile... and no carby stuff for awhile until I get my head back on straight. I have to get this weight off. I'm going to turn this determination to BINGE into a determination to get control. I can turn those feelings of longing for food inside-out so that they become a longing for a better life... for good health. I am sick of turning my life into a box of chocolate-covered problems and I am SICK of being in a sugar fog. At least IN THIS MOMENT I feel no desire to *ever* eat that crap again.

Breakfast: Egg Beaters, low fat turkey sausage, spinach, and light cheese with green tea.
Snack: protein water, peanuts
Lunch: large salad of romaine, spinach, avocado, salsa, lean beef/turkey taco meat, light sour cream, black olives, and fat free refried beans
Snack: hummus and baby carrots
Dinner: lean steak, mashed cauliflower, roasted broccoli and garlic on olive oil

I already walked a mile in the beautiful spring sunshine (finally! sun!) and plan to bike later. Scale says: 236.


ArleneWKW said...

The details of our various journeys through thick and thin vary, but as with you, binging has continued to be a major challenge. Going back to basics seems like a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Please don't beat yourself up over this. I can't imagine PMS without chocolate, and your little chocolate egg and hot dog will not sabotage your weight loss unless you let it, by deciding that the game's over, and you might as well binge. Perfection isn't possible, and I know for me, tiny amounts of sugar make me very happy.

I think you're doing great, I love reading your blog, I love your honesty and your pain showing through, please see the big picture (how you are doing now compared to how you used to do), and don't freak out about a hot dog or a chocolate egg. Maybe two hot dogs and 5 chocolate eggs, but one of each? It's fine.

Heather said...

thats a rough place to be, but I guess one that you needed. I know for me personally, cutting out sugar helped me get rid of the binges. but its also true that I cant buy anything with sugar (well except those cadbury eggs I guess!), and not shove it in my mouth like I used to. the binges are really still there, I just dont have the triggers around me to cause them. its not the most secure place, but most of the time, Im happy with the food that I eat and feel good about the choices I make and dont miss the fact that I cant eat chocolate like a normal person. but at the same time, if you are an alcoholic, you dont allow yourself any alcohol even if you want it, so I guess being addicted to food works the same way. it may suck that you have to live your life without the things that you think you want, but if you can realize that its not what you want anyways, then its not such a bad way to live. thats my take on it anyways!

Tony said...

Eating clean is something that hasn't worked for me in the past---I just feel so deprived. It's worked for some people though (like The Anti-Jared), so give it a try if you think it's something that you can do consistently.

Shelley said...

I stay away from sugar (except for the natural sugars in fresh fruit) because it is such a trigger for me. Sure, I can have one Dove dark chocolate square. But I swear, while it is still melting in my mouth, I'm already thinking about having another one. I hate that out-of-control feeling I get with sugar! So for me, I rarely have the sweet treat because of the struggle that will inevitably follow.

Good luck with your plan - I hope you have great success with it!

Anonymous said...

I hope this is taken in the way it's offered:

It's time to get to the root of your food triggers. Are you seeing a therapist?

Once you get straight with your thinking and feeling, you'll succeed at creating and sticking with a way of eating that works for you.

I wish you the very best.

Kate said...

Reading about your little binge made me want to is that all about?

I wish you well with your newfound determination; you can totally do this. :)

Mrs said...


I am new to your blog, which I think is fabulous. I love your honesty. You tell it as it is.

The PMS hormone hell is definitely a time when sanity and rational thought leave the room. And sometimes constantly battling with yourself is exhausting (the should I/shouldn't I debate about what to eat).

The 'damage' wasn't so bad and it seems as if you got a whole lot more understanding and determination in the process.

Sugar does bad things to good people. Not always, of course but to many. To many with food/addiction issues, in particular.

I wish you well and keep going. You're doing amazingly well!

redballoon said...

I came in here to comment and saw the message by Anonymous. It's what I was going to say.
As soon as I read "the husband," I knew something tg was going to go out of whack.
People these days blame everything on PMS but PMS just aggravates the problems in our lives. If the problems aren't there you're not even going to notice PMS.
How you react to problems, how you deal with them, this is what you have to address. Maybe you know this all ready, but something is still not working and your binges only cause you more aggravation.
Honesty comes on many levels and in many aspects. I hope you can start being truly honest with what is "eating" you in your life and work on changing what you can.
I'm working on similar things, though the details are different.
I'm rooting for you, Lyn.

MB said...

I had the same sort of experience with Atkins and South Beach. I couldn't stay on it long term even though I got results.

I wonder if the stress of having your husband back in the house set you up for a binge and your old ways.

Keep fighting the good fight. You've come so far and will get back on track. Hang in there.

Jules said...

I just want to say kudo's to you for recognizing change in you is needed. Not everyone understands what it's like to go through binging in the true sense of feeling that loss of control. not the 'hey i had a little too much last night. hahah shouldn't do that again'. It's different, reading today's blog really hit home for me. i haven't made it to where you are yet in regards to cutting sugar out of my life, but i've certainly limited the foods allowed in my house.
I too recognize I have to get to a place where I can deal with the why of the triggers. Even after starting my journey this year, I've had to deal with it and lost it 1x & badly. It's a struggle. I don't "deprive" myself, but I certainly don't allow the foods in whole quantities that i typically do binge on. I typically know my limits; but when the urge comes over me; it's like a crazy person has taken me over and made me powerless. So i totally get why you're doing it this way.
My husband now hates buying 1 or 2 cookies, doughnuts, etc... at a time. Sees it as a waste and I see it as helping me keep my sanity. I am however using Dr phils book the ultimate weight solution as a guide to get at my mental issues of my whys? I'm not doing hsi diet, I'm following WW and know that's my best bet for now on changing my eating habits... BVut hopefully his mental changes will help me.
Anyhow... I just thought I'd share that you're not alone in your quest and I'm proud of you for getting to where you need to be and knowing what YOU personally need to do.

Susannah said...

What an accurate description of the sugar demons! I am fighting that battle as well. After losing 80 pounds, regaining 8 pounds, now feeling stuck in the mud (or stuck in the sugar!) for losing the last 25 or 30 pounds - I read this post just nodding my head in agreement. I have always always always loved my sugar. I am so tired of the mental energy needed to keep away and so tired of the icky physical feelings when I over indulge. Thanks for your honesty and let's set our feet on a new path!

Lyn said...


Your bluntness might be taken with a bit more care if you'd post with your identity rather than anonymously. I'm not offended, but I've been pretty clear on this blog that I am taking steps to deal with emotional issues surrounding the binge. If/when I am seeing a therapist, I'll share *if/when* I feel like sharing about that. But having a completely anonymous stranger tell me what "it's time to" do, seems a bit presumptuous on your part. But because my PMS is slightly waning, I will forgive you for your lack of tact.


YOUR tact is appreciated, plus, I sort of "know" who you are and I take your insight as it's meant. You have always been very supportive to me. I just want you to know that I *am* being honest about what is eating me in my life, even if I do not always share those things here. Some things are too personal to put on here at this point, and/or might hurt another person in my life if they were to read it later. So I hope you'll trust me when I say, I know. I know who/what is bugging me and I am actively working on remedying the issues. Thank you for caring.

♥ Dee ♥ said...

Kate, you are not alone... I had binge thoughts when I read this, too. I'm fighting the PMS demon, and the first thought in my head was "oh, I can go to the store and buy a dark chocolate with almonds bar, too".

Lyn, have you read my blog today? This seems to be the topic de jeur.

Sophia said...

Hello Lyn,

This is my first post on your blog and I think you know from reading my own writings that you are a big inspiration to me, particularly for your rigorous honesty. I relate so much to your desire to have a normal relationship with food and wish you godspeed in figuring out how to create that relationship or how to, at the very least, fake it until you make it.

I'm not completely familiar with your story so forgive me if this has been tried, but I wonder if Overeaters Anonymous or Food Addicts Anonymous might be helpful. I think that for someone who experiences binge eating 'emergencies', creating your own sobriety plan and having a sponsor you can call in a moment of crisis, might be useful in disrupting some of the binges.

I know you will find your own way and I wish you the best.

spunkysuzi said...

Good for you Lyn! You know what works for you. I too have to stay away from that stuff as it's an automatic trigger to have a lot more!! I'd love to do moderation, right now that's just not possible.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and find you very intelligent, insightful and inspiring. I know that you get a lot of unasked for advice. And I know that you're not writing this blog so that strangers can tell you what you should do for yourself. So, I'll just say that I tame PMS using birth control and "skipping" periods. You can take the pill packs for 3 months straight, discarding the placebo pills for the fourth week of each month. Then you only have to deal with 4 periods a year. I actually use Nuvaring now so that I don't have to remember the pills. Anyway- I know that PMS sabatoges my healthy living plans- don't want to exercise, crave baked goods, etc. It's a releif to minimize how often it comes around.

Best of luck and wishing you good health,

Anonymous said...

When I came to college, there was so many new sugary products available. I started eating a lot more desserts, and I was unhappy about it because it was so different from my normal diet at home.
I made a sudden decision to give up sugary foods for Lent and I haven't had anything in like 3 weeks. I think that setting a strict time frame makes it easier because I don't want to break Lent and just make it to Easter. But once you follow something long enough, it will become a habit, and after Lent is over, I don't think I'll be picking up as many desserts.

Good luck

Tamzin said...

Thank gawd for the sunshine now. :)

I remember those days too... eating int eh car - such ugly times.

"It was just a Reeces Egg (and a chocolate bar). But I felt like I'd gone back in time. I looked around me and thought, "I don't want THIS to be my life. Not again." I thought about why I did it. I felt guilty. I looked at the bit of Reeces Egg remaining in my hand and I thought, "this stuff is poison. It is stealing my life. I hate it." And suddenly, for the first time in my life, I wanted to give it up. I mean REALLY wanted to give up all the candy, sugar, cakes, and sweets... forever"

That is just possibley the most awesome things that I've read in a long time. I hope you print it out and put it in your wallet - next time you go to pay for chocolates...or want to, you can read it. :)


redballoon said...

Thanks for believing in me and that my intentions and concerns are always caring. I reread my post and I am sorry but I did sound blunt myself. I didn't mean to be blunt but I would have been chastised if you had thought I was. Anonymous's heart is probably in the right place too but it's so hard to be delicate in writing.
I am glad you are looking at the things that you know you need to look at. As others have pointed out, this was not really even a binge, was it? But I felt the desperation, the flying out the door, the lunge for the chocolate and I just felt for you so much that it brought tears to my eyes and I just want this pain to stop for you so much that I wrote.
You've been through so much, so much more heartbreak than I can imagine. Who am I, who is anyone to be able to judge progress, the pace of progress or what is needed. We just flail around, reaching for what we think may help, most of us country doctors just trying to perform miracles with an aspirin and a prayer.
Still, I talk..there's no stopping me. So, let me say, your stopping your binge or even just having the thoughts you did is nothing short of miraculous.
The healing, the development is surely going on and you WILL burst forth in blossom.
As always, power to you, Lyn and thanks for understanding.

Tena said...

WooHoo! Sugar is a bad influence. I do so much better at staying in control when my sugar consumption is low.

You had a good day! And sunshine! Well, you can't beat that!

Hanlie said...

Woohoo! I love the resolve... I'm afraid that for many of us, a little sugar is just like a little crack - in other words, there is no safe dosage. And as much as you've known that for a long time, you really had to reach the point where you could say, "No more". We each have our own turning point. Nobody can push us there!

Good luck! I'm behind you all the way!

athenaintraining said...

I'm doing a 12-week, no-sugar challenge, and if you can make it through the first two weeks, you are going to feel like a million bucks. I have so much energy, and I'm at a place now where I am not even having cravings for unhealthy food. It's pretty cool.

Jessica said...

Lynne (and everyone else), I'm reading a fascinating book you might enjoy, called "Food Matters" by Mark Bittman. I'm only half way through it, but he talks a lot about how our over-consumption of meat affects the environment and our waistlines and how to cut back. His personal way is to cut back on meats and dairy, cut out junk food and be vegan until 6pm. It sounds like it might be right up your alley! It also has lots of recipes that look tasty...and yes I swear I don't work for him or his publisher!

Anonymous said...

Sugar is a demon of mine as well and the SBD did help me get over that temporarily but eating the sugar free version of stuff just made me want the real thing and more food in general.

I recently adopted a "Crap Free" lifestyle after experimenting for one week. I could not have any trans fats, artificial sweeteners, products made from enriched or white flour, or high fructose corn syrup; and I also kept caffeine to a minimum and tried to watch sodium too (by not eating canned soups or frozen dinners).

By doing all of this, I've pretty much eliminated my candy, cake, cookie cravings and most of the time enjoy fruit for dessert. Every now and then I have something else but nothing that contains the above mentioned ingredients.

So maybe that's something you could try?

I do think your back to basics approach is very smart. :)

Schmoodle said...

Hi Lyn, After your post on the boards I stopped by your blog to see if you had written about the candy thing. I have had to accept that I cannot have sanity with any amount of refined sugar or starch. I have to be off of it completely. Believe me I have tested and retested that theory repeatedly over the last couple of years, and if I start eating sugar, I will end up binging on it. I am learning to see it as the enemy, not the comforting friend I have always thought it was. And freedom from sugar not as deprivation abut as a wonderful gift I will give myself.
PMS is real. Not for everybody, but I have a couple of days every month when I know I am going to want to EAT all day long and will crave sugary things. I have to learn to cope with this. It's not because of other things in my life, it is definitely linked to my cycle. I have a pretty great life actually, no big problems, and supportive people around me. That's not to brag, but to confirm that the PMS cravings are real. They are noticeable even if everything is hunky-dory.
It's a journey, it is different for everyone, and maybe this is the next step for you. I know that it must be for me. We are the ones who will succeed because we are going to look at every difficulty as an opportunity to learn. It may take us a long time, but we will get there. We are patient and stubborn enough to keep working at it.

Anonymous said...


Have you ever tried Sugarbusters? It's pretty easy.

I too remember those days of bingeing in the car.

It's hard to avoid those Reeses peanut butter eggs; those suckers are everywhere! Once Easter is over maybe it will be easier. I haven't had a Reeses in almost two years, but I could never have eaten just one! You have more control than me.


Anonymous said...

I'm another anonymous, b/c I have no idea what the other options are "open ID"? "name/URL"? Don't know what those are. Hang in there. Binging is really tough stuff to deal with (even though what you ate wasn't all that much food), I think the compulsion is more what you are getting at -- some part of you driving you to eat even though other parts of you don't want to. No magic thoughts here. I don't binge with the amount of food that I did in my 20s (when I would drive to the grocery store and sit with enormous bags of chips and candy and just eat), but I'm in my 40s now and there are DEFINITELY still times when I feel compulsive about eating and eat compulsively. Most recently, at an Oscars party a girlfriend had, and there were sweet things all over the table in front of me, and I had one part of me saying "don't eat that," and the other part putting cookies in my mouth. Most of that time I don't, but for me, I'm not sure it's going to be anything that's ever going to go away completely. Tools I use are making sure I'm not too hungry, making sure I don't have bingey type food in the house, not eating "pastry" type things (i.e., products with sugar/flour in them, as I feel that they are triggers), really trying to focus on the health aspect of the foods I put in my body, so that I do feel like the pastry products are kind of poisonous . . . That said, I can't say that I'll never eat compulsively again -- in fact, I think I probably will. Good luck. I do think that most of the commenters here do care about the issues you raise, and are really trying to offer thoughts in a spirit of helpfulness . . . Any luck in connecting with others? I know that you recently were thinking about that (and also know that you have been preoccupied) . . .

Hugs, Becky

Lyn said...

Anonymous Becky~

Thanks for the kind words. I really don't mind when people use the anonymous feature to comment (like you are doing). But sometimes people use "anonymous" to post something judgemental or harsh or even downright abusive(which you guys don't ever see, because I delete those comments).

Let's see... well I just want to thank everyone for your support! I feel a lot better with one good, sugarfree day under my belt. I have been attending some online OA meetings a bit, and getting out with other Moms a little more, so I do feel more connected. Things are looking up for me overall :)

Jessica said...

Apologies for spelling your name wrong in my first comment - it was pre-morning coffee!

Riley & Tiki said...

You mentioned South Beach & Atkins. Have you considered paleo? I've been getting a lot of good info lately from the blogs Mark's Daily Apple, Free the Animal, & Son of Grok. I miss the sugar a lot less and lose the urge to binge when I eat some fat with my protein and vegetables. The weight loss has been more steady this time and I don't have that gnawing hunger I always used to get while dieting. Good luck with your weight loss goals!

Riley & Tiki's Mom

Ria said...

Glad you're feeling better after a sugar-free day!

The part of your post about turning determination to binge into determination to get control reminded me of a post on another of my favorite blogs. The author is truly an inspiration, and I think you'd enjoy the post. Here is the link . . . and please forgive me if I've posted it before - I think it's so great and have shared it so often that I can't remember all the places.

antgirl said...

It is a world of difference between *deciding yourself to do something* vs. someone else telling you to do it when you're not ready. I think that was a really big moment for you last night.

I'm the type that has to decide for myself. It makes it all so much easier, IMO.

healthyyy1187 said...


I am new to your blog, but not your situation. Have you tried stevia as an alternative to sugar? It is an all NATURAL herb (you can find it in health stores) and it tastes amazing. There are a few products that contain it already and they are amazing.

My favorite is All Sport Natural Zero. It is a sports drink that contains the stevia instead of sugar. It also has essential vitamins and low sodium. It is going to be available to everyone April 2009. It tastes amazing and it satisfies those icky sugar cravings every woman gets (especially during pms!)

Try the All Sport Natural Zero, I am sure you will like it, and try stevia to cut those cravings.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I totally know how you feel, being so disgusted and ashamed. I definitely feel that way when my eating gets out of control. Kudos to you for turning into something positive!

Karyn said...

Just letting you know I read your posts every day....even if I don't always leave a comment.

I see(read) new strides toward total freedom from 'the fat girl' every post! It is exciting!

Anonymous said...

thanks for being here.