When I feel out of control desire for sugar, is it because I’m addicted to sugar, or is it because sugar is a food I fear because it makes me gain weight?
If sugar makes me gain weight, then it is a bad food. Gaining weight = bad. If it is a bad food, I fear it and restrict it. If I restrict it, I want it more. If I want it more than I want other foods, and this cycle of restriction and bingeing drives me fucking crazy, then I must have an “addiction” to it. The only answer is to eliminate sugar FULL STOP. Otherwise I’ll get fat.
How would I feel about sugar if I truly did not care if I gained weight ever? If my body size were predetermined and I was not actually able to make it different? Would I restrict it?
What if we replaced sugar with pizza, or chocolate, or broccoli? What if someone told you that you were never allowed to eat a salad ever again because it would make you fat? Would you eliminate salads?
When I eat lots of sugar and then feel ‘bad’, what I’m really feeling is fear of getting fat (and maybe a headache or spike/drop in blood sugar… those are the physical ‘bad’ feelings). Guilt and shame. And when I over-eat sugar what I’m thinking is: I am planning to eat correctly in future so I won’t get fat, so I need to eat this sugar now before I get into proper restrictive eating. I am feeling both hope and despair when I over-eat sugar.
The tomorrow hope is a pretty exciting feeling. It gives me permission to eat everything I want today, knowing that tomorrow I will get started on eating right. Because eating less sugar makes me feel physically/mentally steady, and it also helps me manage my weight. And I know it’s possible because I’ve done it before. Many many times. One day I’ll get it right, and that day is TOMORROW.
This cycle is actually quite addicting, I think. And there’s no chance in hell that I can fathom eating sugar without the attendant feelings of hope – the euphoria of hope – that everything will be better tomorrow.
But what if, like me, tomorrow doesn’t really come. Or it comes, but the sugar restriction only lasts a day or two, or a week or two, because amazing cupcakes were handed out at a team meeting at work. And then it starts again – might as well eat all the sugar in advance of the next restriction period. Because sugar = fat, and fat = bad. And even though my body has been around the same size for 35 years, this will be the time that I alter it for good.
I don’t think I am addicted to sugar. I think I’m hooked on the hope of a better tomorrow, when I’ll finally fit into society’s standards for a beautiful body. That hope creates a situation in which I decide to eat more sugar than I really want because tomorrow is coming, and tomorrow I will be good.
It is especially important for me to remember that this is always going on in the background, even if I convince myself that sugar is poison to all people (thin or fat) and that I am just doing the healthy thing by eliminating it from my diet. I think there are probably healthy people out there who eliminate sugar from their diets for this reason, but anyone who says that they were “addicted” to sugar aren’t those people (IMHO).