I am addicted to sugar. I can honestly say that I've never been addicted to anything else. I don't believe I have an addictive personality. But Sugar? It's my drug of choice. My coping mechanism. My tool of relaxation. My downfall, my crutch and my ENEMY.
When I'm stressed out, I turn to Sugar. Soda, mostly. I've always been a fan of sweets, but nothing trips my trigger like a nice, cold soda on ice with a straw. My most challenging time of the day is after the kids go to sleep. I just want to veg out, watch something lite and care-free on television and DRINK ALL THE SODA. But something happens to me when I drink soda, especially earlier in the day.
Sugar and Mood
It's like an Incredible Hulk phenomenon. It makes me CRAZY. Moody, short-tempered, out of control and UNGLUED. I find myself suddenly impatient with my children. I chew out my husband as soon as he walks in the door from a long day of work. I can feel my blood boiling as I watch the clock, waiting for the kids' bedtime... so I can (you guessed it) DRINK MORE SODA.
Drinking sugar is different than eating sugary baked goods. Because it's liquid, it is QUICKLY metabolized and SPIKES your blood sugar. But whether I'm eating it by the cookie or drinking it by the Dr. Pepper, sugar spins me into and cycle of sabotage. It makes me want more and more while making me crazier and crazier. And when the energy from that fructose isn't immediately used, it's stored by the liver and turned into fat.
Sugar and Weight Gain
Sugar contains glucose and fructose. The body naturally creates glucose, but not fructose. And the only cells in the body that USE fructose make up the liver, where it is turned into fat and distributed into the blood.
It is also a hormone disruptor. It causes a resistance to Leptin, a hormone stored in fat cells. It causes the brain to think that we don't have ENOUGH fat and it therefore stores more.
Glucose satiates us (makes us feel full) where fructose makes us feel more hungry. So the more sugar you eat, the hungrier you are (and more sugar you tend to consumer because you're not satisfied). It's a vicious cycle! Learn more about the effects of sugar on weight here.
You Don't Have to Live Like This
Do you find yourself caught in the same cycle of coping with junk food? The best ways I've found to break the cycle is to STOP, go for a walk or do some yoga. Chug some water and GO DO SOMETHING ACTIVE AWAY FROM THE SUGAR. Find another way to boost your mood.
To help control my need for sweet, I try to find other beverages that I REALLY enjoy that have less or no sugar. I'll share one of my recent faves. It's an Arnold Palmer, a mix of iced tea and lemonade that has enough flavor and sweetness to satisfy without so much fructose.
But if you find yourself unable to cope with life and your waistline is growing, stop and assess your patterns. What are you eating/drinking, when and why?