Today I want to write about my relationship with sugar, my main addiction. Many people discuss this subject so often because it has an insidious grip on the body, mind and spirit. There are those who know what I’m referring to, and those who don’t.
When I was 14 years old, I decided that I needed to put myself on a diet. Through my eyes, I just wasn’t thin enough. Looking back now, I was thin…maybe not thin enough for a Beverly Hills girl. This diet was carefully documented in a little journal. Breakfast was 3 strawberries, lunch was lettuce soup, dinner was lettuce soup again. After school, to burn those stubborn calories, I would jog from my house to a hotel gift shop about a mile away from my house. I bought Trident peppermint sugar-free gum. I ended up swallowing the whole pack every time. I lost weight. It was very exciting seeing the numbers go down on the new doctor’s scale my ex-stepfather bought. I was in control of what my body was doing. It was a high. This ritual continued. I got very skinny. I was able to fit into my little sister’s cognac colored pants. At some point, I got ravenous. I no longer had control. I was starving. One afternoon after school, I quietly took a birthday cake from our refrigerator. I carried the cake into the guest bathroom, locked the door, sat on the toilet and ate most of the vanilla cream frosted cake. That was the first binge. Binging on sugar became a pattern. Ice cream with peanut butter, cookies with peanut butter, just peanut butter. This craziness became a part of my life, an identity, a secret.
As I got older, I found amazing diets, doctor approved diets…yes, this one will be the one…so much promise! I would create my own exercise programs. I got pretty good at losing weight. I kept my diet secrets to myself, I didn’t dare share what was going on in this part of my world. When I went away to boarding school I felt alone and fearful there. I had friends, but a lot of the time I isolated myself. By this time I was a yo-yo dieter. One day, I read about a popular fast. The maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon fast was the rage! This worked like a charm. Diets were my comfort. I understood them. They were part of me. My friends noticed my weight loss. They wanted to lose weight, too. I gave them diet and exercise programs to follow. They saw me as an expert and that’s how I felt. They paid me with candy bars and other treats from the little snack room on the corridor. My own program eventually failed. The sugar binging continued. I remember one morning, I was in the garbage closet. I saw a box of discarded donuts. I grabbed 3 or 4 from the trash and shoved them in my mouth. I felt shame, but this was a normal feeling for me. This way of life was a part of me. This I knew as the real me.
These stories are a sliver of my food/sugar story. An eating disorder for some people, for me, never completely goes away. I live with this old identity somewhere in the background. It was torture most days. It wrapped itself tight around every fiber of my being, impossible to escape the pull to look in my full length mirror and evaluate. Some days, I’m so busy that I don’t think about my body. Most days the old grips have loosened. I believe a shift has happened because of therapy, a 12 step program and the incredible Keto approach which fell into my lap. Keto is a piece of the puzzle that is saving me. This sounds dramatic, but it is true on so many levels.
I’m done discussing my early life. I needed to write about it to illustrate how far I have come. I don’t want to over indulge…moving on!
Until next time…