I’m struggling to curb my sugar habit. That sounds like an empty, fashionable thing to say, like I’ve been reading the supplements in the Guardian and just need to be able to appropriately comment at Saturday’s middle class dinner party. Except: It’s not a joke to me. Sugar is my crack, and I’m struggling with that, and I’m writing this post because so many of you have reached out as I’ve changed my relationship to my body this year, and I don’t want you to harbour the illusion that it’s a linear, straight-forward process or worse: an easy one. That I lost some weight and altered what I eat and now everything is tickety-boo. Because it’s not.
I can’t eat one biscuit. I have to have the packet. I buy Crème Eggs in pairs. My housemates have to stash sweet treats in their bedroom or secret hiding places: if it’s in the fridge, it will ultimately end up in my belly. I do not know sweet limitation. There is no “off” button for me.
It doesn’t make me feel good – at least not past the moment I swallow. And that’s frustrating. I eat the crap but I don’t get pleasure from it, because I know how bad it will make me feel. And I don’t mean the guilt will make me feel bad. I mean, after twelve weeks off sugar, dairy, wheat, and alcohol, I know how amazing it is possible to feel when I live off a mostly plant-based diet and so I’m super aware of how sluggish and moody sugar makes me. It affects my digestion, my poop. I don’t run as well when I’ve eaten it. It’s just not worth it to me, not matter how creamy the buttercream frosting. And yet… Lately I can’t stop. Every few days I binge on sugar. It’s insanity.
It’s a bit like smoking. I can’t believe that I ever sucked down twenty or so roll-ups a day, even though I knew how utterly horrific it was for me. As I gradually decided to quit, I did a little cold turkey action, but every now and again I’d find myself asking for a pouch of whatever was cheapest at the newsagents and so, for a few weeks, I’d be a smoker again. I couldn’t stop that, either.
I am addicted to sugar like I was once addicted to nicotine.
The thing with sugar, though, is that it is a socially acceptable vice. Whereas with smoking I’d suggest want to give it up completely and folks would unanimously murmur their unwavering approval, with sugar people can be – are - a bit weird.
I’ve had everyone from Internet strangers to best mates pass comment on how the “trick” to a “happy” life is “moderation”. A little of what you fancy does you good, they tell me (forcefully). Except when I fancied say, a cigarette, it was generally agreed to be a stupid idea. Sugar makes me feel as bad, maybe even worse, to be honest, and yet a sugar-free life is, apparently, “taking it too far” even though my relationship with sugar is essentially disordered. I act like an addict: I eat it in secret and feel shame for not being able to control myself. That’s not healthy. But apparently it’s #lol to post on Twitter “Just ate a whole packet of hobnobs without blinking. Oooops.”
If I posted “Just blacked out from accidentally downing half a litre of vodka #hahaha” I’m pretty sure you’d stage an intervention.
That’s where Sarah Wilson comes in. She gets it – she understands. She makes me feel less alone in my pursuit of my best life, my healthiest body. She has experienced it herself, that some people just can’t get on board with a sugar-free existence. What I have to try to remember is that when people are not simply opposed to a decision we’ve made in our lives, but dickishly opposed – assholes about it – it normally says more about them than the issue at hand. *repeats as mantra forever*
In her book “I Quit Sugar For Life” Sarah explores the idea that if we can “reset” our bodies to a blank slate, a neutrality, then we will return to a natural appetite so that we can live according to what we need, not what we crave.
That’s all I want. To eat slow-roasted red peppers and fresh grilled fish and marinated olives and spinach, spinach, spinach, knowing that I am fuelling my body in the most loving, nourishing way – “crowding out”, as Sarah calls it: eating so much of the good stuff that I don’t want the bad.
I still want a glass of red wine sometimes, or a torilla with my veggie breakfast – but y’see, I can control those things. I can have one glass or a piece of bread without then needing to finish the bottle/loaf. But with sugar… well. I cannot. Simple as that.
I’ve followed Sarah’s blog for years. She writes openly and honestly about being largely single, what it means to travel, her struggle to put down roots. The things I care about. I trust what she says, how she interprets the world, and last week I was blessed to meet her at the launch of I Quit Sugar For Life and I got to tell her these things: that what she creates means something to me.
I trust Sarah, and I know that some of you guys trust me, because you’ve told me, and so I want you to also trust Sarah and basically I have three copies of her book to giveaway but even if you don’t want the book, GO SUBSRCIBE TO HER BLOG because she’ll make you a better person, sugar-free or otherwise.
You can enter below by “liking” her page on Facebook or Tweeting about her, and in 5 days Rafflecopter will randomly pick three winners and I’ll mail out the books – simple! The competition is open internationally.
Yay go team health! And team free shit! AND YAY FOR MAKING OUR OWN GODDAMN DECISIONS AND BEING THE KINDEST TO OURSELVES THAT WE CAN BE!a Rafflecopter giveaway
*update!* The winners are... Rhiannon Wilkins, Helen Colclough, and Catie Humphreys! Ladies -- I've Tweeted you!