How do you know if you’re an addict? What are they symptoms of sugar addiction? And is this even a real addiction??
What is an addiction?
Insert dorky dictionary definition here — If you’re addicted to something it means you are “physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.”
OK. Let’s take that apart. An addict is:
- Physically dependent
- Mentally dependent
- On a certain substance
- Not able to quit
- Bad things happen when you try to quit
Got it? Good.
Does this sound like you?
Your coffee is dripping in the morning and it needs a glazed donut or danish to go with it. You were looking forward to that donut as soon as you woke up today. Just like yesterday. You know you should eat an egg with some sauteed spinach instead, like you had planned, but now you just want to the donut. Cooking is too much work anyway. You eat 2 donuts because one just wasn’t enough. Maybe your coffee is a salted caramel mocha instead of black coffee? While you work throughout the day, you have your trusty bag of candy on your desk. Somehow it disappears before lunch (you don’t even remember eating it). You grab another from your bag to keep you focused on work. Yesterday you forgot to bring any snacks and you were a grouch all day. Later you remember you have to stop at the store to pick up something for dinner. Which store should you go to? You pick Ingles because they have a better ice cream selection. The candy bar you snagged in the checkout line is devoured on the car ride home. And you still want that ice cream after dinner. The bowl you scoop out is 5 times the suggested serving size. Yet when it’s gone, you wish you’d gotten another scoop.
Any of this scenario resonate with you? I know it does with me.
- I often find myself thinking about what healthy breakfast I can make so I can feel justified in eating a sugary pastry afterwards.
- I never write snacks down on my grocery list, yet they always make it into my cart.
- I drool over Pinterest dessert boards.
- We make dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies “for the kids” every year yet most of them end up eaten by me. Late at night when the kids don’t see me.
- I sometimes eat sugary things in secret so nobody knows just how much I’ve had.
- I sometimes binge on huge amounts of candy or cookies at one time. Cartons of ice cream seem to empty overnight.
- I love coffee, but I think I love the snack I always have with my coffee even more. I drink coffee as an excuse to eat another snack.
- If the only sugar in the house is something I don’t really like (such as Peeps, ewww) I will eat them anyway!
- I’ve tried to ‘cut back’ and end up bingeing later.
- I feel ashamed at my lack of control.
- I’m secretly OK with my kids not finishing their meals because that means they aren’t allowed to have dessert. More for me.
- I will eat sugar until I make myself physically sick. Yet knowing the consequences doesn’t stop me.
Decide for yourself
Do you feel like you physically depend on your sugar hit? Does the infamous afternoon slump make you run for the nearest candy bar to boost your energy? Maybe you get ‘hangry’ or irritable if you can’t have that snack when you want it.
Are you mentally dependent? I love the calm, relaxed, happy feeling I get when I sit down with my coffee and cookies. It’s soothing for me. Does the thought of giving up your habit make you feel miserably depressed? Do you use sugar as your antidepressant?
This goes for any carb loaded foods, even things like potato chips, pasta, and bread. They all turn to sugar in your bloodstream. So if those are your weaknesses, you’re in the same sugar-addict boat as the rest of us.
Have you ever tried to quit, or even cut back? Get ready for some sugar withdrawal symptoms! Headaches, irritability, weakness, low energy, and digestive issues are some fun thing to look forward to. Somehow we always come back for more.
Looking at the evidence in my own life, I believe that sugar addiction is indeed a very real condition. The effect of sugar on our brain chemistry is similar to cocaine. That’s not something we can easily walk away from. Even when we know we should.
Sugar Addiction is being mentally and physically dependent upon excessive amounts of sugar, and not being able to stop eating it without suffering debilitating withdrawal symptoms in our body and emotions. My definition anyway.
Only you can take a realistic look at your life, your habits, your secret indulgences, and decide if you have a problem. Deep down inside, you know if this is you. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you want to do something to change.
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve tried so many times to change, only to fail every time. That’s OK. It doesn’t have to always be this way. No matter how many times we fail, we can always choose to try again. Face your demons and call your addictions what they are. Hiding will only make the problem worse. Come out into the light and take your victory! We CAN beat this!