Redefining the Enemy

15 Jul

Remember that grand declaration about shunning sugar for life?

So here’s the thing…

I lied…

but not on purpose!  When I wrote that I was in a depression rut.  I recognized the connection between sugar and mood.  It seemed as though extreme measures were necessary for my mental health at that time.  Announcing my commitment to others made the promise more concrete.  I stuck to the anti-sugar crusade for the first few weeks, and it made me feel empowered.  It helped me through that particular rough patch.

The truth is, however, that sugar is not the enemy.  The enemy is self-medicating with food.  There was an occasion during this brief sans sugar lifestyle in which I ate almost an entire bag of corn chips in one sitting.  This just drives the point home even further.  Excluding certain foods has not gotten me anywhere in reestablishing normal eating behaviors.  Taking out sugar only means that I will set my sights on a new food to binge on.

I broke the sugar fast with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie on the 4th of July.  Since then, I have eaten sugar on occasion in reasonable (by my standards) amounts. I have also reincorporated dairy into my meals due to the imposed restrictions of the Wilson’s disease diet.  I didn’t want to have to eat meat all the time, and without beans or nuts, I wanted more protein options.

Currently, I’m feeling pretty good.  I think the reintroduction of meat has played a major role in this regeneration.  It breaks my heart a little to admit it, but I don’t think a vegan diet is right for me.  All of a sudden, I have enough energy to get through the day, and my BRAIN WORKS normally again (well as normally as my brain can function that is ;-)).  During my vegan/semi-vegetarian stints, I regularly suffered from brain fog.  I struggled to think clearly or conjure up the right words to say in standard conversations.  Now my neurotransmitters seem to be shaking hands instead of shooting dirty looks at their neighbors.  Since my mental health has stabilized, I don’t have as much of a need to keep shoveling the sweets in.

Sometimes I eat just because it’s fun.  I know I’m not solely guilty for such actions, but it’s worth sharing.  Boredom, along with self-medication, definitely play a role in the current obesity crisis.  People already know they SHOULD be eating blueberries instead of blueberry pie, but what they should really focus on is reestablishing habits.  Once you get into the routine of shunning snacks before bed, you probably won’t miss them.  I’ve also found distraction to be an indispensable tool.  If you can find a  hobby you enjoy more than making and/or eating food, you may find yourself just going through the motions of a meal, so you can go out and play.

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