March 26, 2008

Sugar Addict

I know Tessie likes health kick talk, so I will talk about this book here instead of squirreling it away for private consumption.

I read The Sugar Addict book a number of years ago, liked it, started following the advice in it---but gained ten pounds and dropped the whole system like a night potato. [Little joke interpretation for those who have not yet read the book: the author recommends eating a potato each evening.]

Now I'm re-reading it, and I'm finding it re-awesome and thinking of re-trying it. A lot of it is what I'm trying to do ANYWAY on my diet: eating protein for breakfast, eating more whole grains, eating more vegetables, eating less sugar. And perhaps this time I won't go around saying, "Hey, fast food is high in protein!"

Here are the things I like/dislike so far, partway through my re-read:


I like:

1) The idea of sugar as a substance that can be abused. I find it helpful to think of it not as an inherently bad thing, but as something that can be used normally (the equivalent of a drink with dinner) or not (the equivalent of needing five or six drinks to feel anything at all).

2) The idea that some people have a problem with sugar, and some don't. I find it helpful to think that just as some people can't have a drink with dinner without finishing the bottle later that evening and going out for a fresh bottle the next morning, some people can't handle their sugar normally. I have had the same bottle of vodka in my cupboard for over two years---but if that were a bag of candy, I'd think of it night and day until it was gone. Different people struggle with different things.

3) The gentle, comforting tone of the author. She sounds like she's talking to a frightened wild animal, and she knows how to release your leg from the trap.

4) The way she really seems to understand what this is like. She doesn't say, "Just stop eating sugar, you idiot!" She knows it can be a lot harder than that, and she has steps and tips and practical ideas.


I dislike:

1) The idea of sugar as a substance that can be abused. I feel uncomfortable comparing a sugar addiction to a drug or alcohol addiction. Sometimes it feels like when someone is talking about how they were only 5 years old when their mother died, and someone else says, "Oh, I totally know what you mean: my grandma died when I was 25 and I was SO BUMMED."

2) The idea that some people have a problem with sugar, and some don't. I really DON'T want to go around explaining to friends and family that sugar is like poison to me, or whatevs. *EYE ROLL*

3) The gentle, comforting tone of the author. Sometimes it seems soooooooo self-helpy, I feel silly reading it.

4) The way she really seems to understand what this is like. When she's right, it IS pretty mesmerizing---but when she misses her guess, I feel out of place and awkward, like a fortune teller is telling me things about my life that aren't true ("You will have only one chiiiiiiiild! And you will never marryyyyyyyy!").

28 comments:

Jill said...

I generally crave salty and crunchy, not so much sugar, but I do notice that the more sugar I have the more I evntually want. Like, I'll let myself have ice cream one night and then I want it every night after that. Until I make myself stop, and then I could go weeks without really thinking about it. It's hard to do it cold turkey (mmm turkey), but considering I just ate a bag of jelly beans in two days I think I just can't allow myself to buy anything sweet for awhile.
Cheese and crackers, however...

Saly said...

Yeah, I might be tempted to bitch slap her. Does that make me a sugar junkie??

Erica said...

I'm putting this in my Amazon cart RIGHT NOW.

Alice said...

eh, just because it's not, like, a HEROIN addiction doesn't mean you're not allowed to think of it that way. people don't mock caffeine addictions, even though they're not illegal / fatal either. seems like a sound theory to me, AND a useful one for anyone who does struggle w/sugary goodness. i mean.. badness. right.

Jess said...

I don't think I could stand that book right now. But I will file it away in my mind (or make a note of it in my new diet journal) as a possible place to turn if I hit a wall at some future point.

Mommy Daisy said...

That was some good food for thought. I like how the good balances with the bad for you in the book.

mom of the year said...

The thing that helps me the most with the whole sugar thing really has been the exercise - that I do because I found something I like to do. When I'm on target with interval running, I don't CRAVE sugar (I actually want, well, meatballs). It's not one of those "it's no good for me and will screw up my efforts" ideas. I really truly have no craving for sugar. That said, during this winter hibernation of late, I've noticed the return of the sweet tooth, and as of today I am back on running.

desperate housewife said...

I think the whole idea of sugar addiction is mundo fascinating. I never really thought of myself as having a PROBLEM with sweets, per se, until I got pregnant with Addy and realized that almost instantaneously, I stopped wanting sugar and was desperately craving things salty and meaty and basically the opposite of what I usually want. Which made me think, "Hmm. Maybe my body actually NEEDS the salty meaty more than the carbs and sugar I usually feed it?"
I think my mind got all screwed up about sugar very young- I think seeing it as a treat and as something SO SPECIAL actually made me want it and seek it out more than I would have if sugar had just been another thing which I could choose to eat or not eat based on my own whims. Now as an adult whenever I feel deserving of a treat, I basically revert to childhood and want a bag of M and M's.

Maggie said...

I've not run across that book before, but it's so interesting! I think I have somewhat of a sugar addiction myself, but since I don't like chocolate (don't hate me) I find a lot of sweets easier to avoid than most people. But if I'm really needing a sugar fix, it doesn't matter - I will consume anything sweet that isn't nailed down.

I used to think that I could 'train' myself to just say no (ala Nancy Reagan) but so far it hasn't worked.

If the book doesn't help me, can we start a 12 step program?

Artemisia said...

Oh, I love this post! Lately I am starting to think a lot more about sugar - as well as still obsessing over oil vs. butter.

Hmmm...I'd love for this to be on my bedside table, but then I would NEVER SLEEP. I'll have to read it right before going to the gym, to help channel the neurosis appropriately.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Me like sugar WAY too much.

I've been eyeing this book for years wondering if I dare read it. I know myself to be a sugar addict and while I'm mostly in recovery, I fall off the wagon WAY too often.

Your review was helpful and I think I might just see if the library has it.

Right after I throw out the rest of the easter candy that is CALLING TO ME from the cupboard.

Tessie said...

Oh, YAY! The only thing I like better than a good health kick post is a hilarious review of a health kick BOOK. I particularly like how the "TOTAL" part is all kicky and hot pink and cursive. Just SCREAMS "health kick".

I haven't read this book, but it seems...ODD that she would recommend a potato each evening, doesn't it? Kick your carb addiction with a nightly potato! Or something. Oh, health kick books. You slay me.

Lisa said...

Ok, so if a friend of mine mixes a quick batch of frosting to eat with a spoon, is she an addict? Also if my other friend, maybe, ya know, eats some brown sugar from the package while she looks for stuff in the pantry, would she be an addict? I KNOW, my friends are GROSS, feel free to judge them. Thinking of quitting sugar makes me want to cry. Sugar, I can't quit you.

skiplovey said...

Your review almost makes me want to read it just for the heck of it. Health kick book fascinate me for some odd reason, even though I rarely participate in them I feel like just reading them helps in some way.

But then maybe I don't want to read it because then I'll obsess over how I shouldn't want sugar and I didn't really even like it all that much until I started reading this book but suddenly I want it really bad. And that would be bad.

Opus #6 said...

How did you know I was on a sugar binge today? {blush}

Erin said...

The idea that sugar is addictive freaks me out. I think I have a slightly (hmmm... understatement?) addictive personality and I don't like to think that I need to worry about food on top of alcohol, exercise, spending money, etc.

Can we change the subject?

Black Sheeped said...

I think anything that gives you a rush or a sense of temporary well-being can become an addictive habit. It's always been helpful for me to think of things as "addictive," things like spending lots of time staring at the internet or sugar or...whatever. You get it. As soon as I think of something as a behavior or pattern or addiction, something clicks and I think it gives me a healthy perspective. So...even if it's annoyingly self-helpy or weird to consider sugar the way you'd consider crack, I think it's good sometimes to take that step back and look at behaviors questioningly.

That being said, I HATE the tone of most self-help books. Good job on getting through one without ripping it to pieces. :)

rccalyn said...

I have a confession. I am a sugar addict. No shame here, either. Lol.

Danielle-lee said...

Ack! Are there SA meetings in the area? Do I have to say this?:

Hi. My name is Danielle and I have a sugar problem. My drugs of choice is chocolate cake, ice cream, gooey pastries, and if all else fails, jelly belly's.

Oh jeez.

Beth A. said...

Hmm, that looks interesting. My cravings actually tend more to the salty/greasy, but I have metabolism/insulin regulation issues that mean I should really try to radically reduce the sugar in my diet. Instead of actually doing this, I've spent the past four months or so writing tedious posts about the gap between what I think I should do and what I actually want to do (eat glazed donuts without consequences), to the point that I'm boring even myself. Maybe this book will convince me to take a stab at doing something actually productive.

Kristi said...

"3) The gentle, comforting tone of the author. She sounds like she's talking to a frightened wild animal, and she knows how to release your leg from the trap."

Like you, I read this a few years ago and hopped on the bandwagon - then immediately got pregnant and wanted to eat nothing but Chickin in a Biscuit crackers and HUGE MOUNTAINS of sugar! Your above comment is so true of the book genre in general - great observation!

Maybe I'll have to pick this up again and give it another whirl....

d e v a n said...

I haven't read that, but I know that sugar is definitely addictive, as least for me.

fairydogmother said...

I don't think I could handle reading that book just yet because she would probably be pretty on-target for me, at least to a certain extent. I gave up espresso drinks a few years ago, and I live in SEATTLE of all places. There is literally temptation on every corner. Then we had to "spring forward" early this year, and I couldn't resist. I stopped at my favorite drive-thru coffee stand and got a raspberry mocha that very morning. And damn, it was good.

It was also a gateway drug of sorts. Now I've been drinking soda and eating sugary junk. But I'm not ready to stop yet, even though a lot of it doesn't even taste good.

And hey, I haven't had coffee in weeks.

Mairzy said...

Humans can turn anything into an addiction. Why should sugar be any different? I did like your deceased-grandmother analogy, though.

launchingsloth said...

Like every third person I've met since moving to CA is doing some kind of "sugar detox." I find it annoying. Unlike your post, which I find funny & witty!

Also, Desperate Housewife: my mother has mentioned to me she thought she did us kids a disservice using candy as rewards or for special occasions. It was definitely Not Allowed in the house usually, and I think of it the same way. SPECIAL and therefore TREASURE! I wonder how to raise kids so that it's not a Secret Special thing? It seems hard to me.

caley said...

I am so with you on this, Swistle. Sugar is the bain of my existence. I can't walk through my kitchen without sneaking a fun size or a jelly bean or a Kiss and its getting out of control!

Anonymous said...

Dear Swistle, I'm sorry I posted what you thought was an inappropriate comment (about Overeaters Anon.) It wasn't directed at you, but there was so much talk of sugar addiction in the comments, even though a lot of it was in a joking manner. (So, please delete this one too, obv.)

Swistle said...

Oh, sorry, Anon! It wasn't that I thought it was inappropriate---I mistook it for a spamment.