She walked over to the kitchen. Again. For the 8th time in the last hour, she reached for a treat. Another cookie. Then another, then another. It tasted so good! That sugary splendid deliciousness hitting her soft, wet lips. She could feel her mouth salivating in eagerness. Anticipating the next bite, that slightly crunchy, chocolaty, ooey-gooey, taste that was coming. As her teeth bit into the cookie, she felt her shoulders go down a little as her entire body relaxed and loosened up.
In no time, she felt what she was looking for. There it was. That feeling of pure bliss, of sweet escape. Her mind and body buzzed from the sugar, and she felt alive! So alive! This was the best part of her day, and she felt it from her head to her toes. Was this love? Is this what heaven feels like? Ahhhh. As she took another bite, she made a deep breath, gave out a long sigh, and started to close her eyes, taking in every morsel of the cookie.
10 minutes later, the reality of what she had done sunk in. She had ruined her diet again. AGAIN. She said the last time that it was going to be the last time. And then she messed it up again. OMG. She couldn’t believe what she had done. As Alice realized what had happened, she was enraged. She said, out loud, to no one in particular, “I promised myself I wouldn’t do this anymore. What is my problem? Why can’t I just be a normal person who eats one cookie and moves on? Why do I have to be the person that keeps going back, again and again and again and again, and keeps eating? Why? I am so mad at myself. I am such a fat loser. Disgusting. Lonely. Alone. What a waste of a life.”
As she walked away from the kitchen, she went into her bedroom, laid down on her bed, curled up in a ball, and started to cry her eyes out. After 10 minutes of this, she got up. She walked into the bathroom, looked into the mirror, and spit at her reflection. Fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. She started to punch her stomach in disgust. Angry at her body. Angry at herself. So much anger. She hated herself. She hated her inability to be disciplined in this one area of her life.
She was so great at everything else! She had a good career, a stable group of friends, great hobbies that she loved. But this one thing. This one thing in her life. This big, enormous, one thing that she couldn’t seem able to control. She just couldn’t. As she kept looking in her reflection, staring at her fat belly in total disgust, looking at those 30 lbs that she had not been able to shed.
Her she was, painfully aware that she had to lose weight to get healthy. This was a matter of life and death. She knew, intellectually, that she needed to get rid of the weight to help herself. Her blood pressure was high, her risk of heart attack going up with each pound. She needed to, no she HAD to change her ways. There was a history of heart disease in her family and she had committed to stopping it with her. She knew this, yet she couldn’t control herself. When the cravings took over, it was like this other side of herself took over. Something else, stronger than her, was acting on the urges, the cravings. She just had to give in. She had no control over it!
Food. So many women and men in this country have unhealthy relationships with it. Eating addictions, unlike other addictions, aren’t ones that you can just stop. It’s not like giving up drinking or smoking where you can easily stop buying or bringing it into the house. Since we need food to live, this is one of those relationships that we have to figure out. Worldwide, we are consuming about 500 extra calories a day from unhealthy food, mostly consumed in some form of sugar. The same amount you would need to consume if you wanted to gain a pound a week. A pound a week! While people know that eating in excess or consuming too much sugar is not good for them, for some reason, they can’t stop. It might be that we are in the mindset of “what we don’t know can’t hurt us” but I say ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is pain. And you want to avoid pain, don’t you?
If you really knew what it was doing to your body, though, you might just be able to avoid it after all. Here are 5 things that may surprise you about sugar.
1. Want heart disease? Eat sugar.
A 2013 study showed evidence that sugar messes up the pumping mechanism of your heart There was a molecule discovered from sugar & starch called glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P). This molecule created changes in the muscle protein of the heart. Once this happens, you increase the risk of heart failure. One half of people diagnosed with heart failure die within five years. ONLY 5 YEARS.
2. Sugar. The silent killer.
Leptin is the hormone that lets us know when we’ve had enough food. When we eat too much sugar, we increase our leptin resistance. So, as the sugar intake goes up, the signal our brain sends to us to stop eating goes down. Before long, we have no signal whatsoever that the body has enough food to function. Why the silent killer? Because it all happens without symptoms or warning signs. If you’ve gained weight and don’t know why, look at how much fructose you’re feeding your body.
3. Sugar “addiction” is real.
For those of us who have ever made the comment “I can’t help it, I am completely addicted to sugar,” you may be right. A recent study showed that those who had genetic changes in a hormone called ghrelin consumed more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no gene variation. Researchers think the ghrelin may have a lot to do with whether or not you have a neurological reward system associated with your sugar cravings. There may actually be a genetic component to it. Thanks Mom & Dad!
4. Alcohol isn’t the only thing that damages our livers.
Alcohol and sugar should have the same warning labels. There has been evidence showing that fructose and glucose (sugar) can have as much of a toxic effect on the liver as the metabolism of ethanol (alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages). Sugar increased the risk for several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol was responsible for.
5. Sugar makes you old.
Research has revealed a positive relationship between sugar and aging. Glucose consumption causes aging of the cells which can result in health consequences ranging from wrinkles to chronic disease. There is also evidence that sugar affects the aging of your brain. Excess sugar consumption has been linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health.
So now that you know the impact sugar can have on your body, you can take action. If you are suffering from obesity or another serious eating disorder, it isn’t too late to make a change.
As for Alice, she took action. She found a sponsor through a free online resource. Her sponsor has helped her deal with stress in more healthy ways. Three years later she puts down the cookies and picks up the crafting. You can too.