© 2014 jen

New Insights – Part 3 of My Detox Series

This post is part of a series of posts. Here’s part 1, part 2 and part 2.5.

My insights have insights as I move further and further through this sugar detox.

Some of my new understandings are about foods in general, others are about my behavior with food. Then there are all of the emotions I’m feeling, and finally there’s my relationship with sugar, which feels like its own separate mammoth thing.IMG_8351I bought this pin for myself to remind myself of what I’ve been working on for the last couple of years.

Here are my top 5 insights

1. Being insecure requires way too much time and energy. We only have so much energy for anything in this time we spend on the planet. If we expend it on insecurity there’s less of it for everything else. Seriously, being insecure is a full time job. It’s hard to get anything done when you’re being bombarded with negative self thoughts. I simply don’t have the patience for it.

2. Old behavior that worked well at one time sometimes becomes outmoded and outdated. When this happens it’s time to change the behavior. Before I was diagnosed with celiac diease, with all of my digestive problems and the extreme malnutrition I experienced from my body’s inability to break foods down, back when I was still eating gluten,  I developed some pretty unhealthy eating habits to compensate for feeling hungry all the time. I can pretty much open up my throat and pour anything down it in seconds. I can drink a full glass of water in seconds. I can eat food so fast that it was barely visible on my plate. I can inhale food and drinks, and when I do this I eat too much, I drink too much. It’s an outmoded strategy for coping with a body that wasn’t working well. This behavior isn’t helping me now any more than it was then. It’s time to change my behavior and focus on slower consumption.

3. When you don’t eat sugar you don’t overeat. I mean sugar in all forms, including starches. Even though I’m a big eater, now that I’ve been without sugar for 15 days, I find that even if I eat fast I just stop eating after a few minutes. It’s not even that I feel full, it’s that I don’t feel compelled to eat more. I eat until I get tired of eating and it’s never all that much food. When I have sugar in my belly even from another meal it’s like the sugar says, “Kill that food. Devour it! Eat every bit of it. Don’t stop. Eat more!”

When I was getting sick pre-diagnosis I started hating food. I hated how bad food made me feel. I hated eating all the time and never feeling satisfied. I hated it all. Then after I was diagnosed I had to heal my body. For a long time nothing digested well. I hated food even more. I used to wish for a little protein pill that I could just take, feel satisfied by, and then not have to eat anymore. I wanted freedom from the clutches of what felt to me like an unhealthy relationship. I would say that eating sugar free is the closest thing I’ve found to breaking those unhealthy patterns with food. I’m eating enough, not too much, I don’t think about food much, the sugar craving are over at this point, and my digestion is great!

4. You can be a sugar addict and not eat desserts, or candy. I have never had a taste for candy. Even as a kid. It would take me a year to get through my Halloween candy. I almost never order dessert or make desserts. I’ve never viewed myself as a sweets person. I don’t even usually enjoy fruit. It’s too sweet for me most of the time and I don’t crave sweets. Or, at least I didn’t think I did.

Through this detox I’ve been seeing that I like to drink my sugar. I like fancy coffee drinks, mochas and so forth. That is a serious sugar load. A Starbucks mocha has more sugar in it than most candy bars.  Alcohol is another source of sugar that I like to drink. Now, for anyone who doesn’t know this, alcohol in its pure form doesn’t have sugar in it, but it is digested as a starch, essentially. If you’re drinking 3 glasses of wine, that becomes sugar in your body. If you’re drinking that with let’s say, bread and cheese, the combination of so much starch from the bread and booze causes your blood sugar to spike and then the excess sugar turns into fat.

I have some girlfriends and we love to brunch together. We love it so much we named ourselves the Ladybrunchers. In the past I would have ordered eggs, bacon, grits and potatoes and then I would have either had a couple of bloody marys or mimosas. When I would drink bloody marys I’d think of it as a sugar-free drink. More like a salad! Now I know that even the Worcestershire sauce has sugar in it and then there is the alcohol itself that is turning into sugar in the body.  

I want to try to eat less starches when I’m consuming alcohol, or drink less alcohol, or both, because I believe this is a major source of my almost constant weight gain. Going on long walks can also help my body digest the alcohol, other starches and sugar too, but I cannot keep allowing myself to gain and lose weight at this dramatic pace.

I’m doing this sugar detox partly because I was beginning to suspect that sugar might be an issue for me, and partly because I wanted to try to kill extra yeast in my body that feed on sugar, but a huge part of the reason is because I’ve been having major weight gain recently. I gained 20 lbs between summer and Thanksgiving and another 20 between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m like a weight gaining athlete! I can gain weight by looking at food. This is really unhealthy! I’m not pre-diabetic anymore, but I’m on the edge of it and even a few extra pounds could push me back into the realm of having to worry about diabetes again.

5. Being healthy is partly about what you eat, but it’s also about how you eat it. If you eat a breakfast of pancakes with syrup, orange juice, and a sugary mocha – that is a sugar/starch bomb! It will turn up your eating needs and especially your crappy food cravings to 11. Not to be too blunt, but you’re food fucked if you eat like this early in the day. Your body is already turning these high glycemic foods into fat early in the day and makes you want more of the same type of high glycemic foods throughout the day. If you break those foods up over the course of the entire day and you have a lot of veggies and healthy fats in between, your body won’t create as much fat. Better yet, if you skip the sugar altogether in the morning you’ll have less food cravings all day. It will also bring your food consumption down, your blood sugar down and it prevent additional fat storage (weight gain).

 So that’s what I’ve learned in the 15 days that I’ve been sugar free. A few of these are things I’ve percolated about to some degree in the past, but they are glaring and obvious now.

I thought I should update you on my mood because in my last post it was so bad. I’m feeling so much better. Eating some not-sweet treats and having friends tell me that they still love me when I’m insecure and angry helped a lot.

PicMonkey CollageI went away with friends this past weekend. It’s the first time ever that I’ve gone away with girlfriends and not had drinks or other starchy foods and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. My friends are so wonderful, they were drinking less and loved all the foods that I brought with me (grain-free, sugar-free dishes). They really supported me and helped me stay on track. I wasn’t expecting this. I think I could have done it without them, but having their support really made me feel loved and respected.

I got this.

I used to spend so much of my time on just trying to cope. Trying to deal with the icky way I felt, the vertigo, the asthma, the falling, the aching joints and so much more and I still managed to get things done. I still worked, parented and had many areas of my life that I managed to maintain. I believe that with true health I have potential that I have not yet even begun to tap into. I can see a me inside of me ten times stronger than anything I’ve ever expressed and that me in me has to compensate for my health less and less. As this happens, I have more and more of me for living, loving life and expressing myself creatively. I’m still getting stronger and I’m almost strong enough for the me in me to be fully actualized.

I have 6 days to go. I can do this.




  1. Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm | #

    Wow, so glad you are sharing! Not everyone can be so conscious about what they are thinking/feeling. FYI, when I quit drinking (25 yrs ago) I was 5’6″ and weighed 155 lbs and felt like a stuffed sausage. I allowed myself do do/have/eat anything I wanted, as long as I didn’t drink. I lost 30 lbs.and have remained about that weight for the past 25 years. Kinda makes ya go, hmmmm….

    • Posted January 31, 2014 at 3:44 am | #

      Wow! Good for you! Thanks for sharing Kerry!