Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sugar Monster

For most of my life, I have been a salty snack kind of girl: french fries, potato chips, pretzels, pita chips, crackers. Resisting chocolate and desserts was never hard for me and my only real sweet spot was for ice cream, which I would eat happily every day.

Then something weird happened. I started to eat cookies with my tea at work. If there was a bowl of candy, I couldn't pass it by without getting a piece. I went on afternoon runs for a sweet - a donut, a cupcake, fro-yo.  I would even eat a piece of chocolate cake if it appeared in the office, which I never would have done in the past because I don't even LIKE the stuff.

And I realized that my iPhone was full of photos of sweets. Just look!

Dixie Donuts... one of the many dozens that make their
way into my office

Pecan Pie... the first of two

Lemon Birthday Tart

My birthday cake
(I can safely say I ate at least 1/4 of it)

Jason's birthday cake

Donuts from WPA Bakery. 

Bev's Ice Cream

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Those aren't even all of the photos.

And then there was my desk drawer...

Obviously, I have a problem.

A big fat SUGAR problem.

At some point over the last few months, I have become an insane sugar beast. I crave desserts like nobody's business and eat multiple sweets a day without giving it a second thought. Then I got on the scale last week and did not like what I saw... up 4 pounds, and most of them probably pure sugar.

I'm not really sure what happened. I partially blame my boss (who is a man and is also the biggest sweet tooth that I know) and my coworkers (who are all wonderful bakers and like to share the fruits of their labor). The close proximity of Carytown to my place of business is also a problem. It is way too easy to pop over and grab some Dixie Donuts, or a Carytown Cupcake, or a Ukrop's cupcake, or some Sweet Frog or Bev's.

Is my newly renewed regular running partially to blame as well? I don't recall ever having this insane craving for sweets before... but I guess it is possible that my return to clocking 20 miles a week could have something to do with my incessant need to stuff my face full of refined sugar.

Now that I fully recognize just how out of control my dessert obsession has become, I am trying to kick it. From what I understand about sugar, the more you eat, the more you crave it. This perfectly explains how I went from someone who would eat one brownie every once in a while to a girl who purchased an entire case of Savannah Smile Girl Scout cookies.

I figure the only way to kick my dependence on sugar is to drastically reduce my intake... which is why, as of April 1, I am committing to a month of extremely reduced sugar consumption. I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation, so I am not going to completely cut it out of my life. My real goal is to not eat any donuts, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, frozen yogurt, ice cream, milk shakes, or candies.

My drawer full of Cow Tails and the 10 remaining boxes of Savannah Smiles are exceptional challenges to my will power.

I am allowing myself sugared tea, lattes, and greek yogurts with fruit. And, every once in a while, a small piece of candy or a single serving of cookies at the end of the day.

...and one slice of pie when I have my Proper Pie date with a friend mid-month.

Dammit. Now I want pie.

I think this is going to be a lot harder than I thought.


  1. Have you ever read anything by Brenden Brazier? He’s a vegan endurance athlete (former pro Iron Man triathlete) and has written a couple of books. A friend sent me his book Thrive Foods last week. And though I’ve only had time to read the first fifty-odd pages, he discusses briefly the basic science behind a lot of our body’s sugar and salt cravings, why they occur, and how to eliminate those cravings. The book is supposed to go more in depth in those areas in a later chapter, but I’m pretty excited about his approach already. I already eat a predominantly vegetarian diet (and not much of a sweet tooth), and I have no inclination to become a vegan (I just don’t like rules). But there may be some stuff in there that might help explain and even reduce this new found sugar tooth. Good luck with your challenge.

    1. I have not... I generally steer clear of any "nutritional" books because... well... I have no great interest in being super good about nutrition. I like my sugar. I like my meat. I like my caffeine. I like my cabs. BUT now that I'm becoming a more "serious" athlete, I'm going to have to start thinking about these things I guess.

      Maybe I will check it out. I have zero interest in becoming a vegetarian, so do you think it would still be helpful for me?

    2. Er... make that "I like my carbs."

      Yay proof reading.

    3. I have no desire or expectation to become a vegetarian, vegan, or anything else that wouldn’t allow me to eat whatever I want whenever I want. I’m from N.C. I’m never going to cut bbq from my diet. Haha. But because I’m so poor at fueling my runs and especially my recovery, I do read a lot about nutrition and simply take what I can from whatever resources I can find. I still have not had the time to get into that book and he is definitely heavy on his plant based diet, but I’m more interested in just gleaning what I can about the science behind our bodies’ cravings. I’m weird like that. I doubt you would enjoy the book enough to buy it, but he may have articles available somewhere (website, blog, etc) that could still help curb that sweet tooth if it proves more persistent than you’d like. I’m sure you’ll be fine either way. I’ll let you know if I discover any “amazing” revelations later in the book.