Tag Archives: sugar and inflammation

Confessions of a sugar addict

(That was my kitchen table the day before Easter with Andy’s family. Four different desserts, and I ended up with marshmallow on the ceiling.)

A while back I shared my tale of a sweet tooth. Today, I wanted to share a little bit more about my relationship with sugar.

First, it makes me very happy. Almost euphorically happy. I LOVE sugar!

Then it makes me unhappy. My blood sugar drops and I get angry. I HATE sugar (and just about everyone around me at the time).

If I’m strong enough to push through the sugar low without indulging in any more sweets, within a few hours (or up to a day or two later) my eczema will flare up. Phew, I’m feeling drained. And why do my hands itch so much? If I’m really on a bender, I may even develop a cold sore (mine are triggered by stress and sugar).

If I’m not strong enough to push through the sugar low and I go in for more, I start the cycle over again, my eczema gets even worse, and it takes even longer for the inflammation to go down. Nothing makes me feel more like a child than the inability to not scratch my hands when they break out.

Physical manifestations of sugar aside (the eczema is pretty awful), it’s the mental and emotional extremes that really take their toll. Not just on me, but on Andy. When my blood sugar drops, I get quiet. Like really really quiet. The “it’s always the quiet ones” quiet. You’ve probably heard the word “hangry”, well I embody that term.

When my blood sugar drops I say things that I wouldn’t normally say with very little care how the other person (usually Andy) might take them. This leads to a lot of hurt feelings, the occasional fight, and when my blood sugar finally returns to normal (this could take hours or even up to a day or two) a heaping pile of guilt for my words and actions. I’ve become very good at saying “I’m sorry.”

I’d like to say that at this point in our health journey I’ve learned my lesson. I’d like to say that broccoli and I are BFFs. But that’s not true. I still indulge on a somewhat regular basis. Definitely not as often as before Andy’s Type 2 Diagnosis, but definitely more than I should.

I don’t share my story out of guilt or shame, but more as a reminder to myself (and anyone else) that this health journey we’re on is just that–a journey. Some days are going to be a stroll. Others will be an easy jog. Still others will leave me gasping for air at the end of the day. Andy and I have both learned that forgiveness of self is one of the hardest things to do, and that every now and then an indulgent break is okay.

A tale of a sweet tooth

This week I (Liv) wanted to take a little time to share my own personal relationship/struggle with food. You’ve read a lot about Andy and how our lives have changed post Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, but Andy wasn’t the only one with food issues prior to Spring 2011. Here’s a little bit of my story:

For as long as I can remember I have loved sweet things. From candy to donuts, muffins to ice cream, if you put something sweet in front of me I will eat it. I’ve never smoked. I’ve never done drugs. Sugar is my addiction.

When Andy and I first started dating, I would get home late at night and dig into the freezer for the German chocolate cake ice cream my mom had stashed away. There’s something very special about eating ice cream with a fork (those cake pieces were pretty big) at 2:30 on a Saturday morning.

There was rarely a time when I needed an excuse to indulge in a treat. Usually “I want it” would suffice. Andy would chuckle and call me his little junky.

After Andy was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I started to take a hard look at my own health journey and realized that I may have a slight problem. Little junky indeed. My reliance on all things sweet was beginning to be a crutch. Any day of the week warranted a side trip to the store for some candy. Whether I’d had a good day (Hooray, candy!), or a bad day (Blerg. I need candy.), I was becoming overly familiar with my store’s candy aisle.

Sometimes the candy would be completely gone before I got home. It was only a 5 minute drive, and I’d have no idea where it had gone. Not good.

After a fairly indulgent family vacation week in 2012, I decided to curtail my sugar habit. I didn’t want to rely on any food (much less candy) to provide me with life happiness. So I stopped. Cold turkey. And frankly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. Sure, I still had mild cravings, but the first few weeks were a breeze.

After that, the cravings came back full force. If possible, they might have been even louder. For those who say the cravings go away, well, they lie. For me anyways. My struggle with sugar is still daily battle (you’ll see what I mean later this week). Almonds don’t replace See’s Polar Bear Paws. Cashews and avocados don’t replace Brach’s Bridge Mix.

I did notice, however, that my blood sugar issues drastically diminished. Low blood sugar used to plague me at least once a week. In the first six weeks of “no sugar”, I think I had 2 episodes, and they were much less severe.

Over the last 3 years, my relationship with sugar has had its ups and downs. I haven’t kicked the habit fully but I do have a better understanding of how my  body responds to sugar, and what it means for me when I do indulge.