Monday, July 11, 2011

Food Games: Sugar is very, very Bad for Me

Friday afternoon, as I was going over our weekend schedule, I realized I was teaching Adult Sunday School this Sunday.  Summer Sunday school for adults is one big class of about 35 people, and a different church member teaches every week.  Last year I spent about 45 hours (over the course of a week) on a lesson on Nebuchadnezzar.  It was a lot of work, but it was worth it and I enjoyed the research, putting together the visual presentation, and the subject matter.  I did well on it and received a lot of compliments.

This year, thankfully, I was given a Bible study guide that had all the material in one place for me to put together a lesson.  My subject was Josiah, an Old Testament king who isn't well known but was one of the most important and faithful kings Israel ever had.  I spent about 8 hours Saturday--4 in the morning (kids were at my mom's so it was uninterrupted), and 4 at night--getting it ready.  It was a lot less intensive than last year, but still took up a great deal of time and energy that I hadn't realized I was even going to have to expend until late Friday.

Even so, my reading and research on Saturday morning was actually very moving and, I think, placed in my life when I needed it. So I was feeling spiritually filled, which gave me the energy to keep working until 11 pm on Saturday night to finish it up.  (FYI-my food all day Saturday was healthy and on plan.)

Sunday's lesson went very well.  It lasted about 35 minutes, and we had 25 minutes of lively and significant conversation.  I received many compliments on the lesson.

If you know me, you know what's coming...... Sunday afternoon, I blew it.

We went out to lunch after church, and I had a salad with chicken and fruit, dressing on the side.  There was a lot of fruit, and I'd have been fine if I'd only eaten half and taken the rest home.  I hadn't eaten my usual big breakfast Sunday, because I got up late and was a tad nervous, and just wasn't that hungry.  At lunch, then, I was starving, and I ate and ate and ate until that salad was gone.  I ate 3 or 4 French fries off Sophie's plate.

I knew I was in trouble, yet I did nothing to stop it.

We got home, and I made a No Pudge Brownie, a single serving in the microwave.  The first ingredient is pure cane sugar--how they get away with "No Pudge" is beyond me.  A remnant of the "fat will make you fat, but sugar is FINE!" sales pitch, I guess.  I used 1/2 cup mix, 1/4 cup LF yogurt, nuked it, and ate it up. 

At half way finished, I was stuffed and thought about stopping, but played the food game and told myself "it's just a carb UP day, like the old 'Crack the Fat Loss Code' days. This will tell your body you're not on a diet, and you'll lose MORE weight.  Yeah, that's what will happen.  You'll have this one brownie, and that's all, and it will be fine."

I spent the next 3 hours in the recliner, in a food coma.   I woke up feeling grouchy and bloated.  When I woke up the kids were in the family room watching TV.  They wanted ice cream; I was craving sugar, so as I dished up theirs, I ate a serving for myself right off the ice cream scoop.  Like a robot.  Didn't even think it through, just ate it.

And it wasn't enough.

I knew, then, that when more is never going to be enough, it was time to get a hold of myself.  I had to make myself stop.  I went in the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and gave myself a good talking to.  I looked at my backside, and reminded myself that (a) the back fat rolls are nearly gone--and that didn't happen because I ate sugar nonstop, and (b) the saddle bags are never going to go away unless I stop this NOW. 

I had been planning to organize my closet Saturday before the Sunday school lesson popped up, so I decided that would be a good way to redirect my energy.  I have a small closet--the traditional bi-fold doors type that are found in most homes built in the early 1980s.  I had cleaned out the clothes that didn't fit a month or two ago; now it was time to clean up the floor of mounds of purses and bags and books and shoes, and the two shelves of shoes and clothes and purses.  I filled three big trash bags with stuff for Goodwill, and filled a regular trashbag with stuff to throw away. 

It took me about an hour and a half to two hours, I guess, to get it all done and to take all the discarded stuff  away where it belonged.  I dropped off at Goodwill this morning. 

I could still feel the sugar in my body all night.  I was cranky with the kids.  I still wanted sugar, but ate a bowl of LF yogurt and fruit around 9 pm, to try to get some semblance of "healthy normal" going again.  I fell asleep okay but was wakened at 2 am by my husband who couldn't sleep and had the TV on, which woke me up (after his CFP exam is over next week, we are setting new ground rules about his night-time TV watching) and I couldn't get back to sleep. 

I'd wanted to run this morning, but couldn't wake up.  Instead, I woke around 6:45 am and was grouchy as hell.  And not hungry.  We were out of milk, so I drove to Walgreens and got a gallon.  I got home and was still not hungry, but was still angry.

It was the sugar from Sunday afternoon. I could feel the white poison making me crazy. I calmed myself down by busying myself with making my usual morning latte, and by then Luke was up.  I chilled out on the couch, but didn't get ready for work.  I just couldn't make myself do it.  I took the kids to daycare/daycamp around 8:30, then came back home and finally made an on-plan breakfast at 9:30.  I got ready for work, and got lunch together, and headed to the office.

I am not feeling as sugar crazed now, after a solid (although late) breakfast and a healthy snack. I was not hungry for a full lunch since I ate breakfast so late, so I had my cottage cheese/fruit/walnut snack instead.  It should hold me until an early dinner. 

Yesterday afternoon, I truly had no idea that my "this is just a carb up day" food game was actually a bad case of The Afters.  This morning, as I was getting ready and trying to figure out what the hell happened, it finally dawned on me what had been going on.

The unexpected work. The hours I had planned on doing anything but planning a Sunday school lesson. The time away from the kids. The lack of exercise. The energy of being in front of a group of people for an hour. The attention and compliments on my presentation abilities. The realization that my size 16 straight black skirt was quite loose and my size L black & white top didn't have back fat rolls showing through, but I still didn't feel "good enough" because nobody complimented me on how I looked (I know, I know; it's why I'm in therapy). 

It all added up to more than I am still capable of dealing with, without food.

At least it only took me a day to realize what was going on. 

And it only took me about 6 hours to realize that I've been feeling better and more even and had more energy the past two weeks not because of the medication I've been taking or because of a smattering of exercise.  It's because I HAVE NOT BEEN EATING REFINED SUGAR.  Period.  End of story.

For me, sugar is the devil, and it turns me into a screaming, irritable harpy.  For me, if I want to live my life well, I must eat clean, balanced food.  For me, if I want to be awake for my life, I cannot play food games and pretend like "just this once" is okay.

I hope I don't have to keep learning this lesson over and over. I don't want to have another Sunday afternoon like yesterday's "lost hours" again.  I felt yucky and miserable, and I will never get that day back again.  That's a lesson I don't want to keep repeating.  My days are already speeding past me too quickly.  I don't want to lose them anymore to sugar.


Laura N said...

You might be thinking, how did you NOT know you were teaching Sunday School? Don't you look at your calendar more than a weekend at a time?

Well, yes and no. I have had the SS material since May, and set the date to teach back in April. I had it in my head that I wasn't teaching until August. I have no idea what I was thinking, setting that date to teach two weeks before Mark's CFP exam. I think that's why it snuck up on me--because NOW I would never do that to myself. Back in April, I obviously wasn't thinking what our lives would be like right now.

Which is nuts.

So, it was not great planning on my part, and it was "bury my head in the sand" timing. I was just thankful that I discovered it on Friday instead of Sunday morning.

Laura N said...

It's important to also realize that this cycle started when I got to bed late on Saturday night, and I didn't eat a complete breakfast Sunday morning. I ate a bit more than half a two-egg with Ezekial bread sandwich, with a 1 c. LF milk/1 shot latte. Which was not enough to hold me, and I binged at lunch.

Yes, it was a case of The Afters, but if I'd had the sleep I needed and the healthy breakfast, I may have had a better chance at not slipping down the slope.

Vickie said...

So, you have gained a lot of knowledge already:

bedtime is super important

have to stay away from processed

have to keep 'food groups' as balanced as possible (thinking of your yogurt/fruit and the fact that adjusting it made a difference).

regular exercise is really important for your mental and chemical and parenting health

can you think of more to add to my list? this is sort of a list of habits (the good kind). I think you might actually want to construct one as a growing list to check in with yourself once a week and make sure you are on EVEN keel and nothing slipped through the cracks. Not so much as a rigid list, but as helpful reminders for planning.

you are sensitive to the AFTERS (like most of us, only you now have a huge advantage because you are able to see them quickly/clearly).

The TV/husband thing is one of those family things, in my opinion, where you should have nipped it in the bud the very first time it happened. We all have those things. And you are right, you just work on them one at a time.

ps -
The title reminds me so much of Lori (afg and amazon, long ago). She is still blogging, but went private a long time ago.

Jill said...

I love that you talk about The Afters. I think a lot of us have learned how to look at things before they happen, but we don't expect to crash after good things happen. Good post, Laura. It's great that you can look at the entire weekend and see where things went wrong.

Cindy...154 said...

This post is exactly what I needed to read. My therapy last week was all about being mindful. I tend to bury my head in the sand sometimes, ponder the past, etc, and go on auto pilot, what my therapist refers to as automatic mind. On auto, I can easily get into some eating situations. Also, that "carb up day" rationalization is all too familiar to me! I am so glad you put this all in words. I appreciate your honesty.

Helen said...

Think of it this way: you are lucky if you can eat fruit (unrefined sugar)! I can't. I have a serious problem with sugars of any kind. Luckily I don't like them much, but can see myself doing myself in with chips the way you did with your sugars on Sunday. And it doesn't feel good. I try to remember that when I start slipping down the slope.