The Myth of Moderation

You Need Me.

Let me preface this soapbox supplication by saying that I am not a doctor, nutritionist or health adviser in any way shape or form.  My plea is that we look just for a moment at this monolith of moderation (2001 reference, sorry) that appears before us, judging, pointing.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately, ’cause, I don’t believe in it any more.  For me, “everything in moderation” is just another one of life’s supposed common abilities that I have failed at, miserably.  So, I am deleting it from my cache of clichés.

When my husband and I were first married, he was already struggling with his relatively new sobriety.  He didn’t mind AA meetings, he didn’t mind his current clearheaded life.  What nagged at him was the prospect of living the rest of his life and never being able to drink again.  Like a “normal person”.  Jon lamented the fact that if we ever had a daughter he could never drink champagne at her wedding.  Never mind the other, most beautiful parts, like walking her down the aisle, or dancing with her at the reception.  He was fixated on the toast.  That always puzzled me.  I thought, what’s the big deal? Who cares about champagne?  He did.  He thought it would make him weird, stick out, uncomfortable.

His struggle is booze.  My struggle is cake.  Brownies.  Chocolate.  Cookies.  Sugar.  Period.  I find myself reaching for sweets when I am sad, bored, frustrated, angry, calm, happy, breathing.  I have always had a love hate relationship with sugar.  When I was a kid I would watch wild eyed and desperate as my mom made cookies.  I needed to lick the bowl.  Every taste was like a heroin fix.  I knew it was a problem by the time I was in my teens and tried unsuccessfully for years to limit or eliminate sweets.  That seemed to fuel my obsession even more.  It must have been around that time that I first heard the EIM theory. When I would try to eat sweets in moderation I would always go past what I knew I should.  That tipped off the cycle.  Eat. Pray. Eat.

Fast forward to now.  I have kids.  I am tired.  Pretty rotund.  Miserable.  I have battered my body with sweets so long, that now, after eating anything sweet or carby, I experience a crash that lands me on the couch or in bed for hours.  I have gone around for years, complaining of fatigue, being fat,constipated, feeling awful in general.  I have been to doctors, who ordered thyroid after thyroid test, only to find absolutely nothing wrong with me.  They would chalk it up to depression and write a prescription for Celexa.

I am a reader.  Like, a crazy reader, I read everything.  I have always read anything related to health and diet.  That doesn’t make me an expert.  But, I have noticed something.  People are getting bigger, sicker, and they are consuming sugar like crazy.  It’s in everything.  I hesitate to blame high fructose corn syrup more than all the other sugars, I just think it’s the current star of the sugar show.  So, to me, it looks like sugar is bad.  For me, maybe I am trying to moderate something that should not even be consumed.  So that leaves me one option.  Back to low carb eating, again.

I have done the low carb thing so many times I can’t even count.   Here is how it goes.  I’m on the wagon.  I feel better.  I look better.  I am better.  Better people can handle a piece of candy, right?  Sure.  So I have a piece of chocolate.  Yippee, I only had a piece!  I’m cured!  Oh wait, so and so is having a birthday party?  Hmmm, there will be cake, I’m sure I can handle a piece of cake.  Yay, cake!  Besides, how can I live the rest of my life never having cake at someones birthday party?  Pshaw.  Wow, I am so sure I can handle a mocha frap, oh and I haven’t had a scone in ages.  And I am off to the races.

It’s not as if my mind is the only thing I have to battle against.  It’s people.  I get to hear how unhealthy low carb is.  “We all need everything in moderation.”  Oh really?  Glad that’s working for you, you lucky, lucky (insert swear word).  Or worse you have the friend that says, “Oh shut up, you are GOING to have a piece of chocolate cake with me.” Uh, okay. Let’s be fat together.

When people come at me about cutting out all sugar, I come back at them with the story of my mom.  Like me, my mom went through some terrible health problems that popped up in her 30’s.  She was tired, stressed, and began to fall asleep in the bedding section of department stores.  Turns out she was anemic to the point of coma.  She had to get infusions of iron.  My mom also learned at that time that the Epstein Barr virus had been lurking in her system, flaring up and knocking her flat.  After years of stress, work, kids and her mom dying of cancer, she made a change.  She followed the Atkins diet and turned her health around.  Her blood work was great, her figure was amazing, and the fatigue was finally fading.  I watched, amazed for years, and knew that’s what I needed to do.  To this day, she is still very carb aware and has maintained her weight loss.  She is my hero.  She can run circles around me.  She is also a person who CAN eat in moderation.  Grumble, grumble, grrr.

So here I am.  Eating low carb.  This time it’s going to have to be a life change.  Yeah, people do gain the weight back once they go off of the diet.  To me, that seems to be a flaw with the food they go back to, not a  low carb way of life.  I hit my rock bottom (I hope) this past 4th of July weekend.  I had one week under my belt of not eating sugar when we went to a family party with desserts.  Yummy, pudding, whipped cream and caramel filled desserts.  And home made ice cream.  And cupcakes.  And I did alright.  I had a sample of everything.  A SAMPLE.  By the time I got home, I felt nauseous, tired, sweaty and had to go to bed.  Yuck.  When I got up the next morning I told Jon that I understood know how his relationship with alcohol worked.  It’s so easy to talk ourselves in to having just a little of something that screws up our whole day, and no matter how wonderful it seems at the time, it’s not.  Nothing is worth the feeling I get after eating something sugary.  I want to chase my kids, not be too exhausted for them.  I’m not 20 anymore.  My binges are now taking a real, physical toll on my health.  I have to make the choice daily to say no to sugar.

Believe me, it’s not easy.  I haven’t glamorized my choice and got all super duper jump around excited about it.  Hey, everyone, YOU JUST HAVE TO DO WHAT I’M DOING, IT’S SOOOOO SHINY!  Nope.  I am just quietly saying goodbye to my old luvah.  My eyes are opened.  Where I once saw a tall, dark and  handsome fella, who met my every emotional need, I now see a fat, gross, hairy, pimply, smelly dude that belches and farts.  I’m deleting him, unfriending him, and slipping quietly out the door, leaving my key under the rug.  Bye.


2 responses

  1. Hi,
    I stumbled across your blog via another that I follow. Just wanted to say that my husband is also a recovering alcoholic (8 years under his belt now, woo hoo!), and that I applaud you for talking about it. I don’t do it myself much (though he doesn’t mind), or run across it much, so yeah, thanks for that. 🙂

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