halloween.

I’ve been avoiding writing about halloween for a while. I have the bare beginnings of a draft sitting in my draft pile that’s been there for weeks. I’d been dreading even thinking about the holiday, because it’s so utterly saturated in sugar.

Last year (and the year before, and probably the year before that (etc etc etc), I adored halloween. I looked forward to the mass of “fun size” candy, so many more varieties than there usually were. And candy corn! I could buy a tub of candy corn and eat the whole thing! Seriously, I would stop by Bartell’s every goddamn morning and buy a big bag of candy, and by the time I left work it would be entirely gone. That’s a lot of candy. That’s a scary amount of candy. Appropriate, no?

And so, I was worried about halloween this year. Every time I’d go to the grocery store, there they would be, staring me in the face. Bag after bag of candy. My favorite kinds. Kit Kats. Reeses Sticks. Dove Bites. 100 Grand. Twix. Old friends, lying there on the shelves, whispering “buy me! you know you want to…”

But I didn’t. Every time I walked past, I really wanted to. I wanted to buy two or three bags and take them home and hide them and eat and eat and eat. But I didn’t.

Sean asked me periodically, “what’s your plan for halloween?” I didn’t have an answer. I always replied that I was thinking about it. Really, I wasn’t. I was trying very hard to pretend that halloween didn’t exist. Well, the day before halloween rolled around, and I had to face the facts — we needed candy to hand out to the trick-or-treaters. I knew that we would be getting lots of them; our neighborhood is full of kids. So, I did the only reasonable thing that I could think of. I bought candy that I didn’t like to hand out. The plan was Snickers (I don’t like nuts in my chocolate), but the store didn’t have any, so I got Nutrageous bars instead. And then Jujyfruits, or whatever the hell they’re called. God, I hate those things. I didn’t stoop quite so low as to buy a bag of Necco wafers, however. I still have some pride. And… it worked. The candy was in the house for over 24 hours, and I didn’t have any of it.

However.

Saturday, I went to that women’s health day at Swedish, which I wrote about previously. They fed us lovely box lunches. Mine included a chocolate chip cookie. No problem. It’s just one cookie. And it was good, too.

Fast forward to late afternoon/early evening. I’m hanging out with Sonja. She pulls down the bowl o’ candy (giveaway leftovers from both our house and Sean’s mom’s house) and grabs something. I think to myself, “hey, I should have something, too…” and I eat a little fun pack of M&Ms.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Sean’s little sister Robyn is having a small birthday thing. We all go over to Sean’s mom’s place for cake. I eat chocolate cake. I stand there and stare at the chocolate cake. My mind is racing. Cake. I want cake. How can I get more cake? Maybe I can come over tomorrow and Bette will let me have more cake. She won’t want to eat it all herself. She’ll just offer it to me. Maybe I could go home and make a cake. CAKE. I want to eat it. I want to eat the cake. Please let me eat the cake. There’s got to be some way I can eat lots and lots of cake.

Holy shit. That, my friends, is the voice of a serious addiction.

It’s subsided since then, but it’s still there.

As a result of this weekend, I have a couple of new sugary-food rules.

  1. No desserts without Sean.
  2. One dessert a week, tops.

It’s scary how quickly my mind flipped back into must-eat-sugar mode. It’s like I turned into a sugar zombie, single-minded in my search for sweet sweet brains. It would be so damn easy to slip back into that space. This is going to be a lifelong struggle for me, and not only does that make me feel sad, but I also kind of resent it. Life isn’t fair.

Oh well.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    digijen said,

    Your sugar addiction story reminds me of my soda addiction.

    In 2000, I started a stressful job in a community that didn’t fit my personality (think: city mouse living in the country). What was a can-a-day habit became a 2-liter-a-day habit. After 12 months had passed in my new job/community, I gained 100 lbs. (no exercise, was eating poorly, and drank 3000 calories/day).

    In 2002, I started a less stressful job but the community still wasn’t a good fit. Mostly, I was able to scale back to two cans of soda per day, but there were times when I was at 6 or 8 cans/day. At one point (summer 2006?), I made a “rule” that I would only drink soda when I was eating out. My restaurant budget went through the roof for a month while I found all kinds of reasons for NEEDing to eat out (…like your cake issue). So, I quit the no-soda-unless-in-a-restaurant rule and started buying cans of pop again.

    In mid-January 2007, I quit soda completely (no diet soda, no nothing). I lost 10 pounds the first week. I lost another 10 pounds in the following month. I didn’t change the food I was eating or adding exercise. I just nixed soda. The only way for me to control my soda intake was to abstain from it completely.

    Compared to alcohol and crack, soda is so benign. How could it be an addiction, right? But it is an addiction, and I’ll always have it. Some days, I don’t miss it, but then there are triggers… my god, the triggers. There are days when I’m completely stressed, and my body NEEDS a tall glass of Coke such that I can feel it fizzing over my tongue and cooling my throat. It’s like phantom limb pain, or something. It’s a struggle to tell myself “no”, but it’s less of a struggle than when I was trying to limit intake. Having no soda intake at all is easier by comparison.

    Killing sweets is next on my agenda. There is no “safe” level of “use” for me.

    Jen.

  2. 2

    your sweet jo said,

    I love you sweetie. And I’m SO proud of you. But I’m glad you’re not doing this b/c people are proud of you when you do…. but because you want to be healthy and fit and live a long happy life with your wonderful family.


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