I was unwrapping my 12th piece of assorted flavor salt water taffy, when I wondered why in the heck I was eating it in the first place. As I popped it into my mouth, savoring the sweet fake banana flavoring, I wondered if I was going to be able to stop myself from having another piece. I did my best to chew slowly to truly enjoy the texture, the chewiness, that I had been craving, but too soon, the taffy was too soft to keep chewing, so I swallowed it, and started unwrapping the next piece. After another 3 pieces, I was finally able to stop the frenzy. I knew that later on I would feel sick to my stomach, but at that moment I was content – and not craving the concentrated sugar that caused me to binge in the first place. So what was it that triggered me to abandon my decision to eat healthier? What made it so that I was unable to resist the temptation of sugary sweets? I am still trying to figure out how to avoid situations like this. One sure way to keep myself from circumstances like this is to not buy the damn stuff to begin with!
I am a sugar addict. People may laugh, thinking I am saying it as a joke to excuse my love of cookies (my favorite food group). But I know it is absolutely true that I am addicted to sugar – and just like an alcoholic who has just one drink and falls off the wagon – a single piece of taffy will make it almost impossible for me to resist eating more (and more and more) morsels of sweet, chewy heaven. So why did I buy it in the first place?
I didn’t start with taffy. I started with birthday cake – mine to be exact. It was an acceptable excuse to eat the very thing that I knew I shouldn’t if I wanted to stick to my diet. Other people expected me to have a birthday cake – and so I didn’t want to disappoint them. I bought a cake divided into four flavors – chocolate fudge, red velvet, German chocolate, and carrot cake. I also bought a “small” white cake, it being my favorite. My family and I enjoyed our pieces of cake on my birthday, but of course there were leftovers. I had cake every day for awhile – and at the end when there were about two pieces of white cake left, I decided that I should eat them both at the same time because then there wouldn’t be anymore cake to tempt me. I have used this “reasoning” before – eat it all so there is nothing left as temptation. Makes sense to me!
The birthday cake gave me a nudge to keep eating other sweets – a couple of cookies surely wouldn’t make a difference. The chocolate candy I ate at work didn’t count. An ice cream sundae for lunch this one time was okay. Buying a bag of taffy would be alright because I would only eat the recommended serving and keep the bag in the cupboard where I didn’t see it every time I went to the kitchen. It was a good idea anyway. I didn’t anticipate at the time that I would not be able to resist and would go back to the cupboard for more. I eventually brought the bag to put in the desk drawer by my computer where I spend a lot of my time.
I was out of taffy, so yesterday I bought a bag of tootsie rolls – and ate that in one day. Ugh. Fortunately I have not gained more than a pound because I am someone that will adjust my eating based on my sweet treat obsession. If I eat a bag of tootsie rolls, then I don’t eat much dinner to compensate. Even though the weight gained is minimal, I don’t feel very well. My stomach is bloated and I feel rundown. I am unhappy with myself for getting sucked into the sugar cycle again. So I am making the decision to not buy anymore sweets right now. If I don’t have it, I can’t eat it. It is going to be tough, and I know I will be frantically searching my kitchen for anything that will appease the cravings.
Unfortunately, I know that I will “go off the wagon” again in the future. It is hard when there are celebrations that involve sugary foods (my grandson’s birthday is the end of this month). I am hopeful that I will be able to have the obligatory cupcake without spiraling out of control. It will be easier because the leftover cupcakes will not be at my house, staring at me, calling to me as I binge-watch Law and Order. The key for me I think is to avoid buying it in the first place. I am going to do my best to remember what it feels like to lose control – and the tummy aches that come with it. Is buying this package of Reese’s peanut butter cups worth it? Hopefully the answer is no. Every time I say “no” makes it easier to say “no” the next time. Will I ever be “cured” of this addiction? Not hardly. But recognizing that I have it and what the triggers are, will help me to make better decisions in the future. Until Halloween at least.