18 Feb

This is a post I really didn’t want to write, but if I’m going to be as open, committed and honest in my 40 day no sugar challenge as I was in my journey to getting sober, I need to write it.

Sugar binges have become a normal part of my sobriety. I have no idea how I have let this happen. When I was younger and before I started drinking, I was Ms Moderation. I’d nibble a tiny square of dark chocolate slowly and declare “mmm, that’s enough for me” in what I can only imagine was an infuriatingly Paltrow-esque display of discipline over what entered into my mouth. But it was true. I was satisfied.

Me starting drinking coincided with my stopping eating (not a great combo, unsurprisingly) and the thinner I got, the more out of control I became. I would drink and then have grubby food binges, throwing up whatever I could manage. When I was seeing my doctor, I told them this and they thought I was a classic bulimic. Not true. I was an alcoholic who was going out of her mind depriving herself food.

Since I’ve got sober, my relationship with food has entirely normalised during the daylight hours. I eat healthily, I eat what I enjoy and I feel good about my body. But at night. Oh dear. The sugar monster is unleashed.

I’ve got into this terrible habit of having sugar binges when I’m in transit. I travel a lot with work and when I’m on the long journeys home I secretly buy sugary foods to eat, savouring the idea that soon I’ll be alone with my comfort blanket of sugar. There goes the addict klaxon…

I can’t moderate. It’s become impossible. Where once I needed a little, now I need a lot.

It sounds depressingly familiar, doesn’t it?

I need to work out what will happen if I take this crutch away. How I’ll cope. What I’ll discover and what I’m suppressing. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been here before. In August I tried a 21 day no chocolate challenge that lasted about 9 days and then I caved. Like with alcohol, I need to be absolute about this. No sugar, no giving in, no letting myself off the hook.

If this sounds unnecessarily harsh in the climate of self care we rightly exist in in the sober community, I apologise. But here’s the thing: what started as self care, allowing myself a sweet treat,
has turned into self abuse. I need to make changes or it will continue to make me unhappy.

And here’s the other thing: this is not a weight loss programme. I’m doing it purely for my emotional health. I’m happy with my weight as it is and I’m not trying to desperately drop pounds, so this feels, for the first time in my life, an eating plan that is coming from the right place.

Bingeing is a dirty, uncomfortable word and yet it has trapped me. The past few days, ahead of knowing I was doing this challenge I have eaten way more sugar than I would normally, just as I once drank more consumed by the fearful knowledge that one day I would have to give it up… The parallels are many and that’s why I really want to try and address this problem.

Today is about nourishment- I’m going to try to feed my body nice, happy foods to ease it into the sugar-free desert ahead…

Happy Wednesday!


22 Responses to “Bingeing”

  1. lucy2610 February 18, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    *holds out hand* me too FFF. I could have written this post. I also think I had earlier addiction incarnations – love/sex, food, spending and now this one has got way out of hand too and I know I am using sugar as an emotional fix that works short term but not longer term. Day 1 – here we go 🙂 xx

    • FitFatFood February 18, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      I’m not even allowing myself to look
      At the possible other ones yet… Thanks Lou!

  2. primrose February 18, 2015 at 8:54 am #

    you’re quite right in saying that this is more about your (our?!) heads than about our bodies. and being kind to ourselves while making dramatic changes is tricky…

    have you ever come across the Potatoes not Prozac book? the basic principles are outlined here:

    it works around upping protein and complex carbs and easing yourself out of that sugar binge cycle. which I completely recognise as I did it for years in my twenties 😦

    I haven’t followed it strictly but have done it broad brush in the past. and did sachets of instant porridge rather than potato at night as seemed too cumbersome (esp if you were travelling!) having protein at breakfast was definitely a big help in averting the craving cycle.

    sending you happy thoughts to accompany the happy foods you will be eating in the next few weeks. and some huge hugs on the side 😉 xxx

  3. moretomethanthis February 18, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    I recognised a lot of the behaviour you describe in this post. Lately I have taken to buying big slabs of crappy chocolate instead of the smaller, more expensive, lovely quality chocolate that I used to buy. It’s about volume, satisfying craving. It’s not about treating myself any more. It’s funny how easy I find it to say “no” to my youngest little girl, who has a very sweet tooth. I can put up with the shouting and tantrums and accusations of being a “mean mummy”. Maybe it’s because I am a mean mummy 😉 Or maybe it’s because I love her very much and I say “no” because I have her best interests at heart, because saying “no” is the kindest, most caring thing I can do. So I agree with you – sometimes self care means saying “no” to ourselves too, however much kicking and screaming is going on 😉
    Best of luck on day 1!! xx

  4. een February 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    I”m in and would like to give the ’40 no sugar’ a go. I initially hesitated because i’m only on day 46 of belle’s 100 day no alcohol challenge. I”ll see how it goes..

    • ainsobriety February 18, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

      Don’t do it. Belle is right. Focus on one thing.

      • FitFatFood February 19, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

        I agree- sobriety first. Anything else on top is too much and believe me, I learnt the hard way x

      • ainsobriety February 19, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

        I’m still learning that more is not better. I tell it to my yoga class every Tuesday. Eventually it will sink in for me too!

  5. getupflyaway February 18, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Thanks for posting about this. It is exactly what I am dealing with right now. I will eat healthy for ten days then binge on sweets. Then I say I will not do that again. and hold on for another week to repeat it again. I have been sober 14 months and am ready to give this up too.

    • FitFatFood February 19, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

      We’re close in sobriety! We can do this! I’m hoping to feel the benefits quickly like I did giving up alcohol x

  6. ainsobriety February 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Clearly we have similar thinking.
    I was the fittest drunk in the room. Hours of exercise, a rigid low carb diet.
    My food has normalized too. I don’t feel I binge. Although I do use sugar to self soothe. Without remorse, I think….

    I also don’t ever weigh myself. I can’t let the scale back into my life yet. I feel really good in my body. Regardless of the number.

    Can you come up with s replacement for travelling? Would a cool bento box of cheese, grapes and crackers with a white napkin work? A hobby (knitting)? I think some of the solution is to see why you feel the sugar helps…

    Sigh. So much self analysis required.

  7. lifewithoutvodkarocks February 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    I also found a huge sugar monster unleashed after I quit drinking. I’ve also learned that the less I eat of simple carbs and sugars, the less I crave them. Focusing on high protein and complex carbs may really help in the long run… Hugs! I know how hard this is!

  8. byebyebeer February 18, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    It amazes me how many of us trade alcohol for sugar. It is the lesser of two evils, and sugar helped cushion my moods (or did it?) and made me feel pampered somehow in the earlier days of sobriety. Ultimately it turned into the same kind of obsession I had with drinking. I did a couple of sugar quits and found them helpful in that I learned what works for me. I backslide during stressful times, but know how to get back on track. Regular exercise helps the most (endorphins, probably) and tracking what I eat keeps me accountable. Tackling sobriety empowers so many of us to keep on improving. I love reading posts like yours!

    • FitFatFood February 19, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

      Thank you. I feel weak and want that pampering… A bath it is then!

  9. clairerich2015 February 18, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    Having managed to break the cycle of bingeing and craving sweet stuff a few months back (and the booze – day 55 and going strong!) I can definitely vouch for the fact the more of it you eat, the more of it you crave. I factored in a cheat day last Saturday and I GORGED (and discovered it IS possible to have a sugar hangover, btw). Felt like total poop for a couple days after but started craving it too! Bah. Iike alcohol, it is SO worth quitting. What worked for me was eating 5/6 small meals a day with protein in each one, as, being a bit of a fan of eating, I knew my next meal wasn’t far away so I could ‘last’ without turning to a Double Decker. Or Creme Egg. Or…. well, you get the picture. LOVE your blog, spent all last weekend catching up on your archives. You’re doing great! 🙂 xxx

    • FitFatFood February 19, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

      Thank you Claire, all great and encouraging to hear 🙂

  10. carrythemessage February 19, 2015 at 1:28 am #

    We’ve all been there. So many of the bloggers (including myself, on several occassions) have taken shots at this in our lives and written about it. I was talking to some guys recently, and they too have the same issues. night is a big thing too. I can be fine during the day, but I can let loose at night too (cereal is my big one). Like Kristen (Bye Bye Beer), I have done several “cleanses” and holdouts and saw that I used sugar like booze. I still can. These days I am semi-moderate…lol. I have my days. I run a lot, so sugar is more physical than emotional craving, as my body does need it (along with other things). But I know the diff between a healhty sugar crave and an unhealthy one. It’s really a thing to keep an eye on but not obsess over as well (it’s easy to obsess about how much sugar we are NOT eating as we are about sugar we ARE eating)

    Great post

    • FitFatFood February 19, 2015 at 10:35 am #

      I need to find those posts of yours Paul.

      You’re right, this does appear to have stuck a chord with many and as ever, it’s good not to feel alone…

      I’ll try and post regularly how I’m getting on x

  11. Adrian February 19, 2015 at 2:12 am #

    I want to second the suggestion of Potatoes Not Prozac ( The author makes a strong case for a link, caused by brain chemistry, for some people — a lot of people. She has a well-thought-out system for getting back to a calm life without alcohol or sugar wreaking their havoc. At the very least I think you’d find it interesting!


    • FitFatFood February 19, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      Thanks Adrian, i’ll check it out! I believe there is a brain chemistry element for me, definitely.


  1. What’s your vice? | My Road To Abstinence - February 20, 2015

    […] But as a fellow blogger put it: I can’t moderate. It’s become impossible. Where once I needed a little, now I need a lot. […]

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