Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sugar... Oh Honey Honey

If I were like the other members of my family, my addiction would come to some illicit or controlled substance. I really consider myself lucky that this is not the case. Instead, I deal with having an unhealthy relationship with food. Which sort of sucks because I can't just give up eating cold turkey.

I'm going to oversimplify this a bit, so forgive me. My body has a number of cells that are insulin resistant. As in, they resist the effect of insulin to process sugar. My pancreas responds by producing more insulin. (which can cause my pancreas to eventually wear out causing Type II Diabetes) I have an excess of insulin in my blood stream, not all cells are resistant, and those non resistant cells in turn tell my body to feed it more sugar to balance out the insulin. The resistant cells are likely fat cells. The non resistant ones, the important stuff like my heart, lungs, muscles. I eat more sugar. I get more fat. It is a vicious cycle. (see a more scientific explanation here) Fun side note, excess insulin also causes production of excess male hormones. Hello hair!

Add to that an unhealthy relationship with food. I eat to celebrate, and I eat to deal with unhappiness. So basically I am giving myself an excuse to overeat all the damn time.

The solution is, give up sugar and kick my behind in to high gear to lose those resistant cells.

Missy asked this question on my post about the hairy issues, and I sort of want to answer it, because it is something I've actually given a lot of thought to. Since this is my blog, I figure why not do it publicly.

I wonder - and these are just thoughts for you to ponder, not to respond publicly -but if you've considered Overeaters Anonymous?

I have actually. While no one in my family has ever managed to maintain sobriety with the assistance of AA, it has helped. The part that unfortunately doesn't work for me is the faith one. Over half of the steps deal with God directly. I wish there were other common alternatives, but alas there are not. There are eating disorder programs however, and I am looking in to those along with therapy.

I also wonder if a program like Weight Watchers might help you set goals and keep that immaculate diet you speak of?

I have tried WW before, to varied success. Unfortunately the points program doesn't specifically deal with the limitations my dietitian suggested for me. You can get away with a LOT of sugar in WW and not have it effect your points. (they do a combo of cal, fat & fiber) If all I am watching is points, it doesn't work. The better thing for me to do is track my food and watch my carb/protein/fat percentages. I have not started doing it yet, that requires some meal planning, which I did this weekend. I start on Monday getting back with the site they recommended. ( I will track my food, good or bad, 6 days a week. I find it is nice to give myself a day off since there are times when I want to just go out to eat and not care if I can find nutritional info online. Especially since I love local ethnic restaurants more than chains. It doesn't mean I make bad choices, it just means I don't track.

I'm damn serious about the sugar thing. Since Wednesday I have had some really good dark (low sugar) chocolate, two bites of some stellar local ice cream (from M's dessert on Friday at Sen Yai Sen Lek) and a sip of A's coke. I have passed up free cookies, a churro from Boca Chica Taco House, and pastries from Sarah Jane's for A's birthday.

It is so much easier to just say no to everything then try to negotiate in my head what I can get away with and what I will have to give up later to make up for it. It is not 100 percent. They put sugar in everything. There is more sugar in "Healthy Request" soup than there is in just plain old "Select" soup. Take a look at two of the same product side by side, one regular and one "light". In many cases when they remove fat, they replace that flavor with sugar. Salad dressing is infamous for this. If sugar is your issue, you are better off just using a small amount of the full fat stuff than trying to do a full serving of the light. Better yet, make your own vinaigrette so you know exactly what you're eating. For the most part, I either make it, or try to find the least offensive option. No High Fructose Corn Syrup (for a good piece about what that does, see this) (and my reaction to all of that here), and as little added sugar as I can. There are sacrifices (sweet pickles), but the payoff is completely worth it.

One last thing from Missy.

The times in my life when I try to do things my own, on my own sheer will, are usually the times I fail. But those times when I lean on others and let them help hold me up? Those are the times I am victorious. :)

This is absolutely me relying on others. I would NOT have had any kind of success like I have without the support of people who read my blog, people who respond to my silly tweets, and the information I learn from other people willing to write about it on the Internet. That last one is why I'm being so honest about this.

I got some good news on Friday night, in the middle of that dinner. While I don't have the exact numbers to compare, I know that my insulin levels went down from last January. I'll know more at my next Dr. apt. It was just the encouragement I needed to know that I'm on the right path and that I can do this.


PeacefulBird said...

You are one brave woman in MN! I so appreciate your frank thoughts about these issues and your optimism is catching! Let us know how that food tracking site works for you. I've readhed goal weight on WW twice, but always gained it back, and more. I just started a blog about this today... It's here, if you'd care to visit.

Elizabeth said...

You can do this! Good for you for taking charge. And thanks for your honesty with the process here.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Amelia! You can totally do this. We're all rooting for you and I'm happy to know that your internet peeps can serve as a source of motivation. I love reading your blog and seeing your progress. Keep up the great work!!


Amanda said...

Wonderful. I am so proud of you!! You are making such GREAT choices for you and your family.

Well done!


The Marketing Mama said...

Thank you for sharing all your thoughts on this, and for responding to all of my questions. I know we've talked off-line about this, but a word for your readers, I really wasn't trying to be super-nosy and I'm glad you weren't offended. :)

I will say, as someone who has extensive experience with the Twelve Steps, that it is possible to benefit from them without letting the whole God thing get in the way.

Supporting you! :)

tere said...

Great info, you are amazing. You will do it. Nice new photo header, too.

LutherLiz said...

While I don't have extra issues complicating thing I fully understand the desire to just be able to give up food cold turkey. It is hard to give up something that is so ingrained in my life.

Good luck. I know you can do it.

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