Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Doughnuts Got A Holed On Me

Once upon a time I wouldn't walk past the doughnut box at work without grabbing a couple.  I didn't think that I could resist, so I wouldn't try that hard.  Since the free doughnuts and trips to DQ for the soft serve and the other sugar feasts were not every day, I survived them relatively unscathed.  But at some point I began to be "de-sugared."  I started to shake the bonds of a lifetime of being a "sugar dog."  As I ate less sugar, when I did eat it, it tasted far less compelling.  The physiological rewards of making my body a sugar dump had decreased so much that I felt less and less drawn to sugar junk.  

In other words, it began to seem like that life long "sweet tooth" had more to do with behavior patterns and physiological responses to habitual sugar intake than to some innate desire for sweet junk.  

These things make even more sense when viewed through the lens of a the Paleo model, which can help us see how chronic carb/sugar intake can set up an addiction cycle which would be as rewarding as smoking, drinking or some other addictive substance.  

I miss the certainty that I could eat a dessert of some kind - almost any kind - and deeply enjoy it.  But, I like how satisfied I feel every day eating regular food, without having to feel stuffed to feel satisfied.  I like the fact that I take one pain pill about every month, compared to 800mg 3x per day as I did in 1999 (and eating far more sugar, and had far more inflammation).  I like it when the doc says "You don't take any prescription medication?"  Or, "I don't know what you are doing, but keep doing it."

Takeaway?  You can interrupt this cycle with persistent effort over time.  In the mean time, every day, every week, every month in which you reduce your carb/sugar intake makes your body less damaged.  The only failure is the failure to get back on the horse in order to learn how to eat for the pleasure of feeling well, and for the natural pleasure real food provides when one is de-sugared - rather than the sugar pleasures of the moment which have to be balanced against the pain of being unwell, weak, and at risk for decrepitude and premature disability.

Keep trying until you find the version that works for you for the duration.

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