Addiction to sugary foods like fizzy bottles of soda, baked goods, and even snacks is not easy to realize. It is only by spending some time away from them that will make you know how deep you are indulged into them judging from your thoughts, feelings, actions, and experience.
It has not been a big problem for me recently, but some time back, I could not live without chocolates and candies with my best being eating hot tamales. The problem began in high school, and a friend who would carry two bars of chocolate to school and was generous enough, at least to me, introduced it to me. In my bedroom, I ensured that I had an extra packet of sweets every day to quench my ever-present thirst, and by morning, I would have eaten almost the whole pack. Whenever I could not get my sweets for the night, I would drink about ten cups of coffee with four teaspoons of sugar in each so that I could get some sleep. The habit had intensified that I shared it with my scout patron one evening because I knew it was unhealthy, but I kept taking them since they made me feel less stressed.
Sometime last year, during a weekend-long scout camp, I decided to challenge myself, with the help of the patron, to abstain from candies for three days and note the difference. The patron ensured that I carried none with me to the site, which was in a remote place away from shops. The patron also controlled what I could eat and what I could not eat candy throughout the period. As a confessed sugarholic, I have had bad days in my life but that weekend was probably the worst of them all. I was to survive on sugar that only came naturally from food.
Initially, things seemed to work since I had promised to work towards it and given the busy nature of a camping session, I coped with the situation though with some little difficulties. As time went on, my thirst grew bigger and bigger, but my desire to avoid them also developed more and more. It was until lunchtime that I noticed some changes. I realized that all the foods that I ate tasted unpleasantly sweet (Ahmed et al., 2013). All along, I craved for the candies or any other sugary substance. I could think of it time to time, and at times, I would find myself gazing in the clouds while imagining myself with hot tamales in hand.
As evening approached, I began to feel lethargy. I felt like I was about to get sick, my body became heavy, and my mind became dull and emotionless (Westwater et al., 2016). I felt like I was depressed, and while everyone else was in the jovial mood experienced during school camping, I lay down under a tree gazing around. As night fell, I volunteered in the kitchen to prepare food for the rest of the team. This was the recovery plan according to the patron, to keep me busy.
I reached my breaking point that night when everyone else was asleep except the patron who kept checking on my progress and me. Due to the darkness, I could not engage in any active activity, and so I had to try forcing myself to sleep unsuccessfully. An hour past midnight, I began feeling some form of anxiety. My teeth were chattering, I felt tremors on my limbs, and I kept shaking my head (Ahmed et al., 2013). I woke up and took a walk in the darkness to help keep my mind focused as I sipped from a bottle of water to neutralize my sugar desire.
At around three in the morning, I could not tolerate the feeling anymore. By this time, everyone was deep asleep, including the patron who I could tell from his breathing pattern. I headed towards the kitchen to look for the honey bowl, which is used to prepare breakfast during camps. I knew where we kept it and so I tried my best not to make any noise that could wake up anyone. My craving for sugar had turned me into a thief, but that did not bother me then. I only intended to take a little to quench my thirst. I looked everywhere to no avail and suddenly I began cursing loudly, which awoke several of the scouts, including the patron. He knew I could be tempted to take the honey and thus, hid it separately. We spent the rest of the night sharing stories until morning.
The next morning I woke up with a severe headache. I took some painkillers and after relaxing for some time, I was ready to resume my duties though still struggling with the desire for sugar. I worked the whole day and by evening, from being tired and due to lack of sleep the previous night, I managed to fall asleep some minutes past midnight. The following day I kept myself busy the whole day and upon getting home, I only took a cup of coffee with two spoonfuls and went to bed. Since then, I began reducing my sugar consumption and even though I still enjoy eating candies, I have reduced the amount remarkably.
Ahmed, S. H., Guillem, K., & Vandaele, Y. (2013). Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 16(4), 434-439.Westwater, M. L., Fletcher, P. C., & Ziauddeen, H. (2016). Sugar addiction: the state of the science. European journal of nutrition, 55(2), 55-69
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