Halloween is just around the corner, and as much as I look forward to it, I also dread it. Helping choose the perfect costume for each of my kiddos, getting them dressed, doing their make-up, the excitement of trick-or-treating in the air. And knowing that after trudging through our neighborhood on a crisp fall evening, there will be an abundance of hard-to-resist, sugar-filled treats lurking in every corner of my house. A giant bowl of sweet, gummy candies and rich chocolatey goodness that probably won’t last a week.
The next day the kids head to school, and I sit at my computer working in the afternoon. I can hear the candy whispering, calling to me. “Find me, eat me, your kids will never know if you take a couple pieces.” When I’m tired, bored, or just plain stressed, they go from politely whispering to screaming incessantly. “YOU NEED ME, COME NOW, I DON’T CARE IF THE KIDS FIND OUT!”
And it’s not just Halloween. It could be any holiday, birthday, or even just a Wednesday during Girl Scout cookie season. If there is sugar in the house, my entire body knows it. I try to put it out of my mind, focus on something else, but my efforts are futile. My willpower only lasts so long. My mind starts to wander, and it’s as if I am sleepwalking to the cupboard, my body acting without my approval. Suddenly I’m elbow deep in Skittles® and Snickers®, trying to decide how I will hide the evidence of my weakness.
Of course, some days are easier than others. I have been known to go on a sugar detox for a week or two at a time. I undoubtedly feel better, healthier. But it never seems to be enough to keep me away for good. And lately, I feel like I’m getting worse.
It could be the stress of starting my own business, lack of sleep, the end of summer and the kids all going back to school, the triathlons that I worked so hard to complete being over. Or it could be a combination of everything. Whatever it is, it has made resisting sugary temptations harder than ever. I feel as if I need a 12-step program to beat this.
I admit that I am powerless over sugar – that my life has become unmanageable.
The worst part is the kids are right there with me, addicted to sugar as well. I really try for the most part to keep it out of the house. I read nutrition labels, and I don’t buy products with added sugar. I try to feed my kids real, whole unprocessed foods the majority of the time. But I can’t shelter them from everything.
They get treats at school, at their friends’ houses, on special occasions. And truth be told, I don’t want to deprive them of everything. I want them to go trick-or-treating, make s’mores by the fire, get Valentine’s from their friends, have ice cream on a hot summer day. But I want to teach them moderation, and I am currently having a difficult time modeling that behavior for them.
We head to Target for some household necessities, and they are practically begging me to spend their own money on candy. Because they cannot resist any more than I can. Many times, I give in because I want to buy candy as well, for myself.
I know this needs to stop. I know that sugar has become a problem for my kids and I. I know that I don’t need to look far or search for very long to find more than a hundred articles outlining just how bad and addictive sugar is. I can see the evidence in my health, my body, and my behavior, and I can see it in my children as well.
For the most part, we are very healthy. I exercise every day; my kids are active. We eat well-balanced, home-cooked meals and try to steer clear of highly processed foods. But I know our quality of life would be that much better if we could get a handle on our sugar intake.
Every day I feel like I am ready, I am strong enough to conquer this once and for all. But then the cravings start or I remember that Halloween (or a birthday, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas) is coming and it would be pointless to detox now. And sugar is one of those things I want to be rid of, but not completely. I still want to have a treat every now and then, on a special occasion, in moderation. Which makes quitting much more difficult, one cookie at a party and I could go off the deep end.
I don’t know where that leaves me, but admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? I will definitely keep you posted as I move forward. And in the meantime, if you have any tips or tricks to help me, leave them in the comments below.