Alcoholism rocked my early 20s. Typically of the white wine variety, it was an hourly obsession that could have destroyed my life if I had let it. Spoiler alert: I’m almost two years sober. It’s not always easy though, especially during holidays like Fourth of July when I have to pretend that O’Doul’s is really doing it for me. If I’m ever feeling envious enough of my normal-drinking peers to fantasize about picking up, I just have to remind myself that, well, I can’t. “Elin, honey, you poured a bottle of chardonnay on your laptop. You stopped going to class, drowned in depression, and kissed a lot of idiots. Remember your drunken Facebook statuses? You couldn’t hold a job and you ordered way too much fucking take-out. Your life was falling apart.” Oh, right.
So, yes, I’m familiar with addiction and the damage it can do. Which is why, when I woke up with a constellation of acne on my forehead and a craving for cronuts, I realized I’d fallen for a new drug: sugar. Besides the fact that a sugar overdose cannot actually kill you (or can it?), sugar and alcohol have a lot in common. They’re both addictive.
True Life: I’m addicted to sugar.
Five Signs You Should Join SAA (Sugar Addicts Anonymous)
1. You tried to cut back on sugar once but failed so hard.
If you’ve ever told yourself you wouldn’t eat chocolate cake every night for a week but in fact ate chocolate cake every night for a week, you have a problem. You’re a sugar addict.
The remedy: Stop being a sugar slut and get a food journal. Hold yourself accountable for what you’re putting in your mouth-hole and you’ll be amazed by the results.
2. You often feel sluggish and rely on sweet snacks to keep you going.
Do macaroons gives you a “high” that you need throughout the day? Welcome to SAA.
The remedy: Get your shit together. Literally. Get all of the sugar products in your house together in a big sugary pile, and give it to your worst enemy. A sugar addict keeping sugar in the house is like an alcoholic keeping booze in the fridge. Bad idea. Instead, fill your kitchen with whole foods. You’ll be amazed at how easy it will be to grab an apple instead of a chocolate bar.
3. You daydream about donuts on the daily.
This is bad. If you find yourself seeing sweets when they’re not there, it’s a good thing you’re reading this because you are dangerously close to tattooing “Actually, I’m pretty sure chocolate tastes as good as skinny feels” down the center of your protruding belly.
The remedy: Daydream about men in soccer shorts instead. You need to reprogram your brain. When you find yourself focusing on sugar snacks and how bad you want to binge, hit yourself in the face. Soon, you’ll equate sugar with pain.
4. You’re having an affair with the ice cream man.
Your cravings for sugar have become dangerous. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, you won’t do for a Klondike bar.
The remedy: First of all, put earplugs in so you cannot hear the ice cream truck. He’s bad news for you, babe. Next, find a healthy replacement for your craving. Make running, for example, your new “afternoon delight.” Eat balanced meals and drink all the water.
5. Your skin is starting to look like the pepperoni pizza you ate for breakfast.
Babe, your skin will look so much sweeter without all that sugar. If you’re a true sugar addict, you’ve probably noticed that sugar is just as bad for your skin as it is for your waistline. Run from simple carbohydrates like you’re running from the police because they rapidly break down into glucose. This will result in insulin spikes, added stress, and bonus breakouts. Ew.
The remedy: Invest in Biore strips and cucumber masks ASAP. Get plenty of sleep to keep your cortisol levels in check. Replace soda with water. And don’t eat pizza for breakfast, silly.
If you’re tired of feeling like you’re drowning in a swamp of molasses, #payattention and do something about it. I’m a firm believer in the expression, “everything in moderation.” However, if you’re starting to feel like sugar is interfering with your pursuit of happiness, take a break and see if you feel better without it. Guess what? You will. Just like any addiction, it is possible to give it up in order to change the rocky road you’re on. Pun intended.