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A Man’s Guide to Quitting Sugar: Part 3 – Are You Addicted?

CREAM OF WHEAT, BOY WITH COOKIES

Andy+Serkis+Premiere+20th+Century+Fox+Rise+8QOlIn6byDjl“Gollum is entirely based on the notion of addiction. The way that the ring pervades him, makes him craving, lustful, depletes him physically, psychologically and mentally.” – Andy Serkis on Gollum

When fishing for bass it’s important to “set the hook” else, the bass will come flying out of the water, wriggling like mad, and throw the lure back at you. Catfish, on the other hand, are much more likely to swallow the bait and hook down into their gullet, not realizing they’ve been caught until they try to pull away. In the case of the catfish, the only hope is for someone to cut the line.

This analogy breaks down if you really know fish, but taking it at face value, addiction may not mean you are in the catfish situation, you might be a bass. In either case, recognizing you have been hooked is key. How you go about removing the hook will depend on the type of fish you are, the type of bait you’re into, how deeply the hook has been set.

What is Addiction? (For the Purposes of this Article)

bible“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” – Paul, Romans 7:15 ESV, The Bible

What Paul is referring to in the above quote, is probably the most maddening thing in the world. Be it exercise, food, porn, TV, laziness, procrastination, anger, whatever…the lack willpower or spirit-power to do what is right, in the moment, is not only maddening, it is utterly defeating. The most crushing defeats of life are always found in the lost battles with ourselves.

I’m defining addiction, therefore, as something that competes against your willpower to do what you know is right, and often wins. Whether the true root is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, environmental, etc., the point is recognizing an area of weakness so that you can overcome it. In many cases, the reason for addiction is so layered you can simply choose a starting point (physical, emotional, etc.) and begin blazing your way out of the woods, expecting and conquering obstacles as you meet them. Be prepared, then, to put up a fight, and for some new enemy to emerge from the shadows or worse yet, to hail darts from the treetops.

Signs You May Be Addicted to Sugar (Food)

There are a number of ways to gauge whether or not you have an addiction, whether to sugar or something else in life. In most cases it can be difficult to identify the problem unless you have at some point tried to quit. In fact, trying to quit but being unable to do so is a sign of addiction. (It’s not looking good is it?)

Do You Crave Sweets?

Everyone likes to have something sweet now and then, which is why sugar is so popular. But cravings go much deeper. A craving is hard to get out of your head. It aligns itself with the sense of need rather than nice-to-have. As most sugars are void of nutrition — some have iron and other minerals — the cravings are not triggered by the body’s need for nutrition.

Note: There are a number of physical reasons why you might crave sugar other than simply having a sweet tooth. Candida yeast can build up in the intestines and consume sugar that would otherwise be used by your body. The result is that you crave sweets. Finding out if you have a yeast issue is really something for a doctor, but in many cases once someone kicks the sugar addiction and begins to take care of themselves, the Candida problem will sort itself out.

Do You Justify Eating Sweets?

This is a good one! Say you are on a “diet” and have made an agreement with yourself that you aren’t going to have any sweets. Do you find that you often convince yourself that the circumstances warrant breaking with the agreement? Too tired? Long day? Stressful whatever? Be honest. I know I do.

Does the Idea of Eliminating Certain Foods Trouble You?

Perhaps in reading this article a few sweet treats have already come to mind. Does the thought of taking them out of your diet give you pause? Are you planning one last hurrah? If so, you definitely have an issue.

Do You Eat Sweets with a Guilty Conscience?

I suppose in order to feel guilty you have to care and believe something is wrong. Not everyone is there yet. However, if you find yourself eating something and then thinking to yourself, “Why did I do that?“, or “I can’t believe I just ate all of that!” Sometimes the guilt starts while you are eating it! I’ve been there. We shut down the reasoning part of our brain and just dig in, consequences be damned.

There is a way to enjoy sweets without the love\hate relationship. Once you put sugar back where it is supposed to be in your life it’s no big deal.

Do You Equate a Good Time with Desserts?

In other words, is a party not a party without some sweets? Is an excellent dinner not satisfying until finished off with cheesecake? Is socializing with friends not enough; there must be cake or cookies?

There’s nothing wrong with coffee and cake amongst friends; the question is designed to determine where sugar is as a priority in life. Has it gone from being something to add a bit of sweetness or does it hold a position higher than it ought to for a plant?

Final Thoughts

When I was trying to lose weight I didn’t have such a concise means of determining whether or not I had an addiction of any kind. There were likely resources available to me, but I either didn’t care to find them or didn’t really know what I would be looking for. Most thoughts on this subject seem to be geared at selling us on a diet, which always strikes me as a trendy and short-term solution, though it may be necessary for some people to get off on the right foot. Coming to grips with an addiction can feel defeating, just like trying to beat an addiction and failing. Yet, it ought to make us feel human. I think, too, it should make us a good deal angry. After all, much of the mess we have gotten ourselves into regarding food started when we were very young. Who told us to eat this way? Where did we get the idea that “natural” meant healthy? Is it possible that we have been seriously taken advantage of? I think so. Place the blame where you will: Monsanto, Little Debbie, Corporate Greed, Society, MTV…ourselves. Just don’t expect a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles to make the world right again.

More Articles in This Series:

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