My Name is Catania, and I am a Sugar Addict

I usually try to keep this a rather spiritual blog. And it still will be, but I have a goal this year – to get back into my pre-preganancy clothes (yes…it’s been two years, so it depresses me). This is not a particularly spiritual goal. At least, not on the outset.

For me, this goal is actually extremely spiritual. You see, for some reason, my dissatisfaction with the way that I have treated my physical body, my temple, has kind of taken over my life and brain. It isn’t good. So…simple – lose weight, right? I wish it was that simple.

Last week, I fasted and prayed that I would be able to reach my goal this year. Losing weight is my only goal. And maybe that isn’t a great goal. Maybe i should state it in another way. I don’t know. I’m searching. But I do know one thing – in the past, I have been happy with myself physically. Right now I’m not. As I fasted, I felt hopeful – like, with the help of the Lord, that this goal is something that I would be able to accomplish – even though it will take self control and time.

Before I go on, you should know that in my patriarchal blessing, I have been counseled to keep the word of wisdom. It is funny, when I received my patriarchal blessing, I didn’t understand why this warning would have been given to me. I never had any kid of proclivity towards alcohol, caffeine, or drugs. As a youth, I kind of shrugged this counsel off. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, and have studied the Word of Wisdom, I realize that keeping the Word of Wisdom is way more than not smoking or drinking. It is a general health code, and a real blessing for our time.

So…why am I blogging about this? I think that it is so I can keep it in the forefront of my mind. I also think that I’m not the only one who struggles with health and weight issues. In fact, as I fasted last week, I also felt the reminder that the problem I struggle with – truly keeping the word of wisdom and being overweight – is not something I’m dealing with alone. It is, in fact, of epidemic proportions – and maybe even more. Interesting. So, hopefully, if I blog about this, I can be of help to someone else. Additionally, if you read this, maybe you can help me.

Last Monday (I think), I heard an interview with Doctor Robert Lustig about his new book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. I have read plenty of books about diet and exercise. I’ve read everything from books by Jillian Michaels and other famous “personal trainers” to books by Medical Doctors (like Lustig’s book, or other authors like Dr. David Kessler). I have also read books by Michael Pollan. They have been helpful. But this book by Dr. Lustig was just what I needed.

Two of the most profound thoughts I had while reading the book were:
Sugar is a poison – I don’t think that this means we can never have sugar. But the way we – I – eat sugar is harmful – to my liver, my hormonal system, my body. Sugar is truly addictive – in that it fits the criteria for addiction. Sugar raises insulin, causes Leptin resistance, numbs dopamine receptors, and raises seratonin. Our bodies love it even though it really isn’t that good for us.

Now, the thing is – we need energy, and sugar is a good source for that. Naturally occurring sugars (like that found in fruit) is nearly always found with fiber. When we eat natural sugars, we also eat a lot of fiber – causing less sugar to be absorbed, and more of the healthy signals (like fullness) to be sent to our brains – as fiber is very filling. Fiber keeps us regular. And less sugar keeps our other organs and hormones in check.

I need to eat less sugar. I am a sugar addict! I always choose sugary, processed foods over healthy foods. Too much sugar has interrupted my body’s ability to feel full and satisfied. And, I have no idea what it has done to me on a mitochondrial level. The effects of sugar can cause liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and cancer. I really don’t want any of those.

Yet…sugar beckons, and my desire for sugar often outweighs the desire I have to be healthy.

The Food Industry Knows that Sugar is Addictive The idea that kept going through my head was from the Doctrine and Covenants:

” In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelationβ€”” – Doctrine and Covenants 89:4

I really think this is true. We have seen this before – with the tobacco industry. They knew that tobacco was bad, but didn’t want to hurt profits. They were in bed with our government, and kept pushing a product they knew to be both addictive and lethal.

I imagine it is pretty much the same with the food industry. Why would I trust them? I’m not sure that they are worried about my health, but their own bottom line.

I don’t want to sound all alarmist or conspiracy theorist, but those were the two thoughts that ran through my mind as I read the book. I need to trust God, and He has given us the best advice on health. I need to do better at eating plants and fruits in their seasons. That is the real place to start.

What are you doing to live a healthier life? Do you have similar New years goals???


11 thoughts on “My Name is Catania, and I am a Sugar Addict

  1. Great goal to have! Just wanted to offer some words of hope–if you’re concerned about how your palate craves sweets, this is just to let you know that it is possible to reprogram your taste buds to enjoy more healthy foods. It will take some time, however.

    Plus, I thought I’d share a good scripture that might help: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” I’m sure you know all about the spiritual implications, but the temporal implications are good too, yes?

    I’m cheerin’ for ya, girl!

    1. Thanks, Michaela.

      Thanks for sharing the scripture. It is incredibly helpful, and I agree – that the physical application works…totally.

      I am also realizing that it is more than my tastebuds that need reprogramming. Realizing the truly addictive nature of sugar has helped. Even though I’m in the throes of this difficulty, I realize that my body is truly sending me messages that say, I want more sugar! It’s been…23 minutes since my last fix… πŸ˜‰ In any case, realizing this helps me to see more of the wisdom in God’s plan for us – especially when it comes to the word of wisdom. It also helps me to know that eventually, I will be able to reprogram my brain, and that in doing so, I will feel better and receive the other blessings promised with health…

      Anyways – thanks!

  2. Sandy

    We did pretty well the end of 2011, we were eating more produce and less processed foods. We greatly reduced our intake of red meat to less than once a month and usually at a restaurant. We ate more legumes and cut back on grains ( processed food). Mike lost 50lbs in 3 months by only changing eating habits. I only gained 15 lbs with my pregnancy instead of my usual 25-30lbs. After the baby, I slimmed down to the lightest I’ve been in about 8 years. Well, now I’m recommitting to those dietary changes, because last year, after the baby. I let them slip ( and gained all the weight back). It just takes a little more work to eat healthy and with a new baby, I just didn’t try as hard. The book that influenced our change was “Eat To Live” by Dr Joel Fuhrman. We don’t follow it exactly, I don’t plan to ever be a vegetarian (except maybe in the Millennium ), but it gave us a great launching platform. It was nice to feel heathy. I join you in this fight against sugar. I hope someday to be able to eat it responsibly. πŸ™‚ Right now I’m still “in for a penny, in for a pound”. Lol

  3. Lisa S

    Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a sugar addict…nice to meet you. The only way I have been able to get more fit is by adding exercise and make it a priority in my life. I still struggle with not eating sweets. I have no problem with fast food. The main problem is feeling like i need to have something sweet after my meal….even though I’m starting to feel full…I LOVE TO EAT!! Good luck this year. Keep us posted.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I totally agree with you about exercise. It helps me to curb sugar cravings by getting an endorphin release naturally. However, I totally relate to what you’re saying – after meals I usually want something sweet, too. I’m trying to get away from the cookies, and instead having a piece of fruit or chewing a piece of gum…hopefully that will help me. I’ve only started doing it. Since I’m so addicted to sugar, fruit often doesn’t seem sweet enough. However, I think that what emily said is true, and once I am not taking in so much sugar, things will seem sweet to me again.

  4. Tessa

    may i also add that sugar will actually KILL your immune system. Pax has been sick over and over and over, so the doc told us to cut the sugar. During this pregnancy, sugar actually makes me feel nauseated (major blessing) so it’s been an easy transition for me.

  5. emdash

    Last year I gave up soda (well, I ‘let’ myself have it if we were celebrating a special occasion and I felt like I wanted it) and it was amazing to see how after only a month or two of not drinking it, I rarely wanted it anymore. And when I ‘let’ myself have it, I drank far less than I used to–even a can was too much. I’d imagine the same thing will happen to you with sugar! The first little while will be rough (withdrawal!) but then you’ll realize you don’t even miss it that much. Good luck!! Hopefully you’ll post about your progress along the way…hearing about the struggles and successes that come with the territory will probably help all of us readers out more than you know πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks…yeah – a few years ago, I gave up sugar, after the initial shock was over, I found that most things were too sugary…unfortunately it is so easy to get re-addicted. (this is when I’ll blame my children. πŸ˜‰

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