Chapter Five: Addictions

My mom has had the same mantra for years and it goes something like this...

"You NEVER ate junk food or candy until you were old enough to walk to school and spend your lunch money at Winchell's Donuts."

Actually, she starts off with "You NEVER ate junk food or candy until..." and then takes it from there.  What can I say?  She is a mom, and in order to be a mom, you have to create some sort of "I told you so" mantra or you lose your mom license.  You also have to have an open statute of limitations on how long you are allowed to bring up dumb things your kids did or dumb friends your kids had, but that is another story.

In any case, my addictions began around the time I was able to start sneaking making my own food choices.  In spite of "Mommy Special", which consisted of rice, a lean protein, and a vegetable (and no sauce or flavor) and was my mom's attempt at getting me on board with eating healthy, I still chose donuts and cookies over oat bran and tofu.  I get it - kids love junk food.  I love junk food.  I think most healthy eaters love junk food, they just aren't addicted to it.  

Now, it has been at least a year since I have had a donut.  They just don't appeal to me the way they used to.  But that doesn't make me any less of a sugar addict.  In fact, I absolutely believe that sugar addiction is probably the hardest addiction to overcome, because it is an acceptable addiction and people largely have to do it on their own without a great deal of support from family and friends.  I could even say quite comfortably that almost every friend I have is a sugar addict currently, or is constantly battling it.  Except for my mom.  She's a sugar AND peanut butter addict.  But that is also another story.    

Please don't get me wrong - I am not making light of addictions.  I have known alcoholics, meth addicts, prescription drug addicts, and cigarette addicts.  I have watched what they have had to go through to kick their addictions and it isn't pretty.  So when I say that I have a sugar addiction, I am saying that I know how hard it is to give it up.  My family members who quit smoking now say that being around cigarette smoke makes them sick.  I never hear that from any other addiction.  I will never be sickened by seeing a chocolate chip cookie, that is for darn sure.   

A sugar addiction, like any other addiction, has to be tackled head on.  It has to be acknowledged by the addict.  It has to be addressed and talked about.  So here is my first attempt at really addressing it.  My addiction really did start with Winchell's Donuts back around 1983 as I walked to middle school.  Later it migrated to McDonald's french fries.  In high school I would get a diet coke, french fries, and hostess crumb cakes for lunch.  For breakfast we would stop and get 44 ounces of diet coke and a sausage bagel sandwich from Burger King.  We would send our Student Body President to a hamburger place that had huge hamburgers, french fries and sodas for $1 total.  It was crazy.  

Summers, when I was at my dad's, we ate frozen pizza, mac n' cheese, and I regularly had white bread with butter and sugar/cinnamon sprinkled on it.  And always diet coke.  Every day we would walk to Minute Man to get a diet coke.  All of our cereal was sugared cereal.  We loved bean with bacon soup.  We loved top ramen.  
When I got into college, there was that whole no-fat craze.  So we ate a ton of white pasta.  My cousin and I had a recipe that was called Pepperoni Casserole.  It had pasta, three cheeses and pepperoni.  I gained 20 lbs that first year.  When I lived with my aunt and uncle, we had a favorite weekly dinner called "Kristen's Chicken".  It was rice-a-roni, chicken, and the whole thing was smothered with cheese and cream of chicken soup.  Maybe sour cream as well.  My aunt used to buy 4-5 bags of mother's frosted animal crackers that we would polish off while watching Days of Our Lives.  When my cousin and I moved across the country, we ate nothing but pretzels, diet coke, and taco bell on the entire drive.  Oh, and slimfast for breakfast.

So now at the age of 39, is it any wonder that I am constantly battling my weight, food addictions, and health issues?  Of course not.  I've eaten garbage for most of my life.  I've yo-yo'd between no-fat, low-fat, low calorie, low carb, zone diet, South Beach, Weight Watchers, HCG, and anything else you can think of.  I've had essentially a 25 year addiction to crap foods.  It is going to take a while to really make the changes I need to make - physically and mentally.  

I think I'm off to a good start.

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