Are you thinking about food again? Confessions of a sugar addict

There’s a nice children’s book by Michael Rosen called ‘You’re Thinking about Doughnuts’. Well, that’s me, basically. I am a sugar addict who won’t give it up. A friend once told me so. She said ‘Sugar is a DRUG. If you are an addict, you have to give it up completely. That is the only way.’ I wouldn’t agree with her. I didn’t want to imagine a life without it.

On Sunday, I wrote a little note every time I thought about food. It was quite interesting…

The story begins at 4am when I wake up and acknowledge to myself that I ate too much tiramisu. My body feels somewhat under strain. I think, what a pity that I have let myself down again. I also remember, with embarrassment, the moment my sister-in-law passed me in the kitchen as I was ‘tidying up’.

Later in the shower, I try to console myself: over all I am doing well these days and we eat pretty modestly in the week. The memory of a Friday evening chocolate brownie looms.

At 11am I am out with my parents and we are having brunch which I am treating as lunch. I want very much to order pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. But head overrules heart and I have mushrooms on toast. I am proud of myself and feel that there is hope for me yet.

We arrive home in the early afternoon. We are not hungry but had agreed on the journey back that we fancy ‘a little something’. He said it actually and I just agreed, readily. In truth, I keep thinking about the various cakes I have in the freezer (did I mention that I like cake?), negotiating with myself about whether getting one out was in ANY WAY justified.

I start making a (sweet) coffee and help myself to three spoonfuls of tiramisu while I wait. He is a savoury type but, corrupted, takes a spoon himself. I note that we have eaten half of the tiramisu leftovers and applaud the effort.

I have productive things to do during the afternoon and don’t think about food much. As it’s a Sunday and we are tired, we buy some crisps to eat with a film. Crisps don’t really count as ‘bad’ for me. All savoury food I eat is a small victory against the tooth-rotter.

We eat a fairly vegetably dinner and so ends another day.

The verdict: I am almost constantly having a mental wrangle with myself over food, but particularly sugar. It’s thoroughly tedious, now I think about it.

There’s a strong case for total abstinence. Every time I ‘do the right thing’, I feel calm and glad. It is a relief to feel that I am not a slave to the sugar. I get to look in the mirror and like what I see. I don’t have to worry about my health and teeth.

If I gave sugar up completely, I could feel this calmness all the time. But at times of emotional weakness, chances of success seem slim (excuse the pun) – sugar can also be my crutch. I push to oblivion and don’t stop until discomfort sobers me.

There isn’t really a case for sugar, other than my own short-lived thrill. As long as I can walk the fine line between indulgence and moderation, isn’t life just too short? It seems we do cling to our bad habits; giving them up is like ruthlessly severing of a part of ourselves. But after the initial cut, the benefits kick in and it can be surprisingly easy. I guess I just need to keep a close eye on it. I need to recognise areas for improvement and be strong. Then maybe one day, I’ll get there.