Thursday, February 06, 2014

Challenges


** This was in my draft folder. Today I am Day 5 and doing fabulous!

Most of my readers know that I struggle with a few addictions. I have totally killed the alcohol demon, drug and tobacco..although I guess they all come under as drug. In September I had 16 years of sobriety. Yes, yay me!  Seriously, I had always worried about ‘what if’ I couldn’t run because of injury..would I succumb to my past demons? Not alcohol, not tobacco, not drugs;  and for that I am thankful.



Sugar is another story. When I abstain I am on top of the world..after the week of headaches have subsided and then I wonder why I didn’t always treat sugar as I can treat the other demons. That is the great question, right? 



Because in my mind I hadn’t made up my mind to treat sugar as a drug.



After completing half a dozen Whole30 rounds in the past few years I thought I had beat that sugar bug to the ground. No. I have allowed it back into my life. I have fed it and let it grow.



A few years ago I received negative comments when I posted about TheWhole30. Please don’t leave me negative comments. I deleted that post because of it. If you don’t like  what I’m writing then just politely stop reading.



As I sit here I have a  pounding headache. On the bright side, I quit drinking Diet Coke in July so am not going through that with drawl. Yes!! I was over consuming as my norm so went cold turkey and just stopped.  I have stopped drinking my Good Earth tea as it has stevia and sugar cane. I never looked at the ingredients prior to Friday but figured it must have been sweetened as it made my tongue tingle and gave me that ‘happy sugar’ feeling-the hit of dopamine that I am always chasing.

As we know, Dopamine is a neurotransmitter - a chemical messenger that delivers signals to and from the brain - that helps to control feelings of reward and pleasure. It is released for healthy reasons, too: physical touch, exercise. It is released in response to the consumption of certain substances: caffeine, narcotics, alcohol, sugar. The dopamine response we get from eating sugar send signals throughout the body to encourage s to continue to seek that pleasurable feeling. This wouldn't be a bad thinking if the sugar we were eating every time we experiences this pleasure was nutrient dense, like berries, and we were eating it in the overall context of a healthy and balanced diet. But, unfortunatley not only do modern, refined forms of sugar trigger this release of dopamine, they rob the nutrient stores which leaves us with the constant desire for more sugar.



I have to wonder why I sought out drugs and alcohol in the first place when other family / friends did not although I do have alcoholism in my family. I replaced the behavior with running. Running began as a way to lose weight and to stay sober, to combat the feelings of wanting to become drunk. “If I drink tonight, I won’t be running in the morning. If I have a cigarette I’m not going to be able to run”! Pretty soon running became something that became a part of me.  I couldn’t imagine not moving my body, feeling my breathing, my muscles moving, the silent calm, then the rush of the endorphins. Running keeps me sane and yes, releases dopamine, as well.



While I was recovering from injury I fell back into my sugar habits. First it was manageable..then like any addiction it went full blown.





Abstinence. As with any addiction, abstinence is what is necessary. Moderation doesn’t work for addictions.



I enjoy structure and always like a challenge so I am taking up the 21 Day Sugar Detox Challenge.  It will be another interesting challenge I am sure. I use sugar to numb myself, to block out emotions that I am feeling so it is always uncomfortable as I start out..but good in the end.  

I've read Diane's Practical Paleo and Balanced Bites and they both offer good solid nutrition in an easy to follow text so I knew 21 DSD wouldn't be any different.



Interestingly enough, yesterday Pastor Chuck offered a 21 Day Challenge as well. His challenge is to read one chapter of John each day for 21 days, to worship via music for 5 minutes a day and to invite someone for coffee (or a run) in effort to promote fellowship. I know I can tackle Challenge 1 and 2…I’ll work at 3.



Instead of  my Good Earth tea I am drinking  Traditional Medicines herbal tea which is fantastic. I’ve been drinking the Every Day Detox today.  Yesterday I prepped food for the week: a fabulous spaghetti squash with marinara and meatballs-


egg and sausage cups-


mexi-meatloaf, salmon salad. Just real food, no sugar or sweeteners.






Cheers to Two 21 Day Challenges!














3 comments:

stillwaterrunner said...

Hang in there Julie. Take solace in knowing that you are doing your body a great service. There is a light at the end of that tunnel.

Congratulations of your sobriety anniversary, you sound like a strong person that will do what it takes to live a healthy life and be a great example for others who struggle with the addiction demons.

Olga King said...

I can not believe somebody left you negative comments! Don't delete your posts because of that! But I know how it feels - I used to get a handful of those for various reason, felt miserable for a long time and questioning my sanity...But Julie, nobody besides YOU know what is best for you! Stay with your head up! And surround yourself with supporters, those who believe in you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspiration to challenge myself to do better! I have no addictions, but lots of things to improve on. I read your blog often, but this is my first comment. Sorry it took years to do.

All the best.
JHF