I remember the first time it happened.
I was at Albertsons walking by the bakery aisle. The smell of fresh glazed donuts on sale for .99 cents a dozen called me. 99 CENTS A DOZEN! Well, I’d be an idiot to pass up that deal! Being raised in a family of seven on a shoestring budget where quantity over quality was KING, I had, (and still have) a magnetic pull and moral responsibility to “good deals”.
My “Wanda Wants” brain wanted those donuts. (This is what I’ve named the primitive part of my brain that wants everything that looks or smells good in my mouth in that same moment).
My logical brain wanted to be smart and get in on the deal because that’s what smart people do. The two shook hands and agreed what a smart, happy person I would be with that box of donuts in my cart. And in it went.
Now here’s the part I intended. To take them home and share them with my family. “Yay Mom! She’s our hero!”
And here’s the part that’s funny about that. At the time, my “family” consisted of one toddler and a husband who didn’t care about donuts.
Yeahhhhhh. See where the logic begins to fade?
And here’s the second funny part about that. The aforementioned husband and toddler were both gone for the day.
Before I could put the groceries away I had the first donut in my mouth. It was warm and amazing and gone entirely too quickly, so of course I had another. For me…ONE donut, one cookie, one cupcake was just the hors d’oeuvres to wet my appetite.
After the third donut I put the rest in the fridge, saving 9 for everyone else.
As the mysterious deep, french voice on SpongeBob says…”Five. Minutes. Later…”
There I was, in front of the fridge, justifying the fourth.
Calling My Name
After that one I went in the other room to get some cleaning done and distract myself. But the strangest thing happened…thirty minutes later the donuts actually began calling my name.
You weren’t there, you don’t KNOW!
“Jiiiiiiiiillllle,” they whispered…” do you remember we’re here? Just sitting here…ONE room away? Nobody will see…nobody will know. The force is strong with us…” and so on it went.
I fought it for about an hour and finally couldn’t stand it anymore. I went back in and ate two more to shut the voice up.
If you’re any good at math you’ll know I was now down to half a box.
Half a box is still respectable, I thought. I could get away with that. I’ll tell my husband I shared half with the neighbors. YES. That works.
Two hours later, hungry for lunch, I opened the fridge and made the rational decision that donuts sounded like a balanced meal. Flour and sugar come from the ground right? Pretty sure there’s an egg in there. And the milk I’d drink with it “does a body good!”
An hour later the cycle repeated.
I was now down to THREE. I was full, bloated and repentant. That was IT! No more! These three would be for my family for SURE.
Mustering my will power I stuck them back in the fridge and marched away.
An hour later I marched back.
Destroying the Evidence
After eating that tenth donut I realized I just COULDN’T have two left in the box! What would my husband think? Holy cow I had to DO something about this.
And my brain hatched a brilliant plan. Eat ALL of them! Destroy the evidence! Nobody will ever know they were here!
Sooooo stinking clever.
And so I stood over the box and polished off the two final soldiers. They’d almost made it through the day, bless them.
Looking at the empty box and realizing I’d just polished off a dozen donuts by myself left me feeling a myriad of emotions from confused to angry to disgusted to completely embarrassed. And don’t forget sick to my stomach on top of it.
I quickly shoved the box in a bag and walked from my apartment to the dumpster to dispose of Exhibit A of shame before my family came home.
I spent the rest of the day wondering what was wrong with me and how I could’ve been so freaking weak? Seriously??
It was like I’d had an out of body experience and watched myself eat against my will. I was the one doing it, yet I felt driven like a robot. As though someone else held the remote control!
I knew I was making the decision over and over, and yet it felt like someone else was making it for me.
I didn’t understand it and I never talked about it. But that was the day I knew I had a problem. Something FELT like it had taken over and driven me around like a little remote control monster truck!
It would be almost 30 years and dozens of binge days later (some less extreme, some more), that I finally learned what that remote control was.
The Remote Control
I finally understood the power flour and sugar had on my brain! Though I had the ability to control it within me, I didn’t always know how to tap into it.
Sometimes I could, and many times I couldn’t. Sometimes I could white knuckle through my cravings, and other times I didn’t last ten minutes. And the cravings came ALL the time.
But now I know there was nothing wrong with ME. I wasn’t flawed or weak or ridiculous OR broken.
I just had a normal brain that craved feeling good! And in the moment of chewing and tasting and swallowing, all of that sugar felt really good. Especially if I felt stressed or anxious or any other emotion I wanted to get rid of.
My primitive brain became confused and thought sugar was super important and I needed it for survival! Our brains DO this when we give them huge dopamine hits. This is why lab rats will choose cocaine over food until they starve to death. (Incidentally, studies have also shown the rats will choose sugar OVER cocaine).
The drug tricks their brain and sugar had tricked mine.
Once I learned how it totally made scientific sense, I was able to release the judgment and shame and guilt I’d carried for years. This didn’t have anything to do with my goodness, strength or worth…it had everything to do with my physiology and neurology!
It took me quite a journey to uncover and understand what was happening and to finally figure out how to truly change it. The answer wasn’t easy, but it was simple:
Nutrition + Mindset + Love = Lasting Change
I learned how to eat, think and love myself in a way that actually changed my desire. The intense desire I once felt for sugar & refined carb foods shifted into a desire to love my body, myself and my LIFE.
When I learned how to finally overcome this for myself, my greatest desire was to help other women, struggling just like I was, find the health and freedom waiting for them too.
So, in the blogs to come, I’m going to share with you the formula that changed my life to help you change yours. I want you to find the confidence, peace and happiness you not only deserve, but that is totally available to you.
Know that it IS possible and not just for “other” people. It’s possible for YOU.