Like 99.99% of everyone on the planet, my fascination with sweets started at an early age. My mother rationed them out at first, but there was this ongoing war between my father and I. My mother would buy, say, a bag of cookies. My father would take the bag of cookies and vanish. I would have to say this was part of my father's aggressive territorial nature, which sadly, I participated in. So when I got older, I would try and get as many cookies as I could before he found out about them, which would make him furious, and made me sort of fat. The war became so bad, that my mother told me she'd buy me my own bag of cookies, and I was to hide them from my dad. Thus ended the war.
My mother controlled what we ate and drank when she was sober. Being the Gourmet Cook that she was, this was not a problem, although I have to apologize to the powers that be here because I was so picky about what I ate, that my mother was forced to only cook me about 10-12 items until I was about 15. Poor Mama, sorry, wherever you are. I did get better. But I digress. One of the "weird" things I grew up without was soda or Kool-aid of any kind. Candy was almost NEVER in the house (except at Christmas), and I think the only sweet things I grew up with were cookies (usually Oreos and Girl Scout Cookies), cakes (when my mother made them), Jell-O, and the accessional pint of ice cream. This led to some odd facts about me, like I had my first taste of Cola at age 19 (and I will only drink it if there's nothing else available, or I need the caffeine), and I had my first Twinkie around the same time (thanks, Aunt Angela). The only Kool-aid I ever had was during cub scout meetings, and it was always unsweetened (I think because we were hyper enough). I think during the 3 or so times I saw my grandparents, they pumped me full of sweet things. Part of the "grandparent privilege" list, I am guessing.
When I lived with roommates, I never got many sweet things because I was not used to them. FanTek had a few things, but only for events, and they mostly got scarfed by others. Tim and Anita... well, I had my own food, and was on a strict budget because I was saving for my wedding. My "sweet things" were generally a box of Ritz crackers.
When I got married, this all came to a crashing end. Christine came from a family that had sweet things in the house. On top of that, she was used to 3 meals a day. I was used to one, possibly two meals a day. My metabolism didn't know what was coming. When I got married, I was 189 pounds. I am now 330, almost double that. But, of course, that's not Christine's fault.
Part of the problems I started to have were the triad of evil with sweet things: they are cheap, plentiful, and make you feel better when stressed. A box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are $1.09 for 12 rolls of chocolately goodness, packaged in twos. When we were first married, we went from one financial disaster to another. We were married poor, constantly had bill problems, kept losing our jobs due to things out of control, (laid off, company closed, or health), then I was unemployed for 2 years, and... well, it wasn't until about 1998-99 that things got a little better, at about the 10-year mark of marriage.
During this time, we ate horribly, and one of the reasons poor people are usually overweight is that all the carb-laden foods, sugar included, are so damn cheap. A box of spaghetti is 99 cents. Six packets of ramen are less than a $1.00. For less than a buck, you could get 6 packets of Kool-aid, that makes 3 gallons, plus sugar, which is like $2 for about 6 cups. This means you can have a non-water substance for about $1/gal. Milk is about $4/gal, and juice is also around there.
Fresh veggies, unspoiled meat, and vitamin laden foods are really luxuries when you are wondering if you have enough to make rent that month. Plus, you are depressed, so sweets and fatty foods make you feel better, and it just never ends. Even when you have work, you work so hard, and you come home tired, and all you want is something easy to cook, which are usually things like bulk frozen pizzas, ramen, or something else quick to cook that is also gentle on your wallet. Sometimes, we got so depressed when we knew our combined salaries were "barely making it," when back in some small town, we would have been richer beyond all comprehension. Once we made $40,000 a year, combined income, which out here is borderline starvation, and in Keyser, WV... we could have owned a house. Of course, there's no work out there. That's why things are cheap.
We make a lot more, now. We can afford to eat better, but we don't. And now I am addicted to sugar.
I have tried a few times to go off of it. It always seems to invite disaster. In December of 2003 I made a choice to eat better, or at least more balance. Then 2004 happened. Death. War. Sickness. Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Every time I have tried to eat better, something like this happens. It happened back in 2001, 1998, and 1991 as well. Those were followed by Christine's accident, mother-in-law dying, and losing my job and getting evicted. In fact, almost every series of calamities I have ever had started with, "I will eat better, and this time, I mean it..." It gets to the point where you are afraid to eat better because even though logic states the two are not related, your "experience" tells you otherwise. Like say if every time you touched lettuce, you got a nasty electric shock. You may tell yourself, "Oh, this is silly, there is now way that lettuce could give me a nasty shock," but have it happen just a few times in a row... and you'll find it hard to convince yourself to touch the lettuce next time. It's just human nature; the way your brain is wired.
One wild idea I had was vow to eat worse. Chow down on cake. Like, drink caffeine even when I don't need it. If I am feeling sick, drink lots of milk and greasy pork products, etc... Go 40 days eating nothing but donuts and ice cream. Just to see if I'd eat healthy as a form of rebellion ("Gaaaah! I had a salad when I wasn't paying attention!"), or maybe real good luck will happen. Of course, I could get really fat and sick, and I don't want to take that risk.
Anyway, I decided to start like how I started all my diet changes, one day at a time. Today, I decided to try and go one day without refined sugar. Then the next. Then the next. Just to see how far I could go. It's hour 15, and I don't feel so good. I tell myself, "Oh, it's just the poison working through you, give it 3 days, and you'll feel better."
So far today, I have had 2 cups of coffee with Equal and powdered creamer, on 16oz of diet Dr. Pepper, 12-piece Chik-fil-A nuggets, small order of waffle fries, small cole slaw, and some of their "Polynesian dipping sauce." Yeah, I know, "What a lot of fat, OMG!" but no real amount of sugar. Fat I'll work on next... maybe. One weakness I have is chocolate, which is my #1 "emergency mood enhancer and migraine softener."
Part of my inspiration comes from my son, who just decided one day to go vegetarian. And he's stuck with it for about half a year now. Even when "pressured" to have meat by his school or friends. He's also sworn off of sugar, and only once made an exception for Christmas Day. I admire that.
Oooh, almost at hour 16!