Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Honest Confessions Of A Carb Addict

(Hey everyone! I'm now a regular columnist for! This is my first article. Please let me know what you think!)

Hi. My name is Amy Dungan and I'm addicted to carbohydrates. I can't really say when or where the problem began. I'm sure I could trace it all the way back to my childhood somewhere. I may never be sure. What I do know is that simple carbohydrates are a huge problem for me. One taste of chocolate cake - just smelling french fries - will start my mouth watering and send my willpower into a tizzy. It's not that I want to eat junk food or be unhealthy, it just seems like I have no control over myself when the cravings hit.

I first realized I had a serious problem back in 2001. I was desperate to lose weight. I had health problems that frightened me and only got worse with each pound I gained. I had a 5 year old, a toddler, and a husband to live for. I couldn't allow myself to go to an early grave. I envisioned someone one finding me unconscious, face down in the ice cream. What I was doing to myself wasn't fair to any of us. How do I take care of my family when I can't even take care of myself?

While doing Internet research on some of the health issues I was having, I came across a website that told about the trials of being hypoglycemic. It sounded very much like some of the suffering I had been enduring. But the author didn't stop there. She continued to tell how she overcame these maladies by going on a no-sugar, low-glycemic diet. At the time it sounded like an impossible task for me. How could I give up sugar? How could I live a normal life that way? It just didn't seem realistic. What I failed to see was that I wasn't currently living a normal life, at least not a happy one. My life consisted of fatigue, pain, IBS, mood swings, severe depression and a general lack of the will to live. I was blind to the answer that was in front of me. I was also scared to give it a try. What if I just failed again? I filed the information in the back of my mind and continued my search for the magic bullet.

A few months later I came across a copy of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. I sat down to read and spent the first few pages laughing. I was a disciple of the low-fat mantra. There was no way this low-carb stuff could be healthy or even help you lose weight. After reading further I started suspecting that someone had been watching my every move. It was as if he'd written that book just for me. I was the poster child for carb addictions. My mind flashed back to all the foods I preferred. The many times I was embarrassed because I couldn't seem to stop eating, even though I was full. The shame I felt as I hid in the bathroom while eating a candy bar, fearing that someone would notice and lecture me. The fatigue after a large meal filled with simple carbohydrates and starches. Tears filled my eyes as I realized I truly had a problem. I also experienced a huge sense of relief. I finally had an answer. All of my adult life I blamed myself for my lack of control. I berated myself for eating when I knew I shouldn't. I would become depressed over my weight, and eat high-carb foods to make myself feel better. I was in a vicious cycle.

I realized low-carb was my only hope. I spent many hours researching and asking questions. I think I lurked on every low-carb forum in existence. When I started Atkins in Nov. of 2001 I was loaded down with an arsenal of information and recipes. It didn't take long for me to realize I was on my way to a better life. In 2003 I reached goal and maintained for several months. But I failed to realize a very important truth--just as a recovering alcoholic can never go back to drinking, neither can a recovering carb addict go back to carbohydrates.

My backsliding started small. I'd have some pizza crust here, a small plate of pasta there. What I didn't notice was how often I'd started craving the very foods I had so religiously avoided for 3 years. It snowballed rapidly. The addiction once again had me in its grips.

I won't bore you with the details, but in January 2007 I started back at square one. Thankfully, I'm quickly losing weight and regaining the ground I've lost in the last couple of years. But I've learned a valuable lesson: once an addict, always an addict. As Dr. Atkins said, one bite really can be the kiss of death. Trust me on this one. It's a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way.


Calianna said...

Oh my.

I could have written this, because except for a few minor details, this is my story, right down to the fatigue after eating a large meal filled with simple carbohydrates (thanksgiving turkey dinners are really more about the mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, fresh rolls, and pumpkin pie than they are about the turkey, right?)

I'm so glad you wrote this. :)

Hopefully, more people who suffer from carb addiction will read it and finally find the hope they've been searching for.

Sparky's Girl said...

Thank you so much for the feedback! It helps to know that what I'm writing is helpful.

I agree 100% - Thanksgiving may have a turkey for a mascot, but it's all those side dishes that steal the show.

TESS said...

Thank you for an excellant post. So many of us have faced the same demons. It is through blogs such as yours, and posts like this one that keep me straight.I don't believe anyone except those who have suffered through what we have will ever understand.It is impossible to have cake without eating the whole thing, for those of us with a blood sugar problem.Like any addiction, you can only live one day at a time and then go on to the next day.

Sparky's Girl said...

Thanks for letting me know how much you appreciate my blog and posts. Someday you wonder if anyone is even reading. LOL

Hang in there. We'll all get through this, as you said, one day at a time. And the great part is we have each other to help us through each of those days. :0)

Cindy said...

Wow!!! I definitly could have written this....and I suspect there are many of us that would say the same thing.

I knew I had a problem for a long time. I can remember saying, back in my early 30s, that I thought I was addicted....but to food, I didn't realise it was the carbs.

I'd given up and resigned myself to a life of being fat. I'd tried dieting lots of times (low fat of course) and of course only lost a little, and quickly gained it all back.

For me, the "aha" moment was seeing Dr Atkins on a talk show. I can't even remember which one, and I wasn't even paying attention. At one point, I started listening....and thought he was talking about me!!! I couldn't believe it! Everything Dr Atkins was saying!

I went out the next day and bought his book. I cried when I read it. I couldn't believe this could be my answer!

I've struggled. I've not yet met my goal. But I am now determined to get this weight off once and for all!

Sparky's Girl said...

I completely understand the struggle Cindy. You WILL get off the weight and keep it off - we all will! It's so great to finally have answers that really help us and give us the hope we need to keep going, even when it gets tough.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!