2

votes

Carb Therapy: Self-medicating with Sugar

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 03, 2010 at 5:46 AM

Isn't it interesting how people self-medicate with nicotine, alcohol, and carbohydrates?

Valentine's day? Box of chocolates.

Broken heart? Tub of ice cream.

Lonely at home? Cookies and brownies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/dining/26feed.html?ref=dining

In a healthy culture people shouldn't need to drug themselves. Yet, so often, I see young children in bad moods being placated with food. Here, eat this, stop crying.

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Hard-Food-Easy-Emotional/dp/0895261456/

http://www.amazon.com/Mindless-Eating-More-Than-Think/dp/0553384481/

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 15, 2011
at 10:47 PM

So much of it is psychological; So many times I've thought I wanted sugar (dessert), for whatever reason (emotional, association w/'reward status', association w/'treat', etc.) and I eat it and it is less than satisfying. I went to the same thing w/bread, pastas, tortillas, etc. and before that, wine with meals. I'm still working through the dessert part, I still get cravings (which I believe is largely psychological), but each time i indulge I feel worse and worse after (physically due to the sugar), I hope to be permanently over dessert/sweet pastries cravings soon!!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 01, 2010
at 12:38 PM

My daughter asks for Bigger/more expensive cuts of meat... Filet, Tbone, NY Strip etc

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 08, 2010
at 10:50 PM

It's not just that you focus on eating and therefore tune out, but the sugar numbs you, and soothes you. It's really a drug.

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5 Answers

2
C90eecdd76cf57a387095fa49de23807

(960)

on September 01, 2010
at 06:39 AM

Well, we're creatures of habit, and of associations, right? So regularly eating while reading the newspaper, for example, is a learned habit--or a conditioned response, re: Pavlov--that we've learned over time. Repeated "submission" to the urge to eat once we've opened the newspaper reinforces the association we have of Newspaper = Eat. In turn, if we can quit these habits for just a couple weeks, the associations weaken, so these automatic actions stop being automatic. This applies to all sorts of food associations we have--always eating at a certain time, for example, or in a certain place. And for the most part they can be kicked with simple diligence.

Of course this is a lot harder when the foods we're eating have emotional significance or have addictive properties. As a reformed sugar-addict, I understand that phenomenon all too well.

2
84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on June 03, 2010
at 07:12 AM

Dut to some life circumstances I have recently became an emotional eater and it's a struggle.

It's especially challenging if you run out of food and start eating "food" to satisfy the craving.

I also found out that I have linked food with reading the newspaper (habit that I picked up from my father) and in the past there were situations when I wasn't hungry but ate because I still had to read some pages in the newspaper and situations where I was hungry but still needed some newspaper with the meal.

I mostly eat alone so it's really easy for me to slip in the newspaper circle.

I gained the realization that, when combining the two factors, I do not enjoy the food as much, nor do I retain much info from reading but they are still times when I "have to" eat & read.

I'll pick up the books.

1
A6e2b231f69366ce825476c5a6dcfff6

(1967)

on June 03, 2010
at 06:48 AM

Short Story:

I had a house mate a few years back. Once a month she would bake. Regular as clockwork. She would eat up to half of what she baked. Then leave the rest for myself and 2 roommates. I hadn't heard of paleo yet but not much more got eaten. I could have been ok with this setup if not for one thing. She left the dishes for someone else to do.
At that point I moved out, but baking to ease pms didn't seem to be a working plan.

0
Ca95b69c6eb17e85417760501a04c2ec

(45)

on June 04, 2010
at 09:10 PM

re: emotional eating... what i've read suggests that it's a way to tune out, almost like a perverse kind of meditation. food is so cheap and so available and so accessible that it's not hard to indulge in this kind of meditation in order to avoid the present. some solutions i've found useful are to make a concerted effort to be aware of how you feel when you eat. are you eating because you're hungry? or are you eating because you want to avoid thinking? if it's the second one, try to put down the food and grapple with your own thoughts and emotions for a little bit. i have little tics like this, but they're not food-related: i'll bite my nails when i study or when i'm on the phone with my mom because i have a lot of hard feelings wrapped up in both of those. it takes a lot to bring myself back to earth and tell myself that i can be present during this paper, conversation, whatever.

as a side note: i have no doubt that paleo is a great way to live. that said, i also think it can be used (like any diet or workout regimen) as a control mechanism... as an auto-pilot we can turn on when we don't want to think about why we're eating. "as long as it's meat, it's fine." "as long as it's not sugar, eat as much as you want." it can easily justify that kind of perverse meditation/withdrawal from reality.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 08, 2010
at 10:50 PM

It's not just that you focus on eating and therefore tune out, but the sugar numbs you, and soothes you. It's really a drug.

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 15, 2011
at 10:47 PM

So much of it is psychological; So many times I've thought I wanted sugar (dessert), for whatever reason (emotional, association w/'reward status', association w/'treat', etc.) and I eat it and it is less than satisfying. I went to the same thing w/bread, pastas, tortillas, etc. and before that, wine with meals. I'm still working through the dessert part, I still get cravings (which I believe is largely psychological), but each time i indulge I feel worse and worse after (physically due to the sugar), I hope to be permanently over dessert/sweet pastries cravings soon!!

0
9b30ac6313c523c7be36af68c4ab1bf6

(40)

on June 03, 2010
at 06:43 AM

I think a lot of it is culture based and a learned habit. I know a lot of parents who gift bad food to their children for doing well in school or for doing their chores, as well as every birthday, holiday etc. Hell I know parents who give their kids bad food when their ill to make them 'feel better'. An awful lot of my friends eat stuff (certain candy, grilled sandwiches, ice creams, etc) because they remember that their parents used to give them the same thing when they were upset/ill/did well. For most people its a simple case that they associate happiness with sugar which in turn makes it addictive.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 01, 2010
at 12:38 PM

My daughter asks for Bigger/more expensive cuts of meat... Filet, Tbone, NY Strip etc

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