Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

If you don’t drink alcohol it’s not the end of the world. You won’t die. You don’t need it. You only crave it or want it because it’s there. It’s a comfort, it’s a habit. It’s a drug.

If you don’t eat, it can be the end of the world. We need to eat and drink to survive. If we don’t we die.

Above I have stated the obvious. Ten months sober and I feel I have a handle on the not drinking part of life. The benefits of being sober outweigh the hangovers and lost moments of drinking life. The abundance of time that being sober opens up is a daunting thing. I am left with myself, my sober self. I cannot take a holiday from me. I cannot take a break from me. I am stuck with me. Before in my drinking days I would have taken a break from myself by getting drunk. Today I don’t need to escape from the isle of me. Have I got my life figured out? Not by a half. However I am learning to deal with myself as I am today. I am far from perfect. I am human after all.

My body deals with sugar poorly. I have known this for most of my life. To have a banana or something sweet in my bag was not uncommon. I used to know this. I forgot. Stopping alcohol gave my eating habits a wobbly unbalance. I compensated by binging on food. A common enough side effect of quitting alcohol. Ten months into this sober pursuit and I think I can now face my relationship with food.

I have hypoglycemia. That’s a fancy word for low blood sugar. When I have low blood sugar I can feel dizzy, lose vision, sweat profusely, be clumsy, feel weak and shaky, fatigue, light-headed, have trouble talking, pale skin, diarrhoea, pass out.

I cannot eat the way I used to drink. I cannot substitute food for the way I drank. I will damage my body. If I binge on sweet foods my body has to adjust and level out. It expects more sugar later but when that doesn’t happen it panics and carries on like in the symptoms above. It used to be scary. Now I don’t panic. But I can stop this from happening altogether. I can eat smaller portions more often. I can carry something to eat with me. I didn’t do this and I was a mess a few weeks ago. Literally.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know what is good for us and what is not. We know this. We have read about it. Most of it is commonsense. Humans are supposed to be a smarter species but I beg to differ. We have two options, the right one and the wrong one. We often choose the wrong one, even with all the information and knowledge that the wrong choice is bad. We still go for the wrong one. Is it plain stupidity? I don’t know. We cannot help ourselves until we go so far wrong that we get to the place of make or break. Humans aren’t logical. We like to think we are but we aren’t. We try to complicate our lives by doing the wrong thing over and over but keeping it simple seems too easy? I really don’t know why we do the things that we do. Stubbornness is a big reason. Why do we rebel against ourselves though?Why must we make life harder for ourselves when we know the difference between right and wrong?

Back to the sugar. I need to regulate my sugar intake. I can no longer guzzle an entire bag of licorice without suffering consequences. Because if I’m honest it isn’t just a bag of licorice. It is the desire to eat what is in reach. It is not healthy eating. It is eating for the sake of eating. It is perhaps emotional eating. It is replacement eating for alcohol that I no longer consume.

I do not drink fizzy drink or soda. I haven’t for many years. I don’t drink fruit juice either. I have a sweet tooth. I haven’t baked in a long while because I will tend to eat all of the baking within a short space of time. Why? Because it’s there. I have not taken moderation seriously with my food. I love food. I took food holidays. Visiting balsamic vinegar making factories, eating wild boar, pickled sardines, freshly fried sardines, octopus, fresh mozzarella, tiramisu. I ate my way around places. I would cook in apartments with fresh ingredients from the markets. It was a great focus to travel. I did art holidays too. I followed the footsteps of Matisse. I followed the Byzantine. Reading up before I left. It was a great way to travel.

I am forcing myself to moderate my food intake. If I regulate how much sugar I consume then I won’t become hypoglycemic. Simple. No. Not so simple. I am bucking the habits of a lifetime. I am limiting myself to five pieces of licorice a day. I read the back of the package and a single serving is 40g or five pieces. I used to look at the back for fun and then eat the entire bag. I cannot do that anymore without consequences. Wake up me. Time to get real. I have done three days of self regulation of licorice. That for me is a big step. Because with that comes better eating habits all around. Salads and salmon. Toasted muesli. Kiwifruit. Yoghurt. Almonds instead of chocolate. Whole grain toast. Smaller portions. Eating when hungry, not just for the sake of it, eating better.

This evening I will have five pieces of licorice. No more and no less.

Discounted marshmallows

Sweet tooth did the supermarket run today. She bought 10 bags of Christmas marshmallows. They were NZ$1.40 down from $NZ$2.00. I knew they would be there. I had a feeling they’d be discounted. I restrained myself to limiting myself to ten bags.

Wow. The self-control she must have, you might be thinking? Hardly. As soon as I parked the car at home, I placed nine bags into the locker and shut the door. As I write this I can report that the contents of one bag is already missing. I won’t be filing a report. It’s the casualties of life.

The logic behind storing the marshmallows in the garage is laziness. Sure there is a sweet tooth that lives inside of me but she is lazy. There is no way she would bother to go down to the garage and get another bag. The marshmallows are safe where they are. For now at least.

The plan is to ration the sweet tooth to one bag a week. Realistically speaking, it means sweet tooth wolfs down one bag in one sitting but writing as one bag a week makes her sounds like she has her sweet tooth under control.

Day 32 Sober. Reading Allen Carr’s “The Easy Way for Women to Stop Drinking.” It has put the spotlight on my sweet addiction. Substitution is not the answer. Half way through and finding it very helpful.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a wonderful sober 2019!


Sleep deprived

Tea-ed out, chocolated out and sleep deprived. Didn’t bother to go to bed until 2am because I thought what was the point in tossing and turning for hours. Turned out to be a smart idea. I fell asleep soon after getting to bed. Woke up this morning though wanting to sleep more. My face says tired. My hair says brush me. I ignore them both and go out.

I skipped the gym today. And I’m okay with that. Guilt is absent. I’m giving myself a break. I’m being kind to myself. That said, I really should have brushed my hair before going out. Too late now. I’m home again.

I need to buy more tea and chocolate if I am going to survive the holiday season. Yes. Need. To remain sober I need to have distraction. I have been drinking copious amounts of tea. I have found a tea I like and I’m going to go crazy and buy the lot. It’s not a popular tea. Pomegranate. I hope they have it in stock.

Sweet craving are the norm for those that go sober. It’s to be expected. For me, the one with the sweet tooth, I hope that I don’t balloon out to greet the wind.

The hours between 8 and 10 in the evenings are my witching hours. Beware the sweet tooth monster during those times and you can make it through the night. Otherwise watch out and reap the wrath of the monster.