confessions of a sugar addict

by Patricia on March 15, 2010 · 25 comments

Hello, my name is Patricia, and I am a sugar addict. It has been ten days since my last binge.


By now you should know that I love sweets. Even if this is your first visit to my blog, it is pretty obvious with a quick glance around. From brownies to biscuits, and from cravings to obsessions, I have been at the mercy of that dynamic duo of butter and sugar my entire life but never as much as in the last year and a half.

I started baking after work as a way to escape the stress. And then I started keeping track of the food here on this blog. And while baking and blogging have brought me joy, stress relief, and a black belt in cookie baking, it also brought with it a spare tire, bigger jeans, and a matching set of saddle bags.

So I started this year with the intent of losing that extra weight. I even joined Ten in 10 to help get me over the hump. But after eating pancakes one night for dinner and then making another batch for breakfast the following day and then baking 3 versions of this lemon yogurt cake in 3 days, it was time for a reality check.

I wasn’t committed. Nothing had really changed in 2010. Sure, I managed one or two good weeks back in January. But then slipped back into my bad habits as easily as slipping into a pair of ratty, old Converse sneakers that are oh-so-comfy but really shouldn’t still be in your closet.

So I took a step back and thought about what I eat and why. I know better than to eat rich desserts after lunch and dinner on the same day. Or instead of dinner on some days. But I still did it. I realized it was mostly out of boredom and bad habits, and made myself face some harsh truths as Reality looked down its nose at me:

  1. Eating dessert first is fine if you’re not replacing entire meals almost daily with said desserts. Yes, I know this blog is called Brownies for Dinner, but the harsh reality is that you can’t live a healthy balanced life if you eat brownies for dinner every day. Not that I did. I did however eat biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes, and big chunks of cheese for dinner. A lot.
  2. Bodies change as you get older. I hate admitting this one. I mean, who wants to admit they are getting older? But at 36, I can’t hide from the truth. Metabolisms slow down. I can’t keep eating what I want the way I did when I was 16 or 26. And I can’t eat the way I did when I was in the gym rock climbing and/or running 6-7 days a week when I’m spending more days couch-bound than strapped into running shoes. It does not compute.
  3. Mom was right. You should take your vitamins everyday. My mom has told me for as long as I can remember that I should take a multivitamin every day. But I hate taking pills. I don’t have a logical explanation for it but my aversion to pills has kept me from taking vitamins (and sometimes medicines) for most of my adult life. I’ve tried several times but never could make it a habit. (It doesn’t help that most multivitamins I’ve found are horse pills). But recently I started choking down a daily multivitamin and a zinc supplement (on the recommendation of a personal trainer) and my energy and mental clarity have increased. Whether that’s coincidental or causal, I don’t know. But I am almost 2 full weeks into the daily vitamin habit and feeling good. (Cutting the horse pill in half helps a little with swallowing it though it tastes even more horrible that way).
  4. Thinking about exercise doesn’t burn many calories. I have started so many days thinking about the exercise that I should do: “I should go for a run today.” “I should do yoga.” Or I would think about what I used to be able to do in terms of exercise. “I used to run 6 miles and be ready for more.” “I used to be able to climb so much harder.” etc… And then I’d sit there feeling sorry about how I have to wear bigger jeans. This isn’t logical.


So now what? I’ve done all that thinking, but does it mean anything? Yes, actually. I’m still laying the groundwork, but have recommitted myself to being healthy. This doesn’t mean I’m motivated just to lose weight. Diets don’t work for me. The minute I say I’m on a diet, I start craving chocolate cake and doughnuts. Seriously, that’s just how my brain works.

There will be more posts in the coming days about what changes I’m making to bring things into balance and the motivations behind them, but for now I wanted to let you know about the focus and intention I have set for myself and my blog: delicious food and a balanced life. As I said, I don’t do diets and I don’t do deprivation. So don’t worry, there will still be desserts and comfort foods around, but there might be a few more salads and dinners to go with them.

What is your food weakness?

Related: confessions of a sugar addict, part 2


1 Bryan March 17, 2010 at 8:43 am

Great post! My weakness, has and always will be one simple thing. Bread. I feel I’m probably not alone.

Great points about how things change as we age. I’m 34 now and coming to the harsh realization that 34 is not the same as 21 and no amount of math can fix that!

Keep up the great blogging!


2 Amalia March 16, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Hello! you don’t know me, I’m Amalia, nice to meet you (: okay now that you know me…
I love reading this kind of thing in bakeblogs, because it is something a lot of people (including me) goes through sometimes and is hard, especially when you have/need/want to bake and post it on your blog and i just something that needs care. But our bodies too, I started exercising today and I am not quiting! Be strong, if I can do it anybody can. (: really.
My biggest food weakness is cookies. Cant.Resist.Cookies.
Solution though! These bar cookies are low in fat and sugar (if you use stevia or splenda) high in fiber and protein and AMAZINGLY good. Must try, check it out here!
The best of luck!

3 Cindy March 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm

My weakness is cooking and baking…and eating…does that count as “a” weakness? I love food and struggle constantly with eating things that are good for me and things that are delicious and trying to find food that is both!
Good for you for taking a step back and looking at making your life healthy and vibrant and enjoyable – no diet for me either, just some reasonable grasp on how I should fuel my body. Best!

4 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:31 am

“I love food and struggle constantly with eating things that are good for me and things that are delicious and trying to find food that is both!” — Exactly!!

5 jean March 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

Patricia ~ love this post! Been quietly going through my own version ~ i keep putting off working out b/c its so hard while traveling, but so exhausted when home! The vitamins thing i also suck at ~ and getting enough vegetables too ~ so i started going for smoothies and pressed veg juices no matter where in the world i am lately if not committed to drinks/meals with people that i barely controlled… and pressing my own at home! 10 in ten sounds awesome, can’t wait to hear how it goes ~ and hopefully i can tag along and DO a bit more in my own way too :) Good Luck!!!

i do hate that everyone older who kept warning my metabolism would change… was right!

6 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:30 am

Traveling is really hard. I always end up in the mindset that it’s a special meal (every meal) when I’m not at home whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure and that just means I eat too much or the wrong things. It’s also hard to find healthy choices in some places. Pressed juices sound like a good alternative to a lot of what’s out there. Good luck :)

7 Sarah March 16, 2010 at 9:59 am

So I hate taking vitamins too because the whole swallowing a pill thing. I’ve discovered that they make adult gummy vitamins. Yes, vitamins disguised as gummy bears. Sure, they probably aren’t the same as Centrum or One a Day, but I like to think they are. And for someone who is also a sugar addict, I now get to eat a piece of candy once a day that is actually good for me!

8 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

I’ve seen the gummy vitamins and thought about trying them. I might when I get through the bottle I have now. But I have also heard there are liquid vitamins (even multivitamins). I’m really curious about those.

9 Marina March 16, 2010 at 2:53 am

Hi, my name is Marina and I’m a suggar-addict too. My last binge was yesterday afternoon.
For past few months I’m trying to start my diet and so far I managed to pull it of for two days in a row… I’m following you thru google reader and I completely found myself in this post. Looking forward to your next post and hopefully it will bring me an idea how to loose my extra “sweet” pounds… ;)

10 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

Good luck Marina. I can’t do diets because I can’t stick to them for more than a day at a time. But looking at the big picture of my health helped me start to make adjustments to change my eating. If you find something meaningful to you to use as motivation it can really help.

11 Adin Smith March 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Cortisol will increase if the thought of losing weight stresses you out (which makes you gain more abdominal fat). This paradox is important to understand before you embark on a weight loss plan. Ideally, it is best done gradually and done through the guidance of an expert personal trainer versed in nutrition, targeted supplementation, and lifestyle coaching in addition to physical workouts. Having support and direction from a professional helps prevent cortisol release as a result.

Adin Smith |

12 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:22 am

Thanks Adin. I don’t think enough people realize that they sabotage themselves in their weight loss by stressing over it. There was a girl in a bootcamp class I took last year who was working out 1-2 hours per day 7 days a week and cutting back on almost every kind of food and not losing weight… but she was so freaked out about losing weight she couldn’t relax.

13 Eliana March 15, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Diets suck big time. My weakness is just food in general. What I like, I don’t like like, I love!!! And can/will eat for the reason alone, not just because I’m hungry. I am in the same boat you are and while I have yet to write down my goals, I know what I am doing wrong and know what I have to change. Gradual change is going to be best for me (and most). Right now, my focus is trying to eat more veggies, which I’m really bad at. Once I adjust that, I will work on something else and take it from there. I am proud to say I have added two new veggies to my regular meals. So the next thing for me is not going to be soon after eating. So my advice, is just take it one day, one thing at a time and before you know it everything will fall into place.

14 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

Absolutely. Small steps, one at a time… that’s the only way to change habits.

15 Melissa March 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I know what you mean about diets. My husband and I have been working on portion control. We still have some sweets now and then, but no more eating the whole pan of brownies in one night! We have been teased with a few days of warm weather out here in the midwest. I am ready to get back to walking the dog and just sitting outside. When I am sitting outside, I am not so tempted to snack! It is amazing what the sun can do for the mental health.

16 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:19 am

The sun has been out around here lately and it’s been warm. It makes me so happy! I don’t mind winter but it does make everything seem more blah. Viva la spring!

17 April March 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I love what you said about the vitamins. I am really bad about taking them, but when I do I feel so much more energized. I know that in a perfect world we would eat so healthy that they ( vitamins) would be not be needed, but this isn’t a perfect world . As much as I try to eat my veggies, I often go a whole day without eating any:( Thanks for the reminder. I look forward to more about healthy dinners.

18 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

Hey April,

It is unfortunate but no one eats a perfect diet. And even if we all did, we’d probably still be deficient in some things like vitamin D because we don’t get enough direct sunlight (sunscreen interferes with vitamin D production). So yeah, mom was right… I need to take my vitamins :)

19 Carollee March 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Hey, thanks for posting this. You sound just like me, and I really needed to hear it. I turn 30 this week and reality is setting in that I just don’t look and fell like I did when I was 20. Sure I had a baby and broke all the bones in my feet, but that was 7 years ago and I need to get real. This weight isn’t going to loose itself, no matter how many wrong turns I take around the block hoping to distract it. I gotta do something, but I love to bake. I love it, there is somethign MAGICAL about the chemistry of butter and sugar and empty calories. So rule number 1, don’t deprive myself or my coworkers of my gift. I won’t stop baking but that doesn’t mean I have to eat it . From now on I am going to share. So thanks for making me really take a look at this.

20 Patricia March 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

Sharing is uber-important when it comes to baked goods. I’ve taken a step back from baking temporarily until I can get my other eating habits under control but plan to fire up the oven again sometime soon. Just keep your awareness, it’s your best weapon against overeating the delicious desserts (I mean, the times I overeat I’m usually not thinking about it… mindless eating).

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