Fasting True Confessions

I had a bad fasting day. A very terrible, awful failure of a fasting day. And what adds insult to injury is that the bad day I had on Tuesday created an even worse day on Wednesday.

Here’s how it started. On Monday, my husband and I had each had a long day. It was exceptionally cold in Minnesota and the feeling of wanting to hibernate on the couch under a bunch of blankets was overwhelming. He decided that the idea of having a beer was appealing. I decided to join him with a glass of wine. It was an eating day, so that was allowed. The glass of wine led to a piece of blueberry pie and no, I did not hold the ice cream. Again — eating day, and allowed.

I slept horribly and the next day, almost from the moment I woke up, I felt overwhelmed with cravings. My body ached. I was grouchy. My nose was stuffy, I kept itching my head, and I felt like I had hayfever — in January, in subzero weather. Around noon, my allotted two cups of Skinny Pop, my mid-day snack, became four cups. It was as if I couldn’t stop myself. Next thing I knew, I had disassociated from my body and found myself ferreting around in the chips drawer. After I blew it by eating chips, I decided I didn’t want my normal fasting day dinner so instead, I ate leftover pasta, which, let’s face it, is more carbs. That caused me to feel even more sluggish. I yelled at the kids. I was on a shame-and-blame rollercoaster and I tried to make it go away by eating chocolate.

Is it possible to have a sugar hangover? Is sugar an addictive substance? The Purple Guinea Pig is here to tell you: Yes, and yes.

Tidying my house was one unintended consequence of fasting. The second is that I am grappling with the fact that I have a sugar problem. I was shocked at how strong my sugar cravings were on my fasting day, after having eaten sugar on my eating day.

While scrolling through Instagram yesterday, a quote from Russell Brand popped up on my feed. He wrote, “If you want to see if something’s problematic in your life, see what happens if you withdraw it from your life.”

Whoa. That hit home. On fasting days, I remove sugar from my diet. I didn’t purposely remove sugar, but I don’t eat it because there is no room for sugary treats in a 500-calorie fasting day. When I added sugar back on my eating day, I was shocked at how sick it made me feel, and how much I craved more and more, even while I felt grumpy and sluggish.

Oh sugar, we had a long love story. But fasting taught me something I never saw coming. You and I are no good together. It’s official: Sugar and I are breaking up.

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