So it turns out afternoons are pretty rough without a nibble of chocolate here and there. As proved by... three whole days, which in my mind, apparently, equals a substantial body of evidence! So far each day, breakfast is fine, I get through the morning feeling fine, eat a virtuous lunch, continue to feel fine, and then two o' clock hits and... SLUMP. I make another cup of coffee, eat an apple or some dried berries to try to get a jolt of natural sugar, but man, literally from then until dinner it seems I cannot shake the thought of a pan of brownies or a couple of Reese's eggs from the kids' Easter stash. While I don't feel super tired, or at least any MORE tired than usual, I can literally feel in my bloodstream the craving for refined sugar. I feel shaky and headache-y and cranky, and have to distract myself with busyness or I just keep circling back to the kitchen, looking for SOMETHING. I need a patch, just like a nicotine addict.
It sort of frightens me that I could be this addicted to a substance. It also gives me a new level of respect for people who manage to quit smoking or drinking, which is surely far more difficult. Now, I'm sure that there HAVE been days in my life before where I just didn't eat sugar for whatever reason, but it wasn't an intentional abstaining, so it probably didn't get noticed so much. I was likely doing stuff and out of the house or traveling, and had other things on my mind. When I'm home alone with small kids (who are constantly asking, "Can I have an Easter candy since I did x without whining/since I ate my lunch/since I stopped hitting Adelay/?") it's like this ridiculous loop in my head of BOY DO I NEED SOME CHOCOLATE/CANDY/DESSERT-TYPE ITEM. It's kind of pathetic to be spending this much time thinking about food.
So pathetic that this afternoon I was thinking, "You know, this is stupid. I'll just have a Reese's cup, end the craving, and move on!" Except that I WOULDN'T just have one. The floodgates would be opened, and then I'd have five or six over the course of the afternoon. And feel sick, and mad at myself. So I just keep trusting that if I give it a few more days, or a week, I will get used to being without afternoon sugar to get me through, and I will stop thinking about it so obsessively. Because that's the goal- to not NEED sugar to feel normal.
I should clarify that I don't think it's generally good to have forbidden foods. This is more just trying to break a cycle of addiction, if you will, so that when I do allow myself sugary goodness again, it will be at birthday parties and as a special treat, not a daily necessity that I miss like a freakin' CRACKHEAD if I'm without.
This dependence on a cocktail of sugar to get me through the day is a bad habit I started when Eli was a baby, and didn't start sleeping through the night until he was a year old... and even then, not reliably for another year. By afternoons I was just so profoundly tired that it literally felt dangerous to even drive anywhere. And drinking pot fulls of coffee wasn't an option since he was always sensitive to caffeine in my milk- a cup a day was about all I could have without making him cranky. But that was when we were trying to sell our house, so falling into a drooling coma on the couch just wasn't an option- I had to keep up on the cleaning and laundry all the time. It wasn't long before I discovered that in the absence of coffee, a brownie or a cookie (or a brownie AND a cookie) was enough to jolt me back awake long enough to get through the dinner/bedtime stuff before I could collapse on the couch for the night.
Not coincidentally, it also took me until Eli started sleeping through the night, thus ending my complete and total reliance on sugar to sustain me, before I lost the last ten pounds of my baby weight. Now, Jameson had a brief window of being a pretty decent sleeper, and I was feeling and looking good and the world was a sunny place. But ever since his bouts of ear infection back in Jan/Feb, he has been up and down the whole night, most of it spent in my bed because I am too tired to put him back in the crib after getting him up to nurse yet again! So yeah... the profound tiredness is really starting to get to me with this kid, too, and I've been doing the sugar routine again hardcore, kicked off with boxes of clearance Valentine's chocolates.
But this time, I am going to nip it in the bud! Yes I am! I am also going to try putting Jamie boy back in his own bed after feeds, even though in the short term it will be a pain, in the hopes that long-term it might help him wake less frequently. Also because I've become concerned that I am SO tired I am no longer able to cosleep very safely... a couple times last week I woke up on my side and realized I had fallen asleep while nursing without first making sure the baby was safely arranged away from pillows, with blankets tucked away securely, etc. His face was just inches from my pillow. I felt really freaked out and guilty. So! Time to try something different. This cosleeping is also causing me back and neck issues because when I know the baby is with me, I literally don't move a muscle in my sleep, and every time I wake up, my back and hips are throbbing from remaining so stiff. I went to the chiropractor a few times, but it only gave short term relief; after a few nights of sleeping with the baby, the pain was back, and this time I was more aware of it since I had experienced brief relief. So I think it'll probably only go away for good if I change my habits.
So does anyone else get this way about sugar? Or do I just have a really addictive personality? I sometimes think I do; for instance, I had a really hard time weaning off of the painkillers I had after Eli was born, and I was only on them for a WEEK. But I just felt awful once they were gone! Is that normal? Is the sugar thing normal?
Also, is it mean to try ending the cosleeping for my own selfish reasons? I feel sort of guilty, but also just sort of DONE, you know?