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Sugar, Sugar Everywhere

There’s a wonderful line in a novel, which I believe to be Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? A character, pregnant with a baby due at Eastertime, claims to be craving sugar so much that she fears she’ll give birth to a Peep.

At the time I read it, I thought this line was hilarious. Now, not so much. What’s with all this SUGAR so many of us are craving (and eating) during this crazy, scary time?

Of course, that’s the answer right there. It’s a crazy, scary time. We want to soothe ourselves, and sugar often is a quick way to do that. But that’s the thing, it’s quick – and it’s diabolical. I’ve talked about the “Comfort Food Circle of Hell” before, and it’s true – stress eating usually leaves us feeling moodier, irritable, and – well, stressed.

You know about the classic stress relievers like exercise and meditation. You know about how you’re supposed to eat healthy foods instead of sugary processed ones. But right now, when we’re home so much under surreal circumstances, these sugary foods are beyond tempting. This comes as no surprise:  processed snack foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt are delicious, inexpensive, and ubiquitous. Add to that the biologic effect of highly sugary foods, which is to “feed” the brain’s reward centers, much like the way opiates do.

So what to do? Well, first of all, give yourself – and your family – a break. Really, so what if we gain a few pounds? We’re going through a national crisis after all. However, if your eating is making you feel physically &/or emotionally crappy, then limit the number and amounts of these foods you keep in the house. Limit the time of day that you eat sweets. Keep the tempting, unhealthy food in a very inconvenient location. Add some structure and planning to how you eat. Negotiate with family members.

Here’s what works for me: I have been craving sugar, which I attribute largely to the stress I feel related to having this particular President at this particular time. So many unnecessary deaths and loss of livelihoods. And I have decided that I refuse to give him power over what I eat. That thought helps me. Sometimes.

And you? What’s working for you? I’d love to know–