Sugar Relapse and Getting Back on the Wagon

Jellybeans: They're No Chocolate
Jellybeans: They’re No Chocolate

Well, here we go: I promised you I’d update you about the sugar detox journey. To be honest, I’m sort of hoping that if I write things out and post them publicly, it will help me re-center myself as well. The osteopath is going to drag it all out of me tomorrow anyway. [If you didn’t read the first few installments of the detox, you can find the first one here.]

I did really, really well with the detox and eating better, with only minor slips for the first three weeks. Then came the wedding weekend, which was  delightful and decadent. So much fun, and I actually controlled myself better than I thought I would. I made an agreement with myself and Hubs that we’d splurge on alcoholic drinks in moderation [since he and I ended up doing a karaoke version of “If I Had a Million Dollars” in front of a bar full of people the first night, however, I’m going to say we weren’t all that moderate. It was awful and hilarious. But never mind.]

I decided to keep up with the no yeast, no wheat and no added sugar (except the alcohol) until after the wedding ceremony, then allow myself some cake and get back on the horse Sunday morning.


Okay, the good news is I was so busy dancing and socializing at the wedding that I only made time for a bite of cake and pretty much avoided the pie bar, the chocolate cookie shooters, and the other amazing desserts. (Did I mention this couple is really cool? They know how to throw a party. Check out their Wes Anderson-inspired wedding video. And, yes, that would be me holding back ridiculous, nervous and emotional sobs during the vows.)

So when I indulged in the yummy chocolate chip muffin at breakfast the next morning, well, that was only for balance. In my defense, people had been eating them all weekend and they looked amazing. If I missed out on wedding cake, I should get a muffin, right? Plus, it was Easter. I don’t want to get all theological, but you pretty much have to have chocolate on Easter. It’s like, a rule. That muffin was SO good.

And here’s where I run into trouble. I am really good at rationalizing; I’ve rationalized my way to 200+ pounds. The muffin was a gateway drug. Since the detox was for ten days and technically over, I could have a little sugar now and then, right?  Not going back to my old habits, obviously, and still avoiding wheat and yeast and a couple of other problem foods, but the occasional ice cream won’t kill me, right? And, hey, we have friends coming over for dinner Saturday so we clearly have to provide dessert. That’s just… polite. Did you know that Whole Foods makes an amazing flourless cake? I can eat that because it doesn’t have wheat and yeast in it. Never mind that it’s 13,000 calories…

Hubs told me a story not too long ago about a friend of his who went totally Vegan, and for the first few weeks she lived almost exclusively on Oreos. Why? Oreos are Vegan! So they’re healthy!! (Oreos are not healthy). It’s not enough to make rules, you have to create healthy habits and options within the rules. Almost any diet can be healthy, or not, depending on your habits and how you do it.

It’s so easy to trick ourselves into believing we are doing something healthy for ourselves when we’re not. We choose the “energy bar” from the vending machine and never notice that it has more calories and sugar than the candy bar we actually wanted in the first place. In that case, you should just eat the candy bar and satisfy the craving, right? Except that the candy bar makes you want more sugar. So does the energy bar. You’re better off with the cheese and beef jerky. Unless you’re lactose intolerant. Or have high blood pressure and can’t have the sodium. The crackers have gluten and yeast and sugar, too. Nuts? Yes, we are, thank you very much.

If you’re going to splurge on something sugary or otherwise unhealthy for you, you have to do so with intention to splurge, and intention to stop splurging. I’m realizing that I’m just not a stopper, I guess.

We’ve been out of our routine for the last few weeks, which makes it harder. I’ve found myself unprepared for snacks and meals, looking up when my stomach growls or the kids start complaining about being hungry to find the refrigerator empty and the pizza delivery number already up on my phone. Healthy eating takes planning. You have to eat the fresh stuff within a few days after you buy it, you have to thaw the chicken before you can cook it. The blender has to be clean to make smoothies (and if you leave a metal spoon in the Vitamix and turn it on, all bets are off). Healthy eating takes ingredients, and prep time, and washing dishes. Not to mention ignoring the call of the easy, tasty, available-in-the-drive-thru options. I have to admit, sometimes the call of easy options is more than I can resist. In eating, as in everything with life, the easy answers always come with a price.

So I’m trying to get back on the wagon. Well, I’m trying to remember where I parked the wagon so I can get back on it. And hopefully not take it through the drive-thru.


I’m M.J. (Manda) Pullen, an author and mom in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I blog about writing, publishing, motherhood, health, psychology and whatever else strikes me in the moment. Those are not muffin crumbs on the keyboard, I swear.

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My current roster of books includes The Marriage Pact series, a trilogy of Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction novels. You can find them for all eBook formats and in paperback here.

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a Distracted Writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction -- her latest, SUGAR STREET released on 8/7/18. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

4 thoughts on “Sugar Relapse and Getting Back on the Wagon”

  1. megmeg

    Planning is really everything – and it can be totally exhausting otherwise! I’m with you on this journey- it’s tough and really is a journey …no quick fix to getting healthy…permanently. loved the reference to my blender blunder. Whoops. I am now Vitamix free and sad without it!

  2. AlAl

    Happy to have found this, even if it is from 2 years ago. I feel like people think I am an over indulged cry baby if I talk about being addicted to sugar and so I just don’t talk about it anymore. This feels good- even if I am just shooting it off into the abyss, HA! I have recently fallen off the no sugar/ processed foods wagon. It started out slow and controllable (in my mind) but I am (able to acknowledge that I am) out of control now. Thanksgiving threw me and then all the Christmas treats everywhere, Ugh. Potty training a stubborn 3 year old not to mention all the horrors being committed all over the world (Aleppo is ever present in my thoughts) it felt like “just have a piece of pie and don’t deprive yourself”. Alright well, fresh start. Here we go…

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