Written by Jennie on December 27, 2013.

Boxing Day Hangover And My Sugar Addiction


It all began a week before Christmas when a client gave me a big box of chocolates. At other times of the year, I would thanked them kindly for their gift but later given them to someone else as that much sugar would blow my system—but I thought, ‘It’s Christmas, these are yummy chocolates, it won’t hurt me if I only have 1 or 2 chocolates a day’. And so in the days leading up to the big HoHoHo the chocolate box was slowly demolished. And my sugar addiction, like other addictions, cascaded into desiring more and more sweet treats. Insidiously my usual 80:20 Clean Eating went out of the window. I was also eating more wheat – again because I was out with friends and was tempted by the delicious seasonal fayre and the false conviction that it would be OK.
Christmas Day here on Portland was a quiet yet delightful day, and food of course played a big role. My daughter Tabs and I enjoyed our morning cooking together and preparing food for the day. The turkey was a triumph – our best ever attempt, succulent and tasty  and the large selection of vegetables some with special toppings were nothing short of perfect. And we had all the trimmings including bread sauce and my special recipe stuffing. Pudding was a ginger, pineapple and cream log and I drank a sparkling fruit drink instead of wine. In the afternoon and evening we ate more chocolates, sampled the exotic sweet dried fruits I been given and yet later still more nibbles, pickles and Christmas ham.
As Christmas night to a close, I began to feel bloated with an unladylike amount of gas – my usual reaction to wheat. I had the beginnings of a  headache too – rare for me – and I guessed that it was down to eating so much sugar and probably not drinking enough water.
Boxing Day morning dawned and  I awoke feeling really awful. My head was throbbing  hangover style. My nose felt stuffed up. My fingers had swollen up like sausages making it impossible to remove my ring. My whole body felt inflamed. My stomach was still bloated, my mouth dry, and my energy levels zero. Although I had loved the food I had eaten, it had made me feel so awful that I felt quite ill.
Why had I indulged so much? Especially when I know so much about sugar addiction and how food impacts on my body? For heaven’s sake I teach women about this! Why had my 80:20 Clean Eating gone off the rails? What was different this year from the other Christmases?
I think it’s because I’d become quite blasé about my sugar intake. I love sweet things, although some of my old Christmas favourites, like Liquorice Allsorts  are now too sickly sweet to for me, most of my treats (the 20% of my food that is n’t pure, Clean Eating) are mostly sweet, sugar based treats. I came into this Christmas feeling more stressed, tired and  emotional than usual. I wanted to believe that it would be all OK and in truth I think I didn’t really think – instead I buried my head in the sand and let old Christmas habits reignite themselves. Only my body can no longer handle it. And the result was feeling quite horribly yuck!

My sugar addiction and letting go of perfection

Reading this I’m aware that some of you will be thinking, well, if Jennie can’t do it, what chance have I of adopting and being successful at Clean Eating? It must be too hard. The reason for sharing this with you is to let you know I’m not perfect, I don’t always get it right. I am a sugar addict. Unlike alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and drug addictions, we can’t stop eating food. I decided to share this with you because you too don’t have to be perfect – in fact you are perfect with your imperfections for your beautiful soul is not a robot. Clean Eating is at times challenging because the vast majority of people have not adopted this way of eating. Choosing to honour your body, to care about the food you eat, to want to know where it has come from, how it has been handled in a world where most people don’t care is taking on the role of rebel, swimming up stream, standing out from the crown – and yes putting your head above the parapet. Yet to me, it is so worthwhile. This hiccup has lead to putting a few pounds on, but they will be lost again very rapidly too. My weight no longer yo-yo’s. I have radiant health; it’s rare for me to catch a cold or virus or any kind as my immune system is very healthy because most of the time I eat incredibly well.
So yesterday I began by forgiving myself for my over indulgences and chose to eat more simply. Already I’m feeling better for whilst I still can’t get my ring off my finger – I can now move it to my knuckle. The celebrations aren’t over yet—it’s my daughter’s birthday tomorrow and I’m going to  New Years Eve party, but I’m now  honouring my body once more, the treat will be that: treats, not massive over indulgences.
If you too are feeling bloated and slightly ill from eating and drinking too much, please too forgive yourself too. In the next few quiet days before the final celebrations to welcome in the New Year, choose to honour your body and what you eat and drink. It’s not about being perfect: instead in these special days of the year, simply do the best that you can, by making the best choices you can. Every decision you take to honour your body counts. You don’t need to be a martyr – just  caring for your body as you would care for your very best friend.
Eat Well—Be Well 🙂
I am always interested to hear your thoughts, views and ideas. Get in touch via the comments box below.