Why I will NOT participate in National Doughnut Day

June 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

Is it Doughnut or Donut?  Well whatever it is…I won’t be participating in it.  Let me start off by saying that I think honoring the Salvation Army is a fantastic idea.  That is where all this started in the first place after all.  The day became an official way to honor the “Donut Lassies” who would serve up doughnuts and give other assistance in WW I to those on the front lines.  But I’d bet very few people really know that’s what it’s about.  They just know that today they will be able to get a free doughnut! And why not…yes??

Doughnuts bring happiness after all!  That’s what my Facebook feed says.  Tons of people look forward to this day.  No matter what else may be happening, today they can get free doughnuts.  And that should make it all better!

I used to think this way too.  Not just the idea of food for comfort.  But DOUGHNUTS in particular.  You see, I was a hopeless binge eater.  And doughnuts were one of my top three foods that I binged on.  I spent years addicted to them.  They were everywhere.  I had boxes in my car.  By my recliner and hiding in my nightstand.  I know this sounds silly to a lot of people. But for me–doughnuts were my go-to food.  And I spent years of my life unable to ever get free of them.

Doughnut Day is known as the Happiest Day of the Year! I have heard quotes such as “doughnuts create smiles and make any moment happier”.  I can attest to that fact.  Almost nothing could make me happier when I had a doughnut in my hand.  When my husband left me, doughnuts were there to get me through it.  When my house flooded from the pipes breaking, I actually ate a dozen doughnuts while sitting with my feet in water before I moved forward.  I had to get the energy up after all to deal with it.  I had to get the emotional and psychological support that I needed to keep going.  When my Mom died, I drove immediately to Krispy Kreme.  Doughnuts bring happiness.  They bring comfort. Especially the fresh, warm hot glazed ones from Krispy Kreme.

Thank God Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts have drive thru windows.  After several years of ingesting my daily dose of happiness, I could barely walk to the door.  I needed the drive thru.  I didn’t have the ability anymore to stand in a line to retrieve my little round friends.  You see what people don’t always tell you about doughnuts is that they are a special kind of happiness.  The kind that will send you high up into the air before letting you crash.

I’m a sugar addict.  Scientific evidence has proven fairly well that sugar addiction is real.  Although no one has to believe that it’s true, my proof lies in my life experience.  Every day for years, I ate a steady diet of Coke, Boxes of Doughnuts, gallons of mint chocolate chip ice cream, Reeses peanut butter cups and Kit Kats.  Sometimes I varied it but for the most part this is what I lived on.  I tried to break free but I was like any other addict.  Hopelessly hooked.

But doughnuts were somehow even more powerful to me than almost anything else.  I’ve tried to figure out why over the years.  Why doughnuts in particular have had such a pull.  I think it comes from not just the sugar.  Not just the food.  But the warmth. Out of all my binge foods, doughnuts have a particular quality that others don’t have.  Krispy Kreme doughnuts were warm when they came fresh from the oven.  When you eat one, it almost melts in your mouth.  It’s like a sweet blanket that you swallow which hugs you from the inside out.  And when life sucks, who wouldn’t want that?

A lot of weight loss surgery patients talk about ‘slider’ foods.  But really anyone should be aware of these types of foods.  Slider foods are just any food that will melt or liquify in your stomach giving you no satisfaction.  They don’t fill you up and ‘slide’ right through.  Unlike a food that has a dense protein base, these foods don’t stick with you.  It’s the reason why you can sit there and eat an entire bag of potato chips and then just keep on eating.  Ice cream of course is the same way.  And then you have the doughnut.

Not all doughnuts are made the same.  I used to be obsessed with cake doughnuts made by Hostess.  The kind that came in rows of powdered, cinnamon and plain.  Back in the mid 90’s, I lived across the street from a Bakery Thrift Shop.  That is when I discovered them.  Discounted and on sale, they were the perfect storm.  I would buy them daily.  I looked forward to our ‘date’.   And I would sit there with the excited anticipation of which one I should eat first?  Powdered? Cinnamon? Plain? I would often go for the plain.  I wanted to save the best for last! I wanted to still have something to look forward to!

But glazed doughnuts are a different deal.  The warm ones from Krispy Kreme are light and airy.  Put one in your mouth and you will feel it almost melt into you. These are the kinds which represent a slider food for me.  I can eat many of them.  And I will.  Because not only are they made in such a way that you can fit a lot of them in your stomach.  But they are injected with that sugar which a sugar addict will respond to in the only way they can.  By craving more.

You might be surprised to know that Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts actually probably contain less sugar than a lot of other things you assumed were healthier.  A Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut contains about 10 grams of sugar.  But a Yoplait blackberry 99% fat free yogurt contains 26 grams!! I bet a lot of us weren’t expecting that!

A true sugar addict will react to even small doses of sugar.  For example, I have learned that my food cannot contain more than 4 grams of sugar per serving.  Anything more will reinitiate cravings that awaken the beast.  I know immediately when I’ve consumed something with too much sugar.  I’m suddenly hungry again.  And all the time.  I start to obsess again.

While one glazed donut contains less than half the amount that is in that yogurt, it is still not going to ever be a good choice for me.  And here is the simple reason! I have never in my life eaten JUST ONE DOUGHNUT.  It’s like telling me to watch only the trailer of a movie and then expect to have seen the whole show.  For me it is very simply this—eat NONE or eat them ALL.  But there never will be any in between.

I applaud those of you who aren’t sugar addicts.  The ones who can do moderation. But for a great many of us, that isn’t possible.  That free doughnut is the perfect way to trap us.  It leads to us buying a dozen.  And then a dozen more tomorrow.  It leads to insatiable, never-ending cravings that harass us day and night.  Suddenly the flood gates have opened and that one simple doughnut has led to daily binges.  The cycle is on again.  And months or maybe even years later we wake up out of a sugar coma trying to remember what started us back down this destructive path yet again.

To some, this day is about Free Doughnuts.   But for me this is a day to STAY FREE OF doughnuts!

It won’t be easy.  Not when all around you people are claiming that happiness flows from sugar.  But trust me!  That is only where the lie begins.  My mother used to say to me , “Holly…nothing in life is ever really free!” and I have to say on this count I believe her.  That free doughnut for me will come at a price.  The price of my freedom from food addiction.  The price of my sanity.  And the regain that will follow.

One of the reasons that I have regained some of the weight I originally lost was due to the fact that I believed the lie which said it was never THAT bad.

Because the further away you get from something, the more your memory will often work to ‘clean it up’.

After all, I don’t struggle anymore to walk.

I don’t wake up 10 times a night suffocating under my own weight and gasping for air.

I no longer have to wait in the car because I can’t walk to the door.  I don’t have to order my food from Schwans because I can’t walk through the store.

Gee…maybe it really wasn’t ALL THAT BAD….says my memory

Once I was able to fit in a booth, walk around without pain, get out of a chair without assistance and live life in a ‘normal’ body, I magically seemed to forget just how horribly trapped I had been.  I began to think that maybe I had a grip on it! Sure I used to live my life chained to a Krispy Kreme but now I had control!! Now I could handle it!! And isn’t that how we often feel about addictions?! That somehow this time will be different?

There is never a better time for me to remember the dangers of sugar than on a day where it is being given away for free and sold as happiness.

Does this look like happiness?

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And these are just the pictures of me from a few years ago when I started this blog. This tells nothing of the lifelong struggle I really experienced against sugar and food addiction.  The decades I spent in a never-ending cycle trying to gain control over it.

Here is a picture of me from  20 years ago.  Back in 1996 when I was pregnant with my first child.

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I was in the hospital because I was very sick.   This was during the time I lived across the street from the Bakery Thrift Shop.  When doughnuts specifically were the main staple of my diet.  After all, I was pregnant, right?? I was eating for two.   Being pregnant for the first time in my life actually gave me a valid reason for my ‘cravings’.   I did not know back then that my cravings were from sugar addiction.  And being pregnant allowed me to believe that my cravings were just natural.

So I ended up with gestational diabetes. I was so unhealthy at this time that I developed preeclampsia and thought I was going to die.  My blood pressure was so high I had to be admitted to the hospital and put on medication to bring it down.  I had to be induced because of my blood pressure.   They thought I was going to have a stroke. And because I was so ill, they had to put me completely asleep and do an emergency C-section.

If you’re one of the people who is NOT a sugar addict….one of the people for whom one doughnut really means JUST ONE…then more power to you.

But for those of us who know in our heart of hearts that this FREE DOUGHNUT comes at a price much higher than we want to pay….I urge you to—

RESIST

And don’t think of it as losing money….losing the opportunity for something FREE

Look at it as saving money…the money you will inevitably pay on your diabetes medication if that one doughnut leads you into the rabbit hole

Think of it as saving yourself from a month or year of relapse into sugar addiction

Because for many of us that is where this leads.

Don’t think of it as missing out.

Think of it as the chance to live the life you’ve always imagined!  Because something truly amazing will happen when you do NOT take what they offer.

You’ll realize that you exerted control over a very tempting situation!!  You said no!  You resisted!

And many of us have a long history of self defeat and failed opportunities to do that.   Many of us truly believe that we cannot overcome these temptations.

So try it today.  JUST SAY NO! That alone will birth inside of you a self confidence and inward hope you may not have previously experienced.

It may just lead you onto that path of saying yes to good choices.  Yes to life.  And yes to hope.

lifelive

 

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Barb June 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I loved donuts also despite them giving me the worst heartburn ever but still I ate them. I have been sugar free for 5 weeks now and it does make you feel like a sane person again. I currently have a box of krispy Kreme donuts sitting on my counter since Wednesday because my kids can eat just one donut/day so I don’t feel it’s fair to deprive them. They don’t even bother me! That in itself is a miracle!

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Amy Suman June 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Hey Holly,
Such a great essay…written from the heart and full of truth. Sugar addiction IS real; scientists have observed that the same part of the brain that is stimulated during sugar consumption is also stimulated after cocaine ingestion! It’s a powerful trap and I grieve for how heavily entrenched our children’s generation has been insidiously inducted into the sugar addiction lifestyle since birth. Formulations like Pediasure (and the like) are sold as “alternative nutrition sources” for today’s “picky eater” (you know, the one who doesn’t “like” fruits and vegetables.). As babies become toddlers they are fed “squeeze”-type fruits and veggies (with plenty of added sugar), sugar-added yogurts (your Yoplait example was perfect), and Happy Meals (because, as you put it, “happiness” comes from sugar! Like in the French fries!). As they grow into elementary-age children, the sugar indoctrination continues…Capri suns and juice boxes at snack time and Gatorade after sports! Kids menus at restaurants that feature carb (sugar) heavy ingredients like chicken “fingers”, Mac-n-cheese, and no-veggie pizzas. School contests are celebrated with cupcakes or pizza parties instead of extra recess or a fun activity like bowling or trampoline park field trips. Every snack bar at the baseball field or the basketball game or the wrestling meet features nachos, Candy bars and soda… By the time they are in middle school, they can purchase the largely nutritionally -void, sugar (carb) heavy School lunch or they can bring their own money for the snack bar… And you know cheese sticks and fruit are not to be found!!! By high school they can purchase sodas and energy drinks directly from the vending machines and lunch choices include Popeye chicken nuggets with biscuits, Pizza, Burgers, and Taco Bell. And at high school you can even buy ice cream bars and packaged doughnuts (yes, donuts!) for dessert!!! As a society we are literally training our youth to be type two diabetics from the moment they are born the way Runners train to complete a marathon… Bit by bit, adding a little bit more each time… Until the final result is achieved. You are very courageous to put yourself in your story out there and hold yourself accountable for the food choices that contributed to almost killing you… But you are far more courageous and admirable to me for refusing to live in your body prison, for fighting your way out, and back, and paying forward the lessons you have learned to help others. You are a hero, Holly… And heroes deserve medals, not doughnuts!!! Xxxx

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Kath June 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Here in Australia the spell it donut
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Natalie June 5, 2015 at 11:47 pm

I’m Australian and I spell it doughnut, I thought only the US stores in Australia spell it donut!

And a national doughnut day? Seriously?

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Gwen June 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm

I am not a binger, but donuts have remained one of the harder foods for me to turn down, even 2.5 years into this successful journey. I get it.

I thought about entitling my post today Do NUT Day. As in either do nuts, not donuts today, or do NOT/nut have a donut today. I didn’t want to trigger anyone by mention of donuts though, so I didn’t. 😉

You know, Krispy Kreme to me are blah donuts. I like mine to have more substance. p.s., donuts are so powerful triggers because the food industry has created the perfect, compelling combination of sugar-fat-salt to trigger brain cravings. Read The End of Overeating by an ex head of the FDA, as he spends chapters talking about the science and research that food companies/restaurants do to create hyper-palatable food options to increase sales. Very eye opening.

Have a great weekend!

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Mrs. O June 6, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Great post. Like you said, unless someone has a sugar addiction, they really don’t know the struggles we go through. I love Dunkin Donuts iced tea and purposely stayed away from DD yesterday because I didn’t want to be tempted by the free donut. I don’t completely avoid sugar but I’ve definitely eliminated many sweets from my diet and I like the way I feel without them.
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Karen P June 6, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Holly, doughnuts were a huge trigger food for me- let’s face it ALL sugars and grains were, are, and will be trigger foods.

I can either choose food sobriety- cold stone food sober, or I can go back to numbing myself up and binge eating. Like the Whole30 folks like to say – there’s no food Switzerland- food either makes me well or keeps me sick. Not my fault, but I have to mind my brain chemistry.

Onward. No food is worth that for me today.
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Cassy June 6, 2015 at 8:17 pm

This is an awesome post. Every time I think I’ve found my ‘favorite’ one, you go and do one even better! Doughnuts (most white flour bread items, general) are my top 3 binge foods, as well. I have subscribed to receiving text messages from a local convenience store and they were giving away one free box of doughnuts per person, but thank Jesus that they were all out by the time I got there! Thank you, Holly, for all that you share with your subscribers.

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Sam June 7, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Wow, I loved this post. I can so relate to this! Just two days ago I decided to give up sugar. So far I’m just cutting out treats and focusing on adding more fiber (through whole grains) and protein. Last night was so hard. I really wanted to eat an Oreo or M&M. And of course that thought of – I’ll just have a few. But I’m like you, I’m a binge eater. And I just kept telling myself one would lead to the package. I am happy to say that I stayed strong. Yay!! I’m new to your blog and although I’m late to the party – I’m excited to read about your continued journey. If you’d like to stop by my blog, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!!

Sam
http://www.believeinyourself1.blogspot.com
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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) June 8, 2015 at 4:33 pm

My weaknesses were glazed blueberry fritters & sour-creme doughnuts. Oh, and cinnamon buns which, while they’re not technically doughnuts, land directly in the same vein.

I remember times that, if I was alone (and I do almost all of my binge eating while alone – even now, when, if I am binge eating, and I’ll freely admit that I do it, though I try to hold back, I’m usually binging on vegetables & lean meat), if I could find an excuse for me to stop for a doughnut, I’d buy a dozen (because it’s more frugal) and then proceed to eat all of them because, well, I had already “blown it for the day” after the first one.

I’d ALWAYS feel horrible . . . not a guilty “I cheated on my diet and myself” but a “you just ate a TON of sugar and all of the fats that you are best avoiding,” feeling — yet, I’d do it, again & again.

Stay strong — this year, despite the prevalence of doughnuts everywhere around me (for Doughnut vs. Donut: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doughnut#History)
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Mollie June 12, 2015 at 12:59 am

I skipped free doughnut day as well! I can’t believe that’s a thing.

People got so excited about it, it’s not like doughnuts are a rare or exotic food.

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