Parting With Such Sweet Sorrow
Life as I know it ends tomorrow. I’m saying goodbye to my two oldest friends, sugar and caffeine. It’s been a tough decision to make but my dependency on these two things has gotten out of hand. It’s also lead to the unwanted hassle of endless hours at the gym trying to get rid of my dreaded (ever growing) love handles – that now look more like a giant love dingy circling the lower half of my torso – it’s terrible and I blame Asia.
Travelling was bloody fantastic (speaking of, there’s a new travel post below this one) and the food was delightful but the Asians put sugar in EVERYTHING. Noodles, soups, salads. Everything. Their coffee is incredible too. It’s strong, sweet and usually comes with a thick layer of condensed milk lacing the bottom of the glass. It’s deliciously decadent, especially over ice, and what could be more satisfying than a sweet, iced coffee on a blazing hot day in Cambodia?
I’d become reliant on an least one iced coffee a day (at 30 pence a cup, who wouldn’t?) but was well aware of how much condensed milk (and calories) I was guzzling down, so I decided to be smart and switch to black. I showed off a bit and ordered a black iced coffee in Khmer (ga-fey kmao toek gok) from a street cart on my way to work one day.
I waited for the lady to prepare my drink all whilst feeling pretty smug I said my first word in Khmer that wasn’t sous-dey or aw-khun. The smugness soon stopped when to my horror, I watched the lady tip three heaped spoonfulls of sugar into my cup. I thought, ‘I’ve fucking said it wrong haven’t I’.. and in my most polite foreigner voice said – ‘black coffee?’ The lady simply smiled and said ‘Jaah!’ (yes) and handed me over my cup of type 2 diabetes. Combine the coffee with the copious amounts of beer and other disguised sugar bombs and it’s a – very sweet – recipe for disaster.
I’ve become a filthy addict and I didn’t even see it happening. Okay so it’s not crack, but it may as well be. If I’m not eating heavily based sugar products, I’m craving them. And when I’m craving them, I’m cranky and tired. Every day at about 3:30pm, I become overwhelmed with a sudden rush of exhaustion and the desperate need for a nap. I don’t nap because I refuse to be branded as idle as well as unemployed, but I do put the kettle on and head straight to the biscuit tin. I’ve usually worked my way through 3 biscuits before the water is boiled. Then it’s another 2 with my tea. At first I blamed the jet lag, but it’s been about a month now and I’m still tired (and did I mention my love handles?)
My addiction to sugar is worsened by the fact that I’m also using it as my emotional security blanket. As I said earlier, I’m unemployed. Every day I stay in doors, scrolling through endless pages of possible job vacancies to no avail. Tell me again, why did study journalism at uni? I don’t have to describe how much of a soul destroying process it is – we’ve all been there – but to be frank, it does my fucking head in. I get frustrated, stressed, down and above all, bored. Then I turn to sugar.
Whenever I’m feeling vulnerable to one of the emotions mentioned above, I mindlessly binge out on sugary things thinking it’s going to give me that feeling of satisfaction I’m craving. Instead though, it leaves me feeling guilty, usually anxious, and defeated. Sugar has turned into one of those ex boyfriends you know is toxic but you go back there anyway – always ending in regret.
So I’m getting rid! Anything with refined sugar content will not be passing through my lips. I suppose this is more of a warning to you all. I’m grouchy when I haven’t had my caffeine hit, but I’ve cut that out before with little bother. Sugar, though, is a completely different ball game. Like I said, I may as well have started taking crack in Asia. I’m a sugar junkie and I’m going to be a nightmare. Stay away. I suspect the next month will involve many dreams featuring the witch from Snow White, luring me to my death with a packet of ginger nuts. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of posts documenting the pain and torture I’m going through on my journey to the sugar free me. For now, I’ll savour my last cup of coffee and the last eight couple of biscuits.