Two years ago — in late 2012, while reeling after the death of my mother and my grueling Bittersweet Last Year with Mom, as well as recovering from her unwitting abuse, anger, and betrayal, I quit walking my clean-carbs talk.
In short, I suffered a carb relapse.
Yes, I am human.
The good news is that I didn’t fall back into my old sugary ways of 1998, before I’d kicked both sweets and processed carbohydrates on doctor’s orders.
Instead, when pounded by grief, trauma and gut-wrenching revelation, an insidious chorus of salty, crappy carbs called out to me often with an often-irresistible allure.
Well, that’s how it felt.
I’m sure you can relate. Many of my clients have felt trapped by this same challenge.
Crazy Carb Cravings Haunted, Haunted & Harassed Me Mercilessly
How did I fall off the clean-carbs wagon?
Well, after losing my mother and then being pummeled by many symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic, Stress Disorder), overpowering Crazy Carb Cravings™ — my phrase for them— pounced on me.
Oh, how did those salty, crappy all out to me often!
Culprit carbs such as popcorn, corn crunchies and onion rings weren’t my only captors.
Rich, salty, creamy cheeses, oily peanuts and almonds, along with lots of beef beckoned, too.
“Connie, eat me, eat me, eat me,” they seductively pleaded!
Of course, I’m joking — as I now can do, after finally conquering my cravings.
But, at the time, I was startled, flummoxed and unprepared for what felt like a cravings ambush.
Just imagine my shock.
For nearly 15 years, I’d been mostly shunning nutrient-lacking, fiber-stripped sugary nonfoods and refined carbohydrates while enjoying near-perfect health.
Not only that, but since 2002 — four years after I quit sweets on doctor’s orders — I’ve been outspoken about the dangers of sugar and processed carbs (which I dub quickie carb, toxic carbs, culprit carbs, and much-like-sugar carbs).
What’s more, I’ve helped thousands worldwide to release their addiction to both sugar and quickie carbs. Plus, I’ve written two much-acclaimed books about the subject, Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock,
But suddenly, after Mom died, it was as if I’d never been a sugar and carb expert.
Grief, anguish, and turmoil were my new constant companions.
They wouldn’t leave me alone.
Frankly, I was disoriented and ill equipped to handle the ferocity and irrationality of my Crazy Cravings™ and urges for other “bad foods.”
(Do you relate to my plight? Have you ever been waylaid by intense cravings that throw you completely off course, goading you to do self-destructive things against your best intentions?)
Why Did I Fall Off the Clean-Carbs Wagon?
I’ve often wondered, How could I, a sugar and carb expert, have stopped walking my clean-carbs talk?”
It’s now evident that I was recovering from a year, if not longer, of being badly TAGGED-B™.
That’s the acronym I coined, which stands for Traumatized, Abused, Gripped by Grief, Emotionally Devastated, and Betrayed.
At the same time, I was reeling from Mom’s unintentionally horrid mistreatment of me, which lasted a full year.
It’s obvious to me now that my mother’s abusive ways stemmed, in part, from the invasive stage 4 lung cancer, which had spread to her brain.
But back then, I was rocked to the core by the injustice of it all.
I’d helplessly watched in agony as my once polite and polished mother often switched into someone I began calling “Cancer Mom” (behind her back, of course).
Cancer Mom was an ornery creature, who often became angry, cruel, and unreasonable.
How BITTER It Was: Cancer Mom’s Unintentional Abuse
At last, I’ve now processed much of my considerable pain, but let me give you a flavor of the heartbreaking agony and rejection I faced for a year at the hands of my dying mother.
The day I loyally uprooted myself to stand by my terminally ill mother — moving some 3,000 miles for her, from New York City, where I’d been living for a decade, to northern California — set the tone for My Bittersweet Last Year with Mom.
Mom — who had been eager for me to relocate across country to be with her — irrationally kicked me out of her home the very afternoon I showed up on her doorstep!
Imagine my dumbstruck disbelief when Mom gave me the boot after I’d literally rushed to her side from across country — so we could spend what I knew would be our last New Year’s Eve together.
Since Mom threw me out, I spent New Year’s Eve sobbing and aimlessly wandering the streets of San Francisco.
At the time, I couldn’t fathom why my mother so angrily spurned me the day I arrived.
In hindsight, I still can’t make sense of her fury. I have a few theories, though:
- Admittedly, my once-strong, now-dying Mom was having a bad day, and her throat hurt a lot when she swallowed.
- My fiercely independent, accomplished Mom didn’t want me to see her so vulnerable.
- Also, Mom HATED seeing me cry, and I just couldn’t help tearing up upon seeing my mom in such a sad state.
- And, of course, the metastasizing cancer made her more and more confused, erratic and irrational.
But even so, how could a mother send away her loving daughter, who’d just moved across country for her?
That was just the beginning of the brutal, grueling and heartbreaking twelve months, which I now call My Bittersweet Last Year with Mom.
Mom Even Sniped at My Sugar Expertise
Let me tell you about one especially bitter example.
A few months after I’d moved across country for my terminally ill mother, Cancer Mom flat out refused to invite me for dinner at a gourmet restaurant with three of her closest friends.
Her absurd reason?
“Connie, you’re boring,” she illogically declared.
Then she thrust the knife in even deeper: “You have nothing interesting to say. All you can talk about is sugar,” she adamantly claimed.
That night, I bawled and wandered alone for hours through the streets of San Francisco. Needless to say, that was the worst New Year’s Eve ever.
Just imagine how utterly crazy this was.
Incidentally, only month or two earlier, you should have seen the look of pride on Mom’s face when I’d excitedly opened boxes of my then new book, Beyond Sugar Shock, which had just arrived from my publisher, Hay House.
As I shared earlier, the abuse went on and on and on, which often left me sobbing and speed walking.
What made it harder to take was that Mom’s irrational rage was hurled at me.
Yet, through it all, I loved my mother more than anyone else in her life.
Thankfully, SWEET Greeted Me, Too
So, all said and done, I’m glad I hurried to Mom’s side at the end of her life. It was the honorable, right, loyal, daughterly thing to do.
And mixed in with all the bitterness, Mom and I shared some wonderful times together. Often, Mom invited me to accompany her as she fulfilled an impressive bucket list of films, operas, plays, dinners, visits to the farmer’s market, trips to the beach, etc.
In fact, despite the agony with Cancer Mom, my Real Mom taught me a lot in her final year on earth. (I invite you to read my Huffington Post piece, Mom Taught Me How to Live and Die With Courage, Spirit and Spunk.
Fast Forward a Year After Mom Was Gone: I Crumpled
After Mom died, when I didn’t need to be her servile, obsequious, agreeable lackey anymore, I plunged into My Dark Night of the Soul.
In case you don’t know, a Dark Night of the Soul is when, as the creative writer and performer Eckhart Tolle describes it, you experience “a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.
“Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything,” Tolle explains.
Yes, that was what I experienced. And this horrible time lasted for about two years.
After losing my Mom, I was shaken up by a torrent of unresolved issues, robberies, pain over being betrayed, etc.
Because I’m committed to healing and growing from my ordeal, I underwent (and am still in) intensive therapy. Likewise, I’ve pursued many other ways to heal, including lots of grief counseling, hypnosis, Heartmath™, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
I’ve also benefited from powerful workshops on compassion, mindful eating, rituals, etc.
The Healing the Heart program and other events at the Chopra Center were particularly helpful.
But Wait… I Was Humiliated That I Wasn’t Walking My Clean-Carbs Talk
That wasn’t all. As I shared earlier, I relapsed badly with culprit carbs.
Back then, I writhed in shame and embarrassment.
I was falling off the wagon over and over again!
Simply put, I felt like a fraud.
Despite my repeated efforts to get back on track, Crazy Cravings™ — mostly for carbs — kept seizing and controlling me.
Much to my horror, my Crazy Carb Cravings sent me careening down a deep, dark path.
My unhealthy food splurges went on for months, not on a daily basis, but often enough to make me realize that I had lost my healthy-living ways.
I Didn’t Look Like I Was Walking My Clean-Carbs Talk Anymore Either
What was particularly mortifying was that I just couldn’t hide my carb relapse.
Within nine months of losing Mom, I’d packed on 21 pounds. I didn’t even look like I was walking my clean-carbs talk.
In fact, before a book signing for my then- new book, Beyond Sugar Shock — which, as I shared earlier, thankfully, Mom saw three months before she died — I was carrying an extra 19.4 pounds.
Before the event, I actually had to shop for clothes that hid my excess weight.
Have you, too, been forced to go on a shopping expedition to find clothes to hide your weight gain?
If you have—or are going through such a challenge now—keep reading this blog, because in the coming months you’ll discover a variety of cool tools, which will help you triumph over your Crazy Cravings. They are included in my soon-to-be-released book, Crush Your Crazy Cravings™.
How Could I Have Ignored the Sour Facts About Carbs?
Of course, the unhappily ballooning Connie knew better than to eat those crappy carbs.
Sure, I wasn’t bingeing on sugar — I was determined to never go back there again — but I did a brilliant job of ignoring sour, scientific facts.
I overlooked the truth I know so well: Highly processed carbohydrates quickly convert to sugar in your bloodstream.
Indeed, processed carbs, once they rush into your system, behave like sugar.
In short, refined carbs = sugar. Duh!
That’s why, for years, I’d steered clear of processed carbohydrates, which I dub much-like-sugar carbs, quickie carbs, fast carbs or culprit carbs.
But amidst my grief, heartbreak, and depression, I couldn’t face the facts about my self-destructive behavior.
I didn’t want to confront the simple truth, which is that fast carbs can, like sugar, trigger weight gain, mood swings, headaches, anxiety, and even heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes.
In fact, back in 2006, my book, Sugar Shock, had dished this sour news.
My Crazy Carb Cravings™ Were a Manifestation of My Profound Pain
Now, in hindsight, it’s evident why I suffered from such Crazy Cravings™, which, thankfully, as I shared earlier, no longer haunt me.
After Mom passed away, My Crazy Cravings for unhealthy nonfoods were a manifestation of my profound pain, which I badly needed to process.
So while grieving my loss, resolving my conflicting feelings, and facing Mom’s betrayal, I did what I a lot of what I now call Heartbreak Eating™, or more accurately, Heartbreak Bingeing™.
That kind of pigging out is far more intense, frenetic and frantic than emotional eating.
Clearly, My Crazy Cravings wouldn’t let me go until I healed.
(Have you, too, been plagued by Crazy Cravings while mourning the death of a loved one, your divorce, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job?)
My Big Discovery: Oh No, I Was in Carb Shock, Too!
Finally, some 11 months after Mom died and I’d moved to a peaceful area and a warmer climate some 500 miles away from where my dying mother had spent her final, difficult year, I made an important discovery about how culprit carbs had been destroying me emotionally, physically and spiritually.
My Ahah! moment came while I was reading the ingredients list on some of the carb-heavy snacks I’d been devouring while stuck in my pain.
With mounting excitement, I picked up my first book, Sugar Shock.
There, on page 12, was a list of the 44 ailments I’d experienced back in 1998, before I’d quit sugar.
That old, lengthy list included the exact same symptoms I’d been experiencing during My Dark Night of the Soul.
Talk about déjà vu!
Sure, I hadn’t been eating sugar, but those fast-acting carbs had been sending my poor body reeling into a maelstrom of the same those same awful symptoms that had assaulted me in 1998.
Because I’d been repeatedly Heartbreak Bingeing™ quickie carbs, I was suffering from many ailments that were uncannily like those of Sugar Shock.
For instance, I’d been suffering from:
- Mood swings,
- Crying spells,
- Brain fog or Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia (or nightmares if I did sleep),
- Overwhelming fatigue
- And more.
To put it bluntly, I’d been flipping in and out of what I now call Carb Shock.
And that was making My Dark Night of the Soul far worse than if I’d been carefully choosing the foods I put into my mouth.
Yeah! I’ve Now Lost Most of the Grief Weight
With the help of therapy and many valuable tools I discovered or created while researching my upcoming book, Crush Your Crazy Cravings, I’ve been eating healthily for about a year — with a few short, grief-triggered sips on some holidays, birthdays or anniversaries, which are very tough times when you’re you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
As a result, I’ve finally peeled off most of the 21 pounds I gained, and I’m getting toned again.
While Shedding Pounds, I’ve Been Learning a Lot About Weight Loss Plateaus
Although I’m really close to my earlier weight, losing those 21 excess pounds has been a very slow process.
In fact, I’ve hit a number of frustrating plateaus along the way.
I believe that it’s taken me so long (more than a year) to shed that weight, because that my cortisol and adrenaline were sky high — the result of all the stress, trauma, and grief I endured.
In addition, I suffered from a painful, debilitating knee injury, which, for months, prevented me from doing high-intensity workouts and weight training.
By the way, stay tuned for cool tools to bring your cortisol in check. (There’s a huge connection between cortisol and weight gain, as I reveal here.).
And don’t miss my upcoming blog post on Easy Tips to Rise Above Your Weight-Loss Plateau.
My Time Out from Social Media
Not only that, but I stayed away from events, where I might run into fellow health colleagues.
Sometimes, you need to retreat and regroup in order to come back stronger and more ready to give back.
For my part, I needed to reclaim my slim figure, peace of mind, and joie de vivre (joy of living).
My first priority was to heal so I could emerge whole, in control, and better able to serve you.
My Pain is Now Your Gain: My New Book Will Help You Crush Your Crazy Cravings™
At last, I’m excited to announce that I’m ready to serve you again.
My pain is now your gain.
It’s strange. When I feel shattered, betrayed and broken, I get quite creative.
So I’m now finishing my next book, which I call, Crush Your Crazy Cravings™.
In it, I give you easy tools to let go of your irrational urges, which keep you hooked on unhealthy, sugary, salty or fatty nonfoods.
That book grew out of my lightening-bolt realization that unless rein in your Crazy Cravings, you’ll never lose weight.
You’ll never become the wonderful person you were meant to be.
It also dawned on me that when suffering from the death of a loved one, the breakup of a marriage or another deep trauma, you’re vulnerable to being blindsided by overpowering food urges.
But when you release your Crazy Cravings, you can:
- Shed weight;
- Boost your moods;
- Get more productive;
- Calm down;
- Become happy; and even
- Rev up your libido.
- Take back your power.
- Enjoy a better life.
Thank You For Your Support For the Past 3 Years: You Can Get Help From My Upcoming Book, Crush Your Crazy Cravings™
Now, I’d like to thank those of you, who’ve stuck around and read my periodic posts on this Sugar Shock Blog during My Dark Night of the Soul.
That means so very much to me.
I’m truly grateful to you for your understanding, compassion and support for the past three years, while I stood by my dying Mom, suffered from many symptoms of PTSD, endured My Dark Night of the Soul, and took time to heal while while writing a new book.
Now, with my new book, Crush Your Crazy Cravings™, I’m ready to help you again.
Stay tuned for blog posts, where you’ll get specific tools and techniques to Crush Your Crazy Cravings for goo.
Join the Conversation. Can you relate to my plight? When were you last tormented by Crazy Cravings?
Now, it’s time to share your thoughts. Posts your comments, here on this Sugar Shock Blog, or on Facebook.