It’s time for me to come clean.
In late 2012 — now five-plus years ago — 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 what I now refer to as my Carb Relapse.
Yes, I’m 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. (How I resisted sugar still fascinates me.)
But when pounded by grief, many symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic, Stress Disorder), and one gut-wrenching revelation after another, an insidious chorus of salty, crappy carbs called out to me often with an often-irresistible allure.
In short, I was pummeled by overpowering Crazy Carb Cravings™ or Crazy Cravings™ — as I now refer to them.
Well, that’s how it felt.
I’m sure you can relate. Many of my clients have felt trapped by this same challenge.
Yikes, How Could I, a Recognized Sugar & Carb Expert, Been Ruled By Crazy Carb Cravings? They Haunted, Haunted & Harassed Me Mercilessly
So how could I, the Sweet Sugar Freedom Coach, fall off the clean-carbs wagon?
Why was I so vulnerable to the allure of those salty, crappy carbs such as popcorn, corn crunchies and onion rings? Why was I their captor, if you will?
Why did they beckon me, seductively pleading?
“Connie, eat me, eat me, eat me!” those Quickie Carbs seductively pleaded.
[shareable cite=”Connie’s Carb Confession”] “Connie, Eat Me, Eat Me, Eat Me,” Quickie Carbs seductively pleaded me after Mom died.[/shareable]
Of course, I’m joking by this absurd idea — 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.
I Was Shocked by My Crazy Cravings™
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 quite 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 coached and provided hope and tips to thousands worldwide to release their addiction to both health-harming sugar and quickie carbs.
Plus, I’ve written two much-acclaimed, best-selling books about the subject, Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock.
One or both of them were praised by a plethora of experts, including Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, John Assaraf, Brian Tracy, Marilu Henner, Kathy Smith, JJ Virgin, Dr. Joseph Mercola and many more.
But suddenly, after Mom died and her reign of incessant abuse, emotional evisceration and shocking abandonment ended, it was as if I’d never been a sugar and carb expert.
Connie, the Sweet Sugar Freedom Coach went poof.
In her place emerged a pitiful, powerless, traumatized creature. (Yeah, in retrospect, I was pretty pathetic.)
Grief, anguish, and turmoil were my new constant companions.
They would not leave me alone.
Frankly, I was shocked, disoriented and flat out ill equipped to handle the ferocity and irrationality of my Crazy Cravings™ for those “bad foods.” (Oh how did I repeatedly pig out on carbage such as buttery movie popcorn and corn nuggets.)
Can 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 the Heck Did I, a Sugar & Carb Expert, 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 my mother’s unintentionally horrid mistreatment of me, which lasted one long year.
Sure, now it’s obvious to me that some of my mother’s angry, abusive ways stemmed, in part, from her fear of dying, her anger at being betrayed (as she saw it) by several people once close to her, and the invasive, fast-moving 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.
For one grueling year I’d helplessly watched in agony while my once often-polite-and polished mother frequently became someone I began calling “Cancer Mom” (behind her back, of course).
And Cancer Mom was no fun. She was a horribly ornery creature, who often became angry, cruel, and unreasonable.
How BITTER It Was: Cancer Mom’s Unintentional Abuse & My Worst New Year’s Eve Ever
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 very I’d 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.
Bear in mind that this was a few hours before New Year’s Eve.
My mother — who, after a month-plus of monstrous resistance, had been quite 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 and heartbreak when my 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.
With no place to go since my own mother threw me out, I spent New Year’s Eve sobbing and aimlessly wandering the streets of San Francisco. Needless to say, that was the worst New Year’s Eve ever.
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.
- Mom absolutely HATED seeing me cry (as I later learned), and I just couldn’t help tearing up when I saw my rapidly disintegrating mother pining away in front of me.
- And, of course, the metastasizing cancer made her more and more confused, erratic and irrational.
(To this day, as I’m re-editing this blog post and sobbing four years later after writing this post, I still can’t fathom her downright angry brutality.)
How could a mother send away her loving daughter, who’d just moved across country for her? (I mean she literally tossed me out on the streets — okay, to be fair, she shipped me off to a nearly motel).
That was just the beginning of the most brutal, utterly grueling and heartbreaking time, which I now call My Bittersweet Last Year with Mom.
Whoah! Mom Sniped at My Sugar Expertise!
No words could ever describe the devastating pain I suffered over and over again at the hands of my dying Mom.
Let me tell you about another 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.
For days, I tried to convince her otherwise, dealing with every one of her complaints, from my curly hair being too long to getting a new nicer outfit.
But she wouldn’t budge. Mom’s absurd reason for now allowing me to join her and her friends?
“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.
Absurd allegations, right?
That night, as I had on a number of occasions that year, I again bawled for hours and aimlessly wandered alone through the streets of San Francisco because I was excluded.
[shareable cite=”My angry, dying, cancer-stricken Mom”]Connie, you’re boring… All you can talk about is sugar.” Ouch! [/shareable]
Just imagine how utterly crazy and painful 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.
But those moments of motherly pride and loving kindness were too far and few.
Rather, as I shared earlier, the incessant abuse just went on and on and on, often leaving me sobbing, speed walking and doing Zumba at the gym with a ferocity — well, when I could slip out.
What made it especial tough to take was that Mom’s irrational rage was hurled directly at me. Without delving too deep, I was the only family member, who turned her life and schedule around to be with her full time.
Yet, through it all, I loved my mother more than anyone else did.
Thankfully, SWEET Greeted Me, Too
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, to be fair, mixed in with all the bitterness, Mom and I shared some truly wonderful times together.
Mom even allowed me to accompany her while 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 Cancer Mom inflicted on me, 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.
[shareable cite=”Connie Bennett, Sugar Shock Blog”]In her final month on earth, my dying Mom taught me to die with spunk, zest, and passion. [/shareable]
Fast Forward to After Mom Was Gone: I Crumpled
After Mom died, when I didn’t need to be her always-available, 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 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.
I experience that and a whole lot worse.
And this horrible time lasted for two years. (Actually, all told, it lasted on and off for four years. In between, I worked frenetically on new books, programs, etc.)
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 intensive therapy.
Likewise, I pursued many, many, many other ways to heal, including grief counseling, hypnosis, Heartmath™, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), powerful workshops galore (on compassion, mindful eating, rituals, etc.) with cutting-edge leaders and some eight programs at the Chopra Center, including Healing the Heart.
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, mortification and embarrassment.
It didn’t matter that I was a recognized sugar and carb expert, certified health coach, certified life coach and author of the acclaimed books, Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock.
I kept falling off the clean-carbs wagon over and over again!
Simply put, I felt like a fraud.
[shareable cite=”Connie Bennett, The Cravings Ninja”]When I had a Carb Relapse after Mom died in 2012, I felt like a fraud.[/shareable]
Despite my repeated efforts to get back on track, Crazy Cravings™ — mostly for processed 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, often on a daily basis.
In short, I was no longer committed to healthy-living ways.
Even worse, I Just Didn’t Look Like I Was Walking My Clean-Carbs Talk Anymore Either
What was particularly mortifying was that I couldn’t hide my Carb Relapse.
Within nine months of losing Mom, I’d packed on 21 pounds. That meant I was no longer slim and I didn’t even look like I was walking my clean-carbs talk.
In fact, before my only solo 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 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?
Rest assured if you’re now going through such a challenge. Keep reading this blog, because in the coming months you’ll discover a variety of fast, simple, powerful tools, which will help you triumph over your Crazy Cravings. They are included in my upcoming book, Crush Your Cravings On the Go™ and my companion CRUSH System.
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. Duh!
In short, processed carbs = sugar.
[shareable cite=”Connie Bennett”]Processed carbs, once they rush into your bloodstream, behave like sugar. Duh![/shareable]
That’s why, for some 14 years, I’d been steering clear of processed carbohydrates, which I dub much-like-sugar carbs, quickie carbs, fast carbs, culprit carbs. toxic carbs and carbage (carb garbage).
For months, amidst my grief, heartbreak, and depression, I couldn’t face the facts about my self-destructive carbs bingeing.
I didn’t want to confront the simple truth 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 first book, Sugar Shock, had dished this very same sour news.
My Crazy Carb Cravings™ Were a Manifestation of My Profound Pain
In hindsight, it’s evident why I suffered from such Crazy Cravings™, which, thankfully, as I shared earlier, stopped haunting me consistently about 20 months after my mother died, almost immediately after I moved away from the area she lived.
With Mom gone, my Crazy Cravings for unhealthy nonfoods were a manifestation of my profound pain, which I badly needed to process.
But I wasn’t processing my pain fast enough. So while grieving my loss, resolving my conflicting feelings of rage and sorrow, and facing Mom’s betrayal, I did 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, the end of your marriage or a close 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 quickie-carb snacks I’d been mindlessly 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.
Yikes! That lengthy list — published back in 2006 — 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 those same awful symptoms that had assaulted me in 1998.
In short, 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 more accurately, 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 healthier foods.
Yeah! I’ve Now Lost Most of the Trauma-and-Grief Weight
Thankfully, I’ve been eating healthily for five years now (as I re-edit this), with only a few short, grief-triggered slips on some holidays, birthdays or anniversaries, which are very tough times when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve completely licked my Crazy Cravings and my volcano of conflicting feelings, thanks to intensive therapy, health conferences, journaling, writing several new books, tapping and reading many of my colleagues’ books, especially Dr. Mark Hyman’s The 10-Day Detox Diet.
In addition, the Rebound after Relapse™ plan I created for myself to Crush My Cravings came from powerful, valuable, research-based tools and tactics that I’ve either discovered or created on my own. Please note, though, that even tools I’ve been creating are almost always backed up my solid science.
The good news is that while healing myself and researching my upcoming book, Crush Your Cravings On the Go, 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 that excess weight 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
As you may have noticed, I’ve taken quite a bit of time away from social media, as well as this Sugar Shock Blog, and my blogs on Heal Your Life, the Huffington Post or Psychology Today.
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 first 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 Books Will Help You Crush Your Crazy Cravings™ and Rebound After Relapse™
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’ve been working on my books, Rebound After Relapse™ and Crush Your Cravings On the Go™. (Actually, for a while I called it Crush Your Crazy Cravings, but a colleague at a Jeff Walker seminar shockingly gasped, “Are you calling me `crazy?” so I struck Crazy from the title.)
In my upcoming book, 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.
[shareable cite=”Connie Bennett, The Cravings Ninja”]Unless you reign in your Crazy Cravings, you will never lose weight.[/shareable]
Not only that, but 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;
- Rev up your libido;
- Focus better;
- Take back your power; and
- Enjoy a sweeter, better life.
Thank You For Your Support For the Past 3 Years: You Can Get Help From My Upcoming Books, Rebound After Relapse™ and Crush Your Cravings On the Go™
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 several new books.
Now, with this blog, my new cravings-crushing and Rebound-After-Relapse expertise, 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
Good and to Rebound After Relapse™.
[shareable cite=”Connie Bennett, Sugar Shock Blog”]Have you, too, been bombarded by Crazy Cravings? When? [/shareable]
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.
Thanks for being honest Connie. I, too, fell off the wagon last fall after my birth control was switched and I was starving all the time. I have since gained 15 lbs. I’m ready to jump back on the wagon with you. You are my inspiration
Kim, thank you so much for sharing!
Just know that falling off the wagon doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
You can pick yourself up and become STRONGER!
Would’ve written sooner, but I was gone all weekend.
Stay tuned for some tips to get back on track after you’ve fallen off the wagon.
You can do it!
Thanks for sharing Connie. I’m glad things are going better. I can’t wait to get your new books. Your struggles and victories overcoming them just inspire us more. We all know you are human and so are we. It is so hard to “be good” and eat right. I am struggling and it helps to read what you wrote. It gives me hope. Thanks again! I will be waiting to see when your new books come out! 🙂
Nova Scotia, Canada
Oh Connie, your story makes me feel so much better….and hopeful! I lost my wonderful 4-legged child this year after a debilitating illness…..I’m not sleeping right….new assignment at work, then add in a new puppy……my eating is crazy, and I’ve put on 10 lbs in 3 months!
It’s so very good to hear you. Thank you for your kind words about my being human. Actually, I was being quite frail — which we all can be at time.
I’m so sorry that you’re struggling and as I mentioned in our Facebook connections, I would be happy to give you a complimentary coaching call.
You and I have been in touch for so long! Soooo cool!
Rooting for you! Connie
My heart goes out to you. Losing a loved one, including a cherished dog, can hit you hard and lead you to go Carb Crazy or lose eating control. Stay tuned for some tips to Claim Control again!