Once upon a time – or, really, about two and a half years ago – I went sugar free. It was inspired by the true knowledge I’ve had for awhile that I am completely addicted to sugar. It was further fueled – or given that last, critical, push – by David Gillespie‘s book Sweet Poison. I started avoiding sugar – specifically fructose – in all its forms, other than packaged as nature intended, in pure, whole, fruit.
I stopped whilst pregnant with William. Contrary to all anecdotal advise, incorporating sugar into my diet helped my morning sickness. From everything I read on the topic, it shouldn’t have helped. Regardless, I felt markedly better once I started on the sugar again.
In any case, what’s done is done. I’ve been trying to get back off the sugar for months now. Usually it doesn’t last more than a day before I give up and try again the next day. This past week I made it four and a half days. It was a personal record for me since restarting sugar. But it was ended by momentarily forgetting, and having a Sprite with lunch whilst out. (Soft drink with cafe meals is just something I’ve always done. Clearly I’m not back in the habit yet of ordering diet, or just water).
It could have ended there.
But then I started gaming again.
I love computer gaming. Admittedly, I play “like a girl”, meaning I don’t much fancy first person shooters, but I love strategy games, and The Sims, and even World of Warcraft. I’m a binge gamer though. When I get involved in a game, I can play it for hours a day, for days on end. But when I move away from it – usually just by getting busy with life – I can stay away for months, even years.
The problem is, I have a terrible time reconciling the two versions of myself – the sugar free version and the gaming version. Logically, there’s no conflict. There’s no rule that says one needs to be amped on high amounts of sugar and caffiene in order to spend time gaming, even if that’s the (largely true) stereotype.
Personally though, it creates a clash in my mind. I’ve realised I have visions of myself, and of labels. If I’m identifying as a gamer – and I do, sporadically, when I’m in a gaming mode – then I’m eager to take on all the aspects of ‘a gamer’, including staying up all night and consuming all or mostly junk food. My idea of a ‘sugar free person’ however, conjures up images of granola-munching hippies (despite the fact granola is frequently quite high in sugar, actually), and healthy people eating good, whole foods, and living a well-balanced and natural lifestyle. It doesn’t mean any of the above is actually true of sugar free people. In fact, it’s perfectly possible to be fructose-free and still subsist largely on what society views as junk food (trust me, my husband does it, so I know!). In my mind, however, if I’m trying to be sugar free, then I should be like the ideal I have pictured – whether the ideal is flawed or not, whether I had any role in even creating the picture of the ideal or not. Same with gaming. My mind – and self-image – rejects calling myself a gamer if I’m not striving for all aspects of the ideal I have pictured – junk food and all.
My brain does not compute being both sugar free and a gamer – even though it clearly can be done (so much so that there’s a blog called just that, SugarFreeGamer).
The true issue, is of course, thinking I have to fit into the arbitrary and frequently false labels, instead of just being me. Surprise! It’s the same demons I’ve been battling since middle school, in yet another guise.
I am truly the master of self-sabotage.