Book by Kathleen DesMaisons
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Chapter 1: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Are you aware of yourself, smart and sensitive to others' feelings? Are you committed to your own personal growth? Do you care about things deeply? Do your friends value you and respect your opinion? Are you successful in your work? Are you usually confident and hopeful about your future?
But do you sometimes feel your confidence slip away, leaving you in self-doubt and despair? Does it seem "crazy" that you can be so clear one day and so desperate the next? Worse, you may drop from the heights to the depths in the same day. It's almost as if another person were inside you.
You hate to admit it, but you can be moody and impulsive. You want to get things done, but your attention drifts. You lose energy and get tired. You crave sugar and turn to sweets and snack foods to get yourself going again. Sometimes you eat compulsively. You put on weight. You seem to have no self-discipline. You often feel depressed and overwhelmed.
You may have consulted your doctor. You may have gotten counseling from your pastor or a psychotherapist. You may have been put on Prozac or one of the other antidepressants. But something is still wrong. Your life is still not the way you want it to be and you can't seem to find an answer that works.
If this description fits you, you may be sugar sensitive. Your body chemistry may respond to sugars and certain carbohydrates (such as bread, crackers, cereal and pasta) differently than other people's. This biochemical difference can have a huge effect on your moods and your behavior. How you feel is linked to what you eat -- and when you eat it.
Listen to Emily's story:
I was overweight, depressed and exhausted all the time. I had a lot to be grateful for in my life, but something was wrong. Why didn't I feel better about myself? Why was my battle with those extra twenty pounds so hopeless? Why didn't I have the energy to do more in life? I was so discouraged.
I drank several cups of coffee a day, snacked on gummy bears, and ate healthy foods like pasta, vegetables and fruits. I avoided fats and high-calorie desserts. Sometimes I grazed throughout the day, sometimes I'd skip meals and eat only once a day. Although I had tried lots of diets, I always regained the weight I lost. I would start an exercise program, stick to it for a few weeks, then go off my diet and stop exercising. I still was overweight and hating it. I felt like a failure in this part of my life and I was ashamed of it.
Often I couldn't sleep and I was plagued by anxious feelings. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no reason. I had sudden outbursts of crying or anger. I tried therapy, figuring I was just "not right." But it wasn't enough.
So I went to my doctor and told her my long list of problems. She looked concerned and ordered a series of exams. I too was concerned. Maybe I was starting menopause early. I even worried I might have a brain tumor. A week later my doctor called. "I have good news and bad news," she told me. "The good news is that you are not in menopause and you don't have a brain tumor. The bad news is that I don't know what is happening. Your lab tests and your physical exam results are all normal."
Frustrated and depressed, Emily came into my private practice in Addictive Nutrition. She told me she was a recovering alcoholic with nine years of successful sobriety and had heard that I was using nutrition to help people with her symptoms. After listening to her story and asking her some questions about her background and her eating habits, I recognized what was wrong. I had seen it time and again in women and men seeking help for compulsive eating, alcoholism, drug addiction or this strange collection of symptoms that had not responded to other treatments.
Emily was neither clinically depressed nor suffering from the effects of a bad childhood. She was not weak-willed or lazy. She was sugar sensitive. Emily had a special kind of body chemistry that made her more vulnerable to the mood-altering effects of sweet foods and refined-flour products than her friends were. She was caught in a vicious cycle of highs and lows controlled by her blood sugar levels and her brain chemicals. Emily responded to sugar as if it were a drug.
Sugar sensitivity turns a person into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's like having two different people live in your body. From one moment to the next your fine sensitivity and openness turn into moodiness and irritability. Your confidence and creativity dry up, only to be replaced by low self-esteem and hopelessness. Your visions for the future dissipate into the frustration born of not following through.
This emotional Ping-Pong remains inexplicable without an understanding of sugar sensitivity. Like Emily, millions of people who have sugar-sensitive bodies are caught in the pain of not understanding a problem that controls their lives. Sugar-sensitive people seem to know instinctively that something is wrong but cannot make sense of what it is.
Do you feel this way? If so, your intuition may be right on target. If you are sugar sensitive you are not inherently weak-willed or without self-discipline. Your behavior reflects a skewed body chemistry which you have tried to correct unconsciously by self-medicating with sugars and carbohydrates.
Your sugar sensitivity is a problem that you inherited. You did not create this dilemma. It is not your fault. What's more, it is a problem that can be solved. I have an answer that you have been seeking for a long time. Clear and simple, the solution to sugar sensitivity makes perfect sense. As you begin to understand how your blood sugar levels and brain chemicals work and interact, you will start to appreciate the power of your own body. Instead of being driven by your body chemistry, you will begin to chart your own life. You will find a straightforward explanation for the behavior you have struggled with for so long -- and a straightforward solution based on giving your body the kinds of foods it needs to keep your emotions in balance and your life in forward gear.
This book tells the story of sugar sensitivity.
Naming the Problem
The story of sugar sensitivity comes out of my own personal history and my work with thousands of clients in addiction treatment. After a long career in public health I started an addiction treatment center in 1988 because I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. The typical recovery rate for alcoholism is dismally low. People relapse. People relapse again -- and again and again. Although addiction experts have tried many alternatives, the picture remains pretty grim. A 25 percent success rate is considered good. But accepting not being able to help three out of every four people who came into my clinic was out of the question for me. I knew there had to be a better way -- and I set out to find it.
My determination to beat the odds comes out of my personal history. When I was sixteen my father died of alcoholism at the age of fifty-one. He was a brilliant, sensitive man who couldn't find his way out of the bottle. They say he loved to party as a young man; by the time he reached middle age he was drinking a fifth of vodka every day.
My father stayed sober for one year, the year I turned eleven. He was a career officer in the Air Force and his superiors had threatened to discharge him from the service if he didn't stop drinking. So he went into detox and rehabilitation for the first -- and only -- time. I remember that year well. With my father sober, life was so much better for all of us. Everything I had secretly dreamed of was happening and we finally lived like a normal family.
One year later, despite being sober, my father was discharged from the Air Force for alcoholism. Past job evaluations had followed him and the Air Force did not recognize -- or perhaps did not believe -- his commitment to sobriety. In losing his job, my father was cut from his lifeline. His sobriety and our family's newfound stability careened rapidly downhill. Five years later he was dead.
It took me twenty-five years to grieve the loss of my father. At the time I felt only relief -- relief that I no longer had to be ashamed of his drinking. All I wanted then was a normal teenage life. After Dad's death, we all colluded in creating a family myth that he had died suddenly of pancreatitis. In reality, he had been dying of alcoholism for five years, but not one of us ever talked about it. We just carried on, folding our wounds into the tapestry of our lives, each trying to make sense of the tragedy alone.
"Don't Tell. Don't Feel. Don't Share."
My history has shaped me deeply. Because of my father's alcoholic behavior I learned to pay close attention to the interpersonal dynamics around me. I learned to immediately "read" the emotional temperature of almost any situation. I learned to grow up early, become a high achiever, be the hero in my family. Most of all, I learned the inviolable rules of an alcoholic family:
"Don't tell. Don't feel. Don't share."
"What you see isn't really happening."
"Everything is fine, even though you feel something else."
I learned to live in dissonance. I kept confronting the discrepancy between what the folks around me said was true and what I experienced in my body and in my heart. I challenged my mother about the lies of our family life. I challenged my religion teachers about the difference between what the church said and how people acted. I constantly asked questions about the gap between the ideal and the real. I studied everything I could to try to find a solution for the dilemma of this discrepancy. I wanted to live what I believed and I wanted the world to do the same.
At nineteen, still dreaming of the perfect family, I married and had three babies in rapid succession. But the gap between my ideal life and my real life still loomed large. Although smart and successful both in school and as a new parent, I was overweight and subject to extreme mood swings and sudden drops in energy. Sometimes I was filled with self-confidence and felt clear and focused. At other times I would drift into a sort of "la-la land" and forget to buy milk for the children. My husband thought he'd married Dr. Jekyll and ended up getting Ms. Hyde, too. He wondered how my behavior could change so quickly. As for me, I didn't really notice my own behavior. I was well trained to overlook dysfunction, including my own.
My marriage stopped working when my youngest child was six months old. Neither my young husband nor I knew how to make a relationship work or how to ask for help. Single again, I returned to college, worked full-time and threw myself into the task of raising my children. In the evening, after I had put everyone to bed, I sat on the couch with Coke and popcorn, reading philosophy and folding laundry.
When I was twenty-six I came down with mononucleosis, which damaged my liver. Because my liver was impaired, alcohol made me sick, so I stopped drinking. It was a straightforward decision, but it probably saved my life. As with most children of alcoholics, I was a sitting duck for alcoholism. My body chemistry was primed to need alcohol, and had I kept drinking I would have gone from enjoyment to dependence to abuse.
Turning to Sugar for Solace
But abstinence from alcohol nudged me onto a different path of addiction. Alcohol hadn't hooked me, but sugar, ice cream, pasta, bread and soda did. These seemingly harmless foods wrapped me in a cocoon so thick and numbing that I never missed the alcohol.
When I finished college I went on to complete a master's degree in management and counseling. The high-achieving child of an alcoholic that I was, I was hired as the director of a nonprofit program before I even finished my degree. Eighteen months later I was promoted to supervise a hundred staff members. On the outside I appeared successful, competent and skilled. On the inside I was running from my own feelings. I sensed a huge pool of pain swirling below the bravado. I wasn't aware of the impact of my father's alcoholism on me and I hadn't a clue about what was driving my life.
Finally, at the age of thirty, I could no longer ignore my pain. I realized I needed help and I went into therapy. Because I was the head of a community mental-health center, I thought I should maintain the appearance of being emotionally "together." So I traveled two hours and a hundred miles each way every week to see my therapist. She encouraged me to express my anger. "I won't," I would say. "Anger kills. It isn't safe." For a whole year we argued. Finally I let myself go and got angry. But my anger was directed not at my father or my family -- it was directed at my therapist. I was angry about the direction of my therapy and the dissonance I felt between what she was saying and what she was doing. Two days later she committed suicide. It was hard for me to understand that her death was not my fault. I was just thirty and no one even knew I had been in therapy. "Don't tell," "don't feel" and "don't share" still drove my response to pain.
I didn't have the skills to make sense of the pain so I turned to doughnuts, a new town and a new job. Perhaps a new life would make things better. I moved to a place near the ocean. I was comforted by the sea. I lived next door to an ice cream parlor. I was comforted by the ice cream. I gained more weight. The early pattern my ex-husband had identified continued. I was still Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. When I was good I was very, very good, and when I wasn't, I fell apart. I tried hard to hold it all together, but when I hit forty I realized that my life would unravel if I didn't try again to face my pain. The old gap between my inner feelings and my external life had stretched to the limit.
My solution then was to move to California, where the softness of the hills, the sound of the sea and the openness of the people all soothed me. I reconnected to the child within me who loved to swim and dance and laugh. I started feeling good about myself, but my weight and my mood swings continued to plague me. After every diet I gained back the weight I'd lost. Because I thought my problem with food had its roots in emotional wounding, I worked on my inner development for years. I read hundreds of books, attended dozens of groups and seminars, and filled countless journals with poetry.
No matter how much inner work I did, though, I seemed to be fighting a losing battle. The needle on my bathroom scale was now nearing 240, but I thought the problem was just a matter of willpower. When I developed enough discipline, everything would be fine. As time went on and things didn't change, I lived with deeper and deeper feelings of inadequacy.
Lessons from the &qu...
Depressed? Overweight? Tired all the time?
'This book could be the answer to your prayers'
Have you ever wondered why you can't say no to fattening foods or alcohol? Why you overspend or overwork, feel bloated, have mood swings or suffer from depression? The answer is not that you are lazy, self-indulgent or undisciplined. The problem lies in your body chemistry. Millions of people are sugar sensitive, and the foods they turn to for comfort actually trigger feelings of exhaustion, hopelessness and low self-esteem. What's worse, these foods don't stop our craving for them - they only make us want more.
In her groundbreaking, bestselling book, Potatoes Not Prozac, now completely revised and updated, Kathleen DesMaisons explains how certain food-dependent chemicals in the brain regulate our moods. To maintain mental and physical health, those chemicals need to be kept in balance. We can achieve this by following DesMaisons' inexpensive, all-natural nutritional plan. There is no regime of measurements or self-denial: you tailor the plan to your tastes and lifestyle.
With compassion and insight DesMaisons guides you through the process one choice at time until your body becomes balanced and you feel empowered and in control. More than just a book about food, this is a book about possibilities.
'This book can definitely change a person's life' Michael Murray, author of
The Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine
KATHLEEN DESMAISONS Ph.D. is a world leader in the field of addictive nutrition and has been widely commended for her identification of sugar sensitivity as crucial factor in addiction and depression.
Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.
Description du livre Simon & Schuster, 1998. Hardcover. État : New. 1st. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0684849534
Description du livre Simon & Schuster, 1998. État : New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service!. N° de réf. du libraire ABE_book_new_0684849534
Description du livre Simon & Schuster, 1998. Hardcover. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire 0684849534
Description du livre Simon & Schuster, 1998. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire P110684849534