Last Friday was my Grandson's 3rd birthday, so being in lockdown it was going to be a smaller affair than usual. Luckily lockdown had eased enough for a small socially distanced picnic in my son's large garden.
The other Granny had made a huge chocolate cake in the shape of an owl. After we sang Happy Birthday to our grandson I was offered a piece, which I took and ate. Nothing unusual there apart from the fact that on the advice from a Dr, I've been on a sugar-free diet for over 2 years! (I'm not diabetic, but suffer with chronic fatigue.) As I was eating it, I said to my 30 year old son who knows about my dietary choices, "I'll get a sugar hangover tomorrow," but didn't really mean it.
The next day however I had very low energy. I was also in a very low mood but I put it down to having a lovely busy time with my family the day before and now I was back home in lockdown by myself.
Later however, I remembered my comment about having a 'sugar hangover', and thought that actually that's probably what is was. After enjoying eating the delicious cake - it was quite a big piece - the day later I felt terrible and it felt just like, or similar to drinking too much alcohol. I suppose when I was younger I would've reached for more sugary food to feel good again but now that a doctor has explained that sugar isn't good for my condition, I can be more resolved to stay away from it. I think my decision to eat the cake was the false promise that it would make me feel good - which it did - but the cost of it was as I predicted at the party - a 'sugar hangover'. By realising this I felt better, that somehow I wasn't just feeling sorry for myself.
I'm no bio-chemist, but I am aware of chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, that can create sometimes intensely wonderful feelings, triggered by sugary foodstuffs and other pleasurable things but sadly, are feelings which do not last. I'm also aware, that the brain chemical that is responsible for longer lasting happiness is called serotonin - the contentment chemical. To achieve a serotonin 'hit' means being constantly vigilant of yourself, your aims and goals and be working towards achieving them. It's also about being aware of yourself and those around you, and being able to give and accept love and support from others. It's about being organised and disciplined. By eating the cake I was ignoring most of those important things, and found out not for the first time it simply wasn't worth it.
A Moodscope member.