When I gave up drinking wine I substituted food into the void left behind. Mainly sweet foods, which surprised me as, like many wine drinkers, I was convinced I preferred salty savoury snacks and did not have a sweet tooth. That was before I knew wine was pure sugar and the minute I stopped drinking it I craved and craved sugar like never before.
This was ok though. Ever mindful of my diet, I knew I had loads of calories now spare and prefixed all my snacking with "Usually I'd be having wine but I'm not so...." and gave myself a licence to eat whatever I wanted, and I wanted a lot.
Chocolate, cake and biscuits (desserts, ice cream and breakfast cereals) became my drugs of choice now I no longer drank wine. These extra treats stopped me feeling deprived and allowed me to change my evening habits from wine and crisps to tea and cakes. It worked well and bridged the very difficult early days of sobriety.
But then, eating the sugary sweet stuff gained momentum. I ate more and more instead of gradually weaning myself off it as my wine free days accumulated. This was not supposed to happen and it has led to me having a steady weight gain throughout the last year that I cannot, get a grip on.
To be honest, over-eating, bingeing and starvation have formed part of my make up for many years and have been controlled only through necessity. As my wine drinking escalated, I preferred to spend my calories on that. I would only eat fruit, vegetables and salads to keep 900 calories a day for a bottle of wine. Somedays when I was really hungover I would have carb fests of huge proportions meaning that at other times I had to eat even fewer food calories (more salad and vegetables) to compensate.
To my disappointment, giving up wine has unmasked my disordered dieting and my lifelong chaotic eating patterns. I've found it helpful writing about my bizarre eating behaviour to understand where it comes from to really try to overcome it once and for all. It was difficult to write about emotional events of the past which shape the person I am today and I feel sad at many parts time and again when I read through it.
I've published it in the hope I will find others who will tell me they are the same! It's not just me! It happened with wine after all. If you are or know any obsessive dieters in continual despair over their weight and eating, point them this way and let me know what they think.
Cake O'Clock is available here