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Journal of a Sugar Addict - can I beat the sugar demons?

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  • Journal of a Sugar Addict - can I beat the sugar demons?

    I am a sugar addict...

    I've known this for a while now but its really been sinking in recently and I want to do something about it. I have an old blog but I've decided to start a new one with a focus on sugar. I think I have primal pretty down now so sugar is what I'm targeting. The last post on the other blog was about starting a whole 30. That didn't go too badly but we were away for several weekends so it wasn't as good as it should have been. I also managed to derail it completely last week with a sugar binge...

    Last Thursday I had a really good outcome from some things at work do decided to treat myself to some green and blacks dark chocolate. That's not too bad you say! Well, eating a few squares would have been fine. I ate 3/4 of the bar... Once chocolate is in front of me its like I can't stop. I know that it makes me feel ill but that doesn't deter me. I get a bit of a rumbly stomach and feel a bit rubbish. So, I try to stick to one or two squares as I'm ok with that but that very rarely ever happens.

    Anyway, through the month my weight didn't shift at all but I felt good. Nice and clear and feeling strong. I felt quite tired for a while at the end of Jan and wasn't recovering well from the gym so I upped my carbs and my recovery improved a lot. I think that may have impacted on weightloss though so I'm considering cutting them back a bit to see if it helps - i'll do it slowly and keep an eye on my recovery. I've now gone two months without losing so I'd like to get that going again.

    My biggest problem though is that since my sugar binge last week, my sugar demons have returned.

    Getting the chocolate was such a bad idea. I ate waay too much and went kind of hyperactive. (Thankfully my husband thinks its cute...) When I went to bed I didn't sleep well and ended up tossing and turning all night while being too hot and sweating bucket loads - I haven't had a night like it since going primal!

    In the morning, I was pretty much awake when my alarm went off so I just got up and headed into work. But ugh, I could feel the remnants of the sugar high - I wasn't quite regulating my temperature correctly (felt a bit sweaty sitting on the stuffy bus) and the best description of how I felt was hungover... All that from some "harmless" sugar. Harmless my ****!

    Since that night a week ago, I've had more chocolate and sweet stuff than in the last two months combined. Suddenly, rather than thinking "no, I shouldn't have any" I've started thinking "just a bit will be fine, one or two truffles won't be a problem", "just a wee bit of chocolate is ok" and "I've been so good for so long I'm sure I don't have a problem anymore so I can have a bit and it will be fine." Well, I was wrong and I do still have a problem. A big problem!

    In this journal I'm hoping to keep myself accountable, and give myself a bit of a boost for giving up sugar completely. I can't quite imagine never having cake or sweets again, but I think I need to consider that so I'll chart my journey here.

    Hopefully along the way I'll learn a bit more about how to keep my sugar demons away, and beat this addiction!

    Sugar is my nicotine...

  • #2
    Awwww. I feel for you. I AM you. What's helped...finding sweet treats that are primal-friendly. Keep looking up recipes!

    One thing I discovered on here was banana ice cream (I just finished eating sweet potato pancakes too).

    How To Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient! | The Kitchn

    You're on your way! It gets easier.


    • #3
      And to chime in..I am you as well..personally,the only thing that works is nothing to do with sweetness,fruit sends me off and I end up back on the chocolate or other sweet things..I know that I can not use rewards with sugar and even primal sweet treats throw me off the deep end.I was eating mascarpone with toasted coconut,vanilla and some jam that is not sweet..every time it made me go backwards.
      I hope you are able to get your sugar demon under control.


      • #4
        Thank you both for posting! Its always good to know you're not the only one

        The banana ice-cream looks so good that I've already thrown one in the freezer so I can try it out over the weekend. Some sweet primal treats seem to be ok for me, but many aren't so I'm hoping this will be fine. I'm going to try making it with one banana and sharing it with my husband first to gauge it.

        Anjelevil - I'm with you. Fruit seems to be enough to set me off as well. The odd bit after I've been to the gym is ok (I think) but any more than that and it sets the whole train in motion. Its been so difficult trying to wean myself off seeing sweet food as a treat and something that is necessary when celebrating. We're getting better but the habit is still there. So often after a hard day at work I start thinking about picking up a bottle of wine and desert from the shops on my way home and its a struggle to mentally stop myself. I've had to give dh strict instructions that he's not to buy me sweet treats any more. Flowers and cheese are his main options now :P If I have a strict "not allowed" approach I do ok, but if I let myself have a little then its all downhill.

        For the past week or two I've been feeling like I've been getting a bit of a sugar high in the afternoons at work. I didn't pay it too much attention until yesterday when it was really bad. I've got a blood glucose monitor and normally I sit around the mid 70s (4.2 - 4.5mmol/l). It had gone up to just over 100 (5.9mmol/l) only 45minutes after lunch! I was completely stumped as I'd had my usual meat and salad for lunch, and then I realised that I had olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And I had liberally drenched my salad with the balsamic because its sooo tasty. Well, I checked the label and sure enough - 25% sugars. Eeeep! It was a bit of a duh moment as I know that its essentially made from wine and grape juice but that had never translated in my head to sugar laden. D'oh! Today, I had a very similar lunch without the balsamic, my blood sugars stayed firmly in the 70s and I felt so much better

        Sugar is my nicotine...


        • #5
          I am making a mental note to avoid the balsamic..I never would have thought of it.
          I find weekends are often a struggle for me with the sugar.I can get through the week because I have structure and then all hell can break loose when down time comes.
          I was hoping to do some gluten free baking with my 5 year old this weekend but I am fearful of having it in the house..might have to wait until the end of the 30 days before I try some baking.
          Amazingly,I have goat's milk ice cream in the freezer and I haven't gone near it,my sugar cravings seem under control at the minute.
          Hope you got some nice cheese and flowers for the weekend!


          • #6
            I got some lovely cheese thanks! And well done on avoiding the ice-cream, you're doing well!

            I've not done too badly. A glass or two of wine on Friday night but nothing with added sugar (that I'm aware of). I made some coconut flour brownies tonight which have a bit of honey in them, but they have so much cream and cream cheese in them that I don't think small amount of honey is too bad... They are incredibly tasty though - having a wee taste now!

            We are flying out on a snowboarding holiday on Saturday and are planning our primal picnic box for the journey out. We went to the same resort last year and know that it will be a long time between hitting the airport at 6.30am in the UK and actually getting dinner on the other side. There was only one stall with food at Grenoble last year and it only sold baguettes so we don't want to be stuck with no other choice! We're planning on taking some lamb roast, cheese and primal brownies as a treat. With all of that we shouldn't be tempted by anything we see A bit of planning seems to go a long way to nipping cravings in the bud so that's my plan of attack.

            Unfortunately, being in a French ski village is probably going to present its own challenges but I'll see how I go. We're going to be doing a lot of exercise while we're there so I'm planning on relaxing some things as otherwise there is no way I'll make it through the week with enough energy. The chalet knows that we want to eat gluten free and have been wonderful about it. They've suggested we go through the meal plan with them when we arrive so hopefully we'll nip any problems in the bud then. We'll probably end up eating more rice and potatoes than normal, but I think the energy required will justify that. Also, while we don't avoid dairy we don't eat a lot so I think our cheese intake might increase. Well, my cheese intake might increase! I looove cheese but dh isn't so keen. Hopefully avoiding the bread won't be too difficult. And as far as puddings go, I'll have to see what we get offered while there. There will be dessert every night in the chalet so I'll decide as I go. I'd love to say that I won't have any but I think that's unlikely and last year the food was awesome so I don't really want to limit myself. One week isn't going to make a huge difference. One good thing that we noticed last year was that it wasn't difficult to get decent food on the mountain provided you didn't mind high fat - potatoes in a cheese sauce covered in grilled cheese anyone? Last year, we were horrified, this year I think we'll tuck in!

            Sugar is my nicotine...


            • #7
              Have fun in France!Enjoy the cheese!


              • #8
                I have a pretty bad sweet tooth for sure- some ideas on how to reduce:
                1. do intermittent fasting
                PDF Ebook The Fast-5 Diet and the Fast-5 Lifestyle | Free PDF Ebooks Files @AcrobatPlanet.Com
                2. walk, reduce chronic cardio- just makes you hungrier
                3. do a few days a week of atkins fat fast- 1-3- no carbs helps reduce the carb addiction
                Atkins Article : The Fat Fast


                • #9
                  Sugar addict here as well. It's nothing for me to drink 40 oz of Mt. Dew, eat 2 or 3 candy bars and a boat load of fruit in a day. Today would have been my 3rd day sugar free, but I had a 3 or 4 mini-marshmallows before I realized what I was doing.

                  Sugar is a hard thing to combat and I wish you luck. I'll be doing the same.
                  Primal since March 5, 2012
                  SW: 221 | CW: 204 | LPW: 166 | UGW: 140 (80 lbs loss)


                  • #10
                    Hey everyone and thanks for the encouragement!

                    France was great and I definitely helped myself to plenty of cheese, however, I also helped myself to plenty of things that I shouldn't have... There were some pretty awful bits diet-wise and some pretty goods things that came from it as well.

                    For the first few days our diet was poor. The food that we ate was reasonable quality but it wasn't as well balanced as we would normally eat. There were a lot of carbs (potatoes mainly) served in the chalet and for lunch on the mountain and far from enough protein. It was also pretty low on fat and generally it was just not enough. We realised at the end of the second day boarding that our muscles were running low on energy and they weren't tired from too much work, it was a fatigue due to too little fuel. We made a point of getting a big steak with lots of greens and some chips (unfortunately the best carb source we could get) and the difference in our energy was amazing. Both of us could feel it even just on our way back up the mountain in the lift. After that, we made a point of supplementing our evening meal in the chalet with good lunches and food from the supermarket if necessary. The good thing from this is that it made a very clear point in our heads about how much of a difference food makes in a short amount of time, and in future we will be much more careful about what we arrange for holidays.

                    I drank too much wine. There was red wine on the table and I had a glass or two every evening. Not too much, but I haven't drunk much wine for a while now and I think it was enough to help everything go a bit out of whack.

                    The next mistake we made was having croissants one morning. They looked so good. We were in France for this first time since going Primal. They were straight from the oven of the local patisserie. They were still warm and beautifully flaky. They were delicious. The reasons that we ate them go on! I genuinely thought that they wouldn't cause us too much of a problem as they were very buttery, and I didn't think they had too much flour in them. I don't seem to have too much of an immediate reaction to gluten so I thought it would be a worthwhile cheat. How wrong could I be I felt it all day and it made me feel really bad, to the extent that I didn't eat anything else until much later once it had cleared out of my system. One good thing however, was that my reaction was so bad I think it will forever mean that I avoid croissants. My brain now shouts "not worth it!" at me. A good electric shock moment so not all bad (might not have explained my electric shock theory - will do later!).

                    I guess another mistake was eating puddings. We don't do puddings at home much but there were lots while we were away as the chalet makes them every night. It actually felt a bit wrong eating so many, so I guess that indicates that my preferences are changing which is good. But, too much sugar in general which just makes me feel bad.

                    One good thing is that I quickly realised that sugar when I came off the mountain was definitely affecting me and I managed to turn it down several times. Go me! There were cakes (and special gluten free ones for dh and myself) which I ate the first two days and then actually turned down and didn't eat after that. My brain is finally starting to associate sugary things with feeling bad. Its taking time and doesn't kick in on everything (chocolate would be the main one...brain still shouts "yummy!" at chocolate!) but it is getting there - baby steps

                    Fiercehunter, you mentioned IF and I find that it about the only thing that makes a big difference for me. It cuts my cravings substantially and I feel great when I only eat one or two meals a day. Unfortunately, eggs at breakfast were one of the few good things to eat at the chalet so I didn't get any IF all week. I'll start again tomorrow (I tend to do 16/8) and can't wait to get back into it.

                    I think the main good thing to come out of the week is that I'm looking forward to ditching the sugar, wine and "bad" carbs again and getting back to primal goodness and IF. Even though we avoided the worst of the food (we ate no bread, pasta, pizza or processed food!) we still didn't eat optimally and I can feel it. I thought the exercise would protect me a bit, but it hasn't completely and I want to feel good again. Primal is clearly making an impact on me, and 6 months in its becoming my natural eating habit. Here's hoping it won't take another full week to undo the damage. Sugar will be gone from tomorrow again so I'll have to see how I go with cravings. It will be interesting to see what diving off the wagon will do. Right now, I'm feeling like I'm done with sugar and I don't want to feel crap so it will be gone from my diet tomorrow never to be seen again. Somehow, I suspect that tomorrow night I will be fantasing about dark chocolate and macaroons... c'est la vie!

                    Sugar is my nicotine...


                    • #11
                      Well, last night went badly. Oh, so badly!

                      I basically decided to stuff it all and have a bit of a binge - by binge I had a big bag of crisps and a 100g bar of milk chocolate to myself plus a beer. Not really all that bad but still, really shouldn't have done it! DH and I have decided that we're going to give GAPS a go (for him more so than for me but I think I will get some benefits from it) so given we've had a bad week for eating we decided that last night would be an "allowable" binge as we're intending on being super strict for the next wee while. It was an awesome night - beer, crisps, huge lamb roast, chocolate and the first F1 race of the season. And to top it all off, Jenson won the race Unfortunately I had stomach cramps and massive gas (to the point of being really sore) from the food so maybe I should have stuck with the F1 and just the lamb...hmm... cheating is definitely starting to lose its shine and I think I am finally learning that it normally ends badly.

                      Knowing that it makes me feel bad doesn't stop the sugar binging though. When I was out today I bought myself a wee bar of dark chocolate. It was yum but I didn't need the sugar... It just made me a bit antsy at the end of the day at work so I seriously need to cut it out again. Tomorrow is our last prep day before GAPS starts so I'd better do otherwise the weekend is going to suck - sugar withdrawals and GAPS intro!

                      I've been doing a lot of reading on GAPS recently and its been incredibly interesting. DH has a lot of digestive problems, as well as concentration and learning difficulties (he's incredibly bright and excellent in a work environment but really struggles when it comes to sitting down and doing any formal learning) so we think that GAPS might help him out. I read about it here first and he was a bit sceptical but figured he'd give it a go so we ordered the probiotics before we went away on holiday. When they arrived, he had one thinking that they wouldn't have any impact but "just to check". Well...he felt completely crap for three days but over those three days apparently his digestion was much better. So, I now have a convert on my hands who wants to start properly! He really is amazed that it made such a big difference. Bit of a rough way for him to be convinced but its made my job much easier this week with the prep. We've got a big batch of beef broth made, he's doing some chicken tomorrow and hopefully the digestive stuff will arrive too (HCL something or other I think). We're going to take it pretty slow but fingers crossed it will really help him.

                      Sugar is my nicotine...


                      • #12
                        You need to do the leptin reset and get 6 weeks of low carbs under your belt. Once you realize you can do it you will. If you think you can't do the reset jump in with a few days of the Atkins Fat Fast. For 3-5 days force yourself to live on a little protein but mostly vegetables and butter- 800 calories a day of butter at least and the other 200 or so from protein like a few boiled eggs or a tin of sardines. MAKE YOURSELF DO IT. When you do you will realize that sugar addiction is just flat out ridiculous and is robbing you of your life.
                        Atkins Article : The Fat Fast


                        • #13
                          "Knowing that it makes me feel bad doesn't stop the sugar binging though"

                          This is so me. This thread has been really helpful (just joined today and found it!) I'm absolutely addicted to sugar and just starting to take babysteps to get it out of my system. I've got 60 lbs to lose. :-(


                          • #14
                            Hi momstinct! I'm so glad you've found this thread useful so far. Sugar addiction is so difficult to break but I find it great to know that I'm not alone. We'll both make it eventually, provided that we just stick with it and as you say, take baby steps. I've lost 40 pounds so far so you can definitely get there The first step for me was realising that I was addicted and seeing the behaviour in my everyday life. I honestly didn't realise that I had a problem until it was pointed out to me. Now, I can see it and therefore I'm starting to learn what sets me off and how I can start to move away from it.

                            I think everyone is different though and what works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for another. For me, I have to retrain my brain to accept that sugar is not going to make me happy and that bar of chocolate is not "yum!". I think that as long as my brain's first and only reaction is "I want" I'm not going to see the back of my sugar addiction because every time I see sugar, my brain is going to associate it with a reward - regardless of how long it has been since I last had it. I need to retrain myself to change my internal voice from saying "sugary things are delicious, have some!" to "sugary things make you feel ill, give you a hangover and have far too much control over you. Don't eat it!". Only at that point do I think I'll have a chance of giving it up.

                            The only problem is that while I know the second one intellectually, emotionally I'm still very much at the first. Sugar does taste nice and I have had 26 years of experience to back that up. What I don't have is 26 years of linking feeling horrible with exactly the same white powder.

                            I was brought up to believe that if you weren't outright allergic to a food (i.e. break out in hives or end up in hospital when you eat it) then it was fine and you could eat it. If you didn't feel well after eating something then it was either off and you had food poisoning or it was unrelated. Food intolerances were just people imagining things and weren't really real. Not getting enough of a nutrient might make you unwell, or eating too much junk and chemicals could be bad, but normal food would never cause you a problem. Sugar was only bad for your teeth and the only people that had to avoid too much were diabetics. Note that this is what I was taught by my nutritionist mother...

                            Due to all of this, until I started on my primal journey, I had never once questioned my intake of sugar or whether feeling unwell regularly (what I now know were symptoms of hypoglycemia) was linked to anything I was eating. Therefore, it is taking a lot of time to retrain my brain away from the sugar.

                            I think of it like electric shock therapy. Every time I over eat sugar now I note my bad reaction and the voice in my head telling me to eat it next time echoes a bit louder with a cautionary "don't eat too much". Now that I have been primal for 7 months, and largely sugar free for quite a few of them, when I eat to much sugar I feel awful and as I consciously note those feelings, my view that those feelings are worth the few mouthfulls of chocolatey goodness is rapidly changing. The reward factor is diminishing and I'm starting to reverse years of sugar-indoctrination. Right now, it still doesn't actually stop me from binging, but I'm starting to get at least an initial "hmm...are you sure you want to do this?". Its taken a good few periods of being good and feeling great, followed by binging and feeling horrible to start to move this way but baby-steps are better than no steps! I think it also helps mentally to accept that getting away from this addiction will not be a quick fix, and that even when I binge, provided I pay attention to how it makes me feel then I am actually moving further down the road. Its not a step backwards - provided I learn from it and get right back on the wagon its another step down the road. It doesn't excuse my cheating, and I don't cheat any more because of that view, but it does help me keep up moral

                            Fiercehunter - I have done over 6 weeks of strict low carb (autumn last year) and it definitely helped but as you can tell it didn't solve everything! It definitely helped with my cravings - to the point where they nearly went away, but its didn't solve my inner voice issue. So, while I wouldn't go seeking sugar when I was presented with something right in front of me I still said yes and what ever it was would kick off my cravings again. I think they have improved, but even just eating too much fruit can start them up. I had to increase my carbs because of gym work that I was doing and it was impractical to give up all exercise for even longer just so I could stay low carb - that's not really a lifestyle I want to live. I've looked at the leptin reset but I don't believe that I'm leptin resistant. I lost weight easily when I started primal and am now what many people would consider reasonably slim (5'8", 145 pounds, UK size 10 - down from 185 pounds) plus my appetite diminishes quite substantially when I drop my carb intake. Even when its fairly high I don't have an appetite for more than two meals a day. Its something that I may look at in future, but for now I think I need to sort our my internal reward signals first otherwise I will continually sabotage myself.

                            Sugar is my nicotine...


                            • #15
                              Today is day one of GAPS and I managed to avoid sugar again - yay! Now that we are into GAPS my self control is going to have to be immense so that I don't ruin any progress that I make. I think that helps as I know that I can't have any. Not even one little bit because its completely disallowed.

                              Day one hasn't been too bad.

                              Food today has been:

                              Breakfast: IF
                              Lunch: Beef broth with bits of beef and other "soft tissue" pulled off the bones in it, and some of the boiled meat on the side.
                              Dinner: Chicken from some chicken drumsticks that DH boiled this afternoon plus more beef broth but this one was a bit lighter on the stock and I put some more flavouring in it. I also added a bit of saurkraut. Afterwards I tried some homemade sour cream.

                              I've discovered that I'm not a fan of full on beef broth - its too gloopy and the taste doesn't endear it to me. I know its not for long that I need to have it largely on its own though so I'll get through it. Some veggies are allowed on stage 1 of the induction diet but dh suffers a lot from diarrhoea so we're taking the advice to start first without and then add them in once digestion sorts itself out a bit. We're hoping it will only be a few days! We're taking it a bit easy with dh and probiotic foods but we don't think I have anywhere near the issues that he does so I've been tasting them I'm quite a fan of saurkraut and discovered that putting a bit in the broth is really tasty so I had a good spoonful. We bought the first jar from an online shop who make them with people on the GAPS diet in mind so that once ours are ready, we know what it should taste like and whether they have worked or not. We did try making sour cream last night but I don't think it was on for long enough as its gone fairly creamy and slightly tart, but not as tart as I would expect. I probably ate too much of it, so I'm kind of hoping it wasn't fully done and I haven't just let myself in for lots of die-off... Fingers crossed!!!

                              We've got lots of chicken and chicken soup for tomorrow which I'm really looking forward to. It smells wonderful so I think it may have been more successful than the beef.

                              I've got a gym session tomorrow, first once since snowboarding. I'm feeling a bit knackered tonight so planning on an early night to ensure I have plenty of energy in the morning.

                              Sugar is my nicotine...