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  • Sugar Junkies - support needed

    I'd prefer people not post if they're just going to be dicks and tell me to "man up" or whatever. But then, if someone's a dick they'll post anyway so . . .

    I am a huge sugar junkie. I have such a problem with it. I went primal over a year ago. I don't know why it worked so well but in addition to cutting the grains (which, ironically, was no problem for me) I went months (2 or 3, not sure) without sugar. I thought I was doing great, I thought I was over it. So I said ok, just a treat for some holiday or party. Moderation, blah blah. Within a week I was back to full on sugar binging. Still grain free, but eating sugar. Lots of it.

    When I eat sugar it's entire bags of hershey kisses or huge bowls of ice cream, multiple times a day. I'm not talking a cookie here or there. I am sick of people telling me to just "eat in moderation". I feel like an alcoholic. I just can't do it.

    I had an abusive childhood and even though I've worked through a lot of issues from that, I think that kind of stress during your formative years screws you up. So either I still have emotional problems or it physically changed me.

    I've tried again and again and couldn't go more than a few days til last week. What spurred me this time is my 13 year old telling me I ate too much sugar and it wasn't healthy to buy ice cream four days in a row. And she's right of course.

    And this last week has been ok. I've been addressing it more as a mental exercise this time. Yes, I'm eating more protein and taking a few supplements but for the most part, I'm talking myself down regularly.

    I decided that it *is* like I'm an alcoholic in some ways. Not to be dramatic and yes, being an alcoholic is much more serious, but it's still helped me to think this way.

    Whenever I think I'll pick up at bag of kisses and start again tomorrow, I think how that's like an alcoholic saying he'll just have one last bender. And every time I think I'll just have one taste of something, I think how that's like an alcoholic saying they'll have one beer and stop and really the one beer will lead to a fifth of vodka (my one taste will lead to a bag of kisses and a carton of ice cream).

    And sometimes I find myself thinking that I'll eat when I get home from an errand. That thought has become my cue to eat NOW. I know from years of experience that going out even the slightest bit hungry leads to Coke and chocolate bars.

    And I've been doing ok til yesterday. 10 days sugar free. And yesterday I found myself in such a crappy mood. It's not fair. Even on this site people are able to have a sugary treat for a birthday or whatever and go back. The whole 80% thing. Hell, even Sisson has sugar in his coffee every single day.

    I'm feeling so resentful that I can't do that. And pissed off. And wondering what's the point?

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any other sugar junkies (reformed or still struggling) giving me a little support. Tell me it's worth it, tell me I'll eventually feel and actually be healthier. Lie to me if you have to, lol!

  • #2
    Our bodies love sugar and it is addictive; this seems especially true of the refined forms.

    You bring up the parallel of alcoholism. I have a family full of alcoholics and recovered alcoholics. Do you know how much alcohol those that recovered allow themselves? That would be none. They won't even allow it in the house. My grandmother used to take the gifts of wine people would bring her and pour them down the kitchen drain at first chance so she wasn't tempted. My stepfather won't even allow salty cooking alcohol into the house knowing how much of a problem he had.

    You say that it's not fair that some people can have some, but it's really not about fair vs unfair. It's about knowing your weaknesses and knowing what is good for you. Everyone has weaknesses and things they should avoid.

    I personally understand the sugar thing. I love sweets, and they do trigger overeating for me. So you know what? Like my grandmother and my stepfather I don't allow them in the house. When something "finds its way" into my house, I throw it away. I have actually been eating ice cream out of the container and literally walk to the kitchen and put over 2/3 of the container in the sink and run hot water over it. Yes, I brought the ice cream into the house while being stupid, but it is fully in my control to get rid of it. Yes, it is "wasteful", but really it was wasteful of me to buy something to begin with that doesn't nourish me and can send me spiraling out of control.

    On the same note, knowing that alcoholism runs very strongly in my family on both my mother's and father's side, I have never even had a single sip of the stuff. Why? I don't want to risk the temptation. Is it fair that I will never have red wine with my supper? Maybe, maybe not, but I know myself, and I do not trust myself.

    Also remind yourself that the longer you stay away, the easier it becomes. Your body does quit yelling "cake!!!" at you after awhile. Plus, at being only 10 days sugar free, your grumpiness is probably caused by your body's addiction. When I've been coming down again I force myself to eat something really fatty and full of protein. Some days all I need is a pile of chicken dipped in mayo and the bad mood disappears after an hour.

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    • #3
      Why don't you eat lots of fruits? Bet it's far more healthy then stuffin' cookies.

      I love them fruits.
      Everything is bad for something - How do you feel today?

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      • #4
        It's not fair, but you still have to deal with the situation for what it is. I have the same problem with sugar, and also with caffeine. I also feel resentful about it. I've been doing paleo since the beginning of April, and my big breakthrough was realizing that I can't have just a little, and that there are no acceptable substitutions. I started out using stevia, and that kept me in the mindset of eating sweet things. I stopped using sugar and stevia and all sugar substitutes completely. Over time, I've been able to reduce my taste for overly sweetened things, so now fruit tastes like candy and actual sweet things are overwhelming. That was really the key for me. Once you can get to that point, it gets easier.

        I haven't been doing this for long enough to have a plan in place for what happens the next time someone has a birthday and there's cake, but I'm hopeful. The other day I slipped and tried to eat baklava. The first bite was so sweet that I actually didn't want the rest and stopped on my own.

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        • #5
          What's your starch / carb intake like? I noticed when I tried to do the VLC thing, I was constantly craving and daydreaming about sweets, even after completely eliminating sugar for 30 days.

          Once I added back in fruit and sweet potatoes, it cut way down on those cravings. I suppose the reason is my body desired more carbohydrates to run efficiently and so it was making me want sugar to feed that need.

          Obviously, I know you already know this, the biggest help is just not buying the stuff. If I have ice cream in the house, it will be eaten. When I first went primal, I would eat dark chocolate regularly but I never do now. I realized it NEVER satisfied whatever I wanted to and always just made me keep going back for more.

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          • #6
            We have a lot of alcoholism in my family too. And diabetes (both types but mostly type 2). I think it's all related.

            Ironically, I've never had a problem with alcohol because I'm extremely sensitive to it to the point where I don't enjoy it (the effects are fun, but the actual drinking is not). I'm a light weight and can get a serious buzz on one beer, but at the same time because I'm so sensitive to it, it tastes horribly strong to me. You can't hide alcohol on me. I always taste it and it's always gross. I think that's related to the sugar sensitivity.

            I know it doesn't matter if it's fair or not, I just need to whine sometimes and today is one of those days. I'm just feeling really pissy. I wish there was a magic pill to make it easier. Sigh.

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            • #7
              Hey, sugar addict here too, so I'm not gonna take the mick. I don't have it as bad as you, but sugar as crept in a few times in the last few weeks, gluten free caramel shortcakes are not paleo, I know this, but like you, shitty mood/stress = sugar cravings.

              I think cold turkey is the way to go on all sweet tastes, no sweetner, diet coke, steva, honey, berries, fruit. Everything out for as long as possible.

              Try to find alternative answers to stress, preferably not food, but one step at a time, something really fatty can stop the sugar cravings, coconut oil, butter, mouthful of olive oil, 85% + coco solids dark chocolate, cacoa nibs, a roasted coffe bean, sugar free nut butter???

              Eventually you will change your tastes so you don't need things as sweet, and a moment of weekness and a candy, or bit of cake will be too sweet and you will want to spit it out. Do not power through this, accept the urge to spit and move on, it is far too easy to push trough and get used to the super sweetness of sugary foods (been there, done that, reseting taste buds as we speak)

              Once you have removed sweetness from your diet you won't get as many cravings IME, and they will be easier to avoid, I don't think it will ever go away for me, but it's easier to avoid when you don't ever taste anything sweeter than berries with cream - which 'normal' people think are too sour and throw sugar over. And then if it's a planned desert not a reach for when pissed off, you arn't feedin that cycle.


              I have also found that IF has helped me feel in control of when I eat, gives me the power to know I can go all day without food, so I don't 'need the energy'
              You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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              • #8
                Hope this helps

                I am a lifelong sugar junkie, though more of a frequent nibbler than a binger. Somehow it didn't seem as bad if I had just a cookie here, just a candy bar there, but when I add up how much sugar I ate in a week plus my total load from carbs, it's amazing I am only prediabetic.

                Originally posted by quidam View Post
                Your body does quit yelling "cake!!!" at you after awhile.
                The inability to reach that state on other diets is was always my Fail point. So far on PB, the higher fat intake has helped to calm the insane sugar craving, but it isn't gone. What helps me and might help you: my only fruits are berries. I eat a LOT of fat from meats, nut butters, and coconut oil. My optimal carb intake seems to be around 50g/day. Less than that and I definitely have cravings. More than that and I lose weight more slowly. I had to experiment to find what worked and I'm still new at this.

                My brother lives with me, and he keeps bread, pasta, and juice on hand constantly. These don't tempt me (well the bread does a little) but faced with a good pastry, I could easily lose my resolve. I do use stevia but am trying to cut down on that so I have less dependence on the sweet taste.

                Good luck, I hope things can improve for you.
                My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57034.html

                "...since our orthodox theories have not saved us we may have to readjust them to bring them into harmony with Nature's laws. Nature must be obeyed, not orthodoxy." Weston A. Price

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                • #9
                  Seconding the suggestions to replace processed sweets with fruit.
                  You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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                  • #10
                    I'm right there with you. Eerily similar in fact - primal about a year. Awesome for 6 months. I truly believed I had vastly improved (I'm not sure elimination is possible) the binging. Then around New Year's I tried VLC and I have been a disaster since then. I don't have suggestions for what has worked because nothing has (for me) so far. However, check out mamagrok's journal - she made some major progress on sugar binges using the leptin reset.

                    I think the analogy to alcoholism is very true. Except they have the "advantage" of being able to survive without alcohol. I equate food addiction to telling an alcoholic that everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner they must have 1 beer but that is all. I think it makes it tougher, but I'm not addicted to alcohol, so maybe I'm wrong.

                    There are a bunch of researchers out there studying food addiction - brain scans, etc. People with addictions to food have brains that respond to pictures of food and actual food the same way that the brains of drug addicts respond to some pretty serious narcotics. There was an article in Nutrition Action last month about food addiction and the one piece that stuck with me was that food addicts get a "rush" similar to drug addicts when eating. I tried finding it online but I couldn't. I have found that I "need" that rush. That is what a binge is really about - not the food - because after 30 seconds I don't really taste the food anyway. I don't know how to fix the "need" for that rush though

                    Here are the steps I have taken recently - which sometimes help and others don't.

                    1. Eat. Don't get too hungry. I find big breakfasts make me less likely to binge in the evening. I don't know if this is mental "I've eaten 1500 calories already today, I can't binge now" or physical - I've given my body the fuel it needs.
                    2. Get EVERYTHING triggering out of the house. We even gave away our almonds and dates etc. If I binge on it, I wanted it out.
                    3. Pay more or partition bulk foods that are safe enough, but still triggering. For me this is raisins. So I don't buy the cartons anymore I buy the little boxes. Now a "binge" is eating 6 boxes - instead of the whole canister.
                    4. Eat safe carbs - for me this has been rice cakes. Getting the crunch and the butter carrier helps prevent a build up of cravings for pretzels or something worse.
                    5. Don't let the quest for perfection undo your efforts. Sometimes I truly feel like some diet coke or some sugar free hot chocolate will prevent a binge. Are they primal? No? Are they bad for me? Probably. But I think they are better for me than a bag of Hershey Kisses

                    Good luck and if you figure out the secret, let me know
                    Last edited by lorichka6; 06-09-2012, 11:54 AM.

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                    • #11
                      I would highly encourage you to figure what what events/ situations trigger you to binge on sugar. Are they emotional situations? As a child, did you turn to sugar when you were sad/unhappy?

                      Sometimes, it is just does not come down to food. Life is not as simple as that. We have successfully managed to marry food with our emotional state, and well, it has become our downfall in many ways. How about you also work on your emotional/ mental health too? I used to do a lot of sugar/ carb binging when my daughter was a newborn. I had severe post-partum anxiety. The weight gain and unhealthy eating was not separate from my mental health. I had to first tackle the latter to work on the former.

                      Best of luck in your journey!

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                      • #12
                        You need to focus on going primal, not on eliminating sugar. You've been told sugar is the devil constantly and this is why you feel bad. Concentrate on eating 70+ grams of good quality animal protein a day, several tablespoons of coconut oil & also butter daily; drink some coffee to get your mind of focus and also so you will feel better. Sugar is NOT as unhealthy as we've been told and in fact based on some things I've been reading lately might even be good or necessary. Starches like grains are the real problem.
                        Last edited by fiercehunter; 06-15-2012, 08:23 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Hey, I have totally been there! It was almost exactly one year to the day that I started this thread - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread32223.html

                          It's been a long, long journey (detailed in my journal here, which is linked in my signature), but I've met a lot of other sugar addicts on the way, and the things that have worked well for all of us who have tried them include

                          - plenty of natural fats & protein
                          - especially emphasize protein at breakfast. For some, 25g at each meal is enough, others of us have to go to 50g or even 65g to make the binges 100% gone, the cravings entirely silenced, and the emotional attachment to food completely released, but it does work whenever we find what that individual number is for us.

                          Some people (like me) benefit from things like no snacking, no eating after dinner (or within 3hrs of bedtime), eating sweets only at the end of meals until we're ready to release it entirely, journaling food time/type/amounts along with physical & emotional symptoms to see patterns (NOT to blame), avoiding all grains & sweets that we don't really care for (like, I could easily choose to avoid crackers & pasta, even when oat bread & Heart 2 Heart cereal called to me relentlessly), avoiding situations that we know are setups for disaster (like running into the grocery store by myself), etc. Some, like the last one, have become unnecessary now that the cravings are totally gone.

                          ITA that it feels like alcoholism, but crueler, because no one believes it exists, there is no support for it, and you are FORCED to eat daily. No one forces you to drink alcohol daily. But it did help me to realize that it's not really food addiction I have - it's sugar/grain/maybecarb addiction. I *can* choose to eat only meat, fat, eggs, non-starchy veggies, & low-sugar fruits. and most importantly, I can choose to eat that big fat breakfast that absolutely kills the cravings so that I no longer have to fight urges to eat all day.

                          My life is totally different. This time last year, I was gaining weight, tired all the time, and having to avoid all social engagements for fear of another binge. It's 180 degrees different now. I'm losing, energy continues to increase, and I have no fears about any cravings or binges ever.

                          I hope you can find the answer that works for you. If I had to pick just one thing out of the many suggestions I got on the previous thread, and all of those above, it would be the protein for breakfast. Making that the priority, that no matter what came, I got my 50g+ protein every day (including moving up to it slowly if you can't do 50g at first), within an hour of rising, every day, every day ... it just changed everything. My body knows now that it will be nourished; it trusts me; and finally, I can trust it.
                          5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                          Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                          Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                          Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                          ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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                          • #14
                            Do you eat much fruit? I eat a fair amount - about 5 servings of pretty sugary things like berries, bananas, mangos - and I find that I no longer crave sugar. And on rare occasions that I do eat a sugary dessert, it always seems TOO sweet and not really that satisfying.

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                            • #15
                              ITA that it feels like alcoholism, but crueler, because no one believes it exists, there is no support for it, and you are FORCED to eat daily. No one forces you to drink alcohol daily. But it did help me to realize that it's not really food addiction I have - it's sugar/grain/maybecarb addiction. I *can* choose to eat only meat, fat, eggs, non-starchy veggies, & low-sugar fruits. and most importantly, I can choose to eat that big fat breakfast that absolutely kills the cravings so that I no longer have to fight urges to eat all day.
                              +1

                              It is too hard for most of us to see temptation day after day without giving in so I don't have any of my "danger" food at home. Last Christmas my Kindy kids gave me chocolates and after they had all gone home I put them in the rubbish bin. I just knew that if I put them in the car they would be eaten on the drive home.

                              But 1 year on and it has become easier. The memory of sweets/candy is still there and maybe some nostalgia but the rewards are so great with improved health etc. that I can move on.
                              Original Goal: To lose weight. Achieved in March 2010
                              Long Term Goals: To continue using Primal guidlines to improve fitness and health. To share the Primal message.

                              The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible - Judith Regan

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