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  • Issues with sugar addiction...

    Alright, I've been addicted to many things. Cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine...among other things but those were the worst.

    Now I'm clean as far as drugs and alcohol go, but for the past month the longest I've been able to go without binging on sugar has been two weeks. Now, that's worlds better than it was before going primal. Before I'd eat sugar all day everyday and still binge in the evenings on even more sugar, as well as on other foods but I really think the binging was centered mostly on sugar.

    So now that I've decided to give up sugar and am finding it difficult to do so I'm starting to feel a true addiction. The feelings I get in my gut and brain during a truly terrible urge to binge are very similar to the urge I have to do drink myself silly or go get high. The thing is, the urge for a line of cocaine is usually very faint, but if someone were to put a ready made line right in front of my face and say 'here you go, no one's going to be upset if you do this' the urge becomes 1,000 times stronger. Basically I constantly am being presented with ready to eat sugar and no one is going to say anything or care if I eat it until I puke.

    Even in viewing sugar as a drug and an addictive substance I'm finding it hard to ignore those horrific urges.

    I am just trying to stay as primal as I can and avoid having too many carbs in one sitting, but I broke last night and had two bowls of marshmallow cereal and sweet tarts and then this morning, before I knew it, I was eating candy from the candy drawer at work. Now, I know some people say things 'in moderation' or follow the 80/20 but this is nothing like my decision to eat questionable meat at a sit in diner, this is me out of control doing something I don't want to be doing that is negatively affecting my health.

    So...what do you do when you're faced with that urge? Sometimes eating fruit or berries helps me, but not always. Sometimes it just makes it worse. Do any of you abstain from sugar completely? Have any of you overcome a sugar addiction? I am really struggling with it right now, but I believe sugar is the sole reason I'm overweight. Maybe it's crazy thought, but after listening carefully to my body that's the conclusion I'm coming too. My binges are driven by an uncontrollable urge to consume sugar. I don't binge on any other foods, not even bread. I need to treat sugar like a drug and break the habit, but I'm just having hard time with that right now.

  • #2
    I broke last night and had two bowls of marshmallow cereal and sweet tarts and then this morning, before I knew it, I was eating candy from the candy drawer at work.
    Why did you have those foods in the house? Step1: Get rid of them. Step2: Don't beat yourself up, just pick yourself up and move on with today.

    The secret for me is to have 'safe foods' I can binge on with impunity. Like, the darkest chocolate you enjoy. Currently for me that's Lindt 85%. Whenever I have the munchies I go for that or fruit.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    • #3
      As a (slowly) reforming sugar addict, I can commiserate 100%. It really is a debilitating addiction. At my lowest point, I was binging twice a day, every day... I wasn't able to go 24 hours without the excruciating headaches, anxiety, shakes, and aggression setting in. Each binge usually consisted of a whole box of cookies, a full box of cereal with milk, and a pint of ice cream.

      Before I go any further, let me say this: primal CAN help ENORMOUSLY, but only if you trust your instincts and DON'T get caught up on the thousands of opinions floating on the forum. Everyone has a different opinion about what works -- zero-carb, moderate-carb, equal ratios, etc -- but the reason there are so many zealous people who believe their way is right is because something different works for everyone. Being a perfectionist, I started out going full-on no-carb, super-high-fat... and guess what? My sugar addiction got worse than ever.

      The key for me personally has been 1) a small eating window and 2) trying out different ratios. Right now, I'm trying 60g carbs and feeling very good.

      When my sugar cravings hit, a few really ripe grape tomatoes or some strawberries with Stevia seem to do the trick. But if I keep myself from getting hungry (with two big meals a day) the cravings don't seem to come anyway.

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      • #4
        Yes, you need to clear your house of foods you don't want to eat. You mentioned that the presence of an addictive substance intensifying the craving... so why have lines of cocaine on display? Same with sugar... get rid of the marshmallow cereal (I don't even know what that is, but sounds nasty) and everything else you want to break away from. Out of sight, out of mind. I did this same clear-out and found it to work.

        Then maybe look at what else you're eating throughout the day. Go nuts on protein, and an appropriate amount of carbs. i find that when I'm eating enough of these, sugar doesn't seem so appealing.

        You're going to have a very tough time staying away from sugar initially, but the more times you say no, the easier it gets. I've had a few times where I've caved in, and after the blow out it is SO EASY to just keep eating more sugar and junk, and the more I crave it. The trick is to bite the bullet, break the cycle.

        Also maybe look at how you're treating sugar. You're comparing it to substance abuse, to illicit drugs, to things that have a real grip on people addicted to them. Yes, there is such a thing as sugar addiction, but if you're lacing it in the same category and treating it as something your body depends on for "survival" you're creating almost an excuse for you to cave. Your discourse are saying "Sugar has this all-powerful grip on me and I'm not that strong, therefore it's going to happen, I'm going to give on". You need to stop this thought process... the way you want to feel mentally and physically every time you refuse sugar is much much stronger than momentary satisfaction. Because later you feel like crap, right?

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        • #5
          I did 30 days without sugar. I just did not have any around (just fruit). No chocolate, no ice cream. Put the maple syrup and honey off limits. It was not easy and for two weeks I was an evil bitch to be around. I came up with with substitute behaviors (so fruit dinner, which eventually became only an occasional occurance) and things like taking a walk when I wanted sweets at work. If you get really desperate, brush your teeth.

          Not easy, but very worthwhile when 3 weeks into it, I felt amazing.

          http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
          Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by magicmerl View Post
            Why did you have those foods in the house? Step1: Get rid of them. Step2: Don't beat yourself up, just pick yourself up and move on with today.

            The secret for me is to have 'safe foods' I can binge on with impunity. Like, the darkest chocolate you enjoy. Currently for me that's Lindt 85%. Whenever I have the munchies I go for that or fruit.
            Oh sorry, I should mention I'm a college student and I live with my parents and two younger sisters. No choice, but I buy my own groceries. Always primal.

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            • #7
              From personally trying and experiencing all the positive effects, I recommend that you read Julia Ross's book The Diet Cure.
              Julia Ross' THE DIET CURE

              You can also try out the questionnaire on the site.

              Basically it's about taking these amino acids at the appropriate situation to calm your nerves and neurotransmitters. It only takes minutes to kick in.

              Glutamine, Tyrosine, DLPA, GABA, Tryptophan, 5-ATP

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              • #8
                In response to everyone else:

                Thanks for replying! If I lived alone I wouldn't even have this stuff in the house. I was actually lucky that all there was in the pantry was cereal. At any one time my parent's pantry has a myriad of SAD items, although they do try to have less junk food than they used to have. I just got lucky there wasn't ice cream or anything like that sitting in the freezer.

                I wish I could live alone but I don't have the means to right now. I can barely afford this new primal grocery bill, but I'm making it work. I cook good food. Lots of meats, eggs, fats. I really like the food I eat. The sugar cravings aren't always awful but some days they get so bad and I start to act on them. The act literally doesn't feel like it's me driving my body. My arm grabs the candy and starts opening it and in my head I'm thinking 'stop stop stop' and then I'm eating it. It sounds like I'm putting the control elsewhere, but this is what my cravings are like at their worst. I definitely have taken control and not had sugar during what I'd consider 'lesser' cravings, but when they reach a certain point it feels like something in me snaps and I'm not longer running the show.

                I do believe that if I can break the habit for 30 days I'll be way better off for it. I think I'll just have to have a strategy for the next time my cravings reach a critical level. I might just have to leave the house, no matter what time it is, with no money. Walk or drive far away from the sugar with my headphones and my sketchpad or something. Find a way to get through it and let it pass.



                I do feel better and I'm not beating myself up. As a frequent binger I learned early on that you can't berate yourself the whole day after a binge. It just doesn't do any good. I am, however, trying to set up a plan. I think eating primal hasn't cured me, but what it has done is brought to light the true culprit in my binging. Sugar. Sugar cravings. I don't 'crave' bread anywhere close to the way I crave sugar. That tells me it's no good for me at all. I observe the way my brain and body react before, during and after a binge and it's intense, to say the least. I'm trying to use this information to my advantage. Rather than lumping it into the drug category and deciding I 'can't live without it' I'm treating it like I treated those drugs.

                It's bad for me. I have to stop. I have to try everything until I can stop. That's the way I'm looking at it.

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                • #9
                  It really is a debilitating addiction. At my lowest point, I was binging twice a day

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                  • #10
                    The whole world finds it hard, mainly because sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

                    You absolutely have to go about this just as you would go about any other addiction. When I work with my coaching group, that's exactly how we tackle it.
                    Rebooted Body -- Ancestral Health + Modern Psychology | The Rebooted Body Podcast

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                    • #11
                      Sugar is one thing I cannot have one dose of otherwise I'll binge. So I don't have the first bite. It's that simple. I cannot control it. I too have 100% Dagoba chocolate but even then just 1 maybe 2 squares a day otherwise it could become a gateway for me. I take my paleo seriously. But sometimes I screw up and eat a whole bag of La Brea bakery sugar-encrusted grains OMG the double-lust. But you know once I've done it I move on. Today's another day and I don't have to take that first bite today. It IS my my choice to a large extent. But I do not beat myself up or even worry about the pound or two I may have gained that I know I will lose again in a day or two back on paleo. You're human it's ok do your best and be happy. Just keep the end goal in mind and don't worry about the little detours that are kind of fun in their own way.

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                      • #12
                        I found that having one eighth of a teaspoonful of l-glutamine under the tongue - two to four hourly from mid day onwards got rid of about 80% of my sugar cravings. I also used a supplement - 5-HTP, a precursor to serotonin - I got from the US to deal with about another 15%. Neither of these actually gives the buzz of sugar, but if I have the l-glutamine then the desire just fades over the following ten minutes. So I needed to have it before the cravings came on full throttle.

                        Fruit was my biggest damage producer after I dealt with the worst of the cravings. Having sweet fruit, 1-2 pieces, were enough to set it off again if I didn't watch myself.

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