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  1. #1
    heatherok's Avatar
    heatherok is offline Junior Member
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    Sugar addiction

    Primal Fuel
    I am severely addicted to sugar and simple carbs. As you might imagine, this makes the first days of primal eating very difficult. I get serious cravings, really no matter how much good primal food I eat.

    Please understand - I don't just enjoy the occasional candy bar. In one sitting, I can eat an entire half-gallon of ice cream, or a dozen donuts, or a large pizza, or half of a cake.

    Has anyone here conquered their sugar addictions? How???

  2. #2
    Phaedrus's Avatar
    Phaedrus is offline Senior Member
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    I'd suggest getting a blood glucose monitor so you can see that you're existing in a diabetic diseased state when you slip like that. Try Xylitol if you have to get your sweet on.
    Brad

    late onset type1 diabetic 4-27-10 @ age 30

  3. #3
    DubleYoo's Avatar
    DubleYoo is offline Senior Member
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    As someone who would get sick from even half a candy bar for most of my life, I didn't think I'd have a problem, but even I have had some pretty intense cravings.
    After reading about candida and how it causes cravings (although I haven't seen medical evidence or the biological functions of this explained so I am skeptical), I like to think about the dastardly fungus growing inside me, hijacking my system and making me feed it something that is bad for me. So rather than "f*** me...I want that", I think "f*** you! Die candida! Bwahahah!"
    Another helpful thought was after reading "The Pleasure Trap" (by Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer) and watching this video: http://blip.tv/file/3309719/ He talks about how we're programmed to want these pleasurable things and it's just putting our reward systems into overdrive. We THINK we want it, but our bodies are being tricked because we've removed all the quality nutrients we're supposed to get and only leave the pleasurable part.

  4. #4
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    huntergirlhayden is offline Senior Member
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    Oh I feel your pain! Once you get your body into ketosis its not quite as hard if you go super low carb. I broke the vicious insulin cycle by fasting for 7 days. It was brutal, I spent the first three days in bed and that made it a lot easier, (there was a snow storm and I wasn't going anywhere whether I wanted to work or not, so I took the opportunity.) It was a big struggle, but going cold turkey worked for me. You might consider replacing things. I LOVE Pork Cracklins, so of course they'd be in my example, but bear with me. If you stop to get gas and the Reeses king size packs are on sale 2 for a dollar, you might just get 2 packs of Reeses and 1 pack of pork cracklins. You're spending the same 2 dollars but getting half the carbs you would've been because pork cracklins are 0 carb.... Eat them first, they'll reduce the glycemic impact of the Reeses a little. Its not a triumph, but its a step, maybe next time you go for 2 packs pork cracklins and one pack Reeses, soon enough, you'll just pay at the pump and head on home...
    ( I know I'm posting this example in a forum thats devoted to health food, but I am what I am, and I still miss my Reeses, not the flavor, I can taste the chemicals in them now, more so the emotional attachment, which is a whole can of worms I'm not even willing to consider.)

    I'm not gonna lie, its a struggle, its gonna suck, but results are re-affirming, track your progress, take ownership of it, and when you're tempted, remind yourself of how far you've come and ask if its worth giving up all that hard work for momentary satisfaction.
    "It is not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you're not."
    Denis Waitley

  5. #5
    sarahmasteller's Avatar
    sarahmasteller is offline Senior Member
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    I have had good success with coconut oil. I use Nutiva, (organic virgin) they sell a big gallon size for $56 which is a good deal in my opinion - I've shopped around a bit. You are supposed to take 1 TB 20 min before breakfast, lunch, and dinner according to a book I read recently called Eat Fat to Lose Fat (interesting read by the way) Of course they recommend certain grains and of course on Primal that is a no no. But anyhow, I have in the past been SUPER addicted to sugar. I could plow through an entire package of oreos for breakfast. The more I ate that way, the worse the cravings got. The coconut oil I started taking a few weeks ago has seemed to really help me with sweet cravings. Also I have been doing Intermittent Fasting since that time too (where I eat between like 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. and fast the rest of the time, so basically I just skip breakfast) ...since I started doing IF around the same time I am taking coconut oil it could be both. It seems that the coconut oil is more responsible as I have fasted plenty of times before and that alone certainly didn't reduce my cravings. Give the coconut oil a try if you want but word to the wise: START SLOWLY. I unfortunately a while ago decided to try taking coconut oil and I took something like 4-5 TB in one day, the first day I was trying it. Bad idea, coconut oil is anti fungal, anti parasitic, anti a lot of things basically. My body was NOT ready for all of that at once. I had nausea that was BAD. (I know the coconut oil was doing it's job though) However to avoid that sort of upset, it seems to be recommended starting out with maybe 1 teaspoon per day, see how your body does. Then up to two teaspoons (taking them at two different times in the day) see how you do and then up to maybe 3 teaspoons. I am at about 4 teaspoons a day and that is spread out over three doses so - the thing is to introduce it with caution. Hope this info helps - I can't say I'm completely cured of sugar cravings or anything but I truly feel the coconut oil has definitely helped me in this area! Hooray for healthy fats!

  6. #6
    MamaGrok's Avatar
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    Wow, the cries for help w/ this are coming in like crazy lately...

    BTDT, I am so sorry you have to deal with this. It is not going to be easy, but you CAN beat it. I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what worked for me. There are some great ideas up above, and I tried all of them and then some - I really wanted to believe I could just "want" myself out of the sugar craziness, if ONLY I could just remember in all those moments of temptation (hundreds a day) what I REALLY wanted, which was to be it and healthy - but ultimately, I couldn't motivate myself out of it.

    What you're describing is a real addiction - it's like alcohol, prescription painkillers, and heroin. In fact, there are several studies proving it - google "sugar as addictive as heroin." You can't just will yourself out of an addiction. Normal people using normal willpower can say no to a temptation, maybe even say no to it a few times in an hour, and move on. But when you're addicted, the cravings are coming at you several times a MINUTE in some instances (like me at a wedding halfway through one piece of cake where I can think of nothing other than how to get my next piece without anyone else noticing), and they last all day. The mental effort it takes to say no to those cravings would exhaust a superhero.

    The only way out is to make the cravings shut up. Until then, you're fighting a losing battle.

    That's why the way that I recommend is to boost your diet first with superfoods, and wait while they go to work silencing the cravings. There is actually a whole program with seven steps for doing this, but I can't recommend it b/c it heavily emphasizes whole (ack!) grains. I do believe strongly that its steps work, though, other than that. Here they are, w/o the grains:

    1) Eat breakfast, every day, within an hour of waking up, with 1/6 of your body weight (in pounds) in protein. That means the equivalent of a full serving of meat every day - 3 eggs & some cheese, or sausage & veggies, or whatever. Yes, IF'ing is great, but IF'ing before the blood sugar roller coaster is ended is a recipe for absolute disaster. You'll just hit a trough in the coaster and end up bingeing - trust me. Keep working at this step until you can't imagine not eating PLENTY of protein for breakfast. And don't skimp on the fat - at all. (This step is HUGE. Just by changing from skim to whole milk, my whole morning became manageable, and adding 3 eggs to my breakfast every day literally changed my life. Of course, now, I can IF often, b/c my b. s. is steady steady steady with rare exception. That took a LOOONG time to get there). Has to be solid protein, not yogurt or PB or beans or tofu, you really need meat, eggs, maybe cheese as a small part of it.

    2) Journal your eating. This is NOT to beat yourself up for perceived failure, but to see patterns. Write down the food & time, and in another column, physical & emotional reactions. Start to watch and see. This really helps to make a mental connection with what it's doing to you, to shorten the gap between "yum, bagel!" and "AHHHHH, the bloating!!!!.

    3) Protein-ize your lunch & dinner, too. AGain, 1/6 of your body weight for each meal. You still have not given up any sweets at this point. Move your grains and sweets to meals, though - never eat them alone. Even if you feel you'll die without one, eat fat and/or protein first, a good helping of it, then go ahead and have that "just this once" bite.

    4) RR recommends taking certain vitamins & eating a potato at night. Whatever.

    5) Change white foods to brown foods. I honestly don't even know if this will help, b/c grains are so destructive and whole grains have only a *slightly* smaller blood sugar spike than white ones. Maybe it helps mostly b/c it's almost impossible to find white grains without sugar.

    6) By now, you've been doing steps 1, 2, & 3 for several weeks or even months, and are very steady. You've stopped skipping meals to make up for binges and b/c of that, have likely gained a few pounds. (I call these pounds the best ones I ever gained, b/c they were crucial to nourishing my body so that I could end the addiction and finally start the long, steady weight loss I'd long dreamed of.) You're nourishing your body so that the biochemistry can be restored and now, you find that your reaction to sugar is ... eh. You go cold turkey at this point (or can taper off if you feel you must).

    7) Get a life. Find things that indulge yourself without sugar. One of my favorites is pernil (a garlicky pork shoulder). Non-food indulgences for me are things like rock climbing, karaoke, ice skating, a long hot candlelit bath with classical music ... what indulges do you love, how can you spoil yourself when you feel you need to?

    At this point is a great time to throw yourself whole-heartedly into PB. Go for a 30 Day Challenge - no grains, sugar, potatoes, fruits other than berries ... whatever you think sounds best for you. NOW you have the stable biochemistry to be able to succeed at the WOE (way of eating) you will have for the rest of your life.

    Right now you probably can't imagine being happy without sweet. YOu probably don't even want to be happy w/o them, b/c you can't imagine living without something that is so wonderful. You'll just have to believe me when I say that those feelings toward these foods are fake. Even the tastes are fake. Once you break the addiction, you'll taste them and go OH MY GOSH my tastebuds TOTALLY lied to me. This stuff tastes like chemicals, paste, corn syrup, rancid oils. And suddenly, all those foods that seemed so bland will now taste every bit as delicious as the sweets did, but in a way that doesn't make you jumpy, but instead they make you feel nourished, hearty, and well.

    I looked at buttery sauteed brussels sprouts tonight with as much excitement as I would have cheesecake a few years ago. Not kidding.

    The other side is much, much better, but it WILL take work to get there.

    Now, I don't think everyone needs to do the exact steps. It's helpful to some, and not to others. The essentials, though, are to ADD the good things, the missing nutrients, before you take away anything, b/c then the cravings just shut up and it's not all that big a deal to take them out.

    And the key good things are FAT FAT FAT (natural fat) and protein. As much fat as you can do - that's the basis behind "Eat Fat Lose Fat" mentioned above. And a full (equivalent) serving of meat with every meal.

    Psychology things, like goal pants & all the rest, can be great helps now. But before you shut the cravings up, you're just swimming upstream.
    5'4" 36yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
    Starting: 185 lbs (March '10)
    Current: 132.5 lbs
    Goal: 135 lbs (Hit Jan '13)
    Beating bingeing since 10/31/11 on my Leptin Reset journey

  7. #7
    O_O's Avatar
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    I was very addicted to sugar. And I could probably out eat most people my size in junk food.

    It was tough in the beginning but I had a very clean and very low digestible carb intake. I had no fruit except avocadoes, no sweeteners real or artificial, no dairy except butter. I ate no processed meats. I did this for two weeks. I had a rough couple of days but made it through. I found exercise helped greatly. Jogging doesn't go well with sugar binges! Jogging may not be so primal but it got me away from cigarettes too!

    Today I use stevia concentrate powder but not daily. I also will have some very dark chocolate again not daily. Although rarely I will use a tsp of pure maple syrup, blackstrap molasses or raw honey. I eat fruit and keep my carb intake around 100-125g.

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
    Last edited by O_O; 02-12-2011 at 06:24 PM.

  8. #8
    MamaGrok's Avatar
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    Another thing I found helpful all along the journey was to give up what I could, even while sticking with my faves. Like, for me, it was easy to say "no pasta, no bagels, no chocolate, no pie" b/c those things didn't call me loudly. Later, it was easy to give up grains even while it was still near impossible to give up sugar, so I did that.
    5'4" 36yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
    Starting: 185 lbs (March '10)
    Current: 132.5 lbs
    Goal: 135 lbs (Hit Jan '13)
    Beating bingeing since 10/31/11 on my Leptin Reset journey

  9. #9
    gfprof's Avatar
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    I have a gentle solution as a wild addict myself (the kind who finds herself staring at multiple empty dark chocolate bar wrappers wondering what happened). I tapered off using *primal* sweet-tasting foods : dates, sweet potatoes, apples, and LARA bars (read the ingredients to make sure you're not eating the new flavors with added sugar. Those will just get you right back into sugar hell). I gave myself a free pass on these foods.

    After the first 2 weeks, the LARA bars tasted way too sweet and so did the dates - I was able to drop my carbs into the 'weight loss sweet spot' zone really easily and craving-free. I still felt pretty crappy the first few days, but at least there's something to turn to when the cravings hit. I did not find that I was replacing one vice with another, in other words. I lost my taste for sugar instead. It just takes patience.

    Other critical points during this period: Take a good digestive enzyme to make sure you are getting all your nutrients and make sure you are getting plenty of fat. It will feel like too much, but it will help. I know a lot of people find that cold turkey and a few days of pain works for them, but I am a big wimp and kind of happy about it.

    Oh, and no cheating, not even in your 20%. That should go without saying!

  10. #10
    emmie's Avatar
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    I don't call myself a 'sugar addict,' but I could eat exactly as you describe (was once as high as 340; today 155). My solution has been the standard addict formula--total abstinence. I don't have anything sweet tasting at all--even artificially sweetened. I allow myself to have chocolate--but only totally unsweetened baking chocolate.

    After a couple of years eating this way, I've found that I can have an occasional dessert (once every month or so) in a restaurant (so it's not in the house and the portion is controlled), and I don't awaken the cravings. But I am careful not to do that with any frequency because I know that it would be easy to slip back to those half gallon days.

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