Sugar Dragon Slayers


littleg

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J9er, you bring up a great point here, re:  thinking of things.   And I'm glad to hear you will watch Sugar Crash -- that will explain a lot, too.

 

I am sure I used to think about smoking in certain situations.  I remember vividly being out push-mowing the yard, working hard, feeling great from the sunshine and exercise....... and getting a whiff of the neighbors out on their porch, relaxing, smoking.  It DID make me feel a bit wistful -- BUT.  The very next follow-up thought was, ​"If being a smoker was so great, why aren't you a smoker?"  ...That was my mantra, and I used it a lot.

 

I do not deal with situations like these anymore.  I am here to tell you that I'm over it ~ I think my brain is over it ~ and I have re-trained my thoughts and created a NEW person.  With new memories, new connections, new associations.  I would not have imagined that was really possible.  But it is.

 

I have learned new coping strategies.  I have learned how very, very important fat and protein are for my overall health -- my brain health -- and I have learned that MUCH of the mood and anxiety issues I dealt with in the past were a result of what was going on with my blood sugar ~ up, down, all over the place.  Smoking was not the answer, and it never will be.

 

I feel like an entirely different person.  I just do.

 

I think the journey is very similar with these foods we have sentimental attachments to.  

 

I would be a big fat liar if I told you I didn't think of a piece of Godiva gluten-free chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory on our trip to the big city the other day.  Sure, I thought of it.  And my very next thought was, "If eating cheesecake is so great, why aren't you eating cheesecake?"  ...Or something similar.  You get the idea.   My brain DOES throw these things at me sometimes ~ it is how I have learned to deal with them that is different.  

 

I also do not get weird, shaky, hangry reactions in moments like that.  I did not immediately have to shove something in my mouth.  It's just not like that.  I did not eat until HOURS later.

 

And I do believe -- 100% -- that a LCHF/ketogenic way of eating is what keeps me sane in those moments.  I think with my clear-headed, not-tired brain, and I remember all of the negative effects that are guaranteed to come BEYOND that moment of:  "Mmmm, this tastes good."   ...I think of these things... and then I move on with my day.

 

If I were not eating LCHF -- I would not be so strong.  How do I know?  Because I've already been there.

 

 

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Yay! I decided to check my belly button measurement today bc I was feeling lean and was curious. I am happy to report that I'm down another inch since December 31. Two inches total from my bb since my November 30 measurement. Other measurements haven't changed, but this one is the one that matters more to me (not that I would mind being a little smaller overall). I haven't weighed and don't feel very compelled to do so. 

 

Also, in 2016 miles in 2016 news, I have averaged 6.3 miles/day. This week was my lowest week so far, but I actually think it's healthy that on two of the days, I didn't make my goal of 5.5 miles. One evening, I was tired and it was cold and dark, so I just took my pup around the block rather than doing the 2 mile loop. Another day, I was very close, but when I noticed that I didn't quite make it, it was already 11 p.m. and I just wanted to get to bed. So in my mind, those were wise decisions that indicate a healthy attitude toward meeting my goal of being active and not just sitting around all the time vs. being obsessive and requiring myself to do something that is not realistic. 

 

 

J9er, you bring up a great point here, re:  thinking of things.   And I'm glad to hear you will watch Sugar Crash -- that will explain a lot, too.

 

I am sure I used to think about smoking in certain situations.  I remember vividly being out push-mowing the yard, working hard, feeling great from the sunshine and exercise....... and getting a whiff of the neighbors out on their porch, relaxing, smoking.  It DID make me feel a bit wistful -- BUT.  The very next follow-up thought was, ​"If being a smoker was so great, why aren't you a smoker?"  ...That was my mantra, and I used it a lot.

 

I do not deal with situations like these anymore.  I am here to tell you that I'm over it ~ I think my brain is over it ~ and I have re-trained my thoughts and created a NEW person.  With new memories, new connections, new associations.  I would not have imagined that was really possible.  But it is.

 

I have learned new coping strategies.  I have learned how very, very important fat and protein are for my overall health -- my brain health -- and I have learned that MUCH of the mood and anxiety issues I dealt with in the past were a result of what was going on with my blood sugar ~ up, down, all over the place.  Smoking was not the answer, and it never will be.

 

I feel like an entirely different person.  I just do.

 

I think the journey is very similar with these foods we have sentimental attachments to.  

 

 

 I love this! 

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Sara, so glad to hear things going well for you!  

 

You have consistently been at the top for steps -- and you are the tallest of all of us, pretty sure... meaning, you require less steps.  I don't think YOU have any reason to be stressing out about it right now at all.....  Have you looked at mine?   :lol:

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That podcast I listened to was this one.  

 

 

Laura, I listened to that one today, to see what you found so discouraging ~ and I honestly couldn't figure it out.  On the subject of fertility, they even said that what they hear most often is that these issues IMPROVE for people.

 

I could see, if someone was listening to it from a "quick weight loss" perspective, how it may have been a little disappointing... but I thought your goals are all about appetite control, ditching cravings and binges, and of course -- wanting to get pregnant.

 

What was it about this one that bothered you?

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I'm sure others have experienced this, and I wish I knew how to communicate myself better.  With this sugar-crazy-no-breaks that I have, I've talked to my therapist (yes, I will admit I'm working all angles to fix this crazy cycle).   And, it's like the automatic psychological response is, "you are trying to suppress feelings of ___"...or "you eat so much of it to stuff feelings".....or  "what are you feeling when you go to sugar?".  Sometimes I just want to scream, "because I WANT it!  It's good and it makes me feel good!".   I don't have to feel down, or lonely or sad to go to sugar, it's usually the opposite.  I have a piece of cake because I feel good and happy and just want to celebrate or enjoy a treat.   Then, it just all goes downhill after that first bite, zero control kicks in.  

 

But man, to explain that to even a psychologist is like....even they don't get it!  Friends, family and professionals don't seem to get it.  I wish I knew how to explain that it's not a "I'm hiding from my feelings by eating so much sweets".....it's that it feeds this crazy good high I get from it, and I love every bite of it.   But when you ask, am I addicted to sugar??  They look at you like you have 3 heads and say that that is a crazy thought!   

 

I was never this way before with sugar, I was a starchy and cheese gal.  Sweets were nothing to me, I could have a cookie and be done with it.  What in the heck changed?  I'd give anything to go back to those days.   Sorry to rant, but I wish there was a way to help explain what's going on to others....I'm dreading going to my next session to hear "how are you feeling?".   UGH!   

 

Thanks for listening!

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I was never this way before with sugar, I was a starchy and cheese gal.  Sweets were nothing to me, I could have a cookie and be done with it.  What in the heck changed?

 

 

Well, I have a couple of thoughts here ~

 

My first thought is that I have seen a lot of people here say that they don't have a sugar dragon, but they think they have a salty dragon because chips are their thing... I've seen crackers mentioned... yes, cheese (dairy is its own ball of wax, I won't even get into that right now).

 

And whenever I see this, I really think to myself that they are all the same thing.  It's that rush of carbohydrate ~ whether that be from cookies, tortilla chips, movie popcorn, crackers......  I mean, the list goes on.  But the point is:  They all have a very similar effect on the body.  So some people come here and maybe their problem is any one of these things, or many of them...  But it's all the same problem:  There is an addictive effect to ~whatever your thing is~ because of the cascade of feelings and reactions that take place after we ingest them.

 

So, maybe you have swapped out one addiction for another, without even realizing that is what has happened.  People don't often put bread or crackers in the same category with cookies, but I do.  

 

When I went through my period of addiction with ice cream (this was after I had quit smoking and hit its PEAK when I also tried to stop drinking caffeine) ...  For some reason it was acceptable in my mind, while I never would have dreamt of eating a loaf of bread.  So what I mean is:  If you've eliminated this, and this, and this, and this, for various reasons ~ but you've saved "sugar" as an "acceptable" thing to have "once in awhile" ...  You've probably just had a shift in your thinking.  You were addicted to carbohydrate before... just probably in a different form.  Does that make sense?

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Yes, we all love sweets. And if we didn't have that downhill, out of control experience afterward, we wouldn't be talking about sugar dragons. The first bite is not the problem, it's the 2,465 bites after that. If you can moderate your intake of buttercream layered sweetness, congratulations. I am not in that camp, and so, in fact, that first bite is a problem for me.

 

I'm currently 7 months in to quitting coffee.  Why 7 months? Because I know from past experience that it will take me 2 years to overcome a seriously addictive habit. I have to go through 2 years of cold winters, holidays, birthdays, nights out with friends, special occasions, etc, and have all of those experiences without any coffee before I will trust myself to have even one cup again. I'm 7 months in with 17 months to go. And if I'm clawing my way to that finish line at 2 years and drooling at the Starbucks window, I will not walk in, because I will know that I'm still not over it. It has to be a take it or leave it experience, or I will surrender again.

 

Sugar is like that for me, too. 30 days off? Forget about it, not long enough. It's long enough for some people but not for me.

 

I'm almost at the end of a Whole 30 now. I don't crave sugar and I'm not reintroducing it. Being that sugar is so extremely hard to avoid in the outside world, I know I will encounter it somewhere. But I'm not seeking it out, even for happy celebrations. And it's because that downside is too far, too fast, and too much work to overcome. I'm happy where I'm sitting right now and don't want to give up these hard-earned gains.

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Well, I have a couple of thoughts here ~

 

So, maybe you have swapped out one addiction for another, without even realizing that is what has happened.  People don't often put bread or crackers in the same category with cookies, but I do.  

 

You've probably just had a shift in your thinking.  You were addicted to carbohydrate before... just probably in a different form.  Does that make sense?

Makes complete sense, I didn't think about how both sugar and breads react in my body. Not to mention, sugar jumped into my life in the form of desserts when I quit drinking. At dinner when my friends ordered wine, I ordered my dessert to have something to enjoy too. That's how the switch started! One for the other. Then I quit breads but sugars remained. Just all stinks sometimes. Got rid of alcohol, cigarettes, dairy, carbs, and now sweets. What's next?? You know? Will I find something else if I remove sugar? It can all be discouraging sometimes.

Thank goodness I'm doing a W90 right now to keep me in check and on track. I'm actually going 90 days, hopefully to create some new pathways in my brain!

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Yes, we all love sweets. And if we didn't have that downhill, out of control experience afterward, we wouldn't be talking about sugar dragons. The first bite is not the problem, it's the 2,465 bites after that. If you can moderate your intake of buttercream layered sweetness, congratulations. I am not in that camp, and so, in fact, that first bite is a problem for me.

 

Sugar is like that for me, too. 30 days off? Forget about it, not long enough. It's long enough for some people but not for me./quote]

Yes! The first bite just leads me down a domino-effect where I can't stop. And W30.....yeah, I'm doing W90 to see if that will help. You are good! 17 months?!?! Man, that is awesome! But makes sense, to go through those seasons to really make it through. Might need to think about that type of challenge.

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Sugarcube, I hope you know me well enough by now to know that I am here because I care and I want to help with all I've learned.  So take this in that tone, with that part understood ~ please.

 

What if I said to you:  "I certainly keep hope that I can have a normal relationship with something like cigarettes... in the summer on the boardwalk with a friend for instance..."

 

If you care like I do, you would go:  "Oh my gosh, NO!  Don't do it!  You have done so well with quitting!"  ...Am I right?

 

A large part of the problem, and why some people will struggle forever with sugar/carb addiction ... Is that they don't put it in the same category as other addictions.  But I am here to tell you, it is the same.

 

Wine comes from grapes.  Alcohol comes from fermented foods of all kinds.  Cocaine comes from the coca leaf.  There are hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Marijuana and tobacco come from plants.  

 

Coffee.  Chocolate.  Wheat.  SUGAR.  DAIRY.  The list of addictive things in nature goes on and on.......

 

The only difference between these is that some are more socially acceptable than others.  And some of them we can consume and still live somewhat of a "normal" life.

 

...If someone decides to quit smoking, we get applause.  Generally, in this day and age, no one is going to give you crap about quitting.  Even fellow addicts who feel "left behind".

 

If someone decides to quit ice cream, we get, "Oh, come on, just have a little... it's so good... you've been good, just splurge... etc"  (I am fortunate that no one in my life does this to me, but I know that it does happen, from so many stories on the forum!)

 

One may argue that these things are different:

 

"But ice cream is food!"  ~  No.  It isn't.  It is the milk intended for baby cows, mixed with the highly processed sugar cane plant, and a variety of other things ENGINEERED to make you addicted.  This is something that would never be found in nature.  Never.

 

In fact, I would argue that smoking is even more "natural" than consuming ice cream.  There is a better chance of the dried tobacco plant catching on fire in the wild -- and you accidentally breathing in the smoke -- than there is of "ice cream" EVER just occurring in nature.  

 

Something missmary said long ago has really stuck with me throughout my journey.  I wish I could go back and find the post -- but I can't.  Basically, she told someone that they kept trying to consume something, because they had it in their mind that they "should" be able to eat whatever it was.  But the fact was, that person could not handle whatever it was.  It wasn't something that they "should" be able to consume.  ...What needed to change was the person's thinking.

 

ALL of us struggle if we consume ice cream.  It is not something I can EVER have again.  I know it has been a struggle for ladyshanny, also.  There is no magical day that we will be able to have it, and then not crave it again and again.  If you think of it as a drug, if you realize it makes you feel like an addict ~ maybe it will just piss you off enough to finally QUIT for good.

 

The success for me is not to be able to walk on the boardwalk and smoke just one cigarette ...  The success is being able to walk on the boardwalk and not even THINK of a cigarette.  (Or ice cream, for that matter.)  

 

It's all about creating new patterns, new pathways, new memories.

 

Hey, OP ~ I would say "sorry" for hijacking your thread ...   But I have a feeling this will all be helpful.    :)  Best wishes on your journey!

 

P.S.  Edited to say:  My final quit for smoking was June 2013.  I have learned so much in these 2.5 years.

 

 

I just wanted to share this post from the Sugar Addicts thread found here.  

 

I think it applies to this discussion, as well.

 

When we are talking about concoctions that you could not just find in nature, there is no reason to believe that it is something that will ever be in-tune with our bodies.  There is not something wrong with us for not being able to consume them... they are specifically designed to get us hooked.  It should be no surprise that it works!

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I'm looking for some help with strategies to avoid triggering sugar-binges. When I was eating 100% whole 30 I was completely fine and didn't have any thought about sugary stuff, it was great - but I was pretty carefull with fruit and didn't touch dried fruits in particular. Yesterday I had an horrific experience which spiralled into x6 naked(lara)bars and 250g of dates :(

 

Pre-whole 30 I did have a massive addiction to coffee flavoured flapjacks, which thankfully is now gone. I am not at all overweight (116lb, 5'4") and I run 30 miles each week, circuit train once a week, I walk everywhere - we literally get the car out once a week to do a weekly shop.

 

What happened? I went to a shop that sells chocolate, which obviously stinks of chocolate & I went there when I was really hungry. Instead of lunch I went and got a coconut bar (which is actually whole 30 compliant) and the sugary badness got hold of me.... I now feel gross, bloated , actually hungover, puffy eyes, the lot. I feel too nauseaous to eat and pretty disgusted at myself for eatinng 250g of dates on the way back from the shop (less than a mile walking, so about 15 minutes...)

 

I wonder if this really means I need to avoid all high sugar foods i.e. all fruit? Or if I've been under-eating and caused this reaction that way - although I am not overweight I am constantly worried about my size and often feel 'big', I can even suprise myself by not really recognising my small (ish) reflection, compared with how big I feel. In the past I had ongoing tendencies to purge food by vomiting, this went on for around a decade but had resolved since I started running, it seems to be edging back though & I am really concerened.... any (sensible) advice appreciated...

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I'm post W30, but still in W30 mindset about anything that doesn't fit my reintro plan. That means I can look at a case of doughnuts and be happy for the people who enjoy them, without thinking I could have one, too. It sounds like dates weren't in your plan? Then try to think through the exact rationalization that gave you permission to eat them, and cut that off next time.

I'm in the middle of a two-year coffee break. That means I can walk into Starbucks without fear, because I don't worry that I will order one.

I'm taking a year off sugar, because I have braces on my teeth that are a lot easier to keep clean without sugar sticking to my teeth.

So if you do well on W30, then use rules to your advantage. Make rules for what you will eat and stick to that. If something is not on your list, then it's not going in your mouth. For some of us, it really is that simple.

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I am really concerened.... any (sensible) advice appreciated...

 

Have you seen advice on this thread that you believe is not sensible?  I think knowing the answer to that question would help me understand where you're coming from.

 

My initial thoughts are this:

 

1)  Dried fruit is a very concentrated form of sugar.  This can easily be food without brakes ~ I'd say for just about anyone.

 

2)  If you have not been eating at least 3 big meals according to the template ~ protein+veggie+fat ... plus having the recommended pre-WO and post-WO meals ...  That, combined with the amount of activity you are doing, is a recipe for disaster.  Yes, your body will freak out and yes, the moment your brain registers that you have something available which is a dense source of quick energy -- good luck trying to stop yourself with "just one" of anything like these foods you've mentioned.  

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Have you seen advice on this thread that you believe is not sensible?  I think knowing the answer to that question would help me understand where you're coming from.

 

Brewer5, thank you for your response. I think you may have read more into the 'sensible' advice comment than was intended... I'm just the kind of person who qualifies things - I would never say that any/all advice would be welcome in case some of it turned out not to be... it's just a turn of phrase.

 

I suspect ypu're right -  I have never lost the weight-loss mindset, consequently my planned meals are deliberately engineered to under-fuel, I ran 20 miles this weekend and still found myself declining potato with my dinner... I think I need a spell back on whole30 100% to try and get back to some kind of normal, trusting relationship with my hunger. It's really hard when you've essentially conditioned yourself to expect to eat less than you use, it's almost a fundamental belief that I should eat less that 2000 calories a day, I need to find healthy ways of challenging this so that I don't end up in this situation so often.

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It's really hard when you've essentially conditioned yourself to expect to eat less than you use, it's almost a fundamental belief that I should eat less

 

You're not alone in that ST-C. Much of the culture around calorie counting and weight loss is deprivation, starvation, stress and completely ignoring how our bodies feel (for some there's a lot of body hate and shame in there too, it's hard to trust something you hate). For those of us who have been working on weight loss for a long time, this can be a really hard mindset to break and it creeps over into exercise too. Working out only on an empty stomach, working out until you feel sick or light headed (I actually remember programs which encouraged this stuff and it's pretty mean stuff to do to your body) and then not eating for awhile afterwards to really "burn up the fat".

 

Sometimes old habits and thinking are really hard to shake, but the reality is, if all those techniques from the 70s & 80s were so awesome, everyone would be thin and healthy, right?

 

Keeping a food log can really help identify trigger scenarios. I was a long time shift worker and eating unhealthy things has never been emotional for me, but a way to overcome physical problems like not enough sleep or feeling really crappy from medical issues (I think of it as "fuelling", but not in a healthy workout kind of way, more like "drug fuelled stupidity" as I know it messes with my thought patterns too). Not enough sleep? Just drink 5 extra coffees and you'll cope, that sort of thing.

 

Whole30 really reset my brain on this as I've been overriding my body's signals for so long, when I started noticing them during Whole30 I didn't even recognize what they were, including really basic stuff like thirst (how messed up is that!). I found my worse-case trigger scenario is: tired + no healthy food to eat quickly + very hungry. It took me awhile to work out how important tired was in that triangle. Getting enough sleep is enough to break it and if I don't get enough, I know I need to be really careful with those other two.

 

I was also really shocked at the difference in my fasted blood sugar on Whole30, it's even been better than keto/low carb which I found surprising.

 

Now I can try and bounce my boundaries a little, without being worried about a spiral of weirdness. I try and break some habits just to shake my brain/habits up a bit.

 

For the chocolate shop scenario, although the event that's noticed may have started in a chocolate shop, the real cause may be what happened well before that and it was just waiting for the right trigger to go off. This was the part that took me awhile to work out with my nightmare scenario, I'd be all okay until I got tired and then bang, all sensible food ingestion plans/instincts/behavior would go off the rails. When I ate something with quick energy, I'd go into a blood sugar spiral or roller coaster. Once I got into that situation it was really too late, I needed to prevent it, not try and clean up every time I was in it. 

 

I did find a kind of circuit-breaker for a blood sugar roller coaster (plain canned tuna in springwater), but even it wouldn't help me in my nightmare scenario, I was too hungry, I had missed far too much food in my day for anything healthy to satisfy how bad I was feeling, quickly enough for my body (low blood sugar, headaches, migraines, potential blackout). I'd been ignoring my body so much I'd ceased to recognize when I was really starving, which actually occurred far in advance of feeling this bad. Today, I actually recognize this feeling for what it really is, starvation and complete and utter panic from my body as it doesn't have enough fuel or nutrients to cope, even with something low energy like sleep (this is why the quickly is so important for me, if I have to spend 15-30 minutes cooking something at that point, I just won't make it, I have exhausted all available fuel and I'm in freefall).

 

Sorry if I got a bit rambly there, this text really resonated with me. Before my first Whole30 my body had started eating itself, chewing up my muscle mass because I starved it so much. I was so sick my doctors thought I may have had cancer. Being obese I had just never even considered that I could be starving myself, especially when every doctor I ever saw told me to "exercise more and eat less" and was convinced if I lost weight I'd just feel better.

 

I always thought it was willpower I lacked, but in reality it was actually food and nutrition.

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