hojo

Sugar Addict? Is it possible to actually do this?

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Great thread. Kaybee, you are describing a process I'm uncovering in my own life that's related to sugar - addiction to certain kinds of stress and the adrenaline rush they give. It is entirely negative and rooted in negative self talk. Removing it balances me, but I crave the rush. I never knew that I was using sugar to help the adrenaline rushes of stress be more adrenaline-y. Now I know. There's such a tie-in, for me, between sugar and the highs/lows of stress and adrenaline crashes. I feel like my brain chemistry is shifting in some way, as I become more aware of this.

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Sugar is an addictive substance. I've read some books on recovery and one of the big things recovered alcoholics turn to is sugar in place of the alcohol. For me, hands down, it is addicting. I can handle fruit and some starches, but when I get into paleofied food forms, like brownies or cookies, it is all over. I don't think it would be wise for me to even approach honey after this. I have been through a food recovery program and I'm also doing a study with others from the book Made to Crave (this is a faith based book, so if this is not your thing, then I'd say skip it). I would say for me, the thing that has helped was working the 12 steps, and continuing on in my maintenance recovery program work. I journal. I keep in contact with other food addicts, and I've been able to repair my connection with God. I meditate daily and do yoga. I have to cultivate peace in my life, emotional balance, be humble, and connect to something greater than myself each day. I don't know if this helps and it is really hard to be this candid about my life experience, but I hear you are really struggling. Sometimes 'white knuckling' it works, sometimes it works for years, but for me there is always a stress, or circumstance that sends me back to my alcoholic foods without the extra help. Seeking help can be beneficial; whether it is from a Cognitive Behavior Therapist, Food Recovery Specialist, general therapist, a 12 Step program. When it became apparent to me that I was not going to be able to stop on my own, I realized it was time to reach out, even though it embarrassed the hell out of me. I am glad I did though. Food is just as powerful as alcohol, heroin, drugs....think about all the inflammatory diseases in this country. What one substance is being abused that drives those conditions? Food. Unfortunately it is more socially acceptable to put two pints of Ben & Jerry's away a night, than fifth of whisky, or bottles of wine. But really, they both have similar impacts on our liver and organs. Pretty crazy stuff.

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See, that's the thing. Right now, I would not think of breaking my Whole 30 and letting all that effort go to waste. But I feel like I am still mourning my ignorance. Which is hilarious, given my history. I spent the first 30 years of my life obese (BMI 42 last I'd measured). This was followed by another 8 years of chronic cardio and difficulty maintaining a stable weight. Only recently have things really stabilized for me. In my better moments I am a shameless evangelist for the wisdom of Whole 30 and paleo way of living.

I'm the only one who eats this way in our house. Dh brings home boxes of such things as Iranian sweets, 10kg of mandarins, 11kg Sukkary dates. I do everything I am supposed to now: I read instead of watching TV, I go to bed early, I supplement magnesium (really helps me), eat plenty of fat and good veggies (carbs and all). I pray AND meditate. Go for walks. It just amazes me and saddens me that a substance can drive me so up a wall.

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I am/was a sugar addict. I have gone 68 out of the last 70 days without added sugar (2 whole30's etc). My fruit intake has varied from too much to none and back again. I still overeat some days and snack too much on nuts and coconut somedays BUT I can see a future without sugar... And without missing sugar... And with balanced eating... It will just take time. Keep going... You will heal yourself forever at some stage of your journey

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I, too, am a sugar addict, and I want to thank everyone who has posted for sharing their experiences and giving hope to others who struggle with the sweet stuff. I'm somewhere on Day 23 of my first Whole30, although I sucummbed to a slice birthday cake and two cocktails in the name of a friend's birthday 9 days ago. Luckily, none of it came home with us. Since then, I've dealt with bouts of depression and crying. But then I take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and congratulate myself on reinforcing better habits.

If you are someone who is motivated by science, like myself, then you should check out the work of UCSF pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig -- he gives an excellent albeit long presentation called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" [

] that really delves into the science of why all calories were not created equal. The writing of Gary Taubes (author of "Why we get fat" and "Is Sugar Toxic?") is also enlightening. Although these scientific facts were convincing, two years and several false starts later, am I finally making progress in slaying my sugar dragon. Part of that involves finally accepting that moderation will not work for me, either. I'm about to turn 31, and I was reared on a diet of junk as a child (chips, soda, cookies, TV dinners, etc.). Realizing that I have decades of psychological responses to food to undo helps me take my first Whole30 one day at a time.

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I would rather set my hair on fire than eat sugar now, and I have really nice hair.

One exception: we are starting a beehive this year and I will relish our own bee's honey when the time comes. To my mind all of the research

, learning, expense, work and beestings will

make overindulging in such a sacred food

impossible. Instead of eating it straight or making "treats", I will probably use it to make a condiment for a meal- like some honey BBQ sauce or honey mustard for meats.

I used to be a sugar addict too but 37 days of eating this way has changed me in a permanent way. Changed my views of what is and is not good food.

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I am the original poster of this thread.....and I have to say, it is so encouraging to read back all of your postings..... I wish I could say that since September when I originally posted, that I have made great progress....BUT, I have made very tiny small progresses. I have never completed an entire Whole30....only ever made it to Day 19. But what I am realizing about myself is my main goal needs to be greater than that smaller size or how I look. Because if it is attached to something shallow, it is not enough for me in the long run. My main goal is peace. Peace about food. And I do believe eliminating sugar gives me that peace....BUT, it does also give some thoughts/anxiety as to 'will I never, ever be able to enjoy that 'fun' again'. What I have been learning is that 'fun' comes with a huge price. And I'm not sure I'm willing to pay that price much longer. It costs too much.

Thank you all for your honesty, for sharing your journey's, and for encouraging me to keep going.

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I can relate to that feeling of missing "fun". That's what held me back for a long time. What helped me most was a new dear friend named Ellie whom I admire and look up to in a lot of ways. In my eyes she is perfect. She has a lot of food "rules"- at the time mainly centered around Donna Gates Body Ecology and food combining (no mixing protein and starches- but she is now doing w30 with me). Because of all her rules she would often go to social situations and choose not to eat the available food. Instead she would drink water and have fun socializing. I saw how much her self love superseded social expectations and I really respected that and thought, hey, I can love myself like that too. So I started taking my own food to places or just simply choosing not to eat food that I knew would wreck me. By the time I started w30 at the end of January I was a pro at this. Another friend of ours, a clinical nutritionist says "when I'm loving myself I eat the very best, it's when I'm hating myself that I punish myself with so-called treats". That resonates with me- I have been rebelling against the "cult of the treat" for a while, and the further I go into this process I know that I won't be serving cakes at the kids parties anymore and will reinvent my family's celebratory rituals and foods to reflect true health, wellness and happiness.

Keep going Hojo!!

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Moluv.....do you experience family/friends thinking you are too 'extreme' or 'weird' when you bring food? We have a weekly Monday night pizza with all our extended family and for a long time I just bring a salad or leftovers while they eat pizza. I think they are pretty used to it now but I always have a feeling like i'm not 'normal' or they think I have 'issues'. How do you feel so comfortable that it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks? Sometimes, when invited to a super bowl party or potluck or summer picnic, I just want to 'fit in' you know? You start to look a little cra-zay toting around your bowl of bacon meatloaf and squash!

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My main goal is peace. Peace about food. And I do believe eliminating sugar gives me that peace....

Hojo, I love this, I have really enjoyed reading this thread. I think very, very few of us are immune to this. I did my first W30 in September and didn't even think I had a sweet tooth - ha! That dragon was just biding it's time. It's only last week I marched into the kitchen, grabbed a quart storage jar full of raisins - and dumped them in the bin - for the very reasons you name. I wanted peace from them. I realised that when I wasn't actually using them, or trying to justify nibbling them, I was sitting thinking about them. Then I realised just how ridiculous that was - so out they went.

As for taking food with me, in a funny sort of way, I'm quite lucky there in that I've been gluten free for over 12 years and have been in and out of hospital with digestive issues so people are quite used to seeing me carry my own food. they don't question it anymore they just accept I don't want to get ill again. I wish you the very best in your continuing journey to a healthy, peaceful life. good luck

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I don't always feel comfortable being the crazy one- especially around family. My friends are all wicked cool at eating so there's no problems there- and I can't tell you how grateful I am for friends with shared food philosophies. But my fam and my in-laws are totally SAD and utterly clueless. They care about health but are woefully misinformed (i.e. Low fat, whole grains, margarine). They also only know how to celebrate or have get togethers centered around standard SAD food- green bean casserole, supermarket birthday cakes etc...so in that way my food choices have been the most threatening- not that anyone actually cares what I eat, they are afraid that my not sharing their food means I'm not sharing in the CELEBRATION. Here are some things I do to help this (some of this I learned from Ellie, some I just imagine what Miss Manners would do)

1. I explain that I have "food intolerances" and that I brought my own food to make sure I don't have a reaction. When fitting, I call the hostess ahead of time to explain as well as ask if I can bring a dish or two to share.

2. I am a gracious guest- I bring hostess gifts, I ooh and ahhh about how lovely everything looks and smells and I offer to help.

3. I focus on "the pleasures of the table"- good conversation and enjoyment of sharing a meal

4. I don't judge or preach- I make my choice MINE ONLY (well and my kids too but that's a whole other topic!)

5. If I'm at a restaurant and not eating I order some tea or sparkling water and be as charming and fun as humanly possible.

I feel the icy stares and eye rolling from some people who just don't "get it" and think I'm crazy but I have other, outside the mainstream views on other topics as well, like religion, politics, the environment and strive to live by my principles whether or not they are easy or accepted.

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I love those tips! I especially like that you don't preach....this is something I could learn from! When I am eating 'good' I tend to think everyone else is eating horribly and I need to save them ALL....that is until I'm not eating good anymore....then I join right in! I want off the roller coaster ride....this is the lifestyle I know I really want, it just takes some sacrifice to get there.

I do wish, too that I had some like minded friends....mine are 'Its WHOLE GRAIN'....Its 'GREEK YOGURT CLUSTERS!', Its AGAVE SYRUP! Ugh. But its okay, I need to do this for me anyway. My hubby has completed a Whole30 and has been talking about another one so hopefully I can get past day 19 and all the way there! :)

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Love this thread !! Im a sugar addict to, and I really having trouble to quit!! I come to this point that I dont care ! I just want the sugar NOW, anyway I really don't want to screw things up again! It makes me sooo happy. The chocolate and the candy... I can go like this in 3-4 days and then BOOM I jump into the candystore and grab everything I want to, go home and sit by myself just eating. When Im done I'm telling myself that this was the last time. But I know it aint. Im on day 5 now, and today has been a BAD day. I almost went to the store 3 or 4 times, until I found this thread.... Maybe the sugaraddicts that made it through the Whole30 could make a supportthread that we addicts and strugglers could turn to when times is difficult. They have been through it and made it...

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Vibeke, high fives on not going to the candy store. Hang in there. You too can do it. You can become one of those that have been through and made it. Good luck

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I respond now by saying I'd love to eat...that stuff... But it makes me sick... So better for everyone if I don't!

Avoiding sugar requires both the right mind set... And freedom from addiction cravings. I could never resist in the past, but now I accept that it's food I have a problem with and best to avoid. I have plenty of healthy alternatives I now enjoy and real food tastes so much sweeter now anyway plus I have broken the chemical addiction so I am amazed at how easy it has become... Wonder if it stays easy after my whole100.

I was alway incredibly incredulous and jealous of people like naturopaths who only ever ate real food, I couldn't believe they were really okay missing out! But now I know what they know! Our bodies want to eat real food.

Ps I love the term frankenfoods... It's so applicable to many processed foods these days.. I often think of this when my mind whispers suggestions to have rubbish food again in the near future!

Keep trying everyone, you and your bodies are worth the health and freedom waiting for you.

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I'm so glad I found this post. This is probably my 3rd time attempting the W30. I've been eating like 80/20 paleo for over a year now, but I just love ice cream... and chocolate... and (gasp) splenda in my coffee. I KNOW in my mind that it's absolutely terrible for me, but I just haven't been able to shake it. I've done "paleo challenges" with my gym, and I'll do okay, but with cheats here and there. And then at the end I will binge. It's so embarrassing and shameful.

I am glad I'm not the only one. I'm so ready to do this - and do it the right way!

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I feel you Maggie....it really does have a hold on you! Its like you know in your mind if you totally gave it up the hold would probably decrease, but you can't get to that point to completely do it!

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I feel you Maggie....it really does have a hold on you! Its like you know in your mind if you totally gave it up the hold would probably decrease, but you can't get to that point to completely do it!

Yes, exactly! There's got to be some emotional/psychological thing going on there somewhere, too. Haha. I meet so many people who will say things like "Yeah I really haven't had a cheat in a couple months" and I'm like WHAT?! I can't go 2 weeks without one. ha.

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Thanks, hojo, for starting this thread, and for everyone who has commented. Really helpful to know I'm not the only one...

I did my first whole30 this January, and I did not really struggle with sugar cravings after those first days (though reading this post I realized I did eat a lot of raisins sometimes which probably had to do with sugar addiction). However, once it was over and I was "free" to have a little, I had a piece of chocolate. And that's when the real struggle began. I have never been so powerless with sweets as the last few weeks. And I truly am powerless. The other night, I was hungry and I had some roasted cauliflower in the fridge. I started eating it and it tasted amazing! Then I ate a piece of chocolate (because I can!) and it tasted fine but not nearly as good as the cauliflower. But I keep eating the chocolate. This is how I know I have a problem.

I'll be starting a second W30 soon, and totally eliminating sugar & fruit. I'm also concerned about sweet potatoes. Are they addictive as well, as has been mentioned? I have been eating one almost every day, though it's mainly because they're easy to prepare and I am training for a half marathon, so they're a good source of energy. At this point, I'm afriad addiction may develop, but I don't think it's there. I have that "I love this and can't get enough" feeling while eating sweet potatoes (but I also get that with other amazing, flavorful veggies!) but I don't miss the sweet potato if I don't have one. So I think I'm okay for now. But I'd like to hear if any of you have actually develped that addiction, or if it's just hypothesized... I think I have an addictive personality and I don't want to fall into it!

I hear you all on the social situations. Those are hard, especially with family as they tend to be like, "why are you deviating from how we raised you?" I appreciated the tips given above. I'm a pretty quiet person by nature, so I find it hard to be extra gregarious to make up for the fact that I'm not eating whatever is provided. I feel very self conscious. This weekend, I went to a baby shower and it was all cake/cupcakes/chocolate fountain. I had a little fruit, but I just felt so awkward not eating, but not talking a ton either. I guess I need to focus on not being ashamed or apologizing for doing what I need to do to maintain optimal health. My relationships are healthier when I am not on the crazy sugar roller-coaster anyway...

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Katyroq, I think it's easy to say many of us are addicted, but there is also those of us that are just foodies....we love food. When you talk about loving veggies I can so relate. The other day I roasted veggies-parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, beets, broccoli, etc in olive oil and spices and I just couldn't get enough....so yummy! This is where we keep learning and growing....removing problem foods but also recognizing our overeating nature.

We can do it!

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I'll be starting a second W30 soon, and totally eliminating sugar & fruit. I'm also concerned about sweet potatoes. Are they addictive as well, as has been mentioned? I have been eating one almost every day, though it's mainly because they're easy to prepare and I am training for a half marathon, so they're a good source of energy. At this point, I'm afriad addiction may develop, but I don't think it's there. I have that "I love this and can't get enough" feeling while eating sweet potatoes (but I also get that with other amazing, flavorful veggies!) but I don't miss the sweet potato if I don't have one. So I think I'm okay for now. But I'd like to hear if any of you have actually develped that addiction, or if it's just hypothesized... I think I have an addictive personality and I don't want to fall into it!

I'm 7 days in to a detox from a miserable sugar binge. I used squashes (butternut, spaghetti, and acorn) and sweet potatoes in vast quantities to get me through the first few days. It's now much easier to pull back from the squash and balance more greens on the plate. I really think if I didn't have these "comfort foods" I would have caved in those few days. It's better now. The sugar cravings are vastly diminished and I feel like I'm back on track with everything.

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