LindsayO

Can't Stop Eating Sugar

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I'm really starting to feel hopeless here. My sugar cravings are so intense and I for the life of me, cannot stop eating it! When trying to "eat right", I either eat too much and feel full or don't eat enough and feel hungry, both of which leads me to binge. I am overweight as a result, and really hate being in my body and skin right (and mind) now. So I continue to hate my body which also leads to a binge.

 

Do I need to become obese and truly hit a bottom? I seriously hope not. What else can I do? My mind is seriously a dangerous place to be in!

 

I wish I could follow the meal template and just.flippin.do.it. I know you might say it's really that simple. My mind is just getting in the way!

 

I did paleo a couple years ago and lost a ton of weight and became a "paleo snob" around family members, admittedly. And now, I am overweight and just feel like such a hypocrite when around them. So there's lots of guilt, shame, remorse, etc going on.

 

Any experiences or feedback welcome!

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Are you currently doing a Whole30?

What does a typical days food look like for you?

My guess is you're not eating enough fat...

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I'm currently not doing a whole 30 right now, and you are right I'm probably not eating enough fat or carbohydrates.

 

I feel like I need some sort of spiritual guidance in addition to the meal template. I'm a recovered drug addict, and would love to have a similar program like AA to help with the sugar addiction. There is a program called Food Addicts Anonymous, but they encourage a low-fat way of eating, and also encourage weighing and measuring food. That just sounds ridiculous to me.

 

But I do need some freedom from the addiction.

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So... a few things. I'm excited for you - that you made this choice and are sticking with it is impressive, and for every minute you don't give into the sugar dragon, you should be proud of yourself. I'll put the other things in bulleted form so that they're a little easier to digest. Little bit of background on me to give you perspective on my advice - I have been in a long-term habit of eating emotionally - ie, eating to make myself feel better, and sugar was my favorite drug - and I've successfully made it through 11 days (going on 12) without my favorite crutches and without losing my mind.

  • Guilt/shame/remorse - Stop. It. I've yo-yoed before too, and my family doesn't let me forget it, but what's important is that you are making the right choices now. It's really easy to be ashamed of being fat in our society, but that does literally nothing for everyone involved. These thoughts get in the way of you loving yourself, and that's just straight-up unacceptable.
  • Meditate - Meditation apps like Calm help clear and reset your mind. If you make a habit of using them, it will lead to you having more control over your thoughts in general, which will help with fighting the cravings.
  • Why - Why are you doing this? This sure as heck isn't a plan you do by accident. It requires intention. Make a list of reasons for yourself, and bring yourself back to it when the cravings are getting stronger.
  • Cravings - I would say the craving voices start off sounding reasonable, almost like, "Aw, c'mon, we're friends, aren't we?" They start to sound kind of whiny, like 5-year-old in the grocery store line who really wants candy, and finally start sounding absolutely crazy and become easier to ignore. Now, the voices are like the crazy sandwich board religious zealots who stand in the subway stations screaming about the impending end of the world - I tune them out pretty easily, and when I do actually hear them, my reaction's like, "Say what? You cray-cray. I'm going to go back to my book." IT GETS EASIER. Stick with it, girl!
  • Change associations - Is there a particular way you'd normally respond to cravings, pre-Whole30? Make a point of consciously doing something healthy and different. Break the association in your mind. Go for a walk, read a few pages of a book, stretch, talk to a friend.

This isn't easy, but it's definitely not the most difficult thing you've done/will ever do. Every time you say no, you put another brick in the wall between yourself and your addiction. If I can help in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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Actually carbs will only feed the sugar addiction - you do need a small amount, but FAT will provide satiety, energy & relief from the cravings.

And yes, weighing & measuring food, and eating low fat sounds ridiculous to me also.

You could start by taking it one meal at a time, one day at a time and build it from there... ? There is a lot of support on the forums, a lot of shared knowledge & experiences, and the people here will keep you accountable and talk you down if necessary - just like quitting the drugs YOU have to make the decision to quit the sugar.

 

Once you've made the decision, then we can help you.

And when you've made the decision start by keeping a food log.

Giving up drugs had to be way harder than this.

 

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I've never tried it, but there is Overeaters Anonymous, based on the 12 steps used in AA. My understanding is that it doesn't tell you what to eat or not eat but focuses on not eating compulsively. If you find the idea of a group like that helpful, it might be worth looking into.

I know a lot of people have had good things to say about Geneen Roth's books too. I had mixed feelings about the one I read, but other people have found them helpful in dealing with some disordered eating issues.

Do know that you can do this. I know that it seems hard and maybe overwhelming, and you're probably not going to overcome a lifetime of issues in just 30 days, there's going to be times when things go well and times when you feel like you're going backwards, but hang in there, it will get better, it just might take longer than you'd like it to.

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I'm a sugar addict too. I say am because it's easy (for me) to fall back and eat all the sugar I didn't. (An aside: I'm a type 1.5 diabetic, and delivered kid#2 in May. I had to be SUPER strict with my diet while pregnant. Now I can be a little more lax and, admittedly, went a little more carb heavy than I should, which really does perpetuate cravings for carbs and sweets)

Hang in there. Try to change your mindset from "I can't..." to "I can..." Or "I get..." Like "I get to eat this bag of broccoli with my mayo!" Or "I get to eat this burger patty with grilled veggies!!" Sometimes mental shifts like that can help. I love broccoli. Really. I also love grilled veggies so I get excited when I get to eat them! And sad if I don't get a chance. I don't get as sad if I miss out on a soda or dessert now because fat helps. My sodas are now soda water and a twist of lime and my desserts are often a bowl of berries after my meal (or a bit extra starch during a meal.)

Is it easy to beat? No. Is it doable? You betcha.

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Just wanted to add one little bit of information I found out from my nurse practitioner...if you have an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in your gut you will crave sugar because the candida feeds on it. I had horribly powerful sugar cravings the first time I did an elimination diet to get rid of the candida. I didn't know that's what it was and I could not stop myself from stopping at 7-Eleven every night to get several bags of gummy candy. It was like I couldn't get enough. She explained it was from the candida and because I was "starving" them. We made some changes specific to a candida diet and I actually took an anti-fungal medication and a special supplement to help heal my gut. It did help. The really intense cravings eventually stopped. I still love sugar but now on Day 24 of my first Whole30, I have not had the intense cravings I had two years ago. If you see a functional or integrative medicine practitioner they can test you for candida. It helped me over power it just to know that it was because of the yeast overgrowth and if I was going to get rid of them I had to starve them of their food source.

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hello :) I am a recovering sugar addict.  I have a couple of things to add:  I have a son who is a recovering addict and I know that alcohol also played a large part in his addictive lifestyle - if this has been true for you then there is a very high likelihood that you have a candida overgrowth problem so the advice above re that is worth taking on board :)

 

Secondly - it has been 'scientifically proven', with scans of the brain, that sugar acts on the same part of the brain as narcotics - and often even more strongly - so it can be a true addiction :)  

 

You are an amazing person.  You chose to work hard to deal with your addiction to drugs and this shows that you have great strength.  Maybe you can use your knowledge of rehabilitation and recovery to work on the sugar issues?  Also - I found that once on the Whole30 the cravings lessened - and when they did hit then fat seemed to quiet my sugar dragon :) (olives are my friend when cravings hit)  

 

Actually I have one more thing to add - and this is a bit of 'tough love' - as a recovering addict you have no doubt had to remove yourself from aspects of your old lifestyle - and you would not put yourself in a position where you had easy access to drugs - the same has to be true of sugar :) Do not keep sweet things in the house, and also watch your fruit consumption (I cannot eat fruit other than blueberries without it triggering a sugar craving).

 

If you do decide to do the Whole30 then give yourself time to prepare yourself and your kitchen before you start - and if you want a buddy on the journey then please let me know - I would be only too pleased to help :)

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Just wanted to add one little bit of information I found out from my nurse practitioner...if you have an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in your gut you will crave sugar because the candida feeds on it. I had horribly powerful sugar cravings the first time I did an elimination diet to get rid of the candida. I didn't know that's what it was and I could not stop myself from stopping at 7-Eleven every night to get several bags of gummy candy. It was like I couldn't get enough. She explained it was from the candida and because I was "starving" them. We made some changes specific to a candida diet and I actually took an anti-fungal medication and a special supplement to help heal my gut. It did help. The really intense cravings eventually stopped. I still love sugar but now on Day 24 of my first Whole30, I have not had the intense cravings I had two years ago. If you see a functional or integrative medicine practitioner they can test you for candida. It helped me over power it just to know that it was because of the yeast overgrowth and if I was going to get rid of them I had to starve them of their food source.

I'm interested in what changes you made to your diet and what supplements you took for the candida.  I have been suffering from a candida overgrowth since April - the result of having to take two courses of antibiotics and steroids to get rid of a really bad respiratory infection.  The sugar cravings were intense and I finally had to break up with Ben and Jerry and do another Whole 30.  I'm on Day 27 and the cravings are under control, but I am still very bloated in my abdomen.  

 

I've been using a combination of oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract and caprylic acid - and a really good probiotic - to try to fight the candida off.  I have had NO sugar and very little fruit (maybe 3 small servings in the past month).  My Dr. has also prescribed Diflucan, which I took every 3 days for a month and still - it will not go away.  TMI, but I have had six vaginal yeast infections in the past three months.  I should buy stock in Monistat...Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Hmm- I was thinking about how much fruit I eat and I realized I have been putting about a tsp of apple juice sweetened cranberries on my salad each day.  I will stop that beginning today.  That's probably not helping with the candida.

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