Hi Paleohackers -
I've been on the paleo-primal lifestyle for the past month, albeit not perfectly. My "20%" comes from about 200 calories from dairy a day (full-fat; blue cheese crumble on salad; cheddar shreds in omelette) and 200 calories a day from a KIND bar (coconut and almond). KIND bars are decidedly not paleo per some old paleohacker posts I've looked up, as they have added sugars, soy, and puffed rice. But before starting paleo I made a deal with myself: if I did my walking/sprinting and cross fit as planned, I'd "reward" myself with a KIND bar and a tablespoon of coconut oil. I made this concession because the vast majority of my weight gain was caused by having no "off" button when it came to sweets. It is as if sweets went into a second, bottomless stomach. So I do see sweets as a reward that I'll work for as I enjoy them so much.
Well, as you might expect, this eating plan hasn't not worked well for me. While I have lost a little weight on the paleo diet (along with other improvements, e.g., energy and skin tone), I still experience hunger near constantly. Interestingly, however, this isn't stomach hunger. For example, after eating a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb dinner last night (spinach and mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, small amount of nuts and blue cheese, avocado, tomato, peppers, onion; three eggs with spinach, onion, small amount of cheddar fried in bacon fat; two slices of bacon; for lunch I had some sausage and mixed greens) I still felt hungry. This is what I fear is called "head hunger" because, based on (far too many) past experiences, a sugary treat is the only way to calm the voice/tamp down the type of hunger I was experiencing. So I gave in and had a KIND bar and coconut oil. Still the voice persisted. So I had another. And another. You see the rabbit hole I fell into. While I feel guilty (and bloated) today, I'll admit that at the time, my brain went "ahhhhhhhhh sooooooo niiiiiiiice" after last night's binge. (Which I'm sure was just the dopamine being released post-sugar, but hot damn, I love that dopamine!!)
So here are my questions:
1. Do you think that allowing myself this KIND bar treat daily is causing my persistent "head hunger"?
2. Any tips or tricks on combating head hunger? Do I just have to white-knuckle it without sugar for a period of time to get over it? Will head hunger one day just vanish? I'm worried about fear of sugar - that is, if I do eliminate it completely, then have a bite of it in a few months, will I be back to this rough square one I'm currently standing in?
3. Do you find that fruit contributes to head hunger? I've considered replacing the KIND bar with some berries or apple.
4. This might sound weird....but does anyone conflate "sugar" with "relaxation" or "completeness"? Sometimes I feel like at the end of the day, I can't relax with a "meat" or "veggie" taste in my mouth. (Yes, I brush my teeth - it's more of a mental sensation of ending the day with something....not sweet. Sorry, I don't know how else to explain it. It's sort of like, I'd much rather kiss someone with the faint taste of cookies in my mouth rather than the faint taste of sausage. In general, the sweet taste just feels "better.")
5. Since I am working out relatively hard, should I be replacing the KIND bar carbs with another source, e.g., more sweet potato?
As a general complaint, I find it so frustrating that my mind sees sugar/sweets as such a positive, desirable thing, although logically I know the substance has little nutritional value (besides the short burst of energy via quickly-absorbed carbs) and is associated with a host of health problems. How can I make my ENTIRE mind see how sugar is a devil in an angel costume? I often feel like those research rats who has been trained to be addicted to the substance. I don't overindulge in anything else except this bloody sugar. Now I'm ranting - sorry about that....
I appreciate any help, even if it is tough love :) If you have a similar experience to share, I'd also love to hear about it.
P.S.: If it helps, here are my stats: I'm a 27 year old female with 29% body fat/looking to lose about 40 pounds. I do cross fit four times a week and walk 45 minutes a day, sprinting one day a week. I work standing up, but am mostly still when standings as I have a computer-based job. I aim for 1600 calories a day and 18/6 eating window (which I prefer). I have had zero trouble giving up other carbs, like bread, rice, white potatoes. I'll eat a sweet potato with lots of butter several days a week, but vegetables count for a large portion of my carbs. I like milk-based sweets only, e.g., chocolate; candies, like starburst or gummi bears, are not attractive to me. My macros are generally 25%carb/45%fat/30%protein.