When in a situation where there is plenty of sugar but not enough food I find myself sometimes breaking down and sampling a little sugary snacks. Today it is dried fruit that an office friend has at his desk. The problem is once I started I kept coming back again and again and I now realize I have housed full cups of the stuff. Does anyone have recommendations for stalling a sugar binge? It's hard to talk myself out of. I am sure that many have gone through this before. I'm feeling the high now but I really am not looking forward to the low. ohhh boy.
Office situations are hard. One cannot simply "not be there."
To combat a sugar binge, I've lately been using a technique I think I first read about on PaNu - substituting something very fatty for the sugar. Pure cream, for instance. I'll tell myself I can have as much of it as I want instead of the sugar - and lo and behold, I'll get "full" pretty quickly on the fat.
The sugar then loses most of its appeal, and I can resist.
When in a situation where there is plenty of sugar but not enough food I find myself sometimes breaking down
IMO this is your first problem. Don't put yourself in that situation.
If you are hungry, you will want to eat. If the only thing available is sugar, you will probably eat sugar.
Don't make this about willpower. Make it about planning.
Hunter-gatherers generally ate a healthy diet because unhealthy Neolithic options just weren't available. When they came into contact with Western European foods, most of them quickly developed a taste for sugar and flour. Of course, there were those that tried it and didn't like it and stuck to their traditional foods, but many of them quickly adopted a Western diet and reaped the diseases of civilization as their reward.
Relying on willpower is a path that leads to failure, for most people.
As for your actual question about how to stop a sugar binge once it's started:
I like to remember the acronym FACT (borrowed from Gay Hendricks, conscious living "guru").
Feel your feelings deeply (why you want the sugar in the first place).
Accept your feelings (and that the sugar is pulling you closer).
Choose an appropriate action (based on what your sugar need really means).
I personally have found that my cravings are caused by perceived inadequacies and dissatisfaction with myself; perhaps the same applies here.
I agree with paleonyc about fat, but cream (and coconut milk as suggested by another) is too sweet for me for this to be effective. I have to fill up on fatty meat for the sugar urge to leave.
Another thing that I've found can help is coffee (especially with a little coconut oil). It gives me some mouth pleasure to focus on, and blunts my appetite in general.
I've been a sugar binger for ages. Will power sometimes works, and planning sometimes works, sure. But then something unexpected happens--your mother buys grapes or you go to the grocery store and pass by the candy dispensers or you have a bit of potato at dinner--and the sugar's THERE and before you even realize you've put it in your mouth you've swallowed it and Oh. Snap.
My current strategy is this:
I mentally block out guilt. While I'm watching my hand reach into the bag (I always feel a bit removed from the situation, like I'm observing my behavior) I just sit back and let my resolve build for a bit. Then, if I have access and time for some physical activity, I like to get up and do that, try and clear some of the glucose out of my system. This activity is not only, I think, good for my body, but it also helps me feel better about myself and my ability to take care of myself. Finally, I believe it's most effective because it gets my mind off of it.
So if I can't do some physical activity, I turn to an activity that is fun or that requires focus-- I need something powerful to get my mind off of food. It can't be something I can do while reaching into a bowl, such as reading reports on the internet, but it can be something like responding to friend's emails or returning phone calls or running some errands. Activities that provide physical barriers to food are the best. Sometimes I get up and go do work at the local barnes and noble.
Finally, and again, emphasizing the self-love and lack of guilt I feel while doing this, I turn to paleo foods. Usually the sugar gets me going but I can transfer that feeding to paleo foods. I really like to gnaw on cucumbers, cabbage, or carrots. Raw is fine. They satisfy my carb craving in a very minimal way, and while the fiber, I know, can be damaging to my system, I'd rather deal with that than with the blood glucose problems from the binging.
In all of these things, will power IS important. I understand what everyone above is saying. Absolutely. But it's also important to remember that sugar is THE DEVIL (I'm kidding-- I DO still eat it from time to time, and even without binging!) and that it's wreaking havoc on your leptin, and it's BEEN wreaking havoc on your leptin for a long time. And so long as I am wresting with this, and getting better at it, and learning to have a good relationship food, then I cannot hate myself for binging. Preventing the self-hate is crucial because that type of feeling, at least for me, is a very strong motivation to eat. It's cyclical madness, I'm telling you. In any case, that's my method. Don't feel guilty, try and do stuff, get your mind off of it, and rely on paleo foods to carry you through.
With any type of food binge, the most important thing for me was to acknowledge the behavior so I wasn't just stuffing my face without thinking about it. The next step was something to get the taste out of my mouth, brush my teeth, drink a cup of coffee or tea or chew some gum. Then, I would try to stay busy to keep my mind off whatever food I was consuming. Sometimes, calling or texting a friend just made me more accountable too.
I keep some Kerrygold butter in the fridge at work and if I hit that mid-afternoon "I gotta have SOMETHING" urge, I have about a dozen almonds with a generous dollop of butter on each one (just dig in to the container - no one else is using it!). Either that or a piece of sugar-free gum usually works for me.
since the comment thread is getting a bit long i thought id use the "answer" box to facilitate an easier back and forth:
@Cheryl, Well, i have an uncle who was (always still is, i suppose they say) an alcoholic. And at times in my 31 years i think i have spotted those tendencies in myself to be totally honest. But more to the point, I think youre misunderstanding what i said. My point is that many people, especially in the beginning of paleo/whateveryoucallit, and especially in the (cmon lets say it) spoiled US, overthink this. Sitting in an office, being offered dried fruit or whatever as a snack/meal when you are hungry is NOT a situation where an uncontrollable addiction will control you. I give you/me/us/whatever way more credit than that. Put it down, drink a glass of water, walk up and down three flights of stairs, do some jumping jacks, whatever you need, just dont eat it. This scenario is simpler than many make it.
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