So I like pretty much everything so far about being primal/paleo. I love eating more meat and fat, I had no problem eliminating grains. The problem I'm having is sugar, and it's derailing everything. Sugar (especially chocolate) is my cryptonite. I've tried most of the hacks -- better quality/lower sugar chocolate, other replacements, simply trying to wait it out. I go about a week eating some plain yogurt with chocolate chips (or something similar) and will then binge horribly one night on Reeses or M&Ms.
It no longer feels like an issue of mere willpower. I can eat at Panera and resist bread, where I once used to eat it as a snack and loved nothing better than peanut butter and butter toast. I've given up rice and 95% of processed foods. But when I try to go a night without sugar, I get antsy and shaky and wind up prowling my house like a caged animal. I'm starting to doubt that I can ever conquer this, and it's VERY important that I do, because I'm also a type 1 diabetic and this behavior is going to slowly kill me :( Every single reason, from my blood sugars to my freakin' siuze 16 jeans never seem important when it really comes to crunch time.
Have any of you dealt with a carb/sugar addiction this bad? If so, what can I do about it?
The only way to kick the sugar habit is to completely eliminate it. Sugar is like a drug, having just a little leaves you craving more. You can't do better quality and lower sugar chocolate or replacements and expect success. You must completely eliminate it to get over your cravings.
Are you still eating a fair amount of carbohydrate/glucose from other sources? Do potato and other "paleo" starches and carb sources make up a large amount of your diet? If so that could be a problem: you might not be able to ditch the sugar until you ditch those.
This was certainly the case with me. Whenever I tried to cut out soda and sweets but continued eating medium to high carb I would always start eating soda and sweets again, slowly but surely.
My thought is that it goes something like this: your body needs to switch over its metabolism; you need to get it used to burning more fats and less glucose. Otherwise you're going to continue to want the most extreme, easy-to-deliver form of your preferred fuel source. Your body senses a deficit of its primary fuel and wants to make up the deficit as quickly as possible.
It's not this way for everyone but it definitely was for me, and I've heard anecdotal evidence from others along the same lines.
If this applies to you, then try going low carb for a while, eating lots of fat. Your body will change and your mind will change along with it. After a couple of weeks of this, if you cheat and have a significant amount of sugar, you'll pay the price because it will make you feel miserable. You may not even want the sugar in the first place because it will probably taste overwhelmingly sweet, maybe even nauseatingly sweet.
And then presumably you'd be able to go back to eating carbohydrate after you kicked your sugar habit. (Or you could just never go back, like me!)
I found supplementing with L-Glutamine helped put the nail in the sugar coffin for me. I used a high-quality powder and even took it by the spoonful under my tongue when a serious craving came up. Nora Gedgaudas (Primal Body, Primal Mind) talks about it's use in breaking addiction.
I found it somewhere in here.
I had terrible sugar addiction. I kept making excuses like "Just this one more time." One day I had to say to myself "ok, no excuses today". You have to realise the cravings are coming from a very primitive emotional part of the brain and your rational thinking brain is no match for it. I then got through the sugar withdrawal with lots and lots coffee and diet cola. Not ideal, but it's what I needed. Two weeks later I could deal with the caffeine withdrawal.
Geisha Girl - when you have those cravings at night, try Yogi Peach Detox tea. The wonderful flavors of cinnamon, cardamom and others have a really soothing effect. Also try adding cinnamon to your food, or take a cinnamon supplement. It doesn't CURE your cravings overnight, but does help soothe the sugar monster.
L-Glutamine can help as Riveted suggested, but also consider BCAA's (branched chain amino acids) in general before and after a workout.
Try these things for a minimum of 3 weeks, but do take it one day at a time.
The only way I know is to just quit cold turkey. Some folks use Stevia - though it's not Paleo I believe it is safe, and has been used for centuries. But I'm of the school of thought that it's just "candy cigarettes," and only keeps your sweet tooth alive. Best course of action is to just let your taste buds adjust to a non-sweetened world.
It is HARD. Just when I think I'm in control, I get sucked back in. The longer you go without it, the easier it gets. I've learned that I can't keep temptations in the house -- I can't stop at just one bite. Right now, I'm trying to discipline myself by giving up all sweets for Lent -- no desserts, dark chocolate, artificial sweeteners, etc. I told a few people, too, so there is some accountablility.
My 25 yr old daughter has suffered from sugar addiction for at least 5 years - and its getting worse. She has gone up to five weeks eating "normally" and then craters and binges on sugar, french fries, pizza, and lots of ice cream and candies for days - its seriously affecting her life and job. Amazingly she is a size 6 but yo yos back and forth up to 20 pounds in just a few weeks. Its just killing us - how can we help her? I've suggested hypnotism - has anyone tried it along with all the other "tricks", diets, supplements, etc...?
Has anyone tried a clinic (i.e. food addiction clinic similar to Betty Ford for alcoholics)? We are getting desperate!
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