Hello, I'm new to the Paleo lifestyle, and so far I'm not having much success. After a week attempting to eat healthy I feel like I've gotten nowhere and it's utterly depressing. I love meat and vegetables and know that I can live happily on a paleo diet, I'm just having an extremely difficult time giving up my major vice- sugar. Even after a good day of egg whites, green salad and grilled chicken, I'll ruin everything with a 1000+ calorie sugar binge.
I'd love nothing more than to cut out sugar for good. I'm 23, female, and currently about 40 lbs overweight...in the last year alone I've gained 15 lbs from frequent binges on sweets. I don't eat fruit, dairy, bread or pasta, but I can't resist candy, chocolate or baked goods. My eating habits are making me miserable but I feel I'm powerless to sugar! I feel disgusting and I know it's ruining my body. How can I move past this? Did anyone else have problems excising sugar from their life and how did you overcome it?
Thanks for your support, K
ETA: Wow thanks so much everyone for the quick responses! It's all so helpful and making me excited to really give Paleo an honest go.
Regarding my fat intake, I suppose those were poor examples of a "daily" diet. I do eat grilled chicken and salad, but I'm not afraid of fat- red meat, bacon, butter, coconut milk and nuts all have a place in my diet. However I do agree that I have been a bit saddled by the previous low fat dieting trend. My parents raised my siblings and I on a rather low fat diet (assuming it was most healthy, based on "experts" advice at the time), so I have an inclination towards low fat foods. SOme high fat foods, such as egg yolks and avocados I avoid simply because I dislike the taste, but I also feel like I instinctively choose lower fat foods because for so long I've been told that's the "right" thing to eat. Yet, I'm fat. SO obviously it's time for a change.
I'm going to try giving up sugar cold turkey, and replace any snacks with paleo-friendly options. I'm also going to work on upping my daily fat intake and measuring how I feel. Again, thank you for all of your insight and hopefully I'll have good results to report back.
I don't think you can wean yourself off gradually, I think you have to quit the sugar entirely, cold turkey. No artificial sweeteners, nada.
Meanwhile, you've got to eat plenty of protein and good fat, and some low-carb, low-sugar vegetables. Skip the fruit until you've got a better handle on your blood sugars and insulin response.
Egg whites and broiled chicken are low-fat and low-calorie - without a lot more fat in your diet you're going to continue to be starving hungry all the time, which is just a set-up for another sugar binge.
Cold turkey is in my opinion the only way.
For chocolate, switch to 85% dark or higher!!
The other thing you need more of is FAT!! Egg Whites are horrible!! You need the yolks to get you the necessary nutrients, and your description of egg whites, salad, and grilled chicken is not Paleo!! Cholesterol is your friend.
Steak, Bacon, Whole Eggs cooked in bacon fat or coconut oil, avocados, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds all good sources of fat!!
Please visit my facebook page and check the notes section for Foods I Eat, as well as my results. Fat is what you need to replace the carbohydrate sugar fix!! You won't be hungry, and your cravings will disappear!!
The most important thing I can recommend as you are making the switch - yes, cold turkey is best - is to never allow yourself to go hungry. When you are hungry is when those cravings for sweets usually turn up. When you have had plenty of food, especially fat, you will feel satisfied. If you start to crave sweets, eat something else that is satisfying to your hunger instead. It will be hard for about three days as your body uses up its stored glycogen, but then it will become very easy to pass up sugar as your body switches over to fat burning mode. So: go cold turkey, don't let yourself go hungry and tough it out for about 3 days until you switch to fat burning mode. That's all it takes to conquer the cravings.
get la croix soda water. it's probably partly the carbonated burn that you crave in a soda. i know that's my deal. try it. it won't suck entirely. and oh yeah, do that other stuff people wrote above.
I agree with all responses above. It's best to quit cold turkey and, for a while, avoid fruits and starchy veggies. If you eat enough fat, as in cook your chicken in bacon fat (and eat the bacon too) etc., you'll still crave sugar for a long time but you won't be physically hungry which helps your odds if you keep all junk out of your house.
After a few weeks I started eating a little fruit--which aggravated my cravings at first--and now it's my daily dessert without causing problems. I'm 4 months in and I still have days where I think I'd love some junk food, but by now spring water tastes wonderful.
I had the same problem at the beginning. I can't just inch away from sugar. As long as I eat any sugar, I will crave sugar. Finally solved this problem by eating thin slices of cold roast beef each time I craved sugary treats. That might work for you. I cooked a big roast beef each weekend, sliced it thin, and had it available in the fridge for quick snacks during the week. Plain, or with a little mustard and butter, it was very satisfying to eat lots of roast beef instead of sugar, candy, cookies.
I switched over to paleo Jan 2010 and was crawling the walls in NEED of SUGAR! Shocked how addicated I was. I remember getting up in the middle of the night and going to the store to find the fruit with the most sugar... dried dates. I allowed dates, bananas etc in the 1st month. As I started to feel and look better it was easier to tighten the reigns in and drop the fruit.
Then again, quitting cold turkey isn't bad advice. (But maybe instead of giving up completely, fall back on a fruit)
Having successfully quit smoking and sugar in my life (smoking was much harder), my advice is to 1) just give it up completely one day, 2) avoid things that are similar, and 3) if necessary, temporarily replace your bad habit with another incompatible habit.
The way I finally quit smoking (after about 10 tries) was to take up fairly serious bike riding, which is the third step above (i.e. totally incompatible with smoking). If you think that a 20 mile bike ride can be tough, try it after smoking a pack of cigarettes the day before.
For the sugar, you could try treating yourself with foods that are full-fat but without sugar. This should be about as satisfying as sugar and, overall, better for you. For example if you normally put a couple of scoops of sugar in your coffee, put 1-2 Tbsp of heavy cream instead. Cream has a slightly sweet taste and this makes it so you don't have to drink your tea or coffee black, which is way too much of a change for those with a sweet tooth.
I would also avoid sweet-tasting things that don't actually contain sugar, such as diet sodas or "Crystal Light" and that kind of thing. This will just keep your sweet tooth and will eventually lead to you cheating with the sugar.
For snacks or desserts, get full-fat but unsweetened greek yogurt, or the creamiest cheese you can find. There is a fromagerie in my area that has the most unbelievable imported French and Italian soft cheeses, this must be the ultimate indulgence, and is sugar-free. As delicious as it is, it is hard to eat a lot of this because it is so rich, and this is something to look forward to. Just don't eat it with any fruit or anything sweet.
Being comfortable eating fat guilt-free is probably one of the hardest steps for people to take on this diet, but also one of the most important. The fats can only be certain fats, and can't be combined with any sugar, but be 100% sure that they are good for you and will help you eat better.
Trying to cut out all sugars AND fats is probably nearly impossible.
I had to go really low carb to get off the sugar. ymmv.
I still have to be careful with fruit, dairy and alcohol, or things start getting sketchy again -- it's a slippery slope for me, unfortunately.
i'm for cold turkey all the way.
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