Tag Archives: give up sugar

Friday funny: Cravings are like stray cats…

Think of your cravings as stray cats; if you feed them, they'll never leave.

Funny saying – serious topic. If you struggle with frequent cravings, check out these posts:

Your four hungers – and why you should stop feeling guilty for every craving

How emotional eating keeps you stuck

Kicking the sugar monster

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20-day diet prep plan: Day 5 — Purge your kitchen!

by changing your mind you change everything

by changing your mind you change everything

Changing the way you eat starts with changing your mind — and then changing your kitchen!

So today’s task is: purge your kitchen. Get rid of (or put seriously out of reach) anything containing ingredients you’re swearing off of. Whether sugar in all its forms and disguises, items with the word “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on the label, wheat and/or gluten. etc.

Print out this pdf to help you identify sugar by another name: Sugar in all its disguises

 

How much sugar is in your meal?

Get a quick visual read on how sugar is in your drink, snack, power bar, donuts, etc. at: sugarstacks.com

20-day diet prep plan: Day 17 – begin the process of choosing a diet

Book covers: sugar addict + 21-day sugar detox

Okay, time to process the last couple days’ assignments. By now you should have:

Now to process what you learned there.

But first, a note. To keep things upfront, I want you to know that if you buy any of these books by clicking the links on this page, I’ll get 4-6% of the price — but that doesn’t affect your cost at all, and it helps keep this blog viable. So if you decide to do that, thanks!  🙂

You certainly don’t have to buy any books to start a diet, but for me anyway, understanding the “why” behind something — and knowing that other people have found success with a certain approach — goes a long way toward helping me really engage in the process.

Sugar quiz results

If sugar is your captor:

If, after taking the Sugar quiz, you discovered that sugar is your Jabba the Hut…

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…then I recommend checking out this book: The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program, by Kathleen DesMaisons. DesMaisons proposes that some people have what she calls “sugar sensitivity,” making them biologically more susceptible to having an addiction-like response to sugar and carbs.

Sugar Addict's Total Recovery ProgramI was already living pretty sugar-free when I was introduced to this author, so I can’t speak firsthand about how her plan works, but the friend who told me about this book had good success with it, and the reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive. (And DesMaisons’ advice about eating potato at bedtime did wonders for my insomnia!)

A little about the author’s background:

As Kathleen DesMaisons neared 240 pounds, she thought losing weight was simply a matter of willpower: develop enough discipline to keep the pounds off, and everything would be fine.

But as time went on and things didn’t change, DesMaisons felt like “a slug who couldn’t get it right.”

Her work as the head of a treatment center for alcoholics and drug addicts caused her… to see her compulsive use of… sugars and carbohydrates, as an addiction. When DesMaisons lost weight through a friend’s protein and vegetable diet — and kept it off — she returned to school, obtaining the first degree in Addictive Nutrition.  (Source)

She recommends that people with “sugar sensitivity” not rush to cut sugar completely out of their diet,  and she lays out five other steps to complete first, to make the break-up with sugar easier and more successful.

If sugar is your “frenemy”:

Maybe you have some difficulties with sweets and carbs. You’re in friendly company; most of us do!

If sweetened drinks (including artificially sweetened ones), other sweets, and/or carby foods such as chips, crackers, pasta, and bread/bagels/donuts/muffins/etc. are currently a regular part of your diet, you might do best to just concentrate on reducing or eliminating those items for now.

21 Day Sugar DetoxOne book that I think does a good job of this is The 21-Day Sugar Detox, by Diane Sanfilippo. Again, this isn’t a book I’ve walked through myself (I was already sugar-free when I started Paleo), but I kept hearing about it from others. Now I’ve read a good deal of it and it all sounds very solid! She explains the whys and hows of nutrition in simple, easy-to-understand language, and lays out a plan to get sugar and processed carbs out of your diet.

A little about the book, from Amazon:

Use the easy-to-follow meal plans and more than 90 simple recipes in this book to bust a lifetime of sugar and carb cravings in just three weeks. Three levels of the program make it approachable for anyone….

By focusing on quality protein, healthy fats, and good carbs, this program will help you change not only the foods you eat, but also your habits around food, and even the way your palate reacts to sweet foods…. After changing your everyday eating habits, you will begin to gain a new understanding of how food works in your body–and just how much nutrition affects your entire life.

So, if you’ve never eliminated sugar completely from your diet, or if you have but have backtracked, I think this would be a really solid place to start.

Let me repeat that, I want to make sure no one skips over it:

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If you haven’t already eliminated

sugar and refined carbs from your diet,

start working on just those!

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I’ll give you some specific direction later.

Already free from sugar?

Lucky you! If sugar and carbs aren’t a big deal for you, but you still have some issues you think may be diet related — such as fatigue, allergies, joint pain, digestive problems, mood swings, adult acne — you may want to consider eliminating some other foods from your diet. Read on…

About food sensitivities

If you scored high on the food sensitivity quiz — or even if you just have one item on the list that is particularly bugging you — you may benefit from trying an elimination diet.

That means eliminating one or more types of food from your diet completely for a specific period of time, watching to see if your symptoms improve. Usually, this is two weeks at the very minimum, but four weeks is better. Then at the end of the abstention period, you add back one type of food (if you were eliminating more than one) and watch to see if symptoms reappear.

Giving this proper attention would make this post reeeeeally long, so to keep your reading for today short, I’m going to continue this topic tomorrow.

Sugar in food: sneaky and surprising

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Having been diagnosed at a young age with reactive hypoglycemia, I’ve long been aware of the fact that modern food products hide alarming amounts of sugar, and conceal sugar in foods you’d never think contain it.

Like in food labeled as “Sugar Free”:

Or ketchup:

Britain’s FSA (Food Service Authority) defines high-sugar content as being 10%. Heinz Tomato Ketchup contains 23.5%. (British info source. Percentage from Heinz U.S. website.)

The following facts are just a taste (sorry!) of what investigative reporter Michael Moss uncovered in his book Salt, Sugar, Fat, about America’s food industry. (Via buzzfeed. More fun facts there!)

The American Heart Association’s recommendation for women’s sugar intake is just five teaspoons a day. That’s half a can of Coke. Or one and a half Fig Newtons.

Another source puts it like this: The American Heart Association recommends that women eat no more than  six teaspoons of added sugars per day or nine teaspoons for men. But, one 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugars from high-fructose corn syrup. In other words…

(By the way, Coca-Cola executives refer to consumers who drink more than two or three cans a day as “heavy users.”)

And as I said before, sugar is hiding in unexpected places. There’s as much sugar in 1/2 cup of Prego tomato sauce as there is in three Oreos.

This fact alone (reported in Moss’s book) is particularly telling…

Some packaged food executives don’t actually eat the products their companies make.

John Ruff from Kraft gave up sweet drinks and fatty snacks. Bob Lin from Frito-Lay avoids potato chips. Howard Moskowitz, a soft drink engineer, doesn’t drink soda.

Go thou and do likewise.

Yes, sugary drinks interact with weight-related genes (and how to kick the pop habit)

sugar-in-soda
This AP photo shows how many cubes of sugar are in popular soft drinks.
The Associated Press reports that “A huge, decades-long study involving more than 33,000 Americans has yielded the first clear proof that drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight, amplifying a person’s risk of obesity beyond what it would be from heredity alone.” Full story here.
Are you hooked on pop? Here’s a “baby steps” approach to weaning yourself off the sweet stuff. Try taking one or two weeks to adjust to each step.
  1. Switch to diet pop, same amount. Update, 9/28/12: If you have a serious sugar addiction, you may need to do this step in phases. See this article for info about sugar withdrawal symptoms and how to manage them.
  2. Replace one pop a day with coffee, tea or juice. No added sugar or artificial creamers. You may use other sweeteners. Do some research and experimentation to find a sweetener that you feel is healthy, and that doesn’t cause any troubling side effects for you. 
  3. Continue replacing servings until you are off pop completely.
  4. Replace one drink a day with water or green tea. Flavor with real fruit or a splash of juice, if you want. (Note: if you’re going off of coffee or strong tea, you’ll need to do the replacement slowly to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and sluggishness.)
  5. Continue replacing until water is all you drink all day (with fruit, if you like). Or green tea till 3 pm; water after.

Kicking the sugar habit? Here’s the most important thing to know.

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Kicking the sugar habit - sugar monster, or sugar dragon

Sugar really can be quite addicting.  Dr Eric Stice has famously said, “Sugar activates the brain similar to the way cocaine reacts”. I think that those who call it “toxic” are going overboard, though. As Dr. David L. Katz says, “the dose makes the poison.” And Americans are definitely over-dosing. On average, American adults eat about 100 pounds of sugar a year. (Source.)

(Click these links for some stunning graphics showing how much sugar and corn syrup the average American consumes in a day, week, month, year and lifetime. Care for a dip in a hot-tub full of corn syrup, anyone?)

I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia in high school, so I was trained early on to stay away from or at least go easy on sugar, but later in life, I got a little sloppy with it. Eventually, between my weight gain, migraines, and moods, I finally realized that I needed to get back to that super-cautious approach to sugar.

Here’s a short video by “Mama Natural” with some tips for kicking the white stuff:

I especially want to note this point that she mentions in passing:

Eating sugar creates craving for more sugar.

Understanding this made a big difference for me. Before I realized this, I might indulge in some sweets a few times a week because, hey, a little now and then isn’t that bigga deal, right? But the sweet itself isn’t the only cost: it can kick off bigger cravings one or two hours later, and depending on your vulnerability, those cravings might last for days. As I’ve made clear before, I do believe in the occasional indulgence for very special occasions. But when I do, I know I’ve got to get back on the no-sugar horse the very next day and tough out the cravings until they subside.

The great thing is, the reverse is also true. The more you stay off of sugar and other white carbs, the more your cravings will subside. The first week or two is gonna be tough, but after that it gets lots, lots easier. If you are physically addicted to sugar, you may need to do a slower withdrawal in order to manage bothersome side effects. For more info, see this article on how to get through sugar withdrawal.

So if you’re trying to punt the sugar monster, hang in there! You’ll be glad you did!

the hard truth: if you want to get rid of cravings, you've got to get rid of sugar.

* Find Just Me(gan)’s blog at http://tallydogs.wordpress.com/