Weight Loss Support - Wean or Cold Turkey?

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01-21-2014, 06:20 PM
Hello. I've lurked for a while, but this is my first post.

I've been eating so much junk food for the past year that when I go a day or 2 without it, I feel woozie and get headaches.

So, what is the best thing to do here? Try to tough it out or slowly wean?

If tough it out, how long do the withdrawal symptoms last?

If wean, how?

Thanks for any advice.

shaping nz
01-21-2014, 06:57 PM
Sugar addictions are scary! I truly had one and am so glad I no longer do. I did cold turkey, and seriously every day got better. The less you eat the less you crave. Now a piece of fruit is super sweet for me.
I know the withdrawal symptoms are horrible, and perhaps cold turkey won't work for you, but the process is SO worth it!
good luck - every day will get easier! I think you will feel like a different person in a week.

01-21-2014, 07:03 PM
What are you eating as junk food on the "regular" days, and what are you eating on the days you cut the junk out?

01-21-2014, 07:22 PM
Breakfast is always the same---I eat nuts & yogurt

Lunch varies. Good day will be a big salad w/nuts, cheese, & cranberries. And an apple. Bad day could be cheese sticks & chocolate covered peanuts.

Dinner also varies. Good day would be fish, veggie, & roll. Bad day would be pizza or pasta or something like that. Really bad would add ice cream for dessert.

I don't snack unless I'm going to the gym that day & then I'll have peanut butter crackers (regardless of whether it is a "good" or "bad" day).

I don't drink soda or coffee.

01-21-2014, 07:54 PM
We are all different so what works for one won't work for another.

Something that helped me a lot with junk food was to do 2 weeks of South Beach Phase I. It got me out of the habit of eating certain foods and since I just haven't really added them back in.

That said - some of the stuff you talk about isn't really bad. It is more a matter of portions and needing to add in some fruits/veggies.

Nuts and yogurt - those area good. I eat one ounce of nuts every day. It is better if it is the more nutritious nuts such as walnuts, almonds and pistachios. I would suggest starting with at least one fruit or vegetable for each meal. Perhaps add some berries to breakfast.

Lunch - Salad is good if you watch the dressing (avoid dressing with too much sugar in it). Nuts are fine but watch the overall portion control since they are high calorie. Cheese I try to stick with the lowfat.

Cheese sticks are fine if low fat. I love the Weight Watchers jalapeno cheese sticks. The chocolate covered peanuts probably need to go as a regular thing. However, I do allow myself an ounce of dark chocolate a day (at least 70% cocoa).

Fish and veggie good (depending on how the fish is made). The roll is probably not so good. A whole grain roll may be OKish but tends to be a lot of calories. Pizza not so good. Pasta if whole grain and not too large a portion may be OK sometimes.

For things like ice cream I've found that I need to avoid having it in the house as I eat too much of it too often. If I want ice cream then I occasionally go to Marble Slab or someplace and get a small serving. The key is that this is occasional (maybe once a month) and I don't bring anything home with me!

01-21-2014, 08:41 PM
Seems like you do well on your "good days". When it comes to junk food, I went cold turkey, I haven't touched fast food in over 2 years. I had trouble going to the drive-thrus, easier to hide the gorging that way...I don't do that anymore. I didn't get withdrawals per se, but I got psychological withdrawals, thinking that I couldn't live without a Burger King chicken sandwich extra mayo. I have no desire for that junk anymore, I'm happy to say.

Maybe a little more preparation on your part for your meals will be helpful?

01-21-2014, 10:34 PM
I think that our bodies respond different to the changes. I used to be like you, eating just whatever because it was there, from healthy foods to really bad. I quit cold turkey when I started the Ideal Protein diet and I feel woozy too, but I am toughing it up because I know it is part of my body's initial shock and response to the diet, and that once my body gets use to it (in a couple more days) it will be easier. I like cold turkey, otherwise I feel that I would never end transitioning into a healthy lifestyle. :-)

01-22-2014, 12:03 AM
What worked for me was flat out counting calories and not cutting at all.
If I have a craving, I spend the calories to satisfy it.
It is more realistic to me but it doesn't work for everyone.

01-22-2014, 12:24 PM
I prefer cold turkey first and then try the wean method if it doesn't work because the cold turkey always sounds the "scariest" and it is a good way to show yourself that it isn't so scary at all, even if its not the permanent way for you.

01-22-2014, 12:54 PM
Cold turkey for me worked wonderfully. To me that meant cold turkey on fast food, junk food snacks of all types, chips, candy bars, ice cream for a few weeks. And for a few weeks also all pasta and bread.

It was exactly what I needed because I was frankly addicted to the stuff. Usually had some of the above on a daily basis. Weaning, for me, did not work. I don't know exactly what happened when I went cold turkey internally, but it seemed to get me to the point where I can now, ironically, have any of the above in limited quantities if I choose and it is not addictive at all any longer.

But I had to have a cold turkey period, Best thing I personally ever did. A few days were bad, then it got less bad pretty quickly.

01-23-2014, 03:45 PM
I find that it is better for me to go cold turkey when I find that I am overindulging in the not so good for me food. Not every food that I love causes me to go crazy, but there are things that can trigger a binge. So I just go cold turkey and say to myself I am better off without it. I know it is tough, but I usually end up feeling so much better. I also have a lot less cravings that way as well.

01-23-2014, 04:15 PM
I say cold turkey, only because junk food creates its own cravings. You eat some, you crave more. There's a reason some junk foods have a slogan, "Betcha can't eat just one!" It's because a scientist engineered it that way. Sugar similarly has a snowball effect. Go cold turkey, tough out the difficult first few days. Reach for a piece of whole fruit (not fruit juice) if you need a sugar fix.

01-24-2014, 01:40 AM
Look at it this way. Go cold turkey for 2 weeks, it's only 14 days.

For that time frame, gut it out and eat only good, whole foods, ditch the junk, and see how you feel. Track everything! Food, mood, exercise, weight variations, etc.

At the end of the trial, take a look at the "DATA"

It's information and nothing more, it does not make you good or bad, it simply gives you a frame of reference.

Take what you learn, adjust, apply, assess/reassess, the data, until you find your sweet spot.

You see, sometimes, we tend to take this to personally, on some silly journey to perfection, when, what we really need to do is relax, take a step back from immediate gratification, and try thing 1 or 2 or whatever, and track it and let the feedback point us in the direction we need to go!:hug:

01-24-2014, 09:40 AM
One of my DD's friends used to go in our pool this way ~ She'd quickly go down a step, then get out, go down two steps, then step out, go down three steps... We were all, Just Jump In!! LOL.

But, it worked for her. Better than jumping in or the slow torture of creeping into cool water.

Maybe this month ~ go a sugar free day, then eat what you want. Then go two days, then eat what you want. Etc.!

01-24-2014, 10:16 AM

That is good in theory but I just don't think as many people succeed that way. I grew up in Los Angeles. The pacific is cold. I learned to just charge into the water. It was a shock but minimized the overall pain by far. Gradual was just torture.

I think bodies get hooked on carbs and loose to some extent using fat as fuel. They also become hyper efficient at storing the glucose from carbs as fat. Hence the big American belly. And boy did I have one.

So yes cold turkey is probably harder for a few days. But it seems to be a more effective strategy for more people. IF they stick with it long enough for it to take hold. But gradual never worked for me. My body never set me free from the cravings that way. Cold turkey did set me free.

01-24-2014, 08:16 PM
Take what you learn, adjust, apply, assess/reassess, the data, until you find your sweet spot. great advice shcirerf, hope I spelled your name right!

Everyone has to find what works for them, OldNewbie you've gotten some great suggestions, especially not being afraid to try something different if one of them doesn't work for you. If something works for 9 out of 10 people and you're that one, you'll need to do something different.

Wishing you the best, don't quit trying :D

01-24-2014, 09:00 PM
I totally agree. Whatever works is best. I was unsuccessful for years, decades really because I thought cold turkey was impossible and beyond me. In reality what was impossible for me personally was to be successful with any approach but cold turkey for a few weeks.

But find what works for you. I would just advise to not assume like I did for decades that cold turkey is beyond your or anyone's capabilities.

01-25-2014, 05:23 AM
After seeing what you eat, I can safely say that we are viewing foods in a different light. I cut out sugars cold turkey. Though, by cutting out, I mostly mean remaining under 15-20g of sugars (based on labels). If yogurt is part of your daily plan, my suggestion can't really helped.

That said though, it does sound like you're more so watching your calorie intake more than carb/sugar intake, so even on a bad day, the foods you listed aren't exactly...bad. As long as your portion is right, I don't think anything is wrong with your plan at all! :)

01-25-2014, 09:40 AM
When I first started losing weight 8+ years ago, I went cold turkey. My usual dinner was either Dryer's ice cream or bread with cheese. I went from that to lots of vegetables, some fruits, whole grains, lean meat, etc, etc. Since then, I've found new bad habits every once in a while... I found things I needed to tweak and things aren't as drastic when I change because overall my eating is pretty good. I also became vegan along the way. The thing I have always struggled with is portion size so I work on that, work on focusing on eating a variety of foods and what not.

So from my nearly 370 lb self, I did go cold turkey but after 100 lbs of weight loss or so, the changes were minor because there wasn't a lot to change.

01-25-2014, 10:09 AM
Just a thought another thing you could try is giving up one thing at a time, like no chips, then no chocolate, etc. I find telling myself I can have some later or tomorrow helps a lot with getting past a craving.