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Old 12-14-2011, 05:59 PM   #1  
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Default Sugar addiction - new low

After reading "The End of Overeating," in which David Kessler discusses what he calls "conditioned hypereating," I realized I was hooked on the sugar/fat/salt combination, even though sweets OR sugar were rarely a problem.

When my doctor told me I could lose a great deal of weight just by giving up desserts, I laughed - because I only ate sweets a few times a year.

I didn't have much of a sweet tooth, or a salt tooth for that matter. Desserts, candy, most chips - not a problem.

"Real food" carbs were another story - pastas, breads, potatoes, sweet and savory dishes like barbecued ribs (heck barbecued anything), general tso's chicken...

Chocolate and other sweets are usually only a problem during PMS. And a bowl of chocolate flavored cereal usually is my concession to PMS chocolate cravings.

I've done pretty well, keeping most of the "quick carbs" out of the house, and what has been here hasn't appealed to me, and what has, I've thought of it as "hubby's stuff."

That's been working ok, until this weekend. We went to a family Christmas party, and I did very well at dinner, but then hubby's mother put out a sweet table.

I did end up eating more than I intended, rather surprised that the sweets were so appealing (especially not being "that time" of the month.

The sugar rush set off one of the worst sugar binges I've had in a very long time.

The pickings were pretty slim at home, but I even got into my husband's Nerds stash (I hate Nerds and I had never binged on them in my life - until Monday night).

Then I got into the ramen noodles - thankfully, not real ramen noodles (I'm allergic or intolerant to wheat - although I did eat some wheat at the Christmas party - which was another crazy mistake), but at least I stuck to the rice noodles.

Instant rice noodle soups are one of the few processed carb I can (normally) handle. Normally, they're not very tempting, and even when they are I'm usually too lazy to cook more than one batch. Although usually I add my own protein - and Monday I didn't.

I knew I was really out of control, when I resorted to eating my husbands Nerds. If they weren't available, I may have actually resorted to eating sugar straight from the bag.

I feel like an alcoholic who didn't believe they were alcoholic because they were very picky about the alcohol they drank, and only realized the extent of their problem when the found themselves drinking the cooking sherry or vanilla extract.

I've acknowledged my carb addiction before, but I didn't realize how bad it could be. I didn't realize that sugar had such a pull that I was willing to eat things I didn't even like, in order to get the sugar high.

It also had been so long since I had taken in so much sugar and quick-digesting starches, I had forgotten what a carb hangover felt like.

Yesterday morning I was up 6 lbs (I haven't changed my ticker, because I always give myself a week to get the weight off before changing my ticker), and my face was not only red, swollen and flaky, it also iched like an S.O.B. (from the wheat), I had an intense headache, my nose and head were stuffed up, and I still felt nauseous. And my fibro and arthritis is flaring so badly that even today, I still feel like every joint in my body was smashed with a hammer.

I know better than this, and I still fell into the trap.

What's scary is that it started with a very small cube of cheese fudge - Alcohol doesn't reduce my inhibitions the way sugar does.

Hubby has been very supportive, and is helping me do another pantry purge. He's offerred to get rid of his treats (which we were mostly keeping out of my sight - except the ones I didn't have a problem with until Sunday night and Monday during my sugar binge). He's not willing ot "hide" them, but he is willing to not bring them into the house.

We both will be healthier for it, but I still feel a bit guilty. I know I shouldn't, especially since I know my hubby isn't in control of his own carb intake as much as he claims (though he's far better at it than I am).

I have to say that a lot of this is wounded pride, because my eating habits have always been far better than my husband's. I wasn't even usually tempted by his junk - but without the "real food" carbs in the house, I resorted to the junk pretty darned quickly.

I'm back on track today, and hubby threw out the Nerds, and I'm even down 2 lbs - although I still have some of the "hangover" symptoms.

Now I have to decide which of the carb-rich foods can stay. The millet, quinoa, wild rice and oatmeal can stay, but I'm not so sure about the cold cereal and the white rice noodles.

Hubby's willing to get rid of anything I want to, I just don't know where to draw the line. I can overeat even fruit and whole grains. In fact, that's where I started my binge on Tuesday - with all the easy "good carbs" in the house (pomellos, apples, greek yogurt, whole grain cereal).

I'm really tempted to make the house entirely Paleo, but I know it's not the WOE hubby does best on mentally (physically I think it would benefit us both, but I've been happy with us both doing better, rather than trying to be perfect), and I don't really want him to have to eat half of his meals away from home.

I don't feel hopeless, so I'm not in any danger of giving up, but I am disheartened. I haven't had an out-of-control binge like this since last Christmas when we visited my family in Illinois (and there's so much food in their house at Christmas, and so much pressure to eat that it's obscene).

It also disturbs me that after eating so well, for so long, that it's the foods that weren't a temptation for me, even at my highest weight that have been my downfall. Of course, to be fair, if my old trigger foods had been in the house I would have eaten them first, which only would have solved part of the problem. I wouldn't be feeling quite so crappy, but my weight would still be yoyoing, and the water retention would still be a problem. My face would still be itchy and puffy (but not nearly as itchy and puffy).

Last edited by kaplods; 12-15-2011 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:30 PM   #2  
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Wow, Kap. I know EXACTLY how you are feeling right now. I have gone to "the dark side" a few times in the last few years and it is very scary at how quickly things can get out of control, and how totally crappy one can feel after it's all said and done.

I once resorted to old and stale starburst candy to get my fix. I've never like the stuff, but it was the bottom of the barrel of my kids Halloween candy, over a month after the fact and the only sugar in the house at the time.

You've done good getting the triggers out of sight, and climbing back on the wagon. Keep on keeping on.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:38 PM   #3  
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I wouldn't be to worried as long as your getting back on track and you realized what you did wasn't the best then why beat yourself up. It's the holidays, everyone eats to much crap what makes you special is you realize that .So don't beat yourself up and just keep yourself going.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:03 AM   #4  
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I really agree with Lori Bell....I've been there, except that I struggle with these intense cravings and binges (even on foods I don't like) a lot more regularly. The fact that you have this level of addiction and have been able to keep it at bay since last Christmas is actually quite an accomplishment in my opinion. It's information and now you know more about yourself. Smart of you not to weigh in for a week too...absolutely. You're still the same pillar of strength and perseverance that you were before this binge. It's not a reflection of who you are and where you're going. It is, it's done. Put it behind you and move forward.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:11 AM   #5  
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Thanks everyone. I'm not really mad or upset with myself, but I am surprised. Shocked really.

It just astonishes me, on a gut-level that sugar got the upper hand so easily. It shouldn't surprise me, as I know the research. For example I read in (or shortlly after reading) the book "The End of Overeating," about a study which found that when cocaine-addicted rats will choose sugar over cocaine more often than not.

It shouldn't be - but it is just such a shock to lose control so easily. And it's not like my control has been perfect. I've had a lot of small struggles, and there are a lot of very healthy foods that I only buy in very small quantities," just because I find them so easy to overeat (dried fruit, for example). Even when I make brown rice pasta, I only make enough for one or two meals, because if there's a large bowl, I just keep going back for more.

Only a few days ago, my husband and I were just talking about family members who overspend at Christmas to the point that they're getting deeper and deeper in debt, they haven't completely paid for the previous year's Christmas expenses before incurring more debt.

And I think holiday weight gain can be like that (for me, PMS weight gain was like that). I realize for most of my life, I was actually dieting successfully, more often than I wasn't - I just couldn't lose as fast as I could gain.

I've evened the playing field with birth control medications and lower carb eating, but I'm always in danger of falling back into old habits.

What's crazy is how sick I feel, and how that wasn't as much of a deterrent as it should have been. I started feeling sick long before I put a stop to the binge.
And what's even crazier is that I know I've been much sicker in the past - and on a much more consistent basis.

At my highest weight, I would often eat until I felt so sick that I would actually wish for death, I'd feel so terrible. My heart would race, I'd have a pounding headach and my stomach would hurt so bad that I felt like it was about to burst (and yet I'd often still feel compelled to eat even more).

It was usually during PMS/TOM, so I felt horrible anyway - and I suspect that I used the sugar/salt/fat combination as a narcotic against the terrible cramps I would get (although I've learned that sugar makes the cramps worse in the long run).

I have to remember that sugar really is my enemy, and I can't afford to underestimate it's power.

Last edited by kaplods; 12-15-2011 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:49 AM   #6  
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Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
I have to remember that sugar really is my enemy, and I can't afford to underestimate it's power.
Exactly! I'm the same way, particularly with the sugar + starch combo, which spells absolute disaster for me. I think as hard as it is to wrap our minds around, awareness is always a good thing....I only wish that it wasn't so...that we didn't have to struggle with this so much. I did try the low carb thing and it worked for a short while and then my cravings came back just as strong as ever.

I try to avoid processed sugar in particular but there are those days when I just gotta have something and I know I'm taking a huge risk which could lead to a major binge with no end in sight.

I'm so glad those days when you were so incredibly sick from your binges are over. Gone forever are those days. You are tackling a much weaker monster now and if you were able to kick the other one to the curb, you can certainly do so with this one.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:56 AM   #7  
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Harry Frankfurt, a Prof. at Princeton, has some interesting things to say about the Will and addiction - of course his texts are not "light reading", but worth slowly working through. It is certainly not a text on how to "cure" addictions, but rather, he writes about how addictions effect our Will (that which guides us to act). Even though he is only explaining the phenomenon in a psycho-philo manner (certainly nothing similar to a cognitve behaviorialist approach, he is not concerned with modifying behavior), his writings really stuck with me. I recall them naturally most times I want a cigarette or I want to overeat. His thoughts on the matter have a way of consoling me. I doubt he is in the public library, but he has some shorter books that should be pretty cheap online.

Until your desires for sugar/carbs die down, you should TOTALLY grocery shop like a European (buy for that day).

I hope you feel better soon!

Last edited by Unna; 12-15-2011 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:43 AM   #8  
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:11 AM   #9  
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It really is amazing, isn't it? When we think that we've conquered most of our demons, we run smack into one unawares. I feel pretty cocky right now with my recent weight loss, but I am aware that there are surprises ahead. I don't think any of us need to forget that.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:45 AM   #10  
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That was my biggest discovery with this weight loss journey, sugar - whatever form, is my enemy. I ate far, far, far too many carbs and like Kaplods, not necessarily bad carbs.... Or so we've been told they aren't bad. I ate rice, bread potatoes, pasta, and most of them were whole grain. But also ate a lot of chips and Cheetos (I do love salty).

Well, a year ago I discovered I had a problem with sugars and tested my blood sugar an hour after eating and two hours after eating to find out my sugar triggers. For me (and this is very individual), my sugars went too high with white rice or brown rice, with regular pasta, whole wheat pasta or the pasta with added soy and flax, breads, all types, etc. The only things that were grains that didn't raise my blood sugar levels were quinoa and potatoes. So now, that is the only carbs I eat, plus one piece of fruit a day - usually paired with a protein. And I stay away from sweets.

And after 3-4 days of steering clear of them all cravings are gone. I can have them under my nose and I'm not tempted by them. But having one meal that is carb heavy (an occasional slice of pizza, a slice of cake for my birthday), I feel the demons raising their heads. I want more sugar! So, I have learned I just need to tough it out for a couple days and the demons will be gone.

I really do wonder if it is the biggest reason people completely fall off the wagon and regain everything plus more.... The addiction to sugars. I now realize it was the undoing of my only other major weight loss effort. I just didn't figure it out back then.

Last edited by berryblondeboys; 12-15-2011 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:21 PM   #11  
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You know, it certainly is true that once you have some, often the pull to have more is almost unbearable. At least in my experience. I've done the same thing with my partner's snack items that I don't even like. Just felt that I needed something sweet, and, like you, I'm typically much more into the savory.

Like you, I also used to eat far past the point of being uncomfortable and sick. There was a point where literally every day I would wake up in a ball because my stomach hurt so much.

So I can relate to a lot of what you're saying. I'm glad to hear you're not beating yourself up about it (your posts to people who beat themselves up over slip-ups are always so insightful!) and have used this as a learning experience. It's strange how the things we never considered the enemy can sneak up on us sometimes.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:13 PM   #12  
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thanks all of you for posting. before weightloss i wasn't a sweet tooth. these last several months i can't keep my hand out of the cookie jar. i feel helpless when it comes to starch and sugar. i could eat and eat and eat and have a few times and because of my crazy tracksheet i have identified a scary trend of eating sometimes twice as much as i need for a day on multiple occassions especially in the last two months.

i've been saying to myself and DH that i NEED to quit sugars...this thread is enough to confirm this. i will stop for the week, endulge over xmas weekend, new years eve only and the days in between and thereafter there will be no more sugar.

i think i've gained five pounds, but am not 100% as my TOM just started. usually i go up anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds for one to two weeks prior and then go back down about 3 or 4 days after it kicks in. hopefully that's the case here and i'll have learned my lesson before any damage is done.

hang in there... and for the love of pete, we can do this!
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:23 PM   #13  
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Stupid Christmas parties (yes, parties) have been kicking my a**. Not to mention the fact that it was my birthday last weekend and the stupid cake reached up and smacked me around, too. We just have too much crap in the house.

I really, truly recommend Paleo/Primal. I really think, for me at least, it's the way to go. I have had a rough time this holiday season, and I completely understand your post. My husband is not on board with the whole Paleo thing, either, but he will eat what I cook.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #14  
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I'm feeling better physically and emotionally (and I'm down another pound, though my ring is still tight enough that I can tell there's still some water weight to be lost).

I can't tell you how important everyone's support has been.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:44 PM   #15  
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Kaplods, I have recently realized I have the exact same problem you do, to the point of eating bizarre or unappetizing foods just to get the substance I am craving (sugar). Spoonfuls of molasses, anyone? (ick!)

I am in the process of going completely paleo for myself and mostly paleo for my family. They like their bread and don't seem to have issues with it, but after struggling with 'moderation' for several years, I am coming to the conclusion that there are just some foods that are not worth it for me. I get similar symptoms you do - body and joint aches, skin flares, sinus congestion, stomach and headaches, etc etc. As good as my homemade bread is, it isn't worth all that nonsense!
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