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Rose426 04-29-2013 12:02 AM

food addiction?
I'm having a tough time staying on plan. I seriously have an addiction to sugar I feel deprived for not eating a "bad" snack. I can't stop eating junk food and fast food I feel like a failure. Why is this so hard?

rubidoux 04-29-2013 01:24 AM

Well, you have done amazing getting to where you are! You must be using some strategies that're working?

I have struggled with this for years and I'm finally making some serious headway. One thing that really works for me, but it's hard to come to terms with before-hand, is that if you're really addicted to it and you want to break that addiction, you just can't have it, ever. Sadly, never is a squishier concept when you're talking about food than when you're talking about heroin or cigarettes. But I do find that as I get closer to never having sweets (and for me, also starchy, bread-y, pasta-y, potato-y, fruit-y things), I don't feel so deprived and I think about it a whole lot less. I almost never have cravings.

Sadly for me, I need to use insulin, which means I will inevitably have low blood sugars here and there that require me to eat sugar. But I feel like if I wasn't doing that... this would actually be fairly do-able. And I am doing it anyway, just not with 100% accuracy.

SweetScrumptious 04-29-2013 04:57 AM

My suggestion is not to deprive and let yourself have a treat on occassion. Maybe make every Sunday (or whatever day you designate as treat day) and have ONE treat that day. I also suggest not buying treats and bringing them in the house. On your treat day, go out and get one chocolate bar or one small bag of chips, etc. so you are not tempted at home (and only buy a single serving). Maybe once you start not feeling deprived, you may not even want those treats anymore once dieting becomes a habit. Treat day could eventually be purged :)

Amarantha2 04-29-2013 10:09 AM

to the OP, you are doing GREAT! But, yea, it is hard to give up sugar.

I struggled with sugar through two decades of diminishing weight during my long weight loss journey. I ate it some years, some not. To stop the craving, I had to go cold turkey and never eat it, when I did the cravings returned and though I have done well losing and managing my weight loss, it is harder with sugar, which I still eat.

What was REALLY a help was only recent. I gave up wheat earlier this year and am currently trying to stick to a wheat free, gluten free diet, which is only an experiment for me as I do not have celiac disease or gluten intolerance or sensitivity, although concerning the latter two conditions, my understanding is there is no test to prove or disprove this, I just feel better and that could be a placebo effect but I like it.

Since the wheat experiment started, I have significantly less cravings of any kind and occasionally have gluten free snacks.

I am not advocating this diet, which is essentially in my opinion a fad when used for weight loss (although I have lost weight without trying much), or for just doing casually without doctor approval or a medical reason, just saying I did do it and it de-craved my life :lol: ! I have been having less sugar since then but have not sworn off it.

betsy2013 04-29-2013 10:27 AM

I definitely have a sugar addiction, and the only way I got past the cravings was to give up the sweet stuff and to watch my carb intake. I monitor my calories, carbs and sodium. I tried the approach where I just ate whatever I wanted -- unfortunately for me, the desire for sweets never went away and I'm pretty sure that having carb/sweet laden eating binges for 30 years is not a good thing! :D

All of us have different bodies, and what works for one might not for another. Some people can give up sweets but continue to eat high levels of carbs. Others just have to give up or significantly restrict their carb intake.

It has been surprising to me that once I got past the initial hurdle of not eating all of that stuff, I don't really miss it. However, I've also found that if I eat a portion of potato chips that I want the entire bag.

gailr42 04-29-2013 11:10 AM

Congratulations on the 59 lb loss!

I am inclined to agree with Amarantha. When I first started this journey, I cut out as much wheat containing food as I could. I am not sure why this helped - maybe what I was really doing was cutting back on refined carbs. It seemed to me that I felt better and had less acute cravings for sweets. I have no medical issues, either.

For me, fruit is good. I did not get fat eating peaches or pears or strawberries. I have never been a big time fruit eater, so I have had to train myself to enjoy it. I think maybe eating the sugar associated with fruit might help with the cravings for refined sugar.

What may be really at issue here, is that we [I hope it is clear that I include myself when talking about dysfunctional relationships with food] let our lives revolve around food. Our excitement in life comes from eating an entire cheese cake rather than running a marathon or writing a book.

Thinking about treats and cheat meals gives those foods special power - like they have a glow about them. For me, it is better not to single out any foods as special, because then I get to obsessing.

My goal is to eat real food most of the time which is kinda boring. I try to limit the availability of anything I really have a problem with. When the opportunity arises to try something really yummy, I have it. Right now, I am working on the idea that whatever I eat needs to be quality food with minimal additives.

Rose426 04-29-2013 11:26 AM

Thanks for the feedback! I think i will try giving myself 1 cheat day that I get to have a treat. Today I promised myself to make healthier choices I just have to stay strong and not binge on my sweets.

Keep Moving Forward 04-29-2013 11:55 AM

As a recovering sugar addict, I totally feel your pain. Just one sugary snack/drink can derail my healthy eating for over a week because I start wanting sugar sooooo bad! Most of the time, I have to avoid it altogether, but I absolutely agree with having a cheat meal or cheat day. For me, telling myself "You can have that on saturday or sunday, but be good for today" helps me avoid the bad stuff. Refined, white sugar is the bane of my existence, but naturally occurring sugars (such as those in fruits) can help curb some cravings.

Ronja 04-29-2013 12:11 PM

Oh how I feel your pain!
My name is Ronja, and I'm a sugar-holic. I can have three or four candy bars a day without any problem. I eat healthy, I excercise, but I just eat (or ate) too much sugar, and that's what lead me to the land of obesity.

I've tried both approaches that have been mentioned here: have sugar in moderation (a little piece of chocolate here and there, or a cheat day every now and then) and going cold turkey. Here's what I've found:

I can go happily on limiting my sugar intake for few days of even weeks. I have a piece of chocolate as dessert, spoon of honey in my tea, otherwise eating healthy. But if I do that, I always crave some more. I can resist the cravings for a week or two, but I eventually end up eating two pieces of cakes or a whole chocolate bar. Then I go back to eating in moderation, and losing weight. It's doable for me, but it's a never ending struggle.

Going cold turkey, as I like to call it (no sugar of any sort, no bread, no pasta, rice or potatoes) is tough to start with. This time around I felt sick and dizzy for three or four days. My body was detoxicating and trying to find a right level of blood sugar when not continuously boosted by sweets or carbs. But when the couple of tough days pass, I'm fine. I'm great, actually. I have lots of energy and I don't crave sugar anymore. Not that much anyway, though of course sometimes I wouldn't mind a cake or a doughnut. But it's uncomparably easier to avoid them than when I am trying to eat sugars "in moderation".

To tell you the truth, I beleive it's an addiction. Just like alcohol. And like with alcohol, some people can have it in moderation and be fine, just fine, their entire life. And some can't touch it without becoming addicted - slowly, step by step, but they will unevitably get there if they have as much as a sip of alcohol.

So, you really just need to find out what type you are. Are you able to get it under control and have sugars in moderaiton? Or will you have to join the elite no-sugar-for-me club?

rubidoux 04-29-2013 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by Ronja (Post 4723182)
To tell you the truth, I beleive it's an addiction. Just like alcohol. And like with alcohol, some people can have it in moderation and be fine, just fine, their entire life. And some can't touch it without becoming addicted - slowly, step by step, but they will unevitably get there if they have as much as a sip of alcohol.

So, you really just need to find out what type you are. Are you able to get it under control and have sugars in moderaiton? Or will you have to join the elite no-sugar-for-me club?

I think this is totally true. For many years, I hoped against hope that I could be one of those who could figure out how to live w moderation bc the idea of giving it up was too painful. I kind of wish now that I could have known then how the experiment was going to turn out. There woulda been a whole lot less feeling bad about myself over the years.

I did try the thing of letting myself eat anything, not making anything off limits, and not limiting, just eating to satisfaction. But I never, never, never get bored of junk food and ice cream and cake and pastries of any sort, candy... oh my. I LOVED the idea of not limiting myself and believed for a while it was the key and soon enough I'd burn myself out on it and *want* to eat healthy food. But apparently my appetite for crap is bottomless! lol

Now, whenever I see the intuitive eating thread, I long to join in! It just looks so right and even keeled and I see other people doing it successfully. But for me, there is this little carb addict in the back of my head nudging me, saying "hey that looks healthy, AND you could eat carbs!" :o I could seriously not be trusted to do such a thing.

Remington90 04-29-2013 01:49 PM

There are a TON of recipes and foods out there that "mimic" the taste and feeling of sugar. Just recently I found (at a convenience store, surprisingly) Skinny Cow "candy" bars. They're just like a wafer cookie of difference flavours, bathed in chocolate. 100 Calories per bar, nothing crazy for carb counting or sugars. And it gets the job done when I have a craving. I wouldn't base my snacks around those 100 calorie packs, but in a pinch when you feel like you're going to cave and buy that delicious looking reeses pieces, grab one of those peanut butter skinny cow bars instead and you'll get the craving AND help with the smaller waistline :).

Pam Peeke MD 04-30-2013 09:40 AM

Detox, detox, detox
First of all, good going on 59 pounds! That's fabulous!:carrot:

Addiction is not simply a matter of craving. It produces key changes in the brain, especially in the reward, motivation and satiety centers. Substance abuse researchers say that the brain adaptions that result from regularly eating so-called hyperpalatable foods foods that layer salt, fat, and sweet flavors, proven to increase consumption are likely to be more difficult to change than those from cocaine or alcohol because they involve many more neural pathways. Almost 90 percent of the dopamine receptors in the reward center of the brain are activated in response to food cues.

This means that unless you work on amping up your dopamine system as well as kicking the highly processed food, you are working with a compromised ability to assert "will power," decision making and reasons (motivation) to keep on keeping on.

So reward yourself for not picking up the junk and go after a healthy lifestyle that will get your desire and your body working on the same wavelength. A program of foods high in dopamine- and serotonin-boosting chemicals, along with numerous brain-amping activities (from simple exercise to listening to music) can regrow those receptors and bring the confidence of fulfillment and health.

There is lots of low-cost help available to you, from 12-step programs to the latest research in the science of food addiction to exercise to free meditation classes in your area. Just believe and continue to reach out. :hug:

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