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Confessions of a Sugar Addict

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  • Confessions of a Sugar Addict

    My name is Abby, and I am addicted to sugar.

    Bah! There, I said it, now it's time to convince myself.

    This is the 2nd time I've started a journal here, and the first time worked swimmingly. I was doing really well without it until last Tuesday. It all started with a bagel and then just went downhill - ice cream, sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly on toast, then came menu tasting at the restaurant I work at with cheesecake and plum crumble and hush puppies, cranberry oatmeal breakfast cake, donuts (3 in the span of an hour on Saturday), more pb&j, almost an entire loaf of ciabatti, more cheesecake and ice cream, cookies, and the list continues on. This is all in the span of about 5 days, but it led to a stark realization for me - that this shit is actually addictive.

    So, here I go on my quest to reframe the way I think about food. I've been healthy all my life (at least look wise - always been active and skinny), ate healthy vegetarian diet for a while, lots of whole grains and black beans (I just got back from two years in Guatemala and black beans and corn tortillas were a daily staple), while I ate significant processed crap my mom always cooked meals as a kid and I've continued that pattern. I've ALWAYS had a huge sweet tooth and lived by the motto "Everything in Moderation" (perpetuated by my mother and her sweet tooth) and I think this is going to be the hardest part for me. As it turns out, moderation doesn't work for me. Gluten (and it turns out dairy and sugar too) is like a gateway food. For some reason I still think it's okay to occasionally dabble. Well, maybe it is for some people, but not for me.

    So here goes. May is going to be my month to actually commit - to start thinking of gluten products, grains, and sugars as nicotine-like substances. I give my parents hell for smoking, but it doesn't seem like my behaviors are much different - only more accepted by society.

    A little background, since I know this is going to turn lengthy anyways:

    Like I said, I just got back from a fairly long stint in Guatemala, and it was somewhere around this time last year that I discovered primal. It took a long time to mentally accept the idea, but as soon as I tried it I realized how much more energy I had and how less bloated I felt all the time. I made the exception for traditionally prepared grains there because they were delicious, impossible to avoid, and I don't think all that bad for you (nixtamalized and all that jazz), but in the month that I decided to really be primal I saw huge changes in my body as well.

    So now I'm back stateside where I was convinced it would be easier and enter delicious bakeries and farmer's markets with all their hand made local cheese galore and tasty breads and cookies and cupcakes and cake and cheesecake and brownies and it got difficult. Add that to the fact that I am living with my parents again, and while they respect my food choices they eat a very grain/dairy heavy diet so there is food I don't want to eat all around my house. When cravings hit, they hit hard, and are unfortunately easy to satisfy.

    The other dilemma is my line of work. I'm currently working time and a half at two jobs. One is on a farm in my town. Small five acre organic vegetable farm, pretty much just myself and the farmer full time, and it leads to lots of heavy lifting and primal movements. It's awesome, and come june/july will be even better because I will be able to eat everything. My other job is at a restaurant downtown, and while the food is unbelievably delicious it is definitely not all primal friendly. So I'm on my feet for roughly 12 hours every day, stretched thin and so often cave to whatever's in site to eat, and eat a lot at the restaurant whatever they prepare us. These are all challenges I'm willing to overcome.

    Yesterday I picked up our first month of the grass-fed meat csa we joined, which I'm hoping will be inspiration. This morning i'm starting out with Bulletproof coffee (something I Recently discovered from other people's damn is this stuff rich. I may have to cut the butter tomorrow because I'm having trouble finishing it) with two eggs scrambled and a piece of dried mango that I'm trying to finish off in small batches. I know it's not May yet, but why put off until tomorrow what you can start today.

    So here goes! No grains, no gluten, as minimal dairy as possible (except butter), no sugar, etc etc. I know I can do it because I've gone this length before. Intrigued to see what this coffee does to me. I really need higher energy, and probably should focus on fixing the sleep component as well. This week of binging has also made me realize that I think I need higher than average carbs than most, mostly because of the nature of my work. I felt incredible energy after the bread and realized that my physical activity probably warrants a higher carb intake, but just bought some organic sweet potatoes at the farmer's market and will try and stick to those (they're like candy to me anyways)

    Anyways, thanks for reading this far for you brave souls. Wishing there was a sugarholics anonymous group to support me through it. Anyone in the Boston area want to start one with me? Surprised with how few primal folks I've met since being back, I thought it would've been bigger here (although I'm guessing everyone else is just as covert about it as I am for fear of societal backlash).

    Have a fabulous day!

  • #2
    Day 1 went really well. Bulletproof coffee is INCREDIBLE. I had so much energy I didn't know what to do with myself and was sprinting all around the farm. I was so focused at work too and made no mistakes, which is a first. I don't know if I can attribute in entirely to the grass fed butter infusion, but that's the only thing I really changed. Trying it again for the rest of this week and we'll see what happens with it.

    Apart from that, I did eat a fair bit. Around 3 before work I had some chicken soup and a huge bowl of buttered steamed kale. Staff meal was french bread pizza which I avoided like the plague but ate a fair bit of the special - salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and jumbo lump crab meat. Also had half caf coffee with cream. I guess that was it! Good for me - and I had sugar cravings when I got home but staved them off with some tasty tea (I think it has stevia in it, but not a lot).

    No extra exercise today, but I was carrying heavy lengths of hose and buckets of rock around the farm all day and bike to the restaurant which is 35 minutes each way. Looking forward to buns of steal by the end of the summer.

    On to day 2. Started off with bulletproof coffee and eggs. Yum.


    • #3
      Oh jeezus... I'm a sugar addict myself. "Moderation" does not work for me either, at all. Once I get going there is no limit to the amount I can eat in one sitting.

      Anyway, I just started here but if you ever need a boost, look me up.


      • #4
        Blergh. Feeling crampy.

        Started today off with BP coffee and eggs, but it didn't work as well as yesterday. I think I used less butter and didn't have the dried mango for my carb boost. Probably good because less sugar, but I definitely got hungry around 7. Up until I discovered BP Coffee (aka, yesterday) I was eating huge breakfasts of leftover meat, sauteed greens, and 3 eggs, and it was great, and i loved breakfast. Maybe I'll just add bp coffee and keep up the eggs. It's a lot of calories, but if it keeps me satiated until 3ish then I can get in only 2 meals a day and maybe it'll be better. I really missed my BAB today.

        So, after that, i was craving food all day. I don't even think I can document how much I ate. I guess it was all "Technically" primal on it's own, but not in the quantities I ate. Snacked on sausage and sauerkraut around 11 (topped off with a spoonful of almond butter), then had kale with butter and balsamic and leftover chicken soup, then a spoonful of almond butter, more coffee with milk, and then got home from the farm around 4 and downed banana with almond butter, lots of greek yogurt with strawberries and walnuts, about 4 handfuls of cranberry (apple sweetened, no sugars, still no good), followed by gluten free meatloaf (thanks for listening mom!) and potatoes and broc and a salad, and then I had two dark chocolate squares. OVERLOAD! And the dairy induced cramps I'm experiencing right now are definitely NOT worth it. Blech.

        Let's try and start tomorrow better shall we?

        And thanks for the support cantasm! I really is a friggin addiction. My mom asked me today (When I complained about the crap I was doing) "Well why don't you just stop eating it!" And my response was "Why don't you just quit smoking?" She looked at me guiltily and walked away, so we agreed that we'd try to quit together. Huzzah! Also, minor achievement, my mom is "interested" in learning more about primal and even went to lengths to find a gluten free meatloaf recipe so that I could be included in dinner. SHmyay!


        • #5
          I have a positive thing for you to think about. DH has been eating primal with me(mostly) and has always had a major sweet tooth. We've been eating this way for a while now and one by one he has given up past favorites because they are waay too sweet now and just don't taste good to him any more.
          We usually eat a high protein breakfast and don't want to eat again until dinner. Too full! The days we don't have a high protein breakfast he does get hungry midmorning but he doesn't reach for the sweet stuff anymore.
          THERE IS HOPE!!
          Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.


          • #6
            ¿Que pasaaaa? I can definitely identify with a lot of what you're saying about sugar and grain addiction, and that they are gateway foods. I didn't find out I was gluten-intolerant until March of last year, and I went absolutely cold turkey on gluten at that point. A lot of people say, Oh, well, I get it. You're a weirdie and giving up bread and stuff wasn't hard for you. But I LOVE BREAD. You wouldn't understand. To that, I reply (in my head, more often than not, because I do like having friendships), "I don't think you understand. I'm Scandinavian. Gluten is my heritage. I was raised on lefse and Christmas bread and cookies of every size and shape and color and biscuits & gravy and..." You get the point. It doesn't matter how much you love something or are addicted to something... you just have to decide that it is non-negotiable. Even if you're not technically allergic to gluten (or dairy, or whatever it is you are determined to cut out long-term), I'm sure you're cutting it out because you will see significant health benefits. For me, health issues are a good enough reason to say that you have an allergic reaction to something... I found that telling other people about my discovery of gluten intolerance was really good motivation to not eat things with gluten.

            Wow, that was a ramble. Sorry about that. I'm just convinced that gluten is poisonous and I don't want people to be poisoned. Even if it is because of biscuits and sausage gravy. What a beautiful death...

            And for the record, it's awesome that you and your mom can motivate each other! Keep it up and keep us posted!


            • #7
              Honeybuns - Thanks for the words of encouragement! I love reading all the stories on here of people who've overcome these addictions because it gives me hope. Still not easy, but definitely feels like there's light at the end of the tunnel at least.

              Songhunter - I TOTALLY KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN! My family (aka overweight father) Used to make fun of me all through highschool calling me the carb queen because LITERALLY all I ate was pasta and bread and mashed potatoes (best thing (I thought) I discovered was mashed potato sandwiches - two pieces of wonderbread with mashed potatoes in the middle. Grok was probably vomitting). So hard to ditch, and at first such an "OHMYGOD I can't do that" mindset - especially being back in the states and having delicious bread at my disposal again. I actually started telling people at work I was gluten intolerant, and it makes it more acceptable (and less "She's just trying to look good for bathing suit season." ... partly guilty, but who isn't?) and helps hold me accountable because they all know. In Guatemala I started making up all sorts of allergies to avoid eating things - I believe mayo and sugar were in there - but no one believed me. Fair, since I started paleo after being there for 2 years and after everyone had already seen my uncanny ability to down half a cheesecake in one sitting.

              Hm. Mary I checked out that article and it's all in a language I don't understand. shmo well.

              Anyways, Just checking in after my BAB of leftover meatloaf, onions, kale, fried eggs (3) and BP coffee. Hopefully this keeps me sated longer than yesterday, but I've also been putting in the effort to not eat late into the night so that could be affecting my levels of hunger as well. We'll see what happens today. I got my friend to try BP coffee today and, in her words, "holy bananas you were right about that coffee. i feel like the energizer bunny on crack." Looking forward to another day at the farm!

              I also am going to try to drink more water. I usually drink upwards of 3 liters a day but when I'm out in the field (or at the restaurant) I often forget about it until my lips are cracking and I am suffering exhaustion. Will try and keep with it today, and may be even worth investing in a camelbak (although i don't think that would be especially acceptable in the restaurant industry).

              Also reinspired to stick to my "Wake up and dance" resolution for the new year. Today's wake up and dance song:

              Mayer Hawthorne - Hooked - YouTube

              Have a great Wednesday everybody!


              • #8
                Sugar/grains in moderation...what's that!? I can't control my self either, you would think the world was ending when I go on a sugar binge. Luckily, I do the shopping so there is not much around. But, I do manage to find my way to a PB&J or bowl of cereal. Oh, and that ice cream in the fridge that I buy when I get in my "fu** it moods.

                Ok, what the hell is bulletproof coffee!? I keep reading about it, but no explanation as to how to make it.


                • #9
                  primalmontana - I used to live alone, did all the shopping, never kept any crap in my house. It was awesome. Cravings would hit and I'd be like "OH WELL! I Guess I'll have another egg." Cue moving TEMPORARILY back home, my mom's addiction to morning oats, yogurt, and granola, and my dad's soon to come obesity and cravings are much easier to cave to. Look forward to the day when I get to choose everything in my house, and definitely goes in a point column for living alone.

                  Bulletproof coffee: Recipe: How to Make Your Coffee Bulletproof...And Your Morning Too | The Bulletproof Executive

                  I had to look it up, and it sounds disgusting, but holy tamales the energy boost! So worth it, and even pretty tasty (if you like butter. Mmmm...butter)

                  Anyways, mid day check in, just gorged on lunch. Had pretty much the same for breakfast because I brought home eggs from the farm, scrambeled instead of over easy and with goat cheese on top. Goat cheese is my crack. Goat cheese and chocolate. And clearly, sugar, but goat cheese tastes way better and goes well on everything (salad, apples, tomatoes, bacon, fingers...). Also had some fried sweet potatoes (in coconut oil) to meet my sweet tooth and topped it all off with two pieces of dark chocolate (talk about restraint) and some coffee. Trying to stave off starvation because I'm going out for Mexican tonight (quite the masochist, I am) and REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to eat corn chips pre meal. Planning on finding the most primal thing on the menu, and then rejecting the rice and beans and cheese on the side. I'm really committed this time!

                  Also, has anyone else (in Boston, I guess) been to JP licks and seen their new experiments with Gluten and Dairy free ice cream? Apparently they're trying one a month until they figure out the most possible. Month one was coconut cream based and unfortunately everywhere was sold out I went. Month 2 was hemp based. Interesting but I'd definitely go for the coconut.

                  Wish me luck tonight!


                  • #10
                    HI Abby. I have fallen in love with Coconut Bliss ice cream. I found it at a tiny little specialized nutrition store here, but I think Whole Foods would probably have it. Welcome | Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss/Dairy & Soy Free/The Evolution of Ice Cream

                    I'm checking out bulletproof coffee. I don't drink coffee (unless it's the powdered sugary hot chocolate type from the gas station that they call capuccino... lol) but I have heard of people using coconut oil instead of butter before too.
                    Primal since March 5, 2012
                    SW: 221 | CW: 204 | LPW: 166 | UGW: 140 (80 lbs loss)


                    • #11
                      Okay kids. This is unacceptable. I'm sick of looking in the mirror and seeing cellulite and bloated belly. I have "committed" to this so many times and not followed through. How hard is it to NOT HAVE CHOCOLATE AFTER LUNCH?! Pretty damn hard actually. Granted I have a pretty distorted body image and most people would probably smack me in the face for complaining, but my goal is not to lose weight, it's to look and feel the best I can, which is better than where I am.

                      I've decided (just now, in the shower, while staring at my cellulite and flab) to commit. Fully. Intensely. Granted, this may pass tomorrow as I gorge on more goat cheese, but let's hope not. I'm going to try to be really strict with myself because this seems to be the only thing that works. The goat cheese in my eggs and chocolate afterwards led to a huge apple with goat cheese, and now I feel yucky and bloated. Granted, this is nothing close to my usual binge, but still.

                      So, on June 29 I turn 25. 25! Quarter life (hopefully, maybe less than quarter if I live as long as I plan to) and time to start the next quarter already on the right foot. No more starting over, because hopefully I won't ever end the current journey enough to HAVE to start over. Here are my goals for the next month (Will attempt through end of May and see what happens from there).

                      NO GRAINS: including wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, vatever. They're gone. Caputzo. Done. YA!'
                      NO LEGUMES: including beans (any and all), lentils, garbanzo, peanuts
                      NO SUGAR: no honey, chocolate, or artificial sweeteners (that's a given and never been a problem for me, it's the chocolate that gets me). Altering honey rule. I will accept it as part of a glaze or something like that in meats.
                      NO FRUITS UNLESS PART OF A MEAL: aka no snacking on bananas and apples and other things. I really don't have too much of a problem with this, and usually when I do eat them it's out of boredom and convenience, not hunger or cravings. They're fine as part of a roast chicken or something of the likes.
                      NO POTATOES: I know they're "technically" not super off limits, but they're unnecessary for me and I greatly prefer higher vitamin rich sources of carbs like sweet potatoes and beets and carrots. The acceptance of potato into my diet has also led me to the rational "Oh, french fries, they're not grain! Have at it!" And at work in the kitchen there is a constantly refilled bowl of fries that are way too easy to pick at.
                      NO DAIRY: Grassfed butter is fine - I'm going to try to get my parents to use this when cooking over reg butter so I can eat with them. Any other dairy is a gateway food and messes up my fasting periods.
                      NO CRAPPY OILS: Again, not difficult for me when I'm eating at home and cooking for myself, but forces me to be more conscious of what I'm eating on the go and not munching mindlessly at the restaurant.
                      NO SNACKING: I did the leptin reset last year for about 2 weeks and man, oh man, did it change my life. For so long afterwards I was completely free of snacking, which was a major part of my life previously. I want to get back to this point.

                      I think that's all. Did I miss any big ones?

                      Breakfast aim will be to get in lots of protein and a BP Coffee every morning. I'm intrigued what effect this has on long term energy levels. I'm going to try not to have any coffee

                      As for exercise goals, I don't have too many. I get enough slow moving and heavy lifting in my daily routine (farm chores, biking to the restaurant, being on my feet for 7 hours at a time waitressing). I would like to start running a couple times a week when I have the time, and am going to try to get my father to come with me at least for walks. I'd also like to start yoga again. I'm disgusted at how long it's been since I've gotten on my mat, so am going to try to aim for at least a few minutes every morning.

                      - Time. Holy bokchoy the day needs more hours. How is one supposed to work 2 (nearly) full time jobs and still have time to cook?
                      - Friendships and judgements. With as limited time as I have in life, a lot of my social life is combined with eating to make life more efficient. I guess I will just have to start cooking for people more in order to be able to continue this. Not all bad.
                      - Restaurant work. Don't know if it will effect my ability to give recommendations and shit, but maybe now I will be more greatly benefitting my customers by encouraging grain free meals (we have a GREAT duck dish).
                      - Foodies who are super stuffy about their food views (aka my farmer boss' family) And are super into good food but also super into bread and cheese (rightfully so, cheese is delicious and bread is unfortunately tasty) and super into thinking their views are constantly right and everyone else is crazy and ruining the world. Challenge accepted.
                      - There is the obvious sugar addiction, but that doesn't need further discussion.

                      - Money. Yes. Unlike most primal folk, this is not an issue for me. Not because I make millions of dollars, but because I have 0 expenses besides what I create for myself. After 2 years of living in poverty in Guatemala, I moved back home (mostly because of convenience - my parents live right outside boston and literally a 2 minute bike ride from the farm) and my parents are finally financially stable. So - no rent, no cable bill, no light bill, no water bill, minimal phone bill, mostly free food, no travel expenses (or minimal) because I have my bike. It's quite the good life, added that to the fact that I'm a workaholic and working roughly 60-70 hours a week between the two jobs (maybe more?). So, my guess is that this is going to be one of the few times in my life when money is not an inhibiting factor to this lifestyle. If I can support consciously raised, grass-fed, local meat producers, I should. If I can support local farms and put the best in my body, I should. I actually find this lifestyle more economical often though. I don't need supplements (huge savings), I don't buy junk food (huge savings), I don't eat out as much, I don't snack (HUGE SAVINGS), and actually, it works out swimmingly because all my produce comes free from the farm I work on. Yea, get jealous. On another level, the friends I eat with are generally extremely money conscious, so if I can splurge and pay for them to eat a great meal, I think that's part of my responsibility. I've had plenty of friends treat me to meals out and drinks when I was struggling (aka making 3,000 a year in Guatemala) and so now it's time to return the favor by feeding them things I'm allowing myself to eat.
                      - A mom who really really really wants me to be happy at home. Thus, she is willing to give in to my "crazy dietary beliefs." Thus, the gluten free meatloaf the other night. Maybe I'll even "Take them down" with me
                      - An unhealthy, depressed, and lazy father. Okay, not an asset, but a motivation. If I can make the change and prove how great it is for me, maybe he will follow suit. It's been pretty hard to watch lately.
                      - Semi understanding and (some) supportive friends
                      - You guys! I'm counting on your support!

                      Okay, enough rants for now. This starts after tonight as I've already committed to Mexican. I am going to try to stick to a primal choice but I know it will be difficult, and may have a hard boiled egg before going to prevent myself from gorging on corn chips.

                      I'm also not putting in any alcohol rules. I don't drink a ton but enjoy it when I do, and generally stick to tequila and lime (and not very much). Anywhose, wish me luck!


                      • #12
                        It looks like you have a great plan in place. Stick it through and you know it'll work!
                        Primal since March 5, 2012
                        SW: 221 | CW: 204 | LPW: 166 | UGW: 140 (80 lbs loss)


                        • #13
                          I'm fully convinced I can stick to this today, and I'm even convinced I can go to my usually Thursday night hot spot (a bar where some friends and I go to listen to music, and one of the few outings I stick to) without drinking. It's hard, because most of the bars I go to are super hipster and if you order anything besides beer you're a bougie asshole, but vatever. My health is more important than their opinions.

                          anyways, I still feel the need to log the disaster that was last night. I went out to Mexican, convinced to pick something good, avoiding the deliciousness that are enchiladas smothered in tons of cheese with beans and rice and tortillas and picked a chicken dish. Well, it came out with two huge scoops of rice and cornbread, while my friend's chicken fajita salad no cheese was a PERFECTLY PRIMAL MEAL. Avoided the rice but late in the meal devoured the corn bread followed by eating a ton of tortilla chips (held out early on because I ate an egg before leaving as preventative medicine...worked for a bit!). Anyways, afterwards I had some time to kill before meeting another friend so i suggested ice cream, and she had none but I had a ton and it wasn't even that good and hard to finish and dear god why do i make myself finish? Then I drank a bottle of wine and had a little bit of bread and cheese plate with the other friend I went out with. Yea, downed a bottle of wine, then biked home. Smart decisions Abigail!

                          Anyways, this is the whole issue with this "Starting over" mentality, and I'm done with it!

                          So here's to moving on and fueling my morning better than I did at night. Bulletproof coffee and a broccoli scramble with...whatever meat happens to be in my fridge


                          • #14
                            Was it your mentality that " tomorrow I'm starting over so I may as well have everything I want tonight,"? I have done this so many times. When I stop thinking of this "diet" as having an end in sight, I do much better. This has to be a lifelong thing for me in order for it to work. It needs to become your diet not "a diet" because that suggests you will go off it when you reach your goals.


                            • #15
                              That's completely it. It's an "Well, today is shot so I will continue to eat everything in sight because then it won't count TOMORROW when I Start over " but it still counts and it still impacts the next day and is worth making as less bad as possible. Blegh