Sugar Addiction, Detox and Gaining Control over food

June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

***This is a long post and really it is not intended to be a post.  I wrote it to be a separate tab at the top of my blog next to the “About Me” Section.  Of course I can’t quite  figure out yet how to place it there so I’m adding it as a post.  Once I figure out how to put it as a tab I will place it there.  Just letting you know why this particular post is more of a book than a post!!*****

 

 

People often ask me what I eat.   They want to know what diet I am on and what food plan I am following.

They want me to give them a list of the food I eat daily.

But I am here to tell you that it is not what I eat that has contributed to my weight loss so much as what I do NOT eat.

And what I do NOT eat anymore is sugar.

If there was any possible way that I could adequately convey to you the very real dangers of sugar I would do it.

If I could write in all caps or send warning sounds through this screen, I still could not adequately convey to you just how critical getting off sugar has been in my life.

People simply don’t understand how highly addictive sugar can be to some individuals.

I am not at all under the impression that everyone in the world is sensitive to sugar.  I know quite well that many people are not at all sensitive to it.

These are the people who roll through life unaffected by a piece of cake.  They eat one cookie and move on with life.

But not me.  Not the sugar addict.  The sugar addict eats one piece of cake and now they must go straight to the store and buy 5 cakes so they can consume them all.

Perhaps they avoid that for a time but all the while the thoughts are there. The cravings and urges plaguing them until they finally give in.

How many times have I been going along fine on a diet only to be overcome and overwhelmed again by an insatiable and merciless hunger that seemed to come out of no where.

But so often it hasn’t come out of no where at all.  In fact, it is not a mystery in the least bit.  It is nothing more than the result of eating something that contained a highly addictive substance which you reacted to.

Like a person ingesting a drug.  Like an alcoholic who has been sober for years but finds themselves waist high in the throws of their addiction after having consumed one alcoholic drink.

I have 4 children and they are not all the same.  Two of my children are just like me.  They are sensitive to sugar.  If they were to eat one cookie, they would want more.   They would even feel that they needed more.  Returning again and again to the cabinet looking for the cookies.  My other two children are not this way at all.  They can have one cookie and think “Well now that was good” and then forget all about it.  A few days later they might return to the cabinet and go “Where are the cookies?”.  The rest of us look at them and think “Well that was days ago! Do you really think they’d still be there??”  Because to US…the sugar addicts…..cookies are something to be bought and consumed immediately.  Not something that lingers around in a cabinet for days.  That is because when we eat a cookie, we think about the cookies more and more.  It consumes us until finally we eat them all.  But to someone who is not sensitive to sugar, one cookie is just that.  ONE COOKIE.    These are the people who go around telling the rest of us that we should be able to control ourselves.  That we should be able to “moderate” our intake of this substance.  They will even tell us that it is in denying ourselves this substance that we encounter the real problem.

Deny yourself dessert?“, they say, “Well that will only contribute to the problem!”

They will tell a sugar addict that denying themselves sugar only makes them want it more.  Perhaps that is true of the NON sugar addict.  Perhaps  to a non-addict denying themselves makes it worse.  I will not speculate because that is not something I would know anything about.  I speak to the people for whom sugar is a serious problem.  These are the people who should never try to moderate their intake.  Would an alcoholic try to moderate their intake of vodka?

When have you ever been able to let go of an addiction by trying to hold onto it?

I don’t blame people for giving out this advice.  They do it because for them “sugar” is simply not their problem and they can’t even begin to comprehend the endless misery that it inflicts on those who are highly sensitive to it.

The real tragedy is that a great many people are sensitive to sugar and do not realize it.  They don’t realize it because they think sugar is only located in cookies and cake.  But that is not at all the case. In fact, I challenge you to find things that are NOT loaded with sugar.  It is quite hard to do.  You will have to go out of your way to identify them.  So many things are filled with sugar that once you decide to kick it out of your life you will be shocked to find it hiding in every corner.

But isn’t this in many ways comforting?  If you are indeed a sugar addict and you realize that sugar has been placed in almost everything you eat….then don’t you finally see now why it is you have struggled for so long?  When you eat sugar, you crave more sugar.  You may not even realize you have been eating sugar because you don’t realize it’s in things that don’t appear “sweet”.  Yet there you are day after day ingesting an addictive substance that has been engineered in a lab to increase your cravings.  Then you sit around blaming yourself for your lack of self control wondering why you can’t control your overeating!

I am not a scientist so I cannot fully explain to you what sugar does to your body physiologically.  But I can direct you to some sources that might further explain it.  Suffice it to say that sugar addiction is real.  Some forms of sugar have even been altered in a lab  to make it more addictive so that you find it even harder to resist.

And now comes the irony.

The absolute irony of the dieting industry.

How many diets have I been on where sugar was actually a primary ingredient in almost everything I was told to eat?  I failed on almost every diet I ever went on very simply because I was being fed the substance I was addicted to.

Would you put an alcoholic in a rehab clinic while slipping vodka into their water?

Would you keep feeding a drug addict the very drug they are trying to get off of?

Of course not!

Because THAT would be cruel.

That would be setting someone up to fail.

And yet THAT is what so many diets out there are doing.

They set you up with a menu plan that feeds you the very thing that you are addicted to and then when you fail to control your cravings you are the one to blame because you lack ” self control”.

I have no problem at all staying away from Cocaine.  It is not the least bit difficult for me.  I don’t wake up in the morning wanting cocaine and I don’t spend a single second of my day thinking about it.  So why do other people have problems with it?  I’ll tell you why! It’s because they are addicted to it.  I have never used cocaine.  It has never been in my body one single day.  As a result of that, I have never experienced a craving for  it.  The cravings I am quite sure that my body would have had it ever used cocaine.  But because I have never used cocaine, I have no problems with it.

But can we understand how hard it is for someone who HAS been using cocaine to kick the habit? They are fighting much more than just the psychological issues surrounding this problem.  Fighting so much more than just a thought in their head.  They are fighting a very real PHYSICAL addiction.  And so we can understand that they are dealing with much more than just emotions.

So it is with sugar.  You may think to yourself…”Why am I so weak??”….”Why do I lack self control?”.  People may look at you and think….”What is that person’s problem?” because THEY can eat just one bite of a cookie and be fine.  They don’t see why you can’t do it.  They don’t understand it.  This just contributes to your misery.  You wonder why you seem to have no ability to moderate your intake of food.  Why you can’t balance it.  You begin to question and doubt yourself.  You even wonder if there is something morally wrong with you!

Yet if you recognized that you were being fed the very substance you were addicted to over and over again in every diet you try…..then you’d know this was just a cruel set up from the start.  How could you ever have expected yourself to have any self control when the very thing you are addicted to is being slipped into your “health” food!

Before I go any further let me once again say that I recognize not all people have a problem with sugar.  Perhaps this isn’t your problem at all.  If that is the case, ignore this altogether!! This is not written for you.  Nor is it written to condemn you in your own eating choices.  For those of you who can eat a slice of cake and walk away freely….I say go for it.  And congratulations!! You are one of the lucky ones!

But to those like me….whose slice of cake comes with chains…I say have the courage to read on.

It is sad to say that not all of us addicted to sugar are willing to see it for what it is.  And that, my friend, is where the psychology and emotion comes into play.

How many people once they have been made fully aware of their addiction still cling to it?  Not just because they fear the physical withdrawal symptoms but because they have become dependent on it.  They LOVE it even.   Who doesn’t love in some way the addiction they have?  They hate it and love it all at the same time.  They love how it makes them feel.  The calm it gives them at times.  The comfort. The happiness.  There is no one on earth who would do something that was harming them if it did not also give them some kind of reward.  We don’t continue to eat an addictive substance unless we are also getting something out of it we see as positive.  But that is the cruel twist of addiction.  It confuses you.  It hooks you in.  And while it makes sweet promises and even delivers many positive rewards….it eventually sucks you into its dark and endless spiral that only takes you down with it.

To illness.

Diabetes.

Obesity.

Pain.

I learned about sugar addiction back in 2003.  I felt enormous relief once I finally understood what was happening to me and I determined to get myself off the sugar once and for all.  I went through the horrible experience of sugar withdrawal and I came out on the other side a free woman!  I lost 104 pounds once I kicked the sugar habit and had freedom from food cravings.  But knowledge alone was not enough for me because I went back to it.  And not just for a visit.  I went back full force.   Sugar owned me once more and I gained back all I had lost plus another 100 pounds.  I took myself almost to the brink of death.  My life was in ruins.  I could barely walk and I woke up nightly choking underneath my own weight.  Every single day of my life, I was obsessed with how I would get to the food that I needed.  It was a driving force in my life that plagued me day and night.  Sugar owned me.  It threw me in prison and stood at my jail cell mocking me as I tried to escape time and time again only to fall deeper into its grip.

I will never again underestimate the hook of sugar.

I believe that if more people were willing to even experiment with the idea of quitting sugar they might find themselves in a much different place psychologically when they try to stick to their food plans.  They may be quite surprised to discover that their appetite is not nearly what they think it is.  The appetite they thought they were born with was nothing more than their body reacting to sugar. They may even be shocked to discover that their natural level of hunger is significantly less than they thought.  I am still amazed at how I can often go almost an entire day without even thinking about food.  I have to set a clock to remind myself to eat!  Eliminating sugar has been more effective in controlling my appetite than prescription appetite suppressants and even weight loss surgery.  People often ask me if I believe they can lose weight without weight loss surgery and I can only say this. YES.  Weight loss surgery is a wonderful tool but it cannot compete with the powerful effects that getting off sugar will do for your life.  If you want to control your appetite, eliminate sugar.  I have spoken with countless weight loss surgery patients who even after surgery could not lose the weight.  Why? Because they can remove portions of your stomach in a hospital but what is left will still react to the sugar if you’re ingesting it.

I used to believe that I had been born with an insatiable hunger.  That I just had an appetite bigger than the average person.  And it wasn’t my fault.  How could it  be?? I was plagued with hunger it seemed and others clearly were not.  What was I to do? Suffer all the time? Not feed the overwhelming hunger that lived inside of me?

But then I discovered that it was not ME at all.  Not MY appetite or my inborn hunger or the size of my stomach that was the problem—but rather my body’s reaction to SUGAR.  This is when I began to open my eyes to another way of thinking.

I’m not here to tell you that quitting sugar will solve all of your problems.  If you have a lifelong struggle with food, it is highly likely you have emotional ties to the food as well.  These are certainly things we have to deal with outside of mere sugar addiction.  But you may be surprised to find that once you are off the sugar, your mind is significantly cleared to a point where you can now deal with those other  emotional issues.  Once you are no longer plagued day and night by the relentless and merciless sugar cravings, you feel much more sane!  Much more equipped to handle the other issues you may have to tackle.

If you have ever struggled with sticking to a diet, I would encourage you to try kicking sugar out of your life.  What harm could it do you to experiment? To see if you are one of those who might be  sensitive to sugar.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring that option.

Now on to the real question.

How does one kick sugar?

Well it’s not easy.  You should expect to experience physical withdrawal symptoms like you would coming off any drug.  You may feel sick as if you’ve come down with the flu.

Here are just a few of the things people have experienced when detoxing off sugar:

Lightheaded

Dizzy

Irritable

Anger

Severe headaches

Pain in all parts of the body

Feelings of Insanity (yes!)

Shaking/ Trembling

Numbness/Tingling

Flu like symptoms

Diarrhea/Constipation

Insomnia/Sleep Disturbances

Skin breakouts/ Rashes

Body odor/bad breath

Being hot/Being cold

Extreme Mood Swings

Fatigue/Feeling Weak

Nausea

 

These are just a few of the lovely symptoms you get to experience coming off sugar!

But everyone is different.  I have spoken with some people who were so sick that they felt almost unable to function.  Others said they had a mild experience.  I’m not sure why we experience it at different levels but maybe it has to do with how deeply hooked on sugar we have become.  I just know that I’ve been through sugar detox before and it’s never fun.  The comfort lies in knowing what is happening to you and being prepared for it.  Knowing that you are about to experience something that is not unusual.  You are just detoxing off an addictive substance.

Let me remind you again that I am not a doctor, nutritionist, health expert or scientist.  I am just a person who found their way out of a very dark pit.  Someone who discovered that sugar addiction was very real.  And found a way to get it out of my system.  Is my way the only way? Of course not! Just take a quick look around the internet and you will find multiple ways to detox off sugar.  I am just going to give you MY way.  It may not be something you want to try but I share it because it has worked for me.

The way I detox off sugar is the same exact way that I still use to this day to get back control over my eating whenever I feel that food is becoming too important.  You see, food is something that owned me and dominated me for years.  I was obsessed with it.  In large part, no doubt, to my physical addiction to the sugar.  But there are other issues I have with food as well that are rooted more in psychological and emotional issues.  So anytime I find food becoming a bigger focus in my life, I return to this simple detox program.  It works when I have allowed myself to let sugar creep back into my life.  It works also when I find food becoming too much of a focus.

My brother who has lost 275 pounds also uses this plan.  He is the one that gave it to me in fact.  He set me up with this program and we often use it together.  We will go through a detox week together where we text one another and help to keep the other accountable.  Every time I go through this, it is no fun.  Yet I always find myself with more control than I had before.  I find myself feeling sane again.  I am released from the hunger cravings and I come out on the other side so grateful for the process.

So what do I do?  It’s very simple.

I go on a liquid diet of ready to drink shakes every 2-3 hours for one week.

The key is that the shakes have either no sugar or very few grams of sugar per serving.

I also use shakes that have no more than 3 or 4 carbs per shake.

I personally use the Atkins shakes for two main reasons.  They have very little sugar.  Each shake may have 1-2 grams of sugar at the most.  The carbs are controlled and I find low carb, low sugar to be the main way I lose weight and control my appetite.

I use ready to drink shakes for a strategic reason.  It’s because even the mere act of making a shake in a blender can stir up my desire for food.

For someone who lacks control with food, the mere act of looking for recipes and the mere act of cooking can draw them further and deeper into their problems.

I learned that pinning recipes on pinterest, reading other blogs where people write in detail what they ate and even put up pictures, spending time preparing food for meals….all of that actually contributed further into my food obsession.  And when you are in the throws of sugar addiction, you don’t need anything making it harder on you!

The less time you spend thinking about food–the better.  You want your focus OFF the food not on it.  The more you think about it, plan it, talk about it….the worse it becomes.  Even spending time reading my blog or other blogs about weight loss might be too much for you during a detox.  Any amount of time you spend focused on food just further feeds the obsession.  The less time you devote to it the better.  Even having to spend time logging your food in a diary can create a problem.  The more time you spend looking up nutrition facts and writing it down is more time spent thinking about food.  During a detox, that is even a lot to handle.  But a ready to drink shake logged repeatedly takes only a second.  And in the beginning that’s what you need.  That is why this is such a simple and streamlined process.  It takes no effort for you to mark down a shake.

It takes no time to prepare it.  No thinking at all.  A person who is wrapped up in food focus and addiction needs to not have too much time sitting around thinking about what they will eat next.  That opens up the door of opportunity which a person going through detox does NOT need.  How many times have you slipped up with food once you allowed yourself to think too much about it.  Once the thought has time to roll around in your mind, it gives birth to desire.  And once desire takes over coupled with cravings you are weakened to the process.  The sugar that has been lab altered and laced into everything you eat has made your willpower weak and your appetite overpowering.  This is why I keep it simple in the beginning.  Once the wretched beast is out of your system, you will find you are much stronger and capable than you ever imagined.

I fill the bottom of my refrigerator with ready to drink Atkins shakes.  My brother prefers dark chocolate.  I prefer caramel cafe and vanilla.  You want them cold because they taste better that way so you need to give them time to get chilled.  Then you simply wake up in the morning and grab your first shake.  You can set a timer on your phone for every 2 to 3 hours.  If you are deep in the throws of addiction and feel panicked about not getting enough to fill you up…then drink one every 2 hours.  But pre-decide what it will be and stick to it.  Don’t allow yourself to switch it up later.  Once you open the door to change your plans that is all your mind needs to then convince you that eating something would be a good idea too.

Now is eating something wrong? Of course not! But when you are on this program the point is to break yourself not just from the physical tie to the sugar but also the mental and emotional ties to the food.  By not eating any solid food for a week, you are taking a break from it.  The more distance you get, the more you realize that you can live without it.  And isn’t that what we all need to realize? That we CAN live without it.  We don’t NEED it to live.  We can get through the day drinking shakes every 2 hours.  We don’t intend to live this way forever but we could if we wanted to.  Because now we know that we don’t have to be controlled by the food any longer.  We are the ones in control.  Not some inanimate object.  Not some piece of cake.  But us.  In control completely.  The ones making the rules and not the food.

Not everyone will choose to forego food for a whole week.  Most people will not.  Personally, I find the detox plan of shakes during the day plus one (sugar/carb controlled) meal in the evening to be the most satisfying way to not only detox but to live my life on a regular basis. Yet there are some people who will benefit from a liquid fast for a time with only shakes.  Let me try and explain why this has benefited me.

Breaking free from food has been two fold for me.  On the one side, there is the very real sugar addiction that can only be broken by no longer consuming it and withdrawing from the remains of what is already in your system.  But the other side is the emotional tie from food.  When I went through my divorce, I had to learn to detach from that relationship.  I still had to see my ex husband regularly because we had children together but I could no longer allow myself to be deeply tied to him emotionally.  If you’ve been married to someone for many years, you have in so many ways connected your soul to them.  They are embedded in every part of your life.  So it is with food.  If you have used food for comfort, depression, anxiety or stress then you have an emotional tie to food that goes even beyond a physical sugar addiction.  You must detach emotionally from the food just as you would an ex-husband, ex-boyfriend or any other person in your life that you must detach from.  The best way to do that is space.  That is what it often takes.  This is hard to do with food because it is everywhere we go.  Taking a week off helps you detach.  It lets you know who is really in control.  Just like you prove to an ex-boyfriend that you don’t need him anymore by refusing to call or text, you do the same with food.  Showing that you can go a week with no contact.  Yes it’s hard but detachment is always hard.   Yet when a relationship has become abusive and dysfunctional what you need is a bit of distance to see it more objectively.

How can I possibly go an entire week without eating food? How can I live without it? I know that we are all different shapes and sizes.  All of us require different calories according to the calorie counter.  However I have found that this program has worked for me regardless of my size.  I have done it at 417 pounds and I have done the same exact program at 180 pounds.  I don’t alter it or adjust it for my size.  I keep it simple. For one week, I am not focused on the details of calories.  I don’t think about it at all.  I only set a timer and drink a shake every 2 hours from the moment I wake up until I go to bed.  If I were to rise at 5 am instead of 8 am then I would start then.  It isn’t about how many shakes you get during the day so much as it is about the consistency.  You don’t think about it.  You just do it.  You don’t worry at that time if you are hungry or not.  A person in the depths of sugar and food addiction often has no true idea of hunger anyway.  Their body always feels hungry.  A person deeply emotionally bonded to food no longer can see the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.  This takes the guesswork out of it. For one full week, you can turn your brain off in that area.  You simply don’t worry about it.  You know that every 2 hours you will drink a shake.  You are not starving.  Your blood sugar will remain steady.  And every 120 minutes you will get another shake.

You will probably feel sick.  You will have all the symptoms of withdrawal.  You may even want to quit.  But press on.  Press through if you can.  The way out of this is not to go back.  The way to freedom is to walk through it.

But how you may ask? How can I possibly withstand it? Every time I try to avoid food, I just want it even more . The more I fight it the worse it becomes. This is how you often feel.

And now you’ve stumbled on something! That right there is the most important key of it all.  The fact that every time an urge to overeat comes along—you fight. Isn’t that what you’re doing? Trying to fight it?  You probably try to put it out of your mind . You try to resist it.  And now we come upon a real secret that it took me years to uncover. It is in the resisting that you are only stoking the fire.  It is in trying to ignore and resist the thought that you make it worse.

So don’t resist it . Let it come.  Don’t fight it.  Don’t pretend it isn’t there.  Of course you feel miserable. Of course you want a Big Mac. That is exactly how you should feel because you’ve spent a lifetime becoming highly sensitized to the fact that food provides you comfort.  Now anytime you feel anxious or upset or sad, your mind naturally wanders to food.  More than that you are very sensitive to the triggers around you.  Commercials, scents, pictures, memories.  All of them can come flooding back at anytime.  And the very moment a trigger pops up, there you are again.  Overcome with the desire to eat.  You are so sensitive to every food trigger out there that it’s no wonder at all you struggle so much with overeating.  How could you not?  When almost everything reminds you of the food.  It’s like breaking up with someone you’ve been involved with for a very long time.  You pass by the park you all used to go to together.  The movie theatre or a restaurant.  You remember “Oh this is where we went on our 3rd anniversary” and there you are again.  Back in time. Overcome with emotion.  It’s the same with food.  You think to yourself “I always eat pizza when I watch this particular tv show”. It’s been paired together and now you find it hard not to think of pizza when that show is on.  You are so tied in every way to the food that for a time you may feel that almost everything you do and everywhere you go is one long immersion of neverending memories and triggers.  But don’t resist it.  Don’t fight it.  Let the memories come.  Recognize them for what they are.  THOUGHTS.  Nothing more than passing thoughts.

Have you ever watched a train go by? Have you ever gotten to the railroad crossing just as the arm was coming down and now you must sit there and wait for the entire train to roll by? There is nothing to do there but wait.  You can pretend the train isn’t there but that would be silly, wouldn’t it? I mean there it is right in front of your face.  It’s loud too.  Very loud.  You can’t ignore it or pretend it isn’t there.  But you don’t fight it.  What would be the point of that? Do you go around in front of the train and try to hold it back with your bare hands? Get panicked and upset while standing on the train tracks begging it not to barrel over you? Of course not! You sit in your car safely behind the railroad crossing sign and you wait it out. Impatiently perhaps.  But nevertheless, you wait.  Because that is all you can do.  If you have an appointment to go to and you’re in a hurry, you may fidget and shift in your seat. You may swear and cuss and hit the wheel of the car.  You may pray for God to make it pass faster.  But no matter what you do inside that car it won’t make a bit of difference. The train will pass when it has passed.  And only then will the arm lift and let you drive on through.

Have you ever sat there and said to yourself “OH my goodness!! This is it.  This is the end.  I’ll never get down this street now. This train will go on forever!”

Of course not! You know the train no matter how long it is will not be endless.  It will eventually pass through.  Some trains are longer than others.  But they all have an END.  THe end will come.  It will pass.  And it is your job to simply wait.

So it is with cravings and urges.  Now with sugar withdrawal it is a lot more intense.  You may experience worse days than others.  By day 3 or 4 you may feel that you will go completely insane!! You may even wish your family would just lock you up away from society altogether for fear you will turn into the Incredible Hulk and overtake a Krispy Kreme.  But fear not! It will pass. It has to.  Sugar withdrawal is a process but it is not neverending.  The sugar WILL leave your system and the symptoms will go away.  Keep this in mind when you feel at your lowest.  That this is temporary.  You are experiencing the same exact thing that many others have experienced.

You will learn through this detox program to accept what you are feeling.  Not to fight it or resist it.  Not to be confused or bewildered by it.  And not to fear it.  Fear is one of the biggest reasons we go back to the food. Deep down we are just not sure we will be able to tolerate our life without it.  We wonder if we will even go completely insane.

I can assure you that you won’t.  You will not go insane.  You will not have a heart attack.  And in fact it is actually the fear you have ABOUT your fear…that is making things worse.  You fear the fear.  You anticipate it.  And you dread it.

First you feel the symptoms.  Then the thoughts come into your mind that say “You can’t live without the food“.  Then you fear you may go insane.  Then you fear the very feeling OF the fear.  All this fear and panic compounds upon itself and creates the very symptoms of a panic attack!  I discovered this one day when I started really analyzing how I felt when  I determined not to give into my urges to eat.

When my husband left me, I had debilitating panic attacks.  I could barely function.  Barely drive.  I thought for sure I was having a heart attack.  Many years later I decided to observe myself like a project.  I decided to pay attention to the exact physical symptoms I was having while trying to fight the urge to eat something.  IT was then I realized that I was experiencing something qutite similar to a panic attack.  I realized that the moment when you feel as if you can’t resist a brownie—that is very similar to what panic attacks feel like.

The way to fight a panic attack is not to fight it at all.  You recognize it for what it is.  An uncomfortable feeling that will NOT harm you.  It may feel like a heart attack but it is NOT a heart attack.  You may feel as if you are going to go insane but you are NOT going insane.  Once you realize this, it is much easier to tolerate.  You may feel fear but there is nothing TO fear.  You are not being chased by a moutnain lion . You are in no imminent danger.  You are just very simply going through an uncomfortable feeling. And if you can just recognize it as a passing storm then you will find it far less intimidating.

It is the same with sugar detox.  It is the same with all other urges to overeat.   Because doesn’t every diet we’ve ever failed on come down to that one moment in time?  The moment we are standing in front of the refrigerator fighting the craving.  Or at a McDonald’s drive through trying to convince ourselves not to order.  It is in this moment where we feel that urge or craving and we are attacked by fear.  An overwhelming fear.  Fear that if we don’t give into it, we will go crazy.

But we won’t go crazy.  No one has ever gone crazy from NOT eating a brownie.  No one has ever gone crazy becasue they did not order the Big Mac.  It is your fear of going crazy that has tricked you into placating it with food.  It is your anxiety and panic at living without the food that has you tied in knots.

When my husband left me I was so afraid I could not live without him.  I cried and I begged and I pleaded for him not to leave me and the children all alone but nothing I said mattered.  He was determined to leave and leave he did.  I had no way out of that uncomfortable situation.  I found myself alone in a new city with 4 children.  I had babies and diapers and bottles. I had bills to pay and children to care for. I had no choice but to stumble my way through.  I thought I would die. I thought I might even kill myself at one point because I was so depressed.  But I didn’t.  I begged God to help me.  To sustain me.  To get me through the storm.  And I believe He did.  God does not always promise us a reprieve from uncomfortable things.  He does not always make our husbands come home when they leave.  But He will walk you THROUGH the storm.  That He will do if you trust Him.

The best way to get through the storm is to wait it out.  Let it pass.  Don’t pretend it’s not there or try to avoid it. Instead, do this: Call its bluff.

Say FINE….you want me…you got me!  Here I am.  Now do your best.  Give me all you got.  And see what happens.

By day 4 or 5 of a sugar detox, the cloud may start to lift.  After a full week, I believe you may begin to find your appetite going away.  You  may feel more in control than ever.  That is how it has been for me.  The fog will lift.  The timing of it is different for many.  Perhaps it will take you 2 full weeks to feel control.  To feel your strong appetite diminishing.  But at the end of week one, resume food.  But do it in a pure way.  Pure from sugar.

Most people I have talked to about this, choose to do shakes during the day and a meal at night.  It works too! Do what works for YOU.  Never hand over your individual rights to someone else who will tell you how to eat.  Even I am just one individual.  My way is not the only way.  But it is what works for me so maybe it will work for you.

I still drink several shakes a day.  Then I will eat chicken, fish, or steak.  I don’t mix a lot of ingredients or recipes.  I eat food that is easy to make and not fancy.  I never eat anything that is too delicious.  I don’t want my food to call to me.  I dont’ want to love it.  Dream about it.  Fantasize over it.  Once food has been your lover, you may always have to carefully keep your distance.  Making sure food is not something you become emotionally tied to again.  The way you would a soulmate.  But if food has been your source of all comfort, you will have to carefully remain detached.  Not in a fearful way.  Never fearing that it will own you again.  But in an objective way.  As a casual observer taking note of when its digging its claws in again and responding accordingly when needed.  Going back on the detox from time to time either to rid yourself of sugar that has creeped in or to get control back when eating seems to once again take too much space in your thought life.

Most of all remember that this is a process. It’s much like getting a divorce.  It takes time to recover from that.  Time to walk through it.  You may feel uncomfortable but in time things will get easier.  I used to think that the two worst things I had ever been through in my life were my divorce and my experience with panic attacks. Now I can see that both of those things were just paving the way for me to finally tackle my sugar and food addiction.  Only in learning to survive my divorce and my struggle with anxiety did I also discover the path to overcoming sugar and food addiction.

Breaking up is hard to do.  Isn’t that how the song goes? Never underestimate how deeply embedded sugar and food has become in our lives.  Check the ingredients.  I eat nothing with more than 4 grams of sugar in it but for me that is pushing the limit.  I aim for sugar free.  I don’t eat bread because I find it addictive (white flour) and most of it has a lot of sugar in it.  I don’t drink milk because of the high sugar content.  I can attribute at least 5 of my major plateaus to milk before I realized how much sugar was in it.  Yogurt? I don’t eat that either.  While greek yogurt may be a great source of protein, it is also a great source of sugar.   Do I use sugar substitutes? Yes.  Many people say even sugar substitutes bother them but I have not found this to be the case for me.  (Thankfully)

I am not endorsing artificial sweeteners or living off ready to drink shakes for the rest of your life.  This is how I’ve lived for 2 years and I’ve lost 240 pounds so far.  This was my key out of prison.  But now that I’m out, I’m finding that education is important.  We must constantly educate ourselves on what is in our food and how we can continue to strip it of the toxins the world has placed in it.  Now I am at a point where I feel ready to try making my own protein shakes. Now I am exploring giving up artificial sweeteners.  But it has taken time.  I still highly recommend this program because it has worked for me and others.  Then as time goes on begin to surround yourselves with those who want to live a healthier life.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with information but instead see it as a hobby.  Slowly but surely you will find yourself gaining knowledge and as they say….knowledge is power.

You will be shocked at where sugar lives.  For it is has seeped into every nook and cranny of our lives.  But once you break it off with an abusive boyfriend, make it a clean break.  Driving by their house or strolling down memory lane will serve no purpose but to keep you from healing. True healing comes in letting go and realizing that you can survive on your own.

One last word–if you fail at this the first time, don’t panic.  I have failed numerous times along the way.  I did not lose 240 pounds by being perfect.  I have cried. I have fallen off the wagon.  I have screwed up and felt defeated.  But don’t despair.  Never despair.  The only way to truly lose this fight is to quit trying.  Never fear that you are beyond hope.  Never believe the lies that you can never overcome this.  The thoughts in your head are nothing more than that passing train at the railroad crossing. Remember that regardless of how you feel, the train always passes and so will cravings.   So hold onto that hope and move forward with forgiveness towards yourself and hope for a new tomorrow.

 

Resources that I like:

Sugar Nation

Wheat Belly

The End of Overeating

Mark’s Daily Apple

Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution

 

These resources may agree and/or conflict with one another at various times.  I don’t endorse or necessarily even follow everything in these programs.  I just have found there to be some wisdom in these resources that have helped me along the way.

 

 

Sample Day for me:

5 AM–Coffee mixed with 1/2 of a Vanilla Atkins shake

6 AM– 2nd cup of coffee mixed with other 1/2 of a vanilla atkins shake

9 AM– Shake (or eggs/omelette/bacon depending on the day)

11 AM- Shake

1 PM–Rotisserie Chicken dipped in bleu cheese dressing or ranch with greek salad (lettuce, black olives, feta cheese, cucumbers)

3 PM– Boiled egg or ham/cheese roll up or shake

5 Pm– Dinner ( Chicken, Steak, Pork Chops, Fish) with salad or low carb/low sugar vegetable

7 PM–Sugar free pickles or deli ham and cheese roll up or shake

 

This is just how I eat now in my regular life.  There are variations.  I go to restaurants and I modify.  Some days I eat less and some days I eat more.  What I have listed here is generally what I eat on most days.  I don’t vary much from this script.  I pay attention to true hunger and follow that lead.  It takes time and practice.  It does not  happen overnight. But with patience, you will get there.

I know this was long but I wanted to share my thoughts.  If you take nothing else from this but these three things—here they are:

1. Sugar has been lab altered and for some people it is a highly addictive drug

2. Cravings are temporary and will pass as it leaves your system

3. Never lose hope

 

OnandoffSugar.001

 

I have lost 240 pounds and I attribute most of my success to giving up sugar.  There is nothing special about me that has allowed me to have success.  What I have done, you can do.  Just remember to love yourself, forgive yourself and recognize that you are not solely to blame for your struggles with food.  There is hope.  Hope has not been removed from your life.  You can survive this.  You can overcome this.  And in the end–you will have freedom.

 

Your fellow friend in the battle,

Holly

 

 

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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather C. June 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm

I felt like I was reading an incredibly powerful sermon. I can feel your passion through your blog. Simply A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Thank you for addressing failures and panic. That is exactly where I am right now. I know that so much of this is the sugar taking the stronghold on me and messing with my head- urg. So utterly frustrating. But much like those clown punching bags we had as kids, I’ll just keep bouncing back until I can’t be pushed anymore. Thank you for writing from your heart. You always resignate with me. God bless you & have a terrific weekend! :O)

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Heidi June 8, 2013 at 12:52 am

Very good blog! We believe int the same general theory! The only difference for me, is I love to cook healthy food. Chopping veggies and making healthy shakes is very satisfying for me. I love “The What Belly” and following that lifestyle has really set me free! I even enjoyed a veggie omelet and homemade chocolate (low carb) shake at my dad’s while everyone else ate pizza! It bothered them, but it didn’t bother me AT ALL! God bless you, I love reading and sharing your blog with friends! 🙂 Heidi

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Samantha @ 24 to 30 June 8, 2013 at 2:31 am

Holly, I love pretty much everything you write, but this is my favorite post you’ve ever written. The only diet I’ve ever been successful with was the Atkins diet back in 2003, and I fully believe that it’s due to sugar addiction, but it’s taken me this long to figure it out. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience with us.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

oh wow. thank you!!!

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Mrs. Swan June 8, 2013 at 3:33 am

<3 Sugar addict here myself. Great post!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Mrs. Swan!!

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Sandra June 8, 2013 at 4:14 am

That was a lot to take in but you had me sucked in! lol

I couldn’t stop reading because so much of what you said is my story.

Thank you Holly for a great post. I just know you have helped so many people.(including myself) There are to many points to point out so I’ll just say it was a great read and highly educational!

Sandra

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Sandra!!

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Losing The Rolls June 8, 2013 at 5:54 am

This was a long post and I am so tired as it is late, but I couldn’t stop reading. I believe I am addicted to sugar and your post helps explain a lot of what I am have been struggling with. Whenever there is a new treat in the house it will only last a day or two. I won’t stop eating it until it is gone. Sadly, the next treat arrives shortly after. I think the only way I might be able to lose my weight is I give up sugar too. Thanks for sharing your story and battle with sugar.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for taking the time to read it. I know it was long. I’m a chattermouth!!

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Becky June 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

Why did God create sugar? Have you eliminated every food that has an ingrdeient that end in -ose? Sucrose, glucose, fructose….

Did God create good and bad foods?

All our other organs work without conscience thought. Why is the stomach different?

Does God intend for our brains to be so occupied by food choices? Is that what freedom means?

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I’m going to answer this in a post next week. thanks for the great thought provoking questions!!!!

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Dagny Kight June 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Much of what you write here is the focus of my book but I would argue one point with you. Language is very powerful and a word like “addict” can seriously impact a person on many levels. I do not believe we are “addicts” at all. We are responding to what is NATURAL for us. Some people care little for food and they are naturally thin through no conscious, deliberate choices of their own. Some of us have “food brains” that crave food. We have bodies that want to be larger and it is more difficult for us to manage our size. As you point out, some people can easily eat that one piece of cake and never think about it again. But like you, if I ate that one piece of cake, my brain would light up and want the rest of the cake!!! This is NOT how our culture defines an addict. We perceive addicts as out of control people who have willfully abused a substance because of their own weaknesses and character flaws. I wrote a blog post about this recently that is linked below.

Those of us who fight with having biology and genes and brain wiring and body chemistry that compel us to eat—WE ARE NOT OUT OF CONTROL ADDICTS. We are in fact the OPPOSITE of addicts. We spend our lives fighting to TAKE CONTROL but we fight the toughest adversary there is—our own biological nature. Put people like us in today’s food-obsessed, totally obesogenic environment and the fight begins to appear like an addictive cycle but the point is WE FIGHT TO TAKE CONTROL and we keep fighting. Every time one of us goes on another “diet” we are fighting to take control. It is the difference between a soldier in battle and a prisoner in jail.

I will never allow anyone to put the label “addict” on me. That is not who or what I am. I have always fought this battle; I just didn’t know what it was for most of my life. When society was trying to tell me I was fat because I was weak-willed and emotionally broken, I would not accept that. I am a person with a body chemistry that makes it very difficult for me to exist in today’s highly obesogenic culture. I have learned which foods will turn on all the triggers in my brain so yes, I taught myself to stay away from them.

Language is very powerful. I’d ask you to reconsider how you use the word “addict” and what effect it could have on the many people who read your blog.

I am very glad to have read this post. I rarely read your blog because I have difficulty with your style of a few words per line, one line at a time. This was easier to read, thank you.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Interesting point Dagny. I think in some ways we are saying the same thing but using different language as you said. I do believe the sugar itself is addictive. It is made in a lab and our body can become addicted. But are WE addicts? Is that who we “are”? No…we are people who can ingest addictive substances but we don’t have to live that way. We do have a choice. Good point my friend! Sorry you don’t like my writing style. 🙁 I’ll try to switch it up now and then!

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Dagny Kight June 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I think we are on the same page on many points! I am expanding on our culture’s perceptions and paradigms and how they can adversely influence and even scar us.

I address this in chapter 2 of my book in a section titled “The Automatic Life.” I would welcome your perspective and critique.

Sometimes I copy your posts into a Word document and take out all the hard returns. 😉
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lori September 11, 2013 at 6:23 am

I respectfully disagree with Dagny. I think the word “addict” when used to describe someone who is sugar sensitive is not hyperbole. I think a sugar addict, similar to any other substance (aka drugs, alcohol) wants control, fights for control, but ultimately loses control.

Holly – Thank you for your article. I have had a similar experience. Learning I was a sugar addict a few years ago, losing weight, and then falling off the wagon. It then took me 3 years to return to a sugar-free life. I would constantly bargain with myself and lie to myself — like an alcoholic — saying that I don’t have a problem and that I could ingest a little bit of sugar — on the weekends and such. I would look at friends who had bad food habits wake up one day and decide to “diet” and then lose all the weight. My husband was even in this boat. He simply decided to be healthy and lost 60 pounds in three months and is now fit and trim. I have struggled with this all my life. I have been sugar free again for only two months, but it has been the best two months because I have finally come to terms with this and treat it like any other harmful addiction. People are commenting on my weightloss and trying to attribute it to a certain food I am eating. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you said in the beginning of this post. It is not the foods that you are eating, it is the food that you are not eating. With permission, I would love to quote you for my personal blog…just so I can remember this. It rings so true to me.

Thanks again for your courage to write about your struggle. I’m sure you are helping countless others, including validating me on my journey.

Warm Regards,

Lori
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Food and Sugar ADDICT March 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

Please don’t water down your word choice. There is power in recognizing something for what it is. It IS an addiction and when people see this word they recognize the full SEVERITY of the issue. When your life lies in the balance, you don’t have time to argue about semantics. Don’t change simply because someone disagrees with you! You will be changing all the time…you won’t know who you are…and as I have struggled with food, I have learned that not accepting myself and my ideas gets me running to the food. Honestly, I didn’t agree with everything in your post BUT I realized you were speaking YOUR truth. I dig that. Namaste.

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Cathy Jones June 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Holly, I like your writing style, it’s very poetic at times. I do believe sugar is addictive to some people. I find myself looking for more food after I have had a sweet treat. My husband on the other hand can have a piece of cake and not desire another one. I am wondering though, since you have children you must cook for them and have different foods in your sight, how do you handle these situations?

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I do cook for my children. I should write a post about that. Trust me they don’t starve!!! LOL

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Natalie June 9, 2013 at 1:38 am

I was going to ask about this too. You talk about having the shakes so you don’t need to plan/think about/cook real food — but you still have to cook for your kids (as I would), so I’ll be interested to read a post about how that fits in.

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Shelly March 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I like your style too. I’m so glad I stumbled across your post on the “40 bags in 40 days.” You are so inspiring. I learned sugar was poison for me about 4 years ago. I did great for almost a year then fell off the wagon. I’ve been struggling back and forth ever since. I decided this time of Lent was a great time to start back and really read and change and stick with it. I think it is an addiction and does make a world of difference in my body. So glad to find your blog.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down March 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Thanks! I have also fallen off the sugar free wagon more than a few times. It’s amazing to me how hungry sugar makes you! It is very addictive but we can kick it!

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Paula June 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I read this thinking about my own addiction. I just finished a bowl of barbeque chips drizzled with ranch dressing and coated with sugar… Yesterday I bought a small bag of cheetos, a bag of kit kat bites, and a bag of butterfinger bites. I believe all three had portion size for 4 people. Then last night, I had 3 Drumstick Ice Cream cones.

Out of control? yes… spiralling..

I think I excused myself because I had 5 surgeries on my left hip this year, and I felt like I deserved it. My hip would be better served for me to lose the last 65 pounds I need to lose. (303 down to 245)

My husband is the most wonderful man in the world… has been the greatest Godsend you could imagine during my surgery recovery times. But… he is not onboard with the no sugar thing. He has seen me go through lap band surgery, vertical sleeve surgery, Jenny Craig, hospital supervised protein liquid diet, weight watchers multiple times (I lost 100 pounds 3 different times in the past and was actually a weight watcher’s leader until my weight started going up again. I think he just doesn’t think I can do it and it will inconvenience him even if I fail.

Alas.. thank you for letting me spout off… I so identified with your post.

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josie June 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm

What a powerful, powerful post! I am currently struggling with myself and this just hit me right between the eyes! I’m new to your blog and look forward to reading future (and past) post.
You have done an AMAZING job on your weight loss journey…Congrats!!

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Lisa June 8, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Wow Holly! Great post. I love your writing style, beautifully poetic. Just like life. I think I just might try the Adkins thing after vacation in July. I will let you know how I do!
Lisa

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Darlene June 9, 2013 at 3:42 am

Holly, I pray that God blesses and keeps you, following your calling. You are a light in my life. I enjoy everything you write however, I believe this is the thing I needed to hear once again. For me it’s kind of like reading a scripture and you know you have read it before, maybe several times. However, it just never sunk in like this last time. Wow, what a profound writing for me to read. Keep writing Holly, you give me hope.

Darlene

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Betty Taylor June 9, 2013 at 5:32 am

I have written about sugar in a recent post. I have always had all the same reactions to sugar. I have never gotten extremely overweight. I give up sugar for a while and get to my ideal weight and I eat something with sugar in it and it puts me right back on the hamster wheel. I have lost my weight many times to rebound again. I enjoyed reading your post!
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Dagny Kight June 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

This is a Wordpress site I see? Adding menus IS a little counter-intertuitive. To add this post as a menu item, log in to your dashboard. From “Appearance” choose “Menus.” On the left side of the screen you should see a box labeled “Theme Locations.” You will probably see a drop down menu labeled “Home” or “Header Menu.” On the right side of the screen, you should see a box that contains the two menu items you have. Scroll down and on the left you should see a box labeled “Custom Links.” Enter the URL of your post and enter the label you want to appear in the menu bar. Click “Add to Menu.” It should appear in the box on the right side of the screen. Be sure to click “Save Menu” on the right.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Oh my gosh!!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH For this Dagny! I really appreciate it. This was perfect advice and I followed it exactly. It worked. Wow thanks so much for taking the time to explain that to me!!!!!

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Liese June 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Starting this tomorrow. Thanks for putting your plan in writing.

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Bonita Gordita June 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Ver interesting post. I totally agree with you about the sugar addiction, and am glad you found something that works for you.

My addiction I will take one step further – and that is the flavor of sugar. I thought of this when I got to your part about the shakes. It frustrates me to no end that Atkins (and all) shakes are sweet. The bars are sweet, the shakes are sweet – and for me, that induces more cravings, really. So I have to be careful even with that. I did get some protein powder that comes sweetened with stevia, and that seems to be OK for me. But once I get too much of a taste of sweet in my mouth, I continue to want more.

However, I do think you have a point with the shakes taking away the preparation and thought issues with food. It’s a good way to just give your body something, ensure it “isn’t starving” but take away the thinking part. When I’m stressed, the thinking is what will trip me up quite often. Having to plan, calorie count, weight – it’s almost too much for me. Maybe I’ll try this. I need a switch-out right now, and maybe subbing a couple shakes for food might be the ticket for me.

Best,
BG

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Cassy June 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm

This couldn’t have come at a better time. I stumbled across this after stuffing my face and wondering WHY DID I JUST DO THAT? I think I understand now. And almost as if by fate I impulsively bought a tub of protein powder that just so happens to have 1 gram of sugar per serving. I’m ready. ^_^

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Nicole June 11, 2013 at 4:40 am

I had Lap Band May 9th, 2013. Currently I’m one month postop. I did well the first 2 weeks after surgery but as the swelling has gone down and healed I find myself going back to my old ways which included bringing sugar back into the house. So here I am banded with plication, fresh postop already getting depressed because I’m making bad choices with food and going back to sugar. I feel depressed and hopeless, a failure with the band.

Thank you for your blog. Thank you for your transparency and encouragement. You offer Hope! I know I’m a sugar addict. I’m going to Ft Worth tomorrow for my first fill so I will be on liquids. I’m going to try your Sugar Detox. I just had a conversation with my mom and asked her if she would fast from sugar with me which she agreed. It’s no mistake that I read your blog tonight about sugar!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

My brother had the lapband about 3 years ago and he has lost over 275 pounds. He is the one who introduced this sugar detox to me and it is what also helped him to be so successful. You can do it!!!!

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Riversuzyq June 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Holly, I have been abstaining from sugar AND artificial sweeteners since Jan. And have lost 58 lbs. But, I also wanted to mention there are other foods that those like us can be struggling with besides sugar. Due to changes in the food industry over the past 40 or so years, these modifications can cause food intolerances in our bodies creating inflammation and CRAVINGS. Some of the most common culprits in addition to sugar & artificial sweeteners are: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Eggs, Dairy and Peanuts! You are totally on the right track here, but I just wanted to add these others to the list in case for someone else struggling out there removing sugar only is not enough. For me I have to stay away from gluten, dairy and sugar!

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Cheryl January 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Two years ago I did make all those dietary changes…I am still not at a normal weight. Post gastric stapling 20 + years.
This past year I fell 5 times which really plays havoc with exercising.
I can feel myself slipping and the ” not caring ” about it, either
I am in dangerous territory.
I finally have an appointment with the obesity clinic Feb 10th

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Rebecca June 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Thank you so much for posting! As much as I hate the thought of giving up sugar, I really believe this is the heart of my problem and the reason Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers hasn’t worked for me.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I’ve done both Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers multiple times. All of them allowed me to have sugar and I know that is why I couldn’t stick to the plan. Basically once the sugar is in my system, the cravings start and my appetite increases. When it’s gone, you just aren’t as hungry making it easier to stick to a plan!

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Sally June 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

This has helped me SO MUCH! I knew I was addicted to sugar, but people around me look at me like I have three eyes or something. They don’t get the need for sugar, they can eat one donut and be happy, whereas I need a dozen. I broke away from soda over 15 years ago, I can handle wine and alcohol perfectly fine, but sugar takes over and I cannot stop. I am so glad to have read what you do and if nothing else it allows me to feel justified in my feelings. I really feel my sugar addiction takes hold of me. My life is pretty stress-free, so I’m not binge eating candy because of stress. Its the stupid addiction.
I am going to revisit this page to help keep me on track of losing weight. I lost 100 lbs and gained back 60 – because I got back on sugar. I’ve been fighting to take it off the past year. I will keep fighting and use the train analogy when the need for sugar arises. I want to get off this spiral and I need to learn to say ‘no’ and then sit in the feeling and not give in. First, I will detox from sugar, tho.

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Carolyn June 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

Thank you for your wonderful post. Finally I found someone who can articulate what I think and feel about sugar/food. There really is so much fear surrounding weight loss, giving up sugar and foods we love, how other people view your struggles (like why can’t you just have ONE cookie? why eat the whole plate?). And for validating that I literally am not crazy, I’m just addicted!
I can’t wait to read more of your blog. This was the first article I came across, and want to read more for inspiration. I’m about to embark on my own journey (currently 275, top weight of 305), and I’m kicking tires, thinking of what is best for me, trying different things. But I find that all of my so called ‘research’ has left me paralyzed instead of moving forward! Your blog may just be the kick in the pants I needed.
Thank you again for sharing so honestly about everything!!!

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Lou July 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm

“My other two children are not this way at all. They can have one cookie and think “Well now that was good” and then forget all about it. A few days later they might return to the cabinet and go “Where are the cookies?”. The rest of us look at them and think “Well that was days ago! Do you really think they’d still be there??” —– Holly, this just hit me like a wall. This just happened yesterday in our home! Love your insights.

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Kim August 24, 2013 at 3:15 am

Wow, I am so glad that I found this. I’m currently in the depths of the struggle…trying to lose 60 pounds, but starting and failing over and over and over. My addiction to sugar seems to control me. I get so depressed. I’ll have a few good weeks then suddenly my mind checks out and something triggers the binging and I gain anything I’ve lost right back…then get depressed…then feel controlled by food again. I am going to try the 7 day detox with shakes and am incredibly happy to have read your story and to have found a bit of hope again. The sugar is doing bad things to my body….dr. confirmed, but yet, as you’ve described above, I just feel like it’s totally out of control and have felt like such a huge failure, over and over, almost to the point of giving up. So, thank you for sharing your journey and giving me some hope!!

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Les September 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I am so glad I found this post, Ive been concentrating on losing weight, and do weight training regularly.
Reading your post has made me relise why Im struggling with the food side of my training.
my breakfast i believe is excellent, half a cup of oats, and 4 egg whites.
But after that I seem to give in, doesn’t really help when I have about 4 cups of coffee a day each with 3 tsp of sugar.
I absolutely see now that sugar is something that, for me is a no no.
I now see the sugar im having with my coffees is just reacting and im end up falling of the wagon.
Thank you very much
Les

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Rochelle October 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Thank you, Holly! 🙂

I started my sugar detox Monday, but on day 2 had pizza at dinner and then a breakfast sandwich from Mc Donalds for breakfast the next morning. I thought this wasn’t for me for a second, and then stopped “thinking” so much about it and went right back on. This is day 3, but not sure if I should make today day 1 all over again, because of the 1 meal I added on last night and the 1 meal I added on this morning. I think I will continue with the shakes for the rest of today, but make tomorrow day 1 again. I like the idea of continuing with the shakes and adding dinner after the week and then perhaps slowly alternating small healthy meals for shakes here and there on various days. I like that I am still getting all my nutrients from the shakes every 2 hours, still have super low calorie intake and don’t have to think about any of it!!! Nice, low maintenance!!! Just what I need!

Training begins tonight! Would like the weight loss to firm up and go without any surgery, so going to make sure I work out almost every day w/ 1 day of moderate rest. Was trying to figure out after being a swimmer, professional dancer (ballet, tap, jazz, etc.) and skier for most of my life and then having 6 kids and gaining 200 (extra pounds) after the last one turned 3 (over the course of the last 11 years) just what I could do that would help me succeed on my journey back… I feel this is it, and pray for strength to help me succeed! I pray for the will power and strength and knowledge! Not so worried about the workout, because I can be a maniac when it comes to that, but changing a lifetime of crazy, insane and out of control eating (especially since most of the time I was burning it off so quickly) won’t be easy, but I believe like you… and thanks to you… I can do it! 🙂

Mahalo for sharing your story and experiences!

Rochelle

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Anna October 10, 2013 at 12:28 am

Amazing writing! Thank you so much for going into such detail. This is my 3rd reading. I really hope you’re still doing well. It is a battle.

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Rae November 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

I seriously had tears in my eyes reading this!! I like you am emotionally attached to food and definetley addicted to sugar ( I say this as I still feel horrible for eating a large amount of my daughters halloween candy) I eat when lonely especially without even realizing I’m lonely! I am just wondering when you do purely shakes for detox how to you handle preparing food for your kids (I have a toddler and a baby) any advice? I hope one day I too can be free from the constant food “noise”

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Tracey February 1, 2014 at 1:21 am

Hi Holly,

I just found your blog and I found myself totally intrigued, identifying with everything that you’ve written about. I have struggled with my weight my whole life, and I have recently (once again!) decided to do something about it, but to have a completely different mindset this time. This is no longer a “diet”; it is a lifestyle change that will reseult in physical and emotional health. I have a VERY long way to go, but I am determined to do it. I commend you fir having the courage to undergo weight loss surgery, but I cannot do that, so I’m taking a different route and focusing on food intake and exercise; however, I hope that my results resemble yours. I am a fellow sugar addict, and I find the shake detox a very cool idea that I am going to implement immediately. Wish me luck!! 🙂

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Megan February 9, 2014 at 2:32 am

Wow!

You are truly an inspiration for so many people, this is just simply an amazing story.

Thanks for sharing it with us
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Pat March 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Holly,
You are telling my life story. Finally someone that knows all my secrets, anxieties and fears. I am so grateful for finding this site. I have tried every diet, every weight loss program, every fad and always failed. I then saw the sugar/detox doctor on my local PBS station and realized that sugar is an addiction. I am considering WLS but keep thinking there has to be a way to do this without the surgery. I have been agnozing over that decision for weeks. One last thing I can try. Your site and blog is speaking directly to both my heart and mind. I can’t tell you how much finding your story means to me. I simply broke down and cried. I am going to detox from sugar and will lean on your site and the people that share for support during my journey. I know this has been put in my life for a reason. I can’t really express my gratitude enough.
Pat

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Lisa S March 28, 2014 at 1:41 am

Wow!!!! Someone else who actually understands how addictive sugar can be for some of us….an all consuming “drug”…..I’ve been eating LCHF for a couple of months and know if I slip up on the sugar the cycle starts all over again….Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the GREAT work…..

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Jeff April 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Sugar is definitely physically addictive. I always just assumed it was more of a psychological not physiological addiction. I’ve always tried dieting in the past, but I’d allow myself a few of the old things that I liked (in smaller portions, obviously) and I would always be thinking about food. I just flat out cut it out this time and I went through withdrawals. Actual physical withdrawals! I was shocked to be honest.

Now, I have no desire to eat any of the stuff that I ate before. It kind of repulses me and makes me feel nauseous at the thought of it. I can drive by fast food restaurants and walk past the chips/soda/candy in the store without the slightest temptation to buy and eat it. So I’m definitely happy to be off of sugar. I only eat now when I’m hungry. And portions much smaller than I ever imagined would be satisfying!

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Amy May 16, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Thank you so much for your blog.

I have two questions:

1. When you chose something that has 4 grams or less of sugar, is that per serving and do you limit your intake to that one serving?

2. I am not one to use artificial sweeteners, are there any shakes out there that are ready to drink, are artificial sweetener free and low in carbs/sugars?

Starting the detox tomorrow even if I must do the Atkins for one week for the detox.

Thanks for the help.

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Suzanne July 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Hi Amy,

I have been working on my sugar problem for years now. I’ve known that I was an addict or had sugar sensitive body chemistry or whatever since I was about 20 years old. My longest time staying away from sugar was 2 months. I am back at it and staying away again now. It is so deceptively difficult for me to stay away from sugar. In truth, when I do quit and stay away, it seem so simple and pure and good. And, when I can’t stay away from it, it seems impossible and difficult and horrendous.

Anyway, I continue to learn and read and experiment.

I think the comment about 4 grams of sugar means a max of 4 grams of sugar per meal or snack. I have started noticing the grams of sugar in yogurt, fruit and other seemingly pure things and then gauging my reaction if any. I really like the idea of thinking “less than 5 grams” is ok. It means that there is some room for good things like fruit but not much room.

I have experimented a lot a lot a lot with shakes. You can buy protein mixes and powders with little or no sugar. I use unsweetened almond milk as the main liquid and then add in frozen fruit, flaxseed oil or some kind of Omega 3 good oil and finally a tiny bit of Stevia or Nectresse/Xylitol sweetener if it still seems bitter.

I will add that overall fruit does not seem to bother my system or trigger me to want sugar. If fact, fruit has kind of the opposite effect on me. If I’m craving sugar, and I tell myself that I can have a piece of fruit, then fruit seems completely undesirable, almost repulsive. However, if I want a piece a fruit, I really enjoy it in the same way I enjoy a great salad or fresh vegetables. Berries are my ultimate favorite treat, high in fiber and good stuff and low in sugar.

I wish you the very best,
Your friend in all of this,
Suzanne

P.S. Thank you soooo much for this blog. It means the world to me and brings me tremendous hope.

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Kevin June 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Sugar is so hard to kick. I’ve got the biggest sweet tooth of all time, so I totally understand where you’re coming from. For me, sugary alcoholic drinks were what I had to kick to lose some weight. Not to mention I was drinking for completely the wrong reasons – not for enjoyment, but for masking of my own feelings. Great article Holly 🙂
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Meghan July 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm

I am so inspired by this. I am soooo addicted to food and sugar. I have an insane emotional attachment to food and eating. And I hate it. I am over it. Just reading this blog has made me nervous, but I am going to do the week long sugar free shake only detox. I love the train analogy. Also, I have been reading things like this for weeks/months/years and Im not sure why but this line really just made it click for me… “True healing comes in letting go and realizing that you can survive on your own.”

Thanks for sharing your story. I hope I can be as strong as you have been.

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malissa thornton November 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi Holly,

Did you add veggies to your shakes?
After a week on only liquid shakes how did you eat?

Thanks so much,

Malissa

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Kim December 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Wow!!!

Where do I begin? This is the first time I have ever felt that someone else “gets it”. Trying to explain my issues with sugar to family has been impossible because they do not react to it as I do. You understand!!

I sat at work with tears in my eyes reading this, then several other posts in your blog had the same impact.

I grew up close to Lynchburg and enjoyed your spot-on description of life there as well.

Still too much running through my mind to process and put into words, so for now let it suffice for me to say THANK YOU. I started my sugar detox about a week ago, just prior to finding your blog. Your story, your beliefs, and your honesty are so very motivating and I cannot thank you enough.

I have about 75 lbs to lose and you have given me the courage to believe that I can do it.

Take care,
Kim

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Nancy April 20, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Fantastic description of what I have been going through for most of my life. Have been working on the psychological issues with journaling, have observed all the “triggers” – never knew about sugar being addictive till recently. Thank you Holly, for writing your blog! Enjoyed and have been educated about sugar addiction from you and some Drs on video on youtube. A new me is being born – one that is in control! Thank you!

Sending Love and Blessings,
Nancy

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Shelle May 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Truly an inspiration. I have one question tho…. What are your feelings on fruit? or something like pretzels? I know you said you don’t eat bread bc of the addictive qualities… I tend to eat one snack bag of pretzels a day and it has 1 gram of sugar in it… it does have carbs of course, but only 1 gram of sugar…. and the fruit… I eat probably one or two servings of fruit per day…. my weakness is definitely processed sugar… I need some help breaking up with it… I don’t eat bread (just the pretzels) and I tend to eat healthy besides that…. I drink shakeology once or twice a day (although it has 8 grams of sugar per scoop but I never do a whole scoop at once… I do half scoops in 32 ounces of water and then will do the other half about an hour and a half later….)…. Just wanted your opinion! I definitely need help with sugar. I gave it up for a year back in 2008 and never felt better and an old boyfriends guilted me into eating it again bc he liked to fix deserts… biggest mistake of my life… now me and my husband are both hooked on sugar. not heavy… just a little extra flub,… id say we both could stand to lose 30 lbs (we r both very tall). help!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down May 28, 2015 at 10:16 pm

To me it sounds like you don’t really have a problem with fruit or pretzels. If you can keep it under control then it shouldn’t be a problem. For me, I have issues with fruit (especially fruit like grapes….things that are in pieces that you can pop like m and m’s). But to me it sounds like you are doing a good job at keeping the servings under control. I wish I was like that!!

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Ophelia June 12, 2015 at 12:24 am

Thank you thank you thank you so very much. I have been saying this for years.. I know I am a sugar addict. I could never understand why I could not stop eating or wanting to, why things call my name if I know they are there..I finally at 55 had gastric bypass and the low carb , high protein and smaller stomach finally took off 220 lbs but I needed 360 off.. At 220 I started slowly eating , a little pasta or rice very small amounts and I maintained the loss without more for over a year then the slow gain as I started consuming 2 cookies here, a piece of cake there and bam 50 lb gain. I knew I had to detox, that is what I call it and tried to explain to a friend at work when all I have are 3 protein lowcarb shakes a day and I did have some Onion soup broth.. then I saw your blog on my gastric bypass facebook support page and read this.. I am 4 days into protein shake detox and what you described is so right. One question for you…how does fruit fit into your plan. I do fins berries the smallest in carbs.. banana and pineapple huge and will not be adding them back into my diet..thank you..for saying and doing it accurately what I have been feeling and canot explain to non addicts…I am a fan and now daily reader.

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Evelyn June 14, 2015 at 3:21 am

I have been battling food/sugar addiction my whole life. I’ve unfortunately passed this on to my children. As I sat here tonight searching for something real to help me, I came across you. God bless you. I pray that I can be as strong as you are and overcome this addiction for good!

Evelyn

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Tara June 26, 2015 at 1:41 am

Thank you!! I’ve gone to OA but not the same as the understanding about how addictive sugar is that I received from you. I’m scared of these withdrawal symptoms – it feels like death and I’m scared I can’t stop..
Actually I know I will.. Just a matter of when I hit bottom. I’m going off to Tree of Life.. Raw spiritual food retreat for 7 day juice fast and have been trying once again to get off sugar , prior to going so I don’t feel completely miserable..
So my new plan is juice fast one wk before I go and continuing fast for the second week while I’m there.
This blog and ur story has given me hope!!
Bless you

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Melinda June 26, 2015 at 2:46 am

I just read your blog and feel like I read my life!! I am so addicted to food too! I totally get everything you are talking about. I lost 93 pounds 5 years ago through blood sweat and tears and I have fallen off and gained 63 ponds back. Thank you for exposing yourself for us to read. you are helping so many people including me! 🙂 God bless you!

Melinda

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Cheryl August 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Thank you Holly, for being such an inspiration. I just found your youtube video and cried through the whole thing! And the music you chose was awsome. I can relate to the sugar addiction….carbs are my downfall but after watching what you accomplished I have renewed determination! You are absolutely beautiful and so blessed to have such wonderful people in your life. God bless you, ~ Cheryl

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Mary September 15, 2015 at 1:28 am

Thank you for telling me that I AM ADDICTED TO SUGAR. Starting this with my husband in the morning.

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Deb September 28, 2015 at 11:40 pm

I appreciate more then you know sharing your story! I too am sugar sensitive and have tried many things to get off of it. It is very frustrating to me that it has so much control over me. I can relate to the fear of giving up food, I just really enjoy food/sugar and to think about giving it up even makes me anxious. But I can do this for one week, one day at a time to break this sugar addiction. Then I will figure it out from there.

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Deb September 28, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Just wondering if any of you that have replied to this blog is on Facebook, so we can connect and encourage each other?

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Patricia June 25, 2016 at 4:16 am

This is just what I needed! This simple plan can be done effortlessly. I’m excited and ready to give it a try. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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Helen January 2, 2017 at 8:49 pm

OMG! You are speaking my language. I struggle more than ever with sugar addiction. I am now on day 4 and doing ok. Tonight I join Overeaters Anonymous. I am so tired of losing control. Although not 400lbs, I am my heighest weight ever. Thank you for being so honest. This has really helped me understand that it’s not my fault.

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sanjana March 18, 2017 at 10:04 am

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