13 Pounds Down on Day 17– Sugar Detox Update

April 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

So here’s a warning.  Sugar is BAD NEWS.   Like REALLY REALLY BAD.   And I believe it is the culprit for a great many of us who suffer with food addiction and obesity.  It’s been nothing short of pure HELL trying to break free from it again.

But here we are!!! Day 17!  And I am finally seeing the light of day.   I am finally experiencing the end of the sugar cravings.  And with it returns a sense of calm, peace and CONTROL.  A control that only comes from removing sugar from my life.  A control I’ve had before and a control I pray I never willingly give up again.

For the first 2 weeks, I did my liquid protein shake sugar detox plan.   From the time I got up until the time I went to bed I drank a ready made Atkins (sugar controlled) protein shake every 1.5 hours.   Not every 2 or 3.  But every 1.5 because THAT Is how bad it was.  That is how HOOKED I was.  I literally could barely make it through 15 minutes without thinking about eating.  That is what sugar will do to you.  It will literally take over your mind until you are completely obsessed with food.  The only time you are NOT thinking about it is when you are actually eating or perhaps the first 2 minutes after you put the fork down.  But after that the hell returns.  And it’s all about getting to the next meal.

I lost very little weight during the first week.  I was probably taking in 1400 calories in shakes alone not including what I was eating when I caved. During that first week, I went to McDonald’s twice and Wendy’s once.  And it wasn’t for a salad. NO SIR!  I had one day where I literally drank like 6 Dr.Peppers in a row (not diet).  Can I even tell you of the sugar spike that produced?  Sodas are HORRIBLE for sugar.  So of course all my progress was lost in an instant.  But it didn’t matter.  I was determined to get free this time.  And I decided that no matter what I was going to keep drinking those shakes every hour and a half.  EVEN if I had just eaten a Big Mac.  I actually gained weight over a few days because I was basically doing two plans . The liquid shake detox plan and the caving in to whatever I crave plan.

Cravings are absolutely mind blowing if you’re hooked on sugar.  They are off the charts.  And when you try to rid yourself of sugar your body wages a full scale war against you.  No matter how many times I’ve experienced it I still struggle to see the reality of what is happening . All I know is that in THAT moment I think I’m going to lose my mind.   Go completely crazy if I don’t give in.  I might be standing in front of the refrigerator trying to talk myself down but it’s overwhelming.  The food thoughts are rapid and constant.  And I feel as if I am literally starving to death.  I know intellectually that I am NOT.   But nothing matters in that moment . It’s like someone who has taken a drug and now they are hallucinating.  They cannot and will not differentiate reality from the mind trip they are on.  And until the drug is out of their system no one will be able to convince them that their hallucinations are not real.

The truth is this.  Cravings are temporary and they will not last forever.  The biggest lie that you believe during this process is that you will have to live this way for the rest of your life.  I cannot tell you how many times I have said to myself, “I can’t live this way! I can’t fend off temptation forever. I just can’t live my life THIS miserable.  I cannot spend the rest of my life fighting cravings! “

And if I really had to live that way for the rest of my life then it would be true.  It WOULD be too much to handle.  It would be impossible to tolerate. But you don’t have to live that way.  You don’t have to spend the rest of your life craving food every second of the day.   It’s only AT FIRST that this happens.  It’s only while it is leaving your system.  If you can fight through the first 3 days and especially that first week, you may find yourself on the other side of freedom.  You may find the screaming raging maniac that lives in your head and demands to be fed suddenly packing up and moving out.  And trust me—it will be a SHOCK.

If you’ve been living like this you may actually believe that YOU are the problem.  That your stomach is the problem.  It’s too big.  I can’t help that you think! Nope…thats not the problem.  It’s my appetite.  It’s just large.  That’s how I was born.  Not that either!! It’s the sugar.  Because that sugar is a drug.  And if you can get it out of you everything will change.   You’ll no longer have to hold back the flood gates.  You’ll no longer spend every single day fighting off the thoughts of food.  Suddenly the storm will cease.  You’ll just feel it rising up within you.  This peace that you never thought you could have.  And you’ll start thinking to yourself….

Hey! Is this how EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD feels every day?? Is this how NORMAL EATERS FEEL??

Suddenly you also have that control that other people have always seemed to have.  And when you do you’ll probably get mad.  Angry. Because you’ll think—this isn’t fair!  No wonder everyone else could live their life without binging on food.  No wonder the rest of the world couldn’t understand why diets were so hard for me.  They didn’t have the insatiable appetite that I had!

People who judge you for not being able to stick to a diet probably have NO IDEA what it’s like to live with the kind of unbelievable hunger that sugar will produce inside of you IF you are sensitive to it.  Clearly not everyone is.  A whole lot of people walk around this earth having absolutely no problem with sugar.  They eat donuts.   They consume sugar laden Starbucks drinks.  They pass by the buffet and feel no need to inhale it at once.  And then they think….why can’t you??

Well guess what? We are NOT on an even playing field.  If they don’t have the same problem it’s because they don’t have a sugar sensitivity.  I’m not saying that it’s easy for them.  They still have to deal with all the psychological issues that surround us with overeating.   And even people NOT addicted to sugar have to deal with that.  Even WE (after having gotten off sugar) still have to deal with those pitfalls.  But trust me.  That is nothing compared to the mind-blowing panic inducing life of a sugar addict.  So while diets are busy giving you all these tips and strategies on how to space your meals or think your way thin—you might want to START with getting off the addictive cocaine like substance that is hiding in your food.  Even your DIET food.

I love waking up.  I really do.  I love once again realizing that I am not just some pitiful creature who can’t control her appetite.

What I am is a sugar addict.  And there are many of us out there.  Sugar is a drug.  And if you are eating it then you will never be free.  Not if sugar is your addiction.  And not unless you become absolutely relentless in fighting it.

The first week of this I thought I was going to just about die.  But one thing I did was refuse to quit this time.  I was drinking those shakes no matter what.  If I ate the Big Mac I ate it.  But I still drank my shake when that timer went off.  And I was going to keep working through it.  I was not going to stop trying.  I was going to keep doing the right things even in the midst of the wrong things.   I would keep going for walks.  I would keep drinking my shakes.   And I would keep hoping and praying that eventually enough RIGHT moves would outnumber the wrong moves.

Someone asked me the other day how I got back my motivation.  And the truth is this.  I didn’t.  I had encouragement.  I had support.  But internally, I had almost NO motivation.  But I have learned that THIS saying is true.

Motivation FOLLOWS action

Not the other way around . If we wait until we are motivated then it probably won’t ever happen.  If you are hooked on sugar there will never be a day that you somehow overpower it instantly.  That your motivation suddenly becomes stronger than sugar’s forceful domination.  But if you start moving in the right direction IN SPITE of that then things will start happening.   We act first.  And then motivation comes later.

Every day for that first week I kept performing the action.  I exercised.  I drank my shakes.  And yes…I ate the Big Mac and drank the Dr. Pepper.   A few bags of M and M’s.  And some Kit Kats.  But I kept marching anyway.  Setting the timer.  Drinking the shake.  Logging my FitBit steps.  I performed the actions even while I had no real motivation to stick to it 100%.   But then something crazy happened.   After having performed those actions repeatedly for a week I started feeling ‘motivated’ to keep trying.  Sure I was horribly dismally failing for the most part BUT I had performed those positive actions repeatedly for 7 straight days.  It was the actions that I was taking which began to increase my motivation.  And once my motivation increased I suddenly found myself with more strength to keep fighting.

Week two was still very tough for me.  As I’ve said before a good 3 or 4 PURE days off sugar will speed up the process.  If you can just do 3 pure days you will probably have a serious breakthrough.  But I just couldn’t make it happen . I was THAT HOOKED.   If I could have just locked myself in a padded room for 3 days with only a mini fridge of protein shakes and water I would probably have gotten to this point sooner.  But since no one was willing to lock me up and throw away the key for 3 days it was Plan B!!  :))

By about Day 12 something was happening.  I was having fewer and fewer bad days.  I was making fewer and fewer mistakes.  And with every better day less sugar was running through my veins.  FINALLY I had a day of total victory.  No screw ups.  No mistakes.  I was not eating or drinking anything full of sugar.  And I knew that even that one pure day of sugar abstinence was going to make the next day ten times easier.

I was right.  Here we now are on Day 17 and it is amazing.  I have lost 13 pounds since I started this 3 weeks ago and the majority of that weight did not happen until recently.  But that is how it always works.  Once the sugar is gone the appetite diminishes significantly.  And now we are finally playing on an even playing field.  What matters now is perseverance.  Not giving into the tricks or the lies that I can take a break.  That I can handle a ‘little bit’.  That I could manage “just one bite”.

For over a year I have been losing and gaining the same 10 pounds over and over and over again.  But no matter what I did I could never get past those 10 pounds.  And it’s because I was having to grit my teeth and fight like hell JUST to get those 10 pounds off.  Eventually I couldn’t handle the relentless cravings anymore so I went back.  I was trying to lose weight (again) without truly giving up all the sugar!!!  I kept pretending that I was but I wasn’t! I was allowing it in.  I was making exceptions.  And so long as I did that I was never going to be free again.

This time is different.  This time I am not throwing the wool over my own eyes and playing myself for a fool.  I am ridding my body of that sugar completely.  And because of THAT I have not only lost that blasted 10 Pounds (that I’ve lost a million times before) but I’ve lost 13.  And I know it will be 20 very soon.  Because THIS time I didn’t get to 10 pounds and then throw my hands up in frustration at the overwhelming task it is to fight cravings every minute of the day.  I didn’t get to 10 pounds and then fall down in exhaustion unable to keep going because the temptations are killing me!  No this time when I got to 10 pounds I knew it was because I had regained control.  I wasn’t looking at another week of fighting horrifying cravings and merciless hunger.  No in fact the week coming my way would be the easiest one I’ve had in a year and a half! Because FINALLY I am experiencing the freedom that comes from being Sugar(DRUG) free!

Again—for ME  liquid fasting for a time is the only way I can seem to achieve control again.   And by that I don’t really mean liquid fasting for any great length of time really.  Not necessarily even for a week or 2 weeks.  I mean liquid fasting until I know that I have regained control.  How long that takes I cannot tell you.  It has been different each time.  It could be 3 days or in my most recent effort about 14.  But however long it takes me to get to that one full and complete day of purely sticking to the liquids.  So in other words….Not forever but until I reach the breakthrough.

There is a reason why I do this.  And it’s this saying: “One is too many and a thousand is never enough“.   Now granted that is usually a reference to drug or alcohol addictions but the same can be said for me when it comes to BITES.  When I am hooked on sugar, one bite of anything is all it takes.  And yes—that could be a bite of fish or salad.  It doesn’t matter.  Once I have flipped the switch of chewing food ( no matter WHAT it is—even if its healthy) it just does not matter.  I cannot control it.  Not when my appetite is under the direction of sugar! Not when my appetite is so voracious and out of control.  The only way I can kick that  is to try and stick to liquids until the ravenous appetite goes away and is back under control.  Only THEN am I able to eat like a normal person.  Not someone who takes one bite and then goes on a search and destroy mission through town to fill a bottomless pit of hunger.

Somewhere around day 14,  I finally experienced my first full day of total control.  Not feeling the need to eat something from ‘force’ or ‘cravings’.  Maybe I wanted something other than protein shakes but I was in control of that “want”.  Not my appetite.  And that was when I knew I had hit the target.  Now I am at the point where I can eat from CHOICE not FORCE.  Now I am in control and NOT the food.

So now that I have managed to arrive at that point, I am able to discontinue the protein shakes and return to food.  But only my very limited and safe food list for now.  This means my diet at the moment is consisting of a lot of water, green tea, fish, chicken, tuna, salad, eggs and a few condiments that do not give me issues (hot sauce, mustard, salsa etc)  That is just what I’m eating this week.  Other things will appear but I’m easing into it.  The best news here, though, is that I now am able to stick to a food plan because I now am holding the reins.  My appetite still wants to have power over me BUT with no sugar running through my system I actually have the upper hand again.

I will continue to pray for those of you trapped in this horrible prison that sugar becomes for so many of us.  Just know there is hope.   I have finally had a taste now of freedom and I forgot how much sweeter it is than sugar!!  But now I must keep marching.  Because 17 days is still not enough for me to have really developed a strong enough mindset to withstand the mental testings that I still fall prey to at times.  Sugar is the beast but my mind is still the battlefield.  I will win it or lose it according to where my thoughts take me.

So I have to keep going.  Keep fighting.  And keep navigating the minefield.  The good news is I’ve done this before so I know I can do it again.

ONWARD!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber April 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Way to go, Hollie!!!! It doesn’t help when processed sugar is lurking in everything from spice blends to table salt to pasta sauce and salsas…

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Anneli April 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm

LOVE IT!!!
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Barb April 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

This really hits home with me (again). I’ve really been in denial about sugar. I keep thinking I can be an intuitive eater with sugar still in my life. I’ve tried the steps to be an intuitive eater and allowing sugar but I just never tire of it no matter how much I mindfully eat it. I’ve tried so hard to just be a normal eater and all it has done is pack on more pounds. I guess it’s time I take the plunge and get it out of my life. It’s so hard to face the fact that I’ll never be allowed to have sugar back in my life…it seems so depressing.

Just a thought. On facebook I’m part of a private group called Food Addiction Recovery and it has been very helpful. Up to this point I’ve been in denial with it all. I read others struggles and realize they are the same as mine. You get caught up in a vicious circle and it really brings you down.

Thanks for keeping us up to date on your journey. I love reading your blog!

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Kelly@CurvyFitGirl April 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Yay Holly!!! I’m glad things are going in a more positive direction for you – happy to hear it! xoxo
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PaulaMP April 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm

I am going to ask a question that I’m sure I asked a few years ago, so please don’t be too annoyed with me, my memory stinks. I am still confused as to how the stomach surgeries work. If you only have a stomach the size of half a cup, how is it physically possible to eat a Big Mac or large amount of food? This makes me question if these surgeries really do work if it’s that easy to “get around” the extremely smaller stomach. Does the stomach actually stretch back to the original shape if you eat a lot?

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Liza April 2, 2015 at 4:02 pm

congrats on getting things under control! Sugar most definitely is a drug and that’s why it has its own 12 step program – overeaters anonymous! It’s a wonderful program that also helps to free you from the obsession associated with sugar and compulsive overeating. Check out OA.org, there is some wonderful information! Good luck and I wish you continued success!

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ErinK April 2, 2015 at 4:56 pm

So happy for you! Only another sugar addict can understand the torture and difficulty it causes. I’m gearing myself up mentally and emotionally to tackle this, again. Thank you for being so encouraging! God bless!!

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Tara @ wortheveryounce April 2, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I am on day 4 of being sugar free. IT IS HARD! Three years ago I started with Overeaters Anonymous and had great success following my plan for eating and lost a significant amount of weight. Then life hit me. I allowed old habits to return. Old comforts. Old friends. The last year has been a full on fog for me. Until…..until this last weekend, after my last binge weekend…..you know true addict had to go all out…..I can report I am on day 4 of clean eating and sticking with my sobriety….no wheat and no sugar. This is the longest I have gone in two years. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I do know that for today I am able to surrender and make choices that are good for my body, heart and mind.

We are never alone. Thank you for sharing your story!
Tara
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Calleigh April 2, 2015 at 11:56 pm

A thousand times this! I am also a sugar addict and I 100% agree with a liquid diet to break the cycle and detox, it worked for me too.
Keep going Holly! You’ve got this.
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Karen P April 3, 2015 at 1:05 am

Holly, It took me being off sugar for 6-8 weeks before I could start to do the work that I needed for loss (and maintenance). Once I got off grains, it got easier to get the weight off and the binge urges much lower.

Here’s to setting yourself up with both the food and support needed to stay off sugars and any other substance(s) that act like that. I figure it’s not my fault that my genetics are like this, but my responsibility to put not addictive foods in my body.

Onward and keep up the good work. Karen P.
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LHA April 3, 2015 at 1:09 am

What an inspiring post! I have used the Atkins shakes in a little different way but I agree that they are a great tool for detoxing from sugar and getting things back under control. I am so happy that you are feeling the wonderful freedom that being sugar free brings! Thanks for sharing your experience so that all of us can learn something from it. If nothing else, the lesson is “It’s never too late to make a change for the better.”

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Vicki April 3, 2015 at 1:57 am

I am so impressed that you’re fighting your way out of the fog again. I’m afraid I am smack in the middle of the thickest fog ever. I tried your sugar detox about a year ago. I made it as far as 3 days & thought I’d lose my mind. I’m in a bad place right now. The doctor told me I’m a stroke waiting to happen. And I am so sick of feeling like crap all the time – mentally & physically. PLEASE TELL ME HOLLY: Does it really get better after the first few days/weeks? Is it worth the torture to break the hold sugar has on me & stop being food’s b!#ch??? I pray for God’s strength for you Holly – Not just for yourself, but for all of us you are trying to help lead out of the wilderness.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Vicki,

I totally 100% agree with everything you feel. I could have written this myself. And YES it does get better. It’s just that we cannot see the other side when we are in the middle of it. It IS worth it to move through that torturous period because you really and truly WILL NOT always feel that way. Honestly if I had to put up with the feeling of torture forever then I would not be able to do it. There is just no way. And Day 3 can often be one of the worst. After about 2 weeks or so of not feeding yourself that sugar you will start to notice a serious decrease in appetite. And just think….if you could tolerate even 3 days of nonstop torture with an outrageous appetite then think about how much easier it will be when you get a few weeks in and the appetite decreases. After having had the experience of lifting that heavy weight of staving off a crazy appetite….a normal appetite will be like NOTHING for you to handle!!! I actually think those of us who have had to live through the hell of sugar addiction are almost like the hardcore weight lifters who can bench these crazy numbers. The ones who can lift unbelievable weights over their head. People wonder how they can do it. Well living underneath sugar addiction is like that. Having to basically hold a heavy weight above your head with no release ever. Honestly the fact that I haven’t been 900 pounds is astonishing to me considering how my appetite is constant while on sugar. It took enormous restraint for me to even keep my weight at 417!! So considering how ‘strong’ we really are after benching the sugar beast for so long , holding back a NORMAL appetite will be like nothing once you get the sugar out of your system. I have done this several times now and it is always the same . Once the sugar is gone, everything changes. But if that torture did not stop it would not be worth it to try. So I totally totally get that!!!! The key is to lower how much of it is in your system. So even if you screw up several times a day just keep going for it. The less it is in your system the more ground you gain in beating it! I am praying for you too!

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Vicki April 4, 2015 at 2:46 am

Thanks so much for your encouragement. I was praying I’d hear these words from you. That was just what I needed – to be told that the torture won’t last forever. There will be a calm after the storm. I did Atkins Protein Shakes today with grilled chicken & green beans for supper. I have re-read your words over & over today. I hope I can be as strong as you & hang in there. Blessings to you Holly & all who are trying to kick sugar.

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nixpix April 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Good for you Holly. i can so relate to your latest post. A year ago Christmas I had hit a high of 180 when I should weigh about 135 with my small bones. Nothing was working. Finally I just decided that three times a week I would do weight training. I committed to nothing else. So for 6 months I was faithful to doing just that and found that I was no longer gaining, but able to maintain. Then I started watching my I eat and realized that bread and processed foods of chips…set me off. I went thru the same process as you of cutting them all out and finally stopping my binge eating naturally.
After doing this I lost 6 lbs over the next couple of months, no breads or processed foods and 3 times a week of weight training. At the one year mark of weight training I decided to add in cardio twice a week…..
It is now becoming a life style.I have lost another 10 lbs since doing the cardio and I continue to lose weight….I do not obcess about food….and with out the bread products I don’t have to, but if I eat them, I am back to bingeing.

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) April 7, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Wait, you can go 15 minutes without thinking about eating?! Damn.
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Betsy April 20, 2015 at 4:26 am

I just started following your blog and FB and I’m glad there is someone out there like me! I’m at my biggest and start the sugar detox tomorrow!

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Taryl April 22, 2015 at 3:46 am

Way to go on the detox! It is so, so hard to break free but I think we must for our sanity and health. I’m on a diet right now for allergies fhat is testing me with more fruit than I usually handle, and I keep praying I’ll remain in control and that sugar won’t take hold. I have so much pregnancy weight to lose and it is proving a challenge to stay the course.
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