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.