Getting to the bottom of the sugar craze

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OK Lori, this post is for you.

You and I are not the only ones who binge on sugar after leaving IP.  You and I are not the only ones who were former salt/carb addicts, and now mysteriously only want sugar.

So there’s got to be something there.

Before IP I would not pass up dessert.  What 300 pound person passes up dessert?  But at 300 pounds I craved pizza, pasta, bread, rice, chips, etc….and dessert just topped it all off.  But now, as a 185-205 pound person whenever I leave the no sugar/low carb plan of Ideal Protein it’s like I can’t get enough sugar.

I can pass by pizza, pasta, bread, rice, chips, etc…..I can make “healthy” meal choices…a la proteins and non-starchy veggies.  But I can eat desserts like the end of the world is coming.

Let me tell you what I ate yesterday……

  • 4 big cookies at a work meeting.
  • 1 big dish of Yogurtland
  • 2 Weight Watchers desserts (yeah, funny, right?)
  • 1 box, yes box, yes the entire box, of Girl Scout thin mints from the freezer

This was after I knew I was going back “on plan” today.

And believe me, there have been a few days over the last 2 weeks where my sugar eating has been that way…..where I get a dessert at Culvers only to hit Yogurtland immediately after, and then get a Steak & Shake milkshake a few hours later.  Oh yeah, I said it.

True food addiction behavior.

How could someone who has lost 100 pounds revert to this behavior?  Easy.  It’s an addiction.

My mother has always been a fan of Robert Downey Jr., who very publicly struggled with drug addiction.  Whenever she says to me “just stop it!” I ask her if she would have said that to Robert Downey Jr.  For that moment she “gets it”, but then will say “just stop it” a week later so obviously she doesn’t really “get it”.

The addiction is like having an out-of-body experience.  I can sit there knowing I shouldn’t eat the item but I eat it anyway.  I know I’m putting my health at risk.  I know I’m putting my waistline and clothes fitting at risk.  I know I’m putting my relationship at risk (he didn’t sign up for dating an obese woman, and that’s never been a secret).  And yet I still eat the item.

Until the health community and society-at-large recognizes food addiction as a real thing plaguing so many of us, it’s going to be even more difficult to get the help we really need.

So back to my original thought……why do so many of us (most of us? all of us?) who leave Ideal Protein (or other no sugar/low carb diets) go absolutely batshit berserk for sugar when we used to be salt freaks?  Is it the deprivation?  What is it????

Hopefully we will figure this out, and more importantly, find a way to incorporate *some* amount of “reasonable” sugar back into our lives without it triggering some crazy addiction behavior.

Because all I want is the ability to enjoy a Yogurtland a couple of times a week on a summer night and not have the binges that I do now.

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One response »

  1. Hi Amy,

    Great post. I just finished a course in psychopharmacology and learned quite a bit about addiction and the reward pathway of the brain. It seems the only true way to deal with this addiction is behavior modification and finding other ways to trigger the reward pathway. Food addiction is very much like addiction to alcohol or any other substance, but the unfortunate thing with those of us that are addicted to food is, you can live without alcohol or drugs, but you cannot live without food. Until they come up with some type of vaccination or “magic pill” that takes this craving and addiction away, we will unfortunately always struggle with it. There are many skills out there such as mindfulness, thought stopping, changing routines to avoid triggers, but none of them are as easy as eating three pieces of pie. Rationalization is our worst enemy. I can almost read your mind of what you were telling yourself when you were eating those girl scout cookies. I’ve done it more times than I can count. It is a war, no doubt about it and you have won several battles. Keep it up, we are rooting for you!!

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