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May 05, 2014

Sugar

Mmewhat

Blue Raspberry ICEE's mean only one thing in my life: I'm throwing in the towel in that particular moment and saying "Hell yes!" to Blue Dye No. 22 and overall lesser health.

And Holy Mother of Frozen Slush Drinks, I freaking LOVE Blue Raspberry ICEEs.

I've been shrugging my shoulders and saying, "WTF" a lot lately in regards to crap food choices. Specifically, since March 6th, when after two full months of moving more and eating well, I decided that sugar wasn't so bad.

It started with wine. Then some chips. Then some more obviously sugared items—cookies, peanut butter by the spoonful—you get the picture.

My body doesn't know the difference between such items. It just metabolizes it all into sugar in my blood stream.

And I get hooked real quick like.

And then my brain says, "Yes, please!"

I know what I need to do but I'm choosing not to do it and because of the choices I am making there are consequences.

Consequences: gaining weight, achey joints, a sense that I am not doing what is needed.

And then I tend to feel sorry for myself.

I rarely talk about my issue with chub and food with my therapist. Why? Because she told me once a long time ago, "You know what is needed, so do it." 

I find it really hard to do what is needed where sugar is concerned. 

I know I need to eat balanced meals and avoid junk. And move my body. And drink water. 

I'm not interested in fads or quick fixes. (Okay, that's a lie. I'd be SUPER into a quick fix except that I know they don't exist.)

But those little synapses in my brain sure do love their sugar.

And I keep thinking I can dabble. A little here, a little there. The spice of life, right? But my body and brain don't work that way. It's just like smoking. If I bum a smoke on a Monday, even after 8 years of smoke-free living, I know for a fact I'd be bumming a second one by Friday.

When I do what is needed, I feel better physically and mentally. Maybe it's because I'm putting a lot of energy into stuff that's going on in my family—the good, the challenging, the inbetween—and because I'm working to really be the type of woman I want to be in my relationships, I'm still letting some things slide so that I don't have to fully be a responsible adult in all areas.

I think that's the answer.

That, and I need a string of a few days without food crap to start the momentum moving in a positive direction.

So that's what I'm working on today. I look at every morning as a potential sugar detox. 

I just don't always choose to follow through.

Anyone else want to check in?

Comments

Cathy, maybe its time for a Move More Eat Well JumpStart: The Sugar Edition!!

No, really. I struggle with cutting down on sugar as well. In January I had very little with a Paleo reboot and I only allowed myself one small square of dark chocolate, and at first it was so so bitter as my taste buds were so into sugar.

But I grew to absolutely adore it until I started sneaking in milk chocolate after the reboot was over, and a bit of sugar in my coffee. Oh and white wine you say? A small glass. Oh.. And a biscuit...oh and cheesecake..oh just a glass of juice, just this once...

etc.

:( completely feeling you.

Oh oh, randomly, are you going to do another encyclopedia of me at some point? I love reading your posts on that project and the Amy's book was awesome! :D S = sugar I am Not eating!

Le gasp. A health version of encyclopedia of me would be epic.

Sorry, you call it Me: the abridged version :D

I have been reading a lot about sugar lately. Have you read Sugar, Fat, Salt by Michael Moss, it will amaze you to see what our food industry is doing to hook you on sugar. Did you know that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine? When given a choice between the two, mice will chose sugar. So it really isn't about will power. I know with the stress of planning my first's graduation, that is giving me more stress which leads me to eat less well. So I understand and am there with you.

I ALMOST spit out my oatmeal 'breakfast' cookie reading this post. Boy, does this one hit home.

I'm not facing a weight issue (a few lost pounds would be OK, but not really needed). But the belly roll would be nice to get rid of. Which we all know is red wine, chocolate & oatmeal cookies! 😔

What really creates self-loathing about my sugar habit is when I'm working my ass off on the track, trying to get ready for race season, doing all the right/hard things physically, and then TOTALLY blowing it by eating crap. This 58 yr old body says screw you... if you don't feed me right, then I can't let you run fast & it's going to hurt A LOT.

Sorry... had to vent. I just went thru this self 'hate-talk' yesterday. And swore I'd eat better today. And then there's the oatmeal cookie I just scarfed. And the glass of red wine last night.. And the chocolate...

I know we're all adults but...

Wow! This sounds like me the last couple of months. A daughter graduating (hello stress and what am I going to do without my daughter eating) and few weekends out of town (hello vacation food and drinks and dessert) and the utter inability to get it all under control has me feeling a little out of sorts. I keep saying that I am going to start today, and today becomes tomorrow then next week etc. I am all for being a little forgiving of ourselves when things go a little awry but this is getting ridiculous.
I also know what is needed, but sometimes that is a little easier said than done (okay a lot easier!). I totally agree with you about putting energy into other areas of my life and that leaves this one a little out of control. So today is the day I am going to take back control, you have motivated me for today to be the day. Today I will remove the CRAP out of my diet! Here's to NO CRAP Monday!

Sugar gets us all! It's sitting in front of our face every single day. No matter where we go it's there! It's really hard to have discipline when you can't even get away from it! It's my downfall too. And all it takes is one "yes" to something sugary and then you just can't stop.

...sitting right next to you this morning. Easter did me in. The girls still have their basket out and friends gave them more Starburst jelly beans (read: the devil's candy) on Saturday. I've craved sugar. I have found myself considering eating Nutella by the spoonful. Yes, the spoonful.

So, the scale and I checked in with each other this morning -- and it's not as bad as I suspected, but it's not great. In response to all of this insanity, my lunch is packed and calories are being counted and FitBit is synced to LoseIt app and I should totally get some sort of freebie for all of the name dropping I'm doing this morning.

I *might* even check in with the treadmill today. Maybe. But that might be overkill. I just want to not feel that sugar slump/achy nastiness anymore. So, I raise my glass (okay, my water bottle) to you and say "bottoms up!" Let's detox, sister!

Best of luck - I know it isn't easy. One thing I could suggest you try is to 'allow' yourself those sugary things but only after you've consumed your daily quota of 'eat well' foods. You may find that, when your body has had it's fill of good food choices you have less cravings for sugary things. Keep us posted. Your honesty and frankness about the continual 'eat well move more' battles we all face help me muster up some personal energy and resolve to refocus on 'eating well and moving more' myself.

I haven't read that book but saw the video Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig MD on University of California TV and it has similar conclusions. A little long but a very interesting and detailed discussion.

That conversation is the exact one going on in my head. I know what to do and why I should do it so why should it be so hard!! Thanks for the post - I am going to try to keep off the sugar (again)...

I try to like dark chocolate. Sometimes, I actually do. : )

Katie, funny you should mention that… all I can say is… yes! Working on a revised concept now. : )

I was just on the treadmill, and my foot hurts with every step and I had a moment of feeling kind of pissed off at my body right now. I miss running. I really do. I miss how it made me feel—like a badass. Still working through this foot rehab, but honestly, this might be as good as it gets so I have to figure out the best way to get some exercise.

That's my goal today. No crap. I have a plan for food for the whole week. Okay, at least for today.

Yep. And the problem is, I always want to be thinking, "Oh… just a little… " and it literally triggers a firestorm of cravings.

And you know, there is NOTHING bad about eating well. Eating real food. It's not like I am trying to eat a bunch of packaged diet foods. You know? Real food is amazing and I love to cook.

I just need to do what is needed. And avoid the sugar, in everything. Especially the hidden, less obvious sources.

I have not weighed myself in a month. Trying to not let numbers make me go down the "woe is me" path, and instead, do the whole, "Just eat well" path. But, again, numbers are information and if I don't attach judgment, then they are just info.

I could have written this...down to the negative self talk after you follow sugar down the rabbit hole. I've been on the sugar train since a few weeks before easter (darn those Jelly Beans), and I know I need to get off, but I"m just NOT. Why? Who knows. I know it's bad when I buy flavored coffee creamer for my coffee...because I am a black coffee girl! So I"m in for a reboot. I'm starting with lunch, and trying to eat something that will help me cut that afternoon snacking. If I take care of myself at lunch (no small feat with a demanding 3 year old around) I find the rest of the day is fine. If I don't, well, I'm on the snack train for the afternoon.
I've struggled with my weight most of my adult life. I hate it. It's hard to feel strong and capable when I feel like crap mentally and physically because of what i'm eating. I'm in for a reboot with you, CZ

Oh, I hear you. As many have stated, the Easter candy started a downhill spiral for me. I just threw the last of it away this morning. I totally believe that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Once I start I crave more and more.

Saturday I told a friend I was going to have no sweets until Friday when I go to NYC with my daughter. That same Saturday I went to a baby shower and had 2 rice crispy bars, 1/2 of another type of bar and then got a special K bar at a coffee shop. Ugh!!!

So yes, that is how good I have been doing. Sunday was better and today I have faith I will do better too. It truly is one day at a time.

Thanks for keeping it real, Cathy.

Almost EXACTLY at the same point in life. Only my weakness is Cherry Limeades at Sonic. I think, Oh I will get a "small" an it won't be so bad. It's still bad if its every other day. So, on this lovely Monday check-in, I'm with you. I'm gonna give it up for a few and see if I can keep rolling from there. Good luck Cathy! (to me and you, both) :)

Cathy, this was the perfect post for me to read this morning! I felt like I was reading something I could have written. I have been struggling for two years to try to eat better and lose some weight. I even signed up for your Move More Eat Less last year. I seem to be able to make it about two months of doing everything I should. During this time I lose weight, feel better and get a lot more done. But about the two month mark, a poor pitiful me phase starts. "I haven't had anything in so long, I deserve a little sugar something." "I can have just a little, it won't hurt with all the good work I have done, etc. Then I slide and gain back all that I have lost and I end up where I am today-completely disgusted with myself! In all other areas of my life, I do what needs to be done and I do it fairlyly well-all areas but this one.

Today I am recommitted. I turn 50 in September and I want to lose 40 pounds by my birthday. This is not all I have to lose, but it will get me to a reasonably heathy number and under a significant number on the scale. If I do not get on track, there is no way I will be able to lose what I need to for my goal.

As I start again today, I will be thinking of your post and knowing others are struggling with really similar issues, I am not alone and I am not being persecuted because I am not eating sugar!

Thank you for sharing your story!!

Cathy-I am an all or nothing type of person. If I allow even one morsel of sugar in my life it becomes a mountain of cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc. So I don't have any AT ALL! For me it has to do with watching relatives with diabetes and knowing that I have the same genes and I don't want to be in their situation.

Also I have a problem with having everything in my life going well. I can exercise and eat right, but then my spending gets out of control. Or my house is looking good and my spending is fine, but my relationships suck. Somehow I hope to have everything good at one time, but I guess that is part of the human condition and struggle. Good luck to you and everyone who commented, especially those who are sending students off to college next year.

I hear you. I just quit drinking iced coffee before Easter (the withdrawal near about killed me) Then it will be a week tomorrow since I quit smoking- and I'm angry about the loss of the space it brought me and just want to kill the people I love so they'll get out of my face. But I can't kill them because it's somewhat illegal and they don't get out of my face.... I think I've had a bag of lollies everyday for the last six days as a replacement for what I've lost. It's not working.
On a lighter note I love this young chickee and her books: http://iquitsugar.com/ and we're hoping to have our family of 6 go virtually sugar free starting next month or so.
Then I don't know what the hell I'm going to do... but someone should probably hide the knives.

I could definitely have written this. This is exactly what I was telling myself yesterday. I know exactly how you feel because I'm there too. The hurt in the joints, the destructive self-talk... My head knows what to do. Good nutrition is very simple, but I just can't say no to sugary food, wine... A little won't hurt! But it's never a little. Wish I could find the motivation, the will power to finally get to where I want to be health wise. Maybe you could form a support group? :)

After a scrapbook retreat weekend with little movement and a whole lotta sugar, my body is saying, 'uncle'. Being honest with myself and everyone else, my sugar addiction has been spinning out of control far before this weekend. I'm getting back on the proverbial horse today. The older I get (46 yrs.) the harder it's become. I don't know if it's the whole 'pre-menopausal' thing or not but my body isn't responding the same as it did even 3 years ago to workouts. Sugar, for me, is just plain evil!

I know that beating myself up for lapsing isn't a good thing, it perpetuates more destructive behavior (bad eating). I'm going to keep trying even if it doesn't work every time because those 'keep trying' moments - they add up & make us more aware. And we need to keep cheering each other on because it's seriously hard to do anything alone!

I want you to know that I was eating sour cherry balls as I read this.....so yeah, I kinda get it. Hello, my name is Allison, and I am addicted to SUGAR. It's been about four minutes since my last piece of candy, and I'm not going to lie...going another four minutes is going to be hard. I love the idea of each day being another possible detox. I may just tell myself that as I wake up every morning. Thanks for being so honest!!

I read once- "All you do when you weigh yourself is weigh your self-esteem" and that feels about right. It was in a book called Accidentally Overweight by Libby Weaver- it's awesome and I think you'd quite enjoy it- she has it as an e-book on her website. http://www.drlibby.com/

Hmmm, we seem to be living parallel lives. I can totally relate. I also have my daughter going off to college. I am putting so much pressure on myself to throw the perfect party, create the perfect invitation, capture the perfect highlights of her 18 yrs in a photo/video montage, redecorate my old "dated" home, etc. etc. All while trying to make extra money to pay for all this with my two work-at-home jobs. No wonder I find myself reaching for sugar, it's like alcohol to an alcoholic. (Luckily that is not a temptation for me!) I started the year out great, lost 15 lbs and now find myself up 4 lbs. Today is the day that the upward spiral stops. As so many have said, it all starts with one thing, for me it was a "tiny piece of chocolate" a day. Ha! Who am I trying to kid?

We can only do so much Cathy, take it a day at a time and be proud of any little steps you can take in the healthy direction. Maybe your therapist could help, since she's been so helpful in the rest of your life, why not in this part? If she can't help you, maybe there is someone else that could? Just sayin'!

Here's to a good day!!

Oh I so hear you. I have had the Salt and Pepper Chip bug going on for over a week and then the red hots that grab my eye. It is a hard thing to break once you get started.

Hi Cathy -

I've posted about this previously, and have to say, I'm convinced that FOR ME (i.e. I'm not judging, condoning, recommending, blah, blah, blah)I really can't do sugar. At. all.

I was recently tested (MRI, RAST test, needle prick test) for allergies that caused migraine headaches that were occurring 4-5 times a week. I was at wits end. Literally.

Tests came back off the chart for Candide mold. Yep. The yeast kind. Nope - I have almost no yeast infections, but at the cellular level (think blood levels, the proof was in the pudding. I am allergic to yeast (which loosely translates to sugar). Truth be told, I'm not the LEAST bit surprised as most of my diet consisted of carbs, sugar, chocolate and grains. And I still ate TONS of vegetablss at that time. Unfortunately, all the sugar (it's in EVERYTHING) was short-circuiting the good stuff...

Doc suggested an elimination diet meaning no sugar, no grains (they get broken down into sugar in the bloodstream), no dairy. Pretty much Paleo - which you and I have talked about before, and which I'd dabbled in but gotten away from mainly because I couldn't figure out how to sustain it.

Through these tests and the ensuing diagnosis and treatment, I'm fullycommitted to my new diet. It's not a diet anymore. It's my lifestyle now for months.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but I don't eat sugar anymore. The only sugar I get is from fruits (which are eaten sparingly - a few times a week), and from natural foods. I am fully committed to Paleo eating - and I no longer have ANY cravings. I am serious. They're gone, Cathy. I NEVER in my life thought I'd be able to say that.

Couple caveats: The first week of this was awful. I had a headache that was brutal, I was fuzzy, and shaky (often called low-carb flu). But, as quickly as that came about, it disappeared. Secondly, to stay healthy and regulate your sugar levels (and avoid metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance), you MUST monitor your protein (not too much or the body converts it to glucose to feed the brain) and your fat intake. I eat up to 65% of my daily calories in fats! and I'm dropping weight, feeling really good, and thinking clearer than ever.

I can smell and taste things I never did before. I have NO headaches. I am eating healthy and LOVE it! Do I want cookies and cake and candy? Not from a craving perspective (those have disappeared - unbelievably!), but I will enjoy them for special occasions - Christmas, my birthday, or a very special occasion.

It's changed my behaviors dramatically though. I must think ahead to prepare or have on hand, good foods that aren't sugar laden (or even laced) and drink plenty of hydrating WATER. I also take care to get good sleep, which is now no longer a problem since I dropped the sugar. I'm sleeping THROUGH the night which hadn't happened for months and months and months.

If you gave up cigarettes, Cathy, you can easily give up sugar. I think both of those addictions (smoking and sugar) are sooo similar, so if anyone could do it, it would be you. Especially if you work at home and can prepare your own foods throughout the day, that's even better!

I'm convinced that most of the Western world (mainly the US) is addicted to sugar. I have been there, come out the other side, and I'm convinced.

Sorry for the diatribe. I'm just so convinced of this core change, that I want to share it with others. It's changed my life.

Good luck, and thanks for sharing. I love coming to your blog each day.

If I eat or drink sugar, I get addicted so quickly. Through college and five years after, I drank so much sugary soda that my emotions went way up and way down, and I cried - a lot. Plus added pounds that I'm still trying to let go of.

This year I didn't consciously decide to avoid sugar but I made better choices because of the consequences of sugar in my body. I don't eat or drink sugar at work during the day because the crash brings me so low I cry, and who needs that at work? Then at night, if I have sugar, I don't sleep very well. So that pretty much eliminated sugar during the week.

Oh yeah - another result of consuming sugar is the achy joints. Not fun.

For me, the result of avoiding sugar because of what it does to me was the trigger. I don't crave it like I used to..and turn down desserts and sugary sodas all the time. I've become one of "those" people for whom a few sips is enough when I decide to treat myself on the weekend. (Who have I become?!) I also had insomnia for over a year, but in the last two months, I've upped my workouts (lots of walking, some strength training) and my dinners during the week are boring: protein, rice (it's not a bad carb for me, and a veggie) - and I sleep so very well. If I don't get enough protein or veggie at dinner, then I don't sleep as well. Not saying it's a magic formula for me but it kinda is. So I'm not adventurous during the week with meals, but I feel better and actually get sleep without waking in the night. At 45, I couldn't say that in recent years.

I have seen his video on Sugar and read his book as well. A little technical, but the addictive nature of sugar is scary.

There was a book I read recently (wheat belly, I think) where someone was quoted saying something like "I gained 30lbs from one cookie". That's me in a nutshell. I have one little tiny bit and the shit hits the fan rather quickly - I start eating tubs of raw chocolate chip cookie dough, eschewing all vegetables, and spending most of my time yawning on the couch or grumpy about being dragged off of it. The stuff is awful and more or less ruins my life when I'm on it, but it's sometimes just oh so good. If only I could remember how good I feel when I'm not sugar-high just before I'm about to take that bite of chocolate.

I loved reading this!! I am also sugar/grain free and have been for a year. I can't give up my dairy though so I am low carb but HIGH fat like you. I was nodding my head the whole time I was reading your post. I think that people are catching on to this whole "sugar is death" thing. I highly recommend watching this show that aired on Canadian TV called the Secrets of Sugar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDaYa0AB8TQ

Cathy - you can definitely give up sugar if you can give up smokes!! Find some sugar substitute treats (sweetened with xylitol or stevia which is better than sucralose) and enjoy those when you NEED something sweet.

Sugar is my downfall, Coke in particular. For what it's worth. . .you have been an inspiration. I've been moving more and eating less, food not sugar, and for the first time in 12 years buying a smaller size. I know there will be those 'fall off the wagon' times but I'm inspired by you to get my butt up and start again.

Thank you.

I could have written this post. I have the exact same issue with sugar and am in the exact same place with it right now. I was doing so well and then I let myself stop tracking my food and east some cookies -- and then the whole rest of the box of cookies and that let to the last two weeks of eating pints of Ben & Jerry's every other day! Ugh! Why is it so hard -- and sugar is EVERYWHERE -- much harder for me to avoid than smoking or alcohol. In fact the workplace could be considered a sugar drug pusher -- at least where I work!

No Crap Monday! That is the best title ever!!!

I do think it's harder to give up sugar than it is to stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Sugar is EVERYWHERE -- and in so much of what we eat (often hidden), whereas with smoking you know you just have to avoid cigarettes and cigars -- you don't have to worry that nicotine is hiding in something you are eating. The same is true of alcohol, plus you can avoid smoking and alcohol -- you can't avoid food and sugary food because you are tempted with it everywere: TV, work, parties, church etc....

I think you're too hard on yourself. Last fall I found a blog called GoKaleo and joined a group called "Eating the Food" on Facebook. Lots of good resources on healing disordered thinking about food and taking a more realistic/moderate approach to what we eat. I've tried to eliminate sugar in the past and have always ended up in a worse place than I was to begin with. Restriction brings out the rebel in me but I'm learning not give food so much power. This stuff is not easy :)

I was trying to get back on track at the beginning of the year and here it is May, and I'm still not doing very well. Especially these last few weeks. It's been crazy busy with the kids' school, my PTO volunteering and my husband's work. Throw in the stomach flu raging through the family and none of us feel like making the effort to eat well. But, today is as good a day as any to make a change, right?

I'm totally addicted to sugar! It's my drug of choice. I spend my days feeding this addiction ... and then feeling terrible about it. I know how to break the cycle and I'm not sure why at the moment I'm not trying to. Maybe this post is a sign that it's time.

It's hard to make good choices about food. I don't know your therapist, but I would say if you are thinking about it a lot, then go ahead and talk about it with her. I am the type of person that needs to hear the same thing over and over again before I internalize it. Maybe you need her to tell you again to do what is needed. Maybe she can rephrase it. :)

Is it just me? Or is anyone else craving a chocolate chip cookies after reading this? :-P

you've said it well. my mind wants to eat like a teenager and my body can't hack it.

I am in so far so good! : )

I lost track of how much chocolate I ate on Easter.

Andrea, what IS it with that "I can do this for two months" because I swear that was my deal this year too. It's all about choices. But I swear, a little sugar free momentum is what I always need to get the ball rolling!

Yep. I hear you. It's a balancing act for sure but it it so tricky to be fully responsible and do what is needed in all areas.

GYPSY! Guess who is the most awesome person today? YOU! Seriously. Quitting smoking is CRAZY hard. The last time I quit (8 years ago) after trying more than five times before, I cried every day for two weeks. It left SUCH a hole in my life. I filled that hole with food eventually, and honestly, I haven't figured that one out but... KEEP it up.

Nothing replaces it. BUT, over time, it does get easier. I was the most hard core smoker on the planet. Pack a day, rain, shine or sickness. Didn't matter.

You can do this.

Maybe a support group for sugar busters or something. Maybe a new class that isn't really about scrapbooking, you know? Although I don't think Move More Eat Well was really about scrapbooking. Now you got me thinking.

Sue! I couldn't agree with you more. Sugar truly is a silent killer, don't you agree?

When I finally committed to making this decision, reading labels revealed frightening amounts of sugar in EVERYTHING. I'm almost incensed enough about it to take on an activist role. The food industry knows what they're doing and they're perpetuating obesity and addiction in the US population. We're all going to pay eventually with skyrocketing costs to pay for the diseases and illnesses that always eventually arise from overuse of sugar.

I'll watch the link, Sue, and I agree, Cathy, you can kick sugar if you kicked cigs! I'd just be careful not to use too much sugar substitute, as it also affects insulin levels, and confuses the sugar-craving-elimination process. But, as Sue said, when you feel you REALLY need something, it's an alternative. I would also say you should resist ALL sugar AND substitutes for the first 10-14 days, at least, to remove the excess sugar in your system.

Agree on the beating yourself up. That never helps me much either. But just looking at it and saying, "Okay, so that happened. Now what?" That's kind of my approach lately, which isn't saying I couldn't start making better choices, but I know it all comes down to me and my attitude. : )

The Daily Detox. : ) GO Allison!

Renee, you know what I want to say to you: don't put so much pressure on yourself! Your daughter loves you and you need to just focus on what will make a nice party. I tell you, I have decided to have chocolate chip cookies and have Chipotle cater the party. I will make four posters of Aidan photos, and that will be good. You need to enjoy your last month with a graduating senior. Don't let stress and pressure take away that joy!

Thank you...thank you...thank you... I read this post and thought, "OMG, this is me". Only my sugar is actually salt. Chips, fries... anything salty. I know I'm not alone in my struggle with weight, with family, with life, with doing it all. Some days it just kicks my ever-growing butt. But we can do this... eat better, do better, be better. I know you can because I've seen you do it, on this blog. And because of that, I am trying to too. I go back and read your posts when you were so fierce, and that gets me motivated. You can do this!

Wow. Seriously.

You know, you're right. I quit smoking. I can give up sugar if i REALLY want to.

Do you have any great recommends for Paleo info? I have the Whole 30 book. Should I fully commit and give it a try?

Achy joints. Yes. I know this connection to sugar and inflammation. Loved reading this.

I was eating peanut butter straight from the jar just the other day.... not the way I want to live at all.

: ) Sprite is my nemesis.

OMG, I totally agree! When I worked in a corporate office, it was everywhere. Every day was a new birthday or someone bringing in leftovers.

I know her blog! I should read it more often.

tchris, the crazy thing? Chips metabolize into sugar in the bloodstream. So I hear you on this. I ADORE chips. Adore. As in, one of my all time favorites, next to french fries.

Whoops. ; )

Jumping on the sugar parade bandwagon. One of my friends is just starting down the road to weight loss. She commented "it can't be as hard as quitting smoking." I laughed. Roared really. I'm not saying quitting smoking is easy; but you don't need to smoke to live. You do have to eat. And every day we are SURROUNDED by choices, most not ideal. (It doesn't help we work in hospitality, including a restaurant which supplies us with free meals while at work.) If I could simply ban sugar from my surroundings, my dietary plan would be a piece of cake (ha).

Sugar is my gateway drug. :)

Maybe I should talk to her. I feel like it costs a lot to work with her (and none of it is covered by insurance) so I focus on relationship and family issues more often than not. Plus, i seriously think she's going to tell me that I'm just acting like a child and not doing what is needed. Sometimes I fear the therapy smack down you know? ; )

Eating peanut butter straight from the jar is not the worst choice...provided it's a good, organic peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts (and maybe salt). That's the catch. O Organic's from Safeway is my personal fave. An apple makes a great spoon. :)

You have so many comments on this I don't have time to read them, so I am not sure if someone has offered this up yet. Last year I did a great program called The 21 day sugar detox. And it was great, after the initial headache and crap I felt wonderful. Then like you I thought oh I can have just one Diet Pepsi occasionally or one piece of candy sometimes. Fast forward to a year later and I am drinking cases of Diet Pepsi a week, and Diet Rockstar along with that. And I am lucky if I can get through a day with just one candy bar getting shoved in my mouth, if not 2 or 3. :( I did your MMEW in January and it helped, some, I increased my water for a while but didn't really decrease my soda; so I just spent more time in the bathroom. lol Anyways I totally adore you because I am pretty sure you are my long lost twin. :) Your issues are my issues and I often make the immediate easy "fun" choice even though the angel on my shoulder is saying "you want to eat healthy, you want to lose weight, you want to feel good". Tomorrow is a new day and maybe we will make better choices. Your class did help me not beat myself up so much about the choices so that has helped some. Ok, book over!! :) Have a great day no matter what choices you make. :)

I am so struggling with this very issue last night. Various issues over the last year have left me sluggish, gaining weight, and eating in ways that don't make me feel good. Add in the hormonal issues & well, I feel like you were writing about me. I'm trying something different as a part of what I'm calling May Madness - a month of jump starting a better approach to get myself feeling a little more like the healthy me that I love. I came up with a convoluted plan - yes, the experts all say that's a recipe for failure, but it seems to be working for me - that I put into place on Monday, April 28th. I am having no sugar except fruit in my morning green smoothies & no alcohol during the week. On the weekend, I am allowing myself a treat each day, whether that be wine, dessert, or both. ;-D Monday, back to fruit for my health. I found the first day or two last week to be difficult. By Friday, I felt like I had control. I did enjoy my treats over the weekend, but find this Monday of no sugar to be not near as difficult. My hope is to learn how to manage my sugar rather than get rid of it completely - life is too short to be THAT miserable. I've done some (minimal) reading on the psychology of dieting and I know that an all or nothing approach will not work for me. Not at all. So, I'm trying a convoluted plan that let's me feel like I have some freedom - and I'm not going to beat myself up for tweaking this plan as I go. I already feel better - and the scale moved enough to let me know I"m making a difference. I'll take that. Good luck to you!

I do agree, Beth. It's FAR harder, but I was encouraging Cathy, because I think giving up cigarettes is one of the hardest things a person can do - from the habit perspective and the addiction factor. SO many people want to give up cigarettes, and they have the willpower, but the nicotine addiction is TOO powerful.

But, I hear ya. It is EVERYWHERE - and very hidden in many places.

Laughed out loud when I saw the Slurpee! The slippery slope is always ready - to take you for a ride. The voices take turns describing how a fatal car wreck is right around the corner and you better eat while the eating is gone. All those years of ACOA taught me well. My spinster asked me if I was aware that I was an alcoholic, whether I ever took a drink or not. I told her, I knew that and that food was my alcohol of choice.

We lie to ourselves and each other all the time about food, mostly ourselves. We can not take one bite, one cookie or one chip. We also can not quit. After many years, the only option iIMHO is transfer. Substitute Something for cookie, a better food choice. I do not do well when I tell myself, no. The voices rebel and aim right for me. Must make friends with the voices, may be the only chance we have.

Cathy, I just did a lot of research online. Many sites have conflicting information, but some that I use are Ultimatepaleo and PaleoHacks. NomnomPaleo Mom is another good source, as are many, many others. Once you've educated yourself enough, you can figure out whether you want to be more Paleo, more Primal (allows some dairy and sweeteners), or a combination. Also Mark Sisson is a great resource. I also have a number of great books I've read that help you work out where you want to be on the spectrum.

I truly mean it when I say that you have to do what works for you. For me, I knew sugar was making me feel like crap, but I couldn't figure out how to fix it. When the doctor showed me the results, it was factual verification. It was only when I really studied the science of it, that it clicked for me and worked.

Going low carb ONLY will lead to metabolic syndrome and metabolic resistance = bad news. Low carb without nutrients, fats, and protein in the right ratios will only lead to starvation mode (wherein the body fights to keep fat because it thinks it's not going to get food again) and ultimate failure. It's almost unreal for me when I sit down to eat (another BIG success factor is not eating on the run), because I have mostly veg, a great tasting protein, and delicious fats (avocados, nuts, olive oil, homemade mayo, meats, etc.). I eat slower than I used to (because I'm not ravenously hungry due to equalizing my sugar levels), I enjoy my food because I can taste it so much more, and I leave the table satisfied.

I never in my entire life thought I could go between meals without eating, and I'm able to say I don't need to eat between meals anymore (or if on rare occasions I do, it's veggies or nuts or seeds), and I don't eat after dinner. Seriously. The world's greatest snacker rarely snacks anymore. It's mind-boggling and fantastic at the same time.

I am peacefully resolved to the fact that I can't dabble in sugar. I can't have a little each day, both mentally, but now the results say physically as well. So, I fully committed. I decided to let the cake and cookies and candy and crap be something in my past (and I had a very successful Pastry / Wedding cake business for over 10 years!). I enjoy fruit (which is plenty sweet!) and I focus on the great foods I do eat, rather than the stuff I don't / "can't" eat. Once I started feeling the incredible effects of getting sugar /grains /dairy /processed food OUT of my diet, I no longer WANT those things. Honestly. NO ONE would have believed that could ever have been true for me.

No more debilitating headaches. No more joint pain. No more freakish cravings. No more foggy thinking. No more hypoglycemia shakes when the sugar leve would crash. No more incessant snacking on healthy or processed foods. And NO.MORE.MOOD.SWINGS. That was a HUGE change I experienced. I'm just calmer in my thinking and behavior...

Sugar to me is what cigarettes were for you, and alcohol is to an alcoholic. I know I need to keep it out of my life, since I now it messes with my brain center when I do. I'm not going to become extreme about it, but I have helped myself move past the obsession that I'm "giving it up forever" by knowing that once in a VERY great while (like only a few times a year), I will partake in a celebration involving sweets by having a bite or two, or sharing a little with a friend/hubby. That way, I get to enjoy it if I feel like it at that moment, and I keep my sugar issues at bay. Again, I have to say that now that I've eliminated it, it doesn't have any of the power it used to. Who cares if everyone's eating cake and ice cream. I feel like crap when I do, so why would I want to? I focus on the conversation being had, the environment I'm in, or the beauty of the moment. Food is no longer the big player in the room.

I'm so sorry to ramble. Feel free to email me if you want to talk. This has changed my life THAT much....

I agree on this one, meaning, you do not have to smoke to live. I used to trot that one out all the time to mixed reviews. LOL. But from some of the comments I've read, if you get the sugar out, and eat well, the cravings stop. I have personally experienced this, just not on a regular basis.

Hey Kim, I like that you got the whole don't beat yourself up. I work on that one some days more than others. : )

I too love my morning protein smoothies that have one cup of frozen berries in them. I just need a week of balance, which is what I'm shooting for this week. Then I'll do a post next mOnday and see if in fact I did what I set out to do.

You should read Wheat Belly. It talks about the science of GMO wheat germ which is contributing greatly to the expanding waistline of Americans.

Addiction is such an insidious thing, isn't it?

I'm wondering what you eat for breakfast... For me, breakfast is linked to grains and dairy...

Would you like to add a pastry item for only 99 cents? Of course! Oh wait, no...no. Sigh.

In all seriousness, I am surprised the stuff still tastes good to you. I have slowly cut sugar out of my life and said good-bye to the high fructose stuff long before that. Doesn't the blue icee thing taste like crap to you now? The stuff I used to think was so yummy really tastes chemically and artificial to me now. I don't even like cake from Costco because it tastes so super fake sweet. I have been struggling for years with my weight, but I really believe the key is to change your tastes so that the really crappy stuff does not even speak to you anymore. After 40 years of eating dessert in the evening, I stopped this year and it is really ok. Never thought I could do it. Just my two cents because I don't want you to go down the road again. Change it today, forever. Good luck!!

Grains and dairy are a real Western world habit.

I eat eggs, spinach, meats (Canadian bacon, real bacon (that is truly real and not pumped full of nitrates and ridiculous amounts of salt).

Sometimes I have chicken and roasted vegetables, tuna with red peppers on the side...

I mainly eat eggs, but you can eat any food at breakfast. Now that I'm making great tasting food, there's no need to limit those foods to lunch and dinner. Who cares what it is if it's healthy, sustains you throughout the morning, and packs in loads of vitamins and minerals?

I avoid fruit because of my high yeast allergy (which is what almost all sugars break down into in the bloodstream) but that is a good add-in as well, so long as you don't overdo it. Fruit is still a sugar and too much is going to raise your insulin levels.

Also, lots of people do kefir yogurt, but again, because I don't do dairy, I don't have that. It, too, is a great choice and tastes good mixed with a small amount of real fruit.

I'm sure a lot of us can relate. Sugar is an addiction just like any other, but honestly the consequences are less severe than with drugs, alcohol or smoking, so we let it slide. I struggle with it terribly. Currently...for 2 weeks now, I've been in a good place. What started it? Why a friend who had gone low carb. Competition gets me going. But I know I cannot stay in this place of no bun with my hamburger, no wrap with my fajita. I already have an "end date" in mind. Meanwhile? I've lost a few lbs easily, and feel fine because I've kicked the immediate sugar cravings. I have a hard time believing people actually learn to *dislike* sugar tho: even when I was super healthy for a year, sugar tasted heavenly and immediately left me *needing* more. Maybe that is the difference between carb addicts and other people. I truly feel helpless to avoid sugar sometimes no matter how much willpower I try to squeeze out. I simply have to have it!

Thank you for posting this, and thank you to every single person who responded! Demon sugar has got me down as well, and I'm convinced that it is also what lowered my immune system and delivered me into the throes of a never-ending cold. A year-plus of therapy has helped me stop jumping right into beating myself up, but feeling tired and generally crappy is making it more and more difficult to fight back. So grateful to you all for letting me know I'm not alone!

Totally with you, here. I appreciate your honesty. I am a runner, I run regularly, but every winter my "hibernation" feeling kicks in and I eat/put on pounds. I have continued the habit of wine and chips every night now. I wake up feeling bad about my evening's snackings, get that day's run in and tell myself only water when I sit down that evening... but the hours creep by and that snack sounds good all over again. I eat about 5 times more calories than I burned in the run and more weight creeps on. I feel guilt and regret each day and I know what is needed... but I fall into the trap again. It is hard to break bad habits-which I have worked hard to establish ;) Wishing you luck, sending you good luck hugs and big thanks for being you.

I love this comment!! The 99 cent pastry item gets me every. single. time.

I'm in a off-again stage right now too. I told myself that when I was laid off on 4/1 that I would use the month of April to get myself into shape. The 5th grader goes to school at 8am and doesn't need me again until 2:30 - loads of time to get on the treadmill, pop in a Kathy Smith VHS or DVD, etc. Except for a few days of walking to pick her up from school there has been zero exercise in my life the past month! Clearly it's not a problem with work taking up too much time. It's just about the start

My down fall is chocolate, especially dark chocolate M&Ms. I eat pretty well except for chocolate. Sigh.

Thanks for sharing. I did MMEW in Jan and I've just re-kicked it off to get me back on track. Salt and junk food and my achilles right now, so I'm working on cutting back on them and I think that sugar will come into the picture soon after that!

My name is Peggy and I am an addict. Sugar is my crack. I was clean for nearly 2 years. Then like any other addict, I thought I could have a little. Nope. M&Ms are my drug of choice. What really bothers me is that they aren't even a GOOD worth it chocolate. Just handy, quick and crunchy. Ugh.

Yes, I'm so with you.

I'm perplexed by the way our culture annually shuns a new food group proclaiming IT WILL KILL US. In our lifetimes, Cathy, how many times have we heard something was good for us only to turn around and hear it turns out maybe it wasn't so good or vice versa. Hello, coconut, avocados,chocolate and coffee and wine. I remember when eating coconut in front of people always drew comments or judgement looks about "so, that's why you're fat." Now people are using coconut fat as butter on toast! Carbs were great, then they were shameful. But shameful wasn't broad reaching enough so anything with gluten was banished. And now sugar. The problem isn't the carbs or the gluten or the sugar. The problem is all the pre-made, preservative rich, fast foods and eating out. We raised our kids in the same house in which I grew up, which was next door to the house where my grandmother and aunt lived. (No, I don't live in a small town or on a farm.) I've always been surrounded by older, wiser relatives or neighbors who have all lived long, mostly healthy lives and have always preached MODERATION. My mother ate a fried egg, two strips of bacon and buttered toast, 1/2 n 1/2 in her coffee every day before work. She drank whole milk and ate real ice cream. She died from a stroke due to complications from COPD. My dear neighbor who is going to be 98 next month has had dessert after lunch and dinner every day of the 52 years that I have known him. Next door to him, and across the street from me, lives my Godfather who is 89 this year. He rides his bike as often as he can and bowls in a league. He has tequila and tacos on Fridays with his friends. They've all had their health issues and too many of them have passed on. I learned from these family members and friends, that you eat what is in season, prepared well and thoughtfully and you get some exercise. If you happen to like a shot of tequila or a piece of chocolate, it's not what's going to kill you.

Cathy, have you been reading my diary? I have been on sugar overload since Valentine's Day. And yesterday was my birthday. The kids got me cupcakes with thick blue frosting, a box of chocolates, Ghiradelli Squares (dark and sea salt caramel) AND Lindt Lindor truffles. Gee thanks, Kids, for supporting and enabling my sugar addiction. And my son's girlfriend gifted me with caramel popcorn.
And I have a knee injury, so no strenuous exercise. I can walk, though, so that's good.
I'll be getting back on track in the morning with a smoothie. Perhaps a Daniel Fast is in order.
If only cutting out sugar was as easy as quitting smoking (and we both know that was not easy at all!)
You're still an inspiration to me and I appreciate the vulnerability in your blog posts. Chub, menopause, motherhood, marriage, scrapbooking and other random stuff that you share always strikes a chord with me and usually makes me laugh out loud. Thank you for being you.

I have the daily detox thoughts as well and I usually do pretty well until the admins fill up the candy bowls in the afternoon. Which I have to pass every time I go to the printer. So I just take one piece. Every time. So 5 or 6 by the end of the day. Then it's just downhill from there, my ability to say no to ice cream is no existent. But everyday is a new day...

Sugar is my crack
I have to Jack
It right the F (or H)
out of here.

Amen.


Sometimes I think it was easier before I started MMEW because now I slip a little and then a little more and I know what to do but I don't do it and argh! But, I went to that healthy place once so I know how to get there

I am so glad I'm not the only one with an addiction to sugar. Chips I'm pretty good at giving up, but sweets--impossible! Need to try harder!

My name is Irene and I am a sugar addict. That is why I cannot have ANY. Fortunately, once you detox, there are lots of really good replacements out there. I know you know Maria Emmerich--I found out about her book FROM YOU (Keys to a Healthy Metabolism). Go to her site. Also, read the August 2013 National Geographic cover story on sugar. Morally, it will make you never want the stuff again. It will also make you SICK about what it has done to our planet and health. It was the thing that made me realize I was like the girl always going back to the abusive relationship. Duh, he isn't going to change, so you better. I had to build a bridge and get over it. I have. I can proudly say: I AM OVER SUGAR. SUGAR is EVIL.

Hi Cathy,
I haven't written in a while but just want to say AMEN! Sugar is the bane of my existence. I went off of the white stuff for 5 months and was surprised to have no more lower back pain from an earlier back injury. Woo hoo. Then Christmas...then a family crisis. When I'm on it, I feel like an eating machine. I'm wondering if a sugar allergy is real. Just know you aren't alone.

Oh man, have you been watching me or reading my mind? I couldn't have said it better - those are all my feelings. Just today, only one...next thing I know, 20 lbs have crept back on and I'm not able to go to the gym because I hurt my foot. Another reason to eat - can't move so why not put more food in my mouth. UGH! Each day I think today is the day. Reality is I need something to keep me on track and accountable. I loved working out with a trainer 1-3 times a week but I can't afford that anymore. I know I need a commitment to myself. Oh I had to work late so I treated myself to Jimmy John's - normally I don't drink pop and chips but I deserved a treat - after all, I had to work until 6:00. Tomorrow is a new day!

"I know what I need to do but I'm choosing not to do it and because of the choices I am making there are consequences."
"I find it really hard to do what is needed where sugar is concerned"
That, and I need a string of a few days without food crap to start the momentum moving in a positive direction.
WTH... I could have just copied the whole post. But these things above... I need to take action...I'm just not choosing to...I'm not sure why...just not doing it.
Hope I can start some action soon. Thanks for keeping it real and not making me feel alone in this!

Another one who has fallen off the wagon. Tomorrow I need to to think long and hard before I put any food into my mouth and make a conscious decision before I eat. (please hold me accountable, LOL!)

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