I want to take a minute to talk about something we all struggle with at some point, to some degree. That is food/sugar addiction – and it’s real folks. Hopefully by understanding why it happens, you will be better equipped to head it off at the pass and cope with it. This is something that many new people starting out are totally not prepared for, and there are people who have been on this WOE for years and they still struggle with every. single. day.
When you decided to change your lifestyle and way of eating, did you want to have one last ‘hoorah’ meal? Do you find yourself wanting to reward yourself for accomplishments with food? How much time do you spend in a day thinking about ways to re-create your favourite foods to make them ‘ketofied’? Or, how much time do you spend feeling sad about food you can’t eat anymore? If you do fall off track, do you try to rationalize by making excuses due to something else going on in your life? If any of these apply to you, you are having trouble letting go. One thing this WOE will teach you, is that in order to be successful you need to completely change your relationship with food and learn “eating to live” rather than “living to eat”. It’s easier said than done.
How do you overcome this? You need to understand that food addiction is NO different than any other; whether it’s smoking, drugs, alcohol, or any eating disorder. It involves the same neurotransmitters in the brain and dopamine signals. You can quit drinking, smoking, and drugs, but you can’t quit eating! The difference being, there is literally is no dietary requirement for sugar to live, but sugar is a highly addictive substance and some people really struggle with it. You can’t walk into a 7-11 and buy drugs, but you can bet that carbs and convenience food is literally everywhere for the taking. You actually have to go out of your way to find healthier options.
The Law of Addiction dictates that abstinence is the only thing that really works in overcoming any addiction. I’m not even going to try to sugar-coat it (pun intended!) – that is the bottom line. If a recovering alcoholic has one drink they will relapse. The same applies for smokers, drug addicts, etc. Food/sugar addiction is no different.
We talk about artificial sweeteners and their values on the glycemic index, whether or not it will spike your insulin, and by how much. But what we don’t talk about is the sweetness, regardless of the GI value, is a huge trigger for many people. You are really not learning to break your addiction to sugar, rather just finding a substitute. The same can be said for all the ‘ketofied’ recipes out there, and it’s not that any of that is wrong, or that it will hinder your weight loss, but if you really want to conquer your addictions, going back to the basics of food (real food in their whole form) is the way to do it. It might take a week, it might take a month, or two, but I guarantee you the next time you taste something sweet it will be 10x sweeter than you ever remembered it, and it will be FAR less appealing to you.
Some things you can do to help you through this;
- Resolve yourself to the fact that you can never go back to your old way of eating. It hasn’t worked for you thus far, and going back after losing weight isn’t going to make it work a 2nd, 3rd, or 20th time. Know that if you do, all that weight will come right back, and each time it gets harder to lose, because you’re damaging your metabolic flexibility.
- Recognize your triggers and avoid them as much as possible
- PLAN and PREP your meals the best that you can. Driving around hungry looking for ‘legal’ fast food options is not a position you want to be in.
- Have a list of restaurants that you know have good options, for times you are out or just not in the mood to cook. Scope out new restaurants in advance to check out their menu options so that you’re not in a position of having to order something you wouldn’t normally eat.
- If you slip up and fall off track, don’t have the thought that “Well I’ve already kicked myself out of ketosis, so I’m just going to enjoy the weekend and start fresh next week”. Starting over next Monday after a week of debauchery will be much harder than starting over tomorrow!
Quite often, people who have successfully sugar detoxed, find that little slip-up’s aren’t worth it as they’re quickly reminded of how crappy carbs make you feel, and as you tastes become more sensitive to sweetness, something you used to enjoy is now very unappealing.
Like anything else worth working for, this takes effort and will not happen magically. Saying goodbye to things you love is never easy, but with the right information and support system, it can be done!