5

votes

The sugar beast has me cornered, help? Update**

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 25, 2011 at 4:06 PM

I have made such good progress on paleo since new year, I KNOW it is the right way to eat and thrive. I have learned a lot about what works (grass fed beef, veggies, etc) and things that don't work so well for me(nuts, dark chocolate, dairy, etc)

But the sugar demon has reclaimed me!! Say hello ice cream, milk chocolate and this has spiralled to all bets are off - cakes, biscuits and all kinds of gluten laden nutrition bombs.OMFG!

So today I tried to restart but the cravings were strong and I cracked. How disappointing. I need to crack this and get a few days in but how can I get over this hump! Once I break free from this I can easily trot past this "junk" in the shops.

Practical strategies... Get back on omega 3? Go to bed? Dry my eyes and suck it up? Glutamine - how much? Get a baseball bat and start smashing this junk up in a symbolic effort to reclaim my sanity? Sugar be damned!

**update what a difference a week makes! Last week I was locked in battle with sugar but I got back on the rails with some very low carb and zero carb, glutamine and sleep. But let me tell you that Sunday and Monday were the pits!! Cravings were bad and mood was through the floor. I hope I remember that next time I am thinking of the White devil. Today someone gave me a box of chocolates and not even a flicker of desire. Will pass them on. The biggest turn has been getting into ketosis. Phew. So hang tough hackers to beat those cravings.

9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on June 03, 2011
at 06:26 PM

Make one of your choices bacon.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on June 03, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Love the white devil reference Lol

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:11 PM

I haven't started yet. Or maybe the more correct answer is I've started and then fallen off the "Reset" several times, lol! StephNY, I think a Whole30 is a great idea. I need to go check out their website again!

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:43 PM

"Future me is depending on present me." That is awesome! I also love the advice to keep things around. I usually make a roast so I have meat handy for my salads I take to work for luch. One roast lasts me for about a week of salads, plus a little to much on when I have a craving for something else.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:57 PM

When I find I'm having too many cravings I end up doing a Whole30.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on May 26, 2011
at 12:48 PM

Love your advice here, esp. second paragraph about finding little mantras. One I have is, "Future me is depending on present me." (a riff on a Gandhi quote). How's that for airy-fairy? lol

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:08 AM

My office is Candyland too :( Reese's have always been my weakness and there is one evil temptress that always has them on her desk! She also has a cupcake business and brings them in regularly; it's tough!

98d720a6522ba165e3e13e7cc69572da

(30)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Your "smashing junk with a baseball bat" idea reminded me of the time I took out my craving induced frustration on a hapless store bought pound cake that my (non-paleo) mom bought by STOMPING it into oblivion, but not before I covered my shoes with plastic wrap because I figured it wasn't even worth scraping off of a pair of ratty tennis shoes. Ha! I felt SO much better afterward but my mom was not amused at all as I had ruined her plans of making strawberry shortcake for dessert.

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 09:20 PM

Sex toys, kerrygold and IF. All interesting and more fun than sugar!

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 09:19 PM

All good advice, I will add that I have now gone so far with the sugar that I feel sick! Like I could actually puke. So I hope thus feeling will help me reset. Plus after work I am actually going to buy a baseball bat and junk food and smash it to all to bits. Food does not control me. So if you see a neighbour outside smashing bags of cookies, tubs of ice cream etc up then don't be alarmed she is just reclaiming her life!

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 09:14 PM

People I work with think I am soooo healthy, today they were shocked I had some dessert at a pot luck, that was the start of the mad crazy sugar meltdown. Gawd, if only they knew the true horror

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 08:06 PM

I'm on hour 36, i think so but i think equally want sweet foods and health foods right now; but it has been easier to avoid sweet things being in the fast, but i'm not sure if its i truely have less sweet cravings or if it is because i am not eating anything due to the nature of a fast.

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 08:04 PM

same here :( i was so motivated in the beginning, but now its like "this is my last piece of cake for the month" but i've been saying this every week for the last 4 weeks ;( - Have you started the re-set? I"m now trying a fast and cutting my workouts drastically, see if that will help. On day #2 of fast.

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 08:01 PM

why is it so hard i don't get it! i never had sweet cravings before Paleo though.

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 07:31 PM

Do you think IF is possible when sugar cravings are on? Are you having success?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Love the moral superiority complex. 8)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:28 PM

When others are around (i.e., the office), I can easily avoid temptation. It's when I'm alone with the sugar that my problems arise. Maybe it's a guilt thing, just not wanting others to know I'm "weak"?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:27 PM

Such great advice! I can now see exactly where I faltered and gave into my own sugar demon. Time for some mental house cleaning!

2e841984c55e1f346f6e38f60c1620a6

(540)

on May 25, 2011
at 06:47 PM

My house is like a mini whole foods.... It's the office that is evil. Those Bastards :P always leaving cookies candy and the lot everywhere. Thats the worst imho trying to fight the inner fat kid when someone just bought girl scout cookies for the office.

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 06:35 PM

Good plan on limiting choices. I am going to do that to. Let's strap in and White knuckle it to the other side. We can do it!

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 05:51 PM

it doesn't work, i have the same problem and i don't stock any in the house. But when i get cravings i will go through a lot of trouble to go out and my super-sized dessert!

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Hi Minnie, i have the exact same experience! i was so good on Paleo since Jan then started getting unsatiable sugar cravings in March time frame. its not even about hunger since i'll have a huge meal with meat and fat, put the sweets in front of me, and i'll still eat the whole thing and a few more! ugh! i'm now trying intermittent fasting to see if it will help...

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on May 25, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I feel for you as well - I also was doing really well last year until the fall I had a hip injury and couldn't work out the way I had been/wanted to and the wheels just fell off of the wagon from there. I've had several restarts since then and the sugar cravings would derail me over and over. I wish I had the answer for you. I'm fairly certain for me that I just have to stop allowing that behavior. If I can get about a week of clean eating in, it's usually pretty smooth sailing but getting that week in, is one hell of a challenge.

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 04:42 PM

It's not even about hunger, once you start. I think I am just going to have to realise I am going to have to ride it out for a few days. Damn! Wish I hadn't started on the sugar - note to self on that one!!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on May 25, 2011
at 04:41 PM

(disclaimer: some paleos have not evolved to use toys)

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on May 25, 2011
at 04:39 PM

you can do it! start smashing! sleep as much as you want, maybe have a friend give you a massage, find a cutie to have (safe) sex with! use kerrygold instead of chocolate sauce on your sex toys! wow this sounds like fun! woo. so many exclamations points!

2e841984c55e1f346f6e38f60c1620a6

(540)

on May 25, 2011
at 04:31 PM

I feel for you... I am struggling to restart as well. The sugar demon is a hard one to vanquish.

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11 Answers

14
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on May 25, 2011
at 05:24 PM

Ah I know this one well. Thankfully it doesn't happen to me much anymore cause it sucks.

My strategies tend to be to eat a crapload of food that I can have and stay FULL. I make a bunch of food and have it ready to go. If I even get a tiny inkling of a craving I go eat my allowable foods which generally means tons of veggies. I make some of my favorites so I feel happy with my food. Sleep is good. Glutamine also works well for many. 1/4 tsp under the tongue. When going through this I think its fine to use prophalactically instead of waiting for the craving to come. I like to head them off at the pass and take the glutamine several times a day.

Some cognitive behavior stuff can be useful. Find a mantra that resonates with you and when the craving come do the visual a stop sign then recite your script. Over and over and over again. It can be anything that is meaningful to you like "this too shall pass", "I deserve better". Mine are "it's only a thought and thoughts can be changed", "The only way out is through" and "I accept responsibility for my decisions and the consequences of those decisions. I am happy and grateful for this lesson." Yeah pretty airy-fairy but it works for me. You have to find what thought and words work for you and then use them liberally.

The other thing you really must do is a post-mortem on how this happened in the first place. Go back and find that moment when your little pea brain decided that one little bite wouldn't hurt. Go back and see what was happening and how you were feeling and what the script was that ran in your head that made taking that first bite seem like a good decision. You have to find some way of recognizing what is setting you off because, while learning to get up is half the battle, in the end you have to figure out how to stop falling.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:27 PM

Such great advice! I can now see exactly where I faltered and gave into my own sugar demon. Time for some mental house cleaning!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on May 26, 2011
at 12:48 PM

Love your advice here, esp. second paragraph about finding little mantras. One I have is, "Future me is depending on present me." (a riff on a Gandhi quote). How's that for airy-fairy? lol

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:43 PM

"Future me is depending on present me." That is awesome! I also love the advice to keep things around. I usually make a roast so I have meat handy for my salads I take to work for luch. One roast lasts me for about a week of salads, plus a little to much on when I have a craving for something else.

3
013bc548768d0653752aa83f4fe8d67a

on May 26, 2011
at 02:53 AM

I'm not paleo though I am friends with people who are and I do keep to natural, unprocessed foods as well as try to avoid carbs/gluten. I'm the weird person that can leave cookies and cakes sitting out and not obsess over them or feel like I need to eat them. It's not that I don't like the stuff, since I love ice cream and cookies, but that my sweetness tolerance just seems to be lower than other people's. I'm Chinese-American and one thing that I've noticed is that Chinese sweets tend to be much much less sweet than sweets from other cultures. This might be why I can leave sweet things alone after a couple of bites and why I always need water or plain tea afterwards to wash the sweet out of my mouth.

My advice is to eat fruit instead of sweets, especially fresh fruit and not the dried stuff that's essentially concentrated sugar. Try tropical fruits like mango, lychee, papaya, etc. which I find tend to be sweeter and more effective in quelling sweet cravings than regular apples and pears. Grapes are wonderful. Although fresh fruit might not hit the same sweet spot, pun not intended, the sugar they contain will elicit the same chemical reactions and they'll fill you up faster (yay fiber). Roasted vegetables like carrots, yams, and beets are also full of natural sugar and are delicious in addition to being healthy and paleo-friendly. Reading other posts on fruit and the avoidance of fruit, I have to say that in the end fruits are better than sweets but veg are the best, if you must have sweet + nutrition.

The problem with paleo as with other diets is that people try to go cold turkey and hate themselves if they relapse. I think that some people might be able to strip their diet of everything bad all at once, but tapering and removing one food type at a time seems like a better idea. Admittedly, it takes longer but your body has time to adjust to every change so you're not left with withdrawal pains/cravings. You essentially have to treat your sugar intake like an addiction. Your body wants sugar because it's been programmed that way (which means that it rewards the intake of sugar with feel-good endorphins) and you've fed that cycle of urge-feed-reward for so long (until you went paleo) that your body will crave sugar when your body chemicals are out of wack. As with other substance addictions, the important part is reducing your reliance on the/your intake substance before finally eliminating any intake.

As PaleoGran said, making sure you're sleeping and exercising enough, drinking enough water, and that you have a structured food plan that doesn't allow for sugar to creep in is essential. Make sure you're full because I've found that when I'm hungry, that's when the crap cravings starts to get to me most. Eat other things that you enjoy or do things that get your endorphins going. In the end, it's all about harm reduction. Replace bad things (sugar) with less bad things (red meat).

3
2e841984c55e1f346f6e38f60c1620a6

(540)

on May 25, 2011
at 04:45 PM

Here is how I am planning on tackling this same problem. I am mapping out my diet for 2 weeks and going back to basics. I am going to drastically limit my diet to one to three choices for all meals.

In my crock pot I am making shredded chicken with Mexican spices with onions an peppers. served with some avacados and lime.

Grass fed beef panang with stir fry veggies. Stir fry beef add in coconut milk, curry, and spices.

I am trying to cut dairy out but I feel sugar is the greater threat at the moment so I am adding heavy cream to my coffee in the morning. It triggers all the happy happy joy-joy opiate centers in the brain and the fat satiates and quell's my sugar cravings...

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 06:35 PM

Good plan on limiting choices. I am going to do that to. Let's strap in and White knuckle it to the other side. We can do it!

9e2180e7bfd688eb52d4f0c536172024

(2004)

on June 03, 2011
at 06:26 PM

Make one of your choices bacon.

2
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on May 25, 2011
at 08:54 PM

The usual answers given on low carb forums are:

When you crave sweets or the taste of sweet: eat animal fats. Take magnesium.

Clean up your food plan, sleep habits, water intake, exercise, lower stress.

Avoid the taste of sweet.

Keep your carb intake low enough that the appetite for carbs doesn't get triggered.

Get all frankenfoods, PUFA, lactose, etc., out of your food plan.


Hope this helps.

If you need inspiration, I find a good dose of Dr. Kurt Harris always helps:

Here is his brilliant blog post, "Smoking Candy Cigarettes".

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 09:19 PM

All good advice, I will add that I have now gone so far with the sugar that I feel sick! Like I could actually puke. So I hope thus feeling will help me reset. Plus after work I am actually going to buy a baseball bat and junk food and smash it to all to bits. Food does not control me. So if you see a neighbour outside smashing bags of cookies, tubs of ice cream etc up then don't be alarmed she is just reclaiming her life!

2
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:33 PM

I've been struggling with similar sugar cravings the past month or two. I'm thinking mine might be hormonal because the cravings just hit me out of nowhere. One minute I'm fine, the next all I can think about is devouring any form of candy/junk I can get my hands on.

I keep it out of the house so I can't binge on it (although I did eat most of a dark chocolate bar last night at home).

I'm beginning to realize that what will work for me is probably going to be a "Reset" of paleo: Start over with a really strict diet and keep it up for a least a month. Perhaps it's time for a challenge. 8) I remember when I first started paleo you couldn't pay me to eat crap. Now I find myself thinking, "it's all good, in moderation. I'll start fresh...tomorrow..."

yeah, right.

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 08:04 PM

same here :( i was so motivated in the beginning, but now its like "this is my last piece of cake for the month" but i've been saying this every week for the last 4 weeks ;( - Have you started the re-set? I"m now trying a fast and cutting my workouts drastically, see if that will help. On day #2 of fast.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:57 PM

When I find I'm having too many cravings I end up doing a Whole30.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:11 PM

I haven't started yet. Or maybe the more correct answer is I've started and then fallen off the "Reset" several times, lol! StephNY, I think a Whole30 is a great idea. I need to go check out their website again!

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 25, 2011
at 05:28 PM

Get all the junk out of the house. Simple. If it's not there you can't eat it. Don't go to restaurants till you're strong enough to make he right choices. Cook all your food n

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:28 PM

When others are around (i.e., the office), I can easily avoid temptation. It's when I'm alone with the sugar that my problems arise. Maybe it's a guilt thing, just not wanting others to know I'm "weak"?

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 25, 2011
at 09:14 PM

People I work with think I am soooo healthy, today they were shocked I had some dessert at a pot luck, that was the start of the mad crazy sugar meltdown. Gawd, if only they knew the true horror

2e841984c55e1f346f6e38f60c1620a6

(540)

on May 25, 2011
at 06:47 PM

My house is like a mini whole foods.... It's the office that is evil. Those Bastards :P always leaving cookies candy and the lot everywhere. Thats the worst imho trying to fight the inner fat kid when someone just bought girl scout cookies for the office.

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 05:51 PM

it doesn't work, i have the same problem and i don't stock any in the house. But when i get cravings i will go through a lot of trouble to go out and my super-sized dessert!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:08 AM

My office is Candyland too :( Reese's have always been my weakness and there is one evil temptress that always has them on her desk! She also has a cupcake business and brings them in regularly; it's tough!

1
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 03, 2011
at 05:08 PM

Go for the fat. Extinguish any craving with it. I'm really beginning to think that our bodies crave it and send funny signals that can get interpreted in so many different ways. I recently had a run of lots of entertaining, which included Primal-friendly baked goods, and found that I was craving them horribly. I smacked that down with bacon, salami, and ribeye steak. Also helped the scale nudge back down.

I also think we have to switch perspective here. Remember that the SAD is not normal. We are not depriving ourselves of anything except toxic garbage. The rest of the country are the ones eating an abnormal diet. So don't think of it as deprivation and don't beat yourself up for sampling some of the "forbidden" stuff. Just make sure to return to where the real food's at.

1
362018e6c4958214d99e76a485deff72

(130)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:10 PM

I have had some awful sugar cravings. I started the diet about the same time as you. I have not broken though I have been sorely tempted. I think it's because:

I get enough protein and fat

I eat some berries when struggle

I have drummed into my head a moral superiority complex from not eating sugary stuff

I anticipate the cravings are on rheir way and prepare by eating something else

The truth is there is nomsimple fix. This stuff is tough.

8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on May 25, 2011
at 08:01 PM

why is it so hard i don't get it! i never had sweet cravings before Paleo though.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 25, 2011
at 07:28 PM

Love the moral superiority complex. 8)

0
E0e9255281093b2d518b56d5217a0955

on June 01, 2011
at 07:56 PM

I returned to this site to post about my progress with reducing sugar cravings and intake. My weakness was daily frappucinos and iced caps. I've made great progress, by gradually decreasing my sugar intake over several weeks. It also helps to get enough sleep (actually this helps everything in life) and not to let myself get too hungry in the first place. I'm down to almost zero refined sugar. I figure the natural sugars in natural foods (e.g. the homemade beet soup I will eat tonight) are totally OK, and anyway the health benefits of eating veggies outweigh the small amounts of sugar.

So, based on my experience, I recommend: gradual sugar reductions, enough sleep, don't starve. Probably more exercise helps too but I am still working on that one!

0
7fdf813e2163735257aaab72178ee864

on May 26, 2011
at 02:49 PM

FWIW should you give into the sugar beast again, I found that crazy desire to binge was not nearly as bad when I got gluten out of my life. When I cheat now, I do not cheat with gluten. Gluten makes me feel sick and insatiable all at once.

0
9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

on May 25, 2011
at 04:31 PM

I was going through the same thing about a week ago (my past sugar binges have been known to be LEGENDARY), and my partner suggested I try chugging a glass of water with vitamin C*. He said vitamin C helps with cravings, and it did seem to dull the urge. Be careful not to drink too much, you can OD on vitamin C.

*We use NutriBiotic powdered ascorbic acid, pharm. grade. Not sure pills have quite the same effect, but haven't tried.

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