This post is written for those who may have fallen off the wagon, or who may have stopped eating good quality whole foods with no grains, beans, or added-sugar.
So, you slipped and started eating pretty much whatever you wanted. Maybe you are still trying the moderation thing because you couldn’t deal with the reduced carb intake. Beans, rice, pasta, bread, tortillas… all these foods are so important that you would risk everything for them. I don’t know about you, but there is no food on the earth worth my life. That’s just me, though.
Some people just have to drink sweet drinks. I used to be one of those people, and one of the biggest hits to my quality of life after starting my first Whole30 was drinking coffee with no cream and sweetener. “I like my sugar with coffee and cream!” was my go-to joke about how I preferred my coffee. My coffees typically tasted like liquid coffee cake with vanilla creamer and lots of sweetener (Splenda). Going from the sweetest, most delicious coffee to the dark-colored bitter liquid that was coffee without all the good tasting (and bad for me!) stuff in it was a kick in the gut. It took me nine months to finally be able to drink black coffee and really enjoy it. I still miss the sweet coffee, but now that I drink black coffee and iced tea with only lemon in it, I’m used to drinks without sweeteners, and I have found that I drink because I am thirsty, not because I want something sweet. I also drink a lot more water now, and it’s a lot more refreshing than I remember it being.
Pasta. Holy cow, did I love pasta. Even better; garlic bread with pasta. Or… pizza with garlic bread and pasta. I could go one. These were meals I’d actually eat. I regularly went to Little Caesar’s and bought two large pizzas: one for me that I would eat all at once, and one for the rest of the family. I could eat pizza every day and be happy.
I could go on and on about the foods that I no longer eat, how delicious they are, and how I could go hog wild eating them. I could also start making the case for how bad that stuff is for us, how all those carbs and sugar gets converted into fat by our livers and how it works against any effort we make in losing weight or getting healthy. If you want to read more about this stuff, go back to my previous posts, mostly in the beginning (January/February 2016). I won’t go into that again here.
The bottom line is this: get back on the wagon. Don’t look back, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t lament lost time. Just start over. It’s no big deal. The sugar dragon is a hard bastard to kick, and sugar addiction is powerful. Nobody blames you for relapsing. The only thing you can be blamed for is if you stop trying.
How do you get back on? I recommend Whole30 first. It will reset your body, it will take you off sugar and carbs cold turkey, and it will teach you how your body responds to certain foods. Going cold turkey is hard, and the first two-three days to a week will be the hardest you will have to endure on this entire journey. There are times when you are faced with temptations, but they are nothing compared to the first week. I know this. It’s hard. It’s normal for people to fail at their first attempt to kick any addiction. Make no mistake: kicking sugar is just as hard as kicking any drug. That’s why we have to keep trying.
After you are able to complete a Whole30, I recommend Paleo. It’s a lifestyle that has worked for my wife, for me, and for many of my family and friends. It continues to work for us because the food is delicious, fills us up, and is good for our bodies. It’s sustainable long-term because so much of the food is the same food we ate before. Some need to be modified to remove the grains or beans, some replace sugar with honey or maple syrup, while many others can be eaten as we ate them before. There are links to the right that should get you going for more info on Paleo. My wife’s blog has many recipes we’ve tried that are utterly delicious and while they may take some planning and preparation, they are well worth it.
What are some things you can do to be successful at completing a Whole30 and then going Paleo? First, follow the plan perfectly. No sabotage, no skirting the rules. No sweeteners means no sweeteners. Even if it’s Stevia, Splenda, or Sweet ‘N Low. Just say no! To be successful, you have to give them up for 30 days. Afterward, when you go to Paleo, you can add back some natural sweeteners, but even then, only in very small amounts, and only as treats. Treats are every few weeks or a number of days; not a treat a day. That’s far too many.
Second, find some activities to do when you would otherwise have downtime. Boredom is a huge factor in overeating and cravings. For me, when I get bored, I tend to get hungry.
Third, when you feel weak and want to eat something you shouldn’t, eat something you can. Nuts or a small serving of strawberries or blueberries or some fruit you like. Be careful; many fruits contain a lot of sugar. I stayed away from fruit on my Whole30 because even natural sugars fed the dragon and gave me cravings. I literally went cold turkey for those 30 days, and I am certain it helped me succeed.
Fourth, talk to someone who has walked the path you are on. Seek advice. Read about nutrition, Whole30, and Paleo. Keep reading and learning. The more you know, the easier it gets to recognize good foods and bad. Knowledge is power.
As for me, I avoid putting anything in my coffee now; not even coconut milk or almond milk. I also don’t use any artificial or natural sweeteners in my coffee or tea. My personal belief and what I think is a contributing factor to my success in losing weight has been my no added sugar policy for my drinks as well as most of my foods. I do allow myself to have some added natural sweetener foods that Sherry makes from time to time, but those are treats, and not foods we eat often.
If this is something you want, just stop eating the bad food and get back to it. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow morning. You don’t have to wait until next Monday. Start now. There’s no time like the present. Just make it happen. It’s well within your power. Yes, sugar addiction is tough, but you are tougher.
Problem: Sugar addiction. Solution: Whole30/Paleo. I did it and lost 95 lbs in nine and a half months. You can do it, too. Just don’t give up.