Looking back on my life I can say that sugar was the biggest addiction I have ever dealt with. Let’s just say that if I consumed drugs the same way I used to consume unhealthy food, I probably wouldn’t be around to write this article.
At the beginning of my fight against type II diabetes, the very first thing I had to do was eliminate everything from my diet that was causing it. This meant getting rid of all sugar and processed foods containing excessive simple carbohydrates. As with any addiction, doing this was easier said than done.
My dependence on sugar was a hard one to break. I constantly dealt with cravings for things like pizza, cheesesteaks, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, french fries, and soda. In the old days, there were times where I would eat an entire large pizza by myself in one sitting. Not much different than a junkie that is hooked on one or several drugs.
Cutting out sugar cold turkey was not at all easy, I had to find a way to deal with the “monkey on my back”. I had to figure out a way to prevent myself from relapsing to the nearest McDonald’s drive-thru for a double McDeathburger with “cheese”.
After cleaning out all of the sugar and processed foods from my kitchen, the side effects of sugar withdrawal immediately set in. I had cravings where I wasn’t able to go a couple of minutes without thinking of bingeing on all of the wrong foods. I then decided to hit the internet and find a way to deal with the cravings while at the same time not giving in to my sugar addiction.
I consider myself to be somewhat of a life hacker, I have a tendency to use computer code and wire things up in my house or car to make my life more to my liking. When facing diabetes I decided to take the same approach, that is, to hack my body. I needed a way to get my body to shut off the cravings while at the same time not ingesting any sugar or excess carbs.
I realized that one of the best ways I could shut off my cravings was to fill my stomach up with the right food. The key here is to “fill” the stomach up. The idea here was, if I fill up my stomach, my stomach will tell my brain “no more food” and I’ll no longer be hungry.
I started to gather different recipes for both meals and desserts. I made a strong attempt to try and replace each and every wrong thing I used to eat with something healthier. For instance, I love chocolate brownies. So I found a sugar free chocolate brownie recipe that is both healthy and filling. My body was saying “I want sugar, give me chocolate brownies”, my response was to feed it one that didn’t contain any sugar.
This idea of replacing the bad with the good really helped me keep my sanity while allowing my body to break it’s chemical addiction to sugar. Over time I started to feel the effects of losing the addiction, which resulted in me eating less. I stopped making brownies as well as other snacks not because I needed to, but because I wasn’t interested in eating them on a regular basis anymore.
Typically these sugar-free recipes are nutrient-dense and high in fat, making them more filling than their sugar-packed counterparts.
If you go to any grocery store you can find tons of products labeled low calorie, keto, Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc. You can also find a lot of products that claim to be healthier replacements for things like sugar and flour. The sad reality is, mingled within those products are a myriad of food industry traps set to catch you and keep you unhealthy.
This is where I decided early on to keep things very simple. I created a list of good ingredients and a list of bad ones and kept them updated regularly. I started to learn how to read food labels, nutrition facts, and ingredients.
I started to find that a lot of products had things in them like MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame, sucralose, maltodextrin, and high fructose corn syrup. A lot of these ingredients were found in common diet foods, condiments, and drinks. Even companies like Coke and Pepsi got on the low carb bandwagon with their alternative diet drinks not made from aspartame, but other artificial sweeteners like sucralose.
This is why when so many people go on a fad diet, they quickly fail. They enter the grocery store like a hungry mouse, getting snapped into all of the mousetraps. They fall for the marketing, the hype, and the convenience of it all.
During the initial phase of my recovery when I was battling my sugar addiction, I have something I have to admit. I ate way too many calories throughout the day. When you eat as many calories as I did during that period, you would probably not expect to lose a lot of weight either.
I ate a huge breakfast with tons of bacon, eggs, and cheese. Lunches were typically cheesesteak wraps packed with tons of meat and cheese. I also ate things like fathead pizza and tons of buffalo wings with blue cheese. I guess I could say that I ate a lot of cheese. Not only did I eat three large meals per day, but I also snacked on homemade low carb crackers, cheese, bacon, pepperoni slices, beef jerky, and sugar-free brownies. I was sure to wash it all down with tons of sugar-free iced tea.
I was told over and over again that if I don’t maintain a caloric deficit, I can’t expect to lose any weight, in which I do agree.
During the initial phase of my recovery, I was not focused on weight loss. My primary focus was to break my sugar addiction and get my body’s insulin levels in proper balance. I realized from the start that I had to take my journey to better health in phases, I had to deal with each and every issue in its due time.
This is the very reason why 99% of fad diets don’t work, their application is too simple. They package up “one size fits all” solutions that are somehow able to apply to anyone in any situation. These solutions are set up to give a person easy and quick results to a more serious problem. I wasn’t interested in losing a bunch of weight only to gain it all again, I wanted a permanent solution.
That is why I decided to address my core issue, and that was the addiction to sugar as well as my insulin resistance. It was the primary driver of my lack of health, and it had to first be eliminated. Like a sniper on a distant roof, I needed to take him out before starting the repair process.
I took out the addiction by feeding it a sugar-free placebo. I mimicked what addictive eating looked like without consuming the addictive chemical, starving my body of sugar while keeping the cravings at bay. Crushing my sugar addiction is by far the most empowering feat as it has given me the ability to practice a high level of discipline when it comes to eating.
That is where having a plan comes into mind. If you decide to overconsume on all of the right foods for the purpose of breaking your addiction to sugar, be sure to have plans on eventually taking the next step to a more normal diet. You should have goals where you eventually start limiting caloric intake and eliminating all snacking.
Don’t worry, if you overcome your sugar addiction correctly, you will find that it’s not as hard to take these steps as they tend to come naturally.