Too Much of a Good Thing?

May 31, 2013

Every since going gluten free last November, I have felt great, yet I have still always felt that I should be doing more for my health.  I am by no means a “super” healthy person and the fact that I have gone (and remained) gluten free is nothing short of a miracle.  But knowing that I can do that gives me this urge to do even more and push myself further to be as healthy as I can.  Specifically in terms of sugar.  I know for an absolute fact that sugar is horrible for the human body, yet that still…

Every since going gluten free last November, I have felt great, yet I have still always felt that I should be doing more for my health.  I am by no means a “super” healthy person and the fact that I have gone (and remained) gluten free is nothing short of a miracle.  But knowing that I can do that gives me this urge to do even more and push myself further to be as healthy as I can.  Specifically in terms of sugar.  I know for an absolute fact that sugar is horrible for the human body, yet that still isn’t enough to get me to quit eating it.  It literally is an addiction of mine.  It is the one food that, in my current mind, I cannot live without.  If you asked my boyfriend about this topic he would literally laugh out loud.  He knows my sweets addiction like nobody else and even puts up with my crazy antics.  Begging him for a “sweet treat” and then 20 minutes later begging him to hide the Sour Patch Kids from me so that I can’t find them to eat more.  No.  Self.  Control.  To some of you I probably sound like a total nut job, right?  But I swear that I am serious!  I have even read books about people with similar mentalities and habits, so I know that it is a legitimate issue for people.

Now that school is just about out for the summer, I plan to dedicate this summer to getting this sugar issue in check.  I honestly don’t trust myself whatsoever with the stuff, so I think that I would really and truly have to go cold turkey and not have any, ever.  Sounds severe, but that’s technically what I did with the gluten, and with my personality, I know that it wouldn’t work for me to just have a “little bit”.  Hahaha.  Just the thought is funny to me.  Also knowing myself, I know that I will need help with conquering such a task.  There is no way that I could do something like this all on my own.  Here’s where I need help – do any of you know/have similar issues or can recommend books about the issue?  I find that reading has been a great way for me to learn more and to, honestly, scare myself out of some of my bad habits (this book has been my favorite as of late – highly suggest it!).  I would seriously love any and all recommendations you can give.  Also, I feel compelled to thank you all for reading about all of my issues and responding to them in such a positive and helpful way.  Aka, the sweating crisis and now this.

Sidenote:  I did find (thanks to YOUR comments!) an all natural deodorant that I loveSoapwalla has now become my hero:)

(Image via BHLDN)

  1. I know I’m late to this post, but I just discovered your blog! Love it by the way!! 🙂 I am so in the same boat, sugar (specifically M&M’s) is my downfall. However, for the past year I have been on the Tone It Up nutrition plan and have really been able to control those cravings! You should check it out!

  2. Oh man, this is totally me. So shameful but I WILL eat 10 Oreos in 1 sitting if left to my own devices. In my opinion though, you shouldn’t expect to live the rest of your life without indulging in anything ever. My advice (and what I practice) is picking one day a week to have something sweet (Saturday is mine) and indulge in something like a croissant (not chemically laden Oreos…) I generally always choose a cupcake from a local bakery and I never feel bad about it!! Let yourself live a little!

  3. I’ve been wanting to tackle my sugar addiction as well. I’m a vegetarian/wannabe vegan and found Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet to be super helpful on my journey to better eating. She has a chapter in the book on refined flour and sugar that is really motivating. Great recipes too!

  4. Sugar Nation by Jeff O’Connell – it goes a little overboard by labeling every single carb as bad but the good stuff is his research on how sugar based diets are an epidemic in our society.

    Good luck, love the blog!

  5. Salt, Sugar, Fat is a new book that is getting great reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Salt-Sugar-Fat-Giants-Hooked/dp/1400069807
    Also Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” is simple, to the point, and easy to follow.
    http://www.amazon.com/Food-Rules-Eaters-Michael-Pollan/dp/1594203083/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370054061&sr=1-5&keywords=michael+pollan

    These 2 Michaels just got together for a piece in the NY Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/dining/making-lunch-with-michael-pollan-and-michael-moss.html?pagewanted=all

  6. hahaha definitely don’t think your a nut case! Sugar always has been a weakness of mine and I can’t seem to put an end to it, regardless of my diet restrictions. Looking forward to hearing (hopefully) your success story!

    hammerandheels.blogspot.com

  7. I don’t have any recs for books or anything, but I just wanted to say that I am so like you! Sugar is totally my vice. I can skip anything else on the menu if I want, but put a package of gummy worms or peach rings in front of me and BAM they are gone. I once managed to convince a boss at work that I needed gummy bears to work, and he bought me some… only to find them gone by the afternoon (it was like a 1kg tub). I can’t help it!

    Anyway, I found that it’s much easier to keep things in check if I just don’t keep any of that in my house. Luckily, my boyfriend isn’t much of a sugar guy, so he doesn’t mind not having it around. Also, chewing (sugar-free) gum helped me get the little taste of sweetness in my mouth without actually consuming anything. Maybe that’ll help? Best of luck! xx

  8. Thank you so much for writing this!! I feel like your description of sugar addiction could have been written by me — I too, make my husband hide the candy, after coercing him into getting me “something sweet”, and really struggle with sugar. It doesn’t fit into my otherwise healthy, natural, triathlon-training lifestyle….but yet it STILL has a hold on me.
    There are TONS of scholarly articles that support sugar’s addictive properties, and one that even had proven that sugar and cocaine both act similarly in the brain in terms of addiction.
    Thank you for sharing (& for the book suggestion), please write an update!

  9. I’ve done this! I used a program written by Sarah Wilson called I Quit Sugar and it was so helpful! I recommend googling it! 🙂

  10. I know what you mean about sweets! It’s like a drug-I’ll get super energy and then feel depleted.
    From my basic understanding, sugars are very processed carbohydrates-they give us energy-that’s how some sneaky ‘fitness’ bars re-label sugar as kj’s of energy. Blood sugar is essential, but over-processed stuff spikes it above and then drops below our ideal blood-sugar zone.
    What I want to ask is, when you cut out sugar, what will be your take on fruits and veggies? And honey?
    Sorry I don’t have any book suggestions

    Cheers,
    Lucia
    ccuao.com

  11. check out whole30…battling sugar addition is BRUTAL…HEADACHES like you’ve never had, not sleeping well, waking up grumpy. but after the first 3 weeks from hell, you will feel fabulous!

  12. This post made me laugh and not feel alone in my sugar obsession… about 4 months ago I also came to the realization that I am totally addicted to sugar. My sister (who is a bit of health nerd) forwarded me many articles on the negative effects of sugar but I after reading a lot of the same information I realized I just had to do it. I cut sugar out of my diet cold turkey and was surprised that I could do it for a month! I threw out everything sweet from my pantry/freezer/etc. (not that I wasn’t above scouring my kitchen for something… anything! sweet a few days into “the change”) as to not be tempted. Supposedly it takes 21 days for a new habit to stick, and sure enough 3 weeks in I realized I wasn’t craving sugar on a regular basis.

    Now I still indulge in treats that seem “worthwhile” – nothing processed or packaged but who am I to turn down a homemade chocolate chip cookie!?

    I also have a few cheat treats that helped me to feel like I wasn’t TOTALLY depriving myself:
    1. Greek Yogurt mixed with a scoop of vanilla protein powder (it tastes like whipped cream) – eat with berries
    2. Frozen seedless grapes – larger ones have more crunch!
    3. Pan fried banana slices topped with cinnamon and honey

    Hopefully this helps 🙂

    Whitney
    http://laundryinlouboutins.com/

  13. I have a similar problem…I have been eating mostly paleo, but have trouble still with sugar and “allowed” treats. I downloaded the 21 day sugar detox http://the21daysugardetox.com and got about 5 days in before I stopped, but I do plan on doing the whole 21 days soon. It really did make me more aware of my cravings and I do feel more sugar sensitive now, where I can’t have as sweet of things, and can pass on the really bad stuff (candies made with HFCS). It may be worth checking out – they have a facebook support group that was helpful during the detox as well.

  14. I recommend adding Carrots ‘N’ Cake to the top of your summer reading list. It is a great book written by a blogger and she documents about her healthy lifestyle and gives tip & tricks of staying on track while providing easy and delicious recipes. I read Eating Mindfully before Carrots ‘N’ Cake and loved it, as well. They have similar values in the fact that you can have a cupcake but not six– all in moderation (although that’s the hardest part if you ask me!). Enjoy!

    Here is the Amazon link if you want to read more about it: http://www.amazon.com/Carrots-Cake-Healthy-Living-Cupcake/dp/1402778244

    xx,
    Megan

  15. All of the above comments are great! I actually wrote my master’s thesis about nutritional literacy, with a focus on sugar and how it affects our biochemistry. Sugar Blues by William Duffy (as mentioned above) is good. I also recommend Robert Lustig’s lecture on YouTube, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth, ” and anything else by Lustig – I think he’s truly fantastic.

    But also, check out my blog for other book recommendations (like Kathleen DesMaison’s Potatoes, Not Prozac): http://lifefreefrom.blogspot.com. My blog is a continuation of my interests and research in health and nutrition.

    Finally, seek out Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program: http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/. Sarah has a week-by-week program that gets you to quit sugar. While I have read her I Quit Sugar ebook and am familiar with the program, I have yet to tackle what seems like such a daunting task. Like you, that’s next on my list of healthy lifestyle changes.

    Whatever you decide, best of luck!

  16. So many of these comments hit the nail on the head. Where most foods eventually trigger are sateity centers in the brain and tell you “stop eating! you’re full,” sugar has a special property in that it never triggers you to stop eating! You never feel “satisfied” eating sugary foods and drinks (source: my medical school classes. weak, I know!) This is why it’s such a handy extra ingredient for companies to have in snack foods and processed goods. I stopped eating it completely for awhile, but once a month (ok, every two weeks!) I will indulge in a chocolate bar 😉

    on the book front, my boyfriend recommends Sugar Blues by William Duffy. This is the book that inspired him to cut processed sugars out of his diet, although both of us still consume honey (yum!)

  17. Hahahaha we are in the same boat girl. I literally CRAVE sugar…like ALL THE TIME. I am a runner so I like to think my addiction is due to that? Hmmm, not so sure…

    I do the same thing with my husband though! I will be eating something sweet and then 15 minutes later I’m begging him to take them away and hide them from me…gotta love it 🙂

  18. I gave up wheat earlier this year after reading the book “Wheat Belly” in the book it talks about other things as well: sugars, bad carbs, etc. The author talks about how our bodies actually go through withdrawals when giving up something we have on a regular basis and how to move past those withdrawal symptoms. I felt like an addict after a week of being Wheat Free, all I could do was think about bread and how bad I wanted it, no NEEDED it. Wheat belly helped me squash those cravings and now I don’t have them anymore! Good luck and it was great meeting you and your sister at Bradley’s wedding!

  19. I have only had success going cold turkey, so I know what you mean! Have you read any of Dr. Oz’ books on health and nutrition? I really like his direct and informative style – no punches! They have really helped me a lot. And he definitely doesn’t suggest eating more sugar – but you could probably find some fun ways to get a sugar fix without refined/processed sugar. (My sister, the sugarhead, eats a lot of fruit to cope with her sugar cutbacks. And she says – do NOT have it in the house!)

    Good luck! YOU CAN DO IT! As a former teacher, I always took advantage of my lighter summer schedule to exercise more and jumpstart my health and fitness routines.

  20. I was absolutely addicted to sugar and diet coke, (ahhh devil juice!). I did the “master cleanse” for three weeks and I haven’t wanted either even once since. good luck to you!

  21. Considering I just ate two large chocolate chip cookies before 10 a.m., I would say that we both have similar problems when it comes to sugar. I’m pretty healthy person as well (I just ran my first marathon a couple weeks ago), but I cave when it comes to ice cream, cupcakes, cookies and basically anything that has sugar as a main ingredient. Currently I m reading “The end of overeating” by Dr. David A. Kessler. This book has made me realize how much I think about food and why I think about food so much, specifically sweets. It’s not only for people who are overweight and trying to lose weight, but it’s for people who can’t control how much they eat when it comes to their favorite foods. I think this book would really help you understand your obsession with sugar more.

    Thanks for the wonderful blog post! I always enjoy checking out A Piece of Toast in the mornings!

  22. Try reading Skinny Bitch. It will turn you into a vegan if reading has that much sway over you. Being a vegan isn’t hard as long as you enjoy cooking. I am a ramen girl so it’s difficult for me. Thankfully my sister loves to cook and prepares our meals!

  23. I have the same problem! I am a pretty disciplined person but i am like a crack addict when it comes to cookies and any/ all sweets! Please keep us updated with what methods/ tricks that work for you!

  24. Good call with the sugar! The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars to 6 tsp/day. Bananas are a really great natural sweetner. Frozen banana + cocoa powder = “ice cream”. Banana + oats + cocoa powder = yummy chocolate porridge. I recommend whole foods “health starts here” recipes, as well as dessert recipes on Chocolate Covered Katie. She does use a lot of fake sugars which I’m not a fan of, but there are also a lot of banana sweetened recipes. Best of Luck!

  25. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, too! I recently stumbled upon a series of posts on Meg’s blog (http://www.megfee.com/) where she talks about how she gave up sugar. It was really interesting and seemed applicable for sugar addicts like me. I’d totally recommend you check that out! 🙂

  26. I have the same exact problem. Sugar is like a drug – I fiend for it after dinner! It’s too hard just to have a little bit! I haven’t read any books on the subject though I could definitely benefit from doing so – please let us know what you end up finding!
    xoxo
    Megan
    a ray of sun

  27. I can’t remember the name of the doctor, but there’s a TED talk about sugar addiction and I’m pretty sure the same guy has a book out about sugar addiction and why processed sugar is so bad for us. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (my addiction swings more towards french fries and cheese), but watching that talk and reading excerpts from the book definitely makes me think twice before eating some crazy, sugary dessert.

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