by Jill Escher
Twitter had its first Sugar Addiction Recovery seminar (Tweet-inar?) on February 29. @SugarAwareness (that’s me) sent out 22 tweets thumbnailing the problem, and the solution. In case you missed it, here’s the feed, below. Spread the word, and be sure to follow @SugarAwareness for future Tweet-inars, thanks!
Welcome to the first Sugar Addiction Recovery Tweet-inar. Think sugar is your pal? Think again. 25ish posts to follow.
Sugar/starch addiction a pervasive problem, underpinning rise of obesity, T2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, depression, cancer, etc.
We average 22 tsp/day of sugar, unprecedented from an evolutionary perspective. Our bodies are wholly unprepared for the onslaught.
We know sugar is bad for us, why don’t we just stop? Because we’re hooked.
Diets don’t work–deprivation leads to weight gain in the long term, and they leave the addiction intact. We need recovery, not diets.
Sugar addiction is drug addiction. A highly refined white substance that wreaks havoc on our neurochemical reward and endocrine systems.
Like all other animals, we are too sensitive and vulnerable to eat sugar and processed food; chronic consumption sickens and kills us.
Recovery starts in the heart, not the head. Whole-hearted acceptance of addiction leads to acceptance of some form of abstinence.
Abstinence (which might not be 100%) from sugar/starch lays groundwork for easy weight loss. Easy, indeed!
Weight loss is only difficult if we remain addicted to sugar/starch/refined carbs. Apart from that, it’s a piece of, uh, cake.
Willpower is irrelevant. We addicts can only heal by reclaiming our innate biochemistry from the invading forces.
Primary culprits are sugar, corn syrup, flour, cereal grains. But all starch turns into sugar and should largely be avoided.
Obesity is brain starvation — brain can’t sense satiety hormones. The way to rebalance hormones is through removal of sugars and starches.
Hunger is the enemy of weight loss. We need a highly nutritious, delicious food plan, with plenty of healthy fats.
Eat a lot. Include veggies, meats, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy, nuts, fruits. My own style I call “Lazy Paleo.”
Good fats include coconut oil, grassfed butter, avocado, nuts, olive oil, animal fats. No corn, soy, canola, vegetable oils — inflammatory.
Brussels sprouts in butter, grilled salmon, bacon, berries in heavy cream, chopped salads, this is the stuff of sugar addiction recovery.
How many more cupcakes do you need to be happy? Do they really make you happy? Or just give you a buzz?
Be like @livinlowcarbman, tell yourself “Sugar is rat poison.”
The toughest cravings will subside in the first three days. Then, normal biochemistry = normal food habits = healthy weight.
You will be relieved to be free from the white stuff, and abuzz with new energy. Some can even “cheat” a bit after a few months. It depends
Find ideas and inspiration at http://www.EndSugarAddiction.com, our all-volunteer website. Thank you for tuning in! No more TweetFloods for a while! xo
Jill Escher is the author of Farewell, Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict’s Guide to Easy Weight Loss, and the founder of EndSugarAddiction.com.
Insulin is like a prison guard keeping our fat cells locked away, never to be set free, and exercise won’t help unless we also cut our insulin-spiking sugar/carb intake.
by Amy Berger
The recurring theme of this series on weight loss and psychology has been that carrying extra weight is not a character flaw. It’s not a sin, and it’s not a personal failing. Contrary to what we hear in mainstream media, overweight people are not lazy, greedy, and undisciplined. In many cases, the very opposite is true.
Add together all the miles you’ve racked up on treadmills, bikes, and elliptical machines, and you could have gone around the world three times, right? You practically live at the gym and you’d need a microscope to see the amount of fat you eat. By your calculations, you should have lost so much weight you’d be invisible by now!
But what if you’ve been misled? As we’ll see, remaining at the same weight despite being a regular fixture at the gym is simply the result of following the wrong information. Trying to lose body fat through exercise while eating a low-fat (and by default, high carbohydrate) diet is like trying to get at the money in a bank vault while there are ten armed guards in front of the door. You ain’t gettin’ to the goods, no way, no how!
Think of insulin as the armed guards. Insulin is big, he’s burly, and he is not going let you get past him to take the money (fat) out of the vault (your cells). It is critical that you understand this: as long as insulin levels are high, you will not be able to burn your stored fat as fuel. And what keeps insulin levels high? Sugar and refined carbohydrates–exactly the kinds of foods you’ve probably been eating specifically because you thought they would help you lose weight: fat-free muffins, low-fat yogurt, cereal bars, and “energy bars.”
Our bodies can run on a few different kinds of fuel, but the ones it likes best are glucose and fat. The body can run just fine on either of these. In fact, it’s constantly running on both. We’re like hybrid cars that shift back and forth between gas and electricity: we never run solely on glucose or solely on fat. But, like hybrids, running on one generally means we aren’t running on the other. So when we’re burning glucose for fuel, we’re not burning fat. If you had a brand of gasoline that got you 4 miles per gallon and one that got you 9 miles per gallon, which would you want to put in your car? The one that gets you 9 miles a gallon would keep you going longer. You’d have to fill up less often. It’s more efficient. That’s fat!
While our bodies are capable of running on fat or glucose, glucose is the “preferred fuel.” It’s not that the body likes it better, or that it’s a more efficient fuel, but that our bodies will always choose to run on it first. Our bodies will use fat only when enough glucose isn’t available. Indeed, our bodies like to run on fat. That’s why we’re so darn good at storing it–so we always have a ready supply. We’re not good at storing glucose. In fact, once our glycogen stores are full, excess sugar in the diet is actually converted to–you guessed it–fat! The stuff on your hips, belly, and backside may very well be coming from the fat-free cereal and skim milk you had for breakfast.
So how can we get past the insulin gatekeeper? We have to switch from being sugar burners to fat burners. The way to gain access to those rich reserves of efficient, 9 miles-per-gallon fuel–the ones we store so conveniently on our thighs, hips, backsides, and bellies–is to deprive our bodies of glucose. When we deprive the body of the fuel it “wants” (glucose), we give it no choice but to use the one it has–and it has plenty: FAT.
It should be evident by now how to make the switch from sugar burning to fat burning: limit carbohydrate intake. Once you become a fat burner, not only will your time at the gym be more productive, but you’ll be burning fat even when you’re not working out. Fat will be the fuel your body runs on most of the time, even when you’re just sitting around! This is key, because working out is a temporary activity. A one-shot deal. You’re in the gym and you’re out. But all the other things your body does all day long–even while you sleep–have to be fueled as well. Just staying alive–breathing, digesting, blinking, sitting upright, your heart beating–constantly burns fuel. So what’s more important: how much fuel you burn during your one, hour-long burst of a workout, or the fuel your body’s running on the other 23 hours of the day?
If the idea of hitting the gym–or even just getting up and going for a short walk–seems like a monumental hurdle, you are probably stuck in sugar-burner purgatory. But when you switch to being a fat-burner, you’ll finally have access to all your fuel and you won’t be able to stop being active. In fact, when people cut back on carbs, one of the first things they report is a huge boost in energy. The truth is, you won’t burn fat because you’ve gotten active; you’ll get active because you’re burning fat! You’ll have the energy to exercise and move around because you’ll finally be allowing your body to run on its most powerful fuel! (Gary Taubes explains this beautifully in his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories.)
If you’re at your wit’s end, if you could win a Nobel Prize for calorie counting, and you’ve spent endless hours working out but haven’t seen any results, don’t despair. It’s not that you’re doing anything wrong; you’re just reading the wrong instruction manual. Whip out the new playbook I’ve been talking about. By limiting carbohydrates, you’ll prime your body at a cellular level to use fat as fuel regardless of your activity–whether you’re out running or simply reading a blog.
Amy Berger is earning a master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. A proud U.S. Air Force veteran, Amy struggled for years doing “all the right things,” but failed to see any improvement in her health and physique. Through shifting to nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods and intelligent exercise, she has transformed her body and self-esteem, and plans to share the lessons learned with those still fighting the battle. She is especially interested in helping young women heal their relationships with food and serving as a source of common sense and sanity in the sea of nutritional madness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
End Sugar Addiction will be posting a free Sugar Addiction Recovery Class, via a series of tweets, Wednesday, February 29 on Twitter. So sign up to follow @SugarAwareness and get the full feed. See you then!
by Jill Escher
I don’t always snack, but when I do it’s certainly not on protein bars, 100-calories snack packs or Girl Scout cookies. Here are some of my favorites between-meal snacks (some more portable than others).
1. Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
2. Tangerines and almonds
3. Macadamia nuts, carrots and celery
4. Beef jerky, organic with no sugar, or beef sticks (or turkey variations)
5. Berries and cheese wedges (but not that highly processed “lite” junk)
6. Apple slices with almond butter
7. Mixed nuts and dried fruit (moderately)
8. A pear with pecorino cheese
9. Hard boiled egg or deviled egg
10. Mushrooms with meatballs
11. Veggies and homemade dip made w/o vegetable oils
12. Pumpkin seeds and grapes
13. Plain full fat yogurt with little bit of raw honey
15. Berries in heavy cream
16. Slice of frittata
17. Protein powder (no sugar added) smoothie
18. Cucumber slices with smoked salmon
19. In-season fruit with full fat cottage cheese
20. Water with lemon and a perhaps pinch of stevia (okay, not really a snack, but for you purists out there who stick to three meals a day!)
by Jill Escher, author, Farewell, Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict’s Guide to Easy Weight Loss, and founder, EndSugarAddiction.com
This website may focus on “sugar” addiction, but I hope it doesn’t escape anyone’s notice that all refined carbs, not just sucrose crystals, can feed addictions and chronic health problems. And top of the list of Evil White Dust Stuff is wheat.
So, I would like to take a moment to highly recommend the writings and wisdom of William Davis, MD, a cardiologist who figured out how and why, through his own recovery from type 2 diabetes, the experiences of hundreds of patients, and careful research, removal of wheat from the diet results in often dramatic health improvements. In other words, that the misguided emphasis on so-called “healthy whole grains” is taking a monumental toll on human health. Davis summarizes his findings in the excellent book, Wheat Belly.
If everyone would just take a bit of time to listen to his podcasts, and read his book, our epidemics of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease would vanish in months, I kid you not. Here are a few William Davis, MD podcasts for starters:
Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show, with Jimmy Moore, Encore Week special
Listen to these and you’ll never go back to eating Evil wheat, I (almost) guarantee it! Happy listening!
by Jill Escher, author, Farewell, Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict’s Guide to Easy Weight Loss, and founder, EndSugarAddiction.com
In the previous blog post, I provided a glimpse into my upcoming address at the March 2012 Nutritional Therapy Association Conference, called “Twelve Ways to De-Friend Sugar.” Now to get into some of the nitty gritty, let’s start with number one, “Make Like Maxwell Smart.”
For those of you who weren’t glued to this TV show in the 70s, as was I, take a look at this opening sequence from the comedy series Get Smart, showing Maxwell Smart entering the offices of his employer, Control, kind of a spoof on the CIA, where he works as Secret Agent 86. Gaining access to Control HQ is no easy task, and Max must walk though doors that slide up, slide down, slide across, and swing open, and eventually dial a secret code in a phone booth, triggering the floor to open, dropping him down to the HQ.
What has an old sitcom to do with sugar addiction? People who want to get over sugar addiction, or any addiction for that matter, probably won’t reach their destination on the first try — we need to be prepared to walk through one, three, five, maybe ten different doors before something clicks for us, and we’re finally ready to tackle our, uh, little problem. But what are these doors? How do we know where to go? They aren’t always neatly lined up in a polished corridor, as with Agent 86.
In my case, I needed three doors — two of them unexpected, and one deliberate — and a span of two years. Recovery from sugar addiction did not happen overnight. This is how it went.
First, I heard about the general concept of food addiction back in 2008, from a friend who coincidentally was a founder of a food addiction support group based in Massachusetts, and had lost 100 pounds through ongoing devotion to her form of abstinence which involved weighing and measuring her food at every meal. This seemed extreme to me, first because I didn’t believe that people could be addicted to food (actually, I still don’t, IMO people become addicted to certain highly processed and refined substances masquerading as food and not to whole, unprocessed nourishing foods), and the whole weighing and measuring thing struck me as overkill. But here’s what’s weird: as I listened to her talk about her personal recovery from her form of food addiction, it did not yet dawn on me that I was a stark, raving sugar addict myself; someone who needed a bit of sugar at almost every meal, and often in between. I was oblivious that my extra 30 pounds resulted from artifically-induced biochemically-driven compulsions, not genetic destiny. I thought sugar cravings were normal. Clearly, I needed to walk through more doors….
The second door opened unexpectedly when I ran into an old friend at an autism conference in September 2010. This was a brief, casual small-talk kind of conversation, but sometimes it doesn’t take much to get us thinking. My friend had lost 70 pounds after quitting sugar and flour, and sticking to a three-meal-a-day food plan, as prescribed through the Overeaters Anonymous group she had joined the year before. Hm, I thought, maybe there’s something to this whole addiction concept I should check out, though it remained fuzzy in my head. To be honest, I was mortified at the thought of attending an OA meeting, but thought it couldn’t possibly hurt.
I went to an OA meeting in my neighborhood the following week, but found the meeting conducted in Spanish, a language I don’t speak. So much for paying attention to the notes on the OA website, oops! I considered leaving, but the volunteer leader of the group told me that the evening’s guest speaker would be speaking in English, with him translating to Spanish for the assembled, so perhaps I would want to hang around to hear him. Okay, why not?
Thank you God and the kind volunteer for keeping my butt in that metal folding chair that evening. I had almost “missed it by that much.” The divine, engaging speaker, whom I dubbed the Three Hundred Pound Stripper in my book, Farewell, Club Perma-Chub, told his story of losing 150 pounds through abstinence from addictive foods and reliance on his “Higher Power” to help him through. I won’t go into the details here, but suffice it to say, his talk hit me right in the chest — I finally realized I needed some sort of recovery, and not a diet. Maybe I didn’t need a Higher Power to hold my hand, but I needed at a minimum to recognize and accept my lifelong addiction to sugar, and to accept that it was not normal and making me tired and sick. To regain the health and body that were rightfully mine, I didn’t need to count calories or deprive myself, I needed to say (pardon my French) Screw You to the white stuff that kept calling my name.
I still had much to learn, but this was my start. I had not yet heard of Paleo, Jimmy Moore (my hero!), or Gary Taubes; I knew little about insulin and neurochemical impacts of junk foods; I hadn’t read a single book on addiction or low-carb lifestyles; I hadn’t listened to a single nutrition podcast. But after I took that first step away from the Sugar Gremlin this whole world opened up for me, and I found my route to recovery. Like Maxwell Smart, it took going through a couple of doors, but I finally found my way to “Control.”
What will your doors be? I can’t say for certain, as everyone has a different story. What resonates for one person falls flat for the next. But if you’re not sure where to start, try these for inspiration:
–Jimmy Moore’s podcasts
–websites such as OA, Food Addiction Institute, Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
–Tom Naughton’s documentary film, “Fat Head”
–podcasts by the OA Los Angeles intergroup, or other intergroups
–any of the books, websites or podcasts listed in the Resources section on this website
The only rule is, don’t stop — keep walking through those doors. Eventually something will hit you in the chest, you’ll “get it,” and you’ll find your way to recovery. Don’t give up, don’t judge yourself, and please, don’t diet.