Eden had been struggling for years. For a few weeks she would eat well, but then her cravings would make her eat all kinds of sugary foods again. She could not lose weight, she was prediabetic and she felt to tired to work.
Finally she found the tools needed to break free. She’s now been living sugar free for 100 days, something that used to be impossible for her. Here’s how she did it and how it transformed her life.
I am not a success story – yet, at least in the typical fashion.
I have been following your site for a couple of years now and loving all the information and insight about this way of eating. I have been following a Paleo diet for about five years now, but let me say I have been following it loosely.
I liked it, I knew it worked for me (because I felt better on it) and I could follow it for about three weeks at a time and then the cravings would hit and I would get overwhelmed by them and dive back into sugar, bread and carbs. That lasted for about a week and then I would try to rally myself and get back on the wagon again.
That went on for several years. I saw very little weight loss and felt continually discouraged about the weight, the fatigue, and the mood swings that accompanied this whole package. (I am a 40 yo female, 300+ pounds (136+ kg)). So, I would climb back on Paleo and handle it for another few weeks or sometimes longer, only to get derailed again by the intense cravings that would return.
And that’s how it went. A few weeks Paleo and then back off, next month a few weeks on Paleo and then back off.
I felt like a failure once again. My hobby is nutrition and I was even pursuing a master’s degree in holistic nutrition but had to put that on hold because my fatigue got so overwhelming that I couldn’t work full-time, maintain a life and go to school. Let’s be honest, some days I could barely work.
In fact, my fatigue got so bad and my health so precarious that I finally had to quit my full-time job. I just couldn’t keep up. I wondered if I was destined to ever get well again. By this point I had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome for several years, was pre-diabetic and was teetering on the edge of diabetes.
So, I made getting well my job. I went low carb but that same cycle continued – eat well for a few weeks then back into carb land for a week or two and then back off. I was diagnosed with insulin-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and then really bad PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Yes, that seemed about right. That cyclical nature of my cravings was validated.
But I still had to deal with them. I read everything on your site by Bitten Jonsson about sugar addiction because sometimes I really felt like an addict needing that fix during those bad weeks. I realized as I did further reading on my health issues that the best way to get better from the yo-yo part of my cravings was to get off sugar entirely for six months to a year to heal my cycle.
I already knew that low carb helped me but I needed to STAY low carb for six months to a year to start to see the benefits of weeks of low carb; not just lose weight for a few weeks and regain it all in my bad week of cravings.
I had all of this great knowledge but I couldn’t see the benefits of it because I couldn’t get over the cravings. I had to go off sugar. I even went to a weight loss therapist for several weeks with the specific mission to get off sugar but was told that in my mental state I needed to explore my feelings about food rather than abstain from certain foods. I gave her system a try.
I feel very grateful for the concepts of mindful eating and kindness to ourselves that I learned there. Those are very real things. But at the end of four months, I still had no concrete plan about how to get off sugar during that bad week and how to get my cravings under control. I felt a little desperate. I listened to all the videos by Bitten Jonsson again.
So, it was with great trepidation that I started a sugar-free plan in February 2016. I was prepared. I had backup plans. I had emergency plans. I had if/then plans. I had to do this. It was the only goal I had. And it proceeded typically. Several good weeks of low-carb eating followed by that week of cravings.
By this point I had enrolled in Dr. Fung’s long-distance program so I was also intermittent fasting, tracking my blood sugar and tracking my food. When the bad week hit I employed all of my plans – supplements, exercise, prayer, lots of sleep, lots of good fats, support groups, videos, blogs, your site. Everything. I survived. Just barely but I survived that first bad week unscathed.
It has been 15 weeks now. This weekend I mark 100 days sugar-free. Each successive month following February when my bad week hits, I use everything in my toolkit. I know I have to do this for the long haul to get the full benefit. Right now my short-term goal is six months. Just to get to six months without that yo-yo crazy cycling would be amazing.
What is better right now from 100 days sugar free and low carb?
My energy; my energy is always the first thing to improve but it just keeps on getting better.
Those bad weeks – they are not as intense, overwhelming or horrible; the last one I had, I thought “Is it possible to experience this week without spending at least one day in bed from the supreme fatigue?” I have days I have to take it easy and do less and go to bed earlier but each cycle those bad days shorten and the intensity lessens.
I eat more fat than ever. I thought I was really good at eating fat but I finally started measuring my macros and I cut down to 20 grams of carbs or less and I am now at 80 grams of protein or less each day. Everything else is fat.
I survived the first few bad weeks on nuts and European cheeses when the cravings got really bad but at the beginning of May I cut out dairy because my weight loss had stalled for a couple of months. (I handle butter and heavy cream without problems but not cheese or milk). And what do you know, I started losing weight again.
I have been fasting for 24 hours 2-3 times a week since February. Now, I am doing longer fasts of 3 to 4 days. And handling it just fine thanks to bone broth, coconut oil and grass-fed butter.
My sleep is better. I have been working hard at this to help with the energy but my sleep is so much better. And if I am really struggling to sleep, I make some herbal tea and add some coconut oil and butter and take some magnesium and I am off to dreamland. Also, I am up early every day now. Who knew that would happen?
I am working again. Reliably. I still worry about the bad weeks and poor energy and I still plan around those times meticulously so I don’t overdo but but I am working.
This week my blood sugar has ranged from 72 to 106. Those are exciting numbers to me.
I have lost almost 40 pounds (18 kg).
I function. There are still bad days but I function and even excel some days with energy and focus and drive.
Good things are happening for all of us!
Congratulations Eden! Suffering from sugar addiction is very, very difficult and not something one should take lightly. Great job with coming up with your emergency plans, keep it up!
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