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My Name Is Kat And I’m A Sugar Addict

Read time: 5-7 minutes

It may surprise you to learn that even after 11 years as a health & fitness professional I still battle with my sugar addiction. Maybe not daily, but I’d say at least weekly. Old habits die hard, and considering that many experts believe sugar to be 10x more addictive then heroin, this is hard. Hard to beat. Example? Just this morning while clearing out the spare room I came across 3 Minties stuffed into a bag of junk and was this close to eating them. I saw them and I wanted them. Never mind that even the wrappers looked slightly moldy and never mind that it was 7am and I hadn’t even had breaky.

The thing is, I know exactly which day to day choices set me up for dietary failure, and which allow me to stay strong to the point of not even thinking about scoffing down whatever sweet goodies I can get my mitts on. Yet still I let myself get into situations where resolve is low and temptation is high. And sure, life isn’t about trying to be perfect and never indulge but there’s a difference between consciously choosing a treat to enjoy and savour and chowing down on half a kilo of chocolate bullets because you just can’t stop at one.

It’s not your fault you’re addicted to sugar

If sugar in all it’s many ‘oses’ has got you by the short and curlies then you may be somewhat mollified to learn it’s not entirely your fault. According to author David Gillespie, who lost 8kg simply by cutting out so-called healthy foods like juice, muesli bars and the like, sugar really is the devil and it would seem we’ve all long ago sold our souls. In his book Sweet Poison, David argues the following.

“When we eat the fructose component of sugar – unlike when we eat any other forms of energy – our bodies do not release the three major appetite hormones that tell us we are full: insulin, leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK). Instead it goes straight to the liver where it often stays – converted into fat.”

Personally I am fully on board with the anti-sugar movement. I believe that ideal health and weight comes about from choosing foods in their natural state, and with a particular focus on proteins and smart fats. People argue that it’s wrong to vilify an entire food group, but can we really call sugar food? In nature, processed sugar simply does not exist, and even natural sugars such as fruits are purely seasonal and therefore a very small part of a traditional diet. As Charles Poliquin says, the only sugar a typical cave-woman would come across is the occasional honey hive, and you gotta fight the bees for that!

Can’t stop at one?

These days no such limitations apply. The idea of eating foods only according to what the land would have provided, or according to their seasonal availability, is something most of us haven’t even considered. As far as we’re concerned it’s summer all the time, and 7-Eleven is the promised land. And with clever marketing and ‘healthy organic treats’ confusing even the most quality-conscious amongst us, can we really be blamed for being addicted to a substance that is almost literally forced upon us at every turn? Of course at some point we have to either give up on ever reaching ideal health and weight, OR – maybe we simply have to toughen up and take responsibility. The choice is yours, but before you go – some final food for thought.

How To Stay Addicted to Sugar

1. Be sure to start the day with some whole-grain toast accompanied by the spread of your choosing. Make sure you have a coffee or two on the side. Go on – one teaspoon of sugar won’t hurt. It’s not as though it would set you up for cravings later in the day or anything!

2. Even better – skip the food and just load up on caffeine with hazelnut flavouring. Yummy.

3. Hit the gym. But don’t waste your time with any of those tiresome weights. Churn out a good 40-60 minutes of hard-core cardio and wait for the carbs to start calling your name. Don’t even think about shortening your cardio routine or making it over so it’s actually geared toward fat loss.

4. Eat something healthy for lunch, like a chicken salad. But since you kept things so clean, reward yourself with a nice low-fat muffin afterwards. Or maybe a chocolate bar. Hey, even a hot or iced chocolate will do! I’m sure there’s nothing to the theory that high protein PLUS high sugar causes insulin resistance and increased heart disease. Is there?

5. Know your priorities. Instead of preparing healthy meals and snacks for the next day – like a couple of boiled eggs and some raw nuts and seeds – sit back and enjoy Desperate Housewives. Don’t even bother getting up during the ads – I’m sure you’ll make time in the morning.

6. But then again, it’s probably better that you just hit snooze, roll over, and enjoy a few more minutes shut-eye while you have the chance. It’s not as though you really need to bring your own food to work – you can nip out and find something healthy when hunger hits.

7. Be sure to go with the flow at the office and at home. After all, it would just be plain rude to refuse taking part in workplace birthday celebrations, or after-work drinks and nibbles. It’s much better to go with the flow – regardless how far up the sugar-stream it carries you.

8. Be smug about saying no to soft drinks and the like, and happily enjoy your low-fat yogurt. Ignore the fact that the anti-fat movement has long since been labeled the biggest nutritional mistake of the past century and that our processed food diet is just making us fatter and fatter. After all – it’s just logical to choose low-fat packaged foods over full-fat foods in their natural state. Right?

9. Ignore the fact that hormonal imbalance could be controlling your weight, your energy, and your cravings and just keep battling to get in shape through the old calories in vs calories out approach. I’m sure that’ll do it. After all, it works for everyone else, doesn’t it?

Can you think of anything I’ve missed? What works/doesn’t work for you?

 

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28 Comments

  1. Lou says:

    Great post Kat, I’m totally busted – I read it as I was working my way through a chocolate muffin & a hot chocolate!

    Hi, my name is Lou & I’m addicted to sugar too…

  2. Catherine says:

    OMG. I am totally guilty of almost all of the above. No wonder I can’t kick the cravings! Help me! Can the next post be about the best strategies to kick the ‘oses, please?

  3. Brenda says:

    Hello…..my name is Brenda and I am a sugar-a-holic. I started my addition as a child on the farm…….you know how those farm wives like to bake and smother their families with the love of goodies. Yes this is the atmosphere in my community. I didn’t drink alcohol because of addition problems in my family. I even stayed away from coffee since my parents seem to have trouble exsisting for long without it. I never did “drugs” or smoked. But little did I know I was an addict after all. My vice is sugar.

    It makes me feel a little bit better to know it isn’t all my own fault but that doesn’t make giving it up any easier. I also have read that the addition can
    be linked to neurotransmitters in for the brain which I suspect has something to do with me also. Neurotransmitters are connected to the hormones somehow and from there on it gets complicated but I know I have some trouble with both and don’t know how that plays into how hard it is to give up sugar or what to expect. So if you can touch on those connections I would grately appreciate it.

    Thanks for being honest about the sugar probem……Kat…..and good for you for recognizing and tackling it at such a young age.

  4. Kat says:

    @ Lou – definitely busted! I’ll admit – I’m having a few squares of Old Gold peppermint right now … but at least I resisted those Minties this morning!
    @ Catherine – great idea and actually I was going to do something similar about craving-busting snacks πŸ™‚
    @ Brenda – good point; I’ll definitely include the neurotransmitter aspect in the above upcoming post. It does make it hard when you’ve been taught to eat that way from day one. I’ve read that a baby is instantly addicted to sugar the first time they try it. Which means Alyssa is already a goner as she managed to chew through an entire pack of sugar in a cafe once without me noticing πŸ™

  5. Aster says:

    Great post Kat, I used to be in the mindset of thinking “one sugar in my coffee won’t hurt” but since cutting out sugar it’s easier to stay sugar free for the rest of the day.

  6. Paula says:

    Hi Kat,

    Thanks for your post. I am especially interested in point number 7 ( Be sure to go with the flow at the office and at home) – i find it really difficult to stay away from sugar (and alcohol) during social occasions, and considering I am 24 I tend to go out quite a bit on the weekends with my friends. Any tips on that?? Thanks:)

    1. Kat says:

      Hi Paula. That really is a tough one, and to be honest (at least to begin with) the best thing to do is simply remove yourself from the situation. If you wanted to go all out cutting sugar, I bet you’d find that after the first week you’d easily be able to refuse. When you go for drinks, just choose red wine and snack on healthy tapas stuff like cheese or olives or meat. Hope that helps πŸ™‚

  7. Deb says:

    Great post Kat! Love your tips at the end. Priceless. I’m a reformed sugar addict, it’s amazing how the cravings left me when I began eating the foods suited for my metabolic type.

    1. Kat says:

      At Deb – that happened for me as well when I first tried MT, although I think it was more about increasing fat and protein.

  8. Deb says:

    Yep I’m sure it’s the increased good fats and high purine proteins that have done it for me. But we’re all different. Biological individuality holds the cards. One diet doesn’t seem to fit all…

    1. Kat says:

      Definitely, genetic and cultural background plays a huge part!

  9. Malisa says:

    Great post Kat! It actually made me grin.
    I know so many people that are so called “health freaks”, and yet they seem to fall for every single stay addicted to sugar rule! I’ll definately be circulating this post around the office at work πŸ™‚
    I’ve been on a low sugar eating plan for the last 12 mths, only incorporating a small handful of berries on training days. Its working quite well, with me loosing over 50kg, of course I’m sure weights training has helped also!
    Thanks again for an entertaining read!

    1. Kat says:

      Wow Malisa, over 50kg. Awesome job! Talk about a walking testimonial for low sugar (and superfoods!). Berries are the best, berries with raw cream and almond butter is one of my fave healthy treats.

  10. Malisa says:

    Raw cream & Bee Pollen is my secret pleasure πŸ™‚

  11. Dave says:

    Kat,
    This post definitely hits home with me. I’ve been trying to ween myself off dessert after dinner for the past week. I got so used to that chocolate taste. It’s a big challenge. Right now, I’m compensating by eating a lot more fruit. I am allowing myself a cheat day on the weekend though so Sunday can’t come soon enough!
    Dave

    1. Kat says:

      Good plan although you do have to be careful with fruit! Berries and peaches are good choices.

  12. shaun wilton says:

    oh my goodness Kat you sound like me and like you i am involved in the health and fitness industry. The sad thing is i lecture my clients all the time abou this same exact stuff. I have tried so many times to break my addiction and i was even reading this and drinking a hot sweet hot chocolate…..BUT your blog here has made me really think hard about trying once again to stop..thank you… Shaun

    1. Kat says:

      My pleasure Shaun; I hope it helps. I know how tough it can be!

  13. Lola says:

    Try vanilla lip gloss. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes just the smell of it or a little on my lips seems to help with my sweet tooth.

    1. Kat says:

      Good tip Lola!

  14. Aagh! How timely. I have just fallen off the wagon on day two of giving up sugar. But I can give up any time I want, honestly. πŸ™‚

  15. Andrea McDonald via Facebook says:

    Me too – get so very grumpy without it!

  16. Elizabeth Cohen via Facebook says:

    I am, I confess a sugar addict πŸ™ I try not too indulge in the sweets & choc but then go to the opposite extreme when I’ve had a bad day or just want it! Your tips are very helpful Kat, thanks!

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