Getting Stronger: Discussion Forum

Discussion Topics => Personal Page => : SUGARDUDE March 20, 2010, 05:15:08 PM

: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 20, 2010, 05:15:08 PM
     I'm not obese, but I'd like to lose my belly and even get a 6 pack. I'll be 46 years old on Monday, stand 6'0' and currently weigh 212. I've been trying diiferent approaches for about 4 years with varying degrees of success..........all temporary.

      I recently experimented with the deconditioning diet with great success for about a week. With this diet, as with all other approaches, once I slipped, I couldn't get back on the horse for quite a while. I'm currently waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy off.

     I have a ton of deconditioning to do. I've had unfettered ability to eat whatever  I want my whole life. My childhood home was always stocked with a plethora of cookies, ice cream, sugar laden cereal, and other "goodies".

I have issues with sugar on both a physiological and psychological level. I've been focused on finding a physiological remedy but I think it is time to reall attack the psychological issues. For example, I noticed yesterday while I was running an errand that I was not hungry and had no sugar cravings but knew I was going to be faced with an opportunity to eat a sugary snack. self knowledge of this fact was not enough to deter me from ultimately gobbling up a candy bar.

(Continued to post number 2)

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 21, 2010, 06:47:49 AM
     Another psychologicallly rooted situation I have noticed is sugar binging. Sometimes I will intentionally prepare for a binge by purchasing a bunch of crap beforehand. Other times, I try to just eat one sugary thing and before it's even half way down I'm looking for another and another.

     With dieting, I will do very well on a particular regimen for a week or so, but once I give in I go crazy and binge. Part of this is psychological because I feel that since I have already gone to the dark side, I might as well enjoy myself. The big problem is that I can't get back on the straight and narrow even when that is my intent. On a day following a binge or breakdown, I will experience strong physical cravings the following day. Sometimes I welcome these cravings with open mouth and at other times I try to resist futiley. I usually have to get to an alarming weight before I get a new "plan" that temporarily works.

     Currently, I'm on about a monthlong bad cycle following an extremely quick 10 pound weightloss obtained by a regin of exercise, randomly skipping meals, and eating healthy.
     So here I sit with my self awareness with no real plan on how to be consistent. I'm not even sure when I'm going to strat trying.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker March 21, 2010, 08:27:09 PM
Hi Sugardude,

Looking at your situation, it seems that you have made sugar and carbs into a forbidden fruit.  The longer you stay away from your forbidden fruit, the more alluring it becomes, until you return to the "dark side" and resistance is futile.  (Sounds a bit like a Star Wars movie, forgive me).   According to the principles of behaviorism, every time you give in and binge, you are just reinforcing this pattern and it becomes more likely to happen again.  Not a good way to go.

How about trying something a little different? Use the well-known principle of "putting on cue" or "stimulus control" -- which is described on the Psychology page of the blog, about halfway down the page where the picture of the conductor's baton appears. You might want to go back and read this section:

This method has been used successfully to extinguish or limit undesireable behaviors. The idea is to allow yourself to have your sugary or carbohydrate-rich treat, but only under specific circumstances. Then you gradually reduce the frequency of the stimulus circumstances to zero or some tolerably low level.

You can do this in a few different ways (choose whichever works for you):
1.  Designate a certain very limited time period -- say a fixed one hour window on 3 or 4 days of the week ---  when you are allowed to have your carb treat, and be very strict about observing it, but really enjoy it then.  Be sure to stop when the hour is over, but enjoy it while it lasts!  Decide on the days and time window at the beginning of each week and hold to it for that week. (If you want to be really strict about it, set a clock alarm or watch beeper to go off at the designated start and stop times).  You can change the "schedule" once a week.  Consider yourself as two people -- the "trainer" and the "trainee".
2.  Designate a certain room or place where you can have the carb treat, and only have it there -- no exceptions. It's probably best if this room is not the kitchen or a room that you normally eat your treats in -- so you have to make a special effort to go there.  Allow yourself to have the carb treat only in that room, never outside of it.
3.  Decide that you will have your treat only in a social environment, with other people around.  Or only with certain people.  This is similar to the way that some alcoholics are able to get back into control of their bingeing -- they forgo drinking alone, and they allow their social inhibitions about appearing out of control to help limit them.
4. Find some other cue or signal that must be present for you to have your treat.  It could be, for example, that you have to be playing a certain piece of music on the stereo.  Or that you have to be wearing a certain hat or jacket.  Whatever.  And then you are in control of that cue.

All of these are examples of stimulus control, because the behavior (eating the carbs) can only occur when the stimulus (a pre-arranged time or place or circumstance) is present.  Be very regular and rigid about this for a while, at least a few weeks.  Condition yourself so that you only have the treat under these very specific conditions.  They can be frequent at first, but then begin to reduce the frequency of the "stimulus" gradually.  In other words, cut back on the frequency of times you "allow" yourself to have the treat.  Never allow yourself to respond to urges or whims -- eat only at "prearranged" times or in predesignated places.  Do this gradually, maybe cutting out one of the "allowed" days every week. You don't even have to totally eliminate the carb treats -- you could allow yourself one day a week or every other week indefinitely into the future, if that works for you.

From my research, this approach of gradually cutting back and allowing a bad habit to occur only within strict pre-arranged bounds, has worked for many people to quit smoking, drugs, and other bad habits. It has also been used in training dolphins, dogs, etc. to give up bad habits.  It sounds strange, but it is a proven method. The beauty of it this method is that it brings "uncontrollable" urges under control, and then gradually phases them out.  I don't know if it will work for your sugar bingeing, but it might.  

Let me know what you think,

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 22, 2010, 09:56:32 PM
:     The stimulus cue idea will not work for me as a practical matter because I am unable to stay within the parameters. Once I eat sugar, I'm off to the races for the day (or longer).

     The real problem I need to address is being able to get back on track. I've been off the wagon for awile now. There have been several days recently (including today) where  have passively tried to get back on track by eating my regular healthy breakfast and seeing where my mind and body take me. Today, by 9:30 am it took me to the 7-11 for a donut and candy run.

     Mind you. When I am successfully dieting, I don't get these cravings even though i had the exact same breakfast. But following a day, or period of days when I have binged, it is very difficult to follow a regimen.

(Why is it that when you get to a certain point on these posts the page begins to jump so you can't see what you are writing. This happens on SLD's site as well) 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 22, 2010, 10:07:08 PM
     So to continue, I need to figure out what it is I do when I successfully start a diet and incorporate that each time I fall off. The problem is I'm not sure what that is. It seems like I get to a point where my body is just ready for it again. I don't know whether it is mental or physical. When I am able to get back on track, strangely it seems effortless. It may be as simple as mentally committing and suffering few 1-3 days of touging out cravings until they gradually lessen. I'm not really sure if that is the answer or whether I'm even capable of toughing out such cravings.

     We're going to find out after Easter though.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 02, 2010, 06:52:41 PM
I'm still purposely getting fat for the contest. I had a setback last week with some  sort of stomach flu that caused me to lose 7 pounds in two days.

One of the things that I realize I have to get a handle on is the concept of not eating just because there is an "opportunity". This is very similar to a phenomenon I used to experience in my drug use days. What happens is that I will seek out sweets in situatins where I know I have some free time and no one is around to observe me. I'm free as a bird to do as i want. The thought automatically occurs to go eat something pleasurable because soon, the freedom will be gone.

Of course I do this even though I am neither hungry nor having a sugar craving.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: HungryGuy April 02, 2010, 07:19:29 PM
Sugardude, this is really an interesting thing you are saying, that just because there is an opportunity does not mean you "have to" do something.  Think about this for a minute. Are you just a machine that responds to your desires? We grow up in this culture thinking that because we desire something means we should do it. That's important to us as Americans because we value our freedom so much. We don't want anyone to tell us what to do, especially when it has to do with our desires. If it feels good, do it. Or at least, do it to prove to the world that no one can tell us what to do.

But turn this around.  What is in control of you - your mind or your desires?  I don't know whether you read my post on the Deconditioning Diet thread, but I was really surprised to find that I did not have to obey my desires. For a few days this was a struggle, but I eventually learned that I am stronger than my desires.  They are real and they are sometimes a minor annoyance and sometimes they much stronger than that -- screaming at me "eat", but they are not the same as "me".  I am greater than them.  Weirdly, there is kind of a perverse pride or satisfaction in battling your desires and winning, because it proves that you are "bigger" than your desires.  Think about it - where do your desires come from in the first place?  They just kind of show up out of the blue! So they are not the same as you, they are coming from somewhere else.  They are like a little screaming baby or a barking dog. Why should you give into these desires any more than you should give into the baby or dog?  The more you more you give in, the more they will come back asking for more.  I think it is a point of pride not to get dominated by desires, any more than you would give in to a baby or dog.

It might seem impossible that you can ignore your desires, but the more practice you get at this, the easier it is.  I'm not saying we should give up pleasure totally, but like the Stoics said, we should be in control and only allow pleasure to the degree that it is good for us.  What worked for me was to make this a "point of pride" and take pleasure in the fact that I could defeat unruly pleasures which seem to come from nowhere and try to screw up life.  I am going to win against them!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 03, 2010, 05:49:09 AM
I totally agree Hungry Guy. The response is merely conditioned because it has been reinforced my whole life.

I had this situation come up recently and when I realized what was going on I chose to not follow that path. It's pretty easy when you know the situation because there really is no craving or hunger involved.

Of course when you have real hunger/craving and opportunity you're faced with a different challenge but I'm taking baby steps here.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 04, 2010, 07:57:35 AM
My biggest loser contest starts on April 13th so I still have some time to consider the strategies and tactics I will use to keep losing weight for the entire 12 week period of the contest.

I've already identified one strategy as it pertains to recognizing "opportunity".

The big issues I have are getting back on track after a major slip and preventing minor slip from turning into a major slip. 

As for the former, I think I'm just going to have to suffer and suck up the cravings for a couple days in order to re condition my brain.

As for the latter, I don't know.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker April 05, 2010, 08:52:09 PM
The stimulus cue idea will not work for me as a practical matter because I am unable to stay within the parameters. Once I eat sugar, I'm off to the races for the day (or longer)...Mind you. When I am successfully dieting, I don't get these cravings even though i had the exact same breakfast. But following a day, or period of days when I have binged, it is very difficult to follow a regimen.

My biggest loser contest starts on April 13th so I still have some time to consider the strategies and tactics I will use...The big issues I have are getting back on track after a major slip and preventing minor slip from turning into a major slip.  As for the former, I think I'm just going to have to suffer and suck up the cravings for a couple days in order to re condition my brain. As for the latter, I don't know.

Sugardude, I wish you luck as you approach your contest! I agree with you that it is important to have a strategy planned IN ADVANCE for how you will deal with temptation, sugar cravings, and preventing a "minor slip" from turning into a "major slip".  Just winging it and hoping that things will go different this time does not seem very promising, and is likely to lead to a repeat performance.  As they say, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results the next time."

So what is your strategy going to be? I can't tell you what will work best for you, only you know that. There may be many possible strategies.  But after thinking about, it seems like there are only three main options that even have a chance of working:

1. Totally avoid temptation. This means removing all sugary foods from your sight, from your house, avoiding places that sell sweets, baked goods, or whatever.
2.  Confront temptation (sugar food cues) with zero eating response. Deliberately expose yourself to sugary foods multiple times every day, without consuming the sugary foods.  The more frequently you do this, with different foods, at different times and contexts, the more you desensitize yourself.
3.  Confront temptation (sugar food cues) with a very limited eating reponse.  Expose yourself to the cues and deliberately consume a small amount, but cut yourself off at a pre-defined limit, probably a very small amount -- like one cookie, small piece of cake, or candy per "mealtime" (where there are only one or two "mealtimes" per day, at least 4 hours apart). Again, using a variety of trigger foods at different times and places.

Before reading further, I'd be very interested in which of these 3 options you think would work best for yourself.  Or whether you can think of additional alternatives to the above that might work better than any of these three.

My personal opinion (as of today): I think that Option 1 probably requires the least effort, and may work in the short term, but has the greatest risk of long term failure, because it is hard to avoid the "forbidden fruit" indefinitely, especially under stress.  Option 2 is a bit harder, but could work if you do the exposure frequently enough, and reward your alternate behavior.  Option 3 is psychologically the hardest, but probaby has the greatest chance of success if you can do it for several days, because you are then really retraining your whole problem behavior, and are dealing with the risk of relapse up front.

My next post on the Getting Stronger blog will be a summary of some very interesting recent research on relapse prevention, in the area of smoking cessation and treatment of alcoholism.  Paradoxically, the greatest success appears to come from deliberate cue exposure, rather than cue avoidance or "self control".  Retraining our behavior is more effective than trying to exercise "discipline".

What do you think, Sugardude?  Or does anyone else here on the forum have a suggestion they would like to post?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 06, 2010, 09:25:31 AM

As a practical matter it's going to have to be option #2 only because there is no way to avoid being around sweets completelty. This is especially true when you work in an office where people often times bring in donuts and the like or you have twin 4 year olds living with you. I have no problem with confronting temptation. The problem occurs when I already have it set in my mind that I am going to give in to the temptation before the tempataion is actually present. I'm okay with this.

I know that at some point I'm going to have an overwhelming desire to eat something sugary. What I'm focusing on now is how to limit it and stay on course. I may actaully have to mentally "plan" my slips to stay on the straight and narrow.

Lately I've noticed one thing I do which needs to be stopped. I love to drink milk and sometimes very sweet fruit juices. When I am throwing caution to the wind I will be poring a second glass to drink before I'm done gulping down the first glass. I probably do the same thing with cookies and the like. It's totally mental and has nothing to do with blood sugar spikes or anything like that. So I think this is another "behavior"  I could work on.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Jbird April 06, 2010, 04:45:07 PM
Sugardude, I've been reading your posts with interest and empathy, and I've been curious about a comparison you made between your behavior around sugar and your "drug use days." What helped you stop using drugs? I just wonder if whatever helped you in that situation would also help you in your current struggle. Also, how do you know your behavior with sugar is "totally mental" and unrelated to blood sugar spikes? Do you consider your drug use totally mental or was there an addictive aspect? If this is too personal, forgive me. I just know there's been a lot of debate about whether sugar is addictive in the way certain drugs are. A recent study that's been in the news talks about junk food being as addictive as cocaine, so maybe whatever is going on with you and sugar has a biochemical component. Todd, I'm intrigued by the three options you describe and look forward to your next post. I tend to take the first approach (totally avoiding temptation), but agree it's not always realistic. I've read about option 2 here but haven't tried it. Option 3 seems appealing because it could retrain me to be more "normal" instead of so "all or nothing" about my food choices. Sugardude, glad you're posting and wish you success!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 07, 2010, 06:58:55 PM

Thanks for posting in the thread. Drug addiction for me proved to be largely mental and not physical. It was fairly easy to stop once I got to the point that I realized I didn't want to live that lifestyle anymore.

Comparing the addiction to food/sugar is really no comparison because food is readily available, legal, and necessary whereas cocaine is none of these.

Breaking away from cocaine required that I remove myself from the "social" circle of drug users. That was pretty easy considering I was married to non drug user (she didn't know I was a user until after we were married). Have a support group is also really important. Eventually you just end up living a life that does not include drugs (or alcohol) and that is a good thing. I never had any physical withdrawl.

Looking back, my cocaine use was basically a strongly conditioned behavior. The high was intermittantly reinforcing which like a slot machine creates a strong response to get the reward. Crack is even worse because no matter how bad things get in your life as a result of using, the desire to get that initial high is so strong that all of the bad stuff that goes along with it is disrgarded. (okay the page jump thing is happening again)
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 07, 2010, 07:09:21 PM
It was really ridiculous for me because I would love the first 30 seconds after taking a hit and then be immediately and miserably paranoid. Basically getting high towards the end was not fun yet I almost risked my marriage, career, and life to keep doing it.

6 years later I still have a secret yearning to someday be able to get high again, but I haven't found the right circumstances to do it (such circumstances are realistically non existent.....I've just got too much going on in my life right now).

As for sugar, I am focusing on the mental because there is so much there that is going on that I have never addressed before. No question there exists a physical "craving" independent of the physical one. I believe that I have found a remedy for the physical cravings with Glutamine. But Glutamine has no effect on the mental desire.

It's much more difficult to tackle than cocaine though. What would happen if they served cocaine at every kids birthday party i went to with my kids. Would I be able to resist? Okay, maybe eating the cake isn't so bad.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Jbird April 07, 2010, 07:36:00 PM
Thanks, for explaining and I'm glad you didn't feel I was being intrusive. My experience with cigarettes was similar. I didn't have withdrawal symptoms and don't feel I was physically addicted, although I was smoking a lot at one point. It was the same for my Mom quitting, and she'd been a chain smoker for about 40 years. When each of us stopped, it was cold turkey with no withdrawal. Like you, I felt I didn't want to be that person who smokes and I started to do something incompatible with smoking (running). I also stopped hanging out in places where people smoked. So, today I was thinking of you when I was on my bike riding with a neighbor. I'd walked 4 miles earlier with a friend and was out for a 20-mile ride with her, and she asked me if that amount of exercise was my typical pattern. I don't really have a typical pattern and blurted out, "I'm an opportunistic exerciser." Meaning that given a chance to engage in some type of activity with another person, I'll likely go for it because it usually means doing more than I normally would of the given activity, or it gives me a reason to push myself to keep up or even race ahead. That made me think of how you said you were opportunistic about eating sugar. I can be that way, too, so I thought it was kind of cool that that word popped into my mind to describe a constructive opportunism as opposed to something self-destructive. Sounds like that may apply to your decision to start using the gym across the street from where you work. Constructive opportunism! I think that's going to be my new battle cry. Feel free to borrow it!  ;)
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 08, 2010, 09:56:06 AM

I'm glad you mentioned smoking because like yoy, the only way I could beat it was to go cold turkey. Amazingly it only took about three days before the cravings were gone. What I did was to pick a three day period where I would have the least stress in my life. It totally worked. There were a couple of subsequent breakdowns when I had arguments with my wife, but when I smoled it was disgusting and aversive. No I never want to smoke under any circumstances.

Of course it helps that I don't drink alcohol anymore. I don't see how it is possible to quit smoking if you are active drinker. If you are cocaine user.....don't even bother trying. Seriously.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 12, 2010, 06:22:18 AM
Okay. Today is the final day of "bulking up" before I start to try to lose weight. i haven't really gained that much weight and somehow this had been therapeutic since I more in touch with the environmental cues that trigger me to eat even though I'm not not hungry.

Here's on of the worst ones: I enjoy grazing while I sit at the computer. I've done this at work quite a bit and it's usually what I'm doing when I have my worst binges.

Rule #1 starting tomorrow: No eating at the computer.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 13, 2010, 05:52:27 AM
Today it begins. My starting weight is 216. I'll weigh in for the contest later with my clothes on with food in my belly).

The plan is to eat reasonably while avoiding snacking due to various environmental cues. 2 24 hour fasts a week and exercise including at 3-5 days  a week of resistance training and cardio.

The beginning is always so easy.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: HungryGuy April 13, 2010, 12:34:46 PM
Good luck, Sugardude.  I know you can do it!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Jbird April 13, 2010, 07:06:31 PM
Sugardude, I wish you success! It seems once you set your mind to something, you do it! Are you in a local version of the Biggest Loser TV show, or is this something you're doing at work? Interesting that you were able to quit smoking relatively easily, as well as cocaine, and I assume drinking was relatively easy for you to quit too? I wonder if thinking of sugar as an addictive substance and quitting it, would also be easy for you. Can you just put it in the category of cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes? I'm thinking about myself here, too, and suspect there is something similar in our mentality. You can't quit food the same way you can quit those other things, as you noted earlier, but one can quit a type of food. I've been thinking about "quitting" sugar and flour as if they were substances rather than foods. This would be different than my on again-off again approach to low carb diets. Many years ago my Dad lost weight just by eliminating sugar- and flour-based foods. Recently my Mom said that one of their employees did the same thing, and she's also succeeded with that in the past, so I was contemplating approaching it that way, rather than restricting carbs per se. It seems like not such a big deal to simply say, "no sugar, no flour." I really like fruits and vegetables and don't like restricting those on low carb, but I wouldn't have to. So psychologically, that might work better for me. I've been gradually losing weight and am down to 126 from 134 at the beginning of the year. So what I'm doing is working, but I rely more on exercise than the fact that I'm eating right all the time. I'm inconsistent. Anyway, best of luck with the contest! Jaye
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 April 14, 2010, 06:08:09 AM
Best of luck with your "contest", Sugardude. I think you have a good approach. The intermittent fasting helped to decondition me.  And the resistance training and cardio should help.

As you say, the beginning is easy, but at some point you can expect to encounter temptation and the return of cravings. For myself, I found it was important to have a plan as to how I would handle that, so I would go for a walk or hit the gym and usually the cravings would dissipate.  And I would reward myself for progress with things I like other than food.  I really don't get significant cravings any more, or if I do, I'm satisfied with much less food.

We'll be following your progress!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 16, 2010, 02:09:15 PM
Thanks jared33. I've gotton off to a poor start but have lost a few pounds nonetheless just because I'm no longer trying to gain weight.

I had a couple of very nice resistance workouts early in the week which have left me nice and sore.

I didn't make it very far into the first 24 hour fast. I'll spare you the sordid details but lets just say I'm not quite prepared to fast for that long of a period......yet.

I'm starting the power of 10 workout next week and I'll be going back to the deconditioning diet since I had some very good success in the brief time I tried it before. This time I'm going to start off slow. Just  fasting for 2 meals a week and move up from there.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 20, 2010, 02:33:37 PM
So far so good. I skipped lunch yesterday and I'm planning to skip breakfast on Thursday.

I wrote down a set of eating rules that cover forbidden foods (basically refined sugar products) and situations. I  also wrote out a strategy to deal with sugar cravings.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 April 20, 2010, 07:14:03 PM
It's good to see you have a plan and that you have come up with some rules that are workable for you, Sugardude.  I think having a plan or "rules" is important because it gives you a way to stay in control.  It might seem like a contradiction but these "rules" actually end up giving you more freedom, because you gain freedom from cravings. Plus, I think it makes a difference that YOU are the rulemaker, rather than someone else, because that keeps you in charge.

I'm also wondering if you still think the cardio and weights are part of this plan, or if you are postponing that part. For me, the resistance exercises helped, but I know that some people prefer to make only one big change at a time.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 20, 2010, 07:52:20 PM
I started doing the power of 10 today. So that will be 1-2 resistance training workouts a week. I'm also going to do cardio a couple times a week in addition to playing hockey.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 23, 2010, 09:54:17 AM
Things are going smoothly. I'm down 7 lbs since April 13th but most of that (5 lbs) was lost since Monday when I actually started the new regimen.

I skipped two meals this week and plan to skip two more next week. I will gradually increase after that.

Having rules written down seem to have had a positive effect psychologically. Once I even think about slipping I just think of the rules and it's much easier to move on.

I haven't had that many opportunies to approach and smell prohibited foods but I will be embracing this aspect of the deconditioning diet.

I must admit that I'm using Coca Cola Zero as a crutch but so what. I like to drink sweet drinks so it's better than chugging milk or fruit juice.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 25, 2010, 06:18:50 AM
Tough day yesterday. I got through it without a meltdown though. It was one of those days where I felt hungry all day. Fortunately I adhered to rule number 1 (no refined sugar foods). I truly believe this strategy kept me from having a 4 pound day. I ate quite a bit of cheese and green grapes to keep the hunger at bay.

It was wierd because I don't know where this constant hunger came from. It may be significant that this was the first non work day since I began the regimen. Hopefully I deconditioned a bit by not giving in to thoughts of eating sugar but next time I'm going to have to  fight off  the urges and just not eat so much.

I wonder how I will follow up today.

Edit: despite my "troubles" I dropped a pound from the day before !!

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 April 25, 2010, 09:45:27 PM
Good going, man.  Hang in there, the hunger will subside within a few days.  I think that the seemingly constant hunger is your body's way of protesting and trying to get back to what it was used to.  But the most progress is happening inside of you just when it seems toughest. Your doing great.  Do something (besides eat) to reward yourself and distract yourself from hunger.

By the way, who else is in this Biggest Loser contest with you?  Is it a bet or is there some reward for the winner?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 26, 2010, 05:49:29 AM
The contest is amongst co-workers. There was a small buy in but the pot grows because if you gain weight you have to pay into the pot a dollar per pound gained.

Yesterday I went to a social gathering where there were numerous temptations........I gave in but I'm okay with that. That's going to happen. The bigger test for me is what happens today.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 26, 2010, 09:29:02 AM
Okay so it's 10:30 and the only thing keeping me from running down to 7-11 to get a bunch of junk is that I have a physical today and I was instructed to fast for 6 hours before the exam.

It's amazing how my body reacts the day after eating a lot of sugar.

I'm going to try some glutamine now to see if that helps. EDIT: It worked like a charm !!

DOUBLE EDIT: THE GLUTAMINE WAS TRULY MIRACULOUS. I believe I have found the key to getting back on the wagon following a day off. THIS IS HUGE !!.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam April 26, 2010, 04:44:39 PM
Good job getting back on it, Sugardude.

I've heard about the glutamine thing for sugar cravings but never tried it.  Did you mix it with anything?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 26, 2010, 06:55:38 PM
No. I just put the powder underneath my tongue.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Jbird April 27, 2010, 03:21:06 PM
Interesting about the glutamine. How much do you use? If you took it every day, do you think it would help you resist sugar in the first place and not just help you get back on track? I'm wondering if you think it could be used as a preventive measure. Have you used it that way in the past? Good luck with the contest! I think putting money into the pot if you gain weight gives a new meaning to "pot belly"!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 28, 2010, 09:50:30 AM
The glutamine does not seem to work as a preventative measure. I have tried this in the past by drinking it mixed with water a few times a day. It also has no effect on psychological cravings.

I will take a pinch out of the jar and put in underneath my tongue. The physical craving is gone in about 20 seconds.

The hardest part is actually talking yourself into actually ingesting the Glutamine. Frankly when a craving comes along, my brain tells me to give in to the craving instead of eliminating it. Sounds wierd but it's true.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam April 28, 2010, 05:48:52 PM
That doesn't sound weird; it sounds totally normal to me.  I was just thinking about that recently--that making the choice to try and get rid of the craving (for whatever) is the hard part; actually getting rid of it once the choice is made may be less difficult.  It's weird. 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 30, 2010, 06:53:28 AM
Well I'm pretty much back to square one ........again. Ever since sunday I haven't been able to hop back on the horse.

Jaye got me thinking about using glutamine as a preventative measure so I'm going to try the pure powder (as opposed to mixing it with water) after meals. It might be best to do it an hour or two after a meal but I'm going to experiment starting  this way.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam April 30, 2010, 12:35:25 PM
Don't give up, Sugar.  Pick a time (soon) to get back on it.  That's all you can do.

Maybe you should try my sardine diet. 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: HungryGuy April 30, 2010, 02:55:54 PM

Don't let the slip get to you.  I like your analogy of getting thrown from a horse, just get back on like rodeo rider.  A lot of folks use a slip or relapse as proof they cannot conquer the beast (addiction), but I think it is better to see this as part of the process of learning. Part of it is learning to stop the relapse in its tracks and shorten the time in getting back on the horse.  Each time it happens, you get back on faster and with more determination.  And of course, you are very observant about what "tricks" work for you like glutamine or whatever.

Plus, we are all here cheering you on!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 30, 2010, 07:32:15 PM
Thanks for the support.

I truly believe I am addicted to sweets and the only way to beat it is to totally abstain. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this but the diet now just has 1 rule: no eating anything that tastes sweet. This includes artificial sweeteners and even fruit (for now).

I'm hoping that if I can stick to this for a few months, I will effectively lose the reaction that I currently have to sweets. However, I realize the very real possibility that this may need to be a lifelong thing just like alcohol and drugs.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam May 01, 2010, 01:21:29 PM
Well, if that's the way it is SD, at least you will know how to handle it.  It's not the end of the world.  It's a bummer, but it's better than being out of control.  (I'm sort of in the same situation with sweets; I responded about that in Todd's alcohol thread.)
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 01, 2010, 02:49:03 PM
I usually add "Stevia in the Raw" to my breakfast cereal. I didn't today and things have gone much smoother for me so far.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam May 01, 2010, 07:23:56 PM
SD have you ever tried low-carb?  I wouldn't touch cereal with a ten-foot pole, unless I wanted to eat the whole box.  It's just sugar in a different form.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 01, 2010, 07:27:16 PM
SD have you ever tried low-carb?  I wouldn't touch cereal with a ten-foot pole, unless I wanted to eat the whole box.  It's just sugar in a different form.

Yes I have.  For me it's not about the carbs though. It's about the sweetness. It doesn't even have to be sugar. It can be artificial sugar or even a natural sweetener like Stevia. I'm aware of blood sugar spikes with carbs but that as you know some carbs turn to sugar much more slowly then others. I'm fairly certain that the cereal by itself is not a problem.....especially after yesterday.

The cereal I eat is called Simply Fiber and has no sugar in it but 14 grams of fiber.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 02, 2010, 06:48:26 AM
I'll have to call yesterday a success. I was able to fend off cravings with glutamine as needed. I dropped a pound even though I ate Chinese food last night.

I'll take it.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker May 03, 2010, 11:51:18 AM
Great to hear about your success, Sugardude! Robert Atkins, the inventor of the Atkins diet, was a big believer in glutamine to curb cravings specifically for sugar and sweet things.  You are correct that this is something different than generalized carb cravings.

In addition to the glutamine, you might consider B-vitamin complex.  Years ago, I found this helped my curb carb cravings and at the same time reduced my cravings for alcohol. You pointed out the connection between sugar and alcohol cravings in one of your other posts, and there is some research connecting both of these to a Vitamin B deficiency.  If you do this, be sure to take a high dose version with the full set of B-vitamins, not just any single B vitamin. You can get these in most any pharmacy. The B-vitamins are not fast-acting like the glutamine; you have to take them for a few days to correct a deficiency.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 03, 2010, 02:18:15 PM
Thanks Todd. I'll look into that.

I made it through yesterday and dropped another 1.5 lbs. I had to go to the glutamine jar about 4-5 times yesterday.

Today as I sit here during the 3:00 hour I have not had to use Glutamine even once. I figure the worst is probably behind me but now I know how to get back on track after a bad day (or 6). I'm going to try to do a whole month without sweets but even if I can't, I should be able to get back to business on the following day.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Jbird May 03, 2010, 06:57:19 PM
Interesting about Atkins endorsing glutamine. Didn't know that. I tend to shy away from supplements, but this may be worth trying based on SD's posts. SD, congrats on your getting back in the saddle and weight loss!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 04, 2010, 09:19:50 AM
Still doing okay. I dropped another pound yesterday so I'm down to 210 from my starting weight of 216. I was at 213.5 when I stopped using alternative sweeteners.

Last night was a little difficult. I went to the jar twice but still had a nagging craving. Fortunately it wasn't the kind of craving that couldn't be resisted....but it was there....depite the glutamine.

Today is a weigh in so I'm skipping breakfast just to make sure I don't have to pay any money.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Jbird May 04, 2010, 07:07:54 PM
I want to try dropping all sweeteners before trying the glutamine. Glad you were able to resist your cravings, SD, and congrats on dropping another pound!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 05, 2010, 06:32:44 AM
I want to try dropping all sweeteners before trying the glutamine. Glad you were able to resist your cravings, SD, and congrats on dropping another pound!

Good luck Jaye.

I dropped 2 more yesterday. I only went to the jar once after dinner.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 07, 2010, 06:38:18 AM
I'm now down to 207lbs which is 6.5lbs down starting my seventh day. I even ate a 1100 calorie hamburger last night (but I did burn close to 600 calories on the treadmill).

Glutamine is now just getting me through the evening.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: MallyHen May 07, 2010, 12:04:22 PM
Wow!  Are you sure you're not losing too fast?  Sometimes the slower and steadier horse wins the race.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 08, 2010, 05:11:10 PM
Wow!  Are you sure you're not losing too fast?  Sometimes the slower and steadier horse wins the race.

This always happens the first week. it's mostly water weight.

By the way, I fell off yesterday and I'm enjoying the weekend. Wish me luck on Monday.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 10, 2010, 08:15:16 AM
I gained a whopping 7lbs over the weekend and I'm not likely to stop there. Maybe this is somthing as simple as taking the B-vitamins like Todd said but Friday there was no way to stop the urge.......not even glutamine.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker May 10, 2010, 11:46:24 AM
I would say "Sorry to hear that, Sugardude", but it's more productive to try to understand what happened and look forward.  So it might be helpful if you could first describe your experience in a bit more detail, then we can get the good thinkers on this forum to offer some suggestions.

I am assuming that it was sweet foods or beverages that triggered your binge, right? Can you say more about which specific foods got you going? Do you think it was sugar or sweet taste in general, was this a response to very specific trigger foods, as Heidi has been describing in her Non-Addictive Food Diet? Also, what were the circumstances, and what might have been the triggers or contextual cues that set you off?  Did you eat in a social setting or by yourself? What was your pattern of eating -- did you satisfy the urge by binge eating non stop, or did the urge build up progressively with each bite or portion?

I'm struck especially by your comment that "there was no way to stop the urge".  I think this leaves us with two main possibilities:
1.  The urge is due to a nutrient deficiency or chemical imbalance.
2.  The urge is a very strongly conditioned behavioral response.

If #1 is true, then behavioral deconditioning is unlikely to be helpful, because your body truly needs something it is not getting.  The only solution is to address the deficiency. You would have to figure that out either by going to a doctor & getting blood tests, or just try to address this by trial and error. Taking glutamine was a good idea, but apparently that does not always work for you. There are multiple deficiencies that have been proven to be associated with cravings, including mineral deficiencies (especially chromium, magnesium, and zinc) and Vitamin B deficiencies (especially niacin). If that is true, you should consider taking mineral and vitamin supplements. Here are some good links on that  topic:

However, if supplements don't resolve the problem, or you believe #2 is true, then a deconditioning technique may be your best bet.  From the posts here on the forum and in the blog, I think your best bet for deconditioning is a "multi-pronged" approach, combining two or more of  the best ideas, as Heidi has suggested.  In that case I would suggest the following:

1.  Direct cue exposure, including looking, smelling and even "enlightened tasting" by chewing a spitting out the sugary food. I think Heidi's ideas about this make sense, and she speaks from personal experience about food addictions. To make cue exposure work you need to set aside a non-stressed time to do it repeatedly and frequently over a few days. Within a one hour period, do it 4-6 times, waiting each time until the urge starts to come back, then re-expose. Then do it the next day. Use different sugary foods, and do it different times of day or in different rooms.  It is key to vary the context and make the exposure realistic, except don't eat -- spit out! The exposure itself will diminish the urge! One or two times won't do the job. Have an alternate activity planned to do right after your cue exposure sessions.  Heidi has a good test for success:  the food should start to taste different!

After you succeed in dampening the urge and changing the flavor, you should try eating a small amount, very small, and stop dead in your tracks.  Do this on multiple occasions -- only a bite or two; then go do something else, hopeful fun and pleasureable.  Build up until eating is normal.

Cue exposure sounds hard.  But unless you bite the bullet and do this, your only alternative is abstinence, which I think is too difficult and always leaves you vulnerable to relapse.  If you can succeed with cue exposure, I think you have a long term solution.

2. Increasing a sustained sense of pleasure in your life. Do you find that you are more resitant to sweets when things are going well and you are generally feeling good?  I tend to agree with Heidi that we give into addictive urges when we are low in pleasure (i.e. when our dopamine and serotin levels are low).  Sugar generates dopamine and serotinin quickly, but the effect is short-lived and leads to a rebounding crash in neurotransmitter levels, which re-stokes the cycle.

To combat this, I would suggest adding physically stressful, strenuous or otherwise unpleasant activities into your daily routine, to generate endorphins and a sustained pleasure that will make you more resistant to cravings. This pleasure will also replenish your dopamine and serotinin levels in a sustained manner. Take a look at my post on the opponent-process theory of emotions for the explanation of how this works. Try different things: intense exercise (even going for fast-paced walks), very hot saunas or cold showers, even unpleasant or very spicy foods.

A final thought:  Seven pounds quickly gained over two days is most likely not fat, and is probably a lot of glycogen and water.  So if you can get back on the program, it will come back off in a few days.  
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 11, 2010, 12:42:26 PM
Thanks for the input Todd.

This time the craving was not brought on by any external cues or foods. That's why I belive there is something else going on that maybe can be resolved through vitamins and minerals. I actually asked my doctor yesterday about the B vitamins and he is providing me with a custom vitamin that has all of that plus the Chromium Picolinate that you mentioned in your response to my e-mail.

I'm not bummed out at all. It's just another step in the process. Maybe this will be the final step.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 12, 2010, 01:28:01 PM
First day on the vitamins. I supposed to take one a day for the first week and get up to three a day after 2 weeks. So far today I haven't even considered using glutamine so it's all good. I know it's supposed to take time for my body to adjust so I'm not expecting any immediate miracles.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: HungryGuy May 12, 2010, 07:31:25 PM
I hadn't heard of vitamins and minerals to halt cravings, but I hope it works for you, Sugardude.  I found another website that supports this:
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 13, 2010, 03:01:15 PM
Yeah, I had read about it in an e-book recently but I felt that it wasn't the problem since i was taking a multivitamin.

I dropped three lbs yesterday. Today I thought I'd experiment to see what happens if I eat something as simple a fortune cookie.  Kaboom !! I love experimentation.

That's cool. I'm looking forward to see how I react to sweets in a few weeks. I suspect that things will always be the same in that regard but If I can eliminate th initial craving I'll win the war.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 19, 2010, 06:55:17 AM
I'm starting week #2 on the vitamins and increasing the dosage to two pills starting today. I haven't been "dieting" but today I'm going to try to get back on the plan again and see how it goes.

I weighed in today at a hefty 214.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam May 21, 2010, 03:02:21 AM
SD maybe there is a sweet that you could use as a substitute when you get the cravings, something you can't possibly binge on.  For me, that is very dark chocolate.  Maybe there is something else for you, and it could also be used like Todd is saying--if not dark chocolate, maybe very strong honey?  A teaspoon of that might do it.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 21, 2010, 01:35:34 PM
SD maybe there is a sweet that you could use as a substitute when you get the cravings, something you can't possibly binge on.  For me, that is very dark chocolate.  Maybe there is something else for you, and it could also be used like Todd is saying--if not dark chocolate, maybe very strong honey?  A teaspoon of that might do it.

I wish. I've been down this road many times before with the same result.

Today I was having a deja vu of sorts relating to my previous discussion of "opportunity" When I was in my final months of drug use, I actually increased my usage because of my perception that I only had little windows of opportunity to do it. (I was soon to be married to a non drug user). I see a parallel with my sugar usage at times. Especially when I have a slip. The mind set is "okay...I've now slipped for the day so I can use the rest of the day to gorge because tomorrow I have to suffer again"

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam May 23, 2010, 10:24:13 AM
Oh I totally know how that goes.  It's such a trap, I know.  But--you say it has happened to you before, right before you really quit:  that's a good sign! 

I was thinking about the times I've changed (and the things that I fail on).  I think there has to be a very compelling reason to break a strong habit.  It's obvious for things like smoking and drug use, but maybe not clear, emotionally anyway, for things like overeating or binging on a particular food.  When it's just food, it doesn't interfere with work or functioning, and the detriment to health is not quite as glaring.  Other people don't look at as being such a bad thing, so you don't get the negativity that might help with the others. 

Do you maybe just need to convince yourself beyond just the rational decision?  Sugar is poison (not that I haven't indulged in a lot of poison of various types in my life including sugar), but if you can emotionally start to feel that; start thinking about all the excess insulin that you are going to cause to be released, the damage to your body, etc.  Maybe read everything you can about the horrors of carbs and processed food, how much cancer and illness and everything else it causes--even if it is repetitive, it will hopefully become ingrained so that another part of your mind, beyond just the rational part, can help you control the part that wants to eat. 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 27, 2010, 06:57:20 AM
     I hope I don't need to do that Moonbeam. You may be right. I had to hit bottom to stop drugs. I guess hitting bottom with sugar for me would be getting diabetes....or actually dying.

     I started taking three vitamins yesterday. I'm not really on any diet plan. I'm just letting my body adjust and see how it goes from there. I may try to go back on a plan at the beginning of June.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam May 27, 2010, 04:07:32 PM
The important thing is to never give up.  You can do this, there is no doubt, if you keep trying.  If one approach doesn't work, try another.  You don't want the bottom to be something irreversible. 

I was reading back thru the thread trying to find a clue to any hints that could help.  Regarding drugs, you said that you just didn't want to live that lifestyle anymore.  Sugar addiction is a lifestyle too, and it makes you miserable.  (This is a from a person who has eaten a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts at one sitting, and nine Cadbury eggs another time, so I know what it's like.)

Reading stuff on this blog and forum has really somehow mentally helped me; I wish I could narrow it down to specifically what is making sense and why things seem to be coming together for me diet and exercise-wise when I've been struggling for so long, so I could specifically point to that for you, but I'm too scatter-brained to do that, I don't know exactly what part it is.  All I can say is that I think there is some very valuable information centered here and radiating out in the books and links, and if you keep reading something may click for you.  (I don't mean to sound like all fixed; it's only been a few weeks!  But I've been doing stuff easily that I've struggled with for a lot of years, so there is something going on.)
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE May 30, 2010, 09:55:36 AM
I'm not giving up. I'm just letting my body adjust to the vitamins. Starting on Tuesday I'm going to try a South Beach phase 1 for two weeks and see how that goes. I did this successfully once before but didn't make it very far into phase 2.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam May 31, 2010, 07:09:44 AM
I always like low-carb diets.  The hunger goes away, and you see such difference right away.  And it goes well with SLD if you do that.  Maybe if you just keep reading every low-carb diet book there is, constantly reinforcing the evils of sugar until it gets into your subconscious, it will help psychologically with the cravings. 

A donut is pure poison.  Refined grain fried in refined oil rolled in refined sugar--it's not food.  It's a drug.  There is nothing beneficial about it.   It's the devil.  It wants to seduce you for its own evil purposes.  Be stronger than the donut.  You should as soon throw it in the toilet as put it in your mouth, that's how repulsive it is.  The people who made the donut are your enemy, and they win if you eat it.  Don't let them win.  You laugh at their feeble attempts to control you with sugar molecules, and pity the weaklings around you who give in.

(That kind of thinking can work for me.)

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 June 09, 2010, 08:18:27 PM
A donut is pure poison.  Refined grain fried in refined oil rolled in refined sugar--it's not food.  It's a drug.  There is nothing beneficial about it.  It's the devil.  It wants to seduce you for its own evil purposes.  Be stronger than the donut....(That kind of thinking can work for me.)

Moonbeam, I see where you are coming from.  But I think that demonizing sugar is the opposite of the deconditioning approach that Todd has written about and that Heidi seems to be having success with using her Non-Addictive Food diet.  Seeing sugar as the enemy is more like the abstinence approach of Alcoholics Anonymous. That's the conventional approach. I think it might work in the short term, but then if you ever happen to take one bite of a sugary food, maybe even by accident, you might end up right back where you started.  I don't really have any addiction myself, so maybe I don't understand it as well as someone who has an addiction. But still, it seems more rational to me to see if you can build yourself up to be able to handle sugary foods by exposing yourself to them, but preventing the out of control response.  Then you are truly free and no longer vulnerable to the devil sugar, because you can handle it.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 12, 2010, 11:00:57 AM
Well Moonbeam, I've been reading some very interesting views from this blog
Which mirrors the sugar as a poison view but also discusses a behavioral component.

The vitamins have not made a difference and in fact things have gotton worse.

I'm at the point where I'm probably going to have to do something drastic like somehow elimating sugar from my diet altogether. In that regard I'm currently reading a book Sugar Blues which may change my whole outlook on eating sugar.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker June 12, 2010, 07:33:05 PM
Sugardude, I'm sorry to hear the vitamins and minerals did not help. Did you try all of them: high dose B-complex, chromium, magnesium and zinc? These tend to work in synergy to normalize sugar metabolism. A normal "one a day" mix of all vitamins at ordinary minimum daily requirement levels won't do the job, nor will just one or two of the B vitamins. The B-vitamins working together as a "complex". The most important ones, related to stress and cravings, need to be taken at high levels daily:

But if the vitamins and minerals did not work, at least you have ruled out a nutritional deficiency. And as you said, you are in this for the long term, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out what will work for you. I think that is a very admirable trait of yours, that you want to get to the bottom of this and persist until you have an answer. Everyone is different, so what ends up working for you may be very different than what works for others. Even if a particular idea, like vitamins and minerals, doesn't work for you, at least you are able to eliminate that as an option and focus your search elsewhere.

From reading your posts, it appears that your sugar addiction is very strong. I had coincidentally read William Duffy's "Sugar Blues" several years ago, and it is one of the books that helped push me to low carb dieting. I looked at the "raisin hell" website you linked to, and the "sweet poison" videos. Wow, I had no idea that sugar could be such a powerfully addictive drug, with such horrible withdrawal and adverse health effects! I've seen cravings and poor health effects in some family and friends, but never to the extremes of those videos. Impressive.

If you think you have something like that kind of addiction, then it does seem like it will require a major effort to beat it, but it's worth it. Perhaps, as you are suggesting, total abstinence is a good first step, since that will allow you to regain some measure of control. Certainly, that is the message of "Sugar Blues", and it may work for you. I'd be interested to know if there is some specific practical advice you are finding in Sugar Blues that you think will help you?

My main problem with the total abstinence approach is that it does not really address the root cause. Your "sugar addiction" brain circuits will always be there, they will just be dormant. But then the first time you stray, the first bite you take of a sugary treat, you are off to the races again.  It seems to me that it would require extraordinary discipline and "willpower" to stay away from sugar the rest of your life. It's like the Alcoholics Anonymous approach - it works for many, but I've also read many accounts by alcoholics who found that AA failed them in the end.

That is why I still think some kind of deliberate deconditioning strategy offers a longer term, saner solution. It's not an easy approach, but I think something like Heidi's Enlightened Tasting could work. It is not a quick fix and it would take time and discipline of its own sort. But the end result would be an ability to occasionally or moderately eat sweet foods without ignitiing the addiction circuits. Have you tried her approach -- chewing and tasting your favorite cookies or candies and then spitting them out without ingesting? Could that work for you? Or would the cues just be too powerful to resist? If so, could you try Enlightened Tasting with just one or two very small bites of the sweet food, and then stopping. Perhaps doing the tasting immediatley before some pre-planned alternate activity, such as exercise or work, that would be incompatible with following through?

You may want to get Karen Pryor's book "Don't Shoot the Dog", which I discussed on the Psychology ( page of the blog. Chapter 4 “Untraining: Using Reinforcement to Get Rid of Behavior You Don’t Want”, is the most complete catalogue I've seen anywhere of classical deconditioning techniques. Since you are clearly motivated to find ideas that might work for you, you might find that some of Pryor's ideas could work for you, possibly in combination with some of the other ideas you are pursuing.

I'd be very interested to hear your thinking on this, especially if you think I'm wrong or have misunderstood certain points. After all, I can't possibly put myself in your shoes, because I haven't had a sugar or drug addiction myself. I am, however, very open to learning about how addictions work.

Best of luck.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 13, 2010, 06:26:01 AM
Thanks for your input Todd. I really appreciate it.

The Vitamin includes 190 mg of Niacin, 100mg of B6, and 500mg of Pantothenic Acid (As D-Calcium Pantothenate). There is also 100 mcg of B12, Zinc 30mg, chromium 200 mcg as well as a bunch of other things as well. I'm taking three of these together.

I do feel that I have a deep addiction to sugar which I have been reinforcing everyday for 40 years or so. It was Moonbeams post which suggested I read every low carb book which reinforced the evils of sugar. My wife said she stopped using sugar for a while after reading Sugar Blues so I thought that was the obvious place to start.  

I really don't think the enlightened tasting is a good approach for me for obvious reasons. That's like telling a crack addict to put a filled pipe to his mouth and light the flame but stop there.

I'm not really sold on an abstinence approach since I'm just starting the reading but i think the idea behind it is to lose the desire. I think it's sort of an extinction strategy since you are no longer pairing environmental cues with the sugar reinforcement. There was some discussion of this in the Raisin Hell blog. (continued in next post
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 13, 2010, 06:30:47 AM
I think that by putting the behavior on extinction, I do get to the root of the problem. This has worked for me very well with smoking. I do not ever crave cigarettes anymore. The last time I did, I took a puff and it made me sick. So the brain circuitry that you refer to can be attenuated in that regard. But it makes sense to me that in order to decondition or extinguish a behavior that I have been reinforcing for 40 years, it's gooing to take a lot longer than 2 weeks (the amount of time Dr. Agatston would have you believe it takes to get rid of cravings). I don't believe it has to be a stop for life, but I'm guessing that if I were able to follow such a plan for a significant period of time, I'll get to the point where I can take it or leave it.

But frankly I have serious doubts about being able to even give it up completely. After all, that's what I've been trying to do for 4 years now. I once made it two weeks.

One problem I have that complicates any "diet" for me is that I'm a picky eater So I don't have a lot of options especially when it comes to vegetables.

Thanks for the suggestion about Karen Pryor's book.  It appears to simply be a discussion of behavior modification concepts which I'm already extensively trained on. Does the book apply the concepts to weight loss?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker June 20, 2010, 04:55:27 PM

I'd forgotten that you have a background in behavioral psychology, so the material in Pryor's book may quite familiar to you.  Still, I think she presents it in a clear, engaging and entertaining way.  While she doesn't specifically address weight loss, the book is full of many interesting specific examples, so its just a good source of practical ideas. So it might be worth picking up.  (If nothing else, it will help you train your pets.  I even got my beagle to stay away from his food bowl when I say "leave it" and eat only when I say "get it".  If you know beagles, that should impress you).

It's very interesting to me that you were so successful in quitting smoking, to the point that you not only lost your craving for cigarettes, but taking a drag was actually revolting to you.  That's impressive.  Can you say more about how you extinguished smoking?  Was it by abstinence and avoiding reinforcing for a sufficiently long time -- weeks or months?  And then it just extinguished like that?  Or did you first "put it on cue" by initially restricting smoking to certain limited situations or cues...and then you just avoided those situations or cues?  Or how DID you do it?  If you can retrace the logic of what you did, can you apply the same logic to overcoming your sugar addiction?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 26, 2010, 01:38:54 PM

As I posted on page two of this thread, I went cold turkey. I picked a three day period to start where I would have the least amount of stress. I did subsequently experience some cravings during emotionally charged arguments with my wife but it pretty much made me sick to smoke. Now I have no cravings to smoke ever. It's probably been about 3 years since I last smoked on a daily basis. I don't even keep an emergency pack anymore.

I'm hoping that using the same strategy will duplicate those results as it pertains to sugar. I'm starting on Monday.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 27, 2010, 04:24:56 PM
I finished reading Sugar Blues while on vacation and it sure does paint a bleak picture of the use of refined sugar and it's effect on humans (and animals for that matter). I'm sure there is more truth than folly to the book but there are some pretty big leaps regarding causation that the author makes. Duffy would have you belive that refined sugar was responsible for Bubonic Plague, Beriberi, Scurvy, schizophrenia, cancer in addition to slavery and witch hunts. There is much documenation of a seeming conspiracy between the sugar companies, the goverment, and medical professionals to deceive people into using sugar extensively.  He also posits that all one had to do was stop eating it to be cured of any health ill. Maybe he's right but I note that he died of cancer in 2002.

In any event, I think there was enough there to convince me to try to go sugarless as much as possible.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 28, 2010, 10:46:38 AM
Here I go. Day 1 without added sugar. I'm laying off fruit for the time being as well.

I'm trying to do 30 days before reicorporating fruit back into the diet.

I'm still taking the vitamins along with 50mg of 5-HTP. I have the Glutamine handy for emergencies.

I weighed in today at a nice hefty (for me) 216.5.

This is not so much about weight loss anymore. It's about eliminating an addiction.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 29, 2010, 09:42:08 AM
1 day in the books successfully. Down 1.5 lbs to 215. I got a little uncomfortable last night but overall it was not bad. I did go to the glutamine once after dinner.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 30, 2010, 11:55:52 AM
Day 2 in the books. Dropped another 2 lbs of water weight and I'm down to 213. No problem.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker June 30, 2010, 05:52:34 PM
I agree with you that Duffy goes a bit overboard in blaming sugar for all the world's ills, but I think he is right on many of his essential points. I would go even further and extend his logic to include refined carbs and even many unfrefined carbs, including certain fruits.

Glad to hear his book has provided some motivation for you. Other than avoiding added sugar and fruits, are there any behavioral techniques you are using with your new dietary approach?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 03, 2010, 07:46:32 PM
Hey everyone. I've been off the wagon for awhile. Reading the book only gave me temporary motivation.

The last thing that I tried was taking apple cider vinegar. I actually did it today before breakfast and lunch but that didn't stop me from being compelled to binge on sugar at about 2:30.

Before that I tried to do South Beach again but that only lasted 5 days.

Tomorrow I'm going to try taking Gymnema Sylvestre which is an herb given to diabetics. I see another try at deconditioning coming down the pike again.

It's getting ridiculous.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 08, 2010, 10:01:34 AM
I go through this over and over again with the artificial sweeteners. I've been using them as a crutch but I thinking (again) that they really hinder any progress I make towards eliminating the cravings.

I going to try just eating a balanced diet again without resorting to artificial sweeteners.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker August 08, 2010, 05:57:46 PM
I see another try at deconditioning coming down the pike again....It's getting ridiculous.

Sugardude, good to see you posting again. It sounds like the past few months have been a frustrating. It does seem you've tried a number of supplements and diets to no avail.  And artificial sweeteners just ignites the same sugar flame.  (There are some studies showing that artificial sweeteners trigger the same insulin response in sensitive individuals. A good discussion of this is on Jimmy Moore's low carb website:

I'll go out on a limb here and give you my honest opinion, which I realize goes against much of the conventional wisdom:

All the diets and supplements which may seem to reduce your cravings in the short term.  But they don't change the circuit in your brain that connects the stimulus to the response.  You can avoid the stimulus (sweet foods) for days, weeks, months...but what happens in a moment of stress when you get exposed to the stimulus situation again, the circuit is activated, and you give it?  Then it is all for nothing. The fact is that you have a very deeply burned circuit in your brain, like a well worn path through the woods.  You need to find a way to totally obliterate the old path and create alternative pathways, or your brain will always take the path of least resistance.

Have you really done a serious attempt at direct cue exposure deconditioning? I don't mean once or twice, I mean in a serious way -- exposing yourself to the appearance, aroma, and even taste and texture of sweet foods, swishing in your mouth-- and then spitting out.  And doing it repeatedly, especially with the most tempting foods.  

I realize that sounds like heresy, but it has worked to cure an number of people from serious addictions, as documented in the research by Conklin and Tiffany that I posted on "Overcoming Addictions" (  And Heidi has posted of her success with her "Non-Addictive Food Diet" (,24.0.html), using her "Enlightened Tasting" technique.  It sounds very odd and perhaps even repulsive, but it might work for you if you can stick with it a while.

The aim of the deconditioning is to render the old pathway ineffective...dead...broken...unable to activate.  At the same time you need to actively develop an alternative response to stress, because it is in fact stress that is the activator of your sugar circuit.  Deliberately plan some days where you will expose yourself to an uncomfortable stress and then...go to the gym, or for a run, or take a nice bath, or watch a movie or call a friend.  This also will take repeating to reinforce.

Here's an apt a analogy:  Your sugar addiction is a very well worn path through the woods. You need to create new, alternate paths through the woods, by non-reinforcement and active counter-conditioning: plant new high grass in the path and cut down trees to fall across it, until in becomes impassable. Your current strategy of supplements and diets is like avoiding the woods but leaving the path there.  The problem will always return to the woods and the path will still be there and will always be the most attractive path through the woods if you don't actively extinguish it.

My best wishes to you,

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 08, 2010, 07:22:33 PM
Todd. I agree with you analysis in theory but I'm hoping it doesn't take that much to rewire the circuitry. I never had any physical withdrawl from cocaine. So I'm hoping that with a combination of vitamins, exercise, and the rights foods, i can get on the right path.

Swishing sugar laden foods in my mouth doesn't sound repulsive ay all. It's teh spitting out part that seems a bit far fetched because how do I really spit it out once it's there. Like I said in another post, it's like putting a filled crack pipe to your mouth and lighting the flame without actually doing a hit. 

This method actually seems crazier that drinking olive oil or clipping your nose, but I'm sure I'll be trying it....very soon. ;)
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker August 08, 2010, 07:51:33 PM
Todd. I agree with you analysis in theory but I'm hoping it doesn't take that much to rewire the circuitry. I never had any physical withdrawl from cocaine. So I'm hoping that with a combination of vitamins, exercise, and the rights foods, i can get on the right path.

Swishing sugar laden foods in my mouth doesn't sound repulsive ay all. It's teh spitting out part that seems a bit far fetched because how do I really spit it out once it's there. Like I said in another post, it's like putting a filled crack pipe to your mouth and lighting the flame without actually doing a hit. 

This method actually seems crazier that drinking olive oil or clipping your nose, but I'm sure I'll be trying it....very soon. ;)

I definitely realize how weird, even absurd the direct cue exposure methods sounds. The swishing and spitting out may be the most important part, however, because it primes your response right up to the last move and fizzles out. The spitting out part is not so hard, just do it over the sink, and rinse if necessary. Then follow it up with something non-sweet or just some water or a bland beverage.  Almost like you would rinse out flavors with the Shangri-La Diet.

The comparison you make with the Shangri-La Diet is a good one:  Just because a method is "strange" doesn't mean it doesn't work.  The strangeness may in fact have been a reason nobody really taken it seriously.

Heidi raised the point that this time of chewing and spitting LOOKS like an eating disorder. If people see you doing it, or "catch" you doing it, they could mistake you for a bulimic.  But it's the opposite of an eating disorder, because you are in fact normalizing your response to food. If you read through Heidi's post, what's interesting is that she found a different kind of pleasure in Enlightened Tasting. The pleasure was in truly noticing how food tastes, almost like tasting it for the first time, because you ONLY get the taste, not the "hit" or high of the blood sugar rush.  So it is almost like reprogramming your taste circuits. Heidi seemed to find this really helped her develop a more normal response to foods that once were addictive -- so she no longer has to avoid them, but can enjoy them like "normal" people.  Think about that....isn't it worth it?

I have not had real food or sugar addictions myself, but in my own experience, I found that the just looking at, handling, and smelling the aroma of foods I used to crave (pastries, ice cream) was enough to decondition my cravings. I tried the tasting and spitting a few times just for the experience, but I didn't even need to go that far to really dampen and kill my cravings. So I still like ice cream, but one dish every few weeks is fine, not every night or two like it was at one point a year ago or so.  And similarly, I still enjoy a beer each week, but it is much more like just a nicely flavored beverage. In both cases, I no longer experience the "ahhh", the release of some stress that used to make me want the ice cream or beer to de-stress.  Both are just "foods".

I would really recommend reading through Heidi's posts again, because I think she is on to something....

Good luck.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 09, 2010, 02:59:46 PM
Will do (re Heidi's thread). I may just incorporate into my current regimen. I currently taking Gymnema before breakfast and lunch and barring any sugar snacks like candy, cookies, cake, or ice cream.......and no artificial sweeteners.

The good thing about this is that I don't have to limit myself at restaurants or social gatherings. Just say no to sweets. Even white bread is okay....but not preferred.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 14, 2010, 04:40:57 PM
I think I'm onto something. First of all I tried the enlightened tasting with a bagel and cream cheese and I must say it was more difficult than I imagined (the spitting part). Within a half hour I was chomping down 2 bagels. I haven't tried it again since.

In any event, I was reading some more about Gymnema Sylvestere which I have been taking in caplet form and has done zilch for my cravings. I again read about how if you swish the powder from a capsule into your mouth and then spit it out, you cannot taste sweetness afterward.

I tried doing this and I was amazed how terrible sugar sweetened cereal tasted (or didn't taste).

This got me to thinking about it in terms of deconditioning/extinction. If I consistently pair a stimulus (sweet food) with no reinforcement (no sweet taste), maybe the craving or desire for sugar can be extinguished. At the very least I now have a tool for eliminating sweet binges (stay tuned).

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 August 14, 2010, 06:20:39 PM
That's amazing, S.D.  I think you've made a very interesting discovery here. You've come up with an interesting application of behaviorism that I never heard of before. What is especially interesting is that by blocking the sweet taste of the cereal you actually made it taste bad.
What you've come up with sounds very much like what Heidi wrote about the Sinclair Method, where alcoholics and drug users have been able to decondition their addiictions by using low dose naltrexone (LDN).  The naltrexone blocks the endorphin circuits, so the alcoholic gets no reinforcement while drinking, so you get extinction.  The success rate is very high, but only if the Sinclair Method is continued for many months.  I checked out Heidi's links and the support forums for that method, and there are a lot of success stories.

I like your method because it seems that this is a natural herb, and so you avoid needing any medications. And it seems very useful specifically for sugar addiction.  Where do you get the Gymnema Sylvestere?  How long does the effect last after taking the caplets?

Keep us posted.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 14, 2010, 07:12:59 PM
Where do you get the Gymnema Sylvestere?  How long does the effect last after taking the caplets?

You can but it at any vitamin store. I got mine at GNC. You can get it cheaper online.

I have to play around with timing the effect. Today I tasted an M&M candy about 45 minutes after using the powder and I could barely detect any sweetness. The powder itself actually tastes disgusting but if you can drink olive oil you can do this. It has to be the powder from a caspule. Don't buy the caplets.

By the way. The powder does not effect the ability to taste tartness. So pineapple juice still tastes  good.

I'm still experimenting with othersweets but I'm going to try this full boar tomorrow as part of a diet.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 14, 2010, 08:02:12 PM
So the plan is to use the powder after each meal and at any time I have a sugar craving. For this to be meaningful I have to actually give into the craving and take a bite of something sugary.

BTW, I've used the powder twice today and actually have no desire for sugar right now (which is somewhat of an oddity).
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 15, 2010, 07:18:07 AM
Weighed in at a hefty 218.5 today. I'm expecting to head over to my Mom's today so there will be plenty of goodies for me to eat but not taste.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker August 15, 2010, 04:45:44 PM
Sugardude, this is really interesting what you have come up with. This herb really totally blocks sweet tastes? That's incredible!

I agree with jared33 that it resembles the Sinclair Method for deconditioning alcoholism. Take a look at these links and see if you agree. The third one is an online community of people who use the method:

If your method works, we should call it "The Sugardude Method".

Good luck!

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 15, 2010, 06:46:22 PM
In theory it is the same as the Sinclair method in that food (like alcohol) is being paired with a lack of pleasure. But even if it does not work on a behavioral level, it works as a practical matter by preventing the act of sugar binging. Either way it's a good thing.

Today was a good test because I always binge when I visit my mom's house. She always has the place stocked with Rice Krispy Treats and Ice Cream. I actually ate one Rice Krispy Treat and it was pretty bland although I still like the texture. I had one bite of ice cream and couldn't taste the sweetness at all.

So in the end, I did not binge even though I ate these items. Of course I'm embracing the idea of eating sweets so that I can pair them with no reinforcement (pleasure) as much as possible.

I'm no longer automatically taking the powder right after a meal, It's better to just wait for a craving or take it when it is obvious that there are going to be temptations (like at a County Fair).
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Heidi August 16, 2010, 04:42:24 AM
For this to be meaningful I have to actually give into the craving and take a bite of something sugary.

I'm no longer automatically taking the powder right after a meal, It's better to just wait for a craving or take it when it is obvious that there are going to be temptations (like at a County Fair).
Fantastic discovery Sugardude!  This is exactly what the Sinclair Method recommends.  That you would take the Gymnema Sylvestre each time before you consume something sweet. With the Sinclair method you have to always take the Naltrexone before drinking, or in your case the Gymnema Sylvestre before consuming a sweet treat.  From what I read, you have to be really consistent with it, for it to work.  If you stick with it diligently, I'm sure you will have success.

Are there people who have already used this as a method for eliminating cravings for sweets?

First of all I tried the enlightened tasting with a bagel and cream cheese and I must say it was more difficult than I imagined (the spitting part). Within a half hour I was chomping down 2 bagels. I haven't tried it again since.
You probably already know this, but you would also have to taste and spit those next 2 bagels as well.  Initially the enlightened tasting increases cravings and you have to make it through that heightened period without swallowing the food that you are attempting to decondition.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 16, 2010, 05:48:30 AM
You probably already know this, but you would also have to taste and spit those next 2 bagels as well.  Initially the enlightened tasting increases cravings and you have to make it through that heightened period without swallowing the food that you are attempting to decondition.

Yeah I know it and I knew that it would be a problem for me going in. The good news is that it put me back in the deconditioning mind set so thank you.

I know another person who simply ingests the caplets (non powder form) and she claims to have lost her cravings for sweets. But that has nothing to do with eliminating taste. I actually tried Gymnema powder a while  back but my focus was on eliminating cravings which in and of itself it does not do. 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 16, 2010, 09:31:54 AM
I love when something is working atthe beginning because of the quick water weight loss. 2.5 lbs down from yesterday to 216.

Today is a work day so I'm not going to be faced with temptations unless someone brings in a box of donuts or something. On a day like this I'm usually faced with sugar cravings either after lunch or after dinner. If it's after lunch, I actually have to take the initiative to leave my place of work and buy something (or many things) from a convenience store. If it's after dinner, i usually begina downward spiral by dipping into the children's breakfast cereal. Either way, I'm going to embrace the craving.

Edit: It's 3:24 P.S.T. and I just at a half of a Kit Kat bar. Quite bland but still a little pleasureable because of teh texture. Still, I don't think I've ever eaten just a portion of a Kit Kat bar. I always eat the whole thing.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 17, 2010, 01:00:51 PM
Another day, another pound.

So yesterday I actually started getting cravings for teh rest of that Kit Kat bar about 20 minutes later. So I made sure I had a good amount of powder so I wouldn't taste any sweeness anywhere in my mouth. I finished the candy and that was the end of it. No more cravings.

Tonight I'm going to a barbeque for my kids' preschhool. I've done this event before. Lots of sweets for the taking.

Forced moderation is amazing.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 18, 2010, 06:29:21 AM
The water weight continues to shed. Another 1.5 pounds for a total of 5 pounds in 3 days.

After lunch yesterday (I was home) I had a small bowl of kids cereal similar to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch brand with non fat milk. Although I couldn't taste the sweetness, I still found it  somewhat enjoyable because of testure of crucht cereal with cold milk. Good news was that I stopped there.

At the barbeque there were plenty of tempting cupcakes and cookies just as I expected. I ate one very small cupcake  that had vanilla buttercreme frosting and those tiny flat circle shaped candies on top. I couldn't taste the sweetness and I was done after one. A little while later I had to try this chewy chocolate chocolte chip cookie. Maybe the effect wore off by then but I could taste it and it tasted damn good. Fortuantely, I did not have any cravings after eating that cookie and was good for the rest of the night. Obviously I'm surprised that I didn't have any cravings after that but I'm just going to be pleased with the gimme and move on.

Today I'm expecting a normal day (no external temptations) so I may or may not even Gymnefy myself depending on whether cravings develop or not.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 19, 2010, 06:51:07 AM
Down another half pound to 213. That's a drop of 5.5 since last Sunday.

I did not Gymnefy myself yesterday and I had no cravings. I also skipped dinner. I wasn't really hungry.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 20, 2010, 06:13:51 AM
Water weight dropoff week continues with a loss of two more pounds. I'm now down 7.5 lbs to 211 in just 5 days.

Yesterday I didn't take any of the powder but had some mild cravings in the evening after having some green grapes and whole wheat pasta. They weren't bad enough for me to go to the magic dust.

Today I'm off work so challenges will be present.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 21, 2010, 06:23:18 AM
We went out to dinner last night and I enjoyed myself....but no dessert.  gained 1.5 lbs but I'm so okay with that.

I had a strong mental sugar craving yesterday which I fillled with some cereal and milk. Thanks to the magic dust I stopped there.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 22, 2010, 06:58:10 AM
A live and learn moment. My wife and I attended a gala dinner last night in Beverly Hills but I forgot to bring my dust with me. Miniature Hersheys were strewn all around the dinner tables. Guess who overindulged?

2 pounds up but at least I can say I lost 4 lbs for the week.

I've got to treat this stuff like they're my car keys.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 23, 2010, 06:36:50 AM
Yesterday I lost motivation and just did threw caution to the wind. I paid for it too. I'm now at 217 which is just 1.5 less than where I started.

Time to regroup. The stuff works but you have to be committed.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 August 24, 2010, 06:28:36 PM
SUGARDUDE, I don't get it. You come up with this brilliant diet and then you lose motivation as soon as it is working well. I don't mean to be brash, but is there something else going on here that is affecting your level of commitment?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 25, 2010, 06:41:55 PM
I don't know. It's almost like everything else. I lose a little bit and then I get these uncontrolable cravingsthat continue until I gain it all back.

Anyway. I've come back in from the deep end and now I'm throwing in the kitchin sink.Exercise,vitamins, apple cider vinegar before each meal, and glutamine plus Gymnema for cravings.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 26, 2010, 05:49:06 AM
Yesterday went smoothly until nighttime. Overall it was a success as I dropped a couple pounds.

Here's the thing. The Gynmema effect doesn't last that long. So if your cravings return 30 miutes (which s what is happening to me) you have to taste the stuff again. By that time I'm just ready to eat the sweets.

If it happens to me today I'll do it as many times as I need. However, it seems that I'm taking more bites of sweets trying to chase the sugar high and enjoying whatever pleasure I'm getting from it. Unfortunately, the Gymnema does not get rif of all taste....just sweetmess. So I can still taste flavors like chocolate and vanilla.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 27, 2010, 06:25:06 AM
Perfect day yesterday. I had NO cravings!! Why can't it always be this easy?

I didn't even touch the gymnema yesterday. It's all about the apple cider vinegar.

I'm back down to 212.5.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 28, 2010, 07:08:34 AM
Another solid day yesterday. No real cravings to speak of. I had to fight off a couple of opportunity urges but those were fleeting. Gymnema stayed in the pocket. No weight change. I'm exactly where I was a week ago when I went off the wagon.

It appears I may have found a remedy for the root cause of the sugar cravings with the apple cider vinegar.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker August 28, 2010, 08:39:27 AM
I lose a little bit and then I get these uncontrolable cravings that continue until I gain it all back.


It's great that you've found a few tools to quell your cravings - the Gymnenma and apple cider vinegar seem to be effective for you.

I've been pondering your response to Jared's question.  The quote above indicates that there is some kind of "yo-yo" effect going on that ramps up your cravings especially at the point when you have successfully lost some weight, which re-starts the cycle of eating. There is some kind of positive/negative feedback effect going on that enforces this cycle.

One thing I've found useful in breaking cycles -- for example to break weight plateaus -- is to weigh myself daily and chart it.  It soon becomes obvious that there is a natural cycle of up and down.  So you accept the reality of that cycle, and then make a concious decision to shift the average of the cycle down.  So for example, I was oscillating between 157 and 161 for a long time, averaging around 159 lbs.  I realized that I would cut back eating when I would approach 160 or 161 and the weight would head back down, but then I'd ease up, and gradually the weight would drift back up over a few days.

The change I made was to increase my level of fasting and strictness of low carb right at the low point of the cycle. In other words, become more disciplined just at the point that it is hardest!   I was able to move the average weight of the cycle down a little each time, but still allowing fluctuation over a few weeks.  In my latest move, my range is 152 to 156, averaging 154.  So it's 5 pounds down.  I plan to hold in this range for a few more weeks, and then make another move of 3 or 4 pounds.

The new realization for me was accepting the oscillation, but focussing on the mid point of the cycle range, and being comfortable holding in a cycling pattern for a few weeks to let yourself adjust.  And then planning to "make a move" precisely at the low point of the cycle.  I think there is something to this, and I am working on a post on "breaking through plateaus" where I will elaborate more about it.   I was thinking about your situation and wondering if this kind of approach might be useful.

You might start by weighing daily and writing it down to see what the oscillation pattern looks like.  Then decide how and when to make a move.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 29, 2010, 05:50:22 AM

I weigh myself daily. I'm trying to be discipined all of the time. However, it seems that once I give in to a craving all discipline is thrown out the window for a while.

Speaking of weighing myself, I haven't done so yet this morning because it's going to be up. Yesterday was veeeeeery interesting. After my afternoon snack (low fat string cheese and some peanuts) I got some fairly intense sugar cravings. I took some gymnema and then ate a few small chocolate graham cookies (yes we had some in the house for the kids). They didn't taste good at all yet I still derived pleasure from the act of eating them. After eating about 6 of them I stopped for a few minutes but found myself right back in the kitchen attacking the breakfast cereal which also didn't taste good yet was pleasurable to eat. I had two bowls.

So despite the lack of sweetness my brain was telling me to keep eating. Very strange.

Before dinner I did the apple cider vinegar and I had no sugar cravings which is a very good sign because usually one i give in to a craving, it goes all downhill from there (like last weekend).

There may be hope for me yet.

Edit:No weight gain !!

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 30, 2010, 10:47:38 AM
Solid day yesterday with a small craving at night. I gained 1 pound while being home for 3 days so I'm not complaining.

It's a 5 day work week so I expect to do some damage (in a good way).

I'm experimenting with  the timing of taking the ACV. Some websites say take it before meals and some say after. Since I ended up with a craving after dinner last night, I'm going to take the ACV immediately after I finish my meal and see if that makes a difference.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 31, 2010, 09:43:43 AM
Eye opening day yesterday.

In the afternoon right before lunch I was getting the sugar cravings so I took some ACV which killed the craving. However just after lunch I wa getting an even worse craving.....the mental/emotional kind. I had almost made up my mind to head over to 7-11 and get a bag of crap but instead I took some more ACV and the craving was killed again.

As I stated yesterday, I experimented with dinner by taking the ACV afterwards. Unfortunately the effect was short lived and I eneded up binging somewhat later on in the evening even though I took two doses of the stuff.

Fortunately I had no weight gain. Still holding at 213.5.

Today I'm taking the ACV before every meal (including my two between meal snacks).
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 01, 2010, 05:59:08 AM
Solid day. Taking the ACV before each meal and snack, I had no cravings until 9:00 P.M. So I gave in a little at night but nothing major. Progress not perfection.

I dropped two pounds so I'm back down to 211.5.

I going to do the same today however, this time if I have a bedtime craving like last night, I'm going to do another ACV dose.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 02, 2010, 09:46:05 AM
Still rockin and rollin with the ACV. No cravings yesterday.

I dropped another pound to 210.5.

My goal is to get down to 185. The lowest I've been in recent memory is 197.5 while on SLD.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 03, 2010, 06:52:26 AM
The beat goes on !!

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 04, 2010, 06:01:13 AM
I tried cheating yesterday with some artificial sweetener.....actually a lot of artificial sweetener. It didn't end well but I didn't go overboard.

Only gained 1/2 pound. Currently at 210.

Back on the horse today. Holiday weekends are always tough.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 14, 2010, 12:32:54 PM
Way off the wagon.

I'm not sure where I'm headed next.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 22, 2010, 01:21:27 PM
Not exactly hormetic but I'm on day 4 of phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and I've dropped 8 pounds in the first 3 days.

This time I'm exercising in the morning/afternoon and taking 5-HTP with dinner. No sugar cravings to be found. I had taken 5-HTP before but only in the morning. 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: jared33 September 23, 2010, 06:50:05 PM
Hey Sugardude,

What's your goal here?  Is it to lose weight or lose the cravings?  Seems like you can have temporary success losing weight while you hold the Sugarmonster at bay, but then one slip and its back.  Sugarmonster is always waiting around the corner to grab Sugardude.  Why will it be any different this time with South Beach?

I think there are tools out there to extinguish the cravings, but you have to be brave.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 24, 2010, 12:18:05 PM
Hey Sugardude,

What's your goal here?  Is it to lose weight or lose the cravings?  Seems like you can have temporary success losing weight while you hold the Sugarmonster at bay, but then one slip and its back.  Sugarmonster is always waiting around the corner to grab Sugardude.  Why will it be any different this time with South Beach?

I think there are tools out there to extinguish the cravings, but you have to be brave.


Actually it's both. If I didn't need to lose weight then why would I want to lose the cravings?

The tools I'm using are working great. Exercise, 5HTP, South Beach. I've lost 9 pounds since sunday and haven't experienced anything even resembling a craving.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker October 03, 2010, 09:03:24 AM
The tools I'm using are working great. Exercise, 5HTP, South Beach. I've lost 9 pounds since sunday and haven't experienced anything even resembling a craving.


Glad to hear you are continuing to make progress.  I'm particularly interested in your results with 5-HTP.  The science behind this is very interesting, and provides a good explanation for how 5-HTP can alleviate sugar cravings:
1. A deficiency of serotonin in the brain can cause endogenous depression and increased appetite, which is particularly directed towards sugar and other refined carbohydrates.
2. Sugar consumption stimulates the body to produce insulin, which transports glucose, fatty acids and amino acids (except tryptophan) into body cells. Thus insulin speeds up the absorption of amino acids other than tryptophan.
3. Normally, tryptophan must compete with other amino acids for entry into the brain, but once insulin eliminates the competition the level of tryptophan rises in the brain, where it is converted to 5-HTP and then serotonin. The result is an elevated mood and reduction in cravings.

By supplementing with 5-HTP you are boosting your serotonin levels by a more direct route, eliminating the need for sugar-->insulin-->tryptophan as a source of serotonin.

So there is at least indirect evidence that low endogenous serotonin levels may explain your vulnerability to sugar cravings. If that is true, it suggests also that anything you can do to boost serotonin levels naturally will help. One way is to eat tryptophan-rich foods such as lean pork, legumes, peanuts, soy, cottage cheese, milk, chicken and yogurt--probably all acceptable within your improved diet (South Beach).  But in addition, regular exercise, over time should naturally restore your serotonin levels.  Some of the evidence for this is referenced in this review article on non-drug approaches to raising serotonin (towards the end of the article):

In short, sugar and carbohydrates will quickly boost serotonin, but this route leads to a vicious circle.  Tryptophan-rich protein foods will short circuit that vicious circle.  And exercise will re-tune the circuitry to eliminate the viscious circle.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE October 10, 2010, 06:59:02 AM
Things are going great.

I had a setback while on phase 1 of the diet but got back on track a couple of days later by starting phase 2 (which allows more complex carbs such as whole grain bread and fruit). I'm now down to 205 which is 14 pounds down from when I started.

I'm not using the 5-htp on any type of schedule. My routine now is if I feel that I have a craving coming on, I will take a couple of pinches of L-glutamine on and inderneath my toungue and take a 100mg 5-htp. But the cravings for the most part really appear to be mental and brought on by enviromental stimuli like some of the foods that Heidi talks about as being addictive.

Here is the best part. I have now reached the point where I can feel comfortable with moderation. For example, yesterday my wife made Rice Krispy treats for the which is a ridiculous thing for me to try to resist. I actually did for about 20 minutes but then I had to try a piece. However, instead of having a complete melt-down, I stopped after having that once piece. That, for me, is not normal.

I've also taken to eating bananas after workouts. I'm a picky eater and had never eaten a banana in my life before last week. I know....crazy. The texture kind of grossed me out.  Now my favorite part of the day is my post workout banana.


: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Moonbeam October 14, 2010, 06:36:11 PM
Hey Sugardude.  Glad things are going well now.  I've read everything since I was here before, and I have to say the first thing that strikes me--can't you get rid of the sugar in your house!?  That is so often your downfall (kid's cereal, kid's graham crackers, etc.)   I think it's probably hard for your subconscious to believe that it's bad for you if you're feeding it to your kids and it's in your house all the time. 

I realize you are probably not in control of this, but it wouldn't seem like a bad idea to maybe suggest that everybody in the house try to eat healthy food. 

That gymnema stuff is interesting.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE November 29, 2010, 01:45:34 PM
Well, here I am again. As I predicted it all comes back to deconditioning. Everything else is just a Band-aid

I've recently read a book by David Kessler called The End of Overeating which basically trumpets deconditioning as the only way to get at the root problem. The book really brought it home for me because it truly brought to light that most of my so called "cravings" are cue driven.

One of the ways that is suggested to deal with the urge to eat bad food is to cognitively assign a negative connotation to the food. This was actually suggested by Moonbeam earlier in this thread. But it's not enough to just generally think of the food in a negative light. You have to actually put the concept into words in your mind. For example, you see a piece of chocolate cake that looks really good so immediately you say to yourself, this is bad for me, it will make me fat, it is evil and I'm not eating it. 

It seems simple but if you act on the urge immediately, it works. It's all about being prepared to be attacked by an urge at any time and learning to recognize the triggers for the urges.

The book focuses on the food industry and how restaurants have purposefully made foods hyperpalatable by mixing sugar, fat and salt at optimal amounts to keep you coming back for more automatically.

I'm just starting out on this but it has been real smooth so far. However, I don't think it would be wise to do Todd's suggestion of purposefully flooding my senses with hyperpalatable food this early in the deconditioning process. But eventually I will go in that direction.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Ari December 07, 2010, 07:29:44 AM
I'm new to this forum, and found this to be one of the more interesting threads.  Seems that you've tried a lot of things.  I have had sugar cravings too, but since I've been on Atkins about a year I lost 50 pounds and I don't have the cravings any more.  But I think if I indulged for a day that might throw me off the wagon.  I'm just not sure I want to take the risk.

I'm interested in your comment that it all comes down to deconditioning and everything else is a band-aid.  What do you mean by that? And how do you do this deconditioning? 
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE December 17, 2010, 05:15:33 PM
I'm new to this forum, and found this to be one of the more interesting threads.  Seems that you've tried a lot of things.  I have had sugar cravings too, but since I've been on Atkins about a year I lost 50 pounds and I don't have the cravings any more.  But I think if I indulged for a day that might throw me off the wagon.  I'm just not sure I want to take the risk.

I'm interested in your comment that it all comes down to deconditioning and everything else is a band-aid.  What do you mean by that? And how do you do this deconditioning?  

The idea is that you have been conditioned by stimuli in the environment to eat whenever confronted with such stimuli so therefore in order to decondition this response, you have to change your habits. The deconditioning diet involves skipping meals 1-2 times a week and also purposefullyexposing yourself to the scent of desired foods and then not partaking.
For a more complete discussion read this thread:;msg=476;topic=10.120;sesc=004e6b7a922afa9d683c9b64aff4c885
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE December 27, 2010, 10:56:33 AM
Back to square one.  All of my mistakes and readings have led me back to deconditioning and Horemesis.  I believe it's the only way I'm going to be able to break out of this binging cycle.

I'm starting today with a regimen of just eating three meals a day with no snacking in between. My easting times are pre planned so I know when I am permitted to eat and that I have to wait until that time.

Next week the plan is to continue with the regimen but skip a meal on a rotational basis every 3 days.

I'm also trying cold showers and returning to exercise which I will eventually fine tune into a hormetic strategy.

I weighed in today at 217.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE December 28, 2010, 10:22:41 AM
Day 1 was a success. I was able to skip snacks altogether.  I feel really good about this and I'm continuing on this way.

Strangely I didn't lose any water weight. I figured I would since I only ate about 1500-1600 calories.

I'm not necessarily eating low carb but I'm eating good carb (Whole grain bread, sugarless whole grain cereal, and 2 bananas).  Most importantly, I was satisfied in between meals and if I had an urge to eat, I just repeated that I could not eat again until whatever the next scheduled meal time was.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE December 29, 2010, 09:07:26 AM
Another day of smooth sailing. No snacking. No binging. No problem. 

Deropped two pounds to 215.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE December 31, 2010, 06:48:41 AM
4 perfect days in a row.  No issue with cravings. Can it really be this easy?

The next three days will be a little challenge because it's not the normal daily grind and therefore harder to plan ahead.

My first fast will start after dinner sunday night..  It will be about 19 hours between dinner the night before and lunch.

Weight is down to 213.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Ari December 31, 2010, 11:50:55 AM
Hey there, Sugardude.  I'm just checking in and read your latest post.  I'm interested -- what specifically is working for you that makes things go smooth now?  Is it the spaced meals or what? 

That's cool that you are doing a fast right on New Years weekend.  What an inspiring way to start the year.  How often do you think we should fast?  I have not tried that yet, I'm a little scared and want to see how it goes for others.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE December 31, 2010, 04:22:36 PM

The key so far is cutting out the snacks and having 3 defined meal times a day.  Cold showers may be helping as well.

I'm going to skip a meal every three days and see how that goes.

Happy New year !!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 02, 2011, 08:14:27 AM
New years celebration is over. I enjoyed it. Fortunately it only cost me 2 pounds.

Back to deconditioning today.

I've been skimming this new book called the 4 hour body by Tim Ferris ( that discusses everything self experimentation from hydrotherapy to orgasms. It even includes a segment written by Seth Roberts.  One of the chapters is right in line with the cold showers theory. One of teh recomnmendations is to put an ice pack on the back of your neck for 30 minutes every evening. I started doing that last night while watching TV after putting the kids to bed.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker January 02, 2011, 01:17:48 PM
Happy New Year, Sugardude!   I also gave myself The 4-Hour Body (4HB as Tim calls it) for Christmas and have been devouring it. Interestingly it just hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list.  That tells you something about the booming interest in following "the hard path" of paleo and hormesis to improve health and fitness.

I follow Tim's blog ( and as you may have seen, I included a short video of his about Stoicism as a productivity system in my page about Stoicism (

I think that 4HB is rich with good insights, many of them compatible with Hormetism and hormesis, and I plan to post a review of the book on my blog soon.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 03, 2011, 02:13:56 PM
Happy new year to you as well Todd (and anyone else who may be reading this).

I just finished my lunch after fasting for 19 hours.  It was pretty easy.  Next fast will be lunch on Thursday (approximately 11 hours).

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 04, 2011, 10:29:07 AM
I binged last night. I ate out with colleagues and had BBQ chicken. I think this set me off.
Today, I'm staying the course but I had to fight off thoughts of giving up or starting over.

Taking the positive out of it I lost 2 lbs the first week.  Not a lot but I'll take it.

EDIT:  I couldn't take it anymore. Started another binge around 11:00 this morning....skipped the gym.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 11, 2011, 01:33:04 PM
Back on the wagon again. 

I'm doing a modified South Beach diet.  The modification is that I'm allowing for planned cheat days (approximately once a week) as recommended in the 4 hour body.  Instead of getting down about falling off the wagon, I'm actually going to schedule it.  Knowing that you still get to eat all the crap that I love every once in a while makes dieting much more bearable.

In addition to the diet, I'm trying to amp up the speed of the weight loss through exposure to cold as I mentioned in the cold showers thread.

I started yesterday at 217 and weighed in today at 215.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 12, 2011, 01:56:16 PM
Rolling along with another 2.5 lb loss. Now at 212.5.

I was able to swim for 30 minutes today in a cold pool. I'm still tingling.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 13, 2011, 11:44:38 AM
 Still going !!   Now I'm down to 211 (6 pounds in 3 days !!).
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: OtisBrown January 13, 2011, 04:42:28 PM


I just read your first post - I am IDENTICAL.  6 feet and 212 pounds.  I am "cutting back", but I know it is truly difficult it is.

Keep up the excellent work.


Still going !!   Now I'm down to 211 (6 pounds in 3 days !!).
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 14, 2011, 11:07:12 AM
Thanks Otis.  Good luck.

Down to 210 !!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 17, 2011, 07:41:20 AM
I'm allowed (per the 4-hour body).....encouraged to do one cheat day a week for purposes of speeding up my metabolism. Eat as much crap as I can or desire for a whole day.  Besides speeding up the metabolism, it is helpful phychologically since it takes away any feelings of guilt or shame for "slipping". It's ascheduled part of the diet and when it's over you go right back to eating healthy.

Yesterday was my cheat day. I gained 3.5 pounds so I'm back up to 213. So after one week I've officially lost 4 pounds and I'm mentally prepared to continue.

As far as my thermal loading I've been taking 10 minute cold showers and putting an ice pack on my neck for 10 minutes at night. I'm also trying to do light swimming in colder water as much as possible.

Today I've added drinking 500 ML of ice water as soon as I wake up.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE February 18, 2011, 03:17:16 PM
Well thermal loading is of no consequence if you don't have the diet under control.

I'm onto something new that has deconditioning as a theoretical foundation. 

More later.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker February 19, 2011, 10:02:24 AM
Sugardude, glad to see you back here and posting. I'm eager to hear this new approach you have embarked upon.

I agree with you that deconditioning of appetite is essential to sustainable fat loss. It is equally important to fundamentally alter metabolism by upgregulating receptors, enzymes and hormones involved in glucose and fatty acid transport. Medications, supplements, special diets, exercise programs and even attempts to re-set basal metabolic rate through thermogenesis do not fundamentally change the way we respond to foods; nor do they change our metabolic "hardware".  So you remain vulnerable to relapse whenever you experience the combination of low energy, stress and an appetite "trigger".

The only way I see to reverse this is to simultaneously decrease your responsiveness to appetite cues and increase your ability to quickly release glucose and fatty acids from your glycogen and adipose tissue.  The best way to achieve the first is by actively re-training your response to foods using cue exposure and learning to "schedule" your eating so that it becomes disconnected from appetite signals.  The best way to achieve the second is to find ways to deliberately lower your basal insulin levels, though intermittent fasting (with scheduled eating) and occasional, brief high intensity exercise. This will increase the density and sensitivity of GLUT4 receptors in muscle tissue, will suppress LPL and ASP and will increase glycogenoslysis and lipolysis via HSL, glucagon, epinephrine and norepinephrine, so that you are never starved for immediate energy.  The deconditioning also helps here by suppressing cephalic phase insulin that can stoke your appetite.  These metabolic changes take weeks to occur, so one must be consistent and patient during the "remodelling" phase.

Having a sugar addiction adds an additional twist: Sugar addicts, like cocaine addicts, have been shown to have a fewer and more resistant dopamine, insulin, and leptin receptors in certain areas of the hypothalamus (the brain's appetite center).  According to Lustig (,

...insulin and leptin..modify the 'hedonic pathway' (which regulates pleasurable and motivating responses to stimuli). This pathway localizes to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (NA), with inputs from [various sensory pathways]...The VTA initiates feeding on the basis of palatabilty rather than energy need....Leptin and insulin receptors are expressed in the VTA, and both hormones have been implicated in modulating rewarding responses to food and other pleasurable restriction (during which insulin and leptin levels are low) increase the addictive properties of drugs of abuse...Obesity also results in decreased density of D2 dopamine receptors as measured by PET scanning. In the short term, insulin increases expression and activity of dopamine transporter, which clears and removes dopamine from the synapse; thus acute insulin expsosure blunts the reward of food in rats...CNS insulin resistance sets the stage for unchecked caloric intake in the face of positive energy balance, as evidenced experimentally by brain-specific insulin receptor knockout mice. By altering hedonic responses to food intake, insulin resistance at the VTA may drive excessive energy intake.

So trying to reduce your insulin levels via food restriction and exercise will in the short term increase the addictive attraction of food (and drugs) by starving the brain of dopamine, which is bad news if you have a low number of insulin and dopamine receptors!  This means that it is not easy to reverse sugar cravings!!  I've written more about this in my post, Change your receptors, change your set point (

The only way I can see to get out of this vicious cycle is to grow more insulin and dopamine receptors! Unlike supplements, diets and aerobic exercise, deconditioning and basal insulin lowering will permanently change the way your "machine" operates, rather than than temporarily making the "dials" change. Psychologically, it is extremely important to recognize that these changes in receptor levels and sensitivity take weeks to occur, so patience and consistency are essential.  On the flip side, it should provide positive motivation to endure the temporary discomfort and low energy levels, once you realize that by growing new receptors (and establishing alternate reward pathways) you are making permanent, sustainable changes to your body and your eating behavior.

Good luck!

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE February 20, 2011, 08:36:33 AM
Thanks Todd.

It's been week and I've lost 10 lbs.

In regards to deconditioning I have actually returned to extinction.  The problem in the past is that it has been impossible to utilize such a method because there are so many ways to derail my efforts which derive from physical and psychological sources.

I will say at this point that one of the strategies that I have blown off before is actively recognizing which situations cause me to need sugar either on a physical level or psychological level.  If there is a way to plan ahead for these situations and get through them without giving in, extinction IMO can be utilized effectively.

So obviously you have to experience a decent amount of failure (which I have) in order to recognize and plan ahead for these circumstances.

The real question for me is how long does it take? My current goal is to get to 30 days without eating sweets (this includes diet sodas which contain a level of sweeteness).

Stay tuned.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker February 20, 2011, 04:59:24 PM

Thanks for the explanation.  My only concern here is that by avoiding "trigger situations" and sweets entirely for 30 days, you may extinguish the background urge, but you remain vulnerable to any random occurrence of either the trigger situation or the sweet -- and then you are off to the races again. What are the chances that you'll be able to TOTALLY avoid the social situations or the presence of sweets for the rest of your life? It may be even harder to avoid sugar in our society than it is to avoid alcohol.

I discussed this same issue on my "Overcoming Addictions (" post, regarding the difference between the total abstinence philosophy of AA or Narconon, and the cue exposure therapy described by Conklin and Tiffany. Despite what they'd like you to believe, abstinence programs have a significant failure rate.  It might be worthwhile to take a look at that paper, which reviews the factors which differentiate successful vs. unsuccessful approaches to extinction.  

There are some other related links about behavioral approaches to moderate drinking:

I haven't seen anything published on the application of cue exposure therapy to deconditioning sugar cravings.  But I can't think of any reason why the same principles would not apply.  The downside of cue exposure therapy is that it is a lot of work, will generate some intense cravings in the short term, and requires persistence.  Some have found that the addition of hedonic blockers like low dose Naltrexone, help get through this phase, but I personally think it may be more robust just to plunge in without the help of drugs.

Many people have reported that it is psychologically far easier to pursue a challenging diet or new habit as long as "cheats" are allowed.   I agree with this sentiment, and I found that in my own effort to moderate drinking or eating carbohydrates, what worked best is to "schedule" the behavior.  So I drink on two specific days a week.  And I have my chocolate croissants two mornings a week.  I've heard that some orthodox Jews who smoke a lot are able to refrain from smoking on the Sabbath with zero cravings because that has been behaviorally conditioned.  It is amazing how we can program these "releases", so that they occur when and how we want them to occur, rather than in response to random, uncontrolled cues.

That said, I cannot deny that your plan may work.  You have a background in psychology, so you understand the forces at work.  If you get to the point where you have truly lost all desire for sweets, then you may have succeeded. But you'll have to keep the match away from the gasoline for the rest of your life.  By contrast, once you get through the hard work of cue exposure therapy, you have a life-long immunization from temptation.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE February 20, 2011, 07:03:01 PM
Actually, I'm in no way avoiding trigger situations.  I am anticipating them and getting through them (more on this another time) without eating any sweets.

I did the same with smoking and found it to be very easy. It only took me three days to get rid of the urges.  It probably took another 5-6 months where I got to the point that a stressfull situation no longer was a trigger to have a cigarette.

Of course sweets are a different animal since they are far more reinforcing and pleasuarble to me than a cigarette.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE February 27, 2011, 02:54:23 PM
I'm on day 14 of no sweets.  I've dropped another 2 lbs since last week.

One of the strategies I'm using is substitution.  I still find myself at times hungry after meals.  This is where I usually breakdown and binge on sweets.

Instead of reachng for a cookie, I've been eating chips or crackers.  although this isn't the most healthy food choice I NEVER binge on chips or crackers. At some reasonable point I become sated unlike the times where I reach for the sweet treat.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 07, 2011, 06:30:34 AM
Wow !! What a week.

I'm now do to 200 lbs. I haven't seen this territory in a while.  The strange part is that earlier last week I had a sugar binge.  I don't know what brought it on but I was able to get back on the wagon the next day.  After I did, my weight loss accelerated (probably because my metabolism increased due to the eating).

So I've lost 17 lbs in 22 days.

Although my focus has been sweets, I really have an issue with hypereating (which ususally involves sweets. So I'm trying not reach for something else to eat while I'm still chewing during snacking situations.  I probably need to avoid eating while in the kitchen altogether. I've been pretty good at moderating which is a huge step for me. I even ate jello a couple of times last week without going nuts.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker March 07, 2011, 02:38:27 PM

Glad to hear you are doing so well.  I'm interested to know whether your current approach is mainly focused on dietary measures like substitution, or whether you find that other measures like exercise, alternate non-food pleasurable activities, or psychological approaches, factor into your new approach.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 08, 2011, 11:39:29 AM
Well Todd, I have to say that exercise has been a huge part of the regimen. I try to get in a 30 minute run most days.

When I have access to a treadmill (that would be any work day because I go to the gym at lunch but not on off days because it is too far away from my home) I do intervals every 1:40. I'm jogging at 6.0 for 1:40 and running at 8.0 for 20 seconds.  I started with 30 minutes of no interval and gradually increased the intervals to where I'm running when the clock hits 10, 12, 14, 16....and so forth until the last interval at 28. Today I will start at minute 8.    

On the weekend or other non-work days (I am a California state employee) I run a course in my neighborhood which has a mixture of uphill and downhill slopes.  Currently I'm doing that for 40 minutes and I'm trying to work up to 60.

As for diet...........I have to come clean.  The original plan was to decondition by anticipating what situations normally cause me to binge.  What I didn't disclose was the method I was using to help me through those periods.  The original plan was to use this method only during those periods but it is so damn effective I'm using it much more often now.  Okay, it's not a method.  It's a weight loss drug (Phentermine).
I had been searching for something that could mimic the appetite suppression effects of cocaine without
having the other things that go along with it.  This pretty much covers the bill.

I'm still eating 3 meals a day but my control is really enhanced.  Last week when I was going to the potato chip card (which I still do to some extent) I was not taking the medication.  But after I had my binge I was afraid that I would continue so I've been regular with the medssince then.

My plan is to fade out the medication after awhile to see if there is any change in my response to sugar.  Currently I have notived that I am able to eat a sweet treat  once in a while and then stop. This would be the ultimate goal....moderation.

BTW, I am now embracing the idea of enthusiatically taking in the odors of sweets without eating them.  Obviously this is easier to do on the meds but I don't know if it will have any deconditioning effect with actually having to suffer through the mental anguish of wanting to eat it.  In any event it can't hurt.

I'm down to 199.  

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 25, 2011, 03:24:24 PM
Things are great !! 

Since I was last posted I changed up my eating and exercise because I noticed that I was losing muscle.  I'm lifting weights 3 times a week and doing HIIT cardio twice a week. (I'm now up to 32 minutes with speed 20 second speed bursts every two minutes.

My diet is approximately 2100 calories a day.   I allowed a cheat day on the weekend. I've got three more weeks on the meds and then I'll start to fade them out.

I'm down to 197.5.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 16, 2011, 06:08:40 AM
191....Good times !!
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE June 02, 2011, 07:58:48 PM
I've been fading out the meds and I'm doing great. At first there were terrible cravings but now I'm not getting them at all.  Of course I am still sugar sensitive so unless it's a cheat day, I'm avoiding the sugary snacks.  I've even been able to successfully incorporate small amounts of fruit back into the diet.  Most of my carbs come from Ezekiel whole grain bread.

I'm still in the low 190's.  I had my body fat tested at 15.9 which is in the healthy range.

I'm eating 5-6 small meals a day totaling just under 2100 calories.  Cheat days are awesome.

So while not hormetic, I do feel there has been an element of deconditioning or at least behavior modification in general.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker June 03, 2011, 11:51:46 AM

It's good to hear this update from you! Besides your success in dropping pounds and getting to a good bodyfat percentage, I'm more impressed that you've been able to start fading out your meds, and incorporating small amounts of sweetness via cheat days.  Despite your disclaimer, I think what you are doing is in fact a very good example of hormetism, because it embodies two key principles:  gradualism and oscillation.  Gradualism in fading out the meds at a rate that was tolerable and allowed you to adapt.  And oscillation by incorporating a cheat day, which is an excellent concept, both physiologically and psychologically speaking.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Llanero July 12, 2011, 06:49:16 PM
Wow, I read this entire thread.  I like how Sugardude is so open about his experiences, hope we get an update soon.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 17, 2011, 09:36:36 PM I'm actually trying to gain muscle now so i have increased calories and I'm working out with weights 4-5 days a week.

As for the sugar issue I can only say that things are much better than when I started.  I'm not taking Phentermine at this time.  I still get craving but they come at night only.  I'm in a routine that works up until about the time I get home from work.  I have had a little success losing the night cravings by using a strong caffiene laden fat burner before my lunchtime workouts.

My weight has stabilized between 195-200 and I'm getting somewhat muscular for the first time in my life. I actually feel good about taking my shirt off at the pool.

I'm going to spend a few more weeks actually trying to bulk and see how it goes.  Fat come along with the bulking so at some point I'm going to go back in to weight loss mode again.  Next time I'm going to try to get my bodyfat down to 12%.  The last time I had it checked it was 15.9% and I'm certain it's higher now.

I am following the bodybuilder's eating regimen of 6 small meals a day.  I do get a sweet fix 3 times a day drinking a artificially sweetened chocolate whey protein isolate shake.  I love them.  Drinking them does not cause me to binge.  I'm also eating bread 4 times a's Ezekiel bread which is 100% whole grain with no sugar.  

I'm shooting for 2400-2500 calories a day right now.  My occasional nighttime binges have me overshooting it on those days but I'm okay with that since I'm not gaining weight really fast and i like the way I look.

So I haven't truly solved the sugar issue but just through changing my everyday habits (with a little help) I've experienced major improvement in the control area.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 27, 2012, 09:36:35 PM
It's been awhile so let me update.

After going off the Phentermine I purposely increased my calories so that I could gain muscle from working out with weights.  It worked but I gained fat too and the sugar cravings did not get under control.

Last October I went for another go around with Phentermine.  I dropped my weight all the way to 186.5.  However, as time went on, the nighttime sugar cravings came on despite the meds.

I have been managing to keep my weight under 200 since going off the meds in late December.

I'm now back to using something I tried briefly back when this thread began.  Gymnema Sylvestre.  It truly is amazing stuff.  What I am doing is after using it after dinner and then immediately trying some sort of sweet food (cookie, cake, ice cream...whatever).  after I eat a very modest amount......I'm done.  I no longer feel the need to continue.  If I get another craving later in the night,  I do the same thing again, but that is the exception rather than the rule so far.

So essentially I have found the holy grail of controlling my  sugar consumption fests.  It's very exciting.  What will be more interesting to see is the long term effect it has relative to my cravings.since I am pairing the food I normally crave with a sense of taste which is dull in comparison.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker January 28, 2012, 04:44:14 PM

Thanks for the update...I always hoped you would return, having authored one of the longest and most interesting personal "journals" on this forum site!   :) :)

I'm very interested in your positive experience with Gymnema Sylvestre.  Since I'm not familiar with it, I did a little searching.  Apparently, G.S. blocks the sweetness or sugar receptors in the tongue, halting the psychological triggers of sugar cravings.  But the benefit of G.S. goes beyond that.  It also stabilizes blood glucose, enhances insulin action, and has an anti-diabetic effect.  Quite a remarkable substance.

As an herbal extract, G.S. is not a single compound but rather a complex of several compounds.  It may be useful as a natural alternative to other blood sugar control drugs like Metformin, though it does not act by the same mechanisms.  So those who are pre-diabetic or diabetic might find it useful, but should look into possible interactions with other medications.

I do have one question for you:  Since you are suppressing the sweetness of foods, do you find less pleasure in eating, or do you find that other aspects of eating -- other flavors, textures and aromas -- are enough to keep you satisfied?  My impression is that all of us have a "pleasure budget" -- we need  a certain amount of pleasure in our lives, and that getting less of one type may need to be balanced by more of another type to maintain pleasure homeostasis, else we are driven to overindulge or binge to get what we are missing.

Your thoughts?
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE January 29, 2012, 06:28:00 PM

I do have one question for you:  Since you are suppressing the sweetness of foods, do you find less pleasure in eating, or do you find that other aspects of eating -- other flavors, textures and aromas -- are enough to keep you satisfied?  My impression is that all of us have a "pleasure budget" -- we need  a certain amount of pleasure in our lives, and that getting less of one type may need to be balanced by more of another type to maintain pleasure homeostasis, else we are driven to overindulge or binge to get what we are missing.

Your thoughts?

I do not find any less pleasure in eating food other than sweets.  I still get a modicum of pleasure in eating a cookie (like I just did 2 minutes ago) or a spoon-full of ice cream even though the sweetness is greatly reduced.  Part of the pleasure is the texture. Now instead  of eating 15 cookies and then moving on to whatever else I can find in the cupboard, I'm done after the one cookie or single spoon-full of ice cream.  The thought of eating more is simply gone.  Yes, I am smiling.

I don't think I am shorting myself on the pleasure budget at all.  If anything I was conditioned to go waaaaay over budget. I'm likely just breaking the chain of stimulus reinforcement response that I have fostered for over 40 years.  If I'm right, the cravings may eventually diminish om their own, but knowing how strong intermittent reinforcement is (like a slot machine), I'm better off just pairing the Gymnema with all trigger foods for a much as possible.

In any event, with my program of diet and exercise, I expect the roadblocks have been removed as it pertains to weight-loss.  I just went through a whole weekend without a sugar binge.  For me that is extraordinary.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 01, 2013, 06:53:04 PM
Hey, remember me?    The gymnema ultimately did not work out.   However, I'm on a new amino acid supplementation regimen that seems to be working quite well in regards to killing the sugar cravings.  I'm on the 7th day of this and I must say it's been quite painless.

The supplements I'm using are Tyrosine, Glutamine, DL Phenylalinine, and 5-HTP.

I read about this strategy in a book called the Diet Cure by Julia Ross.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker July 01, 2013, 10:28:58 PM

I certainly do remember you...nice to hear back from you!

I'd be interested to know more details.  Has your new combo of supplements helped you to cut back on eating and lose weight--or is it mainly about killing cravings and preventing bingeing?   Also, I'm interested in your thoughts about why this combination seems to work so well.  5-HTP is known as a serotonin precursor, so perhaps it is replenishing serotonin?

What are your thoughts?

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 02, 2013, 05:53:04 AM

So far, the aminos are helping me with cutting back on eating and killing the sugar cravings.  But the focus is killing the sugar cravings.

In the book, there is a checklist of symptoms that any particular individual might have such as cravings for sweets, emotional pain,  difficulty sleeping, and many more.  The symptoms ate then matched up with whatever amino acid your body may  need to remedy the symptom. 

I started out with mixed results with just a couple of the aminos.  Finally, I just went with every one whereby sugar cravings was a symptom.  You have to experiment with the types and the dosage.  The book provides a schedule for the various aminos.  The author claims that after a few months, you can taper them off.

The Tyrosine is supposed to help with mental focus and gives you sort of the mental buzz that one gets from a stimulant,  but far much less than say Cocaine or Phentermine.  The DL Phenylalinine helps with physical and emotional pain and is supposed to be excellent at hitting rid of the emotional eating.  The author claims that Glutamine alone can get rid of the sugar cravings.  Although I have not found that to be the case, it does work in a pinch for an immediate reduction of a nagging craving.  As you said,  the 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin.  It is supposed to help with the nighttime cravings.

I am currently on a diet of approximately 2000 calories which has plenty of fat and carbohydrates,  but no sweets other than a daily banana.   I have found that I am not addicted to sugar per se, but to the sensation of sweetness.  So i have cut out the artificial sweeteners and the Stevia.  The weight is coming off just like it would on any other calorie restricted diet.  So far 6 pounds.

The hope is that this regimen will allow me to stay with it.  Since I am now satisfied after eating a meal, I might finally get there.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 02, 2013, 08:24:55 PM
I should also add that after each meal I've been eating a half square of unsweetened baking chocolate.  At first it was kind of gross, but now I look forward to it.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 09, 2013, 10:59:33 AM
14 days with no proceesed sugar !!     

This is only the second time I've been able to achieve this in the last 7 years or so.   This time was far much easier than the last.   Also, last time I completely fell apart on day 15.   No such worry here.

Gonna keep doing what I'm doing for the forseeable future.   I've dropped 8 pounds in the process so far.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker July 10, 2013, 08:17:11 AM
That's great news, Sugardude.    Keep us posted on how this works.  Others may be able to learn from your success.    -- Todd
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 16, 2013, 06:54:36 AM
I've now completed three weeks with no processd sugar.  The aminos are truly amazing.   It truly takes willpower out of the equation.

During these three weeks there were a couple of times where I gave in and drank diet soda.  This was a bad idea. I found  myself fighting off cravings the rest of the day.  But even so, I was successful.

Diet wise, there was no weight loss, but that's not a big deal.  I can adjust my calorie intake or increase my cardio if need be.   

Due to what appears to be increased nighttime hunger, I'm going to experiment with eliminating my 5-HTP dose.  Just a gut feeling that it's somehow related.  We'll see.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker July 17, 2013, 08:22:35 PM
Thanks for the progress report. 

So the "aminos" you are referring to are tyrosine, glutamine, and DL-phenylalinine? What dose and frequency of each?  And why do you take the racemic mixture of the phenylalanine?

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 17, 2013, 10:13:33 PM
I'm taking 500 mg of the DLP and 1000 mg of Tyrosine twice a day.  Once dose when I wake up and the second dose at 10:00 am.

I've been mixing 5g of Glutamine in water and drinking just before or with meals 3 times a day.

I've just been following the recommendation from the book regarding the DLP. No other reason.

I've been off 5-HTP for two days and the nighttime hunger has disappeared.  The weight is coming off again.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 24, 2013, 09:50:52 PM
I went 27 days before I decided to enjoy a cheat day.  It was glorious.

The exciting news was that there was no problem at all going back on the wagon.  The weight that I gained on the cheat day has disappeared after two days.

I dropped 10.5 pounds in those first 27 days.   My next short term goal will be to lose another 8.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE July 30, 2013, 07:01:22 PM
Well the magic has disappeared.  Three days in a row now that I have been gorging on sweets.  Maybe, it's because I stopped the 5-HTP or maybe my body has adjusted.   The change was quite sudden though.

I'm going to take the 5-HTP tonight and see what happens tomorrow.

I tried increasing the dlpa today but that didn't matter.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 01, 2013, 10:06:26 PM
The magic is back.  Quitting the 5-HTP was a huge mistake.   I'm back on track now.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE August 14, 2013, 07:25:38 PM
Since I last checked in it's been a rough go.  I'm still plugging away.  One mistake I'd been making was taking glutamine with meals.  Going back to the book, the aminos should be taken a half an hour before or 90 minutes after any meal containing protein.   The other thing is that I have to reach for the Glutamine during a heavy craving instead of a cookie.  I have been fine all day until about 20 minutes ago.   I almost got in the car to go get some junk, but then I remembered to take some glutamine under my tongue.  Problem solved.

I want to put together another long string of days without sweets.  Weekends make it tough.

I'm almost done with day 1........again.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 01, 2013, 09:07:32 PM
Well the wheels have come completely off the bus.  I must say it was a good ride while it lasted.  Just like the Phentermine, it appears my body was able to build up a tolerance so that the Aminos were no longer effective.

During this experience I have reinforced two concepts:

1)  Bread will definitely spike sugar cravings

2)  Sweetener of any kind will spike sugar cravings.

I feel as though I need to treat sugar as I do cocaine.  So saying no to bread and sweetened products (even Stevia) is crucial.

Today I tried a sort of new strategy.   I am allowing myself to eat as much unsweetened chocolate as I need to get past a craving.  Therefore I am eating virtually no sugar but still getting the pleasure of eating chocolate.  Another plus is that depending on how much I consume, I'm getting lots of fiber. Every two rectangles  has 3 grams of fiber.  It's also 90 calories, but it beats banging up to 2000 calories.

My hope is that as more days go by, I will need the Chocolate less and less.

Stay tuned.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 02, 2013, 08:52:26 PM
Day 2 is almost over and things are going smoothly.    I lost 2.5 pounds yesterday.  I ate less chocolate than yesterday.

I never realized that chocolate has caffeine in it.  So I had to take a melatonin last night to go to sleep.

I've been off the aminos for two days so I'm going to take some tomorrow to see the effect.  The  plan however is still about the chocolate.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 03, 2013, 10:05:54 PM
Day 3 almost over and it's still going great.  I dropped another 1.5 yesterday.  I ate quite a bit of chocolate today, but it certainly beats the alternative.

I did take some aminos today, and I plan to take them about once a week.  The timing is strategic to help me avoid a trap that I fall into sometimes.  My main strategy though is still the chocolate.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 06, 2013, 10:11:47 PM
I've now put together 6 days with no sugar.  The best streak I've had since I did 26 days a month ago. 

This is much easier than trying to figure out when to take aminos and how much.It almost feels like cheating but it definitely is not.  The beauty of this is that there will be no adjusting by my body or brain because it's not a drug.  I'm not decreasing my cravings per se......I'm satisfying them.

My weight is currently at 204.  I was at 209.5 when I started the chocolate diet.  The rate of weight loss has decreased over the last couple of days, so now I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing with an eye towards losing 1-2 pounds a week.

The only downside is that at night it's hard to get to sleep without a melatonin.  But it's not that bad.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 07, 2013, 07:45:57 PM
Just a suggestion. Have you tried xylitol? Does it provoke a hunger response like stevia did?

Yes I have.  Anything sweet triggers the response, but I wouldn't classify it as a hunger response.  It's more like a craving for sweets, which one can have despite not being hungry.

Still rolling right along with the chocolate.  I'm finishing up my first full weel.  Weighed in at 203.5 today.  That is as low as I got on the aminos.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 08, 2013, 03:21:38 PM
After 1 full week I'm down to the lowest I've been in a year!  202.5.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE September 16, 2013, 09:24:52 PM
I fell off on Day 9 and have been off the wagon ever since.  Being ill the last 5 days hasn't helped.

I'm jumping back on the horse tomorrow.  Aminos a couple times a week.  Chocolate and Glutamine for cravings.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE November 19, 2013, 10:12:21 PM
The wheels had completely fallen off.  Aminos stopped working.

Yesterday I had a hypnotherapy session.  It was quite an experience.  I have had no problem saying no to sweets so far since the session.

I hope it lasts.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker November 20, 2013, 07:27:00 PM
Can you say more about

- why you thought the amino acids failed
- the details of your hypnotherapy?

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE November 20, 2013, 07:55:05 PM
Todd, I truly have no clue why after 28 or so days without an issue, I was unable to string together another 7 days.  My best guess is that, just like everything else, my body or brain adjusted.

The hypnotherapy was suggested by my doctor awhile back.  After this last feeding frenzy, I felt I had run out of strategies.  Initially I spent about 30 minutes with the therapist going into great detail about my struggles with sugar binging.  I was then placed on a bed like apparatus and a blanket was placed over my body.  The therapist dimmed the lights and there was soothing spa type music in the background.  The therapist then proceeded to do her thing which involves imagery and self awareness of your body, typical hypnosis stuff.  During the next 30-45 minutes, she made suggestions on how I would treat sugar.  During this time I drifted in and out of consciousness.

When it was over, she told me that I may have listened or not.  Either way, she said it didn't matter.

So far she is right.  I have been able to control my urges so far.   

I'm still not convinced this is going to last, but she said I didn't need to return.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 15, 2014, 08:12:15 PM
Well the hypnosis effect was short lived, but I'm doing very well now.  One of the biggest obstacles I have faced over these years was fighting back the nighttime sugar cravings.  However, one simple dietary change seems to have eliminated the problem. 

All I did was skip to salt free seasoning with my evening meal.  Ever since I made that change, I have had no struggle whatsoever with after dinner sweet cravings.

I did go back to using some aminos in the morning, but I'm certain my recent success has everything to do with cutting back the salt.  I haven't even completely cut out sugar as I drink a couple cups of sweetened almond milk per day.  I have cut out candy, cookies, and other sweet treats for the last 13 days.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker March 23, 2014, 05:56:50 PM

What non-sweet foods do you really enjoy?  Perhaps focusing on what you can enjoy, with variety and gusto, is more productive than worrying about what you are trying to avoid.  Some say that sugar cravings are significantly reduced if you are getting a full and balanced range of the nutrients you really need and may be deficient in.

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Tom March 26, 2014, 08:56:07 PM
I was recently informed about a book by Yoni Freedhoff called "The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work." I didn't read the book, but it seems that it includes some refreshing ideas that you people can exploit:

1) Most diets fail, because they involve an element of suffering, and as such are not really realistic. It's possible to lose weight, while enjoying a bit of chocolate (Freedhoff actually prescribes chocolate to patients with lots of craving). It's not either eat it or don't eat it - the key is consistency, with a little bit of effort at a time.

2) The book seems to focus on tricks about good habit forming (e.g., how to avoid habits that lead to weight gain, how to avoid turning craving into binges), instead of the "follow-this-diet" approach.

3) In a radio interview to CBC the Current, Freedhoff talked about Canada's Food Guide being actually harmful because:

He then claimed that instead of following Northamerican food guides, we should look at Brazil's food guide, which encourages cooking from fresh produces, avoiding food industry and processed food. Ironic isn't it. 8)

4) Another emphasis is on fostering a healthy food  environment that creates good habits. Surrounds yourself with treats and the craving might just keep going.

5) Not sure about this. He might have talked about using protein intermittently to control craving. Some people forego of all "forbidden" food, only to find themselves eating non-stop afterwards.

6) Our culture promotes weight loss and condemns weight gain. Freedhoff explained that everyone is different and that neither bathroom scale or body mass index can accurate represent one's condition of health. He also talked about everyone having their own ideal personal weight, which is not necessarily the one promoted by our media or doctors.

I hope it's helpful. Here's a link:

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 23, 2016, 08:47:57 PM
Well it appears I've  finally figured this out.  No gimmicks.  No struggling with night time cravings.  No feeling of deprivation.

The solution involved a psychological component and a dietary component.

The dietary change was quite simple.  I added MORE carbs to my diet.  Of course these would be complex carbs such as Steel Cut Oats and vegetables.  I eat a very healthy portion of veggies with dinner.  My cravings have disappeared.

Psychologically, I treat sweet treats as a taboo as a drug addict treats cocaine.  I refer to people who offer me sweet treats lovingly as crack dealers.  Knowing that sugar has a similar, but even more pronounced effect on the brain as cocaine, made me realize that I had to approach it the same way as drug recovery.

But the key was the dietary change.  By simply making sure I get sufficient carbs in my diet, the night time cravings which always sabotaged my efforts, have magically disappeared.

I've been eating like this for 30 days and it has been amazingly easy.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: EugeneS March 24, 2016, 05:00:44 AM
As a trainer I have found that a great way to start loosing a "bad" habit is exercise. I teach martial arts, and have found that all my students started cleaning up their bad habits. As for smokers, they found their bodies rejected the cigarettes as it impaired their training.
As for "bad"foods, as others have mentioned here, don't totally eliminated them if you find it hard to. I found the best method is to allow oneself a "treat" 1x week, such as the weekend; but not binge eating. Make it a reward for the hard training one did during the week.
I find if one completely eliminates these foods, they end up failing and go back to were they started.
Just like any addiction, keeping active with something that you enjoy, be around people that support and motivate you could be a solution.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE March 24, 2016, 08:41:09 PM
Like any addiction, you need to abstain as much as possible.  I do allow myself a sweet sensation a few times a day in the form of my protein shakes and oatmeal sweetened with Stevia.  Eventually I will add fruit back into my diet.  But ice cream, cookies, cake, cereal, candy......forget it.  It's just crack and it serves no good purpose. There is no such thing as moderation or a cheat day with someone who has an addictive brain like mine.

As for exercise, I completely agree.  If you are not producing serotonin or dopamine by eating junk, then you have to find other ways to get that pleasure.  Exercise is just one of many ways to do that.
: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: Todd Becker March 27, 2016, 06:47:54 PM

So cool to have you back posting again. (And to have some posts on topics besides vision improvement  :)  )

I think your finding does make sense.  Vegetables and steel cut oats are both excellent sources of soluble fiber.  I used to not understand the big deal about fiber.  The explanation was always that it provides satiety by "slowing" gastric emptying, digestion, and rise in blood sugar.  That didn't make convincing sense to me.

The new explanation of the past decade its that fiber is a prebiotic that literally "feeds" the beneficial microbes in your intestines - your gut microbiome.  And these beneficial microbes (the bactericides species like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) are not only more health promoting (e.g. reducing inflammation, obesity, etc), but they actively communicate with your brain, specifically your hypothalamus, to regulate hunger!  If you eat a lot of sugar and industrial oils, you grow a different type of bacteria in your gut, generally of the "bad" firmicutes type.  And the firmicutes not only cause inflammation, but they LOVE sugar and drive sugar cravings.  They directly mess with your mind!

By contrast, eating your vegetables and high fiber carbs feed the good "bactericides" bacteria, that don't particularly like sugar.

The microbiome in your gut is sometimes called "the second brain".  Here's a good layman's overview of how the second brain works:

Look forward to hearing how your new diet works for you.


: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: SUGARDUDE April 09, 2016, 07:34:21 AM
Hey Todd,

Great information.  I had tried looking into treating the gut before with acidophilus and probiotics, but nothing really came of it.  So who knew that it would come back into play?  Clearly not me.

Things are going great.  Significantly, after going on vacation with my family and pretty much letting myself go for the week, I was able to come back and start right where I left off with no problem whatsoever.  This is a first for me because usually when I fall off, it takes several weeks.....or months to get back on.  The 5 pounds that I gained I lost back in less than a week.

I'm currently down 15.8 pounds from when I started on February 24.  I have been generally losing 2-3 pounds per week. 

: Re: Sugardude's Diet Puzzle
: EugeneS April 09, 2016, 07:38:50 AM

Good to hear things are improving with you! :)