Finally, 100 sugar-free days!

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Eden had been struggling for years. For a few weeks she would eat well, but then her cravings would make her eat all kinds of sugary foods again. She could not lose weight, she was prediabetic and she felt too tired to work.

Finally she found the tools needed to break free. She’s now been living sugar free for 100 days, something that used to be impossible for her. Here’s how she did it and how it transformed her life.

The Email

Andreas,

I am not a success story – yet, at least in the typical fashion.

I have been following your site for a couple of years now and loving all the information and insight about this way of eating. I have been following a Paleo diet for about five years now, but let me say I have been following it loosely.

I liked it, I knew it worked for me (because I felt better on it) and I could follow it for about three weeks at a time and then the cravings would hit and I would get overwhelmed by them and dive back into sugar, bread and carbs. That lasted for about a week and then I would try to rally myself and get back on the wagon again.

That went on for several years. I saw very little weight loss and felt continually discouraged about the weight, the fatigue, and the mood swings that accompanied this whole package. (I am a 40 yo female, 300+ pounds (136+ kg)). So, I would climb back on Paleo and handle it for another few weeks or sometimes longer, only to get derailed again by the intense cravings that would return.

And that’s how it went. A few weeks Paleo and then back off, next month a few weeks on Paleo and then back off.

I felt like a failure once again. My hobby is nutrition and I was even pursuing a master’s degree in holistic nutrition but had to put that on hold because my fatigue got so overwhelming that I couldn’t work full-time, maintain a life and go to school. Let’s be honest, some days I could barely work.

In fact, my fatigue got so bad and my health so precarious that I finally had to quit my full-time job. I just couldn’t keep up. I wondered if I was destined to ever get well again. By this point I had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome for several years, was pre-diabetic and was teetering on the edge of diabetes.

So, I made getting well my job. I went low carb but that same cycle continued – eat well for a few weeks then back into carb land for a week or two and then back off. I was diagnosed with insulin-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and then really bad PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Yes, that seemed about right. That cyclical nature of my cravings was validated.

But I still had to deal with them. I read everything on your site by Bitten Jonsson about sugar addiction because sometimes I really felt like an addict needing that fix during those bad weeks. I realized as I did further reading on my health issues that the best way to get better from the yo-yo part of my cravings was to get off sugar entirely for six months to a year to heal my cycle.

I already knew that low carb helped me but I needed to STAY low carb for six months to a year to start to see the benefits of weeks of low carb; not just lose weight for a few weeks and regain it all in my bad week of cravings.

I had all of this great knowledge but I couldn’t see the benefits of it because I couldn’t get over the cravings. I had to go off sugar. I even went to a weight loss therapist for several weeks with the specific mission to get off sugar but was told that in my mental state I needed to explore my feelings about food rather than abstain from certain foods. I gave her system a try.

I feel very grateful for the concepts of mindful eating and kindness to ourselves that I learned there. Those are very real things. But at the end of four months, I still had no concrete plan about how to get off sugar during that bad week and how to get my cravings under control. I felt a little desperate. I listened to all the videos by Bitten Jonsson again.

So, it was with great trepidation that I started a sugar-free plan in February 2016. I was prepared. I had backup plans. I had emergency plans. I had if/then plans. I had to do this. It was the only goal I had. And it proceeded typically. Several good weeks of low-carb eating followed by that week of cravings.

By this point I had enrolled in Dr. Fung’s long-distance program so I was also intermittent fasting, tracking my blood sugar and tracking my food. When the bad week hit I employed all of my plans – supplements, exercise, prayer, lots of sleep, lots of good fats, support groups, videos, blogs, your site. Everything. I survived. Just barely but I survived that first bad week unscathed.

It has been 15 weeks now. This weekend I mark 100 days sugar-free. Each successive month following February when my bad week hits, I use everything in my toolkit. I know I have to do this for the long haul to get the full benefit. Right now my short-term goal is six months. Just to get to six months without that yo-yo crazy cycling would be amazing.

What is better right now from 100 days sugar free and low carb?

My energy; my energy is always the first thing to improve but it just keeps on getting better.

Those bad weeks – they are not as intense, overwhelming or horrible; the last one I had, I thought “Is it possible to experience this week without spending at least one day in bed from the supreme fatigue?” I have days I have to take it easy and do less and go to bed earlier but each cycle those bad days shorten and the intensity lessens.

I eat more fat than ever. I thought I was really good at eating fat but I finally started measuring my macros and I cut down to 20 grams of carbs or less and I am now at 80 grams of protein or less each day. Everything else is fat.

I survived the first few bad weeks on nuts and European cheeses when the cravings got really bad but at the beginning of May I cut out dairy because my weight loss had stalled for a couple of months. (I handle butter and heavy cream without problems but not cheese or milk). And what do you know, I started losing weight again.

I have been fasting for 24 hours 2-3 times a week since February. Now, I am doing longer fasts of 3 to 4 days. And handling it just fine thanks to bone broth, coconut oil and grass-fed butter.

My sleep is better. I have been working hard at this to help with the energy but my sleep is so much better. And if I am really struggling to sleep, I make some herbal tea and add some coconut oil and butter and take some magnesium and I am off to dreamland. Also, I am up early every day now. Who knew that would happen?

I am working again. Reliably. I still worry about the bad weeks and poor energy and I still plan around those times meticulously so I don’t overdo but but I am working.

This week my blood sugar has ranged from 72 to 106. Those are exciting numbers to me.

I have lost almost 40 pounds (18 kg).

I function. There are still bad days but I function and even excel some days with energy and focus and drive.

I just want to say to that it is working. Thank you for your excellent site – the recipes, the news, the success stories, the videos, the information. It has all been very, very helpful.

Good things are happening for all of us!

Eden

Comment

Congratulations Eden! Suffering from sugar addiction is very, very difficult and not something one should take lightly. Great job with coming up with your emergency plans, keep it up!

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9 comments

  1. Myra
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Eden. You ARE a success story and an inspiration. It is true, we need that "tool kit" ( I need to build mine up). I also loved your sleep trick. I need to try that. Take care and all the best in your continuing journey!
    Reply: #4
  2. mary
    Eden, Thank you. I am having one of those 'weeks" and your story inspires me to do better so I can feel better. Thank you so much :)
    Reply: #5
  3. Octavia Ria
    Your story is sooo inspirational for me because I am in exactly the same place. I manage nicely for a while and then bingo, the sugar addiction kicks in. I feel overwhelmed by something and the next thing I know I reach for the chocolates. To make matters worse I live in Canada where every store checkout area is packed with sweets even clothing and Hardware stores. And one little tiny caramel leads me to gobble down an entire package. So I know of what you speak Eden. Thank you so much for making me know I am not the only one and for sharing the sleep tea trick. I will try it. Wishing you future success and looking forward to reading an update. And maybe just maybe I will be able to post a story myself. Cheers.
    Octavia
    Reply: #6
  4. Eden
    Thanks, Myra for seeing the good! You are kind. Good luck with your toolkit.
  5. Eden
    Mary, I have had one of those weeks too! Sometimes it is just hard. But I will say it has gotten easier as I keep practicing. Best of luck.
  6. Eden
    Ovtavia, I look forward to your story too. Most of us have been on this journey a long time and I know I look for inspiration also to remind me that there are others traveling this path. Good luck as you keep going!
  7. Donna
    Eden, thank you for sharing your story. I struggle too. I've read everything, watched the videos, and know intellectually that LCHF is the right way for me. I'll do really well for a few weeks, then 'something' triggers the cravings, and I'm like an addict binge eating carbs, and I'm just sick of it. I'm going to try some of your toolkit tips. Thanks again, it helps to know I'm not the only one who struggles, and I wish you continued success.
  8. Eva
    Hi eden,
    Have yourself checked for parasites. (Even if lab work doesn't show you have them you could try a "deworm-cycle")
    (I also had those cravings every 3 weeks - it has stopped completely after I was dewormed (2x3 days was enough). My lab work was negative multiple times (stool), but my doctor said that its like a lottery, to find them with the standard tests, there are so many kinds. Once they are "lived in" they could be anywhere in the body - so stool lab work doesn't always show... ...)
    Prior to deworming lchf helped me, but I never had an energy "burst".
    As soon as I ate carbs i was right back to carb craving.
    Now I can eat whatever I want (eg. on invitations) and go back to lchf the very next day without a problem.
    Good luck!
    Eva
  9. Rhonda
    Another paleo person!! Our stories are so similar. I have been mostly paleo for probably 6 years now. Up front I had great success, but then the weight loss slowed, then stalled. I managed to stay at the same 20 pounds lost until I fell completely off the wagon a little over two years ago and seriously decided to kill myself with cake. I was so tired of trying and having no success and trying again and getting nowhere. After a year on cake, I was up to 250+ pounds, hurt all the time, had no energy, was depressed, and basically found myself pretty much dying of cake.

    I went back to my better paleo ways and things began to improve. But when I started checking my morning fasting blood sugar, I realized really quickly that my 110 readings were killing me and whatever I was doing, it was not working. My goal became to get my morning readings into the 80s. Then I found Diet Doctor and began tweaking my diet to the LCHF plan. Everything immediately began to come together. My energy levels shot up, my fasting blood glucose began reliably hitting the low 90s, and 20 pounds pretty much fell off. I started to follow an online plan that included paleo selections but I realized pretty quickly that if it wasn't truly ketogenic, it wasn't for me. The Diet Doctor plan has been the easiest, most delicious way I have ever eaten and I feel GREAT.

    I'm not ready to put my success story out there, but I am well on my way. I still follow a lot of paleo principles, but only through the LCHF filter! Thanks for your story!!!

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