When I was pregnant with my second daughter 31 years ago my obstetrician was the celebrated, Dr. Christiane Northrup. At the time she was simply one of the OB/Gyns at a practice in South Portland, ME. She hadn’t risen to fame yet, but she definitely was already developing her theories that would later help her attain her current status.
I was concerned that I was on track to gain the 80 pounds with this baby that I gained with my first daughter. I lay flat on my back, feet in the stirrups, speculum inserted and asked my doc what could I do to keep my weight gain in check. Her answer was to cut out sugar and all dairy. I don’t recall that she had anything more to add about sugar, but I’ll never forget why she told me to stop all dairy including milk.
I questioned the wisdom of reducing my calcium at a time when my body was developing the skeletal system of another human being. “Milk,” she informed me, “does nothing but turn into slimy mucus in your gut.”
Yuch! Gross! I won’t be pouring myself any more glasses of slimy mucus, thank you!
So I quit drinking milk but I didn’t give up the sugar. I guess I must be one of those “sugar addicts.”
According to Dr. Northrup, and since she didn’t cite her sources, I don’t know how valid this statistic may be, but she says that all sugar including sugar in white foods, candy and alcohol acts like an opiate in the body. She says it “quite literally” medicates both physical and mental pain. She also claims it’s eight times more addictive than heroin if you happen to be an individual who is susceptible to it.
I got to tell you, I have broken my bones and I get migraines, along with a pretty good assortment of aches and pains and it never occurred to me to run for the sugar bowl or even a candy bar to “quite literally” take away the pain.
I also don’t eat sugary foods to cheer myself up or relieve stress and tension. As a matter of fact, under those conditions I don’t eat at all. When I feel better I head for protein – not because I think it’s better for me, but it’s what I want. Steak or roasted turkey are far more appealing after a stressful period has been resolved.
I guess I’m not your average sugar addict. Who is?
Dr. Northrup gives suggestions on how to get sweetness in your life without sugar. There were too many unsubstantiated claims in the article to convince me, but judging by the response she got from readers her advice is working for them. That’s great and I sincerely mean that. I am not one to put down anything that helps people gain control of their life, weight, and improves their overall physical and mental health.
I’m sharing my own Sugar Addicts Weight Loss Diet because I am a self-diagnosed (as I suspect most are) “Sugar Addict.” I have tried to live my sugarless life in a sugary world and it didn’t work. After a period of self-inflicted sugarless eating I would cave. My rebound sugar indulgences were far more out-of-control than before I tried to expunge all sugar from my diet.
That’s when I said, “if you can’t beat it, join it, or in the words of Tim Gunn, make it work!” That’s what I did and it’s worked for me and lots of people like me and possibly like you too.
It’s a step-by-step approach.
1) Acknowledge: I am a sugar addict and I am not successful removing all added sugars (and certainly not foods, such as milk and fruit that contain naturally occurring sugars) from my diet.
- I am capable of managing my addiction. I can feed it within a healthy food plan.
- I will indulge in sugar without guilt.
2) Plan meals and snacks around a wide variety of foods I enjoyed that were naturally low in fat and calories.
- Lean proteins – both animal and plant sources
- lots of fruit
- lots of vegetables
- whole grains (Not just flour made from whole grains, but actual whole grains such as brown rice, barley and oats)
- Some fat (butter and olive oil)
- Skim milk (it took years to get back to drinking milk after Dr. Northrup shared the disgusting mental image of “slimy mucus in my gut”)
3) Keep daily calories (I used Weight Watchers Points which also restricts calories although a Points value take more into account than just calories) to 1250 – 1400 a day on most days. There will be exceptions and that’s okay!
4) Enjoy sugary foods in small servings.
- Eat slowly to get maximum pleasure
- Stop at a single serving (even if there is still most of the pie or brownies left in the pan – STOP!)
- Stay in control by thinking about my weight and health-related goals and say to myself, “stopping now will make me happy now (“because I was able to enjoy this”) and later (“because I won’t regret overindulging”).”
5) Move more
- Slip lots of 5-minute bursts of activity into my day.
- Discover active forms of entertainment such as dancing, bowling, hiking, horseback riding, agility training for your dog, skiing, skating, basketball, gardening, etc. You might even try jogging and discover that feeling of a “runner’s high.”
6) Feel the power of eating sugary foods in a manner that supports good health and healthy weight!
- Celebrate your ability to do “what they say couldn’t be done!” We all know that nothing feels better than doing what you were told you couldn’t do!
To sum up a weight loss plan for “sugar addicts” basically make it your goal to make your sugary treats just that – treats.
Most of your calories go for the foods that nourish your body and provide lasting energy. Many people with a “sugar addiction” already have tried, perhaps multiple times, to cut out all foods with added sugars and have failed miserably.
Now try this: Simply reduce the amount of sugar you consume within the context of good-tasting, nourishing food and fun physical activities and see how that works out for you!