Friday, April 10, 2009

Cheating and Carb Cravings

I had a full-sugar (aka non-Diet) energy drink on Tuesday morning, and by lunch my blood sugar had crashed. I was starving. It was much easier to see the effect that carbs have on me once I had them mostly removed from my diet. 52g of sugar is now more than I eat all day, so having it in one big shot in the morning was noticeable.

But after lunch (two burger patties, cheese, pickles, grilled onions), those cravings were gone. I haven't had another one since.

I think that I have been chugging energy drinks two years now. I thought of them as an afternoon pick-me-up, something to consume when I felt really drowsy in the afternoon. Now, tho, I look back and see it also as carb cravings. I needed carbs two hours after lunch, and caffeine was an excuse to get those carbs. I felt better after drinking them; heck, while drinking them. They worked. I thought it was the caffeine but now I see that it was the carbs.

But on Tuesday... it didn't taste good. I didn't really want to drink it; it felt more like habit than craving.

It was hard for me to get off carbs when I was cheating. Pasta here, an energy drink there, maybe a sandwhich for lunch. I threw away the bun with today's burger lunch and it wasn't even an issue. I didn't want it, I didn't feel like having it.

Cheating produces cheating. I've seen a good number of people report that they started into paleo foodways by doing Atkins, and the Atkins induction is a good way to do it: it's one of those harsh 2-week diets where you hate life the whole time because you're body is adapting. I think it's the best way to get over that hump.

I had a hard time stopping my cheating because every time I cheated produced incentive to cheat again. Then a couple days would pass, I'd read a new blog post, and think, "omg, this stuff is evil. I shouldn't be consuming fructose. I don't want liver disease!" And then I'd be good for a couple days -- til I had pasta with lunch, and then I wanted my energy drink again...

I'm not completely over the hump. I guess it's like any addiction; you don't really get cured. You just put the symptoms into remission, the cravings into slumber, and go one day at a time.

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