Over the last few weeks, it’s come to my attention that I’m addicted to sweet things. It surprised me, especially since I’m not addicted to sugar or carbs. Just the sweetness.
I partially discovered this disruption in my brain’s dopamine system because I read The Hacking of the American Mind by Dr. Robert Lustig. I identified symptoms of addiction and watched myself over the following weeks.
Even while listening to the book, I would take a second to consider not eating my favorite sweets, and I would immediately reject the idea.
But even before this, I noticed potential trouble. Since going keto 1.5 years ago, I spent a lot of time toying around with keto substitutes, such as bread, cake, cookies, and more. And I got really quite good at it.
About 3 months ago, I gave up keto subs and keto treats that I made. I moved toward eating whole foods.
As time wore on, I noticed a reliance on chocolate, keto ice cream, and popcorn grow. It eventually became a daily occurrence. If I decided I was going to quit, I’d eventually (and quickly) convince myself that it was okay to indulge.
I talked to my husband about quitting for weeks. And I came to this point where I needed to get serious because those sweets cravings were again sabotaging my system to get healthy, and not just in the body. The sweets addiction was messing with my brain chemistry. I want to be content with my food choices, not biologically bound to desiring them.
My Trouble Foods
- Rebel Creamery Ice Cream
- Montezuma 100% Dark Chocolate
- Lily’s Chocolate
- Truvia-sweetened coffee
I was eating one or two of these every day (the popcorn much less so but still too much). If I was full, I’d still eat it. And it often made me want to keep eating. It was also triggering insulin via the cephalic phase, which doubled my motivation to stop. And it was disrupting my ability to fast; cravings are the enemy of fasting.
So I decided to go cold turkey to break the addiction cycle. I’m giving myself 30 days of nothing processed and nothing sweet. And no popcorn.
The hard part about this is that it might pause my weight loss for a while.
3 Things I Want Right Now
- Lose weight
- Maintain fasting regimens
- Break my addiction to sweets/processed foods
I know I can’t have all three without driving myself insane and having the whole attempt explode in my face. Instead, I’m tackling the addiction first, and it’ll help me accomplish the other 2 (remember, systems-thinking is better than goal-thinking).
I’m allowing myself to have a more flexible eating time than usual and more food than I need at the time. For example, I usually don’t eat before 12pm at the earliest and after 8pm at the latest, but last night I was craving sweets, so I made some bacon at 9pm event though I wasn’t hungry. I probably won’t get too crazy on opening up my eating window, especially since I’m pretty sure it disrupted my sleep a bit (or it was the Mindhunter episode I watched before bed…), but I know I can if I need to.
I don’t think it’ll take a full month to break the addiction cycle, but 30 days gives me a lot of experience. And I’ll probably not go back to these foods except super special occasions. But maybe I won’t go back if I’m not craving them anymore anyway.
We’ll see. I’ll keep you updated.
I’m on day 2, and it’s going swell.
1 day down, 29 to go.
*Note: None of this is medical advice.