Since last Tuesday, I’ve been back on the keto diet now that my birthday cake from last weekend is behind me (on my butt, literally, as I’ve gained 18lbs in weight since before Christmas 😭). To date, getting my body into ketosis is the only way I have found to manage my sugar and carb cravings.
Sugar withdrawal is horrible. My brain, deprived of its fix, has tried to trick me into eating sugar by subconsciously swapping the breakfast bowls so that I could eat my husband’s sugary one – luckily I caught this at the last minute. On Friday at work, while distractedly chatting about dayjob related things, I absentmindedly walked away from the staffroom table with a box of biscuits ready to hog them all myself – and consciously had to return them (uneaten) to the table. My cravings have ramped up so that I’ve almost cracked and given in a few times and it’s getting harder to stay strong. Since Thursday, I’ve had the worst fatigue and leg cramps from electrolyte imbalance; drinking salt tea has helped. I’ve also had horrible brain fog; I haven’t been able to concentrate enough to write, or even read. Other symptoms I’ve had are nausea, shakes and cold sweats, not to mention mood swings that put PMS to shame.
Weight gain in isolation is not the impetus for me to control my sugar addiction; I am not superficial enough to care about an expanding waistline alone, frankly. However, getting fatter is a visual reminder that I am now, at this point in my life, insulin resistant. In a way, my weight gain has done me a favour by highlighting that I have a problem.
This weekend I’ve been working on eating regular healthy snacks that are still low in carbohydrates: Greek yogurt with a small amount of berries, walnuts and Brazil nuts when I’m peckish. Once I’m past the keto flu, I’m planning to incorporate intermittent fasting just to give my digestive system a detox. But it’s early days yet. One step at a time. For now, I need to get my body out of the metabolic mess that my sugar addiction has caused.
The difficulty with sugar addiction is the social pressure; in many situations, if you refrain from sharing in sugary junk food, you’re treated as a health-food nut and therefore a social pariah. Can you imagine telling someone who has recently quit smoking that they absolutely need to have a drag – just one – it won’t hurt? No, of course not! But we don’t hesitate to shake the biscuit tin under a sugar addict’s nose and tell them to, go on, have just one – only one won’t kill.
I have come to accept that I am going to struggle all my life with fluctuating weight gain and loss as a result of struggling to control my sugar addiction. It’s not an excuse for bad eating habits; in our modern society, sugar is in everything. It’s in condiments. It’s added into jars of sauces. It’s hard to abstain completely without eating only whole foods everyday indefinitely. Unfortunately that simply isn’t practical for me in reality. All I can do is try to manage my addiction. As much as I love keto, it’s not realistic for me to stay on it long term as it’s so restrictive. I might try to stay on a modified paleo diet in the long term, but it may take a while to find the right balance. Wish me luck. 🤞