I said that I broke the re-addiction, yesterday, but that’s not quite true.
Indeed, I toughed out the increased hunger/craving as I had reported, but wasn’t 100% over it. I found a bag of potato chips left over from Superbowl Sunday, a week ago, and ate them with my dinner. I also had 3 pieces of See’s candy, offered to me by my husband. Without the re-addiction, I would have barely been tempted by either, and would not have had any. But, I did. Which means that I am still re-addicted, perhaps not fully. As a result of my indiscretions, instead of the 1000-1500 calories/day I had been eating, yesterday was a 1700 calorie day. The day before was only 1070 calories. But, 1700 calories is still low enough for me to lose weight, even if I ate that much daily, so what’s the big deal.
The big deal is that I woke hungry! The big deal is that I ate potato chips and candy when I told myself I wouldn’t– classic addiction and reminds me of when I quit smoking almost 40 years ago, crushing my cigarettes but then taking the first off-ramp off the freeway to buy a new pack. I’ve done the same with sweets and snacks, in the past. So, waking hungry, I would have eaten a larger breakfast and perpetuated the problem, but I didn’t. Instead, I had my usual mixed fruit, cottage cheese, and whey protein, in my usual quantities. I was still hungry when done, while normally this keeps me satiated until the evening mealtime. I am still hungry now!
So, clearly I am STILL re-addicted and didn’t quite break it. But, I will. Rather than succumbing to this craving, I know what doing so will do, so I refrain. I can tough it out because I know I will be over it shortly. My re-addiction resulted from NOT the once/week indulgence (if one is so inclined), but I thought I could nibble on the carbs WHILE I was re-addicted. Duh! That’s like having a cigarette while trying to quit smoking– it erodes the will and is akin to trying to put out a fire with a bucket of gasoline. It was a mistake and now I am paying the fiddler by being hungry all day. Well, I can distract myself and get through it, and I will. I am also a bit humbled by how easily it was to get re-addicted, how sneaky it was coming on, the intensity of the hunger/craving.
BTW, I use these two words almost interchangeably, because there is no way to separate out the two. Food addiction = craving = hunger. Once you break the addiction, and your true hunger is tamed and returned to “normal”, then you can think back and see that MOST of your hunger was craving. The reason for this is that when you eat refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes, your brain says to the increased serotonin and dopamine, “Ah, this feels good– let’s do it again! MORE!”, your pancreas produces extra insulin to absorb the sugars, and a few hours later, your blood sugar plummets. The low blood sugar makes you feel hungry, but this is no “ordinary” low blood sugar, but a rapidly dropping one. This results in your hunger increasing to “famished” within minutes of onset, and “starving”, “ready to kill for food” soon thereafter. And, unless you have a steel willpower, most people will succumb to this intense hunger, eating the very foods that caused it, AND overeating them too, making the cycle repeat with even greater intensity the next day, and so on. And, this sort of conditioning results in your body anticipating another carb-rich meal the moment you begin eating, and it produces more insulin in a Pavlovian sort of response. This makes the person actually hungrier after they begin eating! This causes the person to eat faster because they feel starved, and the rapid eating causes over-eating, because of the lag between the filling of the stomach and the feeling of satiety, and makes the cycle repeat to the point to where the pancreas fails and diabetes sets in– not good.
Contrast this with low-carb eating. Your body chemistry changes to better utilize fats, but converting them to ketones which are then converted to glucose for the cells. If you are overweight, you have an abundance of fat– fuel– food– energy. Your blood sugar does not spike as it does with refined carbohydrates, so the rate at which it falls is GREATLY reduced. Yes, you still get hungry, but it is a very mild hunger, without the craving that rides on top. As the blood sugar continues to fall, stored fat is metabolized which– to the body– is almost the same as eating a meal. Well, almost, but not quite. Energy is available, but not with all the vitamins and minerals that come from a sensible diet. So, you still get hungry but even if not eating for hours after its onset, your hunger will be only slightly increased. I often begin feeling hungry at 4 or 5 PM, and don’t eat until 7 or 8, but am only slightly hungrier at that point, making eating a sensible amount of food the norm, not the exception.
So, stay tuned. I WILL break this addiction completely before it takes over me again. And, I learned a good lesson. One can get away with the sugary snacks ONCE in a week, perhaps, but no more. Even once revives the craving a bit, but twice will do you in or make it MUCH tougher to get back on track. So, if ya gotta eat sugar/flour and other refined carbs, do it less frequently than once/week or you will be constantly fighting feeling hungry and the craving for food.