"You have to eat grains."
"You have to eat wedding cake."
"Giving up sugar is unrealistic."
"You have to use cheat days to get lean."
"If you eliminate foods you're a restricter, and you'll gain all the weight back."
"Food addiction doesn't exist. It's an excuse for people who have no willpower."
Some of these statements are simply things I read that were written by nutritional experts. Some were pronounced right to my face. Some led to behavior that hurt me deeply, and all of these statements made me angry.
For the past four years, I've been writing my blog: Beauty Building. I've tried to be reasonable and open minded about eating and training for permanent fat loss.
Now I've had enough.
Every time I go back to the sugar and the grains, eating disaster strikes. I have heard from diet experts, most of whom are male and have never had a weight problem, that my problems with sugar and grains come from the very fact that I avoid them and try to restrict them. They claim that the solution is calorie balance, and that I really should cheat regularly to achieve low body fat. They have case studies galore to prove that they are right about this.
I don't care.
I have the conviction and wisdom of my own experience, and what I know for sure is that when sugar and grains are out, beauty, freedom, and peace of mind are in for me.
Do you want to know the truth about the before and after pictures you see above? The best body of my life, the body of my dreams, was achieved on the Atkins Diet.
Now Atkins is politically incorrect because of it allows, even encourages, the consumption of saturated fat. I do my best to eat pastured butter, eggs, meat, and cream in order to get the greatest benefit from these fats, and to avoid the damage that can come from consuming processed fats and the foods that contain them. Believe me, I'm not chowing down on bargain bologna. I am also aware of the fact that a living creature had to give its life every time I eat meat, so I do my best to consume no more than I need to be healthy and feel satisfied.
In addition, I consume serious amounts of organic vegetables, especially leafy green ones, and I add low sugar fruits in moderation. In the past, I have kept my nutritional cards close to my chest, but after my last two bread and sugar nightmares, I realize that I have to start telling it like it is if I honestly want to help other people create the figure of their dreams.
I am so grateful to the researchers who are studying food addiction right now. Dr. William Davis, Dr. Robert Lustig, and Ashley Gearhardt at Yale University are just a few of the doctors and researchers who are asking why some of us go completely nuts when we eat sugar, flour, and the treats that are made with them.
Perhaps the greatest barrier to understanding those of use who experience the pain and fear of food addiction is the fact that we are not in the majority of people who are overweight or obese. The research currently underway at Yale indicates that 15% of the population may be dealing with a drug-like response to sugary foods. In addition, Ms. Gerhardt discovered in her research that you don't have to be overweight to suffer from food addiction.
In my case, I achieved a normal BMI back in 2008, but when I eat sugar or flour, especially with fat mixed in for good measure, madness ensues. I am writing this blog for those of us who want both physical and emotional recovery from sugar addiction.
Your story may be very different. If you've part of the 85% of the population that can handle eating sugar and grains, you may think I'm a little bit nuts. (Hey, at least I can eat nuts!) But I have to stand up and tell the truth about how I made my transformation stick. In the past, I wanted to be liked, and I was so afraid of negative judgement and comments that I was willing to censor my beliefs. Now I realize that it is time to write this blog for the 15% of people who are like me, and hopefully for the people who love and care for them as well.