Here’s an update on my progress to remove my cravings for crappy carbs and sugar. I’m now starting my fourth week in this 12 week process.

As I talked about last time, my plan was to eat nothing but potatoes for two weeks, then slowly add in more flavors each week. The goal of this plan was not to lose weight, nor was it to be healthy. It was to reboot my brain and taste buds and kick them out of their need for crappy foods.

A while back I had to modify the plan, in some aspects making it less stringent, and in other aspects making it more stringent. I lay out my specific new plan below.

How did eating potatoes for two weeks go? The first few days were fine. It was actually pretty easy to just eat nothing but potatoes, and nothing will take you out of the American diet like doing something that drastic.

By the sixth day, I could feel some ill effects. It screwed up my sleeping schedule. I started getting sleepy at odd hours, yet couldn’t go asleep when I went to bed, and for some weird reason I would wake up an hour early every morning. Weird as hell. By the seventh day, I started getting mild headaches, and I never get headaches.

These things were tolerable, but the hardest part was how my body reacted to the hunger. Normally when you’re hungry, you’re just hungry, then you eat, and then you’re fine. When you’re on the two week potato diet, when you’re hungry, it actually hurts. Your stomach burns. It’s really weird. Then when you eat your potato, it satisfies the hunger, but the damn thing sits in your stomach like a rock, and it’s somewhat uncomfortable.

At the outset of this process, I promised myself that if the potato diet was too painful, I would force myself to stick it out for a minimum of nine days (instead of the recommended 14), since I know from my research that the body needs at least nine days for a full cleansing of toxins. I wanted to go to the 14 day mark, but at day nine I just couldn’t stand it anymore and clicked over into the next phase of the eating plan.

The goal was to reboot my diet, and it definitely worked. On day nine I didn’t crave doughnuts or pizza; I craved real food, like salad and chicken. Not bad.

Instead of adding flavors once a week over the next 10.5 weeks, I instead revamped the eating plan to accomplish the same thing with less complication and confusion. Here’s what I ended up doing.

Here’s a list of foods that are completely off limits for me during the next 10.5 week phase of the plan:

  • No meat, no dairy. My research shows that a vegan diet is not healthy for a human being long-term, but for a 12 week reset like this, avoiding all animal products seems to be a really good idea. Once the 12 weeks are over I will resume eating things like egg whites, chicken and fish.
  • No grains. That obviously includes no refined carbs of any kind (bread, pasta, etc) as well as no complex grain carbs like rolled oats.
  • No rice of any kind. Not only is it too starchy, but it’s too easy to eat too much.
  • No sugar.
  • No oil. Way too caloric. (100 calories for a teaspoon? Screw that.) This is lifted right from Penn Jillette’s diet. When I first heard “no oil” I thought it was stupid, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Oil is highly caloric and makes food taste too good.
  • No salt. Again, I’m training my body to avoid sharp flavors which means no salt. Salt that naturally occurs in unprocessed foods like vegetables is okay.
  • No fruit. That also means no berries, which is a change from my original plan. Too sweet. I’m trying to retrain my body to not desire sweet flavors.
  • No natural or artificial sweeteners that taste like sugar. Again, too sweet. And not good for you.
  • No corn and no carrots. Too sweet.
  • No liquids other than water or protein shakes. (Those are the only two things I drink anyway.)
  • No nuts. Nuts are healthy but way too caloric. It’s way too easy to go over your calories for the day when eating nuts, even “good” nuts like almonds. I’m trying to train myself to not want to eat piles of nuts, which if I’m not careful I can easily do. (I like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and LOVE cashews!) One exception to this I allow: my little “cheat” if I’m really hungry is that I can have a teaspoon or two of 100% peanut butter or almond butter. That’s the peanut butter where the only ingredient is organic peanuts. So far that’s worked well.

Well damn, if I can’t eat all that stuff, what the hell can I eat? This:

  • All vegetables in unlimited quantities (other than those listed above).
  • Avocado in moderation, usually one or two a day. That’s where I get most of my fat (outside of peanut/almond butter).
  • Beans in moderation. Pinto beans are my favorite but black beans are better for you, so I eat both. I buy them organic and raw and cook them with lots of yummy spices.
  • Potatoes are technically allowed, but only infrequently and in moderation. Since my nine day potato diet I’m not exactly excited to eat those, especially considering I can’t put any butter or salt on them. I’ve only had one potato since my nine day potato diet.
  • Protein shakes made from plant based protein powder, water, and possibly low sodium almond milk. I can use this for protein if beans aren’t available or too caloric based on what I’ve already eaten that day. The problem is most plant protein powder is flavored. My favorite is flavored with just a hint of Stevia, which breaks my no sweeteners rule. To work around this as best I can, when I feel like I need the protein, I’ll make a “shot” of protein drink, with a scoop of powder in a bit of water or almond milk, shake it up, gulp the entire thing down as fast as I can with just a few swallows, and immediately wash the flavor out of my mouth with water. So far this has worked okay.
  • Any spices I want, as much as I want, as long as there’s no salt, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and no oil. So I can have natural stuff like pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, etc. I can also have store-bought spices like Ms. Dash no-salt seasonings and various other no-salt options. I have to be very careful to read the ingredients on these though, since many no-salt seasonings often contain sugar and/or artificial crap.
  • Other no salt, no sugar seasoning or garnishment options such as lemon juice, nutritional yeast, no-salt mustard, no or low sodium hot sauce, homemade vegetable broth, and things like that. This is lifted from Scott Adams’ diet. He’s an old man with six pack abs. His entire thing is to flavor bland-but-healthy foods as best you can without using sugar.

A typical meal for me is a giant bowl full of lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado, sometimes adding a cup of beans. I also eat assloads of broccoli and cauliflower, sometimes with nothing on it, sometimes with a bunch of seasonings. It’s not bad, and much better than when I was covering my broccoli with cheese like I was under the ketogenic diets I was following. (Which did work in that I lost body fat, but they didn’t eliminate my cravings at all.)

I love avocado, beans, onions, garlic, and tomatoes, so just about every day I’m eating something from that list. Again, I have to be very careful with the avocado (300 calories!) and beans (260 calories per cup!) but so far that hasn’t been a problem. I use the Lose It! app on my phone to track calories when I need to, but most days I don’t since I tend to eat variations of the same stuff every day. The good news is that when your diet is mostly vegetables, you can eat a hell of a lot of food.

Intermittent fasting is still a part of the program, and the only thing about dieting I actually enjoy. I only eat within a six hour window every day, usually between noon and 6pm. My typical day is a lunch around noon, dinner around 5pm-6pm, and maybe a small snack at around 3pm.

I do get a little hungry at night sometimes. It’s irritating, but not horrible. A teaspoon of 100% pure peanut/almond butter helps. Anyone who says “With my diet, you can lose all the weight you want and NEVER be hungry!” is either lying or has great ectomorphic / fast metabolism genetics. Normal human beings who are cutting calories to lose more than 20 pounds are going to be at least a little hungry occasionally. It’s unavoidable.

Lastly, there are absolutely no cheat days or cheat meals allowed until the 12 weeks are over. I’m starting to think that allowing cheat meals was the number one reason my cravings never went away, thus the cause of most of my weight loss problems over the last few years.

So far, this cold turkey thing appears to be working. The first two weeks were hard, but now in my fourth week I haven’t had any strong desire to cheat. I’ve gone three weeks without eating one bite of any crappy carb or sugary food, which is something I have never accomplished in 44 years of life. Pretty decent accomplishment, but I’ve got eight weeks to go. We’ll see. I have not cheated on any of my above rules except for twice where I somewhat violated the no oil and no salt rule because of eating vegetables at a restaurant while with my girlfriend, but that’s it.

Moreover, keeping away from the bad food hasn’t been very hard. I get hungry sometimes, but I don’t quite crave Taco Bell or macaroni and cheese like I used to. Again though, I’ve got eight more weeks of this, so the jury isn’t out yet. In the next post on this, I’ll describe the different types of food cravings I think people experience; it’s a key factor in all of this.

My 12 weeks officially ends November 28th, however November 24th is Thanksgiving here in the US, so I think I’ll just cut the 12 weeks short by four days and celebrate by indulging in a Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think four days at that point will make any major difference. Hopefully by then I won’t even want shitty food. Again, we’ll see.

More on this soon.

11 thoughts on “Removing My Cravings for Carbs and Sugar – Part 3

  1. Congratulations, Caleb !

    This reset seems way harder and complicated than what I did when I began eating paleo (I printed a list of foods orderer by Glycemic Index, descending – stuff like french fries at the top, like celery at the bottom – from Michel Montignac’s book, and started removing stuff from the top progressively, until I ate only stuff with GI 50 or less).

    However if this hardcore reset is useful to remove carbs craving, then more power to you! Journey onwards !

    Regards,

  2. Do you still workout and have there been any diet related problems in that area ?
    And do you have any advice on how to get all those various foods (and prepare them) without wasting too much time ? There are foods on that list I can’t even find (hell, here in France I still haven’t found any place that sells cottage cheese).
    The no salt rule is pretty good; most of the food the typical person buys is already full of it anyway, so adding salt to meals is overkill. I eat a lot (I’m a *mild* ectomorph who slowly managed to get to 190lbs at 13% fat), so when I’m eating 800g of *anything* that has “only 0.5g of salt per 100g”, this is already too much and obviously any seasoning I add will be salt free.

  3. 1. Soak them in filtered water with a teaspoon of baking soda for 24 hours. (The baking soda reduces farting.)

    2. Rinse, dump into a pot with some filtered water, add whatever spices you want (I add cumin, oregano, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and a few others I’m forgetting) and add in vegetables (I put lots of onions and garlic, other people like carrots and celery).

    3. Cook that bitch on low heat for for about 2-3 hours.

    4. Dump out the water but don’t rinse. Store the beans for up to a week.

    Tastes awesome.

    You can cook them faster with a pressure cooker. I haven’t gotten one of those yet but I plan to.

  4. Do you still workout and have there been any diet related problems in that area ?

    I’ve paused lifting weights. I’m great at gaining muscle (highly endomorphic, on TRT) so if I lose any muscle temporarily I don’t care; I gain it all back later with no problem.

    And do you have any advice on how to get all those various foods (and prepare them) without wasting too much time ?

    Bulk prepare. There are lots of YouTube videos about this.

    But yeah, the problem with a super-healthy vegetable rich diet is that you’re going to spend shitloads of time shopping, preparing and cleaning up after the food. I’ve debated health freaks about that over at the BD blog about this already. Just do your best to chop fast, clean fast, and bulk prep.

    There are foods on that list I can’t even find (hell, here in France I still haven’t found any place that sells cottage cheese).
    The no salt rule is pretty good; most of the food the typical person buys is already full of it anyway, so adding salt to meals is overkill. I eat a lot (I’m a *mild* ectomorph who slowly managed to get to 190lbs at 13% fat), so when I’m eating 800g of *anything* that has “only 0.5g of salt per 100g”, this is already too much and obviously any seasoning I add will be salt free.

    Amazon.

  5. I’ve looked at it already. It won’t help my particular problem. It allows things like sweeteners, honey, fruit, rice, etc.

  6. @EPI After 15 years to trial and error with everything known under the sun this is pretty close to what I think makes ME feel the best. Ive recently taken rice down to once a week and replaced it with potatoes and find it much better.

    @BD Just because its on the list here doesnt mean that you have to take it in but overall I think its a really good list of things that are ok and not ok for consumption. I think what you are eating is safe in the short term minus one thing that very important. Salt is critical to the body. Im not saying massive amounts. Im not saying tons of chips… just some salt. The potassium to sodium ratio is super important. I know this because I once tried the raw vegan diet with disastrous results. My adrenal system crashed. My doctor told me my Sod to Pots ratio was so far off it messed my body up bad. I started drinking a TBL of sea salt first thing in the morning when I woke up and it was like hitting the light switch in my body. I understand you are working with craving here but this is one that I think someone with the mind and convictions you have would be better suited taking in an exact measured amount of sea salt a day than just cutting it out entirely. Do you think the body will not adjust to this and create a new baseline for cravings anyways?

    I also think a descent amount of coconut oil and grass fed better, ie fats, is important for body function but less so than salt. Salt is very very important.

    Sodium/Potassium (Na/K) Ratio:
    -Referred to as the life-death ratio because it is so critical
    -Related to the sodium pump mechanism, and the electrical potential of cells which is regulated by sodium and potassium levels
    -Sodium is normally extracellular, while potassium is normally intracellular. If the ratio of these minerals is unbalanced, it indicates important physiological malfunctions within the cells.
    -The sodium/potassium ratio is intimately related to kidney, liver and **adrenal gland function**, and an imbalanced sodium/potassium ratio is associated with heart, kidney, liver, and immune deficiency diseases.
    -The sodium/potassium ratio is intimately linked to adrenal gland function, and the balance between aldosterone (mineralocorticoid) and cortisone (glucocorticoid) secretion.

    Source: http://www.arltma.com/Articles/RatiosDoc.htm

  7. Caleb,
    As a pharmaceutical scientist who lost 130+ pounds in 6 months (though that is not your immediate goal), I am more than qualified to give you some pointers and pull out some SP you have in your plan.

    1) You can not cleanse your body of toxins. I have no idea where this stupid shit came into our culture, but it is simply dead wrong.
    You excreet most toxins from your kidneys via. the urine within 2-24h after ingestion. Either that, or it goes from your liver to your intestines, where it gets excreted through bile.
    You have certain toxins (like THC) that get stored in your fat tissue. These toxins will NOT escape from your body through a cleanse (or sweating), but will slowly be released to your blood stream over time (increased by fat burning/weight loss). Other than that, you have certain toxins that re-circulate in the body: In the kidneys, they are typically substances that binds to e.g. glucoronic acid, where some substances have a chance to cut the bond due to pH changes. In the liver (bile–>intestines), the same occurs: pH rises, covalent bond gets cut, drug gets reabsorbed.
    Now I’m sure you didn’t come here for a toxicology lesson, but let me frame that in your mind:
    You CAN NOT clear your body of toxins. This idea is sold by people (NOT real health professionals) to make you think that you are doing something good (which you are not). I’m not saying that you should fill yourself with loads of pre-processed foods – letting go of all that crap is a good idea. Just don’t use that phrasing – it is SP and pseudo-science.

    Now, enough of my rant.
    As you probably figured, losing 130 lbs in 6 months is not healthy. It is not easy either. But since I know that your end-goal is to lose at least some weight, let me tell you what worked for me, bearing in mind that we both have a crappy metabolism.

    For starters, I had to turn my body away from all that crap, same as you. How I did it:
    I went on a strict low-carb high-protein shake diet, designed to make you stop craving any sweets and the like (Nutrilett, 800 kcal a day). I had nothing but this for three weeks.

    After three weeks, my food plan looked something like this:
    I ate fruit for breakfast (1 apple/similar)
    For lunch I had salad (often carrot salad) with very lean meat (i.e. fat-free ham or chicken) as well as a little low-calorie dressing (40 kcal/100g or so)
    For dinner, I had about 200g of lean meat (variation between days) and steamed vegetables (Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or simply the frozen mix)

    I maintained a strict rule, that eating after seven pm (19:00) was a no-no, so if I didn’t make it home until then, too fucking bad. And of course, I supplemented with micronutritients (a regular multivitamin).

    I exercised 1-1½ hour every day, burning 1200-1500 calories from my workout (crosstrainer spares your knees and ancles).

    Was I beat those 6 months? Absofuckinglutely. Could I work as a normal human being? Well, I made it through some pretty intense organic chemistry/biochemistry/microbiology courses with great grades and maintained a social life, so yes.
    How did I maintain motivation? By seeing 5 pounds of pure fat flying off my fat ass every week. For months in a row.
    (You’re probably wondering how my body looks after this. I needed (and got) skin surgery to get rid of all those fucking flaps. It was well worth it.)

    Now bear in mind, this was about four years ago, and I was only 22 at the time, so I’m sure I had more energy than most. But still, I don’t want to hear any excuses from anyone, because you can beat your body up a lot more than you think. And having read pretty much all your material, I know you have the balls to pull through with pretty much everything. So go ahead and do it. It has been your weak SLA that you actually wanted to improve for years on end – and there are no excuses.

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