My Westerdahl, also known as the LCHF engineer (link in Swedish), has been fighting her sugar addiction since childhood. LCHF is an essential ingredient in the recipe for her success, but My says it’s not enough.
Here’s how she succeeded and lost 208 lbs (94 kilos).
I started eating LCHF in the winter of 2010.
From 2010 to 2014 I lost 176 lbs (80 kg). But it was a bumpy road, I frequently got caught in the sugar trap. At the end of 2014 I hit rock bottom and gained 44 lbs (20 kg) back. Once again, I’d lost control over the sugar, I couldn’t resist it.
I felt completely worthless. How can you be so small and weak-willed when it comes to something as absurd as sugar? Especially when you’ve got LCHF – so simple, delicious and filling.
In May 2015, I finally got it: I’m addicted to sugar, insanely addicted to sugar. LCHF is an essential tool for someone with an addiction – but it is not a complete solution. We need help and mental tools to save us from eating ourselves to death.
The addiction is life threatening – we can’t find our way back to health on our own.
In May 2015, I finally received help from addiction specialist Kicki Käller and her sister Ingela at Arteget AB (link in Swedish). They helped to detoxify me, hopefully for the last time, and gave me tools to lead a healthy life, and since then I’ve been free from sugar.
Last Sunday, I’d been sugar free for a whole year without falling off the wagon. It’s the first time since I started eating LCHF in 2010 that I’ve managed to stay out of the sugar trap for such a long time. The result? From 242 lbs (110 kg) to 166 lbs (75.4 kg), minus 76 lbs (34.6 kg) in just a year, despite thyroid issues and despite having been a yo-yo dieter since the age of 9.
Today, I’ve lost 208 lbs (94.6 kg) without surgery. I owe it all to LCHF, weight training and addiction treatment. My best advice for staying sugar free are:
- I remove all my triggers: alcohol, sweeteners, dairy (except for butter) and substitute products. All these things are allowed on LCHF but they’re bad from the aspect of addiction, they increase the risk of falling into the sugar trap.
- I don’t eat foods resembling the ones I couldn’t stop eating before. Are you a bread junkie? Don’t eat LCHF bread, even if it’s healthy. Do you prefer candy? Don’t eat LCHF candy – it triggers your destructive eating behavior and increases the risk of a relapse.
- I do an intermittent fat fast 16:8 with bulletproof coffee for breakfast: butter, coffee and MCT oil. By doing this, I don’t have to face my drug more than twice a day – lunch and dinner – plus it curbs my sweet tooth. Because that’s how it is. Sugar addicts like me have to relate to our drug, whereas other addicts – like alcoholics – can let go of it completely. I choose to minimize the management of my drug to make sure I’m abstinent.
- I seek others who are addicted. You can find OA and FAA groups through Google. Your journey will be so much easier when you’re part of a group and find others who have the same problem.
- Plan. I know what I’m going to eat today and tomorrow. Food is my medicine and medicines are not to be neglected. It’s OK to weigh and measure food if you’re unsure of the quantity, but that’s sacrilege in the church of LCHF. Most importantly, don’t worry about eating too much/too little/too seldom/too often. Food is fuel, not a topic to spend hours ruminating on.
- I eat a maximum of 20 g carbohydrates a day and lots of butter with every meal. It makes my body calm and satisfied and I never need to worry about gaining weight. I lift weights 3-5 days a week. I do my workouts at the end of my fasting windows and refuel with extra protein and fat.
- It is possible to do a strict, dairy-free and sweetener-free LCHF. Many people find this food boring. I’m allergic to eggs, fish, poultry, nuts, soy and seafood – and I manage to eat a strict, dairy free and sweetener free LCHF. Honestly, it’s better than a standard LCHF for me as it doesn’t trigger my addiction. Food should only be fuel for us addicts, not a treat or a consolation. It’s about habits and about learning to eat new things. Today, I fully enjoy my dairy-free food and I don’t miss heavy whipping cream or Diet Coke at all.
- I measure other things, not just weight. I take other parameters into account – so I can celebrate as much as possible. My weight is important, but how many days I’ve been sugar free is more important. Just for today, I’m going to be sugar free, and today has finally become a whole year of sugar-free days. I only think short term. One day at a time, I’ve stopped promising myself everlasting success – but every day when I wake up I promise myself to be sugar free – tomorrow, however, I can have sugar. FYI – tomorrow never comes.
You can have a fantastic life without sugar and carbohydrates.
Today, when everything revolves around sugar – birthdays, Christmases, holidays – it’s difficult living with a sugar addiction. Sugar addiction is a relapsing condition – sometimes it’s super easy and sometimes you have to wrestle with the sugar troll for weeks.
The basic rule for recovery is to actually eat LCHF. Everything that turns into sugar in your body must be avoided. Accept help from those who have come before you, find support and stop hiding, stop feeling ashamed, stop lying. You can have a fantastic life without sugar and carbohydrates. On less than 20 g of carbs a day and on 3–4.5 lbs (1.5–2 kg) butter a week I have:
- Lost 208 lbs (94.6 kg), 76 lbs (34.6 kg) only this past year
- Gotten my engineering degree without a single re-exam
- Received a scholarship
- Done heavy weight lifting 3–5 days a week
- Achieved amazing health markers when it comes to blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar
Well. That talk about getting sick, slow-witted and being unable to work out is not quite true. Now I’ve only got a measly 22 lbs (10 kg) left until I reach my goal weight. But even more importantly: now I’ve got the rest of my fantastic new sugar free life to live!
Congratulations on your success, My! Your journey has been amazing to follow. Fighting a powerful addiction is hard work. Well done!