About a year ago, I posted an entry about Falling Off The Wagon. It’s hard to stick to a dedicated Paleo or Primal diet when you’re constantly surrounded by temptation. It’s ironic that that post was written in May, right about the time when Cadbury Creme Eggs are pulled off the shelves.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a weakness for Cadbury Creme Eggs (CCE’s). Perhaps it’s the fact that they’re only available for a short period of time. My Primal instincts tell me to gorge myself on them, since they are a limited food source. Damn you, Cadbury, and your clever marketing. Seasonal treats like candy canes or Girl Scout Cookies have the same allure for some, but for me, it’s always been the Easter candy.
Before I went Primal, I looked forward to the February – May time period so I could stockpile CCE’s like a squirrel does nuts. One year I even went to CostCo and just bought an entire box of them. I think it only lasted a couple of weeks. Man, did my hormones ever wig out on me back then. I shudder like a bowl of jelly just thinking about it.
Last year I managed to get through the year only having two CCE’s. I had to physically restrain myself when I was grocery shopping. This year I didn’t even bother. The first time I saw them, I denied myself. But later that same night, I had my husband drive to the store to buy one for me. He came back with a 4-pack. Damn you again, Cadbury! You know I’m going to eat all of them.
I don’t have this problem with any other food that I used to eat. I think it’s because they’re ALWAYS THERE. I know that if I have a desperate craving and want to cave, I can go to the closest store and find whatever it is I want. But with seasonal items, you never know. Some stores don’t carry CCE’s. Others only have the caramel ones or the off-brand versions. And the stupid stores pull them the day after Easter. I know this is on purpose. It’s so people like me can justify buying one whenever and wherever we see it – after all, it might be the last one we see for over a year. That makes it okay, right?
I know a lot of you are asking how I can even eat one CCE after being Primal for almost 2 years. I can’t eat one. I can eat FOUR. In a ROW. That’s about 120 grams of sugar in one sitting. Do I feel sick afterwards? You bet your sweet ass I do. But my instincts tell me to do it anyway, because it might be the last one I will ever have.
So I made a promise to myself when my husband walked in the door with that 4-pack of CCE’s that they would be the only ones I would have this year. I ate two the first night and two the second night. And then – here’s the secret answer – I. Just. Didn’t. Buy. Any. More.
The ensuing sugar cravings were seriously sick. I found myself wanting to eat way more fruit than usual, looked around for snacks, had energy crashes, joint pain and mood swings. I even broke out for the first time in ages. So what I did to combat that was go ultra-low carb and take lots of fish oil to combat the inflammation for a few days. I ate small amounts of 85% chocolate to trick myself when I just couldn’t take it. My body quickly realized it wasn’t getting any more sugar and shut the hell up.
Since I’m used to eating Primally, it really was just a return to my normal way of life. Those of you that have fallen off the wagon for longer periods of time will have a much more difficult time with it. Think of it as detoxing from drugs. You need to go into rehab. The longer you’ve been ‘using,’ the more damaged your body and psyche are. Your cravings will be stronger.
So here’s my advice for those of you that have strayed, or cheated way too much lately, and are looking to get back on the Primal Path:
1. Stop bringing the offending food(s) into your home. Just don’t buy it. If you have people living with you that refuse to refrain from eating garbage, then make them buy it themselves. Don’t enable them or create more temptation for yourself.
2. Detox yourself. Go super low carb for a few days, and then gradually reintroduce veggies and fruits. Take some extra fish oil and B vitamins for inflammation and energy.
3. Get some exercise. You are going to feel like crap, this will help.
4. Set a short-term, attainable goal that has nothing to do with food or exercise. Reward yourself with a non-food item when you’ve reached it. This will keep your mind off of things. The goal can be as simple as “I am going to clean out the garage by the end of the week.” Then buy a new shirt. Whatever works for you.
5. Turn off the TV for a while. It’s amazing how easy it is to justify junk food when you’re zoning out in front of the television. Do something productive with all that extra time you’ll have. Like work on your goal.
This works for me. Of course, I follow the 80/20 rule, as set out in the Primal Blueprint. So, I have cheats quite often but I limit myself. Detox isn’t nearly as extreme that way and the ensuing cravings don’t last long.
Do you have any tricks for getting back on board with the Primal or Paleo lifestyle? I’d love to hear what works – and doesn’t work – for you.