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Sugar Tantrums

By Marcus | In Challenges, Nutrition, Psychology | on April 4, 2011


For those of you starting the Whole30 challenge today, congratulations! You are on the path to making a beneficial change to your relationship with food. Some of you may have been hunting around for ways to shove Paleo foods into the molds of your now off-limits old choices. Finding ways to make Paleo muffins or “Fudge Babies” from dates are going to do yourself a disservice. Why? Melissa and Dallas from Whole9Life, creators of the Whole30, break it down in “Give your sugar tantrums a time-out”:

We’ve received questions about Fudge Babies, Paleo Pancakes and other typically sub-optimal food choices which have been re-tooled with Whole3o-approved ingredients. But bless your heart… you are missing the bus entirely.

For those of you new to the Whole30, please don’t skip over the foundations of the program and proceed straight to the “approved” food list.  One of the most important and life-changing goals of the Whole30 is to change your tastes, change your habits, and break your emotional and habitual connections with craving sugar and giving your body sugar. Trying to satisfy your old sweet tooth habit with shiny new “Paleo” treats isn’t going to do you any good whatsoever in the long term. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between Breyer’s Mint Chip and Paleo banana ice cream.  All your brain knows is that it threw a sugar tantrum, and you gave it sugar.  So what do you think is going to happen an hour from now, a day from now, a week from now, a year from now?  More cravings and uglier tantrums, as frustratingly impossible to ignore as a two year old at Disney, because you keep giving it what it wants.

And that is not what we want for you.

We want you to break that connection once and for all.  We want you to learn that you don’t need sugar as a pick-me-up, an emotional comfort, a reward for good behavior.  And to learn that, you need to break that pattern of crave sugar, get sugar.  So, Susan, while your frozen banana treats are Whole30 ingredient approved, the dessert itself is OUT.  Skip the Paleo sweet substitutes and focus on breaking that connection your brain has to sugar.  Craving sweets?  Eat a small amount of fat instead.  Fat is satiating – it tells your brain that it’s full and happy.  A few almonds or a quarter of an avocado goes a long way in satisfying hunger cravings without giving your brain the sugar it’s telling you it needs.  Tough it out, because changing this pattern and breaking this pattern will prove to be one of the healthiest, most rewarding, most freeing experience of your life.

Aside from gaining control over your cravings, avoiding the sugar temptations will restore your sense of taste. The funny thing about inundating your taste buds with sugar is that they become somewhat desensitized to more subtle flavors. You may notice the intense sweetness with balsamic vinegar or a fresh piece of fruit. You’ll also wonder what the hell would possess anyone to ruin a bowl of berries by adding table sugar. (If you’ve never seen it done before, it’s sadly quite common.)

This first week may be tough. As Robb Wolf has mentioned in his podcast, grains, legumes and dairy all have a way of activating the opiate receptors in the brain. That exact mechanism is what makes it so tough for many to give them up. (Or why people will bargain, plead and argue that they can’t give them up.) It’s tantamount to an addiction and that is why we wanted you partnered up, so you have a support structure if you’re feeling weak. No one said it would be easy, but you can make it through the next 30 days!

WOD 04.04.11

Part One – Find your 1-RM Clean in 15 minutes or less
(power or full – get as much as you can from ground to racked, standing position);
and then,

Part Two – Complete the following for max reps:

  • Two minutes of Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lbs.)
  • 60 seconds of Rest
  • Two minutes of Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
  • 60 seconds of Rest
  • Two minutes of Box Jumps (24″/20″)
  • 60 seconds of Rest
  • Two minutes of Rowing (for calories)

(courtesy of CrossFit Invictus)

24 Comments to "Sugar Tantrums"

  • Nik Werre says:

    April 4, 2011 at 6:43 AM -

    Day 1 baby!

    Hey Marcus, how do I send you my picture and $ for the challenge? Also, am I flying solo or do I have a partner?


    1. Marcus says:

      April 4, 2011 at 8:17 AM -

      @Nik – just email us a picture of side and forward facing, shorts only, sports bra optional.

      For the money, I will see about adding a buy-in to MindBody so you can pay online.

      You will have a partner. We have a few stragglers that haven’t joined the Yahoo group yet, so I’m giving them a grace period before assuming they dropped out.

  • tara says:

    April 4, 2011 at 9:31 AM -

    Day 1 and im totally in! I haven’t joined the group yet. How do i get there again Marcus?

    1. Marcus says:

      April 4, 2011 at 9:37 AM -

      @Tara – http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/crossfitintrepid/

  • Melina says:

    April 4, 2011 at 9:48 AM -

    Side view? Darn, gotta redo pics.

    Another question – I don’t really like coconut milk, I saw this at whole foods but wasn’t sure if its paleo. Is it? http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/707

    1. Marcus says:

      April 4, 2011 at 10:53 AM -

      @Melina – that looks perfectly fine. If Sean/Ruth didn’t take side-view pics, then I suppose we’ll do frontal only.

  • Alia says:

    April 4, 2011 at 9:52 AM -

    Can I bring $$ tonight? I totally spaced on that.

  • Pooja says:

    April 4, 2011 at 9:54 AM -

    ok, day 1, and fridge is stocked with all sort of good foods… and i find out i have to go to buffalo on wednesday for work! talk about frustrating :( marcus, 2 questoins
    1) is orange juice (simply orange) brand ok? it has no added preservatives, and i keep my portion size to less than 1/2 cup! so equivalent to 1 whole orange.
    2) I have to go to buffalo with some bigwigs at work. We’ll be going to dinners, lunches, etc. How can one order food appropriately at these functions? I’m the only chick going and REALLY don’t want to be viewed as “high maintenance” or picky and such. thoughts?

    1. Marcus says:

      April 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM -

      @Pooja — To answer your questions:
      1) I’d much rather you peel and eat an actual orange. It will provide a greater sense of being “full” to your stomach than 4oz. of liquid. Also, the liquid is faster absorbed causing more of an insulin spike. From Ruth’s post last week:
      Fruit juice as a sweetener. Some products will use orange or apple juice as a sweetener. We have to draw the line somewhere, so we’re okay with a small amount of fruit juice as an added ingredient during your Whole30… but this doesn’t mean a cup of fruit juice is okay!”

      2) I’m sure you’ve already been viewed as “high maintenance” or picky — because you’re vegetarian. Don’t act like asking what is in your food is out of the norm for you. Again, from Ruth’s post:
      “You never, ever, ever HAVE to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your Mom proud and say, “No, thank you”). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything. It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 7th grade.
      This does require a bit of effort.”

  • Xuan says:

    April 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM -

    @Pooja..what is “go to buffalo?”

  • Xuan says:

    April 4, 2011 at 11:34 AM -

    Oh and good luck to all the brave souls doing the Whole30 Challenge! I’m pulling for all of you!!

  • Scott says:

    April 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM -

    Pooja, guys love gambling. If people ask you about it, tell then you’re in a bet with a bunch of guys at the gym for a few hundred bucks. You won’t be viewed as high maintenance. You’ll be pretty bad ass.

    And just ask for whatever you are ordering to be steamed, no butter. I’ll be doing that a lot this month. I’ll be traveling 2, maybe 3, weeks this month.

  • tara says:

    April 4, 2011 at 12:51 PM -

    Thanks MArcus!
    I’m all joined. I’m so excited

  • Nik Werre says:

    April 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM -

    Awesome thanks. Just let me know what you’d like me to do.

    Email – nik.r.werre@wmich.edu

  • kathy says:

    April 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM -

    I’m your partner Pooja and I say do what you have to do for work. It’s a professional setting and it gets annoying (having been there) having to explain to everybody what you are doing foodwise, bet or otherwise. Just be good when you come back.

  • Jason B. says:

    April 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM -

    Pooja, man up and just do it. Tell them about Crossfit and that you deadlift, clean & jerk, snatch heavy weights and do all kinds of pull ups, burpees, box jumps, hill sprints etc. Then grab one of your co-workers fat bellies and say, “you could stand to try Paleo!” and order whatever you damn well please as long as it is lean meats, fruit, vegetables or nuts!

  • kathy says:

    April 4, 2011 at 1:56 PM -

    Pot calling kettle black JASON B. I seem to recall seeing you at the box after your work trip not too long ago and hearing how you fell off paleo because it was not doable during the trip!

    1. Marcus says:

      April 4, 2011 at 2:10 PM -

      Folks, you can use your work as a scapegoat if you choose, but just know that you’re still the one ultimately in control. You’re all adults for crying out loud. This MAY require some *gasp* pre-planning and homework on your part!

      Speaking from experience, I was able to stay as Paleo as I wanted in Hawaii, Vegas and even backwards-effing Michigan (no offense, Nik). It’s completely possible, and sure… sometimes if you fail to prepare, you may be skipping a meal and will need to make up something later.

      In Pooja’s case, being vegetarian I KNOW she’s had to make special requests before — nothing new here. Most people are aware of gluten-sensitivity nowadays, so it should be easy for you to say you’re vegetarian and gluten-intolerant. With the WODs you gut through at CFI, I know this should be EASY in comparison.

  • Pooja says:

    April 4, 2011 at 2:58 PM -

    thanks for the tips boys. and Kathy, thanks for the slide 😉 i’m going to avoid that tho.. maybe salads for dinner will suffice.

    I know it’s a challenge and we’re trying to change our lifestyle for a month. i have no problem saying “no” to certain foods, but i suppose its the perception it creates i worry about. oh well, no pain no gain.

    oh and you’ll be proud to hear, someone bought a cake in for a birthday today that looked AMAZING! and i said no :) I HAVE BEAT YOU, SUGARY CRAVINGS! ok see ya’ll tonight

  • Scott says:

    April 4, 2011 at 5:14 PM -

    Pooja, that’s simply RUDE! Eat that cake! It’s your co-worker’s birthday for crying out loud. What’s more important, winning some silly competition? Or your career, networking, and close friendships at the office? Do the right thing.

    Scott & Melina, aka the Team that is gonna Kick Everyone’s Ass at this challenge!!

    Marcus said people not participating cannot play saboteur, but he didn’t say anything about challenge participants being saboteurs!! In the coming days you may all receive 100% paleo chocolate chip cookies and ghirardelli brownies in the mail. Please enjoy. :)

  • Xuan says:

    April 4, 2011 at 8:34 PM -

    Oh Buffalo, NY! Work has got me retarded.

  • avelyne says:

    April 4, 2011 at 9:37 PM -

    Mark this day but I’m jumping in with Marcus on this one…I think I’ve conquered about 90% of the states on paleo. Using travel as an excuse to not follow paleo will not heed well!

  • Melina says:

    April 4, 2011 at 10:00 PM -

    @ Scott – What about team sabotage as our official team name :)

  • Whole 30 Challenge Coming in April | Intrepid Athletics PDX says:

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