Question: Sugar on S-days making craving stronger?

No Snacks, no sweets, no seconds. Except on Days that start with S. Too simple for you? Simple is why it works. Look here for questions, introductions, support, success stories.

Moderators: Soprano, automatedeating

Post Reply
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:37 pm
Location: Winston-Salem, NC

Question: Sugar on S-days making craving stronger?

Post by StephC » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:15 pm

I'm new here and wonder if Reinhard has addressed this somewhere else. I understand that the "S" day exceptions are meant to make the entire system sustainable. That makes sense to me on an intuitive level. At the same time I've been reading things that claim that total abstinence from sugar is the only way to really get freedom from miserable cravings--and here's the kicker--that behaviorally, allowing ourselves a reward on a random basis makes our brains link that reward to pleasure in an even stronger way. (The analogy frequently given is to slot machines...the unpredictable nature of the rewards is a big part of the appeal or even addiction, for some.)

What would Reinhard say (or what has he said), or what has your experience been?

:idea: One possible distinction I might imagine a proponent of No-S making is that the S days are NOT, in fact, random. To return to the slot machine analogy, an S day is not like hitting the jackpot, but instead is something planned / predictable. Maybe???

Thank you for your thoughts!
Vanilla No-S + Alcohol on S-days only. For simplicity and sanity.
BMI 20.5, weight 135 (Oct. 2016)

User avatar
Posts: 1658
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:14 am

Post by Merry » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:45 am

I worried about this a lot in the beginning (in fact, about 2.5 months in I remember asking if I should make my S days more like N days--not just because of sugar but also because of snacking etc... making Mondays seem really hard to me). It wasn't too much longer after that (about another month or so) that I really started getting used to N days. I started noticing that I had "full" signals that I'd never noticed before--overeating didn't feel good any more. I started finding some foods too sweet and eating less sugar on S days--being satisfied with smaller or fewer treats. I still probably have too much sugar on S days, but it's definitely lower than it used to be, and I rarely find it difficult to avoid sweets on N days. If I have a lot of stress piled on top of some emotional things going on piled on top of that time of the month--then it can seem really hard to resist sugar and I might respond by having a vanilla cappuccino or similar drink--I've done that twice since last November on "N" days, when I would normally reserve a drink like that for an S day. Otherwise, I rarely crave sweets the way I used to. I look forward to that reward, and occasionally the day before I think, "Can't wait until tomorrow!" But it's not the "I need chocolate every day" kind of feeling I had before. The sugar addiction really was broken for me, and in a much gentler way than trying to go without sugar at all (which I have also tried in the past--and failed).
Homeschool Mom and No S returnee as of 11-30-15.
2 years and counting on No-S.
29 lbs. down, 34 to go. Slow and steady wins the race.
Respect Moderation

Posts: 9728
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:46 am
Location: San Diego, CA USA

Post by oolala53 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:29 pm

I don't remember ever seeing anything addressing this conflict.

It's a controversy, meaning you can find experts with conflicting opinions (e. g., that abstinence is the only effective strategy). Same with "reformed" eaters.

It's true that if you truly want never to hassle with any sense of having to moderate (eat small portions, limit the number of portions, etc.) intake of sweets, the easiest way overall ideally is straight up abstinence forever. SOME individuals may even need to embrace that (maybe someone who had been eating thousands of calories of sweets daily or who has a serious health condition that could use strong nutritional support), and certainly no one would be physically harmed by dropping sweets. The problem is it's so unusual for anyone in our culture to swear off sweets permanently. (Jack La Lanne comes to mind, but he also swam some river pulling a tugboat one time.) It's one of the things researcher into willpower Roy Baumeister warns against for dieters.

Even in drug and alcohol treatment, the research shows that harm reduction (tapering off use with the client making the choices about how much; this may actually lead to complete abstinence, but from observation and choice) practices work best in the long run. This fact is not very commonly known because of the greater fame of programs like AA and NA. Not to say AA doesn't have its successes; it does. But it has a huge dropout rate, too.

Why not give Vanilla a chance for 3-6 months and re-evaluate?
Count plates, not calories. Three a day. 9 years & counting
Age 65
SBMI Jan/10-30.8
Mar/13-24.9 Stayed at +/- 8-lb. for three years Sept/17 22.8 (but more fluctuation)
Mar/18 22.2

There is no S better than Vanilla No S.

Posts: 339
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 4:02 pm

Post by bunsofaluminum » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:00 pm

For me, giving up sweets for the first stretch of N days made my first S day "sweet" (some dark M&M's) WAYAYAAAAAY too sweet. I ditched the little palmful of M&M's that I had, and haven't had anything in the "sweets" category since mid-May.

And...I still sometimes crave sugar. Just sayin...

I'm with Oolala and Merry...the indulgences on S days no longer appeal, and I don't need or want to go overboard with any of it, anymore. Though sometimes I still do...and my "overboard" these days looks a LOT different than it did five months ago. Truly, following the habit strictly at first, including extravagant S days, will teach you a lot about yourself, and your appetites will adjust on their own, naturally, because it feels the best.

User avatar
Posts: 745
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:42 pm
Location: switzerland

Re: Question: Sugar on S-days making craving stronger?

Post by kaalii » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:26 pm

StephC wrote:I've been reading things that claim that total abstinence from sugar is the only way to really get freedom from miserable cravings--and here's the kicker--that behaviorally, allowing ourselves a reward on a random basis makes our brains link that reward to pleasure in an even stronger way.
i think the problem here is in seeing sugar (or any food or drink, for that matter) as a reward...
so keeping the moderation and occasional pleasure while working on undoing/reframing the reward-punishment cognition seem to be a better way to me...
that is why i trusted noS diet idea...
and it proved itself to be worth it, like many here experienced it, too...
BMI: 18.8
Body Fat %: 17.6
in it for maintenance and, more importantly, sanity!!

Post Reply