Pills, smoothies, cottage cheese, grapefruit, exercising twice a day, exercising three times a day, not exercising at all – I’ve tried it all. It seems like no matter how hard I try, I can’t stick to a regimen or a diet, and as such, I never lose weight. So naturally, when my boyfriend came home talking about “yeast” and “weight loss,” I was skeptical.
“But wait, baby!” he pleaded with me, “It’s this yeast that lives in your digestive track and stomach, and you feed it sugar, and you stay fat unless you get rid of it!”
“You’ve been listening to the kooks at the health foods store again, haven’t you?” I replied. Yeast and sugar are the two things that make my life happy. How can I give up my fantastic slice of homemade bread in the morning, or my mandatory Friday afternoon Dairy Queen visit?
“No, listen!” he insisted, “There is sugar in absolutely everything. When the yeast, Candida, grows out of control in your body, you gain a lot of weight and you can’t lose it. It’s also responsible for feeling sluggish or craving sugar and bread all the time.”
That certainly sounded like me. I almost always need a slice of toast before bed, or a candy bar in the afternoon as a pick-me-up. I started to perk up, listening to his description.
“You have to give up sugar, completely, for at least a month. And no bread or anything made with yeast. No fruit, no crackers, no cereal, no sharp cheeses, no-“
“You’re gullible.” I cut him off, “Someone’s tricking you into eating only awful stuff. I’m already done with this diet. You go crazy, but I’m out.”
The issue was dropped for a week, with him casting sullen glances as I ate a sandwich or a bowl of cereal in the morning. I would stop by with a loaf of French bread solely to tempt him, but he (having a much stronger constitution than I) never broke. The ridiculousness of his resolve was beginning to wear on me, when he took me to the bookstore to browse special recipe books for him.
As we wandered through the aisles, one diet book in particular caught my eye. I began to leaf through the pages, until I saw it, my worst nightmare come true:
Chapter 3: Sugar is the Devil
My boyfriend was quick to peer over my shoulder at my look of surprise. While he gloated at me, I flipped through the descriptions of what sugar does to your body, why we want it so much, and why it’s bad for you. As it turns out, humans are hardwired to crave sugar and fat (chiefly because they were rarities until our modern age of food processing). The reason we eat so much sugar on a daily basis is because manufacturers put it in everything, knowing that people will come back for more of that sweet, sweet fix. And unfortunately for me, my boyfriend was absolutely right: too much sugar intake leads to a Candida overgrowth, known in more refined circles as Candidiasis.
With a heavy heart, I bought the book, and headed home to clean out my kitchen. The first part of the diet is a very serious cleanse, during which a supplement is taken to aid in the killing of the Candida. The diet during this week is similar to a high protein diet: lots of fish, eggs, chicken, and of course, veggies. Unfortunately there are several vegetables that aid in Candida growth, mainly mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
It is also necessary to intake at least eight glasses of water a day in order to help detoxify the body. No problem – I’m the type of person who if it’s in front of me, I’ll drink it.
Sunday was easy. The only rough part was my morning weigh-in (168 lbs. – ugh). The rest of the day went smoothly. It was really a lot easier to not eat sugar when there was no sugar in the house.
Monday began easily enough, with minor hiccups. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day – I would eat breakfast three times a day if I could. But without toast, cereal, English muffins, bagels, jam, or donuts, why should I even get out of bed?
After finally settling on eggs, I went about my day. I was doing great! I was drinking the right amount of water, watching what I ate – and then, at about 7:00 pm, it hit me. It was easily one of the worst migraines I have ever had. I could barely keep my eyes open. Coupled with an awful nausea, I was about to fall out in the middle of my evening class.
Managing to make it home, I wailed about how awful my life was until I ran to the bathroom and lost it – my light, healthy dinner, and what seemed like nearly a gallon of water. At 8:30 pm sharp, I crawled into bed and slept until I had to work the next morning.
But then, when I got up in the morning, something amazing happened. I felt great! I felt like I had more energy, I felt clearer headed, and like getting through my day was a breeze. It was enough to keep me on the diet.
At the end of the week, I weighed myself. I was already down to 160 lbs. Feeling very proud of myself, I went to the kitchen and made myself a healthy, sugar-free snack.
While I am awesome, I am absolutely not a medical professional. You should always consult with a physician before starting a diet or weight loss regimen. This is an opinion article intended to relate my experiences on a unique diet, and is not intended to prevent, cure, or treat any disease.
The book that I read was called Skinny Bitch, written by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (published by Running Press, 2005).