About the Book
Jill Escher's journey outside of the conventional diet world led her to understand that weight gain has little to do with calories, diet or exercise, or with character or "body type," but instead with a complex, multi-system biochemical syndrome that gives rise to an addiction to sugar and/or starch. She believes many people, including herself, have an inborn intolerance for that "white stuff," and that regular consumption of modern refined foods can trigger this syndrome and its attendant compulsions.
After a series of events led her to clarity about sugar and starch addiction, she faced her addiction, went through withdrawal, and easily shed about 34 pounds in just a few months. All her lab results returned to normal as well.
After several friends with stubborn weight problems asked her to put her "secrets" on paper, Farewell, Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict's Guide to Easy Weight Loss was born. The book, which is like a girlfriend's guide to easy weight loss, touches on the science of addiction, lists what to eat (and what not to eat), gives tips on how to manage the (brief) withdrawal period, and suggests supports to put in place to end the weight-loss roller coaster.
The book is currently available on Amazon, and 100% of the author's proceeds are being donated to autism charities in Northern California.
Jill Escher is a mother of three, two of whom are autistic, and is an
active community volunteer and philanthropist (Escher Family Fund), primarily
funding autism programs and research. She recently designated October 30 as Sugar Addiction Awareness Day to help families kick the sugar habit. In addition, she owns and manages a real
estate investment company, Claradon Properties, LLC, which invests in
multifamily properties with an emphasis on renting to tenants with
disabilities. She has previously written two popular blogs and the handbook,
"Autism Law." She received her BA from Stanford University and her JD
from Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley. She lives with her husband and
children in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California.
In the News!
Livin la Vida Low Carb Show (podcast), with Jimmy Moore, http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-550-jill-escher-tells-sugar-addicts-to-say-farewell-club-permachub/13424
Santa Cruz Weekly http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/03/06/kicking_sugar_for_better_health
San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/san-jose-neighborhoods/ci_19109391?nclick_check=1
Carbohydrates Can Kill podcast: http://www.carbohydratescankill.com/2931/72-sugar-addiction-awareness-day
Dishing Up Nutrition podcast (October 22 show, on Alzheimer's): http://www.weightandwellness.com/dun_radio.html
Underground Wellness podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2011/11/04/overcoming-sugar-addiction-with-jill-escher
Get Better Wellness with Erin Chamerlik: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/getbetterwellness/2011/11/29/10-ways-to-beat-sugar-addiction-with-jill-escher-1
The multidimensional biology of sugar addiction
The connection between sugar addiction, chronic disease and national obesity rates
How people survive withdrawal
The mental keys to permanent weight loss
What got you interested in sugar addiction?
Well, actually, and I know this will sound funny coming from someone who just wrote a book on the subject, but I have never been terribly interested in the issues of weight loss, dieting or addiction. My main interest is in autism, and weight loss is a trivial problem compared to the issues faced in world of the severely developmentally disabled.
But after I had this experience losing weight in an unconventional way, without any struggle, people started asking me to put my experience on paper, because they too wanted to achieve that same kind of success. And along the way it occurred to me that there really are clear, easy, simply solutions to the obesity epidemic, rather in contrast to the autism epidemic, for which we have no answers. Let's fix the obesity epidemic so we can focus on the very vulnerable population with intractable disabilities. To be honest, it maddens me to see so many billions of taxpayer money spent on perfectly preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes when funding for desperately needed disability programs is undergoing massive cuts.
Is this why you started Sugar Addiction Awareness Day?
I suppose, yes. We cannot find a solution unless we can first identify the problem. A heavy person needs to recognize and accept her addiction before she can take the first step to lose her weight. If she lacks the addiction, well, then losing weight should be easy. She should be able to give up all sugars, starches, and grains without a hint of a battle.
Are you totally sugar-free?
With the exception of trace amounts of sugar in some dressings and marinades I was totally sugar free from October 6, 2010 to May 26, 2011, when my husband insisted I have a bite of my daughter's flourless chocolate cake (he was justifiably proud of his creation!). Man, did those few bites taste explosively sweet! Since then, I've had a few nibbles of sweet things now and then but I would call my problem dosage-dependent--I've never had enough to restart that old addictive cycle. I would like to go completely sugar-free for another six months, though, since I know that for a white-stuff-intolerant person like me eating sugar is playing with fire.
What about exercise, do you do much?
As I write in my book, I believe exercise is almost irrelevant for weight-loss purposes--in fact, if it spikes your appetite, it can be counterproductive. But exercise certainly has other benefits, so I still walk up to 12 miles a week and do some gentle, stretchy yoga. With the exception of trying a Zumba class at the Y, I still haven't broken a sweat.
Why do you insist that people with chronic weight problems are actually addicted to sugar, rather than just over-indulgent?
Because I undertook what I call "poor man's research," which is to say, I talked to people. A lot of people. And the pattern is unmistakable, I heard the same story over and over and over again. This is not a problem arising from conscious decision-making, not remotely. I also found that doctors and researchers -- the ones who have pooh-poohed the notion of sugar addiction -- don't actually talk to the people they are supposedly trying to help. Talk to these people, in depth and at length--you cannot miss the addiction story.
How much do I need to know about the science to kick this addiction?
Nothing, not a bit. I did not undertake to read the research until after I lost all my weight. All I needed was that belief in my addiction, a simple sugar- and starch-free food plan, and the inspiration you can only find from people who have walked this trail before. I knew next to nothing about low-carb, Paleo diets, neurotransmitters, leptin, insulin, or any of that until later. It's totally unnecessary to have any scientific understanding to have a successful weight loss based on addiction recovery. That said, I find the research fascinating, and it lends support to the overall approach.
Book cover: low-resolution/web-friendly
Author Jill Escher: low-resolution/web-friendly