Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30th, 2014 My Deal With Sugar

June 30th, 2014 My Deal With Sugar

I'm up late tonight waiting to be activated for weather coverage on an approaching complex of storms. I'm basically writing in a race to finish before the gust front moves into our listening area. I've had these little races with Mother Nature before. I think it'll be okay.

I've written about my abstinence from sugar and how its given me a peace and calm like I've never known. It's not something necessary for everyone. You may not have the reactions I do when you consume sugar. Arriving at this point in my journey has required a bunch of trial and error, or more accurately, a bunch of denial and struggle. I'm glad I've experienced things this way, though. Because without the trials, the struggles--I wouldn't be where I am today. And I love where I am today.

If you're not someone affected by sugar, like me, good! For you, moderation is key. After experiencing the last nine and a half weeks without and the resulting peace and calm--I've never been more sure of its affects on me. When denial and struggle is replaced with the positive perspective of peaceful acceptance, it's life changing, certainly has been for me.

I'm writing about this because I've received a few messages and an email today on this very subject.

I believe I've shared these thoughts before. Just in case, here's my deal with sugar:

Restrictions.
This was one of the biggest points of contention for me since I started losing weight in 2008.
I lost 275 pounds eating cake, ice cream and desserts--all within reasonable portions at appropriate times.
Using prior success as a reference, It made it very hard to get to a place of acceptance for abstinence, where I am now.

How did I stay consistent for as long as I did, despite all the sugary foods in moderation?
In hindsight, I clearly see how my support and accountability system importance level was set so high, I didn't dare give in to the struggle, temptation and the obsessive like attraction to "getting more."
There were a lot of prayers and meditation--surrounding myself with people, instead of isolating--and connecting as much as possible with a variety of support sources.

When I basically abandoned almost every support and accountability component I had leaned on for so long--then it was a very different dynamic. Suddenly I was dramatically weakened.

When the bio-chemical reactions of sugar addiction swirled through my brain, I followed its lead without question--as if possessed. I traded one struggle for another. Instead of struggling against the compulsions to binge, I gave in--then struggled with the regret, shame and embarrassment associated with weight gain and the guilt associated with doing the very things I wanted to be diametrically opposed to. 

I was very much NOT wanting to let go of the sugar or, the option to enjoy it occasionally in portioned doses... My denial was slowly revealed and chipped away by learning. What ended up happening is, I kept researching the effects of sugar, specifically the addictive nature of it, and then as if I was destined to hear--I kept having conversations with people in recovery from food addiction---people who have what I want--years of maintenance behind them--and 100% of them said the same thing in relation to sugar and how it creates a bio-chemical reaction in our pleasure sensors---and then sets off the addictive cycle of, "I gotta have more and NOW!!!!" 

I can't say I'm 100% sugar free, because of my non-flavored plain coffee creamer. The tiny amount doesn't seem to have the same effect as larger more obvious amounts. I'm sugar free enough to experience the most amazing benefits I once thought were impossible to find for me. No binges and no urges to binge. So many people described their experience to me--and they described this feeling--but still, until I actually committed to the effort needed to personally "test" it, it was like they were speaking of some mythical fantasy. 

I do recognize that I have a similar and many ways stronger support and accountability system in place now--but even still--I'm not fighting to maintain control. There's a peace and calm about my approach that I'm absolutely in love with.  If trading the occasional sugar for this feeling is the deal...then I'll sign a lifetime contract. That's the long answer to my perspective.

Will I ever go back to eating ice cream, cakes and other sugar laden things? I pray I never do. My short answer is no, I don't plan on ever going back. I now know, understand and appreciate what I must do in order to stay abstinent.  I also know that if I ever decide to abandon the principles and practices of my personal recovery, I'll surely go straight back to the very familiar reality of an unmanageable and chaotic existence.

It's important to note that fortunately, not everyone is a food and/or sugar addict. For some, the basic fundamentals of eating less, exercising more and developing an "in moderation" approach to food is the answer. I wanted it to be my answer. And as much as I wanted to wish it into being--summoning the law of attraction and constantly telling myself I was someone who could be okay with a non-addict approach to recovery--I finally realized it wasn't me. And it's okay. I'm okay. And I have a wonderful, rich and fulfilling life ahead of me without sugar.

The acceptance of and fully embracing my personal truth of addiction, along with some life changing epiphanies about identity and self-worth, have sent me straight to a very positive place. I love this feeling and I wouldn't trade it for all the Snickers Bars and mint chocolate chip shakes in the world.  Truth is, all it takes for that transaction to happen is one Snickers or shake. 

I'm happily abstinent from sugar.

Sean
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We've expected these storms moving in overnight since this morning. With this knowledge, I was able to plan my afternoon with a solid nap in place before heading to the YMCA for a workout.  I experienced a wonderful ride on the elliptical tonight before meeting Amber and KL at my favorite little Mexican place for Hawaiian Fajita Tacos!

Instead of corn tortillas, I requested corn taco shells.  Now, I'll always order it this way. The corn taco shells are simply stronger, holding up better to the moistness of the ingredients. I passed on the chips, guac, beans and rice--opting instead to focus on my three big and hearty Hawaiian Fajita Tacos!  Here's the tweet:

I had a wonderful visit with Amber tonight. It carried over past dinner, to their apartment afterward. Amber has a big opportunity in front of her and tonight she needed some fatherly advice and encouragement. Nothing feels better than connecting on deep levels with my kids. It's a fantastic feeling.

It's late and the complex of storms are approximately an hour away. I better get to work. If you're ever interested in listening, we do stream. Simply click: http://player.authorizedstream.com/?pid=593

Thank you for reading and your support,
Strength,
Sean

6 comments:

  1. Each of us needs to find our own way, period. I think folks get offended by abstinence because it has become very trendy to say, "I can't eat sugar, wheat, fat, etc., etc." or "I only eat Paleo, High/ Low Carb, etc. etc." Again, each of us needs to find our own way!!

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  2. Oh how I wanted moderation to be my answer too. I used to sign off every blog post, eating less, moving more. I lost 94 pounds that way but the cravings came back. Fill me up. Fill me now. I wish I had your peace and assurance that being sugar free/wheat free for 6 months now is THE answer. I still fear a come back of those urges to overeat based on my past.

    Keep your complex weather in America please! :) It's Canada Day - we need good weather. See what you can do!

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  3. There has been much scientific research as of late about sugar and it's potential for addiction. You can see more about this on the website, www.foodaddiction.com.

    For the last 21 years I've not eaten sugar. What I can tell you is that if I don't eat a cookie, I cannot eat a whole bag. Or two ... or well, you can figure it out. I just know that honestly, when I start in on high sugar, high carb an/or high fat foods, I cannot stop. It has some sort of effect on me.

    So for today, I'd rather call myself a sugar addict, not eat sugar and be wrong, than to start eating it, say I'm not a sugar addict and be wrong.

    I'm maintaining a 100 pound weight loss for 21 years, by the way. It's working, so I'm going to continue 'abstaining', call myself a sugar addict and not worry if it is right or wrong.

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  4. I read recently that our bodies will crave the very things that are the worst for us. I think that is definitely true for me. Ever onward. :)

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  5. Thanks for this great post Sean. The thing that amazes me is that occasionally I'll mention to someone that I'm not eating, say, Snickers bars (to use an example from your post), and they seem to think this is quite a tragedy! Does it suck, frankly, that I have determined that I cannot eat Snickers bars due to my addictive behaviors? Yes! But is it the end of the world? No! There are people in this world who have never eaten a single one and they are probably better off for it. I can substitute any one of my common binge/trigger foods for Snickers bars, and in every case, I am so much better off in so many ways for avoiding it.

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  6. "...I wanted it to be my answer. And as much as I wanted to wish it into being......I finally realized it wasn't me."

    I was put on my first diet at age 10. I'm now 63. It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally accepted that I wasn't "one of those people" who could just eat anything they liked, only in moderation. I've lost over 150 lbs, but am still only half way there. It took a long time to find "my" way. But as hard as it is sometimes, it's still WAY better than how it used to be.

    So glad you found YOUR way, Sean. And I know that like me, you're still learning, changing, refining as you go. So encouraging to read of your discoveries along the way.

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