Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8th, 2015 The Yoda To My Luke Skywalker

May 8th, 2015 The Yoda To My Luke Skywalker

I ate two brownies today.

My friend is a professional baker at the most popular bakery in the entire area. It is popular because she's extremely talented in creating some of the most decadent sweet creations in the world. She knows I'm sugar free and she's very supportive of the importance level I apply to my abstinence. When she sent me a text saying she had baked me some sugar free brownies, I was thrilled! I mean really, how often do I eat brownies? As long as they're sugar free, I can probably fit one into my calorie budget. She cut them into small 60 calorie squares. Perfect.

The first brownie was consumed as dessert, after lunch, with confident intention. The second brownie was consumed after an hour of obsessive thoughts about wanting another. 

I dropped the support ball. The first thing I needed to do, as soon as those obsessive thoughts started, was pick up the phone and reach out for support. It would have worked--completely shutting down those obsessive thoughts. I did share it with my support group after the 2nd brownie. I suppose that was my way of "picking up the fumble." After receiving fantastic supportive feedback, I was able to successfully shut down the brownie cheering section in my brain. Go team!

Life Coach Gerri has a knack for getting to the point with the least amount of words. Her reaction in support of me today: "Some foods just have 'more' written all over them. When we discover those foods, best to put them on the 'no, thank you' list."

When Gerri speaks, I listen and learn. She has 22 years of weight maintenance and abstinence from sugar. She's the Yoda to my Luke Skywalker. 

I haven't consumed refined sugar in over a year. I'm very proud and protective of my abstinence. I've made a point on several occasions to write about the profound positive effect this decision has made in my life.

Here's the deal: Almost anything with sugar can be made without. I've looked at eating sugar-free versions of normally sugar-loaded things as a kind of novelty. An illusion of sorts. A big magic trick... Like, hey--check this out, I'm eating a brownie, a cupcake or a pie, a cookie!!--or a roll... 

I ordered cupcakes for my birthday last October, dinner rolls and a peach pie for Thanksgiving and I consumed a lemon pie at Christmas. I've even had a cookie or two along the way.

Today's "episode" of instability really demanded I consider something other than the bio-chemical effects of refined sugar. Perhaps it's time for me to admit that artificial sweeteners, including natural stevia, affect me in similar ways. My support buddy Jon in Wisconsin is going to LOVE that last sentence.

On top of and aside from the artificial sweetener issue, I believe it truly comes down to exactly what Gerri wrote: "Some foods just have 'more' written all over them..."

You could say, Geez, Sean--really? Get over it, it was an extra 60 calories, big deal!  

The extra 60 calories wasn't the point of concern. It was knowing, had I not reached out for support by sharing the situation and struggle, I could have easily finished the rest of the platter.

Instead, I offered them to my colleagues. Then, after a little while longer, I tossed the remaining brownies in the trash can atop some really disgusting stuff. 

Why did I make a point to pile them into the nastiest part of the trash?  Because I've consumed pie after retrieving it from a trash can. It was circa 2005, I was at my heaviest, but yeah--that happened and my studio mates caught me doing it--and yes, they remember it to this day. And No, I will never live it down.

I communicated with my pro baker friend and thanked her for thinking of me. I also explained how and why I must politely decline these things moving forward. She totally understood.

 photo 4b18a48f-c3f3-415c-9c4f-0a03609effcc_zpsn2t9pk4a.jpg
I forgot to post a "throw back Thursday" picture yesterday, so I put together a photo of various before, during and recent images.

I recovered this evening, nicely. I was activated for severe weather coverage for the third time in as many days and decided to wait it out for a late dinner. I'm exceptionally tired today, so I've opted for a rest day instead of hitting the trail for a good walk. I plan on getting into the YMCA tomorrow before the expected severe weather starts firing again.

I learned some valuable things and was reminded of the importance of certain things. Just because something is sugar free, doesn't mean it can't set me off. And utilizing a good support system is critical to success.

We don't do this deal alone. We're never alone.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. I learned the hard way along with my niece that sugar free treats can cause great gastric distress if there was too much indulgence of the same. Since then I've had no difficulty sticking to just one sugar free treat. Hmm, too bad our bodies don't react to sugar the same way.

    1. Oh my, Leah--it does create discomfort! I noticed that but chose not to recount the experience. :)
      Excellent way to create a mental roadblock of sorts, Leah!

  2. It's amazing how hearing things again, or worded differently, can resonate so strongly. "Some food have more written on them." SO FRACKING GOOD!!! Exactly sums up what I kind of already knew.

    As always, thanks for the transparency and honesty.

    And way to go on the Star Wars reference- great call ;)

    1. Valerie, it is simple and perfectly true, right?
      You're very welcome. And thank you for your support, Val!
      Awe--the Star Wars reference--yes, seemed to fit perfectly.

  3. You are very lucky to have such an amazing support group Sean. I also love that "some foods have more" written on it. So, so true!

    1. Katrin, I do feel very fortunate! I've made a point to build that support system and most importantly, reach out to that support system when needed.
      During my relapse and regain period--I had a support system of people who understood--and who would have provided support--but I constantly chose to avoid the support...effectively turning it off.
      Yes indeed--and some scream "more, more, more!!"

  4. I am so glad that the brownies were sugar free as I would hate that whole year to have to start again
    When I was drinking diet coke I found it hard to stop at one and thought it may be the artificial sugar
    I am glad you shared with your support team or it really could have been disastrous
    I have the same problem with chocolate I have one piece and I go on a 6 month frenzy (like I am in the middle of now and have decided to try and put the brakes on)
    Such a hard thing to over come
    Proud of you
    And btw it did look mighty yum

    1. TR-- Yes-- sugar free. I will not give up my record of abstinence! At least, I pray I never do. It would be one of the worst choices I could make.
      I totally relate to your relationship with chocolate and the resulting effects.
      The great news is, you can put on the brakes, TR. You can make a stand!!!
      It is a very hard thing to overcome, but it's within you, I promise.
      Thank you--oh, and I agree--the brownies came out looking as good as a brownie could.

  5. I've found out the hard way that anything--even if it's both sugar free and gluten free--that tastes and feels like a sugar/gluten/fat food is bad news for me. No sugar or gluten, but still, it triggers those compulsive thoughts that ultimately lead to me doing just what you avoided--cleaning off the platter.

    I don't have a problem with non-calorie sweeteners in, say, tea of coffee, but add it to something like a brownie and i'm done.

    It is what it is.

    How great that you were able to do what you needed to do to put the brakes on.


    1. "That tastes and feels like..." Yes, indeed. The brain is tricked!
      I'm with you on the coffee and tea thing-- I know for sure that my sugar free hazelnut has some sort of artificial sweetener--and I enjoy my coffee, for sure... but it doesn't create the instability I experienced this particular day.
      Deb-- I was very thankful--grateful, to be able to lean on support friends when I needed.
      Sometimes, just sharing it---making it where it's not "exclusive to my brain," makes all the difference in the world.

      Thank you, Deb. I always appreciate your input.

  6. Oh Sean, all of us food addict understand the "dirty" trash trick. We are all guilty of pulling something out of the "clean" garbage, blowing it off and consuming it. At least I have done that. Now to truly get rid of that temptation, I have to throw coffee grounds or other disgusting food on top of it. Whatever works.

    1. Dupster, thank you for sharing this. I believe I wrote about it a long time ago--and if I remember right, several people came forward admitting to the same thing. Feels good to know I'm not the only one.
      That pie, btw, It was in a clean position in the can! :)
      I agree, 100%--coffee grounds, old nasty veggie peels---anything to make it grossly unappealing.

  7. Thank you so much for this post. Your life coach is spot on, some things just have "more" written on them. Your other sugar-free items, like coffee creamer and barbecue sauce, don't cause the same reaction. It's so important to know our triggers. This compulsive disorder of ours is "cunning, baffling and powerful" just like alcoholism.

    And yes, I have also eaten food out of the garbage. And have felt the guilt, shame and remorse. I have also been caught licking my plate. How totally embarrassing. My co-worker said "boy, that must have been some really good food!". No, I am just a compulsive ocereater.

    Thank you so much for this blog and all the time you put in to it. I have read most of it and it is all inspiring, but I think your recovery after relapse is the most inspiring story of all. It truly gives me hope.

    1. I agree-- "cunning, baffling and powerful...' so true.
      Betsey, you're welcome. Thank you for reading and your faithful support. I'm very passionate about what I do and how I share the experience. It's very important to me. What this diary has done for me is monumental.
      Thank you for saying that about this recovery after relapse period. I hope so. I truly hope so.
      And I'm overjoyed it has resonated with you.

  8. I absolutely love this post Sean. If this means your ditching the artificial sweeteners including Stevie moving forward I believe your going to look back at this one day and realized this was one of your best decisions you made during your transformation. There is a huge difference between freedom from added sugar vs freedom from added sweetness. Regardless if artificial sweeteners trigger hunger issues or not, it's used in processed foods like sugar, and causes your taste buds to crave flavored drinks instead of water, causes you to crave less vegetables, whole foods in preference of processed foods. I am guessing if you go any length free of added sweetness you will notice your choice of beverage will always be water and you may actually have to retry some of those vegetables you say you never will eat. That can change my friend, it's shocking how much my taste buds continue to change in absence of all sweetness.

    Congratulations on change making a great choice!

    1. I still haven't ditched the a.s. in my coffee creamer or sugar free bbq sauce-- but those things don't seem to affect me in the same way.
      I agree--the effect on tastebuds is profound...
      Steering clear of faux "sugar" filled things is important for me. This day really proved some valuable things to me.

  9. Brownies = evil to a lot of people. me included. I can't even smell them! How sad is that? Kids want to make them? No sir ee.. Not in my house!!
    And even sadder is that when I'm in the mood, I can smell that lovely chocolate ... :( I've not had one in 2 years now.
    You are a strong man, Sean. Bravo for over coming .. :)

    1. I wish it wasn't, Rosie. But I can't deny the effects on me. I applaud and I'm happy for anyone who doesn't have my experience--but I know for me, I mustn't... It sets me up!
      Thank you, Rosie!!

  10. There's got to be a way to enjoy a 60 calorie brownie without all these obsessive thoughts. There's got to be something wrong with the wiring in our brains. If I'm on a good run with my eating and I did what you did then I use it as an excuse to go on a binge. I truly don't believe it's the sugar but rather the forbidden food mentality. How can we ever keep the weight off without the all or nothing mindset?

    1. Robin, I understand what you're saying. I've always been a big proponent of a "nothing is off limits" philosophy for the very reason you've written.
      I still believe, when someone is starting out, it's important to give moderation a try...see if it's a good fit...I mean, really--I lost 275 pounds eating whatever I wanted.
      During the relapse and regain period--and now, during the recovery period--I've grown to understand how particular foods affect me...not all of them do, but it's important for me to keep a mental list of foods that have proven to be chisels on my resolve.
      In order for me to successfully navigate my trek, I remember what works for me and what doesn't.
      I'm still all about "eat what you like and nothing you don't," but there's an asterisk to it that is unique to each one of us.
      The "forbidden food mentality" is only in power when we truly want those things and we're doing our best to resist.
      We don't resist what we don't want.
      And knowing how certain things affect me, makes me not want them.
      It's all in perspective, Robin--it's all about the perspective we choose.


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