Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 17th, 2015 Was I Dreaming?

November 17th, 2015 Was I Dreaming?

I stumbled into the studio this morning after a long night. We had storms move through and I was operating on little sleep. Was I dreaming when I walked in and found more than a dozen pies, a couple dozen cookies and a dozen or more muffins, oh--and a couple of coffee cakes? No, I wasn't dreaming. I remembered Perkins Restaurant and Bakery was scheduled to be on my show to talk about ordering holiday pies and bakery items. I missed the part about them bringing the entire bakery to the studio. It was an epic display. I could smell the sugar. It was thick in the air.

It wasn't a dream. And it wasn't a nightmare. And that's an awesome thing.

We had a great interview and posted pics on station social media. It was a solid marketing maneuver for our client. For me, it made for a fantastic photo op and an opportunity to strengthen my resolve for continued abstinence from refined sugar.
 photo In20studio20bakery_zpsa5g2jtac.jpg
I'm not compelled. I didn't experience struggle this morning at all. I don't eat refined sugar, period. It's one of my non-negotiable elements. BUT--Just to be safe, I took the precaution of communicating with a couple of support friends, including Life Coach Gerri. I shared pictures and enjoyed a brief text message discussion about the importance of my abstinence.

I've received many questions about my abstinence from refined sugar. Hardly a week passes where I don't receive at least one question about this topic.

To better understand my path to abstinence, it's important to start from the beginning. The following is an excerpt from a previous post where I spent some time explaining this topic as it applies to my experience:  

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. (currently 565 days strong)

How did I stay consistent during my initial weight loss 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. 

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.

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!!!!" Every single long term maintenance person I spoke with had abstinence from refined sugar in common. Every single one.

Once I gave it an honest commitment, I finally experienced what everyone was talking and writing about. The most amazing benefits I once thought were impossible to find for me--were changing me in the most wonderful ways.

No binges and no urges to binge.

They described this feeling--the peace, the calm, the clarity---the solid foundation making it easier for all other nutritional decisions...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. I'm no longer trying to be someone else's normal. This is my normal.

And I have a wonderful, rich and fulfilling life ahead of me without refined 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. (or pies, coffee cakes, cookies or muffins!)

Truth is, all it takes for that transaction to happen is one Snickers or one shake. 

I'm happily abstinent from refined sugar.

I had a full body weight training session this afternoon. I will be feeling it for a couple days, for sure! Trainer Amie is a pro. I only have her training long enough to get me started and comfortable. She's giving me what I need to handle the weight training without her guidance.

Life Coach Gerri gave me the night off from the teleconference support group. She handled it solo. I was reluctant to miss the call, but after the last 24 hours--it was a generous offer from Gerri and a smart move for me to accept.

I made a fantastic dinner tonight and I'm headed to bed early for some quality sleep.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. I heard you this morning talking about the bakery goods. I could not gave handled it. Congratulations.

    1. Thank you, Christina! It was interesting. Had I not been abstinent going into this experience, it would have been a completely different story.

  2. This is what my place will look like this weekend when my family celebrates thanksgiving early. I can relate to what that feeling is like being surrounded by sweetness. I am going to have two plus days surrounded by people indulging on sweets which does not tempt or bother me the slightest. I have gotten to the point where not only is it easy to resist all these deserts but actually enjoy being around them, the scent and aroma even though the thought of eating one bite is non negotiable. My stance, how important the absence of sugar is identical to yours. May I have your permission to copy parts of this blog to my own blog? Next time I mention how important it is that added refined sugar needs to be non negotiable for life I want to mention for the exact same reasons as my friend Sean Anderson mentions in his blog. "( )" .

    For any readers here on this Diary of a Winning Looser that have been suspecting sugar may be a problem. Please take Sean's advice and make an honest commitment to no added sugar. Its worth a try.

    1. Jon, I know you know exactly where I'm coming from!! You have my permission to republish whatever you desire, sir.
      It does take a really solid 10-14 day commitment to really notice the incredible difference. I'm so glad I stayed long enough to discover what the others were talking about! Thank you, Jon!!!

  3. First off, Sean....congrats on getting through that (ridiculous) temptation. Second of all, thank you for one of the best posts EVER about sugar, sugar addiction, and abstinence. :)

  4. I love, love, love the picture you posted with you and all the pies. Your expression is priceless!! Any kind of pie your little heart could desire. So ironic. You couldn't have planned a better "test". And if that experience lead to this wonderfully written blog post on the effects of sugar for many, then I appreciate them bringing all the pies. Good Job, Shawn. I am not surprised in the least, though. You have shown your commitment day by day. Thanks for the post (and the picture).


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