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.
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:
Dark roast with two tablespoons half & half X 2 cups. 80 cal. pic.twitter.com/Ydxp85RVGq— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
Breakfast in MFP... pic.twitter.com/t89EatXlSG— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
2 whole eggs-2 whites, 2 slices provolone, 14g marble-jack--w/1 tblspn butter. 160g apple & 3.6oz banana. 592 cal. pic.twitter.com/Bjp9uhnmuT— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
Lunch in MFP... pic.twitter.com/7t6lvSYSq3— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
7.2oz sirloin, 111g avocado w/15g sour cream on a bed of lettuce, 28g white corn tortilla chips. 677 cal. pic.twitter.com/m3BCHOz5Ts— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
Afternoon cup of dark roast. W/two tablespoons half & half. 40 cal. pic.twitter.com/Dwm7KYqYIM— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
At gym. Weight training workout starts now. 2 cups water. #wateraccountability pic.twitter.com/740MggF6lP— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
Reverse lunges, jump rope, push ups, chest press, chest fly, tricep extensions, hammer curls, calf raises. #feelsamazing #totalbody workout.— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 17, 2015
Grande dark roast pour over with two tablespoons half & half. 1 refined sugar free Quest protein bar. 210 cal. pic.twitter.com/ebW8YcGsdJ— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
Dinner in MFP... pic.twitter.com/vc5IaZB6Ew— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
One fish-Two fish. 6.2oz baked cod & 4.2oz baked salmon. 150g sweet potato, red onions & 45g mixed veggies. 625 cal. pic.twitter.com/WQMj03WaJ8— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
I haven't a clue how to enter my strength training workout into MFP. Oh, I could figure it out. Choosing not to, tonight. Early bedtime 4 me— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) November 18, 2015
Thank you for reading and your continued support,