It was a day off today. I took it and made it work well. I made sure to get a workout, I cooked well, ate well and enjoyed a wonderful night out with my oldest daughter. This day was free of challenges and free of struggle. I like days like today.
I also like the challenging days. The ones that make me think, the ones that push my comfort zones, the ones where I must employ my personal recovery defense mechanisms...those are really good, too. Because if most every day were easy, like today, I'd likely lower my defenses. And that wouldn't be smart. I know myself too well.
And so, easy or challenging--both type of days get the same treatment as far as my approach within my fundamental elements of recovery. If it's an easy-breezy day, okay. If it's a challenging day, still okay.
My abstinence from refined sugar was a commitment I made at the start of this turnaround from relapse/regain and it has been, without question, the biggest difference maker for me. I occasionally get emails and questions about this element. I'll share one in a moment.
Abstinence from refined sugar isn't necessary for everyone. Maybe it doesn't trigger binge behavior with you. During my relapse/regain period, my addiction to the substance became very clear. The cause/effect dynamic played out time and time again without me fully recognizing what was happening. Denial works until it doesn't. It works until the truth is so painfully obvious and then there comes a choice. Do I continue this insane merry-go-round or do I get off the ride and regain my balance? Abstinence from what was clearly my drug, quickly became the approach necessary for me.
To honor the reader's anonymity, I'm sharing this email without their name.
"Sean. I am POWERLESS over sugar. And i am sick of it and scared. No real clue how to start on a lifetime of being sugar sober. I feel like a drug addict who cannot live without it.
Your words about maintaining sobriety--made me think to just email the statement to you. Its the first time i ever said that 'out loud' to anyone. I hate sugar and love and crave it at the same time. I am powerless over sugar and i am killing myself with it. Ugggghhhhhh."
This is HUGE. This is a wonderful declaration--a surrender, an acknowledgement---a beautiful awareness. It is a very VERY powerful drug.
Here's the bright spot: IF you can find the strength to make it through two weeks of abstinence from refined sugar---You are poised to experience a life changing shift in perspective. The greater the affect on the addictive side of your brain--the greater the relief when you're clear of the effects.
There's a peace and calm up ahead. And it can give you the solid foundation you desire, enabling you to move forward. I understand, my friend. The compulsions with food, the thoughts and actions seem like they're not even of your own choosing, right?
It is scary.
I remember finding that drive through every night for a large ice cream shake and whatever other food I could pack in with it... and I felt like crying every time. It was scary because I knew I was seemingly losing everything dear to me--but I was doing it regardless.
That's a very tough place to be, mentally and emotionally.
Start as simple as you can.
Read ingredients lists, not the nutrition label... Because a product can have some naturally occurring sugars without having refined sugar. You'll find sugar in the ingredients. Also watch out for high fructose corn syrup (same effects, typically), evaporated cane juice and many other little alternate words for sugar. Mostly, if sugar is in it, it'll simply say "sugar."
Of course, the more foods you can eat without nutrition labels or the need for an ingredients list, the better! In other words, an egg is an egg, an apple is an apple... I call them "one ingredient foods." With those, there's no question!
It really depends on where you are along your personal evolution of food choices.
I promise you---you can do this. As lost as I was, I didn't think I could.
I was wrong.
You're going to make it.
I can really relate to an email like that. It's a beautiful thing when our awareness level gets high enough to identify and acknowledge what's really happening during extreme instability, binge behavior and the whole on again-off again pattern.
There's a reason why so many people I've spoken to who have long term weight-loss maintenance, also maintain their abstinence from refined sugar as part of their plan.
I want what they got. And I'm willing to do what they do to get it.
My Tweets Today:
Good morning! Medium roast coffee with two tablespoons half & half X 3 cups. 120 cal. pic.twitter.com/sfLEHvBiNF— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
Breakfast in MFP... pic.twitter.com/gFAcMsQwxs— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
2 whl eggs & 1 wht omelet w/127g avocado & topped w/2oz sirloin & 14g marble-jack. 6oz apple, 3.9oz orange. 640 cal. pic.twitter.com/agjWLyBRs8— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
Afternoon mug of coffee with three tablespoons half & half. 60 cal. pic.twitter.com/xLtQbQjkat— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
Late lunch in MFP... pic.twitter.com/40IK6LkHJw— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
When it comes to cooking at home or work: No half measures. Although, I will trim the sirloin down to 8oz. ;) pic.twitter.com/A16qDcOkmv— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
8oz sirloin, 90g mixed veggies, 296g red potato w/1 teaspoon garlic, 15g sr crm & 2 tablspns half & half. 677 cal. pic.twitter.com/zgaKpmjmWg— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
Workout time. Elliptical ride happens now. 2.5 cups water. #wateraccountability pic.twitter.com/3Ql2H3K9Yd— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 20, 2016
How it started for the lead singer of Flock of Seagulls: He finished a workout and thought, I like this hair style. pic.twitter.com/xiWkI2WsSK— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
30 minutes with the resistance cranked to level 20 and the knob ripped off. #greatworkout #feelsgood #endorphinrush pic.twitter.com/u5RsrLZ5CN— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
Okay, for gym management: The "...knob ripped off..." Was a non-literal expression. No damage done to equipment, only my hair. #sweatyman— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
Daddy/Daughter time. At theatre for live illusionist show!! We're ready to have our minds blown. Bring on the magic! pic.twitter.com/atGOc6KKqT— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
Appetizer: 12 tortilla chips & fresh salsa. 170 cal. pic.twitter.com/RN3iovBPXE— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
Dinner in MFP... pic.twitter.com/SssLwJN599— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
Three fajita beef crispy tacos w/6oz beef, three tablespoons sour cream, zucchini and lettuce. 524 cal. pic.twitter.com/vm7xFEUHWZ— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
4 cups water from earlier at dinner. Forgot to tweet! Exceeded #watergoal pic.twitter.com/2LvJWMejzo— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 21, 2016
Thank you for reading and your continued support,