Thursday, April 4, 2019

April 4th, 2019 Questions and Answers

April 4th, 2019 Questions and Answers

Yesterday was a 4-star day: I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

From Anonymous:
I really appreciate your one day at a time perspective on maintenance as well as learning about your 'rails of support' and the changes you are still making to strengthen your daily practice. I have two questions: 

1) I've noticed that you've not been posting first thing in the morning after your foundational morning practice. Is there a reason for your adjustment? 

2) When you say "refined" sugar-free, what does that mean? 

I know that I'm a sugar addict, for sure, and read labels carefully as do you. I'm also very lucky that because I do all the shopping and most of the cooking in my family, it should be "easier" for me to control what comes into the house, and my family is really supportive. Understandably, they would like some groceries with natural sugars. I do purchase fruit for my family, and try to stay away from it because it feeds the sugar monster in me. Fortunately, I am able to substitute veggies (because I've never met a single veggie I didn't like). The only other sweet stuff currently in our house is honey, and unfortunately, as much as I used my own distraction/support/meditation practices, I chose to get into the honey jar (not unlike a fictional bear I like). I take responsibility for my actions and understand that every person is different, but I wonder how you found out that natural sugars aren't a trigger for you? Thank you for sharing what works for you? I understand it may not work for me, but your experience is very useful.

Thank you for the questions, anonymous!

As far as the schedule, it seems lately I've been challenged in the sleep area and general schedule area. I stayed up past 12:30 last night waiting for weather coverage activation that ended up not happening. The 4:30am alarm comes quickly. But even on nights where the weather/job isn't a factor, I've been having issues going to sleep. It is one of the side effects of a new medicine I've been taking. Hopefully, it gets better--perhaps with a few intentional changes on my part, it will. This lack of sleep issue creates a rough start for me almost every morning. The morning foundation routine isn't compromised and the blog isn't a part of that routine, it's separate. I still do my foundational things for the day.

Here's what happened: I was feeling a considerable amount of anxiety about posting times of the blog. On mornings when I couldn't post prior to leaving for the studio, it would drive me nuts until it was done. Then, I just stopped putting that pressure on myself. I made a conscious decision to release that anxiety and simply post the blog when it works for me on a particular day. I'm not changing the goal--the goal is to write it and post a new edition in the mornings, but lately and for right now, the best I can do is what I'm doing.

Your next question about the refined sugar--yes indeed... refined white sugar is a drug to me. When I say "refined sugar" I'm talking about white refined sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and about eighteen other synonyms for sugar. The obvious places refined sugar is found is easy, sweets, of course-- the thing I do, just me--is, if I'm eating something with an ingredients list, I scan it for refined sugar. It's hidden in a lot of things that aren't as obvious. I don't look at the nutrition label because that lists the total grams of all sugars, naturally occurring and refined. I look at the ingredients list. To be fair, some people who are in a very successful personal recovery program do "5th ingredient or less." I heard someone speak recently who mentioned their practice is 4th ingredient or less. It's just up to the individual. My experience during relapse/regain was so powerful in demonstrating to me how my brain reacts to refined sugar, I just don't mess with it at all.

Naturally occurring sugar in fruit doesn't trigger me the same way. I've never felt compelled to binge on apple slices. Perhaps it's the fiber involved. I do find myself being a little more careful on high sugar/low fiber fruits such as bananas and seedless grapes. I rarely keep those things in my food plan available options, but when I do, like everything else--I weigh it to the gram or ounce. I don't fully understand the science behind it, but when sugar is refined it becomes a substance I can't handle without serious consequences.

It's something each person must discover about themselves. I know people who have successful practices without being abstinent from refined sugar. For me, it doesn't work like that.

I'm glad your family is supportive! That's a fantastic thing, A! And you love veggies--that's always a plus for a food plan. I'm not an all-veggie lover, but I have my favorites--and I enjoy the ones I enjoy!

Of course, abstaining from refined sugar is just one side of it for me. An abstinent food plan means not compulsively overeating. Binge eating and compulsively overeating doesn't need refined sugar to be triggered. All it needs is for me to believe the lie that more food will make whatever emotional or stressful thing or things, better. A day where I don't consume the substance that is refined sugar is great--and also, a day where I don't use food as a drug to buffer emotions, stress, or feelings of any kind, is great.   

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Practice, peace, and calm,
Sean

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