I know I shouldn’t be eating refined sugar anyway, since it’s certainly not paleo, primal, ancestral or anything else. But it’s my kryptonite, apparently, and completely kicking the habit has been tough. Sugar is very much one of those “feed forward” things for me. The more I eat, the more I want to eat. If I can just keep it out of my system for a while, the cravings subside, but then it will eventually try to sneak back in. So anyway, I’ve taken a new approach to the whole thing. I’m just not keeping it around. I took all the dark chocolate out of my desk, I stopped stocking my desk drawers with Larabars and Trio Bars (They’re great, but I don’t need to be eating several of them every day, by any means. And I was.), I’ve stopped buying my beloved So Delicious coconut milk ice cream, and all the rest. I did splurge a little and got a couple candy bars (Amy’s naturals something or other) on my last trip to Vitamin cottage. But for the most part, I’ve done very well ramping my sugar intake down considerably.
This is where I look at what used to be my normal, and what my new normal had become, and now what I’m trying to establish as my ongoing normal. I used to drink soda by the gallon. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. Literally, when I’d go play board games or something, I’d put down half a dozen (sometimes a full dozen) cans at the table over the course of a few hours. At a restaurant, I’d get a large glass with no ice and go through 4-6 of those. And that’s just one meal. I’d get a large or XL drink with my drive-through meal for lunch (no ice, of course). I’d also drink a couple cans at my desk at work many days, too. It really was insane how much sugar I was consuming, just in beverage format. Then, you add in the candy (probably averaging a pound a day, no exaggeration), the added sugars in all the processed foods I was eating, the white breads, the white rice, the white pasta… It’s mind-boggling, really. It’s simply luck that I hadn’t become diabetic. It’s also luck that I topped out at 250 lbs. With my diet, I could easily have gotten incredibly obese and nobody would have been surprised.
So then, I quit soda, after watching “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” about two and a half years ago. Cold turkey. My wife did, too. We would still have a shirley temple if we went to a nice dinner. That’s always been my favorite beverage, so I think of it like a glass of wine for people who don’t really drink, but want to kick their heels up a bit. I think I will probably continue to do that, since our “nice dinners out” are going to be happening on the order of once or twice a year once the baby’s born, I’m guessing. I like to pretend I’m a zealot, but really I’m pretty laid back about this stuff, overall. I just don’t eat foods that make me feel like butts or make my butt look like more butts than it ought to. That’s a pretty reasonable stance on all this, I think. Anyway, I was still eating candy, eating cheesecake, eating ice cream, etc. All I’d cut was the soda and juice, really. I was still far from healthy, by any stretch. I was eating deep-fried macaroni and cheese, chalupas, french fries dipped in ranch dressing, etc. Just thinking about it now makes me feel ill. But even so, I cut the soda and dropped some weight. Not a ton, but a little. I also started running more, as I figured out how to run like a human again.
That continued for a long time. Eventually, the running fell away and I slowly put the weight back on. I’ve never gone back to soda as a standard beverage, but all the other sugar in my diet continued unabated. So then, enter my paleo trial. For that first 30 days, I was pretty amazing, overall. I really just stopped eating sugar almost entirely, and had huge benefits all over the place. After a while, I started letting a little bit sneak back in here and there, and eventually got to the point I was just at recently. Eating half a bar of dark chocolate every day after lunch, having some coconut milk ice cream after dinner, etc. Compared to where I was, it’s like a drop in the ocean, but it’s more than I knew I should be eating, by a fair bit. So now I’m taking control of it again. I’m just going to keep less of it around, as that seems to help a lot. I’m going to avoid it as much as possible for a few weeks to help kill the cravings again. Might I still have a few squares of Green & Black’s 85% every now and again after that? Yeah, probably. But I’m going to try very hard not to let it get out of control again.
Okay, so what else is going on? Well for one, I seem to have settled into a pretty comfortable weight of 207-209. I’m thinking it might go down again now that I’ve cut the sugar, and I’m trying to add some sprinting into my routine. Incidentally, I tried to go run last night with my dog, and she was having none of it. She wanted to walk and sniff all leisurely-like, which was not what I had in mind. So when she got stubborn and put her butt down on the path, I scooped her up under one arm and carried her football style while I continued running. That worked pretty well, but then I’d look at her, with this absolutely serene expression on her face and those stumpy little legs dangling in the night air, and I started laughing too hard to keep going. I’d have to stop, put her down, and walk while I got my giggles in order, and then try to run with her again. She’d stop, I’d pick her up, wash, rinse, repeat until we got home. It was fun, but not the workout I was hoping for. So what I’ve decided to do with her is to put a long leash on her (30′ or so) and take her to the green belt near our house, and throw her ball for her. I’ll chase her around, she’ll chase me, we’ll have fun, we’ll both get a good workout, and all will be well. She loves it when I chase her around the back yard, but I can’t get a good head of steam up back there. It’s a good sized yard, but I’m like a freight train. I take a while to get going, and even longer to stop. So the green belt will work great. I can run all over with her, and if she gets too far I can always grab the long leash, if nothing else.
Other than that, not too much, really. Still working on the house, of course. Just put up a new post on the remodeling blog, here. That’s really taking most of my mental and physical energy these days. Just trying to hammer out the last few things before the baby man is born and everything else goes out the window.
Also, I do have some links for you. Because that’s just the kind of guy I am.
Lecturepad.org – I haven’t gotten to poke around in here too much, but Robb Wolf sounds very excited about it. And when he’s excited, I’m excited.
Gross Food – This is why we eat real food. Because nobody is sneaking rancid cockroach thoraxes into my grassfed steak.
Cinnamon French Toast Flatbread – I like this idea. It’s not going to be an every day thing (eggs and bacon are my go-to breakfast, usually with some fruit or nuts) but as a treat for my loving wife sometimes? The one who desperately loves and misses French Toast but isn’t eating it because she knows it’s bad for her and our baby. She’s awesome. Anyway, I’d love to find something that would work to satisfy those cravings for her that I can make at home out of quality ingredients. I hope this might be it!
I’ll sign off for now. Thanks for reading, everyone!