As I walk through the grocery store now, I don’t feel the same psychological pull toward specific cereal brands, ice cream, cookies, or other sugar laden treats. While it’s likely still possible for me to snuggle up with a package or oreos and a glass of milk, my brain doesn’t see the point any longer. Don't worry, I’m not going off the deep end here and vowing never to eat sugar again, but it’s like I can see the sugar “matrix” and I realize that foods that were important to me at one time, now don’t have the same impact.
A good example of this would be the holidays, any holiday in fact. If you’re like me, each holiday has become associated with a particular food or dessert; so much so in fact, that the food soon overtakes the holiday itself. I couldn’t imagine a Thanksgiving without thinking about homemade rolls and stuffing. Halloween time was when I craved a few bags of mallowcreme pumpkins and candy corn. Fourth of July was about brownies and cookies. Easter was about a solid milk chocolate bunny and some Cadbury mini eggs. Birthdays were about ice cream and cake. Maybe this thought process from over the years makes me a shallow person, but I can’t imagine I’m alone with these food connections. The pull of holidays and food is so strong in fact, that I have actually put off being healthy in my life because of the timing of a holiday. Sure I might have wanted to be healthier starting December 1st, but I would quickly talk myself out of it because it would be “too hard” with all the sweets around that I wanted to devour.
Now it’s different, like the mental link between the holiday and the food has been broken. My wife asked me what we should do for Easter today and I realized I hadn’t put any money aside for a special shopping trip to get a brown sugar glazed ham with pineapple rings, stuffing, roll mix, pie mix and countless other things that normally would be sitting in our fridge at this point. I even mentioned that I don’t have any desire to see my normal chocolate bunny and candy assortment in the basket this year. This isn’t because I have more willpower than the average human, (which I can promise I don’t), but because those foods just don’t matter any longer.
I almost feel bad for my kids because even though I don’t have an issue with them getting some sweets from the Easter bunny, he definitely won’t be bringing the typical haul. Of course, I ask myself if I should even feel bad about not feeding my kids a ton of candy? Does every holiday need to be etched into their brains with its candy counterpart. Do we “deserve” sweets just because of a day on a calendar and the mass marketing of candy companies? The “me” of two months ago actually suggested that our family should shift back Easter one week, so it wouldn’t fall in March when I was trying my experiment and then I could still have a solid chocolate bunny. Now I realize how crazy that sounds, shifting a holiday so I can celebrate it with chocolate. This is the power that sweets had over my life. Holidays were ruled by yummy treats and any good deal on them was a sign from God that I should stock up and eat up.
Again, it’s hard to describe my current mental state after so many days in my experiment, but it’s different. I’m at a point now where I’m addicted to the results I’m experiencing, as much as I was addicted to pizza and cookies. It’s like I’ve been deprogrammed from some candy cult and realize how crazy my previous beliefs were. My body feels better, my self-image has improved, and at times I think I actually feel weight loss, like it’s burning off and I’m watching it go. True, I started this experiment as a test of my mental state and addiction levels to sugar, but it’s become something else that encompasses my entire body after just three weeks. My thirty-one day challenge may very well stretch out for a longer period of time.
What I ate today
- Eggs and sausage for breakfast. (I’m actually surprised no one has commented yet that they feel I eat too many eggs.) I did some research and think I’m still well within the safe threshold of egg eating.
- After a workout at the gym, my sixth one if you’re counting along, I decided to have some apple slices and peanut butter. It’s a tasty treat, but I will admit that peanut butter does have sugar in it. I decided to only use a tablespoon of peanut butter and then heat it up so it was more on the liquidy side. This helped me stretch it out over one and a half apples. I’m pretty comfortable the fiber in the apples canceled out the minor bit of sugar in the peanut butter.
- Lunch was left over pork loin from last night, along with the broccoli. I laid it all out on some Keenwah, (which I should start spelling right for as much as I talk about it).
- Dinner was seasoned chicken chunks with cauliflower, along with a small bowl of applesauce, no sugar added, of course.
Onward to day twenty-five as I enter the final week of the month.