Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sugar Free

Normally Hopper likes to post his New Year’s Resolutions here on the blog on December 31st. Normally I extol the whys and hows and suchforth for each one, polishing the benefits for your approval.

Normally, they last a day or two.

Now, things are being done a little differently here at the Hopper. I did not post my resolutions. Indeed, I really didn’t have any concrete ones (other than, “get a day job” and “sell / write / publish some more books”). Going in to the evening of Thursday last, I had no idea what I specifically wanted to accomplish. In my frazzled mind, I wasn’t sure I wanted to accomplish anything.

However, a thought occurred to me alone in the house that afternoon (the wife took the little ones to see the new Star Wars flick). A while back – don’t recall exactly when – I was reading some self-improvement maximize productivity type stuff and recall someone writing – don’t recall exactly who – that getting things done really isn’t about Time Management.

It’s about Energy Management.

Since May, I’ve been quite active: walking the track and the streets, lifting the weights in the basement, kicking the soccer ball with the girls. It’s not always consistent, but a week doesn’t go by without me doing something. Usually a lot of things.

But I was still tired, flabby, achy, irritable. More so than what I would expect a middle-aged man in a moderate program of exercise to be experiencing. I’m not a doctor, but I know me. And this just didn’t fell right.

It had to be my diet.

I subsist on the Standard American Diet – SAD, for short. Lots of processed foods, lots of fast food, lots of fatty, sugary food. At least a Diet Coke a day. A whole pizza consumed slice-by-slice by the end of the week. Hamburgers. The occasional Chinese take-out. When I’m home watching the girls, Cheese Macs are a staple. As is pasta in various permutations. The only time I really eat healthy is when the Mrs. cooks, and with her job – the travel, the NYC commute – that isn’t often.

So I’ve gained weight. Probably twenty-five, thirty pounds above and beyond what should be normal for a man my size. Four-five permanent pounds a year over the past six-seven years. Imagine the fatigue of lugging around a 25-pound iron plate all day. Worse, imagine all that fat and sugar and excess gunk clogging my veins and arteries and God-knows-what else. And even worse than that, my poor body trying to get through a hectic, stressful life fueled by that crap.

You can’t run a Ferrari with a gas tank filled with cheese, as they say.

That’s what I realized on New Year’s Eve.

Originally (the first couple of hours leading up to the Ball dropping), I was only going to cut out the Diet Coke and Pizza combo. I did a pretty good job of this the first half of the summer and felt fairly energized.

Then the thought popped into my head: Why not go all the way?

Well, becoming a hardcore raw vegan is too great a step for SAD old me, at least at this stage. But surely there was a compromise somewhere …

Sugar. Over the years I have heard and read so many bad things about it. So bad, in fact, that you should just substitute the word “Poison” for it. Picture yourself in the grocery store and the kids pick out a really sugary cereal. “Hmm,” you say, turning the box over to look at the ingredients. “How many grams of poison are in each serving?”

The problem is that sugar is in everything. Everything. But I thought I could make some strides in eliminating the excessive sugar in my diet by following these simple rules:

Eat nothing processed / out of a box

Eat nothing “white” (pasta, bread)

Drink no Diet Cokes and no beer

Eat no pizzas – or any other fast food for that matter

Increase my intake of fruits, veggies, and nuts

And that’s it.

For the past seven days, I’ve pretty much stuck with it. I’m not a Gandhi with my internal discipline, so if I mess up, no biggie, as long as I get back on track. I had some tortellinis one night. Raviolis for lunch a few days ago. Just not with sugary tomato sauce.

But – no Diet Coke. No pizza. No fast food of any kind. Nothing out of a box. Every morning I have my Quaker Oats natural with half an organic apple cut up into it coated with cinnamon. I snack on nuts and grapes. (Not “grape nuts”.) Hard boiled eggs and tuna after a workout. I’ve eaten four salads. In the past, it would have taken me four months to eat four salads. No cookies, candies, ice cream, granola bars.


As of this morning, six full days, I am minus-five pounds since December 31st.

However, and it’s a big however, there were some pretty strong detox effects from Demon Sugar.

I had no energy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Absolutely none. Monday I took three thirty-minute naps. Tuesday an hour-long one. Wednesday I did not nap, but experienced something far worse than fatigue. A dreadful black cloud settled on me, much more intense than I ever felt before. It came in around ten in the morning and didn’t leave until I picked up the girls around three. Such dread, despair, and blackness. I felt the urge to weep. Intellectually, I knew this was a (weird) side effect of detoxing from a drug, a very, very, very powerful drug, but man, were those feelings strong and frightening.

Those were Days Four, Five, and Six. Today, Day Seven, I felt alright both physically and psychologically. In fact, unexpectedly chipper and upbeat – I actually flashed my pearly whites to many people in my travels today and started up a few conversations.

Now I’m just waiting for that Energy to kick in. I need it.

For that “get a day job” “write / publish / sell more books” stuff.

P.S. In case you’re interested, I’ll keep you posted now and then on how the Anti-Sugar Lifestyle is coming along. Especially if I suddenly do shift into higher gear.

P.P.S. If you’re really interested in the Anti-Sugar thing, go to youtube and search for “Lustig” and “sugar”. It’s ninety minutes long, but it’s quite enlightening.

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