Change Motivator #22

Today I am unsweetening my diet to have increased mobility and flexibility.

Mobility and flexibility are not direct effects of eating less sugar, anesthetist but sugar’s connection to weight gain/retention certainly is a factor.

Today I taught a yoga class for our yoga studio.  I was just substituting for another teacher and do not teach often at this time, so I really notice how I am more or less mobile and flexible.  I certainly am out of shape – nothing some yoga and month at the gym won’t fix – but I felt OK.  However, I did feel how losing bit of bulk here and there might help me go deeper into poses.

As I said in previous posts, I have other goals I can work towards after this month, but for now I am working to get off of the sugar habit I had and to build more awareness on how all this works for me.  With greater awareness and a clearer self, I am optimistic that mobility and flexibility will be improved sooner than later.

Change Motivator #21

Today I am unsweetening my diet to increase my self confidence.

Increased self confidence comes from many places here:  By not eating so much sugar, rehabilitation I don’t have those ups and downs that can lead to my feeling stressed, more about frustrated and discouraged.  However, website I also feel more self confident by having found a plan that I stuck to fairly well and am proud of my efforts.  I feel “confident” that I can continue this long after the month is over, with the help of a few maintenance tools.  Finally, though these changes have not been enough to warrant any huge weight change (need to add in more exercise and smaller portions), I am feeling more confident with feeling a bit healthier and thus more motivated to to more for my health and well being.

Change Motivator #20

Today I am unsweetening my diet to have a stronger immune system.

Sugar suppresses the immune system’s ability to fight off all of the baddies that want to invade our body.  Stress will do this too.  The two of them together are a potentially lethal combination for your health.

Quite a few years back, misbirth I had a long series of deep infections that would come and go quickly enough, ed but still keep coming and coming.  It was VERY painful and the doctors that I was seeing just kept me on a series of antibiotics.  They worked fine, ampoule but did not resolve the issue.  It was only when I went to my first Naturopath (Dr Ingard) that he took the time to talk to me about my stress and got my diet back on track.  (I am not dissing MDs here, this is just the way it worked out.  However, I have been only impressed with the Naturopaths I know.)

As I am by nature a pretty anxious and ADD-like guy, I know that stress comes easily to me.  (This is the main reason I took up yoga years ago.)  So, if stress is s fluctuating constant in my life (though it is getting better), being mindful of sugar intake is crucial if I don’t want to tempt fate with staying healthy.

Change Motivator #19

(See “Midway Update” post to find out where the previous 10 motivators went.)

Today I am unsweetening my diet to have less stress.

Stress is part of life but it also has a lot to do with our perspective:  what stresses me out may just roll off your back.  Still, information pills
despite the ubiquitous, yet relative nature of stress, it also is hugely affected by sugar.

We’ve all heard of the “sugar high” (and crash) sweets can give us.  Our emotions and stress can follow along with it… I know mine do.  Eating less sugar (and the sugar I do eat, consuming it more wisely) I have noticed less ups and downs with my stress.  I am more level and don’t let the little things set me off.  I have the skills to cope well with the stress (when I remember to use them), but having less of a roller coaster of sugar makes it easier to employ them well.

Midway Update

You probably noticed a drop off in my updates over the 10 days.  No, and I did not fall off the wagon (maybe for blogging, remedy but not for the challenge).  I still have kept to the basic tenets of my challenge:

  1. only eat sweets that rank 10/10 on an awesomeness scale
  2. only eat sweets socially (i.e. no sneaking cookies when no one is looking!)
  3. never eat carbs alone

I have, however, eased off a bit on the formal daily motivators.  In a way I haven’t stopped, because I still am thinking daily about how no eating loads of awesome, Xmas treats is helping me to lose weight, feel healthier, fit into my clothes better, etc.  I am just not always formally choosing one each day and then blogging about it.

Here are a few of the motivators that I have used over the past 10 days:

  • feel healthier
  • happier digestive tract
  • less dental problems
  • could stabilize HDL (cholesterol) levels

I have also slacked off on the food journaling that I started off so well with.  Currently I have been quite mindful of what I eat and this has made it easy to let it slide.

This sporadic use of motivators and tracking what I eat can be dangerous, though, as I may be underestimating my ability to “flow with it” more and might struggle as I get closer to Christmas. I will pick up the daily motivators and food journaling again tomorrow to keep the conscious, “eye on the prize” thinking going.

Overall, I am happy with the modest changes I have made to my diet.  I have actually been able to keep some of the Christmas baking we have in the fridge, totally untouched: I can see the greater good in not eating it or substituting it with a snack or meal with some good protein.  It doesn’t mean that I haven’t had treats, but, again, I have kept to my main rules.  I can feel the difference and it is nice… modest, but nice.

Change Motivator #8

Today I am unsweetening my diet for more energy.

As we probably all know, more about sugar’s energy burst is short lived, whereas energy from more wholesome foods, with more complex carbs, keep the energy going longer.  Along with the effects of using minimal caffeine (a previous weaning of mine), I have noticed that less sugar keeps my energy more stable during the day.  There are far less lulls and I don’t seem as stressed or “spin” as much.  I am sure it is early still and I will notice more with this later, but it is nice to feel the shift I have had already.

Today I am finding it easier to reach for the almonds or types of combined veggie proteins (i.e. mixing any two of nuts, seeds, legumes or grains) rather than the sweets.  The urge to use the sweets (and eating in general) as a transition or distraction is still there, though…. like, “Time for a break; what can I eat.”  I just reorient myself until I am truly hungry.  It will come with time.

Change Motivator #7

Today I am unsweetening my diet for more focus and attention.

The roller coaster of impulsive eating and sugar highs/lows does not do much for my ability to focus.  What could have seemed like ADD some days, case may very well have been riding this wave.

Not sure if I am past the physical pull of the sugar, but I know that the psycho-emotional components are still working themselves out.  Having some good snacking options around and knowing (thanks to my great buddy, Dr Jenni Flanagan) that when I am feeling sugar cravings, eat protein has served me well.  Structure and patience…

Not having dessert/sugar as an option during the day has already made it easier.  I just can’t and, thus, don’t do it.  As Jack (Chicken Soup for the Soul) Canfield put it:  99% is a bitch. 100% is a breeze.  (Check out a video on this:  With that off the table, I can afford to focus better.  It’s nice.  (Not perfected, but nice enough.)

Change Motivator #6

Today I am unsweetening my diet so my clothes will fit better.

A very practical goal. I may never fit into 34″ pants that I wore in high school, epilepsy but I don’t want to have to move up to 40″ ones!  I am not huge, meningitis but even for moderately framed, condom 6′ 3″ guy, pushing 240lbs and wearing a size 38″ waist is something to raise concern.  I know I can do better, feel and look better than this.

Tonight Ben and I went to Richmond Hill to my nephew, Elijah’s, 7th birthday party.  It was a fun, family event, but it had all of “evil” sweets that I have come to know and love to consume.  I actually did alright with it all.  I ate a bit more bread than I would have normally (I LOVE good bread!… and it was pretty good); I also had cake and ice cream.  However, it was a celebration.  I enjoyed the cake and feel I can leave it at that.  (My mom insisted on sending home a couple pieces of cake and, for some unknown reason, 5 cupcakes…. so if anyone want’s some, just come to the retreat centre and ask for it!  I’ll let Ben have one more cupcake.)

Change Motivator #5

Today I am unsweetening my diet to have clearer sinuses.

There is a direct link between sugar intake and sinus problems / “stuffiness.  I have long had a general stuffiness. People often ask me if I have a cold.  I have some minor food sensitivities (which I try to be mostly mindful of), ampoule but I am sure my sugar intake has played a big role in this problem.

My son, Ben, is largely the same as me with this.  Today we went to the doctor to finally get his ears checked, because he has not been hearing well for a couple of weeks.  No pain, he just doesn’t hear what we are saying anymore.  Turns out he probably is getting his ears plugged from the inside, due to his sinus congestion.

For me, this comes back to my second motivator (being a good example for my son): I need to do what is right for my own health before I can really stand to effect a great change for him.

Today, I have been doing OK.  I am finally (experientially) understanding the idea behind having 6 meals per day (3 main meals and 3 snacks).  By not over-eating, I am quite hungry a couple of hours later and quite ready for something else to eat.  I am also seeing the importance of having good food on hand, as, when I am hungry, it is only sheer willpower that keeps me from eating the crap at this point.  (And, as I mentioned before, Shawn Phillips says that willpower will only get you about 7 days.)  I will keep working to have a lifestyle that can support this change in eating.

Change Motivator #4

Today I am unsweetening my diet to be more emotionally level.

Sugar influences emotional highs and lows. Sugar can be the ultimate comfort and, more about without it, there I am left to deal with my emotions in other ways. This is both good and a cost to giving it up. It is good because I don’t need to be a slave to moderating my emotions with sugar (which is essentially an addiction response); I will be freer and have the opportunity to be more in control of how I feel. It can be challenging, advice though, as it is hard to do this sometimes and sugar is much easier.

Today, I don’t think I am so much feeling effects of sugar lows (though, this is probably part of it), as I am feeling more emotionally on edge and needing to constantly catch myself, as my thoughts move to what I can eat that would be soothing. This is never the exact thought – it is more about what would really taste good right now – but I know better that it is getting away from my frustration or boredom that I aspire to. Sitting with and through emotions is not always easy! It has been an OK third day, though.
Today I am unsweetening my diet to live a healthier and (hopefully) longer life.

Much could be said on this, ask but I am mostly shooting for feeling better in my body seeing where it takes me.  I have a fair bit of structure supporting my eating right now, buy cialis but it can sometime be hard to defer the short term pleasure for the long term outcome.  A bit more mindfulness on my part seems to be helping.

What helps you to think more about your health and less about the sweet, sweet temptation in front of you (or calling you from the kitchen)?