Viewing Category: My Personal Journal

Sugar, Website, Halloween, Oh my!

Candy Corn

Happy Halloween 2014!

Stop Being Sweet is still alive. This year I took a break from blogging that lasted way longer than expected.

Last year ended with getting married and eating sugar during the holidays. Then in June, I went to the East coast with my wife to celebrate our marriage & my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I ate cake and some other junk food on that trip.

On the way home—thanks to lightening storms and Spirit Airlines—Gwenn and I got stuck in Chicago for three days. We ate Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes in Chicago. After we left, we promised each other that next time we’re in a new city we will continue to eat healthy foods. We figured that would force us to search out the hidden gems instead of falling into the sweetened tourist traps.

Over the summer we celebrated my father-in-law’s 90th birthday with a three day trip to Washington. As you might have guessed, I ate some some ice cream (and some Nutella) but didn’t get too crazy.

Despite breaking my annual pattern of only eating sweets four days out of every year, I avoided sugary foods in between the above mentioned transgressions.

I craved sugar shortly after eating the junk but the cravings weren’t as strong (or didn’t seem to be) as in the past. Also, having written about sugar for years means I am better equipped to deal with the cravings now more than ever.

Unstuck and On Track

My break from blogging ended up lasting a lot longer than I ever expected. What happened is that I ended up going down the rabbit hole that is redesigning my website. I’ve mentioned before that I have a tendency toward obsessive/compulsive behaviors and this year was pretty sticky.

For some reason the endless color choices, layout options, and interactive possibilities draw me in and take over my brain. Next thing I know, days, weeks, and months have passed and I’m still trying to find the perfect font.

Talking about this is not comfortable but it doesn’t help to pretend it’s not there. Being honest and up front about it seems to make a positive difference. It’s a bit like how when you write down or tell your story you can then see it as something that is outside of you—something you can manipulate rather than letting it manipulate you.

How to Break Through a Block

The way I broke out of my spiraling cycle was to follow the principles of minimalism. You can cut out sugar in the very same way. Here are some of my lessons:

  • Take things one day at a time. Many little positive actions consecutively add up to a successful and rewarding practice.
  • You don’t come out fully formed. Life is an imperfect process that is not all or nothing.
  • Get things rolling by starting with something small. Celebrate the little successes.
  • Focus on the most important thing until you make it a habit and that you don’t have to think about anymore.
  • If you get hung up on something, think of it like a bump in the wood. Sand it away and get rid of it.
  • Your goal is part of a process that will never be perfect. It can only be more or less efficient.
  • Open up and talk about it! Find someone or somewhere and discuss it. You can’t get help you if pretend you don’t need help.

For the next four days I’ll have some chocolate covered pretzels and peanuts, some ice cream, and probably whatever comes my way serendipitously. I don’t want to overdo it because I already feel gross just from eating a little candy today.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll be pouring my energy back into this site. Thanks for reading and do check back!

End of 2013: How I Got Married and Jumped Off the Sugar-Free Wagon

Us

Gwenn and I got married! Though we had a simple civil ceremony, the past few months had us preoccupied with planning our wedding. Knowing that we’d be out of town to celebrate, I chose to indulge.

It started with a little bit of wedding cake. After that I decided to have dessert when we ate dinner out. That led to some ice cream. Then there were free chocolate chip and M&M cookies in the hotel lobby. Two days into my debauchery, I was craving my trigger foods and planning where to buy the next day’s sweets.

From December 23rd through December 31st I ate whatever I wanted, which included a few packages of chocolate covered pretzels. How quickly I digressed into old habits! My parents were in from out of town so we went out for some ice cream. I went back a few days later.

Eating an ice cream cookie.

On New Year’s Eve, I planned to purchase and eat chocolate covered pretzels but they were out of stock when I visited my local supermarket. That left me standing in the candy aisle staring at an array of other junk foods, many of which I hadn’t considered in years.

The new Wild Berry flavor of Pop Tarts contain eight pastries in a box instead of the six I remember from my youth. There were also $10 bags of assorted chocolates that contained 50 individually wrapped pieces. I walked to the cookie aisle and considered buying some Lorna Doone cookies, which used to be one of my favorite snacks back when I’d eat sugar daily.

While standing there trying to decide what to eat instead of chocolate covered pretzels, it happened that some people smiled as they passed me. It seemed as if they were laughing directly at my misfortune, smugly mocking me because they knew the “Stop Being Sweet guy” had fallen from grace. Maybe they were chuckling at my expression, or more than likely something else entirely. Clearly I was feeling out of place in the sweet section of the store.

The sugar-free-for-the-majority-of-the-year part of me won out. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything other than the chocolate covered pretzels that were out of stock, so I left the store empty handed and planned to find them someplace else. By eight o’clock that night I left Gwenn waiting in the car as I ran into various convenience stores to search for chocolate covered pretzels. That was after we had a delicious dinner with dessert at Blossoming Lotus restaurant here in Portland. At midnight I was so full it was a thrill to go back to a sugar-free lifestyle and stay there. Goodbye sugar. See you next Halloween!

Four Days of Sweetness 2013

I abstain from sweets all but from Halloween ‘til November 3rd annually. This is my personal sustainable sugar abstinence plan. It works for me.

Here’s how it’s gone over the past eight years:
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

This year I ate sugar as I always do. After the past four days, my body is screaming at me. Actually, it’s more like my body is exhausted. I don’t want sweets anymore and have been feeling the effects of the sugar since last Friday. It’s 9 am on Monday morning and I feel tired and heavy.

Physical Reactions:

  • Crusty Eyes - When I woke up in the morning, the corner of my eyes had crust in them. Haven’t felt that in a while!
  • Thirst - Most of the sweet foods I ate were dry but also filled with sugar. The result was thirst.
  • Gas - As in a painful, bloated belly.
  • Tired - Sugar saps my energy.
  • Irritable Tension - Little things annoyed me. I wanted to snap.
  • Depression - Every year, I find myself feeling depressed in the middle of, or by the end of, my four days of sweetness.

What I Ate:

3 home-made chocolate chip cookies (a gift), 3 sleeves of McViddies Digestives (2 chocolate covered), chocolate mousse, 1 pumpkin shaped Reece’s peanut butter cup, 2 chocolate Voodoo doughnuts, chocolate ice cream at Salt and Straw and at Ruby Jewel (Ruby Jewel was better), Trader Joe’s chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered peanuts (not good ones), Trader Joe’s chocolate peanut butter cups, and chocolate chip cookies (home-made by Gwenn). On Saturday we went to some open art studios here in Portland. There were tons of snacks. I ate chocolate covered potato chips, Reece’s peanut butter cups, a Rolo, several varieties of Hershey’s kisses, KitKat, Mr. Goodbar, really good chocolate brownies, a slice of chocolate doughnut, and a variety of chocolate cookies.

I’m glad I ate sweets but I’m even more excited to stop eating them. Rather than considering skipping next year (as I often do at the end of my four days) I am thinking about not purchasing any sweets and instead only eating what is offered to me. Who knows, though. By next year I’ll probably want to eat something sugary again. Until then, no thanks.

Stop Being Sweet Turns 8!

Happy Halloween!

I started Stop Being Sweet eight years ago and what a trip it’s been!

If you’re new to my blog, I only eat sweets 4 days out of every year. I start today, on Halloween, and keep going until November 3rd, which is my birthday. Initially I thought I’d do this just for one year, but it worked so well that it seemed logical to continue and now eight years have gone by.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that, “Sugar is like Jr. High School. The further you get from it, the easier it is to forget all about it.” Sure I’ve slipped up several times, but I just got back on track

Truthfully, when I began Stop Being Sweet, it was kind of a joke. I wasn’t interesting in becoming a health guru (but still felt a kind of magic when I registered the domain name). The greatest unexpected result of writing this blog is that I’ve come in contact with people from all over the world who also struggle with sugar addiction. Basically, I realized I’m not alone.

Your encouragement, support, and requests for help have kept me working to give back and help others. In 2014 I will be rolling out new services which include meetings, an updated book, and online coaching.

So, I’m eating sweets today and for the next three days as I have every year since 2005. This year I’ve got a few places I want to visit including Voodoo Doughnuts and Salt and Straw ice cream to see what all the fuss is about.

October 30, 2013: Almost There

I walked into Whole Foods tonight. Realizing that I will eat sweets over the next few days, I wandered into the bakery section of the store. That area was completely new to me. The assortment of breads, pastries, cookies, and cakes was astonishing. How people manage to not spend their entire paycheck in there every single day is beyond me.

With a sweet-eating-grin on my face, I walked past the candy aisle where some guy looked at me as if I was a crazy person who needed to be avoided. My beard and my hoodie does that sometimes, but usually on dark streets late at night. I took my menacing appearance and left without buying anything. It’s a Stop Being Sweet rule to never go food shopping while hungry—especially when entering my Four Days of Sweetness!

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About David

After a weekend-long sugar binge in 2003, I realized my problem was very real. It took some time but I finally figured out a way to stay off sweet junk food for good! Read more.

Quit Sugar?

Don’t quit sugar. Stop Being Sweet instead! Questions? Please ask.