The Problem and the Plan
It’s hard to avoid sugar when many common foods secretly contain loads of it.
You know that eating an excess of sugar will derail your fitness progress and quickly lead to an increase in body fat, but recent studies are proving that sugar is much more dangerous than we once thought.
Your risk of heart attack doubles when 20 percent or more of your calories come from sugar, according to a new study published in JAMA International Medicine.
The challenge is in turning away from the stuff. Perhaps some intoxication will help? Here’s our plan – and please leave your “intentionality” at the door.
The Proud Intoxication of Renunciation
Have you ever tasted “the proud intoxication of renunciation?” This quaint phrase comes from Wind, Sand and Stars by a French aviator of the pre-World War II era with the melodic name of Antoine de Saint Exupery.
He used this phrase to describe his emotions when leaving familiar comforts behind as he prepared for his first night flight from Paris to Morocco. “I walked between rows of lighted shop-windows, and those windows on that night seemed a display of all that was good on earth, of a paradise of sweet things. In the sight of all this happiness, I tasted the proud intoxication of renunciation. I was a Warrior in danger.”
Sounds cold and somewhat monastic. The proud intoxication of renunciation. Yet this provides, fellow Warriors, an application for us as we look at the things that we do that in the end do not please us with their results. I’m mainly talking sugar, here, the over-ingestion thereof, and the resulting padding ‘round your tummy, but the application applies to any approach/avoidance decision you face. We’ll use sugar as a prototype, shall we?
Sugar comes in two simple ways – a) in plain sight, and b) hidden in plain sight. Both are deadly to your weight and health. If we dwell at length on the first kind handling the second kind will come easier – you just have to learn to spot the stuff.
Happily – with proper respect for the wonderful Tony Robbins – you don’t need massive action to handle sugar. You need a plan, keeping in mind what General Patton said: A good plan today is better than a perfect plan next week. Let’s come up with a pretty good plan, much like Garrison Keillor’s Pretty Good Grocery Store, and leave massive action for elephants and, I dunno, glaciers or something.
By now your question is, “If it’s not massive action, what’s the plan?” The simple answer: Make a decision to walk towards the light. Take a small step. Then take it again. Here’s why.
You live at the mercy of your decisions, not your intentions. Decisions are here and now, intentions are for the future. If you say, “I will quit drinking,” you have not quit drinking yet, no? Change that to, “I decide right now that I am not one who drinks,” then of course you are no longer a drinker. Applies to candy bars, sugared drinks, and all the other things that, in their results, make you unhappy.
Not “I intend to win this,” but “I am winning this.” Not “I will lose weight,” but “I am losing weight.” With this mind in you, failure is not an option. You have chosen success.
This differs, of course, from “I have decided to walk on Mars.” Maybe you will, but lots of things outside your control will have to be in place. Happily, weight loss and fitness are within your reach because the decision to get there resides entirely within you and you alone.
I hasten to say that we’re talking problem eating and drinking, here. Things with sugar are not bad in themselves – although there is a decadent chocolate, as we all know – it is the abuse of them that we fight. I happen to love a cold soda at the end of a great day of skiing, even if it snowed all day. But routinely having a soda with lunch would be, for me, stupid.
Motivation, Intentions, and the Road from Sugar
If you are trying to lose weight, or gain fitness, or kick a habit, in the time of crisis you search for motivation and, frankly, most of the time find it lacking. When you are faced with that piece of See’s chocolate, or sugary drink, or ________ (fill in your blank) all your good intentions fail.
We often feel powerful and strong when we’re not faced with temptation, and that’s good and you are true to yourself to feel that way. Rejoice – that’s the real you! You ARE powerful, the Warrior Within is indeed strong. Enjoy it! But then comes the battle and through its smoke and noise you see the waiter deliver the syrup-laced white plate with a warm brownie melting the ice cream melting on a warm and you feel weakness and confusion, and self-doubt overwhelms your good intentions.
Fellow Warrior, in the midst of battle is no time to muster your intentions. This is the time to live by the prior decisions you made when all was calm.
Make a decision NOW, when you are not facing two helpings of sugar, so that when you next face sugar you can say, “No, that decision has already been made. That is not me.” That way you can have all the sugar you want – only you have already decided that you don’t want any.
You are not denying something, you are walking towards the light – in this case, the fitness and longer life (Lord willing) that comes from your lighter body. You won’t miss those extra pounds as you enjoy your new health. You are walking towards health.
Small Steps on the Road – Over and Over
Make your decision. Write it down, date it. Write the small step that you will take. When temptation comes, take that small step. Repeat that step again, and again. Your small steps will lead to something huge, and along the way you will thrill to the “proud intoxication of renunciation.” Sugar is addictive, but enjoying your right decisions is more addictive. Your new-found freedom will give you, perhaps for the first time in years – a joy and a proper pride in who you are.
Then, when you are enjoying the fruits of a life free from addiction, you can enjoy a lovely chunk of chocolate decadence swimming in whipped cream. It won’t be “Death by Chocolate” but freedom for chocolate. It will be your decision, and you’ll be happy with it.
Some final instructions, here. You are in a war. Wars have many battles. Don’t fret losing some along the way. This is a war you will win – If you decide to win. It is ALL up to you. Decide to win, believe it. Stay in the fight, enter into the Victory – it is yours.
Nice work, Warrior!
Here, then, are some traps to watch out for along the way.
- Fruit Yogurt
Yogurt is packaged and marketed as a diet food for women, which is outrageous. The pretty little packages may be low in fat, but just one serving contains a whopping 19 grams of sugar.
2. Pasta Sauce
This one may come as a surprise, since pasta sauce is considered to be a savory food, but alas, it has loads of sugar hiding in it. For every half a cup of store bought pasta sauce you’re ingesting 12 grams of sugar.
3. Agave Nectar
Many think of agave nectar as a free pass, since it has been so cleverly marketed as a health food, but sadly this sweetener is just as dangerous as white sugar. Agave nectar is 85% fructose.
4. Dried Fruit
Yes, even our fruit isn’t safe anymore. Most companies are adding extra sugar in with their dried fruit, making it as sweet as candy. Just 1/3 of a cup contains 24 grams of sugar.
5. Granola Bars
It may boast wholesome, whole grains on the package, but your favorite granola bar is hiding a sickly sweet secret. The average packaged granola bar contains 12 grams of sugar.
6. Energy Drinks
When you need an afternoon pick-me-up, think twice before reaching for that energy drink. Mega energy drinks contain up to 83 grams of sugar.
7. BBQ Sauce
There’s a reason that those BBQ chicken wings are finger licking good…all that sugar it’s hiding. A 2 Tablespoon serving will set you back 13 grams of sugar. Start eliminating the sugar-packed foods in your diet today. Your body and your heart will both be in better shape for it.
And let’s not forget the place that a challenging, consistent exercise program has in your quest for good health and a fit physique. My programs are specially designed to blast fat and to build muscle in all the right places.
Call or email me today to get started on a fat loss program that really works.