Sugar … and losing that “Lovin’ Feelin'”

 

Michaelangelo's Italian "The David" on loan to the US, after some time spent in this country

Michelangelo’s Italian “The David” on loan to the US, after some time spent in this country

You might know a woman who doesn’t care about her weight or shape….but I don’t.

Yet our bodies keep getting bigger and bigger and unhealthier and unhealthier. Waistlines have expanded and expanded and by now I believe the pundits say, about half of Americans are obese and we’re headed for 100% I guess.

More’s the pity that many of us seem to have lost that “lovin’ feeling” for life, and lost our focus on good health, on maintaining zip and vigor, and on pursuing a positive presentation and outlook. We forget how to be gracious human beings and lovingly supportive of others who care to do so, even if we do not.

Some  get bogged down in dissing others who take time to look and feel fine and keep in shape, like those recounted in a recent social media post I read. One of my clients had taken the time to doll herself up, put on a selection from her growing wardrobe of gorgeous custom corsets, and show off her fabulous curves for a girl’s night out. However, she was confounded when she was roundly dissed by her unappreciative girlfriends.

That my client was surprised and disappointed by those negative comments was the surprise to me. They should have been expected:

MirrorgraphicThe reflection of someone taking care of herself and looking fine holds up a mirror to our own failures. Someone else looking fine  points out our own misdirections in life and health, even if a negative response also has to do with petty jealously. We don’t much like that mirror, and often don’t respond in a self-enlightened and helpful way.

A LUMP OF SLUDGE, EGO, AND THE RIGHT TEACHER AT THE RIGHT TIME

So, what helps us to become self-enlightened, to get concerned about going in the wrong direction, and to begin to reverse the trend for ourselves? What helps us to let others live peaceably with their own decisions and to support positive change when it occurs in our friends? What helps us to change our destructive habits?

I’m pretty sure of two things by this point after 20 years of studying corset waist-training, nutrition,  dieting, and motivation. I’m sure that positive change has a lot to do with ego and that it starts at home.

Maybe positive change has to do with three things: (1) Ego, (2)  starting with oneself…and (3) running across the right teacher at the right time.

A month ago I ran into a listing for  the new book “I Love Me More Than Sugar” by Barry Friedman when reading the Book section of my Sunday New York Times. Out of a passing curiosity I decided to purchase a copy just before leaving on an early-June two-week camping vacation, and take it along as one of several choices to pass the time on any given warm sunny day I might choose to sit under a tree at our campsite in Yellowstone, and read. I could possibly pick up some interesting new learning about sugar, right? Might be able to help me help one of my waist-training coaching program students in the future, right?

Only I found out that it actually helped me. At least so far, at least after one week.

I returned last Sunday feeling like a lump of sludge from a s’mores-filled vacation with occasional relief found at the campsite general store in individual-portioned boxes of New York style cheesecake, and the ubiquitous home-made fudge that somehow jumped into my shopping bag at the de riguer candy shop that appears in every single Old West town in America that I know, fudge that shortly thereafter jumped right into my mouth. Delicious fudge. Gooey fudge. For Pete’s sake: what could be more wonderful or justified as indulgence than “home-made” I ask you?

And of course, being on vacation gives one every possible excuse to indulge, right?

But how I felt in my body upon returning from an over-indulgent vacation was only a bit less distressing than how I felt after I looked in the mirror. Stood and looked for a long time, front, side and backside.

I was horrified.

It didn’t happen overnight, but over the past 1.5 years I had seen my figure begin to change substantially from what it had always been. Always. It was just that “wrong direction” in which I was headed as noted by my present waist-training coaching program student, who’d come to me for help in changing it. But it seemed to me that my direction had also been lost and needed changing.

I’d always prided myself in a 24″ waistline that over the past few years had crept up to 25″. And 36″ hips in high school had crept up to over 38″. Ye gads! I’d broken the 38 barrier! The horror of it all–mainly in the crushing blow to my ego. And sense of aesthetics. And how I felt about it all both in my body and spiritually.

Then the sugar book came along. So last week I decided once more to rely on ego. Ego is at once potentially a negative and destructive factor in my life, but also a positive motivator for past beneficial change when I had made it.

I’m not going to recommend the book to you, because it’s a one-pony book and I hate those. Perhaps you do, too. One-pony anything, especially one-pony books that recommend you do anything dead-bang as Friedmann recommends, like cut sugar entirely out of your diet for 30 days starting from Day One, simply don’t work. I’ve tried it before and to me that’s nothing but a recipe for my body to rebel and deliver physical pain, suffering, plumbing backups, other  longer-term negative fallouts, and predictable failure.

I do however, recommend you read the book because like for me, the information used with a mirror you honestly face along with a healthy ego, might help you find some kick-starters to boost forward your own figure and feeling- re-sculpting program.

And I just know you will eventually feel better!

STEP ONE:

On Monday just past, I decided to gradually cut back refined, added sugars in my diet, and keep eating but less frequently, complex carbs like the brown rice/farro/wheat berries combo I love, with an occasional slice of wheat bread or fresh bakery-made sour dough bread (I asked, and gratefully learned there’s no sugar in the sour dough bread). I avoided white potatoes  this week, but that’s not part of my resolve. After all, we brought home a bag of real Idaho potatoes from Idaho as one of our “disappearing souvenirs.” I don’t intend to let them go bad.

You’ll note above that I say “gradually.”

I didn’t cut out fruit. I didn’t decide to obsessively read food labels (but I am) to cut  out any product with any added sugar, but I did however decide to let my partner finish up the camping cheesecake and fudge if he chose to do so. I decided to not indulge in any sugar dessert for a month. I decided during the week twice to indulge in a bit of organic huckleberry honey we purchased in Yellowstone, but I used only 1/4 teaspoon each day, spread carefully and lovingly on one slice of totally delicious local Wyoming-baked wheat bread (yes, with a bit of sugar added) we’d brought back from our camp store.

Yesterday we visited for lunch our favorite Bay Area fish restaurant. (Ed. note: There’s no better fish served in the world than at Cook’s Seafood in Menlo Park, if you are every lucky enough to go there and drop by for lunch or dinner. I’ve cemented what seems like a life-long friendship I hope, with the business owner who cares incredibly much about health and his client’s health.)

I opted against the fried fish and chips platter(suggested by my partner, tho I was tempted. Boy, is Cook’s tasty, incredibly fresh fish well-fried in the right hot temperature of  brand new oil each day so there’s almost no grease left but only fabulous taste!) I decided to let my adult better part of me choose  the grilled salmon, veggie, and broth-cooked tasty jasmine rice platter — not for me alone, but to share with my partner who also ordered a small cup of fabulous clam chowder. I had three spoonsful of chowder,  ate half a tiny slick of crispy sour dough bread that comes with, and 1/3 the platter. I was more than satisfied.

I’m convinced that satisfaction with food on this and most occasions has something to do with going for the tops in taste satisfaction and for the pure pleasure in eating well, not just in eating or worse, in stuffing our faces in the fastest possible way.

You may note another key point above, and it’s my use of the word “decided.”

I’ve always been the type that when I “decide”–and that’s a tricky concept– then I “do” and follow-thru. Sometimes however, it takes me years to “decide.” Like the past 1.5 years of watching my body change and change not in pleasant ways as I age gracefully, I hope.

STEP TWO: I also decided to keep a food diary and calorie-count.

I’ve been able to quit a terrible habit of chewing my lip, just by using this technique for three days prior to seeing a hypnotherapist I’d made an appointment with the next week after “deciding” I’d better quit this weird and possibly eventually seriously harmful practice.  On the phone he had suggested I keep and bring in for discussion a diary of when I did the habit,  my stress level at the time, plus a note of what I was doing and where I was.

Three days later I cancelled the appointment with him, and I never chewed my lip again.

So I got out my trusty pocketbook on calories, wrote down the general food items I planned to eat and quantity and calories, and off I went recording them every day…for three days.

And I weighed. And looked in the mirror. And weighed again….

Ugh.

The scale read…. (now, what it actually read is almost irrelevant because it’s not weight, but how you feel about yourself, your energy level, your zest for life, and your positive spirit when you feel you are at your “fighting weight” and are physically and mentally properly functioning and healthy, right? Right!)….

……120.4 lbs. I know at my doctor’s office as is true for most, four more pounds should be added. So let’s say 124.4 lbs., working on 125. I’ve prided myself forever in being no more than 118 at home, more like 116 at home to be safe considering my slim bone structure, height, and for feeling good about myself. Yikes: 10 pounds overweight and two-inches up in my hips? Impossible, and the ego finally kicked in!

THE RESULTS SIX DAYS LATER.

Two days after starting my calorie count and food diary, I got it that I was eating about 50% more calories than I thought I was, and 50% more than I needed for my body size, shape, bone structure, and history–not to mention how that made me feel (sludgy). I didn’t need to keep the diary further: I groked the message. And somehow just groking it has helped me to feel full with less food this week, choose to eat less (yup, smaller plates and smaller slower bites help!) and I haven’t been wearing my corset! I haven’t a clue as to how that works, but I do know it does. (With a corset assist, it could work even better!)Small plates, small bites

Today is Sunday. 6.25 days after starting my lower-sugar program, I noted amazing results on the scales and with my tape measure. This morning I weighed  116.4 lbs.

I measured. My hips have receded 1/4″, my waist has receded 1/2″, I’m feeling the down trend, and feeling pretty fine I might add. All systems are “go”, plumbing is working just fine on hepped-up veggies and fruit, and there’s a ray of sunshine breaking through. That’s what just a teensy amount of progress can do.

I know that my weight and yours can bounce dramatically up and down by one to five pounds on any given day. I’ve not noted the same in measurements.  I still have not figured out the reasons for those amazing differences in weight, so I’m not about to trust my scale just yet.

But I am about to trust measurements, but moreso I trust how I feel.

I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Even if it did for five days result in a low-grade nagging headache and continuous and most-unpleasant feeling of nausea as if I were going to toss my cookies (or lack of cookies thereof). It was far more painful than quitting smoking, or quitting drinking alcohol (and amazingly so!) But it was only for five days.

The going for you, too, is not going to be easy if you choose to experiment as I am experimenting with reduced sugar. So just accept that, but know that there’s an end in sight, because by one day ago the two distressing issues pretty much and most-gratefully have left me!

Whether or not sugar (at least added refined sugar) creates an addiction as the Sugar book author and others claim, I cannot say. I think it does. And as I’ve learned, perception is not something, it’s everything. I think I’ll hang onto my perception of enhanced well-being  for three more weeks to see where it leads me, and how the scale and tape measure respond. After all being accountable to someone, to everyone!, can act as a motivator in and of itself 9and that’s why I recommend a coach or a Training Buddy as a rah-rah section for your figure-sculpting efforts). I’ll report back then, for those who might be interested.

In the meantime, run don’t walk to read the sugar book, but be very careful about implementing every single thing the author says.

As in everything in life, every choice and decision you make: use common sense and what you already know about your own body.

###

Post script on June 29 (an historical day to be sure: hooray for our courageous Supremes who today finally legalized marriage for anyone who wants to be married in this country!)  I have been sugar- addicted much more than I believed possible – and received personal encouragement from Mr. Friedman via an email reply today! The low-grade nagging headache and nausea returned a few days after this post, after one day’s respite. The headache normally starts at 9 or 10 am even after a protein-filled breakfast of half slice of bacon plus one scrambled egg with a bit of cheddar cheese.  The slight nausea starts in the early afternoon. Some days by mid to late afternoon both have become almost unbearable — but there is hope! What helps me personally is EXERCISE! In my online research I read about exercise to help, so I have been faithfully every other day aerobic exercising in a group, with home-stretching on days in between. This has been my salvation while I ply the two issues with Chinese Po Chi Pills (get them in your Chinatown) for nausea and Excedrine migraine tabs for the headache. I’m still on track today, however.

 

 

 

 

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