I have a confession to make.
I can’t handle being around sugar.
The picture above is from my 27th birthday. My wife invited over a few friends to celebrate my birthday. We enjoyed this not-so-healthy cake and then everyone left. I was all alone… with about 3/4 of the cake still beckoning my call.
45 minutes later the cake was gone.
“You ate the WHOLE THING!” gasped my wife the next day.
“Ohhhh, my stomach hurts.”
“Gee, I wonder why????”
I repeat, I CAN’T handle being around sugar.
99% of the time I eat only super healthy food. Heck, we sometimes even eat cauliflower for breakfast. My diet consists of organic, free range meats, liberal amounts of vegetables and fruits, nuts, and seeds. At work, people tease me because of the green swamp juice I bring. It contains: kale, celery, carrots, cucumber, hemp seed (protein), flax seed, coconut butter, olive oil and a few other things all blended up in our Ninja.
The reason I say I am 99% whole food is because of the death grip sugar has on me.
I’ll Gobble Up Fudge Like Its My Meal On Death Row
Recently, my wife came home from a week long trip in Traverse City, MI and brought home a box full of fudge. She nibbled a few bites and I did too.
Pretty harmless right?
Everything was fine until she went to bed.
I told her, “Yeah, I think I’ll stay up for a bit longer and read in the living room.”
As I was reading… the fudge called me from the fridge – “Todd, you know you want me. Come partake in just a few bites.”
“Ok, if you insist.”
Fast forward 15 minutes…. the two pieces in the picture above was the aftermath.
I’ll Eat Bags Of Candy Like Its Halloween Night
A couple weeks ago our wonderful and dear friends sent us this large bag of Kyrgyzstan candy.
I’m always hesitant to try foreign candy. I remember when I was a little boy. My brother and I would get barraged by old Lithuanian women and end up with pockets full of Lithuanian chocolate. The first time this happened we were stoked.
We hit the jack pot! Mmmmm… Can’t wait to dive in!
Yet after trying it and almost gagging our grins turned to dry heaves.
Lithuanian chocolate is disgusting (I can say that because I am 50% Lithuanian). 🙂
Anyways, Kyrgyzstan candy is nothing like it. Its like heaven in your mouth.
The picture above is the remnants of the 24 hour affair I had with the candy. The bag was full when it came to us. A measly day later the bag was 4/5 gone.
Moderation Will Make You Fail
I don’t believe in moderation.
Moderation is a crux that people use to justify bad decisions in their life.
“Oh, I’m just going to eat a little candy to ‘get my fix'”.
“If I allow myself some cheat days I can stick to my diet the rest of the day.”
I think that’s BS.
You are either moving forward or backward. Health is like a river. You push hard to get up river and be healthy or you can give into your urges and let the river of laziness take you.
The 3 examples above show my weakness. Sugar is the devil and he’s got a grip on me.
I admit it and accept it.
“Todd, how can you be so healthy and still eat sugar?”
I don’t eat it very often. However, when I do eat it I realize that I am letting the river take me downstream.
Self Control Is A Myth
It may sound weird to hear that I don’t believe in self control. After all, fitness is all about staying consistent with working out and eating healthy food. That takes self control.
When I think of “self control” I think of someone being strong enough to say “no” to every negative opportunity that comes before them.
For example, you are at a party and there is spinach dip. You are lactose intolerant but LOVE the taste of the dip. You decide to pass because you know it will hurt your stomach a few hours later.
That’s self control right? No, that’s using the idea of positive and negative reinforcement. You realize that if you eat that food you will have the negative result of pain. If you do not eat it than you will be rewarded with a stomach that doesn’t hurt.
Another example: You choose to workout every day before you go to work. The alarm sounds at 5am and you slowly but surely turn off your alarm clock and get out of bed.
You do this for months on end. Wow! That’s great self control, right? Wrong again. The only way to get out of bed so early to workout is to have a vision and create a habit. Having a clear and inspiring vision of what you want your body to look like is more powerful than Mr. Sandman and once you have the habit formed you can really keep him down. Its not self control, its using two effective tools to create change… vision and habit.
I don’t believe in self control. I believe in specific strategies to help you achieve success.
6 Effective Strategies To Replace “Self Control” & How To Knee Sugar In The Face1. Be Intentional
Intentionality is critical when dropping the sugar addiction. Being intentional means being purposeful and deliberate.
How do you be purposeful? I use this simple question: “If I was on my death bed right now would I be happy with this decision?” This question helps cut through all the crap in your life. It establishes a long term vision for what your purpose is and what is important to you.
2. Master Your Environment
What was the reason I failed in staying away from the cake, fudge and Kyrgyzstan candy? It was in the house. Simple as that. Keep all unhealthy food out of the house.
“But Todd, I struggle when I go to the store. I buy it and then I don’t want to waste it.”
Its a common struggle and my suggestion is to eat a ton of healthy food right before you go shopping. Eat lots of fruit (so your sugar levels are high) as well as complex carbs (brown rice and sweet potatoes). Eat until you feel bloated. Trust me, the spike in blood sugar will help you stay away from the candy aisle.
3. Use Positive Rewards
After my wife had our little Emma we used positive reinforcement to help her get back into working out. She loves shopping so we established a reward of allowing her to by a new article of clothing if she stayed consistent with her workouts for 1 month. It worked beautifully!
4. Associate Negative Reinforcement
Tony Robbins says that there are two governing forces that drive all human behavior. They are the desire to experience pleasure and the desire to avoid pain. Both are huge forces that influence our actions. So lets use them to our advantage. You can set up negative reinforcement just as easily as positive reinforcement.
My buddy Josh and I meet for breakfast every month or so to discuss business and life. We also have a 5 am wake up challenge. Whoever wakes up a 5am the fewest times over the course of the month has to buy the other person’s breakfast. It works great!
Another cool resource is a company called HealthyWage. The premise is that you pony up money and attach it to a goal. If you achieve the goal you’ll get even more money back (positive reinforcement). If you don’t achieve the goal you’ll lose the initial investment.
5. Create The Habit
It works like a charm. Habits are like tidal waves after a certain period of time. They are your propeller up the river of health. The hard part is getting started. Once you do, however, give it some time and you’ll see your life change before your eyes.
6. See The End
This is one of the most effective strategies. Having a dream and a vision can catapult you to success. Awhile back I wrote about vision mapping. Its a process where you create a board to paste on your wall. The board represents your future. It helps create clarity.
One person that is no stranger to vision is Will Smith. Check out this motivational video that I watch frequently while I’m doing my calisthenics:
Back To You! What Is Your Favorite Strategy For Kneeing Bad Habits In The Face? Put Your Answer In The Comments…