This past weekend I was in Portland, OR for The West Coast Planners Candy Shop, which is, you guessed it, a planner convention. I had an amazing time and met so many wonderful people I cannot even put the weekend into words. Just trust me when I say, it was worth every penny spent!
I was a little bit worried because one of the “perks” that we got was a refillable cup to use all weekend and the hotel had one of those automated soda machines which gave you an endless supply of every Coke product known to man, or woman in my case. As most of you know I have been off of drinking Cocoa-cola for almost an entire year. My last coke was on New Year’s Eve 2018 and I don’t plan on having another until New Year’s Eve 2019. In fact my grand plan is to go buy a case of Mexican Cane Sugar Coke bottles at Costco and have them on ice to ring in 2020 the entire day. It really is MY Champagne.
So when I was presented with the cup dilemma I simply decided I would drink iced tea or one of the water products, which thankfully coffee and the Dasani Grape flavored water got me through the entire event. No coke at all. I was so proud of myself. Unfortunately, that level of commitment didn’t follow through with the mountains of candy I faced.
I am not a big candy eater, although the rare European chocolates and things I have never seen before always get me, so when the thought of an entire conference called “Candy Shop” came to my attention, I didn’t really put any points into fortitude against it. I thought I would be fine. Then we got to registration and were given a giant bag of candy and downhill I went. NOT THINKING about it at all. I was so wrapped up in worrying about not drinking coke, that I didn’t even consider making the effort to not eat the candy. That was a huge mistake.
Every time we sat down, or had a moment to go through our swag, or were sitting around talking, there was candy in my hand. I honestly cannot even tell you how much chocolate I consumed in that 48 hour period, but I CAN tell you I ate more candy this past week than I have eaten in the entire past year combined.
That’s a LOT of sugar consumption for one 4 oz tummy to handle.
I would love to type out just exactly how I got back on the wagon once I got home but I can’t. I had an big pink polka dotted back pack filled at least half way full of various candy. Chocolate bars, Coffee Crisps, Gummi things, suckers, ring pops, pixie sticks, EVERYTHING SUGAR I COULD CARRY!!!
I packed it in my luggage because I didn’t want to throw it away, and I knew Halloween was coming and on occasion we get a few trick or treaters at our door so why not just take it home and give it out.
Or…ya know…in the REAL WORLD that’s called “I will just eat it until I make myself sick.”
And that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t sit there and gorge myself, because I physically can’t (4 ounce stomach) but what I can do is sit at my desk, killing zombies and randomly reach into the bag that’s behind me at my desk and eat a piece here and there (and by here and there I mean every 15 minutes or so probably).
In the gastric bypass world that’s called “grazing” and its EXACTLY how someone with a 4 oz. stomach can literally put their weight back on before they know it. You don’t pay attention, you eat a little something here and there, and it never seems like you eat a lot, until the entire bag of chips is gone in one 2 hour sitting. And that is exactly what I was doing with the pink polka dot bag of doom.
Now, most of you know that I push my body hard, I work out, I exercise, I train my body to pretty much an inch of its life and fight tooth and nail never to put that 250 pounds on ever again. Yet, here I was in a ‘perfect storm’ of bad habits:
- Candy was readily available and within easy reach at my desk
- I was gaming and when I game I am hyper-focused on winning (or killing zombies) and trying NOT to die.
- I didn’t feel any of the negative effects of what I was doing right off, which is also a very bad sign
- Post big event adrenaline fatigue (this has been an issue for me since my first fighting competition and is VERY common in my sport and also with firefighters, cops, military and EMT’s)
So when I got home, I went into my normal routine right away. I even ran a 5k a couple hours after getting off the plane, just so I stayed in my weekly running cycle. And honestly, I thought I was doing ok. I knew I would be a little worn out, but I was not paying close attention, as I had work rear its ugly head and I had to focus on events that were coming up. So, as I was getting more and more exhausted, I was eating more and more candy, adding more and more creamer to my coffee (usually only a Sunday morning allowance) and using whatever I could, to get me through the week.
Until I couldn’t.
Last night I got home from work, my stomach was in shreds and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Looking back on the days leading up to the conference and the days following, my sleep patterns were all over the place because of the Alpha 18 release of Seven Days to Die (my zombie game) and me staying up later than usual packing at the last minute. Then AT the conference, forget about trying to get more than 5 hours of sleep those nights, then getting up at 4am to catch my plane back home and yea, my body was done.
I still managed to get my daily run in, and haven’t missed a day hitting my 10k steps but at what price.
I go into ALL OF THIS to say this…Bad Habits are like a comfortable, old pair of sweats that fit you just right, wrapping you up in a cozy ball of self-denial.
While I was so busy worrying about not having a coke, I was not mindful enough to say no to all the excess sugar creeping ever so deliciously into my world. At first, I was just going to take the weekend off and eat whatever I wanted and call it good. A “CHEAT” Weekend…I can do that. No problem. Except I can’t do that because I am a SUGAR ADDICT and it takes hold of me like an alien face-hugger and swallows me whole like some sort of evil Willy Wonka Death Eater.
I can run my ass off. I can fight with the guys. I can compete with the big dogs…but sugar kicks my ass. Every Single Time.
So after a horribly miserable night last night, I do feel better. I found my resolve again and threw out my beloved Chocolate Carmel Creamer this morning. When I get home the Pink Polka Dot bag of Doom is getting emptied into the trash and its back on the wagon of whole foods, veggies, and proteins.
I am also jumping into one of my 90-Day accountability notebooks (Maxout Planner) and using it as a resource to keep me on track. I like to use them when I have a specific project I need to have special focus on or I need short term focus outside of my regular planner. I will probably do a review on this within the next week, so keep an eye out.
All in all, it’s always a hard wakeup call when I realize I let something get the better of me, but, I also know it’s not the end of the world. After that initial moment of ‘WTF have I done” – you stand up proud, square your shoulders and figure out how to fix it. I know that as a sugar addict, this will be a very long road and it will always find ways to worm back into my life if I don’t pay attention. Stopping Coke cold turkey was easy, compared to sugar.
Sugar is everywhere – and in almost everything.
But CANDY doesn’t have to be everywhere or easily accessible. THAT, I can control.
This whole ‘weening my body off sugar’ thing…sucks and I’ve been at it more than a few months and I thought I had a better handle on it. Last night I realized I didn’t and this morning was a new day to start over.
That’s all you can do.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
My Mantra…for very good reason!