Important Note: This post was written in November 2012 when I was deep in the clutches of my sugar addiction. You'll probably pick up on the impassioned flurry of raw and frenzied thought as I rushed to get my emotions out while writing this. I don't normally swear – mentally, verbally, or in writing – but it was required for catharsis and because I was having genuinely sh*tty feelings.
As I wrote this, I promised myself it would only be published months after shattering my sugar addiction. It's intended as a tribute to my progress and as inspiration for other people to break their addictions.
My sugar addiction has been with me since who knows when. And unlike breaking my video game addiction, this one was/is much tougher to fight and vanquish.
As of publishing this article, I haven't eaten any “food-like” substances containing supernormally stimulating amounts of sugar (e.g. an M&M cookie or store-bought birthday cake) since October 24, 2012. I know this because my “Sugar Cheating Log” spreadsheet has no entries since a disheartening amount of sugar was consumed that night.
Although I might intentionally eat a piece of my mom's cheesecake or a holiday peanut butter blossom in the future, the goal is to feel in control of when that happens and how much is consumed. Let's hope this wagon never breaks down.
I'll warn you again that this contains unfiltered thoughts and a number of swear words. Don't read this if that unnerves you.
And now for the raw emotion as I started to emerge from the depths of my sugar addiction.
I almost had a breakdown tonight (again).
There's a bag full of leftover Halloween candy sitting in the car in my garage.
Melinda is at happy hour with some friends, I just laid Grant down to sleep, and I'm all alone. Nobody's looking. This is normally when the sugar floodgates fly open.
Fifteen minutes ago, as I finished reading a bed-time story to Grant, my thoughts were obsessed with diving into that bag of Kit Kats and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Even though it would mean feeding my seemingly endless sugar addiction yet again.
You know what my justification was to plow into that sugar stash fifteen minutes ago? A terrible, soul-rendering one that makes me deeply saddened just typing this.
I was going to justify it as not making a difference in my long-term health. If I ate one or ten of those pieces of candy, I would still be healthier (physically, if not mentally) than 80% (or more) of people in the world.
What a shitty attempt to rationalize something that's completely irrational.
Instead, I'm typing this post to prove a point. A point to myself and a point to you.
Being in the top 80% compared to everyone else doesn't mean crap. Trying to bastardize the 80-20 Rule to explain why it's OK to have a couple of pieces of candy is seriously messed up.
Life should not be relative!
How many times do I need to remind myself and read articles that comparison is a fool's game?! How many times do I need someone to tell me in an amazing book like It Starts With Food that this isn't about living “good enough” for fuck sake.
Life should be about achieving optimum health.
The 80-20 Rule…I say most of the time and in most of its forms…it's bullshit.
I want 99-1.
I want 99% of my existence, 99% of my choices, and 99% of my thoughts to be optimal. Optimal as I define it.
Who cares whether other people agree with my definition of optimal as long as my version is contributing to my health, my happiness, and the value I'm able to provide to everyone.
So I say fuck it. From now on my goal is 99-1.
Settling for 80-20 is an insult to my abilities.
Being reserved to an existence of 80-20 is a slap in the face to Melinda, Grant, my family, my friends, this community…to the whole freakin' world. I can be so much better than this!
I can do so much better than those thoughts and impulses from fifteen minutes ago.
The truth is this post isn't as good as it could have been. I had all these great ideas, all these perfectly worded sentences floating through my head as I snuggled Grant in the dark before placing him gently down in his crib.
But they weren't worth letting him down prematurely so I could record them before vanishing like a wispy tendril in my brain.
It was much more important to enjoy the pure, expansive simplicity that comes with holding your own flesh and blood as they give you the warmest of hugs. And feeling those fuzzy jammies up against my soft cheek (I actually shaved for a change today) sent me on a short-lived quest to move my mind into a state of nothingness.
To steal a quote from my amazing, enlightened friend Jessie:
The only thing I don't have enough of is nothingness.
If I can get to 99-1, I'm damn sure I can achieve nothingness more often. I experienced it in the float tank and I want to experience it on the carpet of the basement living room.
I want simple.
I want nothing. I mean, literally nothing.
And I want 99-1.
So right now sugar demons: fuck you.
So right now urges to stop writing and check online forums: screw you.
So right now thoughts about staying up late to “catch up on stuff:” go to hell.
I'm in control right now.
And I'm not OK with being relatively better at something or having less of something than 80% of everyone else.
I want everyone to experience 99-1. I want the ratio to stand in absolute terms and never be used to measure my relative status in something.
And you know what? There can be beauty and fun in that 1%. Every once in a while, sub-optimal is OK. We're not robots who can be programmed to do what needs to be done 100% of the time.
But sub-optimal has to be rare. Diving into that leftover bag of Halloween candy has got to be done intentionally. While everyone is looking. And with just one piece being removed, not ten.
Every time I succumb to that mindset of powerlessness to fight the actions I know are unhealthy, more than my emotions suffer.
The life in the oceans – where my plastic wrapper covering my coveted piece of sugar often ends up – gets poisoned (and eventually poisons me). My gut – perforated by the nastiness in what passes for “food” in mass produced toxic candy – gets inflamed and lets disgusting things leak through. I could go on and on.
Actually, I could come up with 99 reasons not to choose a sub-optimal path for every 1 reason to choose a sub-optimal path.
I hope you get more out of this post than my original terrible post about the 80-20 Rule. I keep my first blog post in a published state to remind me of how far I've come and how far I still can go.
This post will serve the same purpose for my sugar addiction. This post can serve the same purpose for your addictions.
You can destroy them. We can kick ass when any hints of new addictions pop up.
Screw 80-20. Let's do 99-1.
Photo Credit: nettsu, ulterior epicure