Sugar Free September

Sugar is the worst

Sugar is one of the worst things that there is out there. If you think about it, there is so much of it out there, and in the western world, you and I are consuming it in substantial qualities. Don’t get me wrong sugar can be good sometimes. It would literally have to be a treat though. Something that you earn.

When you think about what sugar is, it’s strange how you put so much of it into your body. Sugar, little crystals of sweet goodness but is it good?

We are going through an obesity problem. People are fatter now than they ever have been. With that, there comes a whole slew of other issues. You think it’s only physical. It’s not this is because of our brain and body connection. Poor physical health hurts our mental health.

You’re wondering, am I laying all the blame on sugar?

Yes and no.

Yes because sugar can slip in undetected. Professionals lecture you about salt and fat that you tend to think of sugar concerning your teeth. I have a prediction. In a few years, you will see a study come out that concludes that sugar is worse for you than smoking or alcohol.

No, because it’s never just one thing that is the main cause. Things happen due to a cumulation of effects. Us who are fortunate enough to live in the west have a sedentary lifestyle. The 9-5 in combination with the ease of our lifestyle is robbing you of ambition. It makes the easy choice more appealing, and I understand why you would pick that. I am no better, I will often take the lazy option if there is no one around to judge me.

My sweet teeth

I have a terrible sweet tooth. I love chocolate, ice cream, you name it, except that is for chocolate ice-cream. Funny that.

I used to have a real weakness for Cadbury’s Creme Egg. Like it got really bad. There was one time where I ate an entire box of 12 in one sitting. It was bad. Now though I’m not such a big fan. I managed to put myself off of them.

How did I do that you ask?

Simple.

Have you ever ate something, got sick and then never been able to look at the food again. If that happened to you, then you’re not alone. One time I was a driver on for a film production. During the production, there was a stomach bug that was one by one taking us all down. It was like a horror film. People would just disappear. I was the blonde with big tits in that case because it came for me last.

My final meal before getting violently sick was a Subway. Now I know logically that the Subway sandwich was not to blame however my brain has changed the taste, so it’s not as good. I think I’ve only had a Subway twice since the event. That was well over five years ago.

Where are you going with this Kieran? I hear you ask from the other side of the screen.

Let me tell you.

I used this logic to cure myself of my Creme Egg addiction. I was going to eat as many as I could in one go so that I would become ill. It worked. Now, I’ll only eat one if they are bought for me.

I’ve been getting fat again, so September is going to be a sugar-free month for me.

Sugar is everywhere

One thing that you will notice if you’re trying to give up the sugar is the fact that it is everywhere. There is so much sugar in everything that it’s not funny.

If I were conspiratorially minded, I would say that there is a deliberate push to put sugar in everything. You have more chance of keeping the mob at bay if they have to take rest stops every twenty steps.

Be thankful I’m not conspiratorially minded. If anything people like sugar and they will do whatever they can to get it in their system. We’re like babies who won’t eat our veg. You’ve encountered a parent who will dip broccoli in sugar to get the child to eat.

“They prefer it this way.”

I have encountered this kind of parent. I didn’t say anything at the time, but I was disgusted.

Sometimes you have to do what is right even if you don’t like doing it and this comes down to health as well.

Avoiding it is going t be hard but I know I can do it because,

Did it before

I have done it before. OK, I did it for two weeks, but the idea is sound.

I’m not going to beat myself up over a transgression. Sugar is so pervasive in our diets that sugar is somehow going to find it’s way into my body whether I am aware of it or not.

The main foods that I need to avoid are chocolate, obviously, but I also need to avoid bread and dairy. I love sandwiches, and I love milk. If you think that’s weird. I get thirsty for milk. I can only have black coffee which I’m not a fan of, but I love coffee. Some coffee is better than no coffee. No cappuccinos or any of that nonsense.

No bread, especially white bread. If you think that’s me being racist, I’ll remind you that racism is power plus privilege.

Social pressure

The thing that I am not looking forward to is the social pressure. To get very very very specific, my mum. My mum is a feeder. She loves baking. The joke in our house is that I’m the repeat returning prodigal son. There’s a fatted calf slain every couple of days. No matter how many times I tell her not to give me stuff she’ll keep offering it and a man can only say no so many times. I may have to avoid her for a month.

There you go, that’s my plan for September.

Do you think that you could give up sugar for a month?

A week?

A day?

Advertisements

Self-Talk will make you better

You could organise yourself better by doing self-talk.

Self-talk is a sign of intelligence.

One of the most intelligent people I know does self-talk.
I remember playing basketball with him, and he would always be chattering away to himself. It could have been a tactic; he always got passed me, I wasn’t very good but still. Even there were other occasions you would look over to him, and the mouth would be flapping away.
He could also multitask. He’s more like a mentat from Frank Herbert’s Dune, a human computer.
I used to think that I was boring him because he would always have his head in his phone. I was wrong. When I asked him a question, he would be able to repeat everything that was said to him.
This friend is now a top solicitor.

There could be something to self-talk. I’m sure there are other factors at play like strong work ethic and aptitude, but for this blog, I’m going to write about self-talk.
I have a problem with my attention span.
If you’re like me and get distracted at a moment’s notice, talking to yourself is what you need.
I’m a hypocrite. I criticise people for being glued to the TV, I’m no better. I’ve replaced TV with my phone.
It’s taken me forty minutes to get to this point. My phone is beside me; I’m watching Norm MacDonald videos on Youtube. I swear as soon as the current video ends, I’ll turn it off.

Ten minutes pass.

What am I watching? “Ryan Reynolds Savage Moments 2” what? You know what I’m not even going to watch this, I’m stalling. Writing that I am stalling is also a form of stalling.
I’m going to turn it off now. I tal to myself “Kieran, you need to turn off YouTube,” “But it’s almost over” “Kieran, it will still be there once you are finished, turn it off”.
I’ve shut down Youtube, but I have found myself on Instagram, “Kieran get off Instagram”. Now I’m on twitter, Ed Latimore liked my tweet “Right Kieran, turn off the wifi.”
I’ve set a timer for twenty minutes, Hans Zimmer’s Time is on repeat. I’m back in the room. You have my undivided attention.

Technology

I love technology; it has enabled us to do copious amounts of nothing, but I think it’s rewired my brain. I can feel my brain-clogging up with even more useless information. It demands attention too. Your phone is a pocket-sized baby, the slightest peep and everything stops until you find out what’s wrong.
The internet and the phone has launched the war for your attention. For years I’ve been losing each consecutive battle.
Only now, through talking to myself, have I been able to wrestle some of the control back.
You’ve heard the expression “I can’t hear myself think”. You can’t hear yourself because thinking makes no sound. How do you hear your thoughts? You make a sound.
Talking to yourself is a way of holding yourself responsible. You don’t trust people who say one thing but act another way. Why would you be any different? You tell yourself that you aren’t going to eat any more rubbish yet the first slice of cake offered and your lips are frosted. You’re inconsistent.

Consistency is key

After the Korean War, they brainwashed American POWs. How did they do this? Chinese soldiers would interrogate American troops. American troops were asked to name one bad thing about America, “There is crime in the USA” and a good thing about Communism, “Under communism everyone is equal”.
They recorded this admission and played it on the loudspeaker for the rest of the POWs to hear. The person from the interrogation was now a traitor. The traitor wanted to act consistently with their words and became a traitor. They had been brainwashed.
When you talk to yourself, you’re putting it out there. On a subconscious level, you expect yourself to live up to your own standards. What’s the first step towards doing something, you say you’re going to do it.
Talk to yourself, state your aim out loud to help you focus. Say to yourself, “I’m going to focus on the work that needs to be done“. Hold yourself responsible.
You can do this, like me, in a basic way. I talk to myself to get things done. As I am reading back over this, I keep checking my phone, I say to myself “concentrate, get the work done first then you can look at your phone”. I put the phone down and get on with the work.
I’m not saying that talking to yourself will solve all the problems that you have, but it can help you focus.

Prayer and uses

You are probably thinking I’m writing like some self-help hippy, maybe but look at religion. A prayer is a personal act. Prayer is a private conversation between you and God. What if you aren’t religious, how does it look? For the non-believer, prayer is a group of people in a room talking to themselves. Another place where a group of people talk to themselves is an asylum.
For the dirty heathens, like myself, reading this, do you consider religious people mad? What separates the church from the madhouse? Just because you don’t understand the use of something doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
You’re not religious, that’s OK. Have you ever watched sports? You see people in groups coming together to talk to themselves in unison. My dad will shout at a TV over football. What is that if not self-talk.
You talk to yourself all the time you just don’t notice.

Self-talk can help you get out of stress.

Have you ever said to yourself “Come on now you can do this”? You’ve probably done it when hyping yourself up into doing something that made you nervous.
You don’t have to just do it for big events you can do it on a small scale too.
When you feel like giving up during work out, do like I do, “Think how fortunate you are to be able to improve your health. Not everyone can but you do. You can push yourself that little bit further. One more set and you can stop.”
You can use self-talk to remove nervous tension from your body. When your nervous your body tenses up. I noticed this during running. I get out of breath, my chest and shoulders constrict reducing my oxygen intake further. When I notice that I say to myself “Kieran all you have to do is relax your shoulders, stand up straight, take deep breathes”. It doesn’t do all the work for me, but it helps me get back on track.

You can use this to soothe yourself in an uncomfortable scenario. When you’re uncomfortable, your body takes on the shape of someone doing rigorous exercise. If you take steps to talk to yourself and consciously unstress your body, you may feel more comfortable.

Next time you’re feeling stressed out, try talking to yourself. If you’re out in public whisper to yourself.

Talking to yourself can also help you be more present.

You and I are probably future orientated, thinking about what comes next. You can miss out on great experiences by not being mentally present for them.
If you have been reading me for a while, you are aware that my grandmother died last week. Towards the end, she was incapable of being present. The times I went to visit her in the hospital all she could ask about was who was coming to visit her next.
She was incapable of appreciating those who were with her then and there. She would have benefitted from taking the time to acknowledge those who had come to see her. I know she wasn’t well, but I wish that she could get comfort from the moments that she was in rather than those yet to come.
How can you use self-talk to be more present? Simple, just talk about what’s going on around you and in you. Use me as an example, I said the following out loud:
“I’m sitting on a bench in Ormeau Park, the sun is out, but it is cool. There is a woman with a pram walking past.There are cute tiny dogs running around. I’m sad about my grandmother passing as she and I didn’t have much of a relationship with her. There’s nothing I can do about that now. I have to learn and live with my failings as a grandson.”
You owe it to yourself to enjoy your life as it happens.

You can if you American.

I was in New York in February. I noticed it’s hard to differentiate between phone users and the mentally disturbed. Both would be walking down the street having full blown conversations with themselves.
Kieran, if I start talking to myself I’ll be considered disturbed, I hear you think. You make a good point but here is where you and I disagree. The mentally disturbed person may think that they are talking to someone else. You and I are under no such illusion. You and I know we are talking to ourselves.
If you live in a small town as I do, where word travels fast I understand you may not want to. You don’t want to get that rep as the person who talks to themselves in public. Public opinion matters to many and you might be one of them, that’s fine. I don’t talk to myself in public, yet.
Talk to yourself; the response will surprise you.
I’m going to be bringing in a new section called Conversations with myself. Those posts are going to be going up every Tuesday.