I can be a bit stubborn sometimes.
This should come as a surprise to no one I know.
I often know I’ve reached the end of something, be it a habit or a job or anything, when I try desperately to insert some sort of meaning into it. You know the feeling. When you stand there in despair, wondering and pleading with yourself why this doesn’t feel the way it used to any more. That happened when I stopped smoking. This will sound like the most out of whack notion in the world but when I knew it was over for me and smoking, I would actually force myself to go outside and smoke to try to recapture some of the zing I used to associate with it. Weird huh? Smoking had been such a habit for so long that leaving it behind was hard. It was like leaving a lifelong friend behind. A horrible, carcinogenesis friend to be sure but something that was comforting and mine.
I had such a break with sugar last night.
Sugary sweets and I have a sorted relationship. Most times I used to scarf chocolate bars, cake, and ice cream with a glee usually associated with an ecstatic religious experience. There were occasions though, usually in the mid-afternoon or late evening, when a substantial shot of sugar meant a quick nap on the couch. As I’ve walked along the path of my Paleo journey I’ve been fairly successful in cutting most of this out. I taunt the chocolate bar rack at the store and don’t even put it in my coffee any more . . . well at home at least . . . I’m looking at you Starbucks. So I was thinking perhaps my days of the sugar-induced, mid-afternoon coma were behind me.
Yesterday I spied some chocolate ice cream in the freezer and couldn’t resist. Topped with some raspberry sauce my wife made and I was in pre-Paleo heaven. But then it hit me like a sledge hammer.
There was the old sugar nap coming on. And on such a little cup of ice cream too! I used to eat a soup bowl of ice cream in my pre-Paleo days and be wired for sound! Oh sweet sugar! How could you fail me?
So that was it, that was the moment I finally stopped trying to insert meaning into refined, sugary stuff. The typical argument I hear to eat sugary snacks it that it’s comforting. I’m eating this king sized Mars bar because it makes me happy. It used to make me happy too, just like smoking used to make me happy. I realize now though there is absolutely no meaning, no happiness in this thing. Happiness and meaning is inside me, it’s inside you as well. When you realize that, no Mars bar will torture your soul again.
And if you need any incentive to change, or encouragement to stop, go read the article Is Sugar Toxic? by Gary Taubes. I’m Instapapering it right now. Every time I think about that chocolate ice cream, I’m going to read this first. May be you should too.
Update: This post is now part of Primal Toad’s Primal Cave 7.