March 1, 2021 Jacob Watts

Hello everyone! It’s been over 3 months since I finished my 50 blogs in 50 weeks adventure. Needless to say, I was a little blogged out. But I expected that would happen. Overall I was happy with the content that I put out. I would be shocked if anyone read all of them but even if you did, I hope just one gave you something you could take away and make a difference in your life. Even if that difference wasn’t lifelong, it could be something that puts you on a better path to discovering something else.

For my 50th blog I announced that I would be going a year without sugar! There’s more nuance to that but for the most part I am going one year without MANY foods that I love. My rules I set for myself have some hard guidelines like absolutely zero desserts or anything sweetened with anything but fruit. I am also saying no to any of your typical snack foods like chips, crackers, pretzels, pretty much any kind of bread. Then there are some gray areas.

Instead of setting rules at the beginning and blindly following them throughout the whole year, I’m trying to understand that there’s no way I could’ve anticipated every situation that could come up. So when a questionable situation arises I am simply being much more conscious of my choices. This still means I say no things almost every time but, for example, Leasa and I went out to dinner for Valentine’s day. I allowed some indulgences there but I still stuck to my zero dessert rule. My biggest time of weakness is the weekend and particularly evenings. So sticking with just ordering some food that went slightly off “the plan” was a win for me.

Another situation I didn’t think of when I set this challenge was Sonny’s 1st birthday. It’s coming up a month from now and there will certainly be desserts there. Very yummy desserts. I’ve struggled with this dilemma for a good while now. On one hand, it’s a special day for our family and I want to partake in that celebration but do I really need to consume sweets to enjoy the day? Certainly not. On the other hand, I don’t imagine it is sustainable or emotionally healthy for me to swear off sweets forever.

A big part of this whole personal challenge, as I’m coming to realize, is changing what I treat as a “special occasion”. It used to be that if my parents asked us over for dinner it was a special occasion. I would eat the healthy meal they made but I’d also go to town on the 10 pound bag of peanut M&M’s (the best M&M… fight me). Some friends want to get food on a Sunday and watch the game? Special occasion. Tailgating the Purdue game? Special occasion. Somebody’s birthday at the gym and there’s food brought in? You guessed it. Pretty soon the special occasions start to stack up and they’re happening every week. Then it’s an easy slope to slide down to where you’re ordering out food on a random Tuesday and you pick up (and finish in the same night) a pint of ice cream. The fear of missing out that is associated with not partaking in the celebration of a special occasion is partly what got me to where I was. The whole “event” felt disappointing if I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted. Which, by the way, I only imagined would be the case. I RARELY, if ever, didn’t partake in one of those circumstances so I never actually got to find out how I’d feel if I hung out with friends and enjoyed some meat and veggies.

So that whole explanation brings me to saying that I’ll probably have cake at Sonny’s birthday. Maybe even other items if they’re offered. However, I will be very conscious of how much I’m eating. That’s another thing I’ve always struggled with. When I indulge, as long as the food is still out and nobody is stopping me from getting it, I’m gonna keep eating until I’m miserably full. Honestly, my goals are only a small part nutrition-based. I do want to eat better so I feel better, especially with the pretty terrible sleep we’ve had over the last 6 months. But this challenge for me is mostly about gaining control over my choices and creating better habits. Real habits that actually stick. I’ve been lifting weights or doing CrossFit for 12 years now. Training isn’t a choice anymore. I might train or not train on a given day and choose that based on my schedule or whatever but if I go 3 days without training I feel like I need to get some work in. I want this to become the same. That’s ultimately why I am doing it for a year. I want to spend so much time on this that by the end of it I barely notice I’m doing it.

I was going to make this a quick update but, of course, I wrote more than I intended. Here’s the update on how it’s going.

Very well! Other than the indulgences I talked about I’ve stuck with the plan. I’ve increased my fruit consumption, but that was expected. There are certain snack bars like Lara Bars and Kroger makes a nut and seed bar that are both only sweetened with dates. I am ok with eating those, as long as I’m not snacking. That’s where the conscious eating comes in. Other “between meals” foods include a lot of cashews and cheese or plain full fat yogurt and peanut butter. I have been eating oatmeal more frequently than I used to but again, only sweetened with fruit.

That’s all for now. See you guys in the gym!