Searching for Excessive Sugar Man

Sometimes it feels as if the universe is speaking to me. Or my wife Patricia and Ricky Gervais at least.

Having dinner in the kitchen a week ago, a simple check-in question resulted in a revelation. “I think we are getting through a lot of sweet things.” This is true and subtle, all at the same time. Patricia is a bit of a healthy demon, swimming sixty-five lengths at a go, rigorous tennis sessions twice a week, salads and hummus and yogurts and soya milk and lord only knows what. So, if there’s a lot a sweet things being consumed in this little Armstrong household of two, most of it is only going one way.

Then I am idly flicking channels late the same night and there’s Ricky Gervais doing one of his stand-up shows. I never stay around long. Ricky is a funny, talented writer but his somewhat mean stage persona makes me a bit uneasy. This time I stayed long enough for the universe to reinforce its message to me. Ricky was in the middle of explaining how simple it all was. That you take in more calories than you manage to burn. That’s all there is to it.

Add to this that I recently was gifted a well-loved Nordic Walker machine, which I was making gentle inroads into getting to know when it broke. The feeling of regret at losing this new friend was disproportionate to what it should have been. It became clear that I was subconsciously looking for something.

For a time there, I’d been feeling a tad below par. Nothing earth-shattering, just a notch or two down on the norm. Weary, foggy, digestively compromised. That kind of vibe. Was it a post Covid thing? Was it being over Sixty? I trundled on. But then the universe showed me a basic possibility. Could the loading on of copious amounts of biccies and choccies be some kind of contributing factor to this minor funk of mine?

A quick Google gave the prompt reply, why yes, yes, it could. Silly bugger. Why didn’t you figure this out before?

So here we go. Cold turkey.

No sweets, no biccies, no Diet Coke. None of that stuff. I can’t cut out sugar altogether. Sugar is everywhere. But I can cut out the excess stuff that shouldn’t be there in the first place and certainly not at the levels which they recently were.

One week in and the change in the way I feel is astonishing. Don’t get me wrong, I feel exactly like I did one week ago. The actual change is in the reason I now believe I am feeling this way. The little annoyances are no longer part of some general malaise. Now they are a symptom of a recovering, detoxifying body. Every negative has turned around and become a positive. Where previously I might have felt that ‘I feel like shit,’ I now feel that ‘I feel like shit because I’m doing better.’ This is all stupid, I am well aware, but the shift to a more positive mindset is palpable and that, in itself, is a solid improvement.

I’ve substituted the walking machine with actual walking and, although it isn’t the same level of arm swinging and general sweatiness, it is still something more than was there before. Tiny steps. Well, medium-sized steps, around the town.

It probably won’t last. These enthusiasms come and go, as we all know. But certain truths may be starting to become embedded. I see lots of men my age out in their oversized t-shirts, doing the needful. But a high percentage of them are doing it because they’ve had a heart attack or some other kind of bang and now, they simply have to. I’d like to get ahead of that curve and learn that I ‘have to’ now, just as much as I’ll ‘have to’ after.

Going without sweet things is not easy for me. It’s always been my crutch and my reward. The muscle memory that drives me inexorably to the top cupboard is scarily forceful. The dull ache of a lonesome cup of tea is a lesson hard learned.

But I’ll try my best. I’m not looking to become Schwarzenegger or Twiggy. I just don’t want to throw away any more than I already have.

So here you are, on this fine morning, having been conned into reading nothing more than a personal statement of intent.

Enjoy your day.


Sue O'Reilly said...

As a recently diagnosed diabetic I'm learning that sugar is in EVERYTHING. Even my morning porridge, made with just water, is high in carbs that convert to sugar! Good luck in your endeavour. The cravings are bad at first (sugar is addictive) but lessen quite quickly. x

Anonymous said...

Keep it up Ken its the little habits that we need to lose and form new ones.A good book to read Atomic habits might continue to motivate you towards a healthier lifestyle and please keep up the walking for your mental health.

Jim Murdoch said...

Ah! So, it's not just cats. It's sweet things too. I'm on a diet right now. Well, watching calories. After I lost that stone back in October I've been determined not to put it back on again. I went down to 11st 7lbs and sat at 11st 8lbs for several weeks thereafter but gradually the pounds started piling back on. Okay 4lbs is not a very big pile. Lets go with pilette. Anyway it doesn't take much. What I don't understand are the fluctuations. How can I go bed and lose 2lbs or eat a 100g biscuit and put on a pound. Maddening. Anyway, at the moment I am allowed two choccie biscuits a day. I eat them in the early hours and it's not unusual for me to go to bed with Carrie at our usual time and lie there anticipating my midnight feastette just waiting on her dozing off. I hate it. I used to be able to scoff biscuits all day long and maintain my weight and then, sometime in my late forties, that all changed and I was not a happy chappie. But I've tailored my life to suit, much as it irks me. And it irks, it irks, it goddamn irks.