My Four Cup Per Day Habit

by Shannon
(East Coast)

I've been reading the pages on your website for about a year now. I'm grateful that you brought to my attention that book about how we can be conditioned to eat some types of food. I've felt that pull when I joined friends at sports bars and restaurants that seem to draw a younger crowd.

I went in with good ideas. I would skip the appetizer. And I would be sure to get something that I could eat right there and have no leftovers. But it didn't seem to work out for me. I don't know if it was the crowd mentality, or just the smell of that food. But after reading that book, I've been able to show more resistance. I'm still not there yet, but I'm closer than before.

(Editor's note: The book she references is "The End Of Overeating" by Dr. David Kessler.)

But what I'm really writing about are the two letters about sugar addiction. I read Jane's letter about how Steven gave her a wake up call. I would agree with her. I'm not proud to write this, but I will admit that I'm comforted with the fact that no one will know who I am from this letter.

I used to drink four of those very large fountain drinks everyday. When Jane wrote about her morning pattern of falling behind, it could have been me writing it. I stopped at the same place every morning for a very large drink. Then I bought another one at lunch, one for the ride home from work and finally one last big cup to drink in the evening.

I thought the drinks were providing a necessary energy boost. I thought I needed them to get through my work day. It seemed to give me a boost, but it didn't last very long. And it seemed like I was just always tired, no matter how much sleep I got each night. That large amount of soda didn't keep me up at all. It seemed like that last one of the day wore off the quickest and then the crash just knocked me out.

I knew I wasn't eating right. My stress level was growing everyday. When it got to the point that my work was being affected, I really had a big problem in front of me.

I don't know if it was fate that I read the page about sugar addiction. But something clicked for me. And then when Steven offered his letter about not knowing how much sugar he consumed, it became even clearer. I knew how much sugar I consumed. But I still did it.

The final straw was Jane's response. When she wrote about that man who wasn't rushed at all and how she was a little jealous of his free time, I could see myself in that spot. I guess it really was my final straw. I summoned up all my limited courage and just stopped drinking fountain drinks. Cold turkey, I guess some would say.

The "pantry check" that Steven wrote about wasn't as hard. My eating habits had gotten so bad that there wasn't much in there to throw out. But there was room to get some healthy things.

I still feel the urge to pull into that store as I drive by every morning. I don't drink coffee, but I do take a cup of tea with me for my drive to work. I drink water the rest of the day. I also pass on the tray of fresh cinnamon rolls in our office. I have my bag of almonds and my apples.

As for those gatherings at the sports bars, things have changed there too. I try to be the first one to order in our group. The first time, I asked for a Mediterranean salad. I got some interesting looks. So I told them the what and the why. A couple of the others seemed interested because they asked me questions.

I'm not the only one ordering differently anymore. At work I've noticed the pastry tray doesn't empty out every day anymore. I'm seeing more fruit coming through the doors. And I'm seeing far fewer styrofoam cups. I won't deny the good feeling from this small leadership position.

Thank you for the encouraging information. Thank you to Steven and Jane for giving me more perspective. Any of you feeling like you can't cut out the extra sugar, think again. I know you can because I did it.

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

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