Why Mo’ Sugar leads to Mo’ Problems

Like the late great Notorious B.I.G once said “The more money you make, the more problems you get.” Amen to that. In our quests for success we tend to look at money as a victory symbol. But as Biggie said, there’s an even bigger problem that folks develop once they have too much of that money.

I’m not going to talk about money issues, but a different type of issue. I want to talk about sugar. You see, there’s a correlation between that Biggie statement and sugar. We don’t see it at first, because sugar appears to be so non-threatening.

C’mon, who’s afraid of a lil white substance?  Pause and think about that one for a sec!  Sound’s familiar right!

Here are some reasons why we don’t need all that extra sugar in our lives.

No Essential Nutrients

Our purpose for eating is for human survival. The whole reason we eat is to protect our bodies. We were designed to eat items that will make our bodies more efficient machines. So in addition to protecting our bodies and making it good for survival we also just eat for the natural hunger that we have in our bodies.

Hunger is biologically something we need to survive. Sugar is not needed for your survival. There is absolutely nothing nutritious about sugar. It doesn’t fulfill hunger. Sugar has no vitamins or minerals.

Doesn’t Feel You Up

Boy and an owl in a tootise roll commerical

So how many licks does it take for you to get the center of a Tootsie Roll lollipop? It’s pretty funny when you actually think about that commercial with the owl and the boy putting that statement to the test. The reality is you can keep licking and licking forever and you’re never going to feel totally fulfilled by that blow pop.

As a kid, you can eat candy all the time. It’s very easy for you to feel like the candy is filling you up. Because you’re so young you don’t really understand what it takes to satisfy true hunger. At that age you just want everything that’s sweet in your body. So a simple little juice box will make you feel fulfilled. The reality is that it’s your parents that make you feel fulfilled as a child. They tell you when to stop eating, and control your meal sizes. That’s why it’s easy to get full off of the sweet stuff.

As you get towards your teenage years, your body starts to mature. You start to experience hunger more often than you did as a kid. Now your body really craves nutritional substance to get it through the day. The sweets that use to feel you up no longer do the trick.

Most teenagers don’t know how to handle this and will try to just eat more sugary snacks to compensate. The sad truth is the sugary sweets will never fulfill that hunger.

Sugar Has Absolutely No Satiety

Satiety is when your body tells your brain that you’re full and satisfied. The foods that provide the best satiety are whole foods. When you eat whole foods (foods closer to their natural state ) you tend to eat less calories because those foods have more satiety than the sugary substances.

99% of your eating plan should involve whole foods so that your hunger can be satisfied. When not eating whole foods, you’ll just be adding hundreds if not thousands of calories to your body. Those calories add up over time. Even though you don’t feel full with those sugary snacks, you’re on your way to massive weight gain and multiple health issues.

Sugar Jacks Your Insulin Resistance

Red blood cells

I’m about to to get scientific on you for one quick minute. Insulin is one the most important hormones in your body. Insulin is what allows glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar) to get into your blood cells. You see too much glucose in your blood is a very bad thing. When people have too much glucose bad things start to happen.

As healthy people we want insulin to do it’s job the correct way. We want to make sure that glucose is being burnt out all the time. When you have so much glucose in your body, your body cannot properly handle all that excess. What should biologically happen no longer takes place. Because of all that extra blood sugar your body wants to create extra insulin to correct the imbalance. That’s when bad things start to happen.

You see our bodies should not have to keep pumping out insulin to take care of the glucose. We were not biologically designed to have so much of both flowing around. When our bodies have so much glucose that it stops responding to insulin, it has become insulin resistant. Having a body that’s insulin resistance most likely means you are suffering from obesity, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and more bad stuff!

Sugar Is Dope

white cocaine on a table with black background

Our bodies love to be rewarded. That is why when we eat sweet substances it is so hard for us to stop after one bite. You see that biological response is something we can’t easily control. Every living persona has a reward center located in the center of their brain. When we put stuff in our bodies that make us happy, it pleasures that part of our brain. The brain releases dopamine.

Dopamine gets released whenever you eat sweet substances. Dopamine also gets released whenever people take drugs. That’s what makes sugar and drugs so addictive. The addiction develops because of what goes on in your brain and bloodstream. The moment your senses get a taste of the high of sugar/drugs, there’s a secret handshake between the sugar/drugs and dopamine in your body. Dopamine loves what the sugar/drugs are doing to it and wants more. Thus that aching sensation is what causes the addiction.


 

Are you starting to see a correlation here? Sugar is one biggest baddest drugs on this planet. The Mo’ Sugar we have the Mo’ Problems we develop!

Why Is Fall Trying To Beat Me Down?

Well here we are again. It’s that time of year where temptation is all over the place. A simple shopping errand exposes you to tons of advertising aimed to put layers of fat around your waist. Big brand name department store go straight from Halloween decor to Christmas advertising. If you’re lucky, your town still advertises for Thanksgiving. Regardless, the baked goods and sweets based on the Holidays start to make it into your visual on a daily basis.

This is the point of the year that can be difficult for most folks to stay focused on the big prize. My big prize is the fitness goal I set for myself at the beginning of this year. ( SEE Five Reality Checks That Helped Me Plan A Successful 2015 Training Plan AND My Wobbly First Three Quarters of Weight and Exercise In 2015). Am I the only one that gets distracted very easily at this point of the year?

The last few weeks have been rough on me. Due to the way things have been going I thought this was a great time to update everyone on what’s been going on.

Trip to Thailand

I took a ten day trip to Thailand back in October. Going into the trip I did not expect to have 24/7 access to a gym. I did anticipate doing enough physical activity that would allow me to stay in shape while on the trip.

My last corporate job was as a international business developer. That job required me to travel overseas a lot. With that job, I was a pro at adjusting to different time zones. The key to a successful overseas trip is to get your body adjusted to the time zone as quickly as possible. Believe it or not, a successful sleep pattern starts once you are on that plane.

Sleep Troubles

A businesswoman asleep on a flight

The reason the lights go out on the plane when you’re traveling overseas is because they want you to get adjusted to whatever local time zone going to be landing in. On this Thailand trip I did not even try to get some sleep while on a plane. I think I only got 2 hours of total sleep. This was my first international flight in which I did fly business class. When in business class, your seat goes all the way down into a bed. On this flight, my economy row only had my wife and I. Despite it only being us two in our row, I just could not get comfortable.

By not getting proper sleep, I was in the hurting when we landed in Bangkok. When you first land in a new time zone your body wants to stay on its old time schedule. So I started to experience my body naturally wanting to go to sleep during Thailand daytime hours because its exactly 11 hours behind my normal time zone. To get pass that sensation, you have to force yourself to stay awake and not go to sleep during the day. My wife and I never fully adjusted and suffered sleep insomnia the entire trip.

Eating in Thailand

Thailand Street Food showned

Thailand has a reputation for some of the best food on this planet. I love Thai food in the states so I knew I would try to taste the real thing every day.

My normal routine is to skip breakfast. But due to breakfast being included in our hotel bill at the hotels, I decided to partake in it. Boy was it good! Every location had a combination of Western and Thai cuisine. Given I was in Thailand, I gravitated towards the Thai food more than the Western food.

The Thailand breakfast buffet menu would always consist of lots of meats, vegetables, rice and noodles. The type of grub you normally see for lunch or dinner. It may have been cooked in oils and sauces but it all tasted very fresh. Nothing like what you would find in the United States.

During the trip I would normally skip lunch because I was so stuffed from the delicious breakfast. For dinner, I would eat a very small meal. All of this was the complete opposite of my normal routine of skipping breakfast, having a small lunch and than having a big dinner.

Thailand Workout

The main hotel I was staying at in Thailand did not have any type of gym. That was no problem because I planned on doing body workouts. Push ups and body squats were what I did every other day. When at the other hotels, I was able to use their gyms to do several workouts. The workouts plus the walking everywhere provided all the exercise I needed for the trip. Due to my sleep insomnia, I wasn’t bring my A game but it was better than doing nothing.

Coming Back Home

As expected, I had severe sleep insomnia once I came back to the US. I suffered from insomnia for almost three weeks. Even right now I’m still trying to figure out how to recover and get proper sleep. You see I’ve been around this fitness game long enough to realize that sleep is a missing ingredient in my body progressing. The more nights I get a consistent 7-9 hours of sleep, the better my body will be at recovery. A body that recovers well is primed to lose fat and build muscle.

Halloween

Jack o lantern bowl of candyIn addition to the lack of sleep I got my butt kicked by Halloween. I bought five pound bags of candy for trick-or-treaters this year but only four kids showed up! So the $20 worth of candy became automatic snack bait for my wife and I. You see I never have candy in my household. I mean seriously I never never ever ever ever have sweets like that in my house. Having those chocolates in my house woke up my inner sugar addict.

The ironic part of me going overboard with the Halloween candy was that it happened the day my book, “Release The Beast: Conquer Mental, Physical & Diet Challenges To Unleash The Champion Inside!” was released. The combination of insomnia, stress and easy access to sugar sent me on a emotional roller coaster that week. I did not feel like myself at all during the first week of November.

I’m Picking Myself Off The Mat For These Final Rounds!

Joachim Alcine, of Canada, lies on the canvas after a sixth round knockout by Daniel Santos, of Puerto Rico, during their WBA light middleweight title fight Friday, July 11, 2008, in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

If you’ve been following this blog, you now see the inspiration for the last couple of blog posts. It’s amazing how something as simple as sleep and sugar in my diet has put a damper on my 2015 goals. Since my last post, I feel like I’m almost back to where I was before the Thailand trip.

Due to this setback, I’ve decided to change up my routine for my blogs. I’ve decided that I would start posting a progress report every Friday, counting down the weeks it takes to reach my 2015 goal of 195 lbs. It will serve as a personal motivational factor as well as show my readers and clients that I practice what I preach.

This time of the year is the hardest for me to lose weight. With all the temptation, it’s easier to give in and wait until next year. I’m not going to do that this year!

I’m responsible for all my successes and failures. It’s time to share my personal journey. I only have a few weeks left in 2015. I’m currently 207 lbs. Think I’ll make it?

Look out for Mike’s Countdown to 195: Week One, coming out next Friday!


 

PS: If you don’t want to wait until next year to get into shape, MicVinny will be running a special offer in the upcoming weeks.  Sign up for the MicVinny Fan Club to stay informed!  It’s going to be epic!

My Painful Personal Secret Sugar Addiction

Ability to make me happy……CHECK
Massive body changes over the years. ……..CHECK
Constant yearnings for more…….. CHECK
Ability to make me become depressed…….. CHECK

Like any good drug, sugar has had me addicted to it for years! I’m sure I’m not the only one. I talked about sugar in the previous couple of articles (12 Quick Questions For Sugar Addicts, Why Is Sugar Stalking You?). I would now like to share my own struggle with sugar when I was going through my younger years.

Sugar In My Younger Days

There’s no denying that I ate pretty much like any normal kid. My mom tried to keep a pretty healthy household. We didn’t have an outrageous number of sugary substances regularly in our house. When they would pop up, of course it was a special treat and I indulged like any kid would!

Fruity pebbles

During the summer, I typically stayed in Cincinnati with my Aunt Pam and two cousins. I remember being mesmerized by all the goodies she kept in her house. It was the complete opposite of my mom’s house. There were so many sweets, that my brother and I would always come back home a few pounds heavier by the end summer!

You want to talk about hyper! I would get super hyper after having meals during those summers. Looking back I know it had to be a combination of me being happy along with a boost of sugar to get the party started! That was my rep during my summers in Cincinnati. Give Mikey some food and desserts, and then look out!

Sugar in High School

I remember being in high school and always having some type of sugary substance every day. The sugary substance for me normally involved breakfast foods. In my effort to get out the house and get to school on time I always consumed some type a quick breakfast. My normal choices were cereal, instant oatmeal, or breakfast bars. All of those options had a ton of sugar in them. If you start your day with that much sugar, it’s a given that you started off badly.

Chocolate milk named Alta DenaDuring my high school years I had a headaches every single Friday. At that time in my life I thought it was because I was stressed out from school. I didn’t even think for once that it could be due to what I ate.

My next meal of the day was the school’s lunch. I normally ate whatever the school provided along with chocolate milk. School lunches claimed to be healthy but they contained lots of grease, oils and sugar.

The only water source you had at school was water fountains. Those were hit or miss. It seemed for every one that worked, six did not. If you found a fountain that worked, it most likely was violated in some way. By only taking small sips of water throughout the day, there was no way I was getting eight glasses of water a day. I’m pretty sure I drank more milk and juice than water for most of those years. I was definitely under hydrated during the majority of my high school years.

Sugar In College

When I entered college it was a whole new ballgame. I had access to an all you can eat buffet ten times a week. If my broke self had a pass to eat that much food in one setting you better believe I was going to eat it all! I made it my mission to stack up on any extra snacks I could possibly get from the buffet. I would sneak cookies and other sweets every night to become my snacks throughout the week. The sweets lasted longer in the dorm rooms, so those were my plunder of choice.

sugar cookies with food coloring in the middle

As freshman year moved on I started feeling awful. The Friday night high school headaches started to happen more often. “What was causing these headaches?” I constantly asked myself. I just could not figure that pain out.

It was around Thanksgiving of 1999 that I started to really educate myself on health. I wanted to start working out at the gym more often. That’s when I discovered websites talking about proper nutrition being the real key towards getting in shape. All the experts mentioned that a healthy diet does more for your body than exercise alone.

Even though I wanted to eat to gain muscle, the articles made it clear to me that I needed healthier food choices. After reading all those articles I realized that I had been eating way too much sugar. A normal cafeteria breakfast for me was eating oatmeal with three tablespoons of brown sugar. To drink I would have chocolate or strawberry milk. Lunch would be a sandwich, salad (with sugary/fatty salad dressing), fries and several cookies.

Sugar….It’s a Heck of a Drug!

slushy

I didn’t’ really drink water because just like high school it wasn’t readily available. It may have been in the cafeteria, but with all the soda, slushy & fruit juice machines on display, it was very easy to avoid! There’s nothing sexy about drinking water when it’s next to a state of the art slushy machine, right?

During my spring semester, I purposely decided to clean up my diet. I didn’t have the cleanest foods available but I made better food choices. That’s when I noticed that my headaches disappeared. For me it was pretty much a no-brainer that the sugar was causing my headaches.

In addition to the headaches going away obviously my body composition starting to change. Just by making a few changes in my diet drastically change my body. I started slimming down and lost over 10 pound just by reducing my sugar intake.


I wish I could say that my addiction to sugar stopped in that moment right there. But like any good drug dealer, sugar has had it’s grip in my over the years. Do you feel the same way? Ever wonder why? I’ll get into that at later time!

Why Is Sugar Stalking You?

Have you ever watched one of those horror movies where the character tries to escape from the villain yet wherever they run to the villain is always one step ahead of them? The villain I want to talk about today seems to be in your life from the moment you wake up. You get out your bed to go do your morning bathroom routine. You get ready to brush you teeth and < insert shrieking horror music > he’s there! You give him an evil stare as he sits on top of your toothbrush inside your toothpaste.

You go to your kitchen for breakfast and open your pantry and < insert shrieking horror music > he’s there conversing with your favorite breakfast items. He looks up at you with a smirk “You know you want me….don’t run!”

You race off to go to work and as you listen to the radio you are interrupted by advertisement for your favorite coffee shop. Immediately as the advertisement goes off he pops up from behind the backseat < insert shrieking horror music > and says “You know what will make that coffee even better……this little packet of sunshine I got in my pocket!”

You stop by that coffee shop before you get to work. While getting the coffee you’re reminded of all the delicious items the shop has besides coffee. It all looks tempting so you tell yourself you’re only going to get one treat because you’ve been good all week. As soon as the coffee shop worker places the treat in a bag, you hear laughter in the background. Your morning stalker quietly approaches you in line < insert shrieking horror music > and whispers over your shoulder, “Sooo what do we have there? You sure you only want just one? hahahaha”

officeblurry

The rest of your workday goes by in a rollercoaster blur. You have many ups and downs through out the day. Could it be due to what you ate? You try not to think too hard because you just want the day to be over with.

It’s now finally the end of your work day. You proceed to drive home from work in the dark. Your energy levels are extremely low. You could use another quick pick me up. Almost as if he’s a mind reader, < insert shrieking horror music >  your stalker pops back up from the shadows of your car. He gives a grin and tells you “Yeah I got what you need….All you gotta do is admit that you love me….you can’t LIVE without me! You ain’t never going to leave me! HAHAHA!!”

Sugar AKA The World’s Best Drug Dealer

Am I the only one that feels that that sugar is the biggest drug lord on this planet? No seriously think about it. What else can make you feel ashamed and lethargic? Why do we try to hide our excess sugar usage from family and friends? What else can drastically change the way our bodies look on the outside? What other substance can cause even more damage to your insides than it does to your outside?

If you took sugar out the above paragraph you probably would think I was talking about methamphetamine, cocaine, crack, or heroin. Those are all addictive recreational drugs. The worse of the worse right? Well, the sad truth is that sugar has all of them beat! Sugar has more addicts then those drugs combined. Sugar is the ultimate drug!

 

homerYou see I’m not the type of person to about badmouth the food but sugar deserves some bellowing at. If there were only one truly bad food substance on this planet, sugar would win hands down. Just think of all the diseases in the world that originate from sugar. You have diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, etc.

Everybody’s doing it…… are you?

For too many years sugar was ignored and just treated as a food source. It hasn’t been until the last 15 years or so that scientists have truly spoken up about the non-benefits of having this in your diet.

If sugar is so bad for us why do we continue to keep eating and eating and eating it? Well like most drugs it’s addictive! No if ands or buts about it, sugar is one of the most addictive things you can put into your body. When we’re feeling depressed we go toward sugar. When we want to celebrate a great achievement we go towards sugar. So consuming sugar goes with the highs and the lows of our life.

I’ll talk about my own personal experience with sugar, next time!

12 Quick Questions For Sugar Addicts

You wake up feeling groggy. You tell yourself “never again”. You start your new day with aches and pains that you know you did to yourself. “Today’s the day I get back on track” you try to convince yourself over and over again.

You reach for your favorite morning beverage to hydrate your system. With each sip you start to get your confidence back up. You truly feel that today is going to be the first day again. A new start.

You proceed to go out and about like a normal day. You complete all your errands for the day. You even eat a big healthy dinner with all of the vegetables and protein sources you know your body needs to stay healthy.

Towards the end of that meal you feel like you have accomplished something. “You know what I think I really did it”. You go to watch your favorite TV program as a minor celebration. You feel safe, and secure on your couch watching your program. That security won’t last too much longer!

It Starts With A Whisper

A couple of minutes go by and you hear a faint whisper. “Must be background noise on the TV”, you tell yourself. A few more minutes pass by and you hear a voice again. This time it’s more sinister. The voice is saying, “F-E-E-D me….”.

The voice is wickedly low at first but after five more minutes of nonstop pestering you can’t ignore its voice any longer. That voice convinces you that you need to be eating what it craves to make it go away. That’s when you realize “I still have some of that cake left over…I’m sure if I eat a small piece the voice will go away.”

That voice knows, as well as your rational side of your brain knows, that you will not be eating just that one piece a cake. It knows you will try to make yourself feel good by having a small slice at first. Then the voice expects you to go back for seconds and thirds and more and MORE! The final result will be you waking up tomorrow morning with a sugar hangover.

Hangover part 3 poster

With Halloween passing over the past week, there’s a great chance that you will have some sort of candy surplus in your home this week. Like I said in my previous post, I love Halloween. On Halloween this year, I bought some candy at the last minute. It was the weirdest feeling because I actually went to the grocery store to buy candy. Not healthy vegetables, meat and fruit. Just candy.

I bought a good five pounds worth of candy thinking that trick-or-treaters were going to stop by my door on Halloween night. To my sadness, there was only four trick-or-treaters the entire night! That meant that I bought $20 worth of candy for no reason! What was I going to do with all that extra candy.

Well like any former sugar addict of course I took a taste. What started off as one or two bite-size pieces turned into a mountain of mixed candy bar wrappers. I woke up the next morning with one of the worst stomach pains I’ve ever experienced in a long time. “What did you do to yourself”, I told myself throughout that day.

12 Quick Questions For Sugar Addicts

As a former sugar addict I know the routine. I know just how bad sugar can be for someone that’s addicted to it. I’ve been able to maintain my health for the majority of these last couple years due to my avoidance of excess sugar. The previous night can happen to anyone.

Does what happened to me, happen to you EVERY Day? Do you know if you’re addicted to sugar?

Answer these 12 quick questions to see if you’re possibly addicted to sugar:

  1. Do you put more than one serving of sugar or sweetener in your coffee or tea?
  2. Do soda, juice and flavored drinks take up more space in your refrigerator then vegetables and fruits?
  3. Do you drink more soda juice or flavored drinks than you do water in a day?
  4. Do you have to have dessert every day after dinner?
  5. Do you have something sweet at every meal (breakfast,lunch,snacks)?
  6. Does your breakfast normally come from a colorful box?
  7. Do you find yourself having headaches all the time?
  8. Do you feel like you have low energy most of the time?
  9. Do you have an odd sensation on the outside of your teeth?
  10. Do you eat baked goods more than you do fruit?
  11. Do you snack on candy?
  12. Do you have to refill your sugar dish more than twice a month?

Drinks with their sugar content next to them

The real truth is that all humans are capable of being addicted to sugar. There’s no question that too much of it is unhealthy for our bodies. We all know that, but how many of us apply that knowledge in our day-to-day lives?  I’ll get more into sugar, next time!