Initially I started my caffeine and sugar 30 days fast on the same day (July 12, 2011) but had to restart my sugar fast again on the 16th. Why? Well, during my bi-weekly video production shoot with my teammates, our usual practice before a live performance is for everyone to take a sweet/toffee/lolly/mint for a quick sugar fix for the 2-3hr straight production, with only 1 break in between. This was a habit formed about 4-5yrs back, and my hands and mouth did it automatically, until self-realization sparked in my pre-occupied brain, half way through the mint I was sucking on. I couldn’t spit it out, as I’ve already gone through half of it already, so I had to reset just the sugar fast again to day 0.
The thing about making a commitment like this is: discipline, I know that I could do this, as I’ve done this for caffeine before several years back. That was when I was doing regular exercises and taking vitamin supplements, and couldn’t take coffee or caffeinated sodas for a 6-8mth period, because caffeine destroys any nutritional values of vitamins within a certain amount of time after consumption. I’ve never thought to cheat in this, because I’m doing this for myself, and if I do cheat, I’ll just be cheating myself.
It’s just too hard for sugar though, because it’s so prevalent in our daily snacks, meals and drinks that it can be easily overlooked. Not taking coffee or tea is simple as they’re beverages and are easily substituted. Sugar on the other hand is in all Sodas – both natural and ‘unnatural’ (sugar substitutes are unnatural in my book), and is a large part of all cakes, chocolate, ice-cream, etc.. For a sweet tooth like me, it is one of the hardest tasks I’ve set for myself.
It is now Day 27 for Caffeine, and Day 23 for Sugar. This has been a good challenge to me, as I’ve felt different over the past few weeks. This may be due to a shift in diet, or just having to think of the type of food that I have to eat at each meal and not snacking on my chocolates and gummy bears that I stock up at home. Overall, I believe that my mind has been adjusted to allow for changes in my life, and that I would be capable of managing it.
Now, there’s more fruits in my daily meals and snacks than before, and also lots of water. Considering that most bottled fruit juice at stores and supermarkets have sugar in them, I’ve had to ensure that I drink more water and buy or make fresh fruit juice, all that to stay within the limits of my fast. It’s required a lot of mental flexibility on my part, like when I joined my friends at an ice-cream parlor and just drink water, while chatting with them. Was it a great temptation to take a bite or order several scoops for myself? Not really, the smells were great, vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch scents wafting around the store, as well as the sweet and warm buttery scent of waffle cones being made. It was heavenly being in such a place for a while, but I wasn’t the least bit tempted, because I had a set back once, and didn’t want to have to start over again. It’s about the lesser of two evils: either guiltily eat the ice-cream and re-start the 30day count again, or just resist the temptation and enjoy myself guilt free when the 30days is up. I chose the latter, because it’ll make me feel better in the long-term.
I’m now planning my next 30days resolution, but I think that it’ll need to continue on this healthy trend. Since I’ve been struggling on and off wit a regular exercise regimen, this should be the one that I should really discipline myself and put into a regular schedule. My excuse is that I blamed my current job on having meetings at odd times of the day and especially during lunch. These meetings had encroached unto my exercise timings, and threw me off my schedule. I can’t use that excuse anymore, since I’m now better able to manage my time, and will need to have discipline to ensure that I follow through on my exercise schedule.
These plans help me to ensure that I change my planning strategy for my life, with a focus on goals within 30days, that I can reach, and raising the bar on these goals after each one has been accomplished. These may seem like a small step for most people who have done these things on a daily basis, but for those out there like me, where these activities are not part of my daily life, I needed this to force me to adapt and change my mindset.
In addition to this, I’ve also started this blog, whereby I write down my perspectives, rather than a journal. As I’m not comfortable put down words of my day’s activities onto paper or computer, as it feels like I have to relive the day again. It’s not in me to keep a diary of my day, but I do feel good when putting down my observations, introspections and perspectives of how and why choices are made.
All these activities provides me with an outlet to focus my energy and awareness. As I’m now very conscious of my habits and actions. This introspection on my daily actions and reactions to the new limits placed upon me, have allowed me to understand my capabilities and mental flexibility. I’ve always known what I was capable of and my limitations before, but when saddled with a 30day timeframe and limitations that cut into the daily life that usually just hums along in the background. My awareness of it is even more pronounced, as my mental triggers will consciously push me to be aware of food and beverages that I usually take for granted each day. Each ‘push’ is distinctive and pronounced, like deliberately staying away from my favorite cafes, because they don’t serve any other non-caffeinated unsweetened beverages, other than water.
With regards to writing, I’m also pushed into studying the writing styles and plot structures of authors and books that I don’t normally read, so that I can get an understanding of how each character is created and how they are compared with lead characters by my favorite authors.
By August 11th, I would complete my caffeine fast, and by the 15th – my sugar fast. I’ll post a new 30days resolution afterwards, but I can safely say that a daily exercise regime be one of them, and it will be setup with exercise activities planned for both wet and dry weather. I’ve had quite a lot of other activities, hobbies and self-improvement plans that have been put on hold over the years, so one of them may be added to the 2 Resolutions that I’ll start next.