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Sunday, June 28, 2015

30 Days Sugar and Alcohol Free

Every year I challenge myself to abstain from alcohol and processed sugar, the stuff you find in sweets, candies, cookies, etc for 30 days.

I recently completed this challenge.

One quick update before I get to that:

I'll be hosting a 28 Day Fat Blaster challenge beginning in mid July.  I'll be posting more info about it on July 1st to the 1 Year 1000 Challenge page. I will also be sending out an email to let you know.  Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter so you don't miss out.  Click here to subscribe

30 Days No Sugar No Alcohol

I am a pretty healthy guy, meaning I usually eat fairly clean (not a lot of sugary or fried foods) and I also enjoy treating myself every now and then to a few beers with friends or a sweet goodie ( cookies, doughnuts, cakes, etc...)

I also know that sugar is one of the most addictive substances out there.  Recent research has shown that sugar, on a chemical level, affects the limbic system in the brain (the part of the brain responsible for emotional control) in similar ways as some of the notoriously more addictive drugs out there like heroin.

When you hear words like heroin and sugar in the same sentence you might think: "C'mon Jesse, you are pulling my leg."

Think about this:

According to the CDC 38,329 people in the USA died from drug overdose in 2013.

Compare that to Sugar

Each year in the USA over 610,000 people, (according to the CDC) die from heart disease - Nearly 20 times more than drug overdose!!!

Leading causes: High Blood Pressure, High LDL Cholesterol, Overweight/Obesity, Poor Diet, Excessive Alcohol use, and physical inactivity

I once read a study that reported 96% of heart disease is preventable with healthy eating and exercise... 96%!!!!  That means that every year over 570,000 people die who would not have died had they taken better care of their health.

Tragic!

And what can be found in very likely 99% of unhealthy diets - SUGAR! 

What does sugar do to the body: Can lead to weight gain, cholesterol increases, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, diabetes, headaches, etc...

It is no longer a mystery that sugar is bad for us and the reason so many people continue to over indulge in it is largely due to its addictive properties.  People just want to "feel a little better."

The first few days without sugar and alcohol were fine

Around day 5-8 I would get random headaches. 

Day 8 - 12 were the cravings... I really just wanted a bite or a sip and I would often here "THE voice" trying to rationalize it in my head:

"Just one bite won't kill you,"  "You have done this before, you know you can do it again... you have nothing to prove."

After day 12 it was pretty smooth sailing and by the time I took my first sip of alcohol I had gone almost a full 6 weeks without booze and, as of this writing, still have not had a sugary treat (although I am in Las Vegas and might treat myself here).




Some of the things that helped me be successful were:


  • cleaning out my kitchen and removing any temptations (here's a video I did on nutrition success)
  • I told everyone I talked to about my goal, this gave me massive accountability 
  • I adjusted my schedule to protect myself during the "vulnerable" times (times where I had most cravings/temptation)
  • I made sure to readjust my focus, daily, on why I was doing this
  • I had a clear goal

Over the 30 days these are some of the benefits I noticed from abstaining from sugar and alcohol:

  • More Energy
  • Thinking much clearer
  • More focused
  • Less distracted
  • Stronger in workouts
  • After Day 12, better overall mode
  • Food tasted better
  • Surplus in monthly budget from not spending money on drinks with friends
    • Note: think about the average markup for alcohol in any bar/restaurant
  • Reduced body fat
  • Muscles looked harder and more vascular 
  • More motivated to pursue other hobbies/activities
  • Improved creativity with cooking
When the time finally came where I was ready to have my first sip of alcohol again... I wasn't really even looking forward to it.  I had it, I enjoyed it, and I did so because I still want to continue to enjoy the occasional beers with friends.  I love the good times and silliness that comes with it.

With that being said, I believe life is all about balance, and one thing I have taken away from this most recent 30 day challenge is balance is something that can be re-calibrated at different times in your life. Going forward, I am excited to establish my new balance, and enjoying the experience along the way.

What about you?  Have you ever done a personal challenge for yourself?  What did you learn while doing it?

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

http://www.jessebrisendine.com
http://www.facebook.com/1year1000challenge






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