My “Drug-Addiction” Confession


My “Drug-Addiction” Confession

This was hard to write. Hard to confess. Hard to explain.

Short story: I’ve been addicted now for about two months. Addicted at first by accident… then by design.

Addicted to a sinister drug.

I’m both ashamed and excited to tell the story.

Let me preface by saying this: Anyone who claims to have it “all together” when it comes to their diet and nutrition is either an extreme rarity or an outright liar.

I will never claim that. I will always give it to you straight.

Yes, I have some rock-solid answers to getting leaner and more muscular that simply work.

Yes, I’ve changed my own body from obese to fit.

But folks, I’m not Superman. I’m not even close. I still blow it. I still abuse some of my own principles.

Sure, it’s not all the time. It’s pretty rare. But it happens.

And unless I can be honest about that — honest with you — then I feel I’m blowing smoke up the wrong place, if you know what I mean. You need to know that the quote-unquote best of the best can really blow it.

To me, that’s a positive thing. It is more reassuring to me to read, for example, that one of my personal role models struggled with sugar addiction even after she got into top shape. Long after.

The difference between her and most people: She knew exactly what to do in order to get back on the horse. And she did.

Well, let me tell you about my drug addiction problem.

It’s not an illegal drug.

It’s sugar.

And, let me say this: If you do not think sugar is a drug, you need a reality check. It’s a sinister drug. It is replete with side-effects that mirror heroine addiction.

What started out as an act of irresponsibility coupled with emotional and work-related stress (ah, that word again!) turned into a pretty dangerous experiment.

I decided to make myself a guinea pig for the past six week.

The results were horrible.

One of the reasons I have not been able to write my normally daily (or near-daily) Fit 365 Newsletter is due to this experiment.

I hit rock bottom when I ended up (gasp) in bed all day long… twice! Folks, this is not the “good” kind of “in bed all day”. I simply didn’t want to move. I had my laptop and my “fix” and I was set.

Boy, I’m sounding like a fitness hero right now, eh?

Will I lose subscribers? Yeah, perhaps. I hope not. We’ll see.

Let me give you the short story — and then tell you how I came out of the downward spiral.

A few months back when I returned from France, I noticed my body felt different. I was in great shape at the time. France allowed me a lot of peaceful time to train, but more than that it allowed me access to hormone-free foods. I ate plenty of hormone-free meats, pesticide-free veggies and healthy fats. And I had a bit of sugar every week as it’s always been a part of my Every Other Day Diet System of Eating. It always will be. “Cheating” helps keep your metabolism elevated. It’s actually vital that you DO enjoy your favorite foods every week in order to maintain your fatloss.

When I returned to the States I had the pleasure of almost a month with my good friend (and little sister) Sherry Strong. She cooked all organic foods and I felt amazing, of course. Naturally I ate a bit more loose than normal. For starters, I was on a two-week break from my intense 7 Minute Muscle training. Second, I wanted to take Sherry, an Aussie, out for a good time and let her taste a bit of Texas.

Even during this my body did not change drastically at all. 7 Minute Muscle training keeps your metabolism elevated and I have plenty of muscle to burn off extra calories. Sure, I put on about 4-5 pounds of water and bodyfat, but that’s hardly a big deal.

What WAS a big deal came after Sherry left.

First, there was the emotional loss of missing a friend. Second, to be totally honest, I had grown quite accustomed to Sherry cooking for us all. Sherry is a chef and it’s her love — so this was a no-brainer. “Jon’s tuna or Sherry’s chef-style healthy cuisine.” No choice there!

The problem was I got out of the habit of preparing my own foods. For me, this is an easy habit to break… but I had no idea how easy or how quickly until my “drug addiction” kicked in.

How did it start? Innocently. I began writing my Personal Fat Loss Certification Course, which you will receive (or have received) if you are reading this article. It comes free with your membership to my blog. It is over 100 pages in Word — literally a book’s worth of material, all free, and all quite intense to write.

Then I added quizzes. Those took as long as the Course itself to compose.

People love the course, and I’m thrilled to give it away along with my latest book The Radical Fat Loss Blueprint, which you can get free at the end of the course. The supplements suggested are not free of course, but people wanted to know exactly what I take to get into top shape… so there you go.

Anyhoo… during the composition of the Personal Fat Loss Certification Course and the book, I began to find myself very pressed for time. I decided to forgo training another week to get it done. After all, what’s “one more week”, right?

Right…. (as in wrong.)

As I was out of the habit of prepping my own foods (and a bit bummed over my friend going, and stressed over the workload… sound familiar?) I opted for a better “bad” choice for my first meal: Protein bars. Sure, I use them… but rarely and only when I am stuck on a plane or something. I figured a week would not hurt.

The protein bars I like contain almost no sugar, but the nearest stores were all out of these bars. Damn… what to do? I remembered that my friend Fabrice was eating a MET-Rx bar that looked fantastic. I decided to grab three of those and give it a shot.

Despite the 40 grams of sugar in the bar. Oops.

Three days later I was almost addicted to these suckers. I mean… wow. They tasted great, they allowed me to focus on my writing, and they were a hop, skip and a jump away. And (yep, even I do this) I rationalized, “Hey, high in protein!” Yeah man. Yeah. Keep it up… ; )

Within about a week I noticed I started craving sugar. I stopped by 7-11 at night and picked up an old favorite: Lemon drops. Hard candy. I like this as a general approach when you’re mentally healthy, but when you’re stressed and bummed, NOT a good idea. A few lemon drops can be sucked on for hours and you’re satisfied. That’s a trick I used all the time. But a few became a few dozen… then a bag…

… then bam. Addiction kicked in. I KID YOU NOT.

If I didn’t’ have my sugar fix I would literally feel like the day was not complete. I began getting the shakes. I began sleeping during the day. My level of depression rose (not to the point of needing drugs, but damn close.)

And my belly fat? Well… goodbye abs. I was still “okay” in-shape, but certainly not a poster boy for fitness.

After waking up one day at 2:30 PM with a nasty stomach ache and intense cravings for these suckers, I decided enough was enough.

Almost.

I decided to do a three-week experiment. Stupid perhaps, but I had to know.

Could I simply reduce my calories and still get my sugar fix? Was sugar really the cause of the way I was feeling?

For three weeks, up until this week, I tried to cut my calories down to essential protein and… yep… sugar. Not sugar as in “ice cream” — pure sugar as in various forms of hard candy. I cannot bear the taste of Coke (even that is too sweet all the time) and I did not want a lot of calories at once. I wanted to see if just a few hundred calories of sugar here and there, sustained all day, without added calories from fat, would continue my downward spiral or balance it out.

Oh, what a dumb thing to do. I bet you saw that coming. ; )

Two weeks later, I’m absolutely starving. My normally-controlled appetite was through the roof. My bodyfat shot up. My energy vanished. My depression rose. I got the shakes. I woke up with night sweats. I literally could not concentrate enough to write a newsletter or do my work (sound familiar parents?… as in A.D.D. perhaps?… yep, I think it’s sugar.)

Chest pains. Even blurred vision. I had to call off the experiment early to save my sanity. Plus I was beginning to notice that I could not ride my bike as well (I ride a Harley-style chopper) — that was that.

I sat myself down and confessed what I was doing to one of our 7 Minute Muscle coaches.

She sent me some (uh-HUM) encouraging emails after that conversation.

I’ll put it this way: She does not talk to our clients like this!

But it worked.

I needed coaching to pull myself out of this one. And I still do.

Now, the truth be told, I’ll be back to my normal, vibrant, fit and lean self in about 4 weeks or so. But I deserve what I asked for. Sure, there was a bit of “mad scientist” going on there toward the end, but I started this without noble intentions.

It reminded me of how crappy I felt when I was obese — and how easy it is for any of us to fall off the wagon.

It also clinched the deal for me when it comes to one vital aspect of my new business model:

Personal coaching is not an option–and it should be made available to as many people as possible.

I got together with our coaches and asked them for a favor.

I wanted to create an All-Product Coaching Program. And we have. For a very small monthly cost you can have 24/7 access to my certified training staff (and myself; I jump into the mix almost every day) to help you tailor-make my workouts into YOUR workouts.

My diet plans into YOUR personal diet plan.

And of course a good kick in the butt.

I needed the latter. You may too.

So here’s the deal:

I’m giving away 30 days of free personal coaching to all of my 7 Minute Muscle members. These are people who own 7 Minute Muscle NOW (if that is you, look for an email shortly after this one) …

… OR….

…anyone who picks up a copy between now and May 1, 2009.

Get the books, get the coaching for 30 days free. You can continue coaching if you like for a monthly cost or you can just take the 30 days and be done with it. Simple as that.

Here’s how you get it:

1. Go to 7MinuteMuscle.com and order the books. You’ll get them instantly.
2. Be sure to check your email and confirm your email subscription to the 7 Minute Muscle members list! The first email you get will contain the link to the 30 days of free coaching.
3. Act fast — we can only fill about 200 slots. I may be able to push that to 400 since I just added another trainer, but we are absolutely dedicated to keeping this PERSONAL. That means real people answering your emails on a real forum. You will get to interact with hundreds of others as you make new friends to help your progress along.

This is my introduction to All-Product Coaching. What that means is simple: Any fitness book you own of mine you can get personal coaching on. We’re just doing the 30 days free thing with 7 Minute Muscle for now, however.

Pretty cool stuff.

Listen: I REALLY needed (and still need) coaching. I get my encouraging email and it reminds me of who I really am and what I really want for my life.

Folks, in crazy times like these — times of stress and emotional chaos — it’s easy to forget what you already know.

Coaches are friends who remind and professionals who instruct.

I hope you let us help you.

I hope you can relate to the story of drug addiction I just shared as well. Sugar IS a drug. Do not be deceived. It is okay in moderation, but even the best of us can fall prey to its siren song if we are not careful. I was not careful, and I REALLY know better.

That means anyone can make the same mistake.

Don’t beat yourself up. I’m not. Just make a plan, get a good coach if you can, and rock-n-roll.

Deal?

(And Julia — thanks for the not-so-gentle reminders… : )

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28 Responses to “My “Drug-Addiction” Confession”

  1. Arvil says:

    Jon, as a Platinum member, will this extend personal coaching another month??

  2. Arvil says:

    Wow, that’s a courageous addmission. Sugar is my fix of choice also. Just tonight I had reached for a huge fresh baked chocolate chip cookie and had the container in hand when better judgement prevailed. I know that everything is feeling better and when I did slip and have fountain drinks with hfc, I had a spike in my blood pressure. I do not want to go there anymore, so goodbye for the most part on the sugar containing foods.

  3. Markku says:

    Hi,
    I have to commend you for having courage the let everyone know about your “adventure”. It sure is a great reminder how fragile every one is. Especially when one THINKS one knows.. I have a similar story; I thought I was immune to gaining weight back last winter and got about six pounds back and regained my belly. Not a big deal you might say but to me it is pretty devastating and those pounds seem to be VERY difficult to get rid of. It reminds me of a Finning saying: Pride goes before fall.
    Markku

  4. Suzanne says:

    It’s actually kind of nice to hear you’re not friggin’ Superman..LOL Ok, I’m sorry, you know I love you. Glad you’re better, and if it’s any consolation your last day of the certification is in my travel kit, on my desk, I read it every single day.

    I think you worry too much, Mister. Relax a little and enjoy your success. :) I don’t want to lose you anytime soon, ok?

  5. Ann says:

    Hey
    I agree with Suzanne, relax you are Ok. You are helping so many of us to keep on track so lighten the load a bit! and yes it does help to know that it is not just me who finds it all hard sometimes. The most difficlut part of all this healthy living is the fact that others don’t bother and don’t care so they say things that make it seem like we who do care are the odd ones. However you help so much by just being there and being willing to share with us.
    So take a pat on the back and a big hug and an even bigger thank you.
    Annx

  6. Tamar says:

    This is why we love you, Jon. And thanks for the reminder about how dangerous a drug sugar really is. We are so used to it that we treat it like something harmless and nothing could be farther from the truth.

  7. Mark says:

    Jon
    Your openness and honesty is remarkably inspiring. You really shine out like a beacon in an industry full of hype which I believe actually produces relatively few success stories, despite what it would lead you to believe. I tend to buy your products because they are good, I respect you but have I really really given the programs 100%. Today that changes – thank you for the inspiration (again) this time I get the coach!

  8. Lee says:

    Nice honesty Jon,
    I also get addicted to sugar way too easily; but I’ve been on the no junk food wagon since the start of the year. This is a first for me to go this long without the sugar hit from chocies, licorice, cakes etc. I’ve committed myself to going the rest of the yr, the body recomposition is a cool effect but to be honest, once the year is over I’m afriad to go back because abstanance is not the same as knowing how to control or moderate it. To paraphrase a guru: “fitness is the foundation of fulfilment”, so for many the pain of change must be less than the pain of staying the same. I’m equipping myself with many different tools, eg finally learning to love myself and to learn how to love and honor myself for me that means consistantly making choices that will take me to where I want to go, and commiting myself to never again to go back to where I was emotionally and physically.

  9. Dave says:

    I use wintergreen lifesavers, but not because I need a fix, but because of the breath issue. I noticed that, by habit, I was reaching in the bag more than 2 times a day. I put a stop to that in a big hurry since I am on carb cycling plan and trying to hit a 5-6% body fat personal best. I did enjoy the story Jon. JFYI, I’ve lost over 50lbs/24% body fat without a coach (I was a BFL competitor in 98.). This is not to impress but to impress upon people that you can do anything you set your mind to. Your ideas are well taken.

    • Jon says:

      Hi Dave … yeah, I hear you. I probably should re-word that to “for most people” coaching is not an option. Obviously I had my own transformation, without a trainer, and use trainers on a limited basis (except coaches) today, so you are also correct to point out that people can do what they put their minds to.

      That said — your mind is not always in the right place. That was the point of the post. I’ve had (now) three events in my life that did a number on my normal mental resolve. This may very well just be a “thing” with me (and with a lot of people I’m sure). I’m one of “those types”… creative, expressive, emotional… the only straight guy on my block who likes Oscar Wilde… heh… and this personality type is prone to both highly rational ‘and’ irrational thinking. It’s pretty interesting really, if not a bit of a drag on the latter half.

      For for my type of personality, I find having support, coaching, etc. absolutely essential, especially during serious emotional stress.

      Kudos on your transformation as well.

  10. Jess says:

    I hate to be corny here, but if I already own 7MM, how do I sign up for the coaching? Thanks!

    • Jon says:

      Hi Jess,

      No worries — I sent out an email seconds after my full email to the members only list of 7MM.

      If you did not get it, shoot me back a message and I’ll shoot it over to you via email.

  11. Bryan says:

    Jon,

    Great post, Jon.

    Humility is the one characteristic that brings us closer to greatness.

    Your post is appreciated and will likely resonate with more people than will admit it. I know it did with me.

    Be well,
    Dr. Bryan Walsh

  12. Indira says:

    Dear Jon. You are a brave man who did the right thing-confess.You are an example for all of us who love you dearly. Did not realize how insidious sugar is.Thanks for the reminder. Love you Indira

  13. Julia says:

    Wow! It takes a big man to come clean with that, thanks for sharing. I bet you feel better because of it and because you are getting back on track with nutrition and exercise.

    Glad my not so gentle reminders helped!

  14. Donna says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing this with us. I totally agree about sugar being addictive and dangerous and insidious. Just read a blurb about a new book out by David Kessler, former head of FDA, and his challenges with weight and eating issues. He did some “dumpster-diving” research behind fast food places to get the scoop on the ingredients in products that many of us get hooked on (“Bet you can’t eat just one”) – all with sugar, fat and/or salt. Sounds like an interesting read – he’s hoping that processed/bad foods will become like tobacco – shunned, rather than consumed by the masses. So, you’re not alone in your body’s reaction to this addiction. My best to you!

  15. Donna says:

    Here’s a link to the Washington Post article about David Kessler (“Crave Man” – ha ha). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/26/AR2009042602711.html

  16. Jon says:

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words. I feel honesty is by far more powerful than veils of “I have it perfectly together ’cause I wrote five books man!”

    I ‘am’ thankful I have those books, tools, knowledge, coaching, etc. to help pull me out of spins very quickly before too much damage is done. Hopefully this site will serve as a tool for some of you in case you ever need it.

    Thanks again.

  17. Jose Sanchez says:

    Hi Jon,

    Great Post! No worries… I went into a similar experience that lasted close to 3 years. Before, I had my health lifestyle and great workouts. Then, I got sucked into my business and almost daily visits to restaurant’s for a NICE WINE and DINE. At the time, I thought I was treating myself GOOD and deserving of it. Then, time went by, I felt that I was losing a part of myself. Out of nowhere, I was finally able to pull myself OUT with YOUR RAPID-FAT-LOSS-BLUEPRINT. I want to THANK YOU for putting together a STEP by STEP blueprint that removes the planning and thinking of creating a BLUEPRINT. I was able to FOCUS on the execution which made it easier for me. Now, I have my POWER back.

    Thanks,
    Jose

  18. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Jon

    I know exactly what you mean :). I am on my honeymoon, and have indulged in chocolates and ice-cream. I feel like crap, to say the least. I had a steak and paw-paw salad this afternoon with lots of greens, felt a lot better. I now truely know the difference in how you feel when eating even modestly right in comparison to these last few days!

  19. Sarah says:

    Recognized myself in that article, big-time! “Just one little piece of cake, just this once” becomes “ah, why not another since I already had one!” and somehow that sugar-devil grabs your brain and neurons and better judgement and sends you slip-sliding away into fattyness … Ban Sugar! =D No, seriously. There’s all this hysteria around tobacco, alcohol and “grass” but somehow no one takes sugar as seriously – yet it’s available to KIDS 24/7!

    And when it comes to sugar, I don’t think many of us outgrow being a kid …

    Once you get to “lean”, 4-5 lbs up feels like crap. I’ll have to give myself a kick in the butt and kick that sugar thing too … fast!

  20. ejp says:

    Jon, it’s reasurring to know that even my ‘inspiration’ struggles like I do. Glad you mastered that one! Of all the information I sift through on-line, yours is the stuff I stick with! It’s prime!! Your human and friendly delivery is easy and full of real content. Thanks for all the hours you put into the fatloss certification. I learned so much from that!! You are fun and generous with your work and talent, and I’m proud to be the owner of all your books. I’m currently listening to M-Power again, it’s brilliant!! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Tanya T says:

    Interesting article and experiment Jon. As a recovered drug addict, I have to concur on what you say about sugar/carbohyrdrates and their addictive qualities. Whenever I have tried to give up drugs throughout my life, guess what happens to my weight? It skyrockets up. Why? Because I found the next best thing – food, and specifically carbs. If you spoke to any worker in the drug rehabilitation industry, they most likely would understand the relationship between sugar and addiction, because many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts become sugar addicts. This is my battle now – bloody sugar! Who would have thought this would be something I haven’t been able to concur. But anyhoo, thanks for the article, it was comforting to know even the best of us can struggle with this. Hope you feel better soon!

    • Jon says:

      Thanks Tanya — I feel much better, thank you. Addiction of any kind is something that “most” people will struggle with on some level. Some to work; some to drugs; some to food. I have been fortunate that my addictions have been in the food arena, which is to say another form of drug that is perfectly legal and brilliantly hostile at the same time.

  22. christine says:

    I have heard, not sure about the truth of it though, that a lot of the fast-food chains lace their meats like hamburger patties with sugar so as to create a craving for it, hence their popularity. I guess the same principle applies – addiction!!!

  23. lance says:

    Jon, I have purchased the EODD and 7MM were would I find the coaching offer??

    I started on the fat certification program today.

    Thanks

    LB

    Hi Lance!

    You can go here to get started:

    http://www.jonbensoncoaching.com

    I’ll be releasing this to the world next week, but we’re still having to manually sign people up after they purchase and fill out the forms.

    We’ll be on the look-out for yours… we check it every day, but technology is quite welcome in our camp. : )

    Jon

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