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