Thursday, March 7, 2013

Experiment 1: Life Is Sweeter, Somehow

On the third day without sugar I was restless, pacing around my office like someone jonesin' for a fix. White powder drugs come in all flavors I guess.

But let me explain. My first experiment this year -- one that will extend past the first month for sure -- was to start tackling the "things that get in my way". The habits, the learned behaviors, the falling-prey-to-marketing types of reactions that slow down my dreams.

Through an ongoing self search, I realized these inhibitors were present on many levels. On the health level, it was sugar. That damn white stuff that has made its way into places it never should have been, making us so damn addicted that we don't know sweet from salt. And then on a behavioral level, it was the meaningful use of technology, which the guy in the video at the end of the post explains better than I can. I'm no ludite, but there's a reason that "i" exists in all of the products we think we need, it's good temptation for the ego. And lastly, I wanted to tackle this dash of lazy I have-- something that manifests in the form of Zooey Deschanel and The Mindy Project.

The hardest, for me, was easily the sugar. My mind defaulted to deprivation when I set the boundaries, and whined and rebelled like a teenager. Why is it that giving something up, even if you're gaining something better in it's place, is so hard? My recent diet has become increasingly dependent on the farmers market and generally pyramid-happy -- except for the chocolate.  So my plan was to cut out not only sweets and baked stuff, but also the added sugar in things like crackers and dried fruits and bread.

But it wasn't just health on my mind. I think it's nuts how companies build their business models on the premise that we are easily addicted, making profit of my lack of willpower. I also think about the kids I work with both here and back in India who spend any pocket change they have on hard candy or soda -- those are not priorities, they are inhibitors. The result for me was about 85 percent successful -- Valentines Day, Restaurant Week and stressful assignment days notwithstanding.

The takeaway is clear: I'm less addicted to sugar than I was a month ago, but not cured by any means. I eat a bit less, and my taste buds are heightened and alive again. I don't know if that's scientifically true, but it feels good. So in the battle of Ankita vs. Nestle, I still have a small chance of winning.

As for the technology piece. This man:

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