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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Here again | Main | Happy new year, or whatever. »

A long humorless screed about the evils of dessert. Get ready.

Now that I've become a fitness junkie (or, okay, a person who works out more than I did before, which was never), I've been making some changes to my diet. I won't bore you with the details of my daily menu, because truthfully nothing I've been doing is all that extreme or groundbreaking. In addition to the usual More Protein and Vegetables, Less Crap, I started eating more like an adult, and no longer inhaling, say, a tubful of brownies at a sitting.

In addition to the various dietary change-ups, I decided to stop putting sugar in my coffee. I was using agave syrup, actually, and only half a teaspoon, but still, I wanted to see if I could. And the first few days of sugarless coffee, it was like I was drinking battery acid. Battery acid mixed with a squirt of bile. I winced and drank and winced some more. (Because I will never give up coffee, people, don't try to talk me into it. I have tried. Oh, I have tried. I have tried, and suffered, and concluded that life without coffee is not the kind of living I wish I engage in.) But then, on the third or fourth day, I...liked it. It tasted fine to me. A few days after that I accidentally took a swig of Scott's coffee, and it tasted like he had dumped a bowl of candy corn in his coffee.

After a few weeks I realized that not only was I not taking sugar in my coffee, I wasn't really eating sugar, period. I mean, I was still eating FRUIT, I am not CRAZY, but I wasn't squirting maple syrup into my smoothies because I HAD TO, as I had done in the past. Also my usual daily post-lunch cookie and post-dinner cookie and post-cookie cookie had not even occurred to me. Curiously, I was also no longer falling asleep in the middle of the day, nor did I have those weird episodes of shakiness and gnawing hunger that would drive me straight to the cupboard to stick my face in a box of Fig Newmans.

Fast forward to the holidays, during which I consumed my weight in my sister's holiday cookies, as is my tradition. We had also been given a tin to take home, so naturally I ate them for the next few days as well. I figured I might as well dispatch them as quickly as possible so I could revert to my usual asceticism. I mean, YOU try not eating chocolate covered toffee bars. Can't be done.

Actually I ate only, say, 2 or 3 cookies a day. (Okay, on Christmas, I probably had more like 5. Which is a huge improvement for me.) But the thing is, I felt terrible for days. Every time I sat down I would fall into a coma. I couldn't think clearly--it felt like my brain was had both sped up and halted. Like I could only think in sentence fragments. Hostile sentence fragments. My mood went into the toilet, and after I recovered from my initial hatred of all things human and good, I moved on to abject misery. I had no friends, and never would! It was cold and gray, and always would be! Life was torment, and would end only in death! Horrible! Aloneness! BoooOOOOOoooO!

I was a lot of fun, is what I'm saying.

ANY way, I never really intended on becoming one of those "sugar is evil" people, believe me, but you guys, sugar is evil. Now that I've seen what it does to me, I want it even less. I used to worry that eating better and exercising would turn me into a jerk, but now I see that the opposite is true: when I'm not taking care of myself, that's when I lose all sense of humor. I cannot believe it took me this long to figure it out.

Reader Comments (60)

Ha! Fig Newmans!
January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Donovan
Ok, I am inspired. I am thinking if you can do it, I can do it too. But its gonna be a weaning thing. This morning instead of dumping copious amounts of peppermint creamer AND sugar into my coffee, I just stuck with copious amounts of peppermint creamer - and yea, I am wincing. But I will wean down to regular milk only, my just watch.
January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate
I know this cookie binge of which you speak.

I've been doing a holiday detox just to purge the sugar from my system. It's rough. Especially with sugar paralyzing my brain.

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM
OKAY. You've convinced me. Inspired me. I am already miserable this week from cutting out soda; I might as well descend to the second level of Hell and cut out the rest of the sugary goodness.

Do you put cream in your coffee or drink it black? Because I think I can cut out sugar (as I sip my last sweet, sweet, tasty cup), but not sure if I could do straight-up black. That's hardcore.
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbethie
I could never drink it black. And if you want to get technical, milk has sugar in it, but do we want to get technical? Nah. 
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
Last year I found out that I had an underactive thyroid and decided to try Chinese herbs instead of thyroxine. The herbalist told me to avoid all sweet foods, which I did my absolute best to do. The recent test done by my GP (who wanted me to take the thyroxine) show a big improvement. Sadly, sugar is a bit evil.
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpuncturedbicycle
I've been on my post-New-Years healthy eating binge for *checks calendar* seven days now, but someone brought me ginger snaps and I ate six. I am 27! I am young and invincible! I am renowned for my ability to pack back the sweets! But now I have a headache and a book review to write and am the least clever I have ever been, ever. Sugar has eaten my mind.
January 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraych
it's the sugar???? and all this time i've been blaming the weed....
January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrish
Hm, wow, this has gone a long way toward convincing me that when I tell my partner that her bringing sugar into the house is like bringing heroin to a junkie, I am right. It makes me alternately irritable and weepy, and I feel like heck most of the time when I am on a bad sugar cycle. Out, out, damned crap.
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
This post could not have come at a better time. I have been doing really well with eating better lately. (Does the last week count as lately?)

Tonight, after a day that was three weeks long, I felt the need to blow it. Oreos await! Chocolate bar calling my name! Beers in the fridge!

I just read your blog and realized it's not going to do anyone any good if I give in to the Double Stuffs or the chocolate or the beer.

I won't do it.

There's a grapefruit that I need to have a meeting with instead.

Thank you.
January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurlystraight

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