I’ve never been the type to make New Year’s resolutions. Diets, exercise programs…self-improvement in general has never really interested me. I suppose I lack the requisite willpower for such endeavors, and I’m certainly not going to kid myself into thinking that just because it happens to be January the first that I’m magically going to develop a hitherto undiscovered bent toward self-discipline. That’s crazy talk.
Consider this more of a science project than anything else. I’m even going to employ the steps of the Scientific Method to make it legit.
Question: Can I go for an entire week without consuming any processed sugar?
Background Research: This video – Sugar: The Bitter Truth [Note: the video requires a bit of a time commitment, so for those of you who don’t want to watch the whole thing, I’ll summarize. Suffice it to say that sugar is bad for you and will probably kill you one day, or at the very least, it will make your life considerably worse for having consumed so much of it.]
Hypothesis: I am so addicted to sugar that I probably won’t be able to last seven hours without eating any, never mind seven days. (I should also note that this task will be doubly difficult because not only do I have a MEGA sweet tooth, but I am currently surrounded by tons of chocolate and leftover Christmas candy. Oy vey!)
Experiment: For the next seven days, I will attempt to eat only natural foods, containing no processed sugars – especially high fructose corn syrup. I will allow myself to eat whole fruits, but not fruit juices. (I read somewhere that in order to properly process the natural sugars in fruits they need to be consumed with fiber. Whole fruits are all about fiber so I’m going to deem them okay for this experiment.) I will not be adding any unnecessary exercise into the equation. A continuation of my sedentary lifestyle is going to be the control in this experiment. I want to test the effectiveness of dietary changes by themselves. Not that I don’t love exercise, I just wouldn’t want to sully the scientific method with a faulty experiment. Yeah. That’s it.
Analyze Data: I will post updates throughout the week documenting my progress (assuming I don’t quit halfway through the first day, in which case I will also let you know.)
Results: Will be posted next Sunday.
First of all, and let me be very clear about this – this little experiment is NOT based on a desire for weight loss. I don’t need to lose weight. I’m tiny. I’ve always been tiny. I eat like crap and I almost never exercise. Bring on the haters! Seriously though, I’m small, but I’m…soft. I like to say that I’m made mostly of Mallomars. [In the interest of full disclosure, I have never actually eaten a Mallomar. I’m just really into alliteration.] That said, there are things in my life that could certainly be improved by eating a healthier diet, namely fatigue (it seems like I’m tired All. The. Time.), minor illness (namely colds and sinus infections) and a general sense of malaise.
Secondly, I have always been a big fan of science projects. I won prizes at my school science fair every year from fourth to eighth grade. I still remember all of my projects too. [Note: I have a sneaking suspicion that wild tangents are going to become a pretty regular thing in this blog. Get used to it.] They are as follows:
4th grade: Fossils. I made my own fossils with modeling clay. I used things like shells and leaves because I didn’t have any dinosaur bones available to me at the time. I also built a scale model of a velociraptor. It was awesome. I am such a nerd. Moving on…
5th grade: I worked with a partner that year which proved to be an error in judgement because I didn’t actually win the science fair. I can’t remember exactly what our project was about, but I know it was lame. It might have been earthquakes, but it doesn’t matter. I still count fifth grade as a win because there was also an English fair that year and my project on Greek Mythology got me a savings bond from the city-wide science fair so take that, bitches! This project was graded mostly on the quality of the written report, but I am a firm believer that presentation is everything. I had a poster board because, come on, you have to have a poster board. On it, I chose to depict the story of Medusa. But wait. It’s gets better. There was a 3D element to it as well. I pulled the head off a Barbie doll, covered her hair in glow-in-the-dark green Elmers glue and twisted it all up to look like snakes. Then I painted her eyes black and added some red paint around the base of the neck to add a bit of realism to the severed head. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a violent child by any means, I just believe in paying close attention to detail.
6th grade: Built my own rain forest. It was excellent and really pretty.
7th grade: Hermit crabs! Yeah, I used to keep hermit crabs as a child (as if I weren’t weird enough already.) I couldn’t very well carry around the ten gallon tank I kept them in at home so I built an open tank with tall walls on three sides and one half wall just high enough so they couldn’t crawl out the front. Inside the tank I constucted a mini beach where they could wander around and try to remember what life was like before being forced into captivity. I had all kinds of cool stuff like tide pools, old shells and a real life exoskeleton. The coolest part about this project was that at my school, live animals (or in this case crustaceans) were allowed, but at the city science fair they were not. I don’t remember being particularly bummed that I couldn’t go to the city-wide fair because at this point in my academic career I was getting super into chorus and acting and singing and stuff and I was kind over the whole science thing. Anyway, a few days later I see my name in the paper for having won a prize at the city-wide science fair and a few weeks after that I got another savings bond in the mail and I didn’t even have to go! Win!
8th grade: I tested the effectiveness of household cleaners by growing my own bacteria and then killing it. FYI – Bleach was the hands-down winner. This project was admittedly pretty lame, but I went to a really crappy middle school where even the most mediocre effort was lauded. At this school the teachers were happy when the students stopped trying to knife each other in the parking lot for five minutes. Seriously. That happened. After my eighth grade chorus concert. Absolute shit show.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right! Reasons for wanting to deprive myself of sweet sugary goodness…
I probably had a whole list of reasons when I started writing this, but I’ve gone off on such a tangent that I can’t remember the rest of them. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say boredom. I’m all kinds of unemployed right now and I really don’t do well when I’m left to my own devices for too long. I’m great when I have a routine. When I’m away for a singing gig I eat better, I exercise, I go to sleep at a decent hour…
I guess in this case, my loss is your gain because I’m liable to do all sorts of ridiculous stuff while I’m ‘between gigs’ and I’ll have no scruples about documenting most of it! So for any and all interested parties, join me on my masochistic quest to rid my system of sweetness!
This may well be the death of me…