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Purpose First – Please Hide The Cookies

This post was originally written for the 2017 Journey Home series overcoming addictions and hence having more energy to focus on life purpose. I’ve updated to the links to point to the Purpose First 2018 series.

The audio recording is below for those who like to listen:

I have a life-long tendency towards craving carbohydrates. That includes bread, pastries, and beer. But I’m not really an addict – at least not a bad one, right?

Here’s the issue: I eat pretty healthy food most of the time, but I do eat some things that are bad for my blood sugar. I’m not totally out of control, but the mistakes do cost me something – more on that below. I also enjoy a glass of wine or a beer at night – not enough to consider myself a candidate for rehab, but enough to mess up my waistline and my blood sugar levels.

So what about people like me – people who are a little bit addicted to things that limit my health, my qi, and my longevity. And that limit how much energy I have for the things that I’m passionate about, the things that give my life purpose. If you’re seriously addicted to some substance there’s rehab centers. But what if your addiction is at a socially acceptable level that nonetheless limits how much health and energy you have to follow your purpose? Don’t we need a support group too?

Purpose First

So that’s the title for this series: Purpose First. It’s an emphasis that fits my philosophy of health and life. Accunect is about encouraging health not fixing disease or problems. I think that’s part of what makes it an awesome healing system is that we focus on reinforcing and supporting potential, not controlling symptoms. Sometimes you need emergency medicine and then you need a diagnosis. Sometimes an addiction is so out of control that someone needs to accept the label and go to rehab. But most of life should be about trying to live better, more fully and reach our potential. In the philosophy of Chinese Medicine, humans bridge heaven and earth. Which to me means that we stand on the earth in an earthly body with earthly problems and weaknesses, but we should always reach for heaven or for our highest potential.

Purpose First 2018: A Journey Home Healing Webinar Series

This is a long blog post, here’s the dates and signup link if you don’t want to scroll to the end

Sundays at 10pm London time

  • December 2nd
  • December 9th
  • December 16th

Sign Up Here

I’m not narrowing it to one kind of addiction, as I think there are energetic and biochemical factors that affect many addictive patterns. I believe there are some common imbalances that lead to food addictions, substance addictions, alcohol addictions, and internet addictions to name a few.

And an internet addiction can be as simple as spending too much time surfing the web. After the Adrenal series ended, Richard from New York wrote to tell me that he started going to bed earlier after the calls, but still didn’t wake feeling rested. But when he started limiting screen time before bed he saw a real difference in how deeply he slept and how rested he felt. For myself, I do better if I charge my smartphone across the room – if it’s too close it’s too easy to have a thought and then think “I’ll Google that!” and then let my addiction to information stir my mind when I should be sleeping.

We need food to survive, the internet makes our lives easy in many ways, and a (small) glass of wine with dinner can actually aid the digestion. What tips it over into addiction is whether we can manage our impulses.

If we can’t manage our impulsive desires then anything can turn into an addiction.  This happens because our brains reward mechanisms have become out of balance. Dopamine regulation plays a huge role in our ability to focus on a goal to achieve a reward – when we don’t have enough dopamine we start to crave the quickest fix to get some. Energetically, this goes along with a Spleen and or Lung meridian imbalance as those meridian affect our ability to want, and to want what is good for us in the long run and not just to crave short term satisfaction.

This is personal

So here’s the personal story of why I think this is a good topic for me, and why I want to do this series next:

I’ve fought the battle of the bulge much of my life. I figured out that I was a carbohydrate addict years ago in the same instant that I saw a book called the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet – my immediate reaction was “that’s me!”  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I’ve also got a strong family background of diabetes. Which means that excess carbohydrate consumption is not good for my waistline or my pancreas or my chances of avoiding the genetic tendency towards diabetes.

In mindfulness of the family history, I try to limit carbs and alcohol, and for much of my adult life I’ve made massaging my Spleen/Pancreas meridian a daily habit.  I know it’s important because my brother died of diabetes complications when he was two years younger than I am now.

When I eliminate things like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and focus on protein and vegetables and healthy fats I feel great. And if I can stick to it, weight just falls off me. I should do this all the time. I know this.

And yet I cheat. I eat a healthy low-carb breakfast, but then at some point during the day I’m tempted by a cookie, or a muffin, or some wine or beer with dinner. And once I have one, there’s a tendency to have another because I’ve already “blown it” for that day, might as well just go for it and start over tomorrow.

Excuses, excuses

I’ve got a thousand excuses, and I add new ones everyday:

  • “I’m in Spain – I really should have paella because it’s traditional.”
  • “As long as I’m having paella, I really should have it with a Spanish beer to have the whole experience.”
  • “Life’s uncertain, eat dessert first.”
  • “The wine is free on transatlantic flights – I might as well have an extra glass or two.”
  • “I’ll be extra good tomorrow.”
  • “I can lose the weight anytime I really want to.”

But I’ve studied this, I should know better

I went to university and to medical school. And there’s the strong family history, so I’ve been aware of this issue my whole life. But the biochemical reward mechanisms in our brain are more powerful than our intellect.

These are the instinctive mechanisms that make us seek food when we are hungry – without having to study nutrition and physiology to intellectually know that we require food to survive. We wouldn’t last as a species if we hard to invent microscopes so that we could see the sperm and eggs before we came to the conclusion that we need to combine the two to have children – our brains are just programmed to want the reward sensation that comes with sex so that we focus on an activity that has the side benefit of making children for survival of the species.

I had a second major in dance in university, and I was very fit and trim. I rode my bike over 100 miles a week, I took at least a dozen dance classes a week, took swimming class, took water polo class with the water polo team. Which allowed me to cheat a little – a donut or a cookie was part of my daily routine. I thought I was getting away with it because I was so active.  But I was continuing to set up an imbalanced blood chemistry that would perpetuate the carbohydrate addiction.

I wasn’t getting away with it. Over the years I’ve become less active, and my sporadic fasting blood sugar tests slowly crept into the pre-diabetic range. Not enough for me take it seriously, because is still wasn’t in the diabetic range. I’ve slowly been depleting my Spleen Qi and building up fat stores and insulin resistance.  In western medicine, all of my indulgences have contributed to fatty liver syndrome – all the excess sugar gets stored as fat in the liver as well as other tissues. In Chinese Medicine it’s dampness. And once dampness settles in it takes diligence to clear it from the body – your tolerance for “just one cookie won’t hurt” kind of thinking goes away.

And my diet has been more starchy since moving to England – the food choices are different here: there are no low-glycemic sprouted grain breads available here like there is in America, and there’s lot of foods that have hidden flour in them that wouldn’t have added flour in America. It’s like figuring out what’s safe to eat in the supermarket all over again.

Reality Check

This summer I found myself very thirsty – a nearly insatiable thirst – and having to urinate very frequently. That’s a strong indicator of diabetes, so I ordered a home blood glucose monitor kit from Amazon. It came, I opened it and within a minute I was facing the reality that I had tripped over the line separating pre-diabetic to diabetic.

Whoa! How did that happen? This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. It’s been a wake-up call, and I’m monitoring my blood sugar everyday. I’m eating better, drinking less, exercising more. And on many days, I’m getting my blood sugar down into the low end of the prediabetes range.

But I’m still cheating even though I know this is serious. I’m cheating less, but I’m still cheating. I’ve received Accunect sessions for the carb addiction, and it’s helping. But I’m battling a life time of bad habits, I need all the help I can get.

It’s not good to have high blood sugar – it puts a lot of stress on your organs, it can lead to all sorts of complications like neuropathy and eye problems. I really need to get my blood sugar down below the diabetic range all the time, and down to normal range soon. If I can’t manage the discipline to get my blood sugar regulation under control consistently I will need to take medication at some point.

I’m not alone

In my reading about ways to lower blood sugar, I came across the fact that over one third of all Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.

That’s a lot of people with a genetic tendency towards blood sugar imbalances. Which usually implies a carbohydrate sensitivity/addiction.

And it turns out Americans are no where near the top of the list of countries in terms of diabetes incidence – this a world-wide issue.

So I’m thinking there are more people like me who could use some help making better choices by having an Accunect balancing.

My biggest personal challenge is getting my diet and waistline under control so that I don’t have to take medication for my blood sugar. But I also waste time on information addiction as well. I’m looking to stabilize my energy state and blood chemistry so that I can put my purpose first more of the time.

It’s not so much the sugar that’s the key, it’s the idea that our blood sugar regulation affects our dopamine levels (the major reward chemical), and when dopamine is low, we want some kind of “quick fix” to restore it back to balance, instead of looking for a long term balance to our system.  Energetically, this behavior, no matter what the addiction, coincides with several meridians that affect our ability to want what is good for us in the long run.  If we can bring balance to these meridians, we can help our dopamine regulation, and bring balance to these underlying causes for cravings.

Shifting the pattern, together

It’s a big issue. I want to heal this deeply in myself, and I’m guessing that some other people might benefit as well. I’ve found that the group energy of these Journey Home calls always have a profound effect on me and my healing journey.

And I want to emphasize the moving towards the positive because you only keep up moving away from the negative when the negative is nipping at your heels, so to speak.

Will you join me?

Purpose First 2018: A Journey Home Healing Webinar Series

Sundays at 10pm London time

  • December 2nd
  • December 9th
  • December 16th

Sign Up Here