"Just think," said my friend Ben last night. "This is how normal people feel all of the time."
We were in a comatose state of a sugar crash that came of the heels of one of my more unhealthy weeks, which has led me to make a little anecdotal statement about eating excessive sugar.
I’ve been traveling every weekend to climb and, with a birthday challenge in the forecast, decided that this week I should rest and recover before my final cycle of training leading up to the big event. Instead of doing an actual recovery phase of training, I opted to do nothing while catching up on my social life. Given this week is Halloween; there’s been no shortage of weird sugary treats to indulge in. So I partook regularly, will the knowledge that my hard training during the ensuing weeks would easily counteract it.
So yesterday I go climbing. After my second warm-up climb, where I’d accumulated a fair amount of lactic acid build-up, I felt awful. At first I thought I was hung over because I’d been out the night before. But I’d only had two drinks. Next I thought that, perhaps, I was getting sick. I took a short nap and then finished off my climbing workout tentatively, wondering why I was feeling so bad.
I had dinner with my climbing partner, Ben, and his family. It was healthy and I began to feel better. Then we hit the leftover bowl of Halloween candy. Almost immediately, I returned to my prior state. As we sat there feeling worse and worse Ben made the above comment.
As I struggled to drive home I recounted my diet for the week. It had included more pure sugar candy than I’d had all year. From gummy worms to Wonka taffy to Haribo burgers, I’d been munching on the type of stuff some people eat on a regular basis. After all, as one of the packages informed me, these were “no fat” treats. How bad for you could they be?
Well let me tell you:
I’m pretty healthy but I don’t always eat ultra healthy. In fact, when I’m participating in endurance sports I often eat a lot of sugar in order to quickly re-charge my glycogen stores. So I should be used to eating sugar, right? Not exactly.
Dense calories, like sugar, are vital when you’re burning more calories than you can possibly eat. However, when you’re not doing excessive exercise—and most people never do any—eating dense sugary foods is friggin’ horrible for you. Last night I dreamt of lettuce as a junkie probably does crack. Give me some fiber and low density stuff to soak up all this crap, my body seemed to be saying. I’ve never been a big fan of salad for breakfast but that’s what I’m going to have. I have no idea how some people live in the state of being all the time. Especially when you know that you don’t have to.