It got real today. 1st day in my build up to defending my World Championship and it starts with saying no to sugar. This is not just for the obvious (not so obvious to everyone) benefits to me physically, but for me saying no to sugar keeps me mentally focused on my goal. It is a constant reminder, a frequent mental gym session, and often ego booster.

To know I have the strength to say no to all treats, to only eat what I believe to be good for me (natural food), is mental training for when it gets tough on race day and for a second my mind says “let’s quit”, a second later it says “let’s go faster” because I am strong in my mind, I am in control, because I practice being in control.

For everyone else, whether you are an athlete or not, I strongly encourage you to stick to natural food too, and say no to processed sugar. I don’t say this for your health, as much as for the health of our global community. Every nation has it’s obesity problems and the diseases that go with it. By saying no to sugar you can influence those around you. If they ask, simply say “I only eat foods that are good for me, natural foods.” This subtle commitment and acknowledgement by yourself might just influence someone in your family, or a friend, a child, or a stranger. Once our community hears the words and see the actions more often, more people will start to believe in the scientific proof of the stress reactions caused in our body, and that eventually too much stress will hurt to anyone.

If you need more information here it is. Unnatural foods cause unnatural reactions in your body. These are forms of stress. You often can’t feel them, just like you can’t feel “stress”. But enough stress will kill you, and enough sugar and stress will eventually cause you to become noticeably unhealthy. Sugar causes many reactions in your body, you must live in a cave if you haven’t heard of them, but acknowledging that what you are hearing is true and acting on it is the next step in our evolution.

Too often we see, hear, read, notice, and feel something that we believe could make a difference to us. Then, a day/week/month later we move on, we lose our belief and stop following our routines often because we don’t notice a difference either way. I’ve done this a thousand times with different fixes for my fatigue, but looking back, none of them were as basic and instinctive as “eat natural foods”. This one I will stick with for as long as I want to be healthy. But you may have gathered from my first sentence of this blog I’m not always completely “on the wagon” and sugar free, and you’re right. But I always keep it in moderation.

I haven’t had a soft drink for years –other than a few sips of coke during an Ironman – and the yoghurt we have at home is sugar free. I never ever buy something that says “diet” or “low fat” or “no sugar” as they are pretty much full of artificial sweeteners and those are just as bad for you – your brain still thinks it’s high in sugar. I also don’t sign on for the “natural” sugar replacements like stevia, coconut syrup, rice malt syrup, xylitol, and agave. Too much of any of these is just keeping you hooked to the feeling (and stress reaction) it gives you. I’m not saying they are bad, I’m just saying don’t replace one habit with another – stick to natural food, and keep the “sweet” stuff in moderation if you must. And I admit I do, in very limited moderation when I’m, except putting nothing other than the best into my body.

As much as anything, consistency is a very important factor. Your body gets used to what goes through it. Keep your food consistent to minimize stress on your body. Eat lots of protein at every meal, along with fats and natural carbs (vegetables, fruit, rice – not processed grains).

So from now to October 12 I am putting nothing but natural, consistent food into my body. I encourage you to do the same. Eating less junk means you eat more natural food, and more consistently.