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A sad update on the sugar bet….part 2 of 2


Robyn Openshaw - Apr 06, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links


Next morning after I screwed up the sugar bet, I went for a run. I thought about telling Matthew.  I knew I had to. I would rather have a peaceful conscience than $10,000. That much was clear. I thought about telling you, my readers, who think I’m better than that.

I ran along the beach in Maui for an hour, and instead of enjoying the crashing waves, I cried. I cried about the $10,000 that is not easy to earn. But more, I cried about failure and my miserable sugar addiction that I have hated my whole life.

I live a disciplined life. It infuriates me that sometimes I eat something I know to be toxic, simply because I am weak. My fury over this, and watching moms feed their babies Coke in baby bottles, fueled my children’s book, The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. Of anyone, I know better. I should BE better.

When we flew to Honolulu, my friend Ben flew in, to spend the last few days with me on Waikiki Beach. He got a Coke and a couple bags of M&M’s twice a day. Dejected, I ate M&M’s with him a few times. My anxiety returned, and I realized I had not experienced it in six months. I wake up with that edgy feeling only when I’m eating sugar—even a little bit of sugar a couple times a week causes me to feel anxious. I spend the whole day trying to outrun that vague anxiety.

Thus ensued a week of eating sugar once almost every day. Partly out of my sheer depression over what I did—what did it matter anymore?

I gained three pounds. I still have most of that with me. It’s an unfriendly reminder.

Let’s just say when I got home and asked Matthew to come over to talk, I was practically on my knees. So mad at myself for wrecking a great thing. I LOVED BEING OFF SUGAR. It was hard, but struggling to choose whether to eat this or that, every single day, my whole life? That was HARDER.

I had in my mind that when I saw Matthew, I’d probably cry. But when I told him, he busted out laughing hysterically. Which made me laugh too. Not that I actually find it funny, because I don’t.

I handed him $1,000 in cash. Either an installment, if he chose that, or a penalty, I said.

And I asked him for a second chance.  I said, “Let me back in the Sugar Bet. I’ll add a week onto the endpoint. You can opt out, or do whatever you want. But I want to finish. Not just for the money, but for the chance to succeed. I want to say I ate no sugar for a year. But you won, fair and square—and if you choose to take the money, I’ll give it to you, no problem.”

He tortured me for several more days, thinking about it. Then we had lunch to talk about what to do. He tried to give me my $1,000 back and I said no. It has to hurt.

As it is, I’m thankful for mercy. Matthew let me back in and I’ve been back on the wagon for a week or so. He, however, can do whatever he wants to. He’s thinking about whether he wants to finish out another six months with me, in a modified way. Maybe get twice-a-month free passes. And he doesn’t want to read labels on chips. He feels the Sugar Bet was HARD.

That night, Matthew went out at 2:30 a.m. and ate four King-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a Nutrageous bar. (WHOA. I think that would put me in a coma.) The next night he came over for a sauna session with me. He’d asked me to go to Zumba right before that, but I was busy.

I opened the door. I said, shocked: “What the heck is the matter with you?!” I might have said something slightly different than “heck.” Matthew’s eyes were glazed over.

He said, “I couldn’t even lift my arms in Zumba!” Keep in mind this guy is a fireball of non-stop energy until 3 a.m. every day of his life. He’s like a four-year old, kid you not. Keep in mind that he loves NOTHING in this world more than Zumba. Lives for it, really. And keep in mind that the king-size candy bar fiasco was more than 12 hours before!

Matthew learned a hard lesson, too. Not as expensive as mine.

If I screw up a second time, I’m done for. $9,000 more, no questions asked. As I write this, I’m leaving for Mexico with my kids for spring break. One of those all-inclusive resorts all along the Cancun beach, where you can have as much food as you want, all day long? My kids think it’s heaven.

BUT NO SUGAR, BABY. Matthew texted last night and said, “I think you should get a week off, for Mexico.” I said no–I need to do this. To prove it to myself.

Thank you, God, for mercy tempering justice. Thank you Matthew.

Wish me luck.

Posted in: Lifestyle, Whole Food

15 thoughts on “A sad update on the sugar bet….part 2 of 2”

Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Robyn, you’re amazing for telling us all this. I think you have to go through it to fully know your readers.

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! What a journey….and thank you again for your honesty. It really is refreshing to see that you struggle just as we all do. Through your transparency I am finding strength and encouragement, even though I may have my obstacles, if you can try and try again, then I can too!

  3. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is thank you for being human, real and filled with integrity. I have been on my raw journey for13 months now ( though a 90% vegetarian for over 25 years) and it is a challenge!!! But SO WORTH THE EFFORT! I love how you said, ” I know better”! When I mess up, that is what runs though my mind! You are an inspiration to so many of us…. thank you for your message, your heart and your soul and YOUR JOURNEY!!! : ) I promise, you DO continue to light the way!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are human :o)!

  5. I deeply appreciate your vulnerability and rawness. I have suffered for a long time with the temptation of overeating at meals. So I know what this pull and desire to do something that is wrong for my body is all about. I have used EFT-meridian tapping when I have the “desire” and the results have been amazing. If you are interested I would love to share that with you and your readers!

    Much love and support,

    Elysha Maughan

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m so glad to know that you are “human” too and that I’m not the only one that “:screws up”! Thank you for sharing this! It gives me hope that I too can conquer the sugar addiction. You are someone to look up to and to just know that you have weakness and are not “perfect” with healthy eating helps me alot. Onward and Upward is my motto! Thanks for everything!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Talk about an expensive brownie! This life is a process, I think of the scripture that talks about overcoming the natural man. We all have our own addictions and things to overcome, we are mortal and in our fallen state, it makes sense why it is easy to fall sometimes. But the good news is we won’t always be like this. Someday we will be ressurected and have perfect bodies. Until then, keep trying, you are doing so great!

  8. Anonymous says:

    a few bites from one brownie after all that time w/no sugar is not a failure… it is a success…you’re crying and can’t even enjoy what should be a blissful run on the beach because you’re beating yourself up over a brownie?..I am also living a balanced lifestyle w/mostly raw foods and feel very successful over the positive things I do and put in my body…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Parts of that experience could have been my own – that you followed it up with some m&ms only marginally surprised me, because it sounded right in line with the strange spiral that follows a lapse. I do that all the time. I tell myself ‘it’s a treat – just this once’ but I find bad foods, and the place of guilt they put you in, propel you into further cravings for more bad food, and self-punishing food choices. French fries make me want to drink coke, not water. Donuts make me want to wash them down with hot coffee with lots of cream, not decaf green tea. Healthy eating perpetuates more healthy eating, bad choices perpetuate more bad choices.

    Today I am starting over – again. I have blood work coming in 45 days and want to have stellar numbers. I’m feeling stupid and guilty for having gained 2 pounds this week. But I realized, my arteries don’t understand or comprehend guilt – while guilt is a powerful and neccesary motivation and reality check in our spiritual integrity and our relationships, it doesn’t do much for your waistline if it puts in a downward bad food spiral. That’s false guilt. If you indulge it more than a day or so, it’s now become an excuse. God is so gracious to us – he gave us a new day every 24 hours. So here I go – Day 1 of 45 on my way to some kick-a$$ bloodwork.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s so great that you shared this with us. I am sometimes so hard on myself when I eat something I know isn’t good for me. It’s actually very encouraging for me to know that I’m not the only one. 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    Robyn you are soo cute. I can completely understand and relate to the guilt and lousiness you felt/feel with eating sugar. Good luck being back on track!

  12. Anonymous says:

    You owe him $9,000. You should have never suggested to him otherwise.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I can totally relate to your story. I have been educating myself on good nutrition for years and for all my vast library on the subject I have yet to lick the sugar habit. I have gone months, at different times, without refined sugar and felt wonderful. It boggles my mind that knowing what I know and experiencing the positive effects of going without sugar I can still go through periods where I can’t stop eating it.

    Last year, I went through a bit of a health crisis. I was very sick for months and finally diagnosed with Graves Disease. I determined that if I ate the way I believe to be best; mostly raw, plant-based whole foods, I could get on top of the disease. I couldn’t. I did eat much better than the SAD, but I couldn’t completely walk away from sugar, fried foods and white flour. I was so frustrated with myself…. with my health on the line, why couldn’t I just keep away from the toxic stuff?? The final discouraging blow came in October when my symptoms were out of control and I wasn’t responding to any of the standard care. I had to have my thyroid removed to prevent damage to my heart and liver. It is difficult for me to know that I might have been able to prevent all of this if I had been eating properly in the first place. I will now have to depend on thyroid hormones for the rest of my life to get me by.

    We all stumble and fall, even when the stakes are high. We just have to stand back up and rededicate ourselves to what we know is good and right. It takes a very conscious effort on my part, but I believe that health and vibrancy can be achieved, so I will not stop trying.
    Best wishes on your sugar-free year!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, all I can say Girl, is you are human. Only Jesus was perfect when He was here on earth. We realize that this was a specially devised challenge for you and Matthew, not just eating properly every day. We all have our weak spots and you simply chose a huge challenge that involves your weakest spot. Every day all of us out here in blogland think of your 5% message. Your Gramma said it won’t kill us. You are doing a mind challenge right along with the sugar challenge. Sounds like you are growing in the mental area that presents a whole new look at the subject of sugar. Have you ever read the book The Taste of Sweet by Joanne Chen? What an eye opener. Have a wonderful sweet holiday with your kiddos. We’ll see you in Sacramento soon. Love all you do, AND that you are human like us! ; }

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh, Sara – allow for grace. If Matt has extended it, and she accepts it, both their hearts are enriched more than either would have been no matter who won the big original bet. Let it play out – Robyn and Matt will do right by each other – they know there are more ways to measure this whole experience than the bottom line.

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