OK Google

Google. My foe and my trusted friend. Only because when your mind is all over the place and you have a question, any question at all, you can ask Google and you WILL get an answer. And yet the next question must always be, is that answer helpful? Or has it opened another can of worms?

I can and have spent hours Googling random things. Very specific questions about ailments I think I have, relationship dramas I am in the middle of, where I want to eat dinner that day. What floors me is that no matter how specific the question or theme of my search is, someone is guaranteed to have answered it, somewhere in the vast wilderness that is the internet.

“Reese’s Cups addiction cure” once brought up a brilliant video from Youtube with a woman in therapy for an addiction to peanut butter products. I watched this video with intense concentration, nodding in agreement at her inner turmoil as she described her lack of self control when faced with homemade peanut butter fudge.

“Pins and needles sensation caused by fibromyalgia” came up with the goods when I was convinced that I was starting to see signs of developing fibromyalgia, a condition my dad has had for over 30 years. Needless to say the sensation went away after a few days, leading me to determine that it was probably caused by a stress episode rather than anything decidedly more serious (then again most of my ailments are caused by stress episodes which is probably something I need to look into).

Why are we so compelled to Google every little question and issue we have? I guess we are all curious beings to some extent and are also eager to see how others have handled the problems we are facing. There is comfort in knowing that someone else has issues with pulsating veins, or Reese’s addiction or the exact same dramas you’ve had with your boyfriend. You can create your own little support group, weaved together through online forums, videos and articles. I’ve never seen a therapist but I think Google has been my shrink over the years, my shoulder to cry on, a listening ear when I needed it the most. Sometimes all you need to get over your most ridiculous fears is a furiously intense Googling session.

But what on earth did we do before the internet? Did we just have thoughts and questions with nowhere to turn to? Mull them over and over again within our minds? Or did we just talk to our loved ones more about our issues? When I was much younger I remember consulting seemingly ancient resources like the massive volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica at the local library and the Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM whenever I had a question or needed to find information for a school assignment. I had to search into the depths of my memory to even remember either of those things, but they were all we had as kids of the 90s before the Internet became widespread.

I love the idea of reading and researching more but in this era of instant gratification it is hard to imagine waiting to get to a library to find an answer to a burning question. According to Fast Company, that may be a problem. Scientists have found that our incessant Googling may actually be having a negative impact on us, making us lazy and hindering the natural connections that are made when our curiosity is fuelled more organically through books and by consulting with others.

Perhaps it’s worth letting your natural curiosity develop by seeking answers elsewhere. But that takes patience and perseverance and I can’t promise that my curiosity won’t lead me straight back to where I started…Google.

Cold turkey

I have decided that it is time to go cold turkey off of chocolate again. This may seem a little extreme to your average person who can eat a couple of pieces a day and call it quits, but I am simply not one of those lucky people. I don’t go by individual units of chocolate – I count by rows. And while I may be able to limit myself to one row of chocolate on the first day that a king size block is in the house, by day two I am up to two rows, and then the next day it is three, and quicker than you know it the whole block is gone and I have the realization that I am back to square one as far as chocolate consumption is concerned.

Now this may not rate as a terrible addiction to anyone who has seen one of those documentaries about people who eat a king size block all in one go by themselves, in addition to an entire pizza, two burgers and a two litre bottle of coke, but it starts to become a problem when one cannot fit into one’s pants anymore. So I have decided to start with eliminating chocolate and see where it takes me. I hope that I will be back to sliding into my size 10s in no time. If I can just stay clear of that magical aisle beckoning me with the promise of sugary goodness…

If we are looking at the bigger picture, I think we must hone in on the root of the problem – I am essentially addicted to sugar. In recent years there has been a massive sugar backlash with an array of people presenting their case for the poisoning effects of sugar. The fact that it is bad for us surely surprises no one, the fact that it may be better for you to eat fat instead is a bit of a surprise. Apparently, back when we were hunter-gatherers sugar was extremely scarce, so when we got a taste of it our bodies would clutch at it and desperately hold on to it and it would not satiate our hunger. Now that sugar is no longer scarce, we can eat seemingly limitless amounts of sugar and never be satisfied. Anyone who has been confronted by a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups knows that this is true.

My day is buoyed by my consumption of sugar. Work is the worst place for my sugar addiction, namely because my workplace is packed with an impressive number of bakers who are constantly luring me to their desks with the promise of carrot/chocolate/hummingbird/lolly/blueberry cakes. I at least have the willpower to wait until after lunch to consume said cakes, which seems to impress some of my colleagues. Shame I can’t seem to stretch my willpower to actually refrain from eating the cakes in the first place, but willpower has to start somewhere. The good thing is, I have a plan. As an extension of my no chocolate diet, I’m cutting down on cake. I’m only allowed one dessert food a week starting from today. Here’s hoping that no one brings red velvet cupcakes to work tomorrow.

When I was vacationing in Melbourne I stopped into a cute little boutique and had a conversation with a friendly shop assistant dressed in a fabulous vintage 50s inspired ensemble. How we got started on the topic of sugar I can’t recall, but I was relieved to discover that I am not the only person suffering from sugar addiction. This girl, who found herself flagging mid-morning only to take refuge in a sugary treat to get her through till lunchtime, was actually on the verge of cutting out sugar all together and that, she explained to me, included cutting out fruit. That’s right, fruit! Which I have always been told is good for me. Apparently it contains fructose which only works to feed the addiction and if you are to curb your appetite for sweets 24/7 you have to cut absolutely everything with sugar content. Which doesn’t leave terribly much in the grand scheme of things seeing as sugar is in everything.

Goodness, if I was to go strict on myself about this I guess I could forfeit my morning kiwifruit and afternoon pear, but my sanity is far too important to me to go that far. I still need a little sweetness in my life – it just means I can only eat natural sugars. As long as that is not a sliding slope back to chocolate, cupcakes and donuts, I am fine with that. We shall see how I go.

First post

 

Okay, here goes. I am about to embark on a blogging adventure full of confessional anecdotes, moments of hysteria and insights into my often hyperbolic mind. Maybe you will recognize yourself in some of my stories. Or maybe no one will ever read this or care. Either way I will keep on writing and telling myself that is okay.