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You are what you don't eat. Sunday May 12, 2013

Sugar, apparently, is the new food villain. Over the past years, a stream of books have linked excessive sugar intake to all kinds of physical and mental ailments. According to this view, sugar is toxic. The problem is that most of the sugar we eat isn't the nice white stuff we spoon into our tea or coffee, but fructose put into manufactured foods (particularly low fat products) to add flavour. While some of the claims are over-the-top and not supported by science, there seems to be little doubt that reducing your sugar intake can reduce mood swings, give you more energy and help you sleep better - things we'd all like.

While looking into the subject, we came across a useful psychological insight from Rick Foster, co-author of an excellent book called How We Choose To Be Happy. According to Foster, 'Years of research tells me that going straight to 'intentionality' is the best first step to happiness.'

Foster says that what he has learned from extremely happy people is that they actively choose how they're going to react to situations. They choose what attitude they're going to have and how they're going to behave.

When Foster decided to live a zero-sugar life style, he drew on his own happiness studies for inspiration. Instead of setting himself a goal (such as losing 20 pounds over six months) he crafted a set of intentions. For example: 'I'm going to be the kind of person who takes care of himself by not eating sugar.' 'I intend to be mindful of what I eat.' 'I'm going to identify all the sources of sugar I ingest daily.'

Foster points out that there is an orthodoxy in the diet world that insists we need goals. But while some people seem to need goals, that was very much not the case with him. As he says: 'My intentions worked just fine. They were more like having an internal picture of how I wanted to be as an 'eater' and how I saw myself as being healthy over time.'

For the record, Foster lost 25 lbs-11.5 kgs and now sleeps more soundly than ever before.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Julia Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 9:41am

It's good to get a different slant on things. I am liking this new Moodscope (though not frighteningly new!) angle whether intentional or not! A different angle yesterday on anxious thoughts and today on the power of intention in some situations as opposed to goals.
I am not sure I could ever give up sugar, the pure white or brown type but do try not to eat anything with Fructose or glucose syrup in it. It is a manufactured cheap chemical which is used by the food industry to preserve the shelf life of certain foods and as the team says, to give flavour. It is one of the main causes of obesity and ill health and really should be banned (in my view!). You have to scrutinise the list of ingredients on every product to see if it's in what you want to buy and this takes time and one can be accused of being a faddy eater but why put harmful chemicals into your body just so the food industry can make huge annual profits and bonuses at the expense of your health.
On the intention topic of today's blog, I like the fact that happy people actively choose how they are going to react to situations. I intend to do this today.

Steve Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 10:56am

Good job Moodscope and well said Julia. Different prisms from which to look at moods. Thanks!

Anonymous Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 11:05am

Intential and mindful planning - what an excellent idea - thanks. Claire

Caroline Ashcroft Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 4:51pm

Thank you for the words of encouragement on yesterday's blog BP, PurpleSuzi, Elizabeth,Sarah and Julia.

Anonymous Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 5:59pm

I'm not happy with the introduction of descriptions against the cards. I realise that these can be ignored, but I feel they distract from my own interpretations, which I have used for over 2 years. Feelings are entirely subjective, and the way in which a person can be feeling 'strong' for example might fluctuate from day to day. Again, I realise these are only suggestions, but it's almost as if we, as adults, are not discerning enough to make our own decisions on our feelings. I don't feel that it's an empowering addition to Moodscope - Sue

Anonymous Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 6:36pm

I firmly believe sugars have a detrimental effect on one's moods. I lost 4 stone by altering my diet and giving up sugary foods. While I was losing weight I was happy and contented with loads of energy. Recently I've reverted to old ways and have hit the sugars again. Needless to say this is the lowest my moods have been in years.
Tomorrow is another day and it WILL BE one without sugar!

Caroline Ashcroft Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 8:08pm

Sorry if the descriptions have put you off. Please try and stick to the feelings you have used since using Moodscope so that you are comparing like with like. We have introduced them as we have had many requests for the definitions to be there. There are many people using Moodscope for whom English is a second language and they struggle a little with what the adjectives in the test mean. We'll see how it goes and review it in a couple of months.

Caroline Ashcroft Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 8:10pm

Sorry you're not feeling great, but it must be great to know that cutting out the sugary foods works for you.

Aron Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 8:26pm

Hey Caroline,
Why not to introduce a tick box in settings to allow switching the descriptions on and off to one's liking!? I'd love that myself as although I like the descriptions, indeed they distract me a bit, at the same time! Cheers, and keep the great work up. Love to you all there!

And this article is awesome! Indeed, there is an amazing power in intention which goes well beyond matter - some good examples and scientific proofs (!) you can find in the book It's The Thought That Counts: Why Mind Over Matter Really Works by Dr. David Hamilton. Generally I remember also very well that the attitude I had towards the activities I performed be it "beneficial" or "harmful" (which both are only perceptions...) - every time I did something considered "harmful" with a loving, forging and compassionate attitude - its effects were instantly diminished and greater power aroused from the attitude itself - the awareness that came about from it than the "harm" from the activity...

On top of this, in NLP there is a great diagram describing that indeed the awareness/mission/vision/identity rule over the actions/behaviors - have a look at Dilt's Logical Levels.

Ok, that's that. You've inspired me today. Thank you both!

Anonymous Sun, May 12th 2013 @ 8:55pm

Hello Caroline and thanks for explaining the justification for using these descriptions. If they help people in this way then that does serve to make Moodscope more inclusive and that's all good! I've just found that they make me question my interpretations a little and while that may be a good thing in some respects, it's not so great when I'm feeling very unsure. I will persevere though!- Sue

Caryl Hart Wed, May 15th 2013 @ 10:37am

I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. I slept a lot during the day. Then I went to slimming world and realised that after a few months I was no longer tired during the day. I had cut out all sugar. I'm sure this was a major factor. Sugar is addictive and is definitely not good for you.

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