Lance Comes Clean, and So Do I

Lance Armstrong 2010
Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images

It’s been quite a week.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to complete a “Real Food” cleanse:  No refined grains, refined or artificial sweeteners, or store-bought food items containing more than five ingredients for 10 days.

Oh, and no alcohol or caffeine either.

I’ve just completed day three, and so far the cleanse hasn’t been too terrible.  I am not much of a dessert eater, so giving up refined sugar in sweets hasn’t been too taxing.  Hidden sugar can be tricky, though.  For example, mustard contains sugar.  Mustard!  Who knew?  I love my fancy mustards, and can tell you firsthand that without them, a lunch of roast beef on whole grain bread – three days in a row — is pretty bland, especially when you can’t chase it down with a bag of Cheetos or a side of curly fries.

Forgoing caffeine… Well, that’s been really rough.  I am only now regaining most of my faculties after the most brutal caffeine withdrawal I’ve ever experienced:  Blinding headache, chills and overwhelming nausea that nearly sent me running for the Red Bull.  I don’t even LIKE Red Bull.

Thankfully, I am clawing my way back to the land of the living, just in time to take in two riveting sports stories: The wheels blowing off the Lance Armstrong P.R. bus, and Manti Te’o whodunit saga.

Armstrong’s decision to come clean (pun intended) tomorrow on Oprah’s Next Chapter is fascinating, and I will be watching it, recording it, and hopefully blogging about it.  Does he really think he’s still in control of the narrative?  How far will he go with his admissions of doping, and will anyone believe him?

The story of Manti Te’o’s dead-girlfriend-who-wasn’t just emerged today.  Wow.  It’s going to take a lot more than an Oprah Winfrey interview to sort that one out. Is Te’o just a dumb, gullible jock who fell for a cruel hoax, and if so who was behind it?  Or is he an opportunistic publicity seeker who helped fabricate “Lennay Kekua”, to boost his image leading up to the NFL draft?

So much sporting news to keep track of, and react to — all without the benefit of performance enhancing caffeine.  Can I do it?  In seven days, all will be revealed.  Stay tuned!

You Say You Want a Resolution…

New Year's resolutions listLet me start with this: If you read my headline and thought I’d be writing about a resolution to the fiscal cliff crisis, you can stop reading now.  This is my last day of vacation and – despite having plenty to say on this subject — I refuse to harsh my holiday buzz by venting about our politicians’ complete inability to collaborate or make tough decisions.

Nope, I was referring to New Year’s resolutions.  I’m a big advocate of them, if approached correctly.  Like many Americans, I take quite a bit of time off from work at year-end, so January 1 is a great day to take stock, and set goals for the next 12 months.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, but hopefully with a few altered routines that could lead to a healthier and more prosperous 2013.

Sadly, I heard on ABC News tonight that one-third of us become decidedly less resolute over time, and fall off whatever wagon we choose to hitch a ride on by the end of January. I certainly see this at my downtown San Francisco gym.  Every January, the ladies’ locker room feels like something out of Lord of the Flies.  It is almost unbearable… but by March 1, it’s sane again.

I believe that the key to success with resolutions is specificity, and measurability.  I keep most resolutions to myself.  (I’ll share if I’m successful, because I too am not always successful.)  Others are public domain.  For example, I have a goal of two blog posts per week in 2013, because despite blogging exactly 100 times last year, I was sporadic – blogging more frequently during baseball season and slacking off in the fall.

Another good, measurable resolution?  My blogger friend Kate put out a challenge of 10 Days of Real Food.   It’s a reasonable goal, and it’ll be easy to gauge my success.  Did I eliminate refined grains, refined and artificial sweeteners, and any food item that has more than five ingredients on the label for 10 days?  We’ll see.  Wish me luck!

This week I’ve heard some crazy proposed resolutions, my favorite from a woman interviewed on the local news.

 “I’m going to try not to get so upset about things, and let them roll off me like water off a duck’s back.”

It’s a laudable goal.  Who among us couldn’t stand to improve our ability to manage stress?  But it’ll be tough to accomplish, just by saying it out loud.  No vow to count to ten, or take up yoga or meditation?  And how will she know if she succeeds?  If she flies of the handle once, will she have failed?  Not surprisingly, this is a resolution she makes every year.

Party of extrovertsI’m struggling to come up with a have-more-fun sort of resolution.  As my friends know, I am an introvert.   Not a hermit or a shut-in.  I am merely someone who values solitude, especially when I’m worn out. That said, in a nutshell… I need to get out more.

The challenge is, a resolution around being more social can’t be just a take-your-medicine kind of thing.  It needs to be fun (as well as measurable and realistic) to fit the bill.  It’s not about a destination (e.g. lose 10 pounds), it’s about the journey (e.g. take up spinning three days per week).  So I may need to mull over my socializing resolution until February.

Any suggestions from you extroverts out there?