Sunday, 28 July 2013

Week 2 is over!!

Well, after completing Week 2 of Sarah Wilson's 8 Week sugar-quitting program, I must say that I feel pretty damn good. Surprising, right? I managed to avoid the late-night supermarket visits, the chocolate bar temptation at the servo, and most importantly, I avoided eating any sugar all week!

I must admit I came into this week a little unsure of myself and my ability to be strong... I had come so very close to breaking in the previous week as my cravings were something out of this world (a strange alien crept inside my body at 11am, 3pm and 9pm and took over my mind and my stomach and turned me into a horrid monster). But, this week it was... different. Not only were the cravings less frequent, but they came at me with much less ferocity and force that I actually found them quite easy to deal with. Who would have thought?!? This could have something to do with the GlucoBalance tablets from the naturopath that I was prescribed that help control cravings and stabilize insulin levels in the blood, or perhaps the green smoothie I had every morning that kept me satisfied, or maybe the new love I developed for different flavored tea to get me through. And I'm pretty sure that Sarah Wilson's Choc Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa could satisfy ANY craving and took me a little closer to heaven - my goodness it was amazing!

But all of this aside, what I loved about this week was the Week 2 mantra: replace sugar with fat. Sound strange? It was my savior. It seems that we are programmed to think that fat is bad from a pretty young age. The fat-free phenomenon took over the diet market and saturated our supermarkets, advertising and health magazines. But it's a pile of rubbish - fat is not our enemy. In fact, if you are eating the right fats, it can help you lose weight and assist with other health-related issues. It also meant that I could eat toasted Haloumi cheese after dinner and almond butter on toast in the odd afternoon. Yum! For me, I would rarely eat toast or cheese in fear that it would make me fat. So I LOVED eating guilt free this week, and still feeling like I wasn't depriving myself.

This week looked pretty similar to last week, except I had Sarah Wilson's Green Smoothie for breakfast every day - Kale, cucumber, avocado, lime, ginger, mint and parsley blended with a drop or 2 of stevia. I thought it was going to be a block-your-nose-and-put-it-down-the-hatch drink when I first saw the recipe, but it actually tastes pretty good! That would take me right through to lunch, where I'd have some meat and salad and then some haloumi cheese or hommus and veggies in the arvo. Dinner was similar - meat/tofu and veg most nights. Oh and tea of course - lots of tea. Green tea, chai tea, licorice root tea, lemon ginger tea. When a craving hit, I'd jump on the kettle and busy myself in the tea cupboard (yes, I have a whole cupboard dedicated to different tea now), and I would survive.

One other thing that has happened while on this program, is that I haven't touched alcohol in 2 weeks. While Sarah says you can make good alcohol choices that are low in fructose, I've decided to leave the grog behind for the entire 8 week period. Big ask for me! I'm a big weekend wino and my friends have no idea how to socialize with me when I don't have glass of vino in hand, but again, we will survive.

Next week I have to say goodbye to all of the sweetness in my life... No stevia, no rice malt syrup, no fruit, no sweetened sauces, which means no more Choc Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa drinks (probably a good thing... I'll be keeping this as a special indulgent treat from now on). I feel prepared for this, and well equipped. It feels good! The fact that I have been strong this week has given me a lot of hope and confidence for the following few weeks. They will be tough, but I will get through.

I have lost 3 kg since I started 2 weeks ago, and I can already feel a (slight) difference in my clothes. Woohoo!!! If that's not motivating, I don't know what is. Bring it on, week 3!!        

Friday, 19 July 2013

Week One of Quitting Sugar

I've just completed Week One!

It was tough and challenging, but I did not give in to the evil craving monsters that are still living inside me, and I'm very proud of that (well, not to the same extent that I used to anyway).

What I like the most about Sarah's program is that you can ease your way into it. She doesn't believe in the cold turkey approach, which meant that when I did stuff up during the week and ate half a packet of dates after dinner one day, or had some cheesecake at a restaurant with friends, I didn't feel that paralysing shame and guilt that would usually wrap itself around me after eating sugar. I just allowed myself to enjoy it. Oh, what a feeling.

I still have a very long way to go... It was scary to see how quickly I demolished those dates when I felt the sugar on my tongue. There was that element of obsessive eating that I am trying so hard to get rid of that is still very much alive inside of me. I had to throw out the rest of the packet to stop me eating all 400 grams! (That would be equivalent to nearly a whole days caloric intake not to mention the truck load of sugar). But, it's early days. And I needed to see how strong these addictive behaviors still are for me so I am better equipped to deal with them in weeks 2 and 3, when we go 100% no sugar.

As this week was all about curbing the sugar monsters, I allowed myself to eat other food (occasionally) that I wouldn't usually let myself. So, when I felt the craving hit, I might have a piece of peanut butter on toast, salty nuts or corn chips and dip. I told myself this week that as long as I was staying away from sugar, it was ok.

You see the thing is, if you took away my sugar addiction, I eat pretty well (kind of ironic, isn't it?)
I avoid grains and dairy, as they make me bloated. I will eat protein (usually fish or chicken) with tonnes of fresh veggies and some good fats like avocado, olive or coconut oil for lunch and dinner, with eggs for brekkie. (These principals are all key elements to Sarah's program too, which is probably why I loved it so much). This is why I never really understood my addiction? My whole family is obsessed with health and wellbeing and I have been well-educated about what I should and shouldn't eat - I guess sugar addiction is stronger than all of that. So while this week wasn't a totally healthy week, if I've avoided the compulsive trips to the supermarket, I'm happy. Small steps!

This is what Week One looked like:

2 Egg Muffins and green tea
(like a mini omellette with some veggies and turkey that you bake in a muffin tray)


Poached Egg on gluten free toast and green tea

Chicken/Turkey and veggies with avocado/olives/oil


Lentil soup with crusty gluten free bread

Chicken/Tofu with steamed/stir fried veggies

Swapped between servings of: Soy Latte's, Carrot & Celery with Hommus, Brazil Nuts, tuna in spring water. (And my occasional unhealthy substitute of corn chips, peanut butter on toast, salted cashews - they all have to go next week!)

My Acceptable Slip Ups
Pitted Dates (they have soooo much sugar!)
Cheese cake
Honey in tea

So where to now?

My goal for week two is to eliminate those salty fatty snacks (corn chips, salty nuts etc) and drink more herbal tea instead (without honey this week). When the sugar cravings hit, and my God did they hit hard this week, I will try and go for a walk, drink some tea, or write. I will keep updating my progress each week.

Another of my goals is to get back to my weight as of 2 years ago, 58kg. I am currently almost hitting 70 on the scales (I am 160cm). I am thinking about posting some before pictures in the hope it might spur me on to make a difference, but I am incredibly nervous about putting my flabby stomach out there for the world to see. We'll see how that one goes.

I'm also going to book in with a naturopath to get some herbal supplements to help with the cravings. They are so intense sometimes they nearly bring me to tears, and I'm really scared that I will give in to them sooner or later.

While losing weight is incredibly important to me, particularly as it wasn't that long ago I was prancing around in my bikinis in Brazil feeling happy and confident, that is secondary to ridding myself of sugar for good. Although, I'm sure they will work hand in hand over the next 8 weeks.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me. Here's to week two!  

Saying it out loud - I'm addicted to sugar!

The time has come... I am finally admitting to the world that I am hopelessly, mindlessly, uncontrollably addicted to the white stuff.

After reading Sarah Wilson's amazing book, "I Quit Sugar", I have decided it's time to make some serious changes. I've made half-arsed attempts before, but nothing I have ever really been able to stick with. My will-power muscle has withered away to an almost non-existent heap of jelly, but I think this program will breath some life and strength back into it. I have just finished Week One of Sarah's approach to quitting sugar, and I feel pretty damn good. This blog will become a record of my progress over the 8 weeks, on what will hopeful be a road to success! I'm hoping that others who are attempting to eliminate sugar from their diet will find some comfort in knowing you are not alone. And you should  definitely check out Sarah's book and her website.

I'll explain why things needed to change for me...  

I'll be honest, it took me a while to be able to admit it out loud. I told myself that it was OK to hide blocks of chocolate all around the house and demolish them daily when no one was looking; to find constant excuses to leave the room so I could stuff myself with something sweet away from judging eyes; to race to the supermarket when in the midst of an intense craving and binge on Allen's lollies and raspberry licorice until I wanted to throw up. This was all normal, right? Perhaps if these things happened occasionally, if they were an anomaly in one's day to day routine, they wouldn't be considered something to stress about. But this had become my daily existence. My whole world had become about my next 'fix'. I would be literally dreaming about gorging on sugary sweets, and I would start making decisions based on how quickly I could get to that next vending machine. Not to mention the disgusting flabby fat that was accumulating thick and fast around my stomach and face.

This shit was starting to scare me.

Sugar was actually controlling me. When I was in the middle of a craving, (which came so thick and fast it would have me jumping in my car and driving to the supermarket without even realising what I was doing), I would lose all self control. My mind was filled with only one thought: get me that sugar NOW. And I was completely powerless. The walk from the checkout to the car was agony... knowing that I had the sweet stuff in my hands and it would soon be on my tongue... I would often jog to the car and rip open the block of chocolate in desperation. I would sit there in the car park eating piece after piece, and then packets of lollies and cookies and cakes, feeding the monster inside of me. I was a sugar junkie.

Then came the guilt and the shame, the part of my day I dreaded and hated the most. Often I would cry as I continued to stuff my face with just one more piece, telling myself that I was fat and weak and worthless, but I just couldn't stop. This addiction had tangled itself around me and was strangling the health, and the life, out of me. I didn't start like this of course. It's only been the last 6-12 months that these damaging habits have become my routine. But I have always binged on sugar and then punished myself afterwards, often with a lot of self-hate and shame.

So when I stumbled across Sarah's book, and read it cover-to-cover in just one night, I knew the time for change was now. And the program seems so do-able - it's not filled with obscure ingredients and bull shit promises - it's an honest and clean approach to health, and I love it. If you are attempting to do the same, you can follow me on my journey and hopefully find some strength.