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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quitting sugar, quitting speed

Yes I'm quitting sugar and subsequently I am quitting: speed. No no, not the amphetamine variety (In fact, I wouldn't know that if it came and bumped me on the forehead) but the literal act of rushing. And more specifically rushing through my food.

I've noticed over the past 12 sugarfree days that by pausing to think about what I am eating, I am also pausing to think why am I eating. Going sugar free is giving me time to be more aware of my emotional triggers for food. 

This morning for instance, my 2 year old daughter had an altercation with a giant slide at one of those kids indoor playgrounds. In the company of my friends, I was attempting to placate her. My friend grabbed some halloween treat bags full of lollies that she had prepared for the kids. Whilst the lolly helped Miss2 for a brief moment, it didn't help enough and I soon decided she may need to head to emergency. 

Driving to the ED, I was of course feeling flustered, guilty, anxious, confused and angry. The treat bag sat within my reach on the passenger seat. I don't think I have been more vulnerable over these past 12 days than that very moment.  But because I am on this sugar free journey I was empowered enough to pause, recognise that I was just having an emotional response and swiftly threw the bag onto the floor, well out of my reach. (In my sugar addict state that wouldn't be out of reach enough - I've been quite capable of performing Olympic standard gymnastic manoeuvres in the car at any red light, when the need for sugar is bad enough.)

Likewise this afternoon, feeling exhausted from our ordeal (which BTW turned out to be a slight overreaction - 3 hours in ED, 2 traumatic X-Rays and we left with 2 band aids for friction burn) I was hanging out at the pantry door begging for something to jump out at me. I grabbed some Pringles (damn that lady at the supermarket giving samples last week). But, like Sarah outlines in her e-book, fat is filling. Our body can tell us when we've had enough. True to form, after a handful of those wafer thin chips I was over them.

I'm also hoping that by taking on this sugar free challenge I'm also getting over food (sweet food) being an automated response to emotional situations.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

This ain't no yawn, but it's just as catching

Earlier in the week my husband measured out how much Just Right he was putting in his breakfast bowl. He read the label. He checked the sugar content. He was a bit embarrassed. This morning I noticed he had scribbled his current weight on the calendar.  I asked him if he was starting to think in an "I Quit Sugar" way. He confessed he was. 

I've banished Weetbix Bites from the cupboard. The kids are now reaching for the plain old Weetbix for breakfast. My 4 year old son in particular is gobbling them down. As I write this post I'm recalling how many times this week I've told my husband how pleasant our son has been. It's just dawned on me that it may not be a coincidence. (I've also stopped giving them the odd jam sandwich and I don't think they've have had any "special" drinks - i.e. the flavoured milk they talk me into with every trip to the supermarket... we are having less supermarket trips though, giving that I'm not pining to go to get something for myself)

I'm not going to force this "I Quit Sugar" regime onto my family - but I'm really pleased that by me looking out for myself a bit more, it's having a positive impact on them as well. If I can just pull back the reigns a bit on the kids' sugar intake (and before reading Sarah's e-book I thought I was a pretty health conscious mum), and encourage my husband to make wiser choices then that in itself will be pretty damn sweet!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Taste buds they are a'changin'!

So, last night was chocolate night - and for those who didn't catch my first post I made an agreement with myself that I would still allow myself to share a block of chocolate with my husband on Friday nights: purely for the therapeutic benefits of celebrating the end of the week with my DH.

Here's the interesting thing - quite often, I can't wait until Friday night for my chocolate hit, so sometime after lunch I'll duck into some sort of sweet treat and believe me, it certainly doesn't curb my appetite for my Dairy Milk later that night.

But this past week, with next to no sugar in my diet, I was very blase about our chocolate ritual. Of course, I supported DH in finishing the block. But the taste was sickly sweet. I even felt a bit ill for the rest of the night. I'm certainly not in a rush to go out and eat more, that's for sure. Dare I say it - I may have ruined our Friday night chocolate night!!

This isn't the only taste (or physiological/psychological?) change that has occurred. My little ones had pasties for lunch one day. Miss 2 requested "black" (aka BBQ) sauce on hers. I was picking at her leftover meat and took in a smidge of the sauce. And, Wham - it was sweet! Sickly sweet. It tasted completely different to what it would have 2 weeks ago.   

This is all good news. It tells me already things are changing. I haven't noticed anything dramatic with the scales (maybe just less "I'm having a fat day" days), but that's not my major goal in any case. I just want to feel better about myself. I just want to finish the day and know that I didn't abuse my body. 

Where I'm at with other foods:

  • I'm enjoying my breakfast once again. I've learned that porridge cooked on the stove is far superior to porridge in the microwave (and I've been putting oat milk on it, but have since gone back to Sarah's book and David Gullespi's website and found that the sunflower oil and inulin in it are no-no's... still trying to find out why. But once that carton is gone, I'm going to try porridge with coconut milk)
  • Coconut water is alright! I found some in my local supermarket and thought I would give it a go. I've been missing my weekly hit of soft drink, but thanks to my rejigged taste buds this is sweet enough and doesn't leave me pining for more (in fact 3/4 bottle is still in my fridge)
  • Licorice tea is fabulous! Really gives me a warm sweet hit.
  • Rice cakes with almond spread are tasty and filling.
Thanks to some fellow I Quit Sugar comrades for commenting on here, and others for your support. Keep it coming!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A whole new world

Day 7 - Over the last two days the cravings have started to hurt a bit. But I'm not pining for a bag of starbursts, I'd just jump over the moon if I could have a handful of sultanas to be honest!

Funny how by cutting out the sugar your taste sensations change. I had myself a bowl of Jalna whole fat natural yoghurt earlier. Normally I've found this to be rather sour and hard to take (compared to sweetness of flavored yoghurts) but this evening it was - WOW! It truly hit the spot. (I topped it with some hazelnut meal, cinnamon and chia seeds just for fun. Yeh, that's how I roll, now). 

Likewise I'm coming to notice that tomatoes taste rather sweet in my salad. Have they always been sweet? Or have my tastebuds been so clogged with sugar I've never really noticed.

It's killing me that for the last two weeks my Aussie Farmers Direct organic box of fruit and veg has contained a mango. Every time I see it sitting in the fridge, I salivate a little. Last week I sent it in the kids day care lunch, so I didn't have to put myself through cutting it up for them. (I'm not normally a big fruit eater, but it seems by stripping back my sugar overload I'm craving the more nutritious varieties).  

Bring on Tuesday so I can get rid of that mango temptation once again!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Six SugarFree(ish) days

Tomorrow will be my sugar free 1 week anniversary. 1 week since I started this journey. And already I've learnt a lot, about foods, sugar and most importantly myself.

I've learned to look at another section of the Nutrition Information Panel on packaged foods. Previous "diets" and research has conditioned me to look at fat content and calories, and since having the kids I'm also always scanning for preservatives. But now I look at the sugar per 100g or 100mls. After giving the kids a prepackaged juice as a treat earlier in the week, I checked, then measured, the sugar content:


Needless to say juices like this will become even more of an occasional treat after that little experiment!

I've learned that breakfast cereals in general are really nasty.  What I've been feeding myself and my family is high in sugar (even though I've never even allowed the "heavy hitters" like coco pops, nutra grain and rice bubbles in). They've probably overdosed on their sugar requirements by 8am! I'll be secretly weaning the kids off berry weetbix bites and gently encouraging them back to their much more healthier cousin: the plain old weetbix. But it's not the kids I'm worried about - how do I break DH clutches off his Just Right?

About myself I've learned that I have been literally running on sugar. Somehow this reduced sugar intake is slowing me down. Not in a physical, sluggish sense, but in a food seeking sense. I'm still thinking about food - (alot!), but I'm not anxious about it. It's as if in my sugar-addicted life, I was bouncing from one sugar hit to another. Having less sugar in my diet this past week has highlighted the times that I really do crave it. And I've been able to stop and find an alternative.

I'm enjoying food. It's making me feel good. Strangely, these higher fat, lower sugar foods feel much more human.  

I've realised tonight (after revisiting Sarah's e-book), that I've kind of skipped to the end of this journey before my time and have already started seeking out low fructose sweet treat options (that's not encouraged until week 6). So it's time to put the breaks on that, and as I move into week two: It's time to start exploring the world of good fats and proteins.

I've had ups and downs over the past 6 days (in fact, I think I've found today the hardest thus far) but in general I'm still highly enthused about this plan. Bring on week 2!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sugarfree Saturday sucks

It's Saturday night. I've done 3 days sugar free. Well not technically, there has been the very odd bit here and there, but by comparison to my usual intake it's probably down 95%.

Yesterday and today I was on a real no-sugar high. Excited by the prospect of a change, and equally excited about the range of foods and flavours I'm going to experiment with. Coincidentally, last week I also started arranging home delivery of an organic box of fruit and veg from Aussie Farmers Direct - the mystery of what we are going to get is exciting and it's prompting me to try new things. 

But.... at the moment, it's 8:40 on a Saturday night and my body wants to feel the love of sugar. Doubts are starting to creep in - can I really sustain this? Is this worth it? Why deny myself so many things I love? This is a ridiculous idea.

Nevertheless, I will not yield. This still feels like the right thing for me to try. 

Where I'm struggling, how I'm coping:

  • As predicted - breakfast time! I know eggs on toast sound like a novel idea, but with two kids popping around me it's hardly the ideal breaky cuisine. I've opted for porridge with a sprinkle of cinnamon.Quite frankly, this isn't really cutting the mustard.

I am however, chasing it down with a slice or two of multigrain toast with vegemite and I'm very excited that butter has made it's way back on the menu. This smooth delight is getting me through, and may possibly be doing a better job of filling me up than the muesli/fruit/yogi combo was doing previously.
  • After lunch: I'm craving that sweetness. I usually raid the cupboard for anything sweet - meringues, dried fruit, soft drink or, I drag the kids to the supermarket claiming we're in desperate need of milk (when in fact it's mum in desperate need of chocolate!) Voluntarily taking two toddlers to the supermarket is clearly the sign of a desperate woman. Over the last few days however - peppermint tea has been my savior.
  • Right now: as mentioned Saturday night. I deserve to relax a little don't I? Normally, I'm not a huge alcohol drinker, but given that wine gets the ok from Sarah I'm making that my weekend indulgence. And because one glass basically renders me paralysed, I rarely get up to get myself another.
Meals I'm finding ok. I'm actually enjoying the relaxed attitude towards fats. It's a shift in thinking, but it's nice to make a meal with all the trimmings that go well with the foods (creamed silverbeet, carrot and radish salad with an oil based dressing for example - you can find these on my recipe page). It's the snacks that I'm finding tricky - no dried fruit, no fresh fruit, no rice crackers (sugar in there? Seriously!). But I'm trying to reach for nuts, plain crackers or the kettle for a herbal tea.

Day four here we come...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I'm going sugarfree

Thanks to "twitterverse" I came across Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar" e-book. Within a few pages of this little beauty I felt like this was the lifestyle change for me.

For as long as I can remember I've been addicted to sugar (of course, I've only identified it as an "addiction" recently. Up until then I considered it a "sweet tooth"). I remember as a young girl (maybe 5 years old) being rather enthusiastic about accompanying Dad to his weekly squash game. While he sweated it out on the court, I'd be sneaking into the tea room to steal a few cubes of sugar. That memory still carries the same emotions as sugar does for me now: sheer delight coupled with shameful guilt.

Now as a grown woman, a wife and a mother of two toddlers, I'm still sneaking sugar in where I can. Now it comes in the form of an impromptu "urge" to whip up a batch of meringues; the curious "need" for something at the supermarket, just so I can add a chocolate bar to the list; and even the very unhygienic habit of licking the sugar spoon between my two-spoons-of-sugar cup of tea.

Here's the weird bit: I'm a fitness instructor . I live and breathe exercise. I'm also a huge advocate for toxic free cleaning and personal care products (this is me). On the outside I take very good care of myself. On the inside I'm poisoning myself.

I'm quitting sugar because I need to balance up my values a bit. And, like Sarah, I also have a lurking thyroid issue going on, but in the form of hypothyroidism. It's not fully blown yet, but my GP tells me its only a matter of time. And, well, a few kilos shed wouldn't go astray either.

A few less kilos + more energy hopefully = a faster half marathon time.

So far, Sarah's e-book has taught me that aside from the obvious sugar hits I'm grabbing, I'm also taking it in with almost every meal of the day, and one bit of sugar (or fructose) just activates my brain to want more.

So, I'm committed to giving it go.It's going to be tough. I expect these are going to be my biggest hurdles:

BREAKFAST TIME: I've got to find an alternative to my beloved natural muesli, yoghurt and fresh fruit. There's sugar in the dried fruit of the muesli, the flavour of the yoghurt and the fructose of the fresh fruit (NB: as Sarah writes "when I talk about quitting sugar, I'm talking about quitting fructose").

PEPSI: I know, a no-brainer right? But my husband and I are literally hanging out for our weekend fix of this dirty stuff. It's clearly gotta go.

CHAI LATTE: After taking 3 fitness classes in a row on a Tuesday morning, my vanilla chai latte bides me and my appetite some time to get home, have a shower and fix myself up some lunch. I'm going to have to go - nuts!

FRIDAY NIGHT = CHOCOLATE NIGHT!: This implies that I don't have chocolate on any other day, when in fact I probably have it in some form, at least every second day. But on Friday nights my husband and I usually enjoy half (or a full!) block together. This ritual normally extends to Saturday and sometimes Sunday night - meaning, I have had a big chocolate hit 3 out of 7 days of the week. Because of the marital bliss this brings us, I'm actually going to try to hang on to this. But it will be strictly one block for the weekend and if I find it's making me fall off the wagon - sorry DH it might have to go!

Wish me luck! In fact, better than that - wish me good health!