I QUIT SUGAR: WEEK 3



Today marks three weeks since I started 'I Quit Sugar'.

I'm writing from my phone, from my hotel room in the city. I've been here for the best part of the last week with work. I won't have access to my laptop til later this week so I decided to post this update on the fly (I might pretty it up later).

Since I don't have the IQS book with me at the hotel, I'll have to skip the Week 3 chapter summary; this will just be about my experience of the past week.

In case you can't tell, I'm procrastinating... there has been an unfortunate mishap this week.

Things have not been all bad. I'm away from home 3-4 times a year with work, for 5-8 nights duration each time. The bad food is abundant on-site; if it's not the hotel brekkies, it's the permanent supply of lollies, chips and chocolates at customer service, the dinners and canap├ęs at cocktail parties, the hotel room service or the muffins, cakes and brownies that you can pick up "for free" (company-paid) on site. It can be so easy to go nuts, particularly when you're away from home, your family, and your normal routine.

In terms of regular, non-sugar eating, it's been a horrendous week. I feel kinda unhealthy and gross, and can't wait to go back to regular, good ol' home-made food. I can't completely blame my location though. I snacked on Cheezels because I wasn't prepared, and I'm terrible at ordering the healthy options on a menu. I know that the Beetroot Salad is healthier than the Chicken Burger and Chips. My mouth just doesn't understand the concept of saying "salad please". Need to work on that.

Time to talk sugar. I went to a wedding on the weekend and I actually passed up the profiteroles, but it wasn't hard. I didn't feel cheated. I didn't touch the lollies, chocolates (Caramello Koalas, my favourite) soft drinks, juice, Coco Pops, muffins, etc. on site. Even though I wanted to at times.

However, and, it's a whopping great big stinking however, I veered/catapulted completely off course on Monday night. We had been out for a cocktail party where a few champagnes had been consumed. My senses were a bit skewed and my hotel room was bit empty. The previous night I'd had a very strong and specific craving for a Caramel Crunch McFlurry. I talked myself out of that. But after those drinks, my resolve dissolved aaaaand I may have had a McFlurry plus a stupid Cadbury number (it was a bar, not a Family Block - does that count for anything?)

I actually slapped myself. Not at all worth it. I was going so well, and was so determined to make the eight weeks. I was so angry and disappointed in the morning. Still am.

However. No point dwelling on the negative. Almost three weeks without sugar is major, for me. Today I got right back on track, determined not to throw in the towel just because of a slip up. I like the analogy of a car that reverses into a pole. (So eloquent, I know.) Just because you reverse the car into a pole and do a bit of damage, there's no need to keep reversing over and over and making the damage worse. Just drive forwards, leave it as a tiny ding rather than writing the whole thing off.

Starting Week 4, just as enthused. My goal remains to replace some unhealthy habits with healthier ones. I just have to keep practising!

Week 4 update next Wednesday.

Edit: Sarah Wilson says this about boo-boos: "If you do lapse - say you sneak honey in your tea or pick at a friend's birthday cake (uh... sure, why not?) - don't fret and don't give up. It's fine. Tomorrow is a new day. Just keep your intention on track. 

A LITTLE WORK, A LITTLE PLAY




Cafe Rouge... pattern swatches, decorations and typography... a work in pogress

Some 'New Product Showcases' I've helped to style at work... three to style tomorrow... eep!

photos from our spring/'lemonade stand' showcase


photos from the 'cool change cafe'

  

I QUIT SUGAR: WEEK 2


 I Quit Sugar as featured in OK Magazine, and posted on the IQS FB Page this week



Today is the end of Week 2 of my I Quit Sugar 8-week THING. First I am going to list some essentials from Week 2 of Sarah Wilson's book, and then I'll give a recap of how things are going for me.


  • Replace sugar with fat. Once you take out sugar, the best thing you can do is replace it with fat and protein, as in, wholesome, unprocessed fats and quality protein, like eggs, cheese, nuts and coconuts.
  • Fat doesn't make you fat; sugar does.
  • Fat fills us up, so we can't gorge on it. Fats and proteins have corresponding appetite hormones that act as messengers to the brain to control our appetite. We don't get fat from eating fats and proteins. Our bodies won't let us. We get full.
  • When we eat fructose, our body doesn't notice it in our system. It goes undetected, so we can eat it and eat it, but our bodies don't feel full.
  • We are programmed to actively seek out and binge on sugar. Back when it was hard to find (the rare beehive or berry bush) we had to stock up when we could.
  • Sugar turns directly to fat. The way that fructose is converted to energy in our bodies means that it side-steps the fat-creation control mechanism and is converted directly to fatty acids, and then body fat.
  • Sugar messes with our hormone systems and leads to cravings and deficiencies, thus adding to the binge cycle.

All in all, this has been a good week. Though it hasn't all been smooth sailing.

I had an almost sugar-free week. Let's talk victories, first. There were several occasions where I was able to decline sugar, strengthening my "good decision muscle" each time.

Last week I handmade some rocky road for my BF for Valentine's Day. Although I know that I shouldn't sugar binge vicariously through other people, it was a special occasion so I'm not going to dwell on it. I'm looking forward to adding some baked treats to my repertoire that don't involve using fructose. The positive thing is that even though I was completely surrounded by chocolate and lollies, I didn't consume a single morsel, not during the cooking process, nor after it was made. This involved having to throw the extras in the bin. It was not an easy thing to do; I was very tempted. I don't promote wastage, however, keeping the chocolate sitting in the pantry and whispering me name would only make it harder for me, so it had to go. Another victory would be Valentines Day. We had a special morning tea at work which included Cherry Ripes, Strawberry Milky Ways and cheesecake (my favourite) all laid out and free for the taking... I resisted. On Valentine's evening we went out for dinner and I managed to decline the little heart-shaped chocolate on the table. Argh! (It's still paining me a bit to say no sometimes, when I still feel a little like I'm missing out... in reality I know that it's not the truth, in terms of my health, anyway.) On Sunday night I said "no thankyou" to the Pods that were offered at Tropfest. As you can see, there have been quite a few opportunities to eat sugar this week, and once again, these are all offerings that I would usually be only too happy to accept. Every one of them.

Things went slightly pear-shaped on Saturday evening. We were at a house party, a very fun house party, and after my beer had run out and I was still in the mood to partay (I should have stopped, I really should have stopped) I had some vodka and Coke Zero. Not completely criminal, but then the night got rowdier and I committed a true sugar crime by drinking first a vodka and lemonade and then a rum and iced tea, of all things.

On the one hand it was disappointing, on the other though, I'm happy I didn't give in to an actual craving for sugar, as in, in the usual form I'd crave it (chocolate, cake, biscuits, juice). It's not as though I had cravings for a rum and iced tea. I was just craving... what? A hangover? Well, I definitely got one of those.

Sunday was difficult because all I wanted to do was bury myself in a bucket of hot chips and a litre of apple juice. I managed to pull through though; I didn't want to drag myself down, just because I was silly enough to land myself with a hangover.

Due to a lack of sleep and still feeling a bit ordinary on Monday, I bought a croissant at the bakery. They're not overly sweet but they do contain some sugar and it clearly doesn't fit into the healthy end of the food pyramid. Lesson being... I think that looking after yourself in general, that is, being sensible with alcohol and getting enough sleep, are huge factors when it comes to being able to make good decisions about food.

As I spoke about above, Sarah Wilson encourages us to start eating more fat when we stop eating sugar, so that we don't feel like we're being deprived. She is referring to good, healthy fats though. I have room for improvement in this area. It's one thing to let yourself enjoy some chips at a party, if you're managing to avoid the fairy bread and cake, but it's another thing to start introducing non-healthy fatty treats, such as chips, into your life to replace your sugar habits. I'll be honest with you, I purchased 2 packets of chips this week when I was craving a little summin' summin'... there may have been a sausage roll thrown in there too, and that's something I want to discontinue as I go into Week 3. I've never been addicted to chips; I could count the number of times I've opted to buy a packet of chips over chocolate on one hand... so it's not a habit that I'm going to form now. I think that it's a matter of planning snacks better, and also building up a repertoire of interesting healthy options.

To sum up: today is day 14 of being [almost completely] sugar-free and I am feeling really good, and in control for the most part. I'm not finding it ridiculously hard; I'm not struggling. I'm feeling a lot better about myself, especially at work, where I would always feel sluggish and guilty after eating sugar to combat bouts of boredom or stress. I do still have some doubts and fears about slipping back into bad habits down the line, but I just keep telling myself that all I can do is ride this experiment out, and hope that some permanent changes stick. Physically I'm feeling better too; I've lost 2.3kg without changing anything else in my diet or exercise regime, without counting calories and definitely without starving myself. I eat when I'm hungry and I eat until I'm full. 

Bring on Week 3.


Sarah posted an article on her blog this week about how society has been duped about the dangers of sugar consumption, and why we're only now starting to be educated about it. Check out her article here, or click here to see a pretty interesting timeline about sugar.


Week 3 recap next Wednesday. View my other I Quit Sugar posts here.

LOVE SHACKS

i'm gathering some inspirational room pictures borrowed from the internet {love shacks}.

starting with these from bleubird vintage.

 
this looks comfy and sweet as a guest room. i like the cosy nanna-esque feel of the patchwork quilt, mismatched pillows and patterned sheets.


a bit too stark white for me, but there's something about it... the minimalist thing. i would have to throw on a bright uplifting bed cover.
 

WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE




above: trop pants for trop fest; lazy afternoon gathering

Last night I attended my first ever Tropfest (the world's largest short film festival); we went to the screening at Wollongong Botanic Gardens. Aside from the cool change that we weren't prepared for (but which made us really appreciate our warm beds!) it was a great night, and something I would love to do again. The atmosphere was nice and laid back... picnic blankets spread out across the lawn in front of the big screen. A few musical acts entertained the crowd until the sun set around 8pm and the screening started. The Tropest Signature Item for 2013 was a balloon (each film entry has to contain the signature item for that year) and they'd brought a hot air balloon into the Gardens for the occasion. I've been dying to go hot air ballooning for a few years now and seeing one up close fuelled the flame... it's on the To Do list for this year.

16 finalists were screened last night: some funny, some serious, most of them thought-provoking and powerful. My favourite film gave me goosebumps, and ended up being the winner. Here it is. Enjoy!


DESK JOB

what stuff do you *have* to have at your desk house; hole punch and tape dispenser aside? i have photos of people who make me happy, lots of colour, a picture of one of my favourite places, greece, and a women's health calendar to put 'the fear' in me and to ward off stray caramello koalas. i also have apple cider vinegar to tip into my water, and madame flavour sultry chai teabags to spice up my tea. oh, and some strategically placed valentine's blooms.








BOOKED: FIFTY SHADES FINISHED



I've just finished reading the Fifty Shades trilogy. It's been a drawn-out pursuit; I read a couple of other books in between. I had to come up for air in between each installment.

Fifty Shades has copped a lot of flack, but to the critics I would like to say: just settle pettles. One of the criticisms that I have heard is that EL James is a bad writer. I do not agree. Her writing style is different, but not in a bad way. To me, the story was engaging  enough and the characters were well developed. At the end of each book I was left wondering what happened next, and that's why I ended up reading all three. Masterpieces? No, but who said they had to be? Entertaining? Yes.

Anastacia Steele's character could be frustratingly passive at times... so much that it made me angry at one point. But that was part of the story and it was necessary to show that side of her so that the character could develop. I can see how the sexual content of the book could be confronting/offensive/ridiculous to some (and yes, it was a bit surprising, dare I say educational) but I thought that it was refreshing to read something a little different to the usual.

Bit concerned about the upcoming movie adaptation... how are they going to properly portray all that STUFF in a movie that's allowed to be played in a regular cinema?

...my subconscious peers skeptically over her copy of Fifty Shades Freed.

Image Source

LOVEHEARTS ROCKY ROAD




i made this special edition, lovehearts rocky road, for my valentine. < 3  [i realise the irony of making sugary treats for others while i'm not eating it myself... i guess not eating them is one thing, but i'm still pretty attached to making them! let's just put this down to a special treat...]

i used pink and white marshmallows, cadbury milk chocolate and milky bar, cherry ripes (3), strawberry licorice and love hearts sprinkles. i lined a slice tin with baking paper, scattered the bottom of the tin with pink marshmallows and then poured the melted white chocolate over that, then set in the fridge. i melted the milk chocolate then stirred in the chopped strawberry licorice, cherry ripes and torn up white marshmallow. pressed firmly into the tin and then sprinkled with hearts. set it in a white box and tied with a red ribbon. had one happy valentine.




And I was spoilt with 12 red roses :)



I QUIT SUGAR: WEEK 1



Here continues my recount of my I Quit Sugar journey.

Today is my 7th day sans sugar (almost) with the exception of an accidental, surprisingly sweet Thai lunch mid-week. I sidestepped many sugar traps throughout the week, and the funny thing is, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I declined the chocolates that were brought to our table after a dinner out, last Friday, as well as the Eton Mess that was served after a barbeque on Sunday. I made the Cookie Monster cupcakes for my boyfriend's nephew's first birthday party without tasting them or sneaking a single morsel of decoration. I even binned the leftover choc bits (that hurt!). I shunned the cheesecake that was shared for a workmate's birthday yesterday. When I look back on the past week I can see that is a LOT of sugar avoidance, and I'm pretty pleased because, were I not "doing IQS"  I definitely would have eaten every one of those things without hesitation.

Throughout the past week, a few people have questioned what I'm doing, and although they're probably not all religiously following this blog, I thought I'd keep track and write a little bit about that here.

I've just happened upon a lot of literature in the past couple of years about the perils of sugar consumption and therefore, it just no longer sits well with me to be eating so much sugar. I can't keep happily ignoring the information without worrying about my health.

I imagine that it would be quite a bit harder for someone who is used to drinking a lot of juice, soft drinks, energy drinks, non-natural yoghurt, desserts and so on, to quit sugar. I have gradually cut back on a lot of those things over the past couple of years so it's not been such a gigantic leap for me. One of the hardest things to give up is juice. There's nothing better than glugging down a tall glass of fresh cold juice! (Unfortunately, it contains the same number of teaspoons as a glass of coke, about 10-12.)

Everyone has their own weaknesses and for me, it's mostly emotional consumption of junky foods. And then of course, as this past week showed, it's just not saying NO often enough. There are so many social activities where sugary foods and beverages are involved, and if you don't pick and choose, if you just say yes to everything, you end up eating and drinking a lot of sugar.

It's my goal to stay away from sugar for 8 weeks (as set out by Sarah Wilson in 'I Quit Sugar') because I want to form new and hopefully lasting habits around sugar, so that I learn it's not necessary to medicate with sugar. I don't want to give up treats for life; I want to significantly lessen my consumption of sugar and replace it with better habits and alternatives, and keep sweet foods for special treats. For me, sugar has crept in and has become more than just an occasional treat, and that is why I am trying to re-calibrate.

What's more, I just plain don't feel good about myself, and don't feel physically well, when I overdo the sugar. So why should I want to keep doing that to myself?!

As for the reasons why sugar is so bad? An extract from I Quit Sugar:

More and more research is being done on the effects of fructose on our bodies. A number of studies have found that fructose:

  • inhibits our immune system, making it harder to fight of viruses and infections
  • upsets the mineral balance in our bodies, causing deficiencies as well as interfering with mineral absorption
  • messes with fertility
  • speeds up the aging process
  • has been connected with the development of cancer
  • is linked to dementia
  • can cause a rapid rise in adrenaline, as well as hyperactivity, anxiety and a loss of concentration
  • fructose converts directly to fat
  • fructose makes us eat more
  • Frutose makes us FAT!
Feeling good and happy and looking forward to Week 2! Tomorrow I'll post a IQS recipe that I tested this week.

More 'I Quit Sugar' posts in the 'Favourites' panel-------->

COOKIE MONSTER CUPCAKES


On Sunday I made these Cookie Monster Cupcakes for a 1st birthday party. It's probably a good thing then, that my Cookie Monsters ended up looking less like the actual Cookie Monster, and more like little baby Cookie Monsters, or, actually, nothing at all like the Cookie Monster, but more like some weird little blue alien/pig creatures. I think the problem was that the cookies and eyes were too small, and the tops of the cupcakes needed to be more rounded rather than flat. If you want to make something like this, I'd suggest copying something this or this instead. Haha! Nevermind, I think they tasted OK.





GINGERLILLY LOVE



I've just come home to Sydney from the Reed Gift Fairs Melbourne trade show (work). In my travels around the floor, I was distracted [every day] by the dreamy pjs from the Gingerlilly stand. They just called to me! I sense a little online shopping spree looming...

The Yvette nightie, and Electra Robe (both below) would have to be my favourite picks! But then there's those butterly pants and the v-neck singlet...





 
 

 
 


QUITTING...


 I just got home from 5 nights in Melbourne for work.   I bought Sarah Wilson's book at the airport on the way out and finished it on the return flight. The book is compact yet thorough. Much as I am a fan of the Sweet Poison books, this is a bit easier to digest.
I've enlisted my BFF to begin the sugar detox with me... although, we're having a BBQ on the weekend and she's already told me that she's making an Eton Mess. Pretty sure that sugar is the only ingredient in Eton Mess, so this will be a good test of self control!! The first two weeks of the 8-week detox, Sarah encourages us to take a "kind and gentle approach"... start cutting back, but you don't have to be overly rigid about it... but the more you practise saying no, the easier it'll be. I am liking this approach! I can't wait to try some of the recipes in the book and on Sarah's blog.
 
See more posts in the 'I Quit Sugar' link under 'Favourite Topics' --->