I Went Sugar Free And Survived To Tell The Tale

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A month ago I was mocking the sugar-free girls on Instagram smiling into their salads.

I would comfortably devour two jam and cream filled doughnuts, whilst lounging on the couch watching Man VS Food because judging Adam Richman for eating a 190-pound (86 kg) burger made me feel a lot better about my own poor eating habits.

via instagram @danielsdonutsspringvale
Screenshot from Man Vs Food, Season 2, episode “Detroit”

 

But unlike Adam Richman I’m not under a contract to eat unhealthy food, which means all my poor food decisions are on me and instead of a fat paycheck I just got fat. 

With Richman’s swollen face in mind and doughnuts slowly clogging up my arteries I decided to go totally sugar-free for two weeks to give my body a much needed cleanse.   

That’s 14 days, 336 hours and 20,160 minutes of torture that I’m hoping will improve my physical and mental wellbeing. 

Last year the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that one in two Australians (52 percent) are regularly exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that your daily free sugar consumption should be no more than 10 percent of your total caloric intake. They further suggested that a reduction to below 5 percent would have added health benefits and is overall the more preferred target.

via www.foodstandards.gov.au

 

This means that the average free sugar intake for women is only  6 teaspoons  (25.2 grams) and 9 teaspoons for men (37.8 grams).

To see how I compared to the recommendations, I measured how much sugar I consumed in the day before I started the cleanse. Here’s what I discovered.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdAw-eDUmSc&w=560&h=315]

Before I started,  I had a consultation with Naturopath Anna Talaj,  who for the next two weeks would guide me through the food choices and habits that I had to adopt. 

Note: If you are interested in completing any form of diet or food cleanse it is highly recommended to visit a health professional first who can help you set out a plan that is appropriate for you. 

“Going cold turkey in the initial stages is best because you learn how much you can actually tolerate without eating sugar” Anna explained as she gave me a list of what I could and couldn’t eat. 

Carla Stoikos// Dscribe
Carla Stoikos // Dscribe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialising in healing the gut Anna emphasised how important eating for my blood type in conjunction with being sugar-free would be if I wanted to see long term results.

“The theory behind blood type is that there are certain foods that are more compatible with your blood type than others. When you follow this way of eating most of the time, your risk factors for developing preventable lifestyle diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancer and poor cardiovascular health are reduced.”

Too often, Anna treats patients who are completely unaware that common poor health symptoms like migraines, allergies, eczema, constipation and diarrhoea are usually associated with their eating habits. 

“Many people I see have become so accustomed to these types of poor health symptoms that they don’t think it can be fixed, let alone comprehend how their diet could be a major cause of it.  But once their diet has been evaluated and changed appropriately to their blood type and needs, usually these inflammatory reactions begin to subside.” 

In my case being a blood Type O, means I should not be consuming any dairy (except white cheese), wheat, corn, peanuts and white potatoes. This may come across quite extreme but because all these foods were already on the NO GO list, I did not feel as if I was being further food deprived.  


 Week 1

 

 


I woke up on Day 1 forgetting that I was cleansing, so just as I was reaching for a warm chocolate croissant I was yelled at by my family who for the next two weeks will be my hype team ensuring I don’t crash and burn.

For breakfast I cooked medium sized meals loaded with protein, vegetables and healthy fats. This not only sat well with my stomach (Blood Type focus) but also sustained my energy for longer.  

Anna assured me that by Day 3 my intense craving for sugar would begin to pass as my body starts to remove the waste that was still in me. Three days passed however and I was still waking up feeling faint and extremely hungry which didn’t help my mood one bit. 

The biggest struggle this week was being able to control my emotions. 

I’m already a very emotional character, but my family made it very clear that this week my mood was all over the place and they couldn’t handle it. 

One moment I was arguing with my sister over tasting my expensive almond milk then five minutes later I was initiating a High School Musical duet. The final straw though was when I burst into tears because Dad ate three pieces of my sashimi.

I am convinced my roller coaster behaviour was purely because I was not eating enough during the day. Yes, I was having a solid breakfast, lunch and dinner but because I was too lazy to create suitable snacks for the diet, between these meals I was choosing to go hungry. So with that in mind, I made another appointment with Anna. 

 

Results at the halfway mark 

 

My goals and expectations

Was I successful after 7 days

The results

            

Lose weight

 

Yes

  • I lost 2 kilos in just 7 days (HOORAY)
  •  I was no longer bloated after eating.
  • Clothes were fitting much better  

It is important to note that I did not exercise at all this week or any extra physical activity. This means my weight loss was all because I changed my diet. 

 

Clearer skin

 

Yes

  • I usually have lots of pimples on my face however in the first two days I already noticed my skin clearing up
  •  My skin was less oily and overall skin tone had a nicer dewy glow.
  • I felt comfortable enough to only wear a light coverage of BB cream when I was in public. This is a massive achievement as I usually always wear makeup. 

 

 

                     More energy

 

No

  • I was still pressing the snooze button 8 times before I was able to wake up every morning
  • This was the same issue in the afternoon as I was very tired and slow by 4.00pm.
  • I never got a pick me up which left me with no brainpower to do work after 7.00pm.
  • This made it very difficult when I had lots of work to do!

 

 

Better mood

 

No

  • Sudden angry outbursts and becoming emotional usually occurred when there was no food to satisfy my hunger, someone had eaten my food or when I watched my family happily eat anything sweet and delicious.
  • This was a daily occurrence.
 

Lose the cravings

 

Yes

  • Only lost the cravings for the last three days of week 1.
  •  By the 5th day though I had no interest in eating sugary sweets 
  • Was able to sit in front of my grandma’s famous caramel slice without any temptation
 

Stronger will power

 

Almost there but not quite

  • I was cool, calm and collected until I was at a 21st and all I could eat and drink was arancini balls, pizza, cupcakes and Moscato.
  • I didn’t binge but I also didn’t leave hungry!
  • I did not feel good after I ate though. A combination of guilt and too much refined foods. 

 

 

Save money

 

No

  • With limited food options, I found myself eating my vegetables, protein and seeds really quickly.
  • I was shopping every day to buy something for my next meal and with organic options being more expensive I found myself spending more money than less.

 


WEEK 2

 


 

My poor behaviour in Week 1 meant I had to go back to have another consultation with Anna who now needed to rearrange my GO TO list so that I could survive another week without killing my family or my family killing me.  

I felt defeated, that I couldn’t last 14 days of just eating wholesome good food and was convinced that I was going to lapse to my bad eating ways. 

Fairy Godmother Anna, however, had other plans and assured me I hadn’t failed the challenge. The fact I had lost the sugar cravings meant my body had finally adjusted to a sugar-free diet and that it was safe to re-introduce some natural sugars into my meal plan without relapsing.

Good things come in threes and it was only three new foods that were needed to help keep me motivated for the next week and most importantly improve my mood.

Frozen Banana

Fresh Dates 

Blueberries 

She then pulled out her magic wand and whisked me off to Dymocks to purchase top selling ‘clean lifestyle and sugar-free cookbooks’ by Sarah Wilson and Jessica Sepel to inspire me to be more creative in the kitchen. 

Carla Stoikos // Dscribe

Let me tell you, readers, my life changed on the very first day!

THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS YOU CAN MAKE WITH A FROZEN BANANA and these three extra food options were the simple sweet additions I needed to stay motivated as well as control my emotions. 

Instead of eggs in the morning, I was having delicious smoothie bowls and banana “ice cream” to settle any desire for sweetness during the day. Between the three books, I had an endless supply of recipes to choose from and I found myself tweaking meals specific to my Blood Type so that each meal was even more perfect for me. 

Yes, it did take time but because I was so motivated I made the effort to plan out and prepare meals well in advance! Here are some of my favourite creations. 

Week 2 results 

My goals and expectations

Was I successful after 14 days

The results

                                       Lose weight

Yes

  • By the 14th day I was 3.8 kilos lighter than I was before I started.
  • Weight loss was a bit slower this week but Anna did assure this happens when you begin to start introducing more foods back in.
  • Next step, more exercise.

                                     Clearer skin

Yes

  • This was easily the best result by far
  • It was a great feeling being able to leave the house for Uni and work with no makeup on apart from mascara.
  • My skin has never been this clear in 9 years, I still have some small pimples under the skin but they are never making the surface.

 

                                     More energy

Yes

  • A massive improvement from last week;
  • I am waking up at 7.00 without an alarm and my energy levels are consistent throughout the entire day and night.

 

 

Better mood

So much better but my family still says there is improvement needed

 

  • Less tears this week but as I’m naturally hot-headed, there was not a big improvement with my temper.
  • On a positive note, I was not lashing out every day.

                                   Lose the cravings

Yes

  • I have no interest in eating sugary desserts or any form of carbohydrates no matter what situation I’m in
  • I didn’t believe Anna in the beginning, but it is true and I’m thrilled.

 

Strong will power

Yes

  • Having lost the cravings meant my willpower is as strong as concrete.
  • This is my second biggest victory and I am just as proud because I was that person who would binge eat an entire block of chocolate in 10 minutes without feeling bad. 
                                   Saving money

Much better

 

  • Having more healthy meal options made cutting back on costs so much easier.
  • I did one big shop at the start of the week and 6 days later I still had heaps of produce in the kitchen to cook with.

 

LAST THOUGHTS 

Quitting this amount of food was never going to be easy, but now at the end of it, I can happily say I have never felt better both mentally and physically. 

The results have been so clear that I have decided to continue this diet plan in hope that one day it will simply become second nature. 

I hope by now you are at least a little bit tempted to give it a go. I am positive you too will feel and see some amazing results. 

 

 

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