My previous post was all about the ins and outs of the I Quit Sugar (IQS) lifestyle choice and the willingness to get through 8 weeks of banishing the processed product from my diet.
I was extremely strict and dedicated for 6 weeks of the change, after facing the first 3 week demons of withdrawal and explanation to those around me – a time which was filled with unenthusiastic thoughts and right alongside the drive to continue.
At the six week mark it was time for a weekend away with the girls, a time in which I had accepted may have a few slips of the sugary variety and whilst there were meals consumed inside and out of the cute little cottage in Daylesford, the majority of the eating was really well within the means of the IQS guidelines. On the last day of the trip, I came down with what felt like food poisoning and was bed ridden for around 36 hours. It was after this exercise of ill health that I decided to reduce my IQS journey of strict eating from 8 to 6 weeks, so not to add any additional stress to my system.
Whilst I did make the decision to not be so completely stict i.e. no fruits, it certainly did not mean I was running to the cupboard for the brown sugar to bake cookies. I have continued to be thoughtful about the amount of sugar being consumed through clean fruits and vegetables as well as the occasional rice cracker or choice to have a salad dressing. Sugar, as we all know, appears in almost everything; naturally or as an added ingredient, and sticking to the IQS guideline of around 5-9 teaspoons of sugar per day can be hard to handle.
I have found that between being intolerant to gluten and yeast alongside a low FODMAP diet, eating clean and avoiding sugar is not too difficult at all. The IQS 6 week challenge certainly opened my eyes, belly and brain of what is really out there and what choices we have when it comes to the addictive sweet. Choices have been a lot easier when faced with cakes and biscuits and especially my old favourite, softdrink! It is scary to understand there are around 20 teaspoons of sugar in a bottle of Fanta or Coke and perhaps more scary, that there is a similar amount in a glass of fruit juice!
During the time of the IQS journey and continuing even to today, I have encountered a setback in the ability to exercise. Anything beyond a 5km walk or 15min bike ride creates an array of pain in my knees and hips, so this time has provided a really good idea about how sugar impacts not only my general health i.e. stomach digestion as well as the inflammatory reaction from reintroducing some refined sugars. Whilst I was not as able to exercise above a low impact level, I found over the 6 weeks particularly, I was still losing weight and feeling absolutely amazing. It was after a trip up of devouring some Fanta that I suffered an increased amount of pain to my knees and hips the following day. The reintroduction of occasional sugars found in minimal amounts of salad dressing and rice crackers changed my stomach digestion completely, not to mention a slight increase in weight.
Whilst quitting sugar is not for everyone, it is a way to understand how it can impact ones health and well being. I’ve loved the journey and will continue to be aware of my sugar intake and also know what the repercussions of naughty momentary sugar slips will do to me physically, along with the mental guilt!
Again, I must mention the great writing of Sarah Wilson in both ‘I Quit Sugar’ and ‘I Quit Sugar For Life’ books. A great go-to resource for both the 8-week challenge, recipes and such a wealth of knowledge around all things sugar.
Stay happy and healthy!
~~ Cate ~~