Have you ever hidden in the pantry scoffing biscuits because you don’t want anyone see you eat? How about this one – you’ve promised yourself that today you will not eat anything sweet but by 3pm you’re hoeing into a block of chocolate suitable for a family…on your own? Sound familiar or was that just me?
Yep I was a full blown sugar addict. I could not possibly get through the day without a hit of the sweet stuff. Actually without multiple, constant hits that were required to bring me back up from the slumps in-between.
As a mother in my late 30’s it was fairly scary to face up to the fact I was an addict, a life-long one at that. I don’t use the word “addict” lightly, I truly believed I couldn’t get through the day without sugar and when I tried I suffered from withdrawals including craving, headaches and mood swings. Definitely felt like an addiction to me.
I knew I was eating too much of the obvious sugars, biscuit here, cake there, occasional bag of mixed lollies. What I didn’t realise was how much hidden sugar I was also consuming. An apple juice with my lunch, that’s a “healthy” option; stir-fry chicken and veg swimming in teriyaki sauce, obviously good for me, it has veg; and my old favourite, a fruit filled muesli with fat free fruit yoghurt for breakfast. Dried fruit and yoghurt are so good for you! Oh how little I knew or understood about sugar.
So what changed? How does a sugar addict who couldn’t get through one day without sugar turn the corner, become a sugar quitter and set up a sugar free company? Firstly I’d got really fat and it wasn’t fun or jolly it was just sad so I joined an outdoor exercise class. I couldn’t run the length of the soccer pitch but I liked the trainer and people in the group so kept coming back slowly getting fitter. I refused to diet, the moment I think of dieting I start eating so I decided to just make better food choices, cook more, less takeaway, up the amount of veggies I (and the family) were eating and reduce the amount of bad carbohydrates.
BUT I still had a hankering for the sweet stuff that sat like a monkey on my back. I would still slip in a sweet treat (or two) on a daily basis. I was losing weight but concerned by all the research I had read about gaining it back, with a bit extra.
The light bulb moment came when I read “The Sweet Poison Quit Plan” by David Gillespie. Not so much read but devoured, it spoke directly to me and made so much sense. I then quit sugar, hurray! I lasted 3 weeks, went on holidays and broke…badly.
Maybe quitting sugar wasn’t for me…?
I thought about it for a month, tried to ignore it then one day ate a whole packet of chocolate covered fruit and nut, all by myself. It wasn’t right, I knew it wasn’t right, I felt terrible but couldn’t stop. I was newly pregnant with my third child, I didn’t want to be like this. So I quit (again).
This time was actually easier, I wasn’t doing it alone but with my sister. We supported each other during the tough times. I really wanted to nourish my body in a positive way for me and the small person inside. After the initial couple of months I started experimenting with the recipes in The Sweet Poison Quit Plan, finding many that I loved but struggling to find the right products for cooking them.
It’s now almost 2 years since I quit sugar for good. I’m 21kgs lighter then I was 3 years ago, recently I completed a 15km fun run without walking, I have 3 gorgeous children that I am encouraging to be sugar free (that’s a separate story!), and with my sister I have established The Sugar Breakup to be a leading supplier of Fructose Free foods in Australia.
There have been some huge changes over the last couple of years, all for the better. But do you know what the biggest change has been? It seems so small and silly – now I feel balanced. My days are no longer a Luna Park ride of ups and downs, I’m no longer fighting to stay awake at 4 o’clock in the afternoon because I’ve hit rock bottom. I have the energy required to mother three kids under 6 and run a start-up company. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make the biggest differences.
That’s me, Julia. What’s your story??