So since my ‘Frankie Say’ post, although I have modified my eating behaviours somewhat (not enough in other words) and exercise a little more (not enough in further words!), I am still losing weight but in a very slow manner. This isn’t a problem, I’m not gaining after all, but I need to kick-start the mentality process that needs to be addressed to truly succeed at this. In the past I have done my mock Lents and given up caffeine, bread and even alcohol, but by far the hardest was last year when I chose to kick out added sugar from my diet for 40 days and 40 nights. This, was, HELLA tough! It’s only when you are forced to scrutinise each and every packet in the supermarket is when you realise just how much extra sh1t is chucked into our foods – this of course makes them more appetising and Fructose being something the brain just never tells you that you’ve had enough of, makes it quite frankly dangerous to one’s health. The strain this puts on your liver firstly and the body’s natural way of dealing with the excess, turning it straight to fat and shoving it wherever it can – mostly on the belly! It’s little wonder that obesity is such a problem not only in the UK but most of the world over.
So… What to do? Devise your own sugar free plan and go with that? Yes, you could do that, but I suggest you try just doing it for 2 days and see just how frickin’ hard it is! I am massively thankful I did my sugar free mock lent; it really helped me understand what is going into my body and how much damage my eating was doing. To give you some idea of what you are up against; when I did the Mock Lent, I went into M&S to buy some chicken slices and was hoping to find something to go with it. Firstly, the chicken slices had brown sugar in them, I know right! Secondly the only thing I could find in the entire freezer section was a tray of Egg Fried Rice, everything else had some form of added sugar content! I have to say that since that almost rage inducing day M&S seem to have introduced a lot more healthier ingredients to their meals. Another example I can give is only yesterday I was ingredient shopping for the IQS plan and a tub of Red Cabbage and Beetroot caught my eye – That will make a nice quick snack I thought, I don’t need to check the ingredients do I? Do I? Yes, you do, unfathomably this little tub of vegetable loveliness had added sugar in it!! FFS!
Nope, we’re gonna need help on this one I feel. Hence we have enlisted the, admittedly not cheap, ‘I Quit Sugar’ (IQS) 8 week programme that aims to get your body into the detoxed state it needs to be in to continue on and kick the sugar habit once and for all. When a plan says it’s okay for me to have the odd drink and that caffeine is okay once a day, then this opens the door – both are key things that I love and enjoy, and don’t want to give up – ever! So IQS has received my money, the wife & I are committed to doing this, and with the added bonus that we can control to an extent the amount of sugar our kids are ingesting. Of course we can’t stop this entirely, kids are kids, sweets are commonplace, but if we can nurture the mentality maybe there’s a hope that we can steer the ship in the right direction.
I have never had a particularly sweet tooth, but I am not meticulous enough about checking what I am eating; things like the vast majority of crisps (chips to my US friends) are absolutely loaded with added sugar for example. Happily beer contains Maltose which the body metabolises fine, and wine contains minimal Fructose with red wine being the best to consume on a sugar-free regime. However, on the 8 week plan you are to restrict this down to a drink a day or eradicate it altogether – I only drink at weekends so this isn’t a hardship and I may even opt to go dry. So far I cooked up two of the recipes, the Paleo Veggie Bread is particularly good and the Crispy Cauliflower Tacos are to die for – even though it was an utter ball ache mission to find Tortilla wraps that don’t contain added sugar!! You may be worried you’ll be eating a plate of leaves, which wouldn’t work for me either, I love my food and it has to be interesting or I simply won’t follow the plan. Tonight is Beetroot burgers that look utterly gorgeous. (Update: They were!!)
A natural ‘side effect’ for a lot of people that have followed the IQS plan is weight loss, and calculating the calories intake for a couple of the days that would ring true as taking today for example it has me around 250 calories under my recommended. Throw in some exercise and that’s a great net cal value, and the site has a list of appropriate and accepted snacks both for general snacking and also for boosting post workout. Breakfast was my only real concern, but in fairness most days I have porridge, and this is sugar free, I am now just following the IQS version that has lots of added yumminess, almonds, coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon, to name but a few options. Due to the need to change things up, you are more or less forbidden from eating fruits for the first 4 weeks – this made me frown somewhat as I love my fruit, but I fully understand as these are rich in sugars and the point of the programme is rid your body’s addiction to sugar completely and to recalibrate. They then reintroduce fruits as part of the programme – they do recommend low fructose fruits if you need to eat them and one’s to avoid that are high, but I am going to follow the IQS programme to the letter here. To avoid at all costs from here-on-in though is dried fruits – all the water has been sapped out of it leaving only concentrated sugar! So, that no-sugar muesli you’ve been eating (I’m looking at you Tesco), actually all the dried fruit in there is giving you your daily fix and more. Bosh!
Okay, it’s expensive at £79, but I figure is it really that steep for what is in effect a complete assisted lifestyle change. I am at an age where these things concern me, and should’ve concerned me a lot earlier in my life, but now I have kids my mind-set has definitely recalibrated. On paper it all makes sense, feels like something I can follow and stick with. I will update you midway through the programme and let you know how it’s going and what improvements I have noticed.
If you are interested in the programme click on the link below: