[this might just be the best book you'll ever read...]
I was a little dubious when a fellow health coach introduced me to Sarah Wilson's book, 'I Quit Sugar'. A self-professed healthy eater, I was skeptical that the forms of sugar I was consuming might be causing more problems than I realized; after all, my sugar intake was primarily from fruit, agave, and good-for-you sugar alternatives. I was barely eating any sugar in its most processed form [no pop, candy, etc.], just a nightly cap of pumpkin purée + agave syrup. Often two servings. And wine. Occasionally some dark chocolate. On paper, my choices didn't seem unhealthy! But when I started the IQS program and committed to seeing a change in myself, I became aware that parting ways with the 'good' sugars in my life might just be the tweak I needed to tackle some health concerns that had been plaguing me for a long time.
I read IQS in a single sitting on a flight back from Mexico, where I had visited my husband on a work trip. (The book goes down quickly, with just a hint of sarcasm - which I love.) I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for in Sarah's writing: certainly, 8 weeks without sugar seemed daunting! But the way the facts are laid out (and the recommendations so clearly described) made my imminent challenge easier to digest... Literally.
Apart from the little wiggle room I allowed (not quite willing to give up my morning soy latte, and even less willing to have it with cows' milk), I dove into the IQS plan just before Christmas with a vengeance. It was a particularly trying time to take it on -- holidays, as I'm sure everyone can agree, are packed with temptation and fructose at every turn. With family, I was assertive: though things looked delicious, I was working towards a larger goal (which always requires a small challenge). Apart from a vegan nanaimo bar during a visit to my old place of work in Toronto (LPK's Culinary Groove - a wonderful little spot, and really the place where my most recent sugar addiction took hold), I stuck to the plan. I took Sarah's advice (which I now share with clients) to swap in sweet vegetables for fruit and to drink water constantly. (I've since discovered that many sugar cravings come from dehydration, so heading that off at the pass has been key!) The initial period of transition was tough, but having other foods to rely on was a lifesaver!
The biggest thing I noticed right away was that I am a nicer person when I don't have sugar. Truly. I had never put two-and-two together to notice that sugar causes all kinds of angry, sad emotions to emerge. As soon as I stopped putting it into my body, my mood evened out. I was calmer, more patient, less irritable. It was really something!
Not to mention: my energy was consistent throughout the day (no afternoon slump). I felt full (and I've never felt full.) My body was actually registering when I had had enough (it felt good!) My sugar cravings dissipated. (Now I just crave baby carrots - far preferable to any alternative! - and sweet veggies have become my sugar of choice.)
The most unexpected - but perhaps most physically noticeable - benefit to quitting sugar was losing ten pounds. And two pants sizes. Without trying. They were just gone, particularly from the places that have always caused me the most frustration. Sarah talks a lot about inflammation in her book and I realize now that my extra ten pounds was inflammation from excess sugar.
A coworker asked me recently if I miss the sweet stuff. I don't. I feel SO good in my body and SO happy with IQS, I don't know that I'd ever go back to the way things were before I committed to IQS. I've become a little more flexible with fruit - adding in berries in smoothies on occasion - but I now feel like I have a handle on when my body has had enough, so I can stop. I am connected to the effect fructose has on my body, and because I don't love what it does to me, I'm less inclined to have it.
IQS helped me kick the sugar habit and has brought so much more lightness to my world. It has been a tremendous change - one I would absolutely recommend to anyone looking to make a shift in their life. I'm thrilled to share the experience and information with my clients in the hopes of lessening our collective dependence on the white stuff.
Sarah Wilson has been awesome enough to offer a referral code to share with friends looking to break up with sugar. I wanted to share with everyone at FtGU - it's a great way to check out both 'I Quit Sugar' and the 'I Quit Sugar Cookbook' in print or ebook format.
Choosing to end a toxic relationship with sugar might just bring some more sweetness to your life, too!
Have a wonderful end to the week, everyone!