Week 7: Recovering from Lapses

After the lapse in IQS week 6 it has been amazingly simple to bounce back now in week 7.  As Sarah puts in the Week 7 chapter of her IQS book, you revert back to your blank slate by eating fat and crowding out with lots of fresh greens.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, there is a much better mind body balance at play here.  I feel  more balanced, the cravings no longer control me.

Having previously (for years) struggled with headaches and a fairly constant foggy brain state, I am feeling so much clearer and focused and energised.  I have had practically no headaches in the last seven weeks.

My energy levels are so different to what they were before this little experiment. I wouldn’t say I leap out of bed in the mornings but I am not waking up with a heavy head feeling more tired than when I fell into bed the night before.

This is such an incredible sense of freedom.  I never would have believed it possible.  I must admit to having been quite sceptical before starting this process that I would feel this level of result after seven short weeks.

I’m feeling happily full after meals.  I only eat when I’m hungry and this week have had almost no cravings between meals.  My portion sizes are much smaller too.  It is all becoming a lot easier to manage.  What felt like quite a chore to think and plan through the meals for the week and shopping, etc. is now coming quite naturally.

Even my supermarket choices are improving, more controlled.  I stick to my list and listen to the cues of my body as I’m wandering the aisles.  My body is not signalling a need for the bad stuff.

Another thing I have noticed is I seem to be processing water more effectively.   What I mean by that is, I have gone for a number of years now feeling almost constantly thirsty.  As a result I would drink about two to three litres of water a day and still feel thirsty.  I struggled a lot with water retention at the same time.  My weight could fluctuate 2 – 3 kgs in a single day!  In the past weeks I am definitely not as thirsty.  I am still drinking about one to two litres of water a day but it makes me feel full and seems to be doing what it is supposed to instead of sitting around where it is not supposed to and making me feel huge and unhappy.

All rather miraculous really.  Long may this last.

I Quit Sugar book cover
Thank you, Sarah Wilson, for sharing your IQS journey

Check out the IQS Store online for lots of other info and ideas from Sarah.

Week 6: Add some sweetness back in

Cathedral Cove, Hahei, Coromandel, NZ
Cathedral Cove, Hahei, Coromandel, NZ

This week we went on holiday.  Beautiful New Zealand in the spring time.  I know people complain about spring weather in this part of the world – the wind, the rain, its changeable nature.  But at this same time we see the gorgeous shades of green of paddock and forest, washed bright and fresh by the spring showers.  The aquamarine blue of the water washing up along the white sands on the Pacific coast.  The blues and greens of spring are rejuvenating, whispering hope and growth.

We put aside IQS restrictions and took advantage of being on holiday in every sense we could.

I didn’t feel guilty but rather relished indulging in a few of the delectable delights on offer – a 2 hour wine tasting plus accompaniments at a local vineyard with my mom; a delicious tapas meal with smoked beer in a converted church and tiny tastes of yummy baked goods at the local cafe chased with a fabulous macchiato (difficult to find a good one of those in this country in my experience).  The perfect break from our normal.

And so we head into Week 7: Recovering from Lapses.  This seems pretty appropriate considering the the week 6 we just had.  Reading what Sarah says about IQS week 7, it seems we are ahead of the game.  This week’s conscience lapse has reminded us of why we quit the white stuff in the first place.  So we focus back on being mindful in a gentle and kind way of how our bodies responded to a little sweetness.  In my case, I can definitely say that I have broken a bad habit and feel better for it.  I can hear my body’s voice asking for whole, fresh, vital and nutritious food.  I feel more in balance and not fighting against the cravings.  That makes staying without sugar a much easier choice.  I am motivated to continue…. maybe IQS for life?

Week 5: Get Creative, Experiment and Detox

So I am a little late with this week’s installment.  I got side tracked this weekend with spring cleaning the kitchen and organising cupboards (which I get some kind of weird kick out of).

IQS week 5 started well and I definitely felt quite energised by Thursday from my liver cleanse regime that I decided to tackle as the detox part of this week.  However, it all came to a crashing halt on Friday with my first real lapse to my old ways.  My justification –  the end of a really long, busy term combined with my usual “that time of the month” cravings.  So I indulged in a decidedly delightful lamington at the end of term morning tea, chased that with an equally delicious carrot cake cupcake at lunch and a bag of Maltezers after dinner.  Well, I guess a blow out is a blow out.

Woke up on Saturday with what can only be described as a sugar hangover.  The heavy -headed, thick, lethargic feeling is one I have not experienced for weeks.  Very interesting.  In some ways I don’t regret this lapse as I have learnt a lot about my body’s reactions to sugar.  I am so much more mindful of the incredible strides I have made towards health over these past 5 weeks.  And I have learnt that I can cope with a lapse like this, not feel too guilty and just move forward making more positive decisions food wise than unhelpful ones.  Massive progress really.

Even the hangover feeling I woke up with passed quickly after a whole lot of water with lemon and focusing on getting started on the spring cleaning.  The fact that I felt I had the energy to tackle the task at hand is amazing to me.  The change in my energy levels for the better is rather overwhelming to me.

Another tool in my health and wellness journey I have this week rediscovered – The Gabriel Method.  I read Jon Gabriel’s book a few years ago and got a lot out of it at the time.  I found his visualisation techniques very helpful (although the results for me were not long-lasting and my body definitely defaulted back to its old ways after about a year).  I found the book again and have reread it.  I have now decided to try the guided meditations Cellular Wisdom listed on his website.  I have thought for a long time now that setting aside that quiet time each day such as meditation or yoga must be highly beneficial.  I like the idea of this being guided – need all the help I can get.  It seems to me that a better mind-body connection can only improve health and wellness outcomes rather than just focusing on food and drink.

Right, time to soldier on into week 6 – adding back a little sweetness. I have already tried the Raspberry Ripple.  This is decadent and delicious – with the freshness of the berries (oh, how I missed the berries!) and the richness of the cacao.  And just a the tiniest taste is enough to sate the need for sweetness.

Week 4: Face the Demons

So this is the half way point of our little experiment.  Sarah says we need to face the demons, that doubt will creep in and you will start to question what you are doing.  Well, she was right.  This week we faced some demons.  For me this was in the form of craving huge slices of chocolate cake, a tonne of Russian fudge would have been great too!  Actually, I think I would have been happy with a handful of berries or a breakfast smoothie with banana and kiwi. But no fruit allowed either.

When planning for this week’s meals we had intended to try a whole bunch of new recipes but when it came down to it, it seemed to make more sense for us to face a tough week by keeping things simple.  So it was tried and true favourites with as much veg and leafy greens as possible.  This seemed to help – too full to crave anything.  Looks like this ties in with week 5’s IQS mantra.

Best breakfast this week was the pumpkin pie and quinoa porridge.  Best lunch – haloumi salad with walnuts.  Best dinner – a vege lasagne (my sister’s secret recipe)….. so good and the leftovers even yummier the next day for lunch.

Going back to the doubts creeping in.  I ended the week reading Dr Libby Weaver’s new book The Calorie Fallacy.  What a fabulous second opinion.  So much of her message matches Sarah’s experience.  I have read most of Dr Libby’s books and have found them most enlightening.  The Calorie Fallacy was a good reminder of some things I already know as well as a trigger to pursue other avenues to health and well-being.  In particular, the link between sugar and your liver.

Dr Libby's new book, The Calorie Fallacy
Dr Libby’s new book, The Calorie Fallacy

Week 5 of IQS is all about being creative, experimenting and detoxing.  The last week of feeling deprived before we can add a little sweetness back.  I am going to focus my week 5 on a liver detox.  I think I can live without fudge or chugging down a tin of condensed milk for 7 little days out of my life ♥

Week 3: Quit!

This week has certainly flown by filled with a lot of work stuff for me; a lot of work/illness recovery for my sister. It really is hard to think about eating right in amongst all the chaos of a busy life. But we do think it is still worth pursuing this experiment. It almost seems a little calm space in our current milieu, even if it does take a large portion of our weekend to plan it so. And, really, it should be so – taking the time to nourish ourselves should be a top priority, right?

My sister and nephews have really struggled with cold and flu nasties in the last couple of weeks and I am absolutely amazed that I have not succumbed so far to the lurgy. I am also motivated to exercise every day even just for 15 minutes of Tai Chi – unheard of before I started this.

Sarah mentions in her book that there will be some negative backlash from people around you. I guess stemming from feelings of guilt that you have taken on a challenge they know they should be tackling too? Well, I have found just the opposite. Family, friends, work colleagues have all been wholeheartedly supportive – well, at least to my face.

The lovely ladies I work with have encouraged me to join them in a pretty intense stair climb. We did this on Wednesday and I could only manage 3 laps to their 6 (they are younger and much fitter than I am). But I am so grateful for their encouragement and complete lack of judgement. Extremely motivating, thanks, ladies. Hoping to reach 4 laps this week coming.

And so the first real week of quitting sugar has been quite difficult. Basically, the idea is not to eat anything that contains more than 6g of sugar per 100g. Have you ever studied food labels? Well, if you have then you will have realised just how much extra sugar we consume everyday without knowing it. Every convenience food, every sauce, every dressing, every beverage contains sugar somewhere. And so, of course, does fruit. So we have survived the first of three weeks with no sugar including no fruit.

I have craved, I have pined even just for a segment of mandarin! Oh, and how I miss my berries. I eat a lot of berries. But I won. I made it to the end of Quit week with my commitment intact.

6 of Sarah’s Nine C’s of Goodness have definitely helped with the cravings: chia, cheese, chicken, cinnamon, coconut oil and coffee. Next week we plan to try out the other 3 C’s – cacao, chai and coconut water.

My favourite meal this week was a combination of two recipes from Sarah’s book – capsicum soup (page 136) and coconut curry meatballs (page 107). We served the meatballs in the soup and said no to the Finnish Scones. Scrumptious!

When I am complaining of feeling deprived, I have to stop for a moment, take a deep breath and put this little experiment into perspective. This is not a diet. I am not forcing myself to eat very little of foods I don’t even like according to a very prescribed formula that is supposed to fit all. But I suppose my body is going to have some withdrawals from the stuff it has been addicted to for so long. In the scheme of things, this withdrawal is really not so bad. And apparently it is only going to take this tiny little 8 weeks of my life to find my blank slate. And that, my friends, is a very happy thought indeed. A blank slate does not come along very often in life.

And so we plan for another week, it really is all about the planning. Huge thanks to Miss Marzipan for the printable weekly menu planner.

The essentials for planning - colour, beauty, inspiration and coffee
The essentials for planning – colour, beauty, inspiration and coffee