About Me/FAQ’s

Hi there, my name is Angela.  I’m an ex-sugar addict.

I’m a 30-something New Zealander  trying to kick the sugar habit and get healthy.  I live in Tawhero, Whanganui with my sugar-free husband D, our sugar-free toddler Eloise, and sugar-free baby Daniel.  I also blog about kid-wrangling stuff over at Tots in Tawhero.

I was inspired to give up sugar after reading Sweet Poison by David Gillespie.  This blog charts my successes, failures and everything in between.

 

FAQ’s:

1. How did you do it?  How can I quit sugar too?

You can either quit gently (I’d recommend Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar programme if this sounds like you) or go cold turkey.  I went cold turkey, cause that’s just how I roll.  Either way, here are some tips to make it easier on yourself.

  • Quit when your social calendar isn’t full.  It was the beginning of November when I first discovered Sweet Poison.  As Christmas was coming up, the first time D and I quit (more on that later) we decided to be kind to ourselves and wait until AFTER Christmas/New Year’s.  We waited until we were back at work, so we didn’t have lots of free time to think about food.  Stay in for a couple of weeks instead of going out for dinner at night.  Avoid your favourite cafe.  Have friends over to your house, instead of going to theirs.
  • Get sugar in all its variants out of your house.  Give it away to your neighbours.  Just get rid of it.  You don’t want to be sitting at home on day two with that stash of chocolate you always keep in the top right-hand cupboard calling your name.
  • Generally I think soft drink is the devil, but get some Coke/Sprite Zero, or other zero-sugar drink to get you through the withdrawal period, if you think it might help.  Trust me, after a few weeks you will no longer want the stuff anymore.  I had it for about a week (that’s all I could stand) and it helped me when I got cravings.
  • Expect to have a few days of feeling rubbish.  It passes.  Sooner than you’d think.
  • Really think about if you’re ready to quit.  It’s okay if you’re not.  Just file the idea of quitting sugar away for when you are.  For me, I’d just had enough.  I’d hit bottom.  I was so embarrassed and ashamed of my over-eating that carrying on as I was just wasn’t an option anymore.  Sweet Poison was the first thing that gave me hope in like, forever.  My kids are my motivation for staying sugar-free.  I don’t want them to grow up with a weight problem, or have the food issues that I did.

2. Why should I give up sugar?

Oh man, once you’ve been off it you’ll see.  Fructose is killing us.  It’s making us fat, sick, tired, diseased, spotty and addicted.  There is nothing in fructose that your body needs.

Giving up sugar has changed my life.  Here are some benefits I’ve seen:

  • weight loss
  • increased energy
  • increased satiety levels (I only need 3 meals a day)
  • clearer mind
  • fewer mood swings
  • better sleep
  • clearer skin
  • HAVING CONTROL OVER MY APPETITE.  I never could stop a one chocolate.  Now I can look at chocolate and not even want it.  Now I seldom even think about chocolate.  Or other sweet stuff.

3. What’s sugar withdrawal like?

Unfortunately, it’s different for everyone.  David Gillespie reckons men have an easier time of it than women.  I think he’s probably right.  My husband D took a couple of weeks to withdraw, which is pretty typical for men.  I took a couple of months.  (Unfair, isn’t it.) Some women take longer.  You may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • irritability (Duh!  Of course you’re going to be irritable)
  • intense hunger (When D and I quit we were both RAVENOUS on the first day.  I would have eaten anything not nailed down).  Have a metric tonne of sugar-free snacks at the ready.
  • tiredness/lethargy
  • trouble sleeping

All these symptoms are normal.  You are detoxing from an incredibly addictive substance.  I felt headachey, hungry and tired for a couple of days, but otherwise I was okay.  I found the worst part of withdrawal was simply saying no to temptation when out and about.

4. How will I know when I have withdrawn properly?

Your appetite will decrease.  You will no longer have thoughts of food taking up valuable space in your mind.  You will no longer be planning your day around trips to get snacks, or panicking about when food might get served at a friend’s dinner party because you’re starving.  You will be able to look at sugary treats and say ‘euck’.

5.  How do you stay sugar-free?

Expect to mess up.  Ok?  Just expect it.  You’re going to be okay.  You’re making a big change.  You’ve been addicted to this stuff for most of your life.

It takes a person an average of SEVEN times to break any sort of addiction, and sugar is no exception.  D and I first quit in January 2012 and did really well until we went to America in September that year.  We came back totally addicted again (hard to avoid it when you are been hosted by people).  As I was pregnant at the time and finding withdrawal incredibly hard, we decided to be kind to ourselves and quit after the baby arrived.  I was sugar-free until 11 months later I discovered I was pregnant again.  I tried with all my might not to eat sugary things during pregnancy no. 2, but just couldn’t do it.  I really don’t know why, as when I am no longer pregnant going sugar-free is a doddle.

I am not militant about never eating any sugar – but I pretty much only have it if I have been invited over to someone’s house for dinner and they give me dessert.  I take the view that I am not deathly allergic to sugar and simply eat whatever is put in front of me, like a good guest.  I tried having party food on special occasions, but it just didn’t work for me.  If I eat anything sugary now I feel terrible for several days, and I also find it tastes horrible to me now, so it’s easier just to abstain when I can.

After you’ve been sugar-free for a few months it really does get easier and easier.  If you mess up, or deliberately choose to eat some, just gird your loins and start eating sugar-free again at your next meal.  It’s not the end of the world.

6.  How do you get kids to be sugar-free?

Err, good question.  Here’s a rundown of what my toddler might eat in a typical day.

Sugar is in most of the food your kids eat, even if you haven’t meant to sugar them up.  Seriously.  It’s in their cereals, their yogurts, their ‘healthy’ muesli bars.  Depending on your kids’ personalities and how old they are, you might want to take the softly, softly approach.  Arm yourself with lots of yummy sugar-free recipes.

7. I love baking.  What sugar alternatives do you use?

Okay, lots of recipes will claim to be sugar-free but still use honey, agave, or maple syrup.  They are all high in fructose and are still bad for you.  So you do have to look a bit harder online to find truly sugar-free recipes.

Occasionally I use stevia and rice malt syrup.  I mostly use erythritol or dextrose when baking, but to be honest, I reckon the jury is still out on that all of these sweeteners for me.  With all due respect to my sugar-free friends out there, some people use alternative sweetners like it gives them free licence to eat cake.  Like it magically makes things healthier.  It’s still cake.  You can make some amazing sugar-free treats for sure, but use them sparingly.

8. What does a typical sugar-free day look like for you?

One of the great things about giving up sugar is that once you are free of your cravings, you have the headspace to think about what else you are eating.  I simply couldn’t do that on any other sort of ‘diet’.  I would resolve to eat well and last for a few days before my cravings for sweet things and junk food kicked in.  Now I am free to really pursue good nutrition.

I believe in whole foods, made from scratch most of the time.  I eat high fat (animal fats), low carb (which naturally includes no sugar).  A misconception about HFLC is that you eat a ton of meat.  Yes, the amount of meat I eat has increased, but most of my diet is vegetables.  Seriously.  Our fridge looks like a market garden.  Eating this way has drastically reduced the amount of food I need to get through the day.

Breakfast: usually bacon and eggs.

Lunch: chicken or tuna with a huge pile of veggies.

Dinner: Some sort of protein rich, low carb dinner with veggies.

And that’s pretty much it.  Sometimes I have a piece of fruit with lunch or as a snack if I need one.  But I seldom need snacks anymore.

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13 thoughts on “About Me/FAQ’s”

  1. Hi Angela, I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Shine On Award – I have loved following your sugar free journey so far, so much I can relate to, keep at it :). You can collect the award here: http://exsugarholic.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/shine-on-award/

    • Thank you so much Caroline – that made my day! 🙂

      • Hi angela could you please contact me? i’m a journalist working on a story on sugar addiction thanks

      • Hi Ali,

        Apologies for not replying sooner. I haven’t been up to mucking about on here for a while.

        I’ve enjoyed your reports on Campbell Live – keep them coming. I reckon a great story would be on the rubbish that is peddled as ‘healthy’ for children, such as cereals and muesli bars. The sugar content for these things is ridiculous.

        Cheers,

        Angela

  2. sugarfreelee said:

    Hey Angela! I’ve come across your blog before-such great writing, you’re an inspiration to me! I quit sugar too after reading David’s book, so exciting to see so many people living without sugar!

  3. since watching the nigel latta show i have read up about sugar and have gone sugar free. my experience is identical to how you describe your experience. not being hungry and just eating 3 yummy delicious meals is absolutely new to me! my daughter is going really well with it too (4yrs) much calmer and happy and easier to deal with in general. prohibition and education is the way to go i reckon.

  4. Hi Angela,

    I came across your blog a while ago, when I saw all the sugar-free work you do!

    I have to say that I love your blog since I live without sugar for a year now!

    I actually made an article on how to quit sugar – it’s my personal unique technique that has helped many people quit sugar for life.

    I wanted to share it with you, but I couldn’t seem to find your mail.

    Here it is, please let me know what you think 🙂

    http://fitgirlsdiary.com/2015/09/15/giving-up-sugar-the-team-up-technique/

    Cheers and keep up the great work,

    Monica May

    • Thanks Monica! Loved your article, I’m sure the team-up technique would help many, many people. It’s so much easier when you have lots of supportive people around.

  5. SimplyMrsP said:

    Hi! Great tips thank you. I, like you have just gone cold turkey and cut everything! I am also a Hashimotos sufferer and I am looking at the AIP and just wondering how you have got on with it? I related to everything you said on the subject and it’s always good to read it’s not just you. Thank you

    • Thanks SimplyMrsP! I have struggled with it (but that’s due to an eating disorder issue, not the food). I’m having therapy for the disorder, and once that’s under control, I will give AIP a proper go. All the best with it, I hear great things about it.

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