After joining the 8-Week Program, Danielle Maurice went from debilitating chronic pain and a diet high in junk food to an improved mood, a renewed sense of motivation and now has plans to enter her first powerlifting competition. Here’s how she did it.
Danielle had been struggling with her health prior to joining the program – she says she had reached a point where she was ready to take her life back into her own hands. As a part of her New Year’s resolution, the powerlifter decided to take on the 8-Week Program to kickstart her health journey.
“I was in a really bad place, physically and mentally. I was eating lollies, chocolates, and takeaways all the time,” she says. “I had to make a change to get out of this unhealthy downward spiral I was on."
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing – like many of us, Danielle struggled with withdrawal symptoms. After all, sugar can be an incredibly addictive substance; research has shown sugar triggers our brain’s reward system, even proving to evoke a stronger reward response than cocaine. It works by causing the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, into the brain and so begins the reward-seeking cycle many of us are more than a little familiar with! It’s also why quitting the stuff can trigger a number of withdrawal effects – from aches and pains to cravings, fatigue and mood swings.
“I had headaches that just wouldn't go away for about 4 days, nothing helped to get rid of them, no amount of water or painkillers but after the headaches went it was like a black cloud had been lifted and I started to feel so much better and even more motivated to get myself in a better place I had promised myself to be in,” she reveals.
But things started changing for the better after Danielle weathered the storm of the withdrawal stage – she reveals she started to notice a marked difference in her health. Danielle has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) a condition which can cause debilitating symptoms and affects nearly 10% of people of menstrual age around the globe. It’s a hormone disorder which can result in enlarged ovaries and the development of cysts, and involves a number of symptoms like painful and irregular periods, excess hair growth or loss, acne and unexplained weight gain. Excess sugar consumption is known to worsen the symptoms of the condition as it brings with it inflammation and gut flora imbalances.
“I have PCOS and with that comes very irregular, very heavy and very painful menstrual cycles and PMS,” Danielle says. “Since doing the 8-Week challenge my cycles have regulated, the pain only lasts a day rather than days and they are much lighter. I'm not needing to curl up in a ball with a hottie on my back and stomach."
Danielle says one of the biggest draws of the program was the meal planning and recipes, sharing the peace of mind that comes with it.
“I loved how everything was done for you,” she says. “The weekly meal plans and the shopping lists make quitting sugar much easier than if you were to try to go at it on your own.
“I don't know about others but I'm not a great meal planner at all and totally would have failed without those. They kind of help you create good habits without you even realising.”
Pictured: One of Danielle's home-cooked meals from the program
Danielle’s future goals involve tackling her high cholesterol – she reveals she’s more motivated than ever to get into powerlifting.
“At the start of the year, I had my cholesterol tested which was too high,” she says. “My doctor has given me 6 months to make it better, so my goal is to decrease my cholesterol along with getting stronger and fitter and do a powerlifting comp in August this year.”
She reveals her decision to start up strength training played a major role in her whole-body health as well.
“I had also started out on strength training just before doing the 8-Week challenge and have found that I have more energy and strength to lift and train. In fact, I'll be entering my first Powerlifting comp this year! These two things combined (I Quit Sugar Program and Training) has helped my mental health SO MUCH,” she says. “I'm a much happier person now and I've noticed with myself being happier my home is happier too.”
Her advice to those who are ready to quit sugar and take back control of their lives? “Don’t let the withdrawals discourage you.” Danielle also says it’s more than okay to tailor the program to your needs.
“If there are meals in your weekly meal plan you don't like, swap them out with a meal you enjoyed from the previous week to help you keep on track,” she says.
Feeling inspired by Danielle? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!