After noticing her clothes no longer fit and struggling to reign in a sugar habit, Christine Urry decided it was time to take back control of her life. Here’s how she made it happen with the 8-Week Program.
The 67-year-old had started seeing some weight gain and began taking greater notice of her sugar intake. Christine says these realisations around her health and lifestyle, combined with chronic pain from arthritis, spurred her to make a change in her life.
“Weight had been slowly creeping on and clothes were starting to not fit me,” she says. “Hormonal changes at this age slows down our metabolism so weight was much harder to lose than when I was younger. I didn't really have a lot of weight to lose but my main reason was to help my hormonal changes, help my aches and pains from mild arthritis and joint pain.
“One day I counted that I had had 7 biscuits throughout the day and many lollies. I was disgusted in myself for not having any self-control so decided to do something about it.”
Christine’s not alone here – so many people struggle with the addictive nature of sugar. Sugar has a strong effect on the reward system in the brain. Research has shown sugar triggers this system. It works by prompting the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, into the brain and triggering a reward-seeking cycle which leads to a number of addictive behaviours around seeking out sweet foods and struggling to control consumption.
“I also chatted to a friend of mine that had cut sugar from his and his son’s diet and had lost a lot of weight, that was the inspiration that I needed,” Christine says. “That night I joined the I quit Sugar 8-Week Program!”
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing, like many who ditch the sweet stuff, Christine found herself dealing with a number of withdrawal symptoms. These are common side effects that are often part of the journey to recover from sugar addiction – this can include anything from headaches and mood swings to cravings and even anxiety. One study found people who consumed excess sugar had higher cortisol levels, the “stress” hormone, and this can cause distressing feelings that further encourage us to seek out sugar to get that reward system firing.
“I had withdrawal symptoms for probably the first two weeks, I think that was mainly a habit thing,” Christine says. “I had to walk past the biscuits at work, I had to not snack as much which was a bad habit that I got into. I didn’t really need to and a lot of the time I wasn’t really hungry, maybe some of the time it was boredom, I think we have all experienced that.
“I did get headaches but having to drink the 2 litres of water a day helped with the headaches and the hunger. I starting finding better things to snack on but tried not too at the beginning as I wanted to get out of the habit.”
After pushing through the withdrawal symptoms, Christine started to notice some health benefits coming in – from improvements to her chronic pain to fewer intense cravings.
“My hormones were more in balance, my moods were so much better,” she says. “I took/take far fewer anti-inflammatory tablets for my joint pain and my self-control was amazing. I even got through Easter having only one small chocolate and hot cross bun, I was very proud of myself.”
Christine says the organisation of the 8-Week Program is one of the drawing points that helped her keep on top of things.
“I very much enjoyed knowing what I was eating each week, I enjoyed the variety and eating different foods,” she says. “It made me feel so much healthier knowing that I was eating from all the food groups each day. My body responded well to the good diet and more water.
“I felt so much more in control which helped me in everyday life. My self-control now is amazing.”
Christine is keen to continue her journey to a healthier life, revealing her goals to continue improving her health and staying off medication.
“Having a healthy diet is so important. Most of us know what to do, what we should eat, what we eat that is bad for us, we just need to be honest with ourselves,” she says. “I want to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be.”
Her advice for those starting the program? Christine says it’s essential that you’re taking on this challenge for yourself and your own health, and reveals that organisation is key.
“Clean out your fridge to make room for the healthy food you will be buying. Always shop in advance and do the Sunday cook-up,” she says. “I work fulltime still and often looked at the weeks meals and tried to make as much as I could in advance.”
Having worked as a pharmacy assistant, Christine also urges new program members to check in with their doctor before making any changes.
“If you have any health problems always check with your doctor, don’t go off of any medication without consulting with your doctor first,” she says.
Christine also recommends making the most of the community of fellow members and experts.
“Join the Facebook page and read the questions asked of other people,” she says. “I participated as much as I could, taking pictures of my favourite recipes and asking questions and sharing my own experiences and how I felt.
“Support each other, you are worth it!”
Feeling inspired by Christine? Join us on the 8-Weel Program; whether you're looking to beat a sugar addiction or redefine your relationship with food and healthy living, we're here to help. Sign up HERE.