What the IQS team do when we fall off the low-sugar wagon

By Rachel O'Regan |

I Quit Sugar - Sarah's Recalibrating Pork Meal

Even we are prone to a sugary slip-up. Yep, even us!

Becuase let’s face it, sometimes life happens. And while falling off the wagon isn’t ideal, it’s also no big deal. And certainly no reason to beat ourselves up! 

Instead, we pick up and get straight back to healthy eating. And we’ve all got some tactics up our sleeves for better handling that overindulgence.

“Don’t compensate by cutting back.”

The key is being gentle with ourselves and acting like it didn’t even happen, says our head of content Lorna. Nourish not punish!

“I remind myself that I’m human, that I didn’t kill anyone and that life is life, and is there for the living. And then I draw a line and pretend it didn’t happen. I might drink some extra water the next day (to cope with the inevitable headache) or add in some extra leafy veggies, but I don’t try and compensate by cutting back on portions or subsisting on green stir-fries for a week.

“Years of eating disorders have taught me where that kind of yo-yo behaviour leads to. Instead, I just carry on eating lots of yummy, fresh, real food and the sugar binge is soon a distant memory (until the next time!).”


Rachel, our writer, finds that the best thing is simply to eat your way back on track.

“When I fall off the wagon, I don’t just fall off – I roll down the road, tumble down a hill and fly off a cliff into the ocean. So, yeah, I do need something fresh and recalibrating to remind myself why I’m doing this. A good crisp salad or lightly sautéed veggies usually does the trick, and all of a sudden those Tim Tams I really shouldn’t have had are just a distant memory.”

“Be present.”

Even Sarah isn’t immune to a sugary slip-up from time to time. Because at the end of the day, life is life. For her, it’s about bringing it all back to you.

“If you follow me on social media you’ll know I’m currently travelling through Europe (sorry!). This trip I’ve eaten my body weight in bread, butter, cheese and wine. And I’ve been eating sugar, too. Not by the spoonful, but too much. Dessert most nights, chocolate while hiking…
“To recalibrate, I’ll typically head for a meal of pork and veggies. (I have such a dish in my latest book, I Quit Sugar: Simplicious. Aptly named My Recalibrating Pork Meal.) Generally with a glass of preservative-free red wine. And I’ll remind myself to get present, to be with myself, when I eat.“

“Own it like a boss.”

Senior writer and editor Camilla reckons the key to staying on track is ditching the guilt. By owning the lapse, you feel more in control and empowered to make healthy decisions moving forward.

“A slip up used to be license to write off a whole day, week, month of unhealthy habits. After all, I’d already “failed”… (aaand cue hours of negative self-talk and personal shame). These days If I do indulge, I own it and then I get right back to healthy eating, reminding myself I’m doing the best I can to make sure my body is nourished and satisfied.”

“Flush it out.”

Marketing executive Alyssa accepts the sugar she has just eaten – and goes about getting straight back into healthy eating mode.

“For me, falling off the wagon can sometimes happen after, er, a big weekend. My tip is to accept it and move on. I wake up the next day and drink a huge amount of water, go for a big walk, drink a crap-load more water and then go on as usual with my healthy eating.“

“Let it be.”

Totally berating ourselves for caving to a sugary snack isn’t going to do us any favours, says dietitian and IQS Expert Natalie Bourke.

“What is the point of falling off the wagon into a delicious bowl of ice cream and then spending the rest of the time drowning in guilt? Absolutely none. I say celebrate the deliciousness, pick your (temporarily) sugary butt back up and move right on.

“I like to get outside for a hike and drink plenty of water. I also make an effort to base the remainder of my meals on high-quality protein and veggies for the rest of the day.”

We originally published this article in January 2016. We updated it in February 2017.

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

Latest tweets
Join our 1,400,000 followers!
IQS newsletter freebie
Simply Sweet Treats

Join our newsletter for the
best IQS tips, tricks and recipes
+ a free eBook!

Please enter a valid email address
Please enter a valid name