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Hayley’s story: “I found food freedom and lost 6kg in the process!”

I Quit Sugar - Hayley’s story: “I found food freedom and lost 6kg in the process!”

I’ve always been interested in keeping healthy but like everyone, I’ve had my own fluctuating relationship with food over the years.

As a healthy eater, I didn’t really consider myself a super sweet tooth. However, in saying that, I never really thought about how much sugar was in my diet aside from cutting out lollies and soft drinks. I would eat dessert if it was offered to me, enjoyed chocolate, drank fresh fruit juice without a worry, would eat homemade biscuits and was never phased by the sugar content listed on the nutrition panel.

I first heard about IQS from a nutritionist I work with. 

When I recently started a new role at a wellness company that offered no-added-sugar snacks, I decided I wanted to learn more about the effects sugar has on the body. I decided to be my own experiment and signed up to the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program.

As I didn’t consider myself a sweet tooth, I thought I would be able to complete the program with very few hurdles and symptoms.

Throughout the Program, I didn’t crave sugar but what I realised more and more as the weeks passed, was that my body actually was hooked on sugar. I was amazed. In week three, for instance, I found myself frequently waking up to go to the bathroom and suffered from sore kidneys.

One morning, I woke with such sore throbbing kidneys that  I just had to consult the online community forums. And lo and behold, there was a new video waiting for me describing the exact symptoms I was experiencing – sore kidneys and frequent overnight urination. IQS was spot on in terms of symptoms and timing.

The most troublesome symptom of quitting though was the exhaustion I felt for a couple of weeks.

After consulting the naturopaths at work, their advice was that my body was working hard to recalibrate itself and as a result, I was experiencing tiredness. It was hard to get up to go to the gym and the afternoon slumps were certainly a struggle, but I pulled through.

Being part of an online program made signing up and staying on top of the weekly information super simple.

I consulted the program daily at work and there were regular emails with links to click through. I found the info really easy to digest and it was written in a way that kept it light and interesting, rather than feeling like I was doing intensive study. The visual cues were great too and I loved the video content.

Due to my schedule, I didn’t always stick to the meal plan but that didn’t seem to matter.

I was armed with enough information to make smart choices when eating out or at the supermarket. And, I found that saying I was on a Program helped protect me against any naysayers that were hoping I’d fall off the wagon. A few people jumped to conclusions about my intentions for the Program stating they thought I “didn’t need to lose weight.” But fortunately, the Program armed me with ways to tackle this situation – I wasn’t doing it to lose weight, I was doing it to find my healthiest self, nutritionally.

The Program supported me through quitting sugar by teaching me that it’s not about what you cut out, it’s about what you add into your diet and lifestyle.

I learned how to add in even more vegetables, which fats are good and bad and the powers of pre and probiotics. I’ve learned about where sugar is hiding and how to avoid it, while also learning about healthy swaps like switching diet coke for kombucha. I’ve added in new rituals like sipping warm water, heading to the farmers market and adding greens like kale, peas and broccolini into my morning eggs. The education I received far outweighed any sugar I had to give up. Once you view it like that, choosing meals without sugar is not a lifestyle that is restricting, it’s a lifestyle that is liberating.

The words I use to describe how I’m currently feeling is in control.

I no longer experience sugar lows and I feel in tune with my body during the natural afternoon slump, where I would have previously eaten sugar. A walk, some water and some protein or a mug of peas is my relief now. It’s as much a lifestyle shift as it is a nutritional change!

I’ve found my natural appetite and reduced my snacking since completing the Program.

I also don’t find that I bloat much anymore! I joined the gym for three months after a 12-month hiatus and have subsequently joined a netball team and taken up tennis lessons again. Surprisingly, my dentist also had a very positive reaction during a routine check-up – he noticed my mouth was visibly healing since beginning the Program!

Turning all the learnings from the Program into daily habits has meant that I have lost 6kgs, seemingly without even trying.

I am now back to my natural body weight and I don’t run the risk of gaining it back. This Program goes well beyond just quitting sugar. The education and inspiration I received about what a healthy lifestyle could look like has meant that I am well and truly in control of my health. It encouraged me to explore alternatives, and above all, it’s opened up a whole new interest in nutrition and healthy living.

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