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Rufina’s story: “I quit sugar, lost 15 kilos and learnt how to cook again!”


I Quit Sugar - Rufina's story

I grew up in America surrounded by a big family.

Not only did that mean big family dinners every night, but I was also tempted with typical American junk food and breakfast cereals containing marshmallows! When I was 21, I moved to Brisbane and became immersed in the Russian community, which meant even more food, all the time. Creamy beef stroganoff, heavy potato bakes and of course, lots of cakes. There would always be plates of cakes, sweet buns and chocolate – but that was just the norm for us.

All of a sudden I’d gained 20 kilos.

My body constantly ached, I was always sick and then one day my GP suggested I should drop a few kilos. Eek!

I knew things had to change when my husband at the time, Kon, was diagnosed with Prediabetes.

He was referred to a nutritionist and we both went along to get our eating back on track. We were told to go cold turkey on sugar – no more in our coffee or sweet treats to snack on. The withdrawals were traumatic, to say the least and I battled with headaches and mood swings. But slowly, food began to taste different and we learnt to pinpoint natural sweetness. My husband and I both lost 10 kilos, but I still struggled in terms of planning, prepping and cooking healthy, delicious meals.

One day, I read about Sarah’s books and recipes on a friend’s Facebook page.

She was absolutely raving about the recipes, so I bought a few of the books for myself and I felt like I had finally found people that spoke the same language as me.

I Quit Sugar - Rufina's story

I signed up to the 8-Week Program because I love to cook and experiment with food.

Rather than a nutritionist giving me food recommendations to follow, I wanted a meal plan with exciting recipes. And that’s exactly what I got! I’m really busy so I crave structure, and having the shopping lists, recipes and meal plans all ready to go was perfect. I have three teenage kids, so I’d print out all the information so they knew what we were eating and could even cook for me if I was running late. The best bit was that I learnt how to plan, how to get the most bang for buck in terms of ingredients and most importantly, how to cook.

Because I was excited about the Program, my kids were too!

My youngest son takes the lunches with him to school and he’s won over all his friends with the Carrot and Thyme Loaf – he’s like an IQS poster boy! I’d like to think my kids have now seized control over their future health too!

I Quit Sugar - Rufina's story

I dropped an extra 5 kilos (which at my age is super hard!)

I’m nearly back down to my ideal weight and with all the extra energy, I can do more of the things I love like hiking, rock climbing and swimming. I used to be ”that fat girl”, but now I’m that hiker-girl that will walk 48km with students along the annual Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge. If it’s outdoors, I’m doing it and I’m loving it.

I Quit Sugar - Rufina's story

The best advice I could give to others is to set small goals for yourself.

The idea of “quitting sugar” can seem daunting. But if you take it week by week, and set simple goals like ditching the sugar in your coffee, or refusing to buy soft drink, you can give your body and your family time to adjust. Slowly, but surely, you’ll be set for success.

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