Hello everyone, happy Monday, and here’s hoping this week will be another lovely one!
For me, today is something of a landmark. In exactly a month’s time, I will be getting married!
As a result of this (and the fact I couldn’t quite do up my wedding dress at the last dress fitting just before Christmas) I have been on a diet, and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.
When Sugar isn’t quite so Sweet…
I have put on about a stone in weight over the last couple of years. This is totally down to me being a lazy so-and-so and my absolute love for cake, pizza and everything massively calorific. If only I could love salad in the same way.
Still, the wakeup call came last December, when, all excited to be trying on my almost-completed wedding dress, the realisation hit that I had put on one too many pounds and the zip wouldn’t reach the top.
I was gutted.
I mean, I had (half-heartedly) tried (and briefly succeeded) then failed in losing the odd bit of weight in the previous year, but the amount of time left until the wedding meant I all-too-easily slipped back into my old ways and put it all back on again.
Well not this time. With just over two months until the “I dos” and the prospect of not being able to squeeze my carcass into my wedding dress, I knew I had to do something. The only problem was, it would mean changing the habits of a lifetime.
It was pretty obvious what my problem was – my sweet tooth and the fact I ate so many refined carbohydrates in bread, pasta, noodles, cakes and the like. Oh, and my aversion to doing exercise.
I did a lot of reading around on the internet and was interested in the research that sugar and not fat is believed to be the thing mostly to blame for expanding waistlines. Not just the obvious sugar in sweets and cakes, but stealth sugar found in other places – like in a slice of bread, in tin of baked beans or in good old “healthy” tomato soup. I won’t bore you with it here, but there is so much research now as to why refined sugar and added sugar is so bad, instead calling for a return to more natural foods in their natural states.
So off I went, cutting out sugar, checking labels and dismissing anything with sugar listed in the first three ingredients or with a high amount of sugar included.
And do you know what? In the last month I have lost about 10 pounds in weight!
Yes it has meant changes and sacrifices, although I do allow myself to have one “cheat” meal a week where I have whatever I want (last week it was pizza, the week before that it was a burger and a mini chocolate cake). I think that helps as I know I can still have a bit of what I want every week.
The Basic Rules
I kind of distilled a few things that I read and came up with this, which seems to work for me:
- I only eat when I’m hungry
- I have porridge or eggs for breakfast. These keep me full, have no sugar and are in their natural state (although I do occasionally have bran flakes, which I know are bad, but then have no more sugar that day).
- I aim for a total of five teaspoons worth of sugar a day in the food that I eat. This means I’m not eating anything too bad and helps me to keep on track. An easy way to work out how much sugar in something is to divide the number of grams of sugar it says on the packet by four to get the number of teaspoons, eg: There are 35 grams of sugar in a can of Coca Cola. Divided by four this equals 8.75 teaspoons of sugar! I find this helps me to visualise it much better.
- I don’t have anything which lists sugar (or fructose, glucose, corn syrup or any other sneaky name for sugar) in the first three ingredients
- I have a few nuts, a banana or some hummus for a snack
- Soup is my friend! Well, the low sugar vegetable variety. Quick and easy and keeps me full.
- I use Stevia instead of sugar to put on the top of porridge. It’s a natural sweetener derived from a plant and contains no calories or fructose!
I still have some bad things like potato wedges on “good” days, but not big portions – just enough to fill me without going over the top!
Well, it’s working for me so far. I don’t really need to lose any more for the wedding but I’m determined to stay on track this time.
I just thought I would share this in case anyone else is thinking of going sugar free or at least giving it a try in a bid to drop a few pounds. It need not mean a shopping list filled with a load of expensive items like The Clean and Lean Diet book suggests.
So are you going sugar free? If so how is it going for you? Have you noticed a difference in your weight or anywhere else?