I have been suffering from Insomnia for the past few months, night after night, I toss and I turn, before dozing off exhausted. Finally in a bid to get a decent night’s sleep, I, like anyone of my generation – turned to Dr. Google.
And this is what turned up search after search…
Although not considered a stimulant, sugar and refined carbohydrates can interfere with sleep. Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and eating irregularly can cause a reaction in the body that triggers the “fight or flight” part of the nervous system, causing wakefulness.
I guess unless you have been living under a rock, the whole sugar free thing is nothing new, but when I got into the sugar free headspace and started reading and having discussions with work people, I was totally blown away. I found out the average sugar intake in the U.S is 22 teaspoons per day, and I knew the recommended daily intake was five – six teaspoons, per day, so…phew I was not a sugar addict, happy days.
Imagine my surprise when I started researching hidden sugar, and found out that what I thought was good – was bad. For example every day on the way to work, I pick up a skinny latte with one sugar. In my mind a skinny late is made of low-fat milk. The word low-fat says it all, however in reality, low-fat and diet foods often contain EXTRA sugar to help improve taste and palatability and to improve the bulk and texture…that is how they replace the fat.
And the sushi I have for lunch almost every other day – this will shock the skinny celebs that swear by it - sushi can have more kilojoules than a Big Mac. White rice is a refined carbohydrate that turns into sugar in the body – additionally the rice is not cooked in water - it has considerable amounts of sugar, plus sugary rice vinegar added to it as flavoring. My "healthy" sushi lunches turned out to be little more than mouthfuls of processed, sugary carbohydrates.
The cold hard reality was that the good choices I thought I was making were not good choices at all. I am an accidental sugar addict.
I have been killing myself and my children – with sugar! And, is it any surprise after thinking about how we reward ourselves and children with sugar treats, and birthday celebrations – with a cake covered with frosting, a chocolate bar when you’ve achieved you targets in the office, and candy canes at Christmas. Sugar is entrenched in our every day lives, along with the hidden sugar nightmare. It turns out that I am taking way more than 22 teaspoons per day, and that’s why I was not sleeping, and if I am honest with you, I still have those skinny jeans in my closet that have not fitted for a couple of years.
But how do you get away from it when sugar is everywhere? It’s not just in the sticky-sweet items that line the checkout lane? I’m talking about bread, coleslaw, skim milk, barbecue sauce, pasta sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce and other Asian sauces, flavored oatmeal, peanut butter, and many more unexpected places.
Getting started then accepting defeat!
I decided just to do it, just give it up how hard would that be? I would be sugar free, forever! I headed into the office with a whole new mindset; the first blow – my daily latte; it’s one of my greatest vices, sweet and creamy, and a required part of my daily life! It has sugar in the low-fat milk and the additional sugar I add, gone. The second blow came hard and fast - the loss of yogurt, which I load onto my muesli – I was a little shocked to learn yogurt is forbidden in the garden of sugar freedom. I might sound upbeat about this, I was crying on the inside.
After the longest eight hours in the world I came home, tired and starving.
Dinner! Pasta with lean beef, canned bolognaises sauce and a tossed salad.
And what do you know? That jar of bolognaise sauce, it was packed with hidden sugar, same goes with the store brought salad dressing. All this after my day of telling my team all about the demons of sugar…all that resisting temptation - it had all been a waste of time, I had fallen off the wagon.
However, something good did came out of this, I realized I needed to set myself up for success. I am not sure that success, for me is being totally sugar free. For me success is doing what I thought I had been doing for so many years, taking my sugar intake back to the recommended daily intake of five – six teaspoons per day.
Think about your new years resolution, and keep reading…
How do you feel about joining me? For one person to make a change it’s a little daunting, so why not make change together?
I have discussed some ideas with the team at work, and Madeline our fantastic nutritionist is going to help plan meals, tell us why our bodies doing this and that, and she will also do some blogs, as will our other contributors to keep you informed, inspired and on track. We will also share simple recipes, and create an event on our Facebook page. Together we can all make some changes to make lives better.
We will help and guide you - but together lets get our daily sugar intake back to the recommended level. Hopefully we will lose some weight, gain back some quality sleep and get our lives back!!
Together we can share tips and tricks, highs and lows - actually that is only the start of it; giving up the excess sugar has endless benefits.
What is this not about:
There is no set of strict food rules and regulations.
Food guilt! If you slip up, that is okay. Get up and start again and make better choices next time.
This is not the ‘I quit sugar’ guide; it’s not the ‘anti-fruit’ guide either!
I really feel from listening to what others say that a great goal is not unachievable, especially when you are talking about quitting excess sugar and benefitting from the associated weight loss.
To me a great goal is an achievable, sustainable goal. This is about setting yourself a goal that is adaptable, specific, inspiring and achievable, then it becomes your New Year’s resolution.
Make this your New Year’s resolution, not mine. Are you keen? 10 weeks, starting January, 5th.
Together we can do this, I will help you, and you will empower me!To join the event on Facebook click here or follow our blog and newsletter for more updates.