That’s it then! Week 8 of the IQSP (I Quit Sugar Program) is DONE! Right now, I can think of only one phrase suitable enough to sum up how I am feeling in achieving this milestone… so cover your ears because – in my best impression of Buzz Lightyear’s voice – I’m going to shout out “To infinity and BEYOND!”
Thanks to everyone that’s come on the journey with me… through these blog posts, which – having now re-read them all – I feel I should apologize to you all for because OMG! my exuberance and passion certainly upped their word limit for sure! But anyway, I can honestly say – given that my original goal for IQSP was to cook the meals and reflect upon how things went – I think I nailed it! so – being the type of person that can’t help but want to help – I wanted to reflect and share a number of insights, learnings and conclusions of my IQSP experience and the affect its had on me, with you.
Unusually (very…) for me, I had no other real expectation than to cook the meals… Okay, I do admit that I pushed the boundary on this a little – which is NOT that unusual for me – as I couldn’t just “cook the meals”… I had to go all out and start photographing them as well, which for me meant not just “plonking” the food on a plate and snapping away, because who wants to see that, right?! I wanted a visual dairy of the recipes, so let’s just say I started to pay a little more attention to details.
Who knew that “food styling” was such an art form? and that sometimes the creative “genie” has an uncanny knack of buggering off when most needed! This was a real learning experience for me over the 8 weeks… and one – strangely enough – where I found myself adopting a technique from my schools days, back when I was developing my individual handwriting “style”… I scoured IQSP notice boards, Forums and Instagram seeking out photographs I admired or inspired me… then copied their styles, until I think I’ve now developed one of my own. Looking back through the images I’ve taken, I can see a clear, defined journey in the staging, lighting, colour and presentation as my personal technique, style and ability have developed… just like it was with my handwriting back in school!
As I’ve talked about in my earlier blogs I’ve found that by achieving my goal of preparing and cooking all the IQSP meals, a number of other, practical things have fallen into place for me as a consequence. For a start, I no longer feel the need to use the myfitnesspal app to calorie count. I eat, I’m full, end of! … then there’s my Fitbit which – despite initially trying to get away from it – I do still wear (mainly out of habit) but to be honest, I’ve always liked the buzz (literally!) when I manage to hit that minimum target of 10K steps per day! My energy levels have definitely increased through the program, although at times I have felt slightly “out of control” – when the sugar withdrawal kicked in. This was NOT fun… particularly those few sleepless nights that – fortunately – only lasted for a week or so. Overall though, across the 8 weeks, I’ve found that my sleep patterns have improved, which in turn has helped to reduce my fluctuating moods… REDUCE being the key word here, as my hormones remain very active and removing sugar from my diet was never going to rid me of that element! This leads neatly to the final consequence of the program, on my emotional eating, which – without doubt – I feel has reduced but remains very much “work-in-progress”. I knew this was never going to get fixed overnight and this will definitely be something I will continue working on and review again in the future…so watch this space!
Strangely – as a bit of a control-freak – I’ve found that relinquishing control of meals I eat and just following the ISQP was not that difficult… in fact, I think it’s made things a whole lot easier! I no longer need to “get my thinking cap on” and search out that long lost recipe for inspiration. What’s even better is that as a result of participating in the IQSP, I feel I now have the confidence, ability and recipes to really go it alone… taking what I’ve learned on fully for this now to become a life-long, life style change (that’s the “infinity & beyond” bit right there!). I KNOW I’ve got this… the skills, the desire… and I know I want, no, NEED this… This has been and simply will be the best thing for me physically, emotionally and even – I think – financially! The $150 I “invested” in the IQSP has not only provided me with real value from the recipes, tips, tricks, support and structure but has pretty much paid for itself as I’m saving at least $2.50 per day as I’m no longer buying that chocolate bar, I’m making my own! Which looks AND tastes better anyway – pure sugar-free indulgence right there!
Socially, I’ve come on leaps and bounds too – at times literally! I’ve lost that awkwardness and shyness I sometimes felt… I’ve gotten to know my butcher, my baker and (no, not the candlestick maker…) my fishmonger really well! I’ve also managed to make connections with many likeminded people involved in the program! It’s been an inspiration – and in truth quite scary – to meet people with such similarities in character, values, passion and creatively – and its not just about food! I can honestly say I’ve formed much valued two-way friendships (I think quite unusual these days) not only through the social forums but also in person. As an example of this, a few of us are organizing an IQSP “graduation” event (any sort of achievement deserves an event!) and this was never going to be a dull, frumpy affair … HELL NO …we’re getting together to be Aerial Yoga Ninjas! So I will get to practice my Buzz Lightyear voice for real! – stay tuned for that blog… it should be a mighty interesting read!
Physically, I’ve lost (boo)… inches (cheer)!!! Yes, I can say that I lost SOME weight (around 6lbs) as a direct result of giving up sugar… how do I know this? well, because it’s come off areas that I’ve NEVER been able to lose it before, even with exercise! I’ve lost two whole inches from my waist and one inch from my thighs and hips, historically these have been my problem areas. My skin complexion has also improved, although I have to say that through this last week, as I’ve drunk less water and began eating some fructose, this has taken a step back… bugger!… easy remedied though. Anyway, as I promised from the start, I’ve posted an “after” IQSP picture to compare with the “before” IQSP which – given that I now actually know and have met people on the program, was pretty damn scary! Strange how throwing the “before” picture out at the start of the program to people I didn’t know seemed easier…
Well I could go on for days about the benefits I’ve found from participating in the IQSP program but in an attempt to keep the word count down (and you awake!) I would like to thank you all again for taking the time to read through my drivel and in some way hope that you’ve enjoyed some of the insights I’ve shared. I would love to hear what you’ve thought about the content and would gladly respond to any questions that you might have…. after all, I’ve been banging on about myself and my experiences for 8 weeks now – with you all politely listening – so now PLEASE feel free to start your own conversation with me I would really like that!