healthy living, quitting sugar, Uncategorized, wellbeing

“….to infinity and BEYOND!”(IQuitSugar Week 8)

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!

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…from stacking sausages…
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… to stacking gorgeous pancakes …
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… from dishing up chicken …
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… to dishing up lamb …

 

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!

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Homemade Lemon, Pistachio & Coconut Bark

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…

image1 (1)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!

 

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7 thoughts on ““….to infinity and BEYOND!”(IQuitSugar Week 8)”

  1. Hi Sarah! I Loved this read! Your honesty is wonderful and your imagery is outstanding. Mind you, I liked the look of that sausage stack ! My sausages too used to look like that , and like you Sarah through Insta inspiration and foodie adventures I just fell inlovecwith capturing true, yummy, comforting food.
    I too understand emotional eating, but now I simply eat healthy sugarfree options AND have learnt only to eat what I can and not over do it . My weight isn’t where I would like it to be, post baby as I was smaller, But I want to have another baby and eating and educating my baby boy is the. Most important thing to me right now, fitness will come back!
    Ok I’m Banging on about me. Congratulations on all your achievements in these past 2 months, be proud on really how far you have come my friend, this is a journey remember 😊 your living it, and it is the best thing in the dirks once you find your very own food freedom xxxx much love Leanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne thanks for reading & your kind comments …

      I’m so with you on the priorities within this whole process, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle & your goals focus on family, on Ted, & rightly so the rest will fall into place as and when it needs to..

      This lifestyle is fun & food is no longer a chore with its irritating addiction and constant food finding missions!!

      Thank you again & l’m really looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us next …

      with love

      Sarah X

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  2. Hi Sarah

    Great post! Raw, honest and down to earth! Much like what I and many others have seen over the past 8 weeks 🙂 just fantantadtic! And let’s not forget your amazing cooking and images of your food that have enraptured us as well. Truly a great talent you have there lovely!

    From a personal level, I have been one of the lucky ones to meet you in person and what you see on Instagram is what you get in real life, smart, creative, intelligent, and loads of fun. You have been there right from the beginning and help keep me on course – a great support and friend!

    Well done for making it all the way! It’s not easy, but the journey is much easier having awesome people around who are on the same ride!

    Love and hugs

    Claire xxxooo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Claire what can I say …

      l’m truly blown away by your comments…firstly thank you & yes we’ve totally done it!!! … so massive congratulations to you too! …what’s more l feel there’s so much more to come …

      I feel this really is the start of something special in many regards & l’m proud to call you a friend … & besides we always need a “wing-man” right … although l don’t like spandex, lycra or masks, call me boring but we’re not doing the super hero thing! … (think end credits to “That Sugar Film” here)

      So here’s to loads more fun, flying ninja style & having a blast in the kitchen!!!

      Bigs thanks & bring it on l say!

      With love … Sarah x

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      1. HI Sarah

        Yep! We did it…. and still continue to do it! (and I apologise for taking so long to respond).

        Thank you also for your lovely words, means a lot 🙂 And yes to Wing Man! Love it – but no spandex or lycra ….. come on now you could easily rock those fabrics babycakes. LOL! But seriously yeah, let’s just leave it without costumes and show it through food!

        Cheers to that lovely!

        Love

        Claire xx

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  3. fab, just fab and you look great in your photos too. I’m so interested in how your focus has been good for your mind… I’m not a wordy person but I wanted to let you know it’s been brilliant watching your progress. Thumbs up all round x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mand … l know you’ve been on this journey right from the start, sometimes things don’t need to be said & it’s true less can be so much more …. so a big thank you!

      I really have found focus & clarity, if that’s what you mean? … after the initial sugar withdrawals it’s like a cloud lifted … l’m not saying I’m not sometimes forgetful, hell thats probably an age thing! but l’m more alert & definitely have more energy … l no longer take supplements now either which really surprised me because l started taking them when l was feeling really tired & run down …

      l know each person will experience things differently & l’m not advocating for one minute that anyone come off supplements but for me this just worked …

      I hope that answers the question but if you do have anymore just fire away!!

      with love

      Sarah x

      Like

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