4 months sugar-free

The first time I went sugar free was early in 2016 when I bought a lovely wedding dress that I could barely sit in, let alone dance in or eat in. That was in April 2016 and the wedding date was 17th July 2016. I knew I had to take some serious measures. So for 2,5 months I was totally sugar free, and I mean really sugar free. My grocery shopping use to take double the time as I was checking every single food label. And those days I was not even having shakes yet, so every day choices of food were a bit of struggle, but I made it. I went through 3 weeks of sugar withdrawal symptoms which showed me how addicted I was to sugar. But at the end I lost a dress size, my wedding dress fitted perfectly and I felt great. But life happened and I slowly went back to eating sugar on regular basis.

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Over the past two years I tried to do “sugar free” again simple before I knew I felt good doing it and I knew the health benefits. Check my previous blog post called “It’s all about the sugar” to learn more about sugar and sweeteners.

On 3rd April this year I went for it. This time I did not go as OTT (over the top) as the previous time, I was still eating out, so occasional sugar intake was still happening in a form of sauces when eating out (Chinese, Italian etc). Why did I decide to go sugar free this time? In January this year we moved from the UK to Prague. As great as it has been it was also stressful and it took a bit of time settling down again in Czech after 3 years in the UK. And the last few months in the UK were not as joyful as we wished. Therefore the sugar intake at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 was quite high –  emotional binge eating.

Starting sugar free this time was much easier as my body and mind already knew what to expect. What made it easier this time was the food choices you get in Prague – so many healthy places to eat that offer even sugar free cakes. My favorite restaurant is now VegGo that offers variety of vegan food as well as variety of sugar-free cakes – my favorite is a raspberry cheesecake.

From 3rd April till 25th July I had no cakes with refined sugar, no ice cream, no cookies etc, I did not use sugar in the household either. As I said the only occasion I might have had some sugar “unknowingly” was when we were eating out. Because sometimes when you make certain sauces, such as when you cook with tomatoes, you might need to use a bit of sugar to balance out the flavors, so I guess those were few occasions I could have consumed sugar. Actually, there was one more case that I am aware of –  pastry. Czech pastry is so good, so I was still eating pastry such as bread ans baguettes. And pastry does contain a bit of sugar as sugar is needed for the yeast to work in the dough to make it rise.

Almost 4 months sugar free and I felt great. I must say I was as consistent in the gym as I wish I were over those four months, but it did not matter because the effect of sugar free was great. My skin became so smooth, especially on my bum, my bum cellulite reduced big time. My muscle definition got more visible even with reduced amount of exercise.

Sugar free was definitely a great detox for me. I only stopped on 25th July as we went on All inclusive holiday. Do not get me wrong, I am not the kind of person who goes on holiday to over eat, but I simple wanted to try some local sweets etc.

The first two days of holiday I tried some cakes, especially the chocolate ones, but to be honest they were not quite worth it. My favorite “sweet” stuff were their pancakes which became my breakfast choice together with some cinnamon and melon, and occasional evening desert choice with some coffee. As much as I do not usually drink sodas, I had few glasses of lemonade and I enjoyed it. But despite, or perhaps in-spite of all that I always made sure I was drinking plenty of water. We even carried one of our gym bottles with us and constantly kept filling it during the day.

Despite change of diet and increased sugar intake I actually did not put on any weight on holiday, I did not notice any changes in my body. And the secret being that as I detoxed my body before the holiday, my body was able to work with the acidity, also thanks to high water intake.

Having come back from holiday where was no ice cream I actually craved ice cream, so I had ice cream yesterday and I truly enjoyed it.

I definitely see benefit of being totally sugar and sweeteners free all the time – your body functions better, your skin improves, you lose weight etc. However, I think there is no reason to beat yourself up about your food choices. Remember “Eat according to your goals and be ready to deal with the consequences”.

Should you wish to go on “sugar free” journey yourself and get some tips, get in touch!

It’s all about the sugar

Some of you that know my story remember that just before our wedding I went completely added sugar free and sweeteners free for almost two and half months. It was an amazing experience and it was definitely worth it as I lost one size to fit my wedding dress. It was also a huge eye-opener to what sugar does to us and how addicted I actually was.

You see, people talk about all sorts of addictions – drugs, alcohol etc, but sugar addiction is not something that is spoken about that much. Why? Because companies make money, a lot of money from sugar. And just when we started being a bit cautious about „added sugar“, they came up with „no added sugar“ labels which trick a lot of people.

Have you ever wondered how come you buy a product labeled „no added sugar“ yet it is still sweet? Were you hoping there is „naturally occuring sugar“ from one of the ingredients? Well, think about it – most of the „no added sugar“ labels are on sweet drinks where no natural sugar occures. So, what is the trick? They pump us with sweeteners instead, such as sucralose, aspartam, just to mention a couple. So, what is worse – added sugar or sweetener? Sweetener! Effects of added sugar are visible in short term – you put on weight, your body retains more water etc. So, why do I say sweeteners are worse? Sweeteners are chemicals and chemicals make our body acidic, meaning they are slowly poisoning our body – no short term effect, but it long term they essentially make us sick, which is worse than fat in my opinion. Did you know that common sweetener aspartame has been link to cancer in several studies?

So, if you asked me to choose between a product with added sugar and one with sweeter, which one would I choose? I would choose added sugar over sweetener as I can at least help my body to deal with the added sugar by drinking plenty of warm water to flush it out and doing some exercise.

If you gave me a choice between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar, e.g. a raw cake sweetened by dates, I would 100% always go for the naturally occurring sugar. Why? Because i tis NATURAL. Can you „overdose“ on naturally occurring sugar? Yes, you can, but it would take some amount of dates for that to happen.

Is there any risk that naturally occurring sugar, such as in fruits, bring? I probably should not call it a risk, but yes, there is let’s say a side effect. If you eat too much fruits your blood sugar level can spike, such as when you have purely fruit fresh juice, and once they spike they eventually have to fall down too. Which can lead to fast sugar cravings which might get your brain to crave fast sugars, such as added sugar – perhaps in a form of chocolate or a cake.

Just a little advice – if you want to do juicing cleanse, use more veg than fruits. Fruit juices are good right after a workout as during a workout your blood sugar levels drop, that’s why a lot of people crave simple carbs after a workout, so a fruit fresh juice will level the sugar levels for you. Just think about this – when you make a glass of a fresh fruit juice you will probably use a couple of arranges and a couple of apples. Would you use the same amount in one go if you were to eat it in a form of a fruit? No. Which means you are giving your body much more fruits than you normally would.

This was meant to be a blog post about my 4 months added sugar free / sweets free time. And the paragraphs above were to be an intro. I think almost 700 words are a good blog post on its own. So, watch out for the next blog post about my recent 4 months sugar free.

Prague Health & Fitness Meetup

Having moved to Prague a month ago I miss my personal training clients and my health community that I created back in the UK.

Meetup app worked for me in the past and therefore I have decided to set up Prague Health & Fitness Meetup.

So, if you are based in Prague and you are looking to meet new people, make like-minded friends and have fun, join me!

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