Here I am on the left yesterday after quitting sugar and gluten. I still have a long way to go but my face has totally depuffed and I have cheekbones. Top right, was from last year at my heaviest ever weight. Bottom right, was from 6 years ago when I was 32, 3 stone lighter than the top right picture but my gluten face was puffy and my body was inflamed.
I’ve been blown away by the kind words and support I’ve had since talking about my weight and sugar addiction, especially since posting on instagram this week that I’ve lost 8.9 KG or 19.6 lbs since quitting sugar on the 16th august this year- so a huge thank you. I’m a bit in shock how quickly the weight has melted off. I’ve been working out twice a week doing ballet and yoga and for the first time in my life I’m being mindful about what I’m putting in my mouth and the effects it’s having on my body and mood. I didn’t quite connect what I put in my mouth with the size of my stomach. It was a bit like when I got pregnant I thought shit, so this really is how babies are made.
The 16th August was my D day in every sense of the word. I was given a massive wake up call from my doctor, as I could no longer ignore my shaking, sweats and stomach cramps. It turns out it wasn’t stress, my blood sugar was off the chart high and it was a straight choice between wanting to dance at my daughter’s weddings or be dead by the time I’m 50. I used to say to myself that the emotional scars of my childhood would kill me but here it was staring me in the face. I’m a fighter, so I chose life and fuck the French fancies.
With addiction it’s never about the thing that’s hurting you whether it’s drugs, sex, alcohol, food or in my case sugar. Healing starts when you start dealing with the real problem, the real issues and not letting the darkness consume you. Most people don’t want to look in the mirror and start dealing. I would look in the mirror and although I had literally doubled in size since I was 19 my delusions and refusal to deal, meant I didn’t do anything about my weight. It’s taken over a decade and a health scare to look in the mirror and start to deal.
When people see someone fat, when they see me I know what they are thinking. They think I’m slovenly, out of control and lazy when in fact actually the opposite is true. I’m a hard working, often neurotic, OCD, type A personality control freak and my body is the dumping ground for all the unspoken angst and unprocessed emotions.
My battle to beat my sugar addiction begun with changing the record in my head and rewiring my brain. I’ve tried to change my core beliefs of worthlessness. That I’m not good enough, that I’m a fraud about to be caught out at any moment. When you’re not loved properly growing up, it really messes with your internal compass. It’s taken a long time to truly belief there’s not something wrong with me and to be honest I have my days when I waver.
John Travolta in the movie ‘Perfect’ from 1985.
It’s not easy but I want to see my grandkids, I want to be the best version of myself before it’s too late. My relationship with food has always been bad. As a child food was a comfort, reward and security. Food was never fuel. I’m a child of the 80s, of the body beautiful, of leotards and aerobics. One of my favourite films as a child was the 1985 film ‘Perfect’ with Jaime Lee Curtis and John Travolta, set in the world of fitness clubs ( I have no idea what the hell I was doing watching this, I loved the dancing and pelvic thrusts). I grew up listening to women talk about their diets, trying to be a perfect size 10 and I always associated dieting and watching what you ate with the last gasp of 1950s misogyny and attempt to chain women to the kitchen. In my mind every bite of food I ate was a bite for freedom. Today, I’m a yoga loving, nut butter eating kind of gal and I finally get it. It doesn’t have to be a look or about posing, for me it’s about feeling good, just for me and not to hook a husband or keep your man from shagging his PA.
I want to be happy and that takes courage and self realisation and sugar was my oblivion, my denial, the safe place I could hide. Whatever is upsetting you say it out loud, deal with the real problems and find healthy alternatives to distract yourself from your old poison of choice. Like an alcoholic I think I’ll always be in recovery. I’ll always have to be alert and not let myself slip into old holding patterns but even admitting that, is one step closer to living a clean happy life.
Tips to help you beat your sugar addiction
Food is Fuel– Food is not love. Food is not entertainment for when you are bored. Food is not a good chat with a friend or therapist. Food is not a way to deal with stress. Food is fuel. It is of course a pleasure, therefore put the best quality fuel, lovingly prepared into your body. Respect your body.
Educate yourself – Everything you put in your mouth turns to sugar/ glucose, this is the fuel to run your body, which is a machine. The trick is to eat things that slowly break down into sugar, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels and make you crash and feel like crap. So eat slow release foods like sweet potatoes, eat clean protein and cut down on saturated fats. Eat good fats like olive oil, avocado and omega 3, 6, 9.
Read labels– refined sugar is everywhere. I went to buy a packet of roast chicken from M&S to throw in a home made salad and I looked at the back and it had brown sugar in it. It was the same with the plain prawns. I was really shocked.
Rewire your brain – I know it’s a bit dramatic but to be fair I am a bit dramatic. When I pass cakes, biscuits and chocolate I say- “that is death and destruction, it will take you away from your dreams”. It’s about changing the record in my head.
You have a choice– I can be very stubborn the more someone says I can’t do something the more I want to do it. I tell myself I can have as much chocolate, cakes and sugar I want but that it will make me sick and I will not be able to live a long and happy life, so I choose not to eat those things.
Carbs– I don’t eat anything white- no white rice, (even milk), pasta and bread as this turns to sugar quickly in the body. I have also cut down on the portion of carbs I eat. On my plate, carbs are a third of a meal, I eat carbs maybe once a day at lunch or breakfast when I know I can burn it off during the day and I don’t eat carbs after 7pm.
Love yourself – You are worth it. Look after yourself, love yourself. It’s worth making the effort and fuss of eating clean. I want to be a good example to my children. I never want them to diet one day of their lives. I want them to have a respectful and knowledgable understanding of what they put in their mouths and exercising 2-3 times a week is a natural and fun part of their lives.