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How Lent Helped Kick Start My Sugar Free Quest

How Lent Helped Kick Start My Sugar Free Quest

Tuesday, October 04, 2016 Julie Sakkas Comments (0)

I'm so pleased to have the lovely Emily, a Cardiff based small business owner who also juggles working full time, guest blogging about her Sugar Free journey today.


There was a Bake Sale for Macmillan Cancer Support and at 10am when it opened, the majority of the office rushed off to pick their cake, some picked just one, others two or three which is fine, that's their choice. As I got up to have a look at the cakes baked by my colleagues, which I must add looked delicious, someone turned to me and said: 'what are you doing here? You CAN'T eat cake'. 'Well actually I can' I said, 'I just CHOOSE not to' and that's the difference (and actually I wanted to make a donation).

Now, it might have just been the choice of wording but I would never use the word 'can't' because that's what would make this feel like a restrictive diet which it isn't. I don't ever feel restricted or deprived of 'nice' food because I eat a nutritious, varied diet. I don't feel like I can't have things because I've made this a lifestyle change not a quick fix diet and I've learnt to enjoy it.

I started my Sugar free quest in February of this year which also marked the start of Lent, something I participate in every year not for religious reasons but because I find it's the best way to stop me from eating naughty foods like chocolate, biscuits, cakes, ice cream... You get the idea, but unfortunately I always end up back in the same cycle of eating naughty treats daily in large amounts as old habits slowly creep back.

In previous years during Lent I'd always have a list of things I couldn't eat but anything that wasn't on my list, happy days, my brain would go by the idea of 'eat as much as you'd like of anything that doesn't involve the five foods you gave up' (*rolls eyes at old self) which completely defeats the object if you want real results. Because of my attitude towards Sugar and my eating habits, there were minimal to no health benefits of doing Lent, minimal reductions in cravings as I still ate high carb and sugar in different forms and no weight loss/results at the gym even though I trained hard at least six times a week, which meant I was always disappointed. I'd restricted myself from things I like and for what reason? Probably control and to show I had willpower, but eventually when you restrict yourself you feel deprived and cave in which results in bingeing on ALL the things you didn't want to eat. This becomes a vicious circle because the more you restrict yourself, the more you end up bingeing and the more you binge, the more you restrict because of the guilt of bingeing. You see where this is going. Not only is this damaging to your body physically but also mentally.

So this year for Lent I decided I wanted to kick my bad habits once and for all and made the decision to give up refined sugars. This is something that sounds incredibly daunting to many and it did to me too. The one thing people always say when I tell them I'm sugar free is; 'there's no way I could do that', and that's probably what you're thinking, but you can, so read on...

I only ever intended on giving up sugar completely for the six weeks of Lent so I had an end point and then I would then adopt a 'low sugar' lifestyle treating myself as and when I felt like it but the benefits of going Sugar Free were so good I haven't looked back eight months on. Not only did I lose some belly fat, my performance at the gym improved as I had more energy, I ran a PB in the Cardiff half (six weeks in to Sugar free), my skin which is usually spotty and dry cleared up, my cravings disappeared and I finally felt like I was achieving something long term with my diet and training and other people were noticing the differences. I now live a Sugar Free lifestyle and my diet is more exciting and more varied than it's ever been.

So, for those interested in giving up Sugar, here's a few tips to get you going on your journey:

1. Set a goal- What do you want to achieve and why?
2. Plan ahead - Food prep is really important and not that difficult or time consuming when you know how. It really will keep you on track.
3. Try and avoid fruit for the first 5 - 7 days- It will readjust your taste buds and when you have fruit again, you'll appreciate the sweetness. Then learn to eat high fructose fruit as a treat or stick to low sugar fruits like berries if you want it daily.
4. JUST EAT REAL FOODS (or JERF) - Bin the processed, packaged food and drink. You'll be surprised at the amount of added sugar in these foods.
5. Don't give up if you have a slip up- We all fall down at one time or another but use it as motivation to keep going. Note down why it happened so you can avoid it happening again.
6. Use the Internet to your advantage- There are hundreds of tips, tricks and guides out there to help you on your way.
7. Embrace Sugar free as a lifestyle- Be flexible with your diet and learn to love real food.
8. Lastly, enjoy it- Don't pressure yourself and the results will come.


Emily x

Follow Emily's journey by following her instagram: @LCHF_Emily and her Blog:


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