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50DaysNoSugar: Insight From Our Dream Team

Peta writes:

I feel that this week I should tell you all a little bit more about myself, so here goes. I’m a 25 year old Communications professional working in a lifestyle and leisure agency. I largely work across food accounts and food is also my passion outside of the office, borderline obsessive. I have a really exciting relationship with food and am constantly inspired by it and people within that space, both her in Australia and overseas.
And with that said, here is how week one panned out. Disclaimer – I’m going to put some further context around my efforts this week, not to make excuses but more to paint a picture as to why I might find swerving to miss minor sugary bumps in the road, unavoidable.
Firstly, despite the grand ideas I had last week, taking on this challenge during October was clearly going to be my first hurdle. Any food loving Sydneysider worth their weight would know that October means it’s on in terms of food, it’s Crave SIFF. The first weekend of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival is the World Chef Showcase, which is where Australia and the world’s best chefs, food writers and commentators converge on Sydney for two days of serious gastronomy. It is to Sydney what the AFL Grand Final is to Melbourne, well it could be argued that the AFL Grand Final means as much to Sydney…. Anyway.  
I have to say that this weekend was one of the most exciting weekends I have had in terms of food, bar none. I was privileged to meet, eat and share experiences with some of the most remarkable people. I met Ben Shewry, Massimo Bottura and Jordi Roca just to name a few. Some cooked for us and Jordi Roca was one of them. He is the pastry chef at El Celler de Can Roca, the second best restaurant in the world on the San Pellegrino Hot 50 list, second only to Noma, and he is a genius – the Willy Wonker of restaurants. He uses sugar and lots of it and I couldn’t come this far and not sample his goods. To be honest, it was worth every second of it and I’m normally quite tough on myself in terms of food choices particularly when I’ve committed to something such as this but not this time, I enjoyed the ride.
I’m now back on the straight and narrow and I’m going to do my best. I’m already struggling, I can really feel the affect that sugar has on my body. Last week was crazy and those weekends don’t come around often so I’m going to knuckle down and get back into the kitchen and make some of the delicious 50DayNoSugar meals. I’m also ramping things up on an exercise front and I’m determined to see some considerable results this week. I know how good I feel when I combine exercise with clean eating, so here goes.
Over and out.

Paula writes: 

Wow! Here we are… 1 week down already!

I found the first few days of the challenge a bit tricky as we were staying with my in laws while we had some floors repolished at home. Luckily I already had food in the fridge and nuts etc for snacks lined up but I found lunch prep etc to be a bit difficult until I moved back home (to the lovely scent of floor varnish!). But I knew that once life resumed as normal and I could do a big food shop and a prep session that things would all fall into place…. And they have!

One thing I have discovered over this last week is how quickly I have switched back into 50DaysNoSugar mode!  I barely craved sugar in the first few days whereas with the first round, I noticed the headaches and the Day 3 Slump while my body readjusted to the change in diet. I guess that during my “leave of absence”, I was living a more sugar free life than I realised. My meals were almost always sugar free but what good does that do when lollies and chocolate find a way into your daily meal plan? Not much! But by replacing those things with snacks such as cheese, rice cakes and nut butter (bought almond, Brazil nut and cashew on the weekend – amazing!) and making my own, nutrient packed, sugar free chocolate, certainly helps me to feel satisfied. Nat’s awesome 7 day meal Plan has been a great help too… so many amazing, tasty and simple recipes that will have people saying “but I thought you were on a diet!!” when they see you eating them. You can find it at www.50daysnosugar.comand if you only get it for her Chicken and Chorizo Stew then it is TOTALLY worth it…. That stuff will have your tastebuds singing and your tummy smiling contently! The Lamb and Tahini Meatballs are really yummy and um… hello?…Chocolate ‘Lurve” Custard? Need I say more?
I have decided to not focus on the weekly weight loss this time round and rather focus on how I feel, my measurements and those goal pants that are hanging in my wardrobe. Over the last 2 ½ years I have lost (and maintained) 20kg and during this time, I became a serial weigher… every morning checking my weight and subsequently doing my head in! Last 50DaysNoSugarChallenge, I hopped on those scales every day, saw a weight that made me swell with pride, thought I was bullet proof and then lost the plot. Lesson learned? I think so! This time it is all about how I feel and no so much about the number. But of course at the end of the challenge I will hop on those bad boys and share my results with you. My PT will be taking measurements and body fact percentage every 4 weeks too so I look forward to sharing those results as well! Judging by how my body composition changed last time in 3 weeks of 50DaysNoSugarChallenge, I can’t wait to see what happens this time after a full 50 days paired with 3 weight sessions a week – BRING IT!!  But I am already feeling so much better and the tummy bloat is already starting to disappear which is nothing short of wonderful and who doesn’t want a flatter tummy? (Well maybe not Giselle or Miranda Kerr but they don’t count.)
So here’s to another successful week of sugar free-ness for all and if you haven’t joined the challenge yet, go on… do it… you know you want to… 
See you next week!

Sara writes: 

So the first week of the 50 Day No Sugar challenge was….. well how do I put this?…. Challenging!

I spent quite a bit of extra time at the supermarket early in the week studying nutritional panels. I was amazed at the different levels of sugars in different foods. Sometimes different brands of the same food had dramatically different sugar levels. 

I actually found that the ‘home brand’ products which are usually sold much cheaper had higher sugar levels than the brand name variety of the same food. This concerned me greatly as I generally try to save money by purchasing the generic products when I think they taste as same as their more expensive branded competitors. Obviously they need more additives or flavour enhancers (including sugar) to get the same flavour results. 

I don’t usually snack too much during my work day, however this week I have felt that I needed something extra during the day. I found these really yummy veggie chips in the health food section of the grocery store. “Ajitas Vege Deli Crisps” they came in a 90g bag for about $3. The suggested serving size is 26g, so my trusty scales & zip log bags came out and as soon as I got home I split that big bag up into the individual servings.  I then took 1 little serving to work each day, and left the others at home (portion control!).  The total kj’s per serving is 562kj, or 132 calories – which is a little higher than I would like to see for an everyday snack, but for a ‘once off’ chippy treat I don’t see a problem – perfect for when you desire some extra salt. 
I’m actually going to have a go at making my own crisps using sweet potato, potato & kale, so if it works I’ll give you the recipe next week. 

I took the approach of ‘easing’ myself into the challenge as I didn’t want to simply throw out or waste some of the foods I had in the fridge. I was caught unawares on a couple of occasions like when I went for a run & grabbed my usual banana as I ran out the door (side note here. Fruit is allowed on the program, but it’s best to stick to lower fructose varieties & bananas unfortunately are one of the bad guys)

I also had the situation when I spent the weekend at our good friends farm. I didn’t give the challenge any thought as I nibbled down on home made panacotta and a sneaky wine. I believe in balance & in this situation the 80/20 rule has to come into play. If I do well 80% of the time I can enjoy the other 20%. 

My exercise levels for this week were actually lower than usual, as my husband was away for work and I couldn’t get out for a run with the toddler. I failed in my usual attempt to do ‘tv commercial break’ core & body weight exercises. Next week I’ll be focusing on getting more exercise in to my days to really boost the results of the program.

So that was my week, it’s too early for me to determine a success or failure. I’m feeling good. Empowered & energetic. My weight on the scales has dropped 600g, which I would count as a positive (although weight loss is not one of my focuses)

Until next week have a great week!

Nikki writes:

Wow!  One week without sugar.  Who thought it would have been so tough?  Those tired afternoons after a long day with 2 children under 4 years old, and let me tell you how much I miss my toxic love affair with sugar.  Muesli bar?  No.  Mocha? No.  Sultanas? No.  Juice? No. 
It was a tough week, especially with holidays and spending a lot of time away from home.  Healthy no sugar options are sometimes non-existent in little cafes or shops…  This is why it’s so important to plan for the day and have healthy snacks with you.
And the headaches have come and gone like waves and are usually settled down by green tea or a protein serve (coffee flavoured protein shake with a shot of espresso is my favourite!)
Reading labels has been an eye-opener for me as well.  I could not believe the amount of sugar added to things.  And, the Facebook page offers great tips and ideas from other members to help with staying on the wagon.
So, how did I get through it – headaches, cravings, mood swings!  I just stayed focussed on the goal – 50 DAYS OF NO SUGAR.  I know the outcome is going to be worth it and I will continue to feel better week after week.  My stomach is already starting to flatten, and I have been doing exercise 3 times a week, including boxing, PT and swimming.  Would love to do more exercise and that will be my goal this week – to get up early before the kids to fit it in.  I can’t wait to feel like I can rely on my own natural energy and not the artificial surge of fulfilment found by indulging in sugar.
My advice to people doing the 50DaysNoSugar Challenge, just keep asking questions and checking into the  Facebook site, and we can all do this together!

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