Photo: Frankie Shlain
The resident health bod amongst my friends, I have always had a reputation of being at the healthier end of the scale. But my quarter life years have made me realise my routine of a low fat, high sugar diet combined with excessive exercise was somewhat deluded.
I have always tried to be healthy, but sometimes lifestyle, fun and experience got in the way. Take eight years ago when I was travelling around Australia having the time of my life. I discovered beer in all it’s glory, I ate lasagna pies (I couldn’t believe it either), and I was dishing out the Tim Tam chocolate bars on the East Coast coach ride.
Professional life was a bit easier to manage, with more salads floating around. Unfortunately I was a total sucker for office cake, treats, doughnut Friday and the rest of it. I loved to party, drink, dance, and indulge, and I found I could exercise to keep it all in check.
Sustainable it seemed, huh?
This was all fine until I picked up on a few symptoms. I was having uncontrollable sugar cravings, getting ridiculously hungry before meal times, feeling groggy when I woke and a fuzzy mind when I rocked into work (even without any wine the night before). Exercising every day to be able to eat what I wanted was getting exhausting and limiting my time for other things like hobbies, relationships, and my career.
As I grew older and started to realise some of my ambitions in career, work and my life beyond partying, I knew I wanted to change my habits. I wanted to care for my body more, stop exercising excessively, and spend more time on sorting out the career of my dreams.
It suddenly dawned on me that I had a problem with sugar, and it was bad. This video helped me to understand why. I really struggled to go a day without it, and I was overdosing on ‘healthy’ sugars thinking they were all ok. Cereals, dried fruit, ‘health’ bars, and low fat yoghurts were my vices. As I started to look at sugar rather than calories, I experienced some painful and surprising revelations.
Suffice to say, my quarter life years are serving up some big dietary changes that will shape the rest of my life. For starters, I have reduced my sugar intake by 50% over the last two years. I feel so much healthier, in control, and more balanced and considerate of my body. Not all changes have been easy, but I’ve found the slow, habit by habit approach has really worked to turn this into a sustainable way of living that doesn’t take all the fun away.
Through my blog, Happy Sugar Habits, I am continuously learning and sharing the low sugar love. If you’ve got a little weight to shift, want a clearer head or you just want to stop busting your gut at the gym everyday and try a new hobby, cutting down on sugar could be for you, and I highly recommend it.