i ate sugar

Posted on August 26th, 2013

It was two chocolate croissants that undid me. I’d like to share how and why. I feel I need to, given that today marks DAY ONE of the new 8-Week Program that I spent ten months developing with Jo (and then Zoe, Jordanna, Stef, Jenn, Kate, Martyna, Shayne, Tom, Steve, and now Jane and another new Kate). I’d be a stinkin’ fat fraud if I didn’t. And, of course, I share only because I hope it Contributes Something Helpful.

Image by Greg Guillemin

Image by Greg Guillemin

So yesterday I ate two chocolate croissants. Let’s be sure: they weren’t even good ones. They were stodgy and filled with PUFA-drenched Nutella-like goo. And I’d already eaten a full breakfast. And ate them with extra butter. It’s not a big deal, of course. In the schema. Which is the point I want to make with you all, in case you’re making a big deal of “lapsing”. I really didn’t quit sugar to get all rigid. Nor to suggest that anyone else should.

Please note: this post has been updated a little to refine a few of the answers to queries in the comments below.

I ate two crappy croissants because I was having a flap. And the flap took me straight back to a well-grooved rut that I spent, ooohhhh, a good twenty years chiselling into my being. It’s the rut that I used to go to almost daily when I got hurt, uncertain, uncomfortable, wobbly. Stodgy, PUFA-drenched pastries were what I would drown myself in when the panic and anxiety in my gut got too much. The stodge was like a suffocating pillow I could jam down on top of the anxiety. It would work. For five seconds. Until vile guilt overwhelmed me. And the anxiety – now carrying the weight of a gluten-y, sugary pillow – would flare up again.

After I ate the two chocolate croissants, the same pillowy panic took over. I know some of you can feel like this when you “lapse”.

The rest of the day I felt incredibly ill. My thyroid symptoms kicked in. Sugar AND gluten in the one injection (gluten flares up my auto immune disease – I swell up in my joints, get foggy and weak). I should emphasise – the pain I was feeling was due to my auto immune reaction. When I was younger it was all about guilt and being caught in an emotional food cycle that I mention above. Although, to be honest, I know it will always be there, that pillowy panic, lurking in the groove. And sugar will often trigger it. However I now manage it, mostly with a way of eating and living that allows more freedom and gentleness. I should also emphasise – having a thyroid condition can cause unstable blood sugar levels and unstable moods…so you can see the cycle I can get caught in.

So maturity saw me get a grip. I now know what to do when I get off balance like this with my thyroid, and what to do when I “lapse”. I go for a walk. Get out! Move! So I hiked along some cliff tops and concentrated on calming down. I also sank into the ocean for a bit. I was not as emotionally open and grateful as I am normally with such experiences. I was aware of this. I witnessed how shitty I was with everything. I had to give in to it. Maturity just let it be a shithouse day (where previously I would’ve freaked that I’d even allowed a shithouse day to occur).

Then I collapsed. This happens to me less and less. Five years ago it was daily. I had to lie down under a tree for two hours. I drank water. I waited. I drank water. I rested. Around 5pm I was able to get up and drive to the next town. I ate a hearty meal of meat and vegetables. And was better.

This is how I recalibrate. Move. Water. Rest. Hearty food. And witness the whole ruddy lot, warts and pillowy stodge and all.

What triggered the flap? A bit of travel loneliness, solo existence listlessness (it gets so damn exhausting making decisions on your own, like where to today? Should I hike here or there? etc.), oh, and also emotional confrontation. A lovely Italian guy asked me out on a boat for the day..the email greeted me in the morning…and I couldn’t cope with answering it… Truth be known. The Italian guy told me I was rigid. Indeed, I can be. It was almost like I wanted to indulge the accusation and rigidly not say “yes” to the invite. Self-sabbotage. It’s interesting stuff.

I’ve been off sugar for almost three years now and when I do eat the stuff – and I can have moments like this reasonably often, especially when I’m travelling – I get prickly and anxious and unsettled and it takes effort to get back on track again – emotionally and physically for it’s the emotional trigger that really is at issue here. I’m cool with this process (of getting back on track again). I accept it. And I also see that the very act of getting back on track – steering my resolve, owning my situation – makes me stronger in all kinds of ways. There’s a bigger purpose to it all. The day of feeling gross and not enjoying much is not wasted (I’m sure you know the value of finding a meta-purpose for shithouse moments, yeah?).

I wanted to share this because I know so many of you who follow this blog are starting the 8-Week Program today. And I don’t think it’s helpful embarking on the journey thinking that it’s about perfection. Or rigidity.

I am not a guru. I’m working through it (sugar-free living, life, acts of self-sabotage) just as hard as you. I say this often – quitting sugar is an experiment. You see what it does, what it brings up, where it takes you. And I say this just as often – life is practice. It’s the practice, not some rigid finality, that is what it’s all about.

Don’t you think?

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  • Nicole

    Thanks Sarah for this inspirational post today perfect timing.
    I am starting day one today of IQS and I was nervous about “caving” at some stage
    Your post has just made me even more excited and confident that I can do this and if I do have a caving moment I just need to pick myself up, it is OK and to push through.

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  • Lisa

    Thanks for this Sarah. I bought your books about a year ago and have have had a couple of failed attempts since (though during the quitting periods I managed, I felt almost instantly amazing, clear and strong). I started again a week ago, and so far so good :-) But I won’t beat myself up if (when) I fall off the wagon again. I am much stronger this time around, which I am convinced is directly attributable to not being sleep deprived for the first time in 2.5 years (since my daughter came along). Good luck to everyone else on the IQS journey!

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  • Lucinda

    You are still my hero and remain a huge inspiration! Vulnerability is courageous. Thank you for being brave and authentic!

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  • http://www.pathtowellness.com.au Melissa

    Freaking love this Sarah.

    Thank you so much for sharing and being so open, raw and honest.

    x

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Thanks Mel xxxx

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  • http://www.ekougi.com EKougi

    I have cut out a lot of excess sugar in my diet of late, more about going low GI than anything, and for the first time since my decrease I was sent on a business trip. I knowingly went straight back to old habits.

    I tried to analyse why I stumble with travel. I think it’s two-fold for me – I get really tired after traveling for 16 hours and no amount of good food can give me the energy I’m looking for to get through the day. Secondly, I think I’m purposely trying to dull my senses. All the newness in the day, the unpredictability of it, whilst I would never admit to myself is too much, it’s probably also sapping me of my energy. I’ve noticed excess sugar dulls everything for me. My tastebuds, my thoughts. Makes the world a less tiring place.

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  • http://www.thenaturalnutritionist.com.au Steph

    You are human. We all do stupid sh*t, but the key is to learn, to grow. And that’s what you do with every experience. And I admire that in you. Thanks for sharing Sarah x

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  • Ian

    Sarah – amazing for all starting the 8 week program today have such an incredible lead cheerleader in you. Bless you for sharing a little more of your heart, mind and soul experience.

    Wishing all those starting the program all the best. Hang in there, be gentle with yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you stuff up. Just get back on the bike and start again. It’s okay as Sarah always validates through sharing her own experience.

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  • Em

    So courageous and inspirationally honest. thank you.

    Are there any resources specifically regarding thyroid issues and sugar? It would help me a lot, I see you mentioned your thyroid issues flared up, so would be keen to know more about the links.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I’m going to do a series on sugar and thyroid soon…hang tight

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  • Seigrid

    Sarah, you have no idea how much this post has enlightened me. I always try to eat healthy, but lately the stresses of life have taken me into a sugary mess. Today I begin your 8week program and am enthusiastic because the person who has developed it is real. Good on you for sharing this, it only inspires me more that it is achievable. Xxx

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    thank you thank you x

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  • A girl in the world

    Sarah,

    Me: Single, 36, addicted traveller, wanderer, gypsy, Not sugar free. Mindful eater, could do better. Chronic issues: “anxiety/depression”. Overall happiness factor – pretty high interspersed with moments of blind friggin loneliness and panic and “what’s it all about anyway?-ness”. I love to travel, love the thrill of planning, going, getting there, new people, places, food, insights, adventures… in fact tomorrow I head to London to start yet another big adventure (in shitting self phase today)… what I’m saying is that I have had some of my worst low points when travelling (a day (or 5) in bed/ under a tree/ curled up on a bus going ANYWHERE BUT HERE). I see travelling alone like a giant magnifying glass placed on your behaviour and interactions. There’s no work to be distracted by, no dates with mates, no nothing to define you, no decompression of interactions by people who know you … time, space, thoughts… cheeky Italians telling you you’re too rigid, you smiling and trying to laugh it off and in the inside just unravelling because a stranger can see your behaviour better than you can.

    I get it.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I get what you just said! Very insightful about the last bit.

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  • Jess

    Great post. I fail all the time. Nice to hear that others do too!

    So I’m having a very slow Monday morning – can someone tell me what PUMA stands for? My googling is only leading me to stories about mountain cats and fancy athletics gear…

    x

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  • http://www.toolboxformen.com Rees

    Right with you there sister, I was having some tension in a relationship, so I told myself I deserved a box of TV snacks. And they don’t satiate like they once did when junk was my bestie. Groan. Back on the bike. We are funny things us humans.

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  • Paula

    Wow, what a great post Sarah! It’s great timing for me to read this as I’m about to fly overseas tomorrow for a month long trip, the first time travelling on my own! I’m a little nervous about the loneliness aspect of it but I’m 32 and have always had a yearning to travel and take time for myself so I’m going and I intend to just allow myself to be, in whatever form that takes.

    I think I love your vulnerable posts more than any other, because I can relate and it helps me to uncover the layers of myself too. It’s a slightly unnerving but brilliant process hey?! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us all :) xo

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  • http://www.rebecca-burton.com rebecca

    Hi Sarah, thank you for this post. It is endearingly honest of you to admit to the occasional slip-up. However, I think it would be useful for you to discuss in one of your posts the concept of denial and how it can lead to bingeing in some people. I am – in principle – very much in favour of your IQS tenets. But, having myself gone through an anorexic adolescence, and having remained very entrenched in abstinence behaviour all the way through my twenties (I am now in my early forties), I had to learn to allow myself to eat EVERYTHING in order to get well. I had to completely re-set my mindset and tell myself no food was ‘bad’. I had to free myself of food-guilt! And now, when I try completely abstaining from sugar, I find that it triggers memories of my old, bad anorexic times, which I never want to go back to. Then, as if in sub-conscious protest at those memories, as if in refusal ever to return to abstinence-land, I find myself rebelling by bingeing on either sugary things, or on fatty non-sugary things like cheese and coconut butter. I don’t think I am alone on this, and I don’t think you have ever really addressed these issues, though I have seen them brought up by readers and critics before. What do you think, Sarah? I think your readers would welcome this discussion.

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    Maryann Reply:

    Thanks Rebecca, I agree with you. This could be a very valuable disusussion.

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    Tess Reply:

    I’d love to see that discussion occur as well.

    I was never anorexic but went from obese to thin in my 20s and since then, have settled somewhere in the middle, not always happily. It has also taken me to my 40s to realise how rigid a lot of my relationship with food still is – even habits that on the surface look just like healthy eating practices.

    This awareness is why I have resisted the whole IQS bandwagon, despite having no problem with the whole idea of eating less sugar – and the recipes look great.
    I am just very wary of demonising a particular food or food group as, like you Rebecca, it leads me to a bad place.

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    Courtney Reply:

    I know you’re all looking for a response from Sarah, but in the meantime — have you read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole? It’s amazingly helpful (though nothing is a perfect “fix”) in relation to what you write about here. xoxo.

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    Tess Reply:

    Thanks for that, have read a few others along the same line which have been very useful. They reinforce my point though – naming a food as bad, in and of itself, is generally unhelpful.

  • Deborah

    Perfect timing for me to read this; I am in week 5 of no sugar and just has a very calculated ‘breakout’. I made a big chocolate ganache coated cake for my daughter’s school birthday party on the weekend. The cake was not tempting me at all, but making the 1 kg of chocolate ganache was hard to not pick at. Then, there was the dessert buffet to avoid too (talking politics was a good way to distract myself). I brought home the cake left overs and made my neighbours happy when I dropped them off wodges of cake, but strangely, it was the left overs of other someone else’s dessert that I had a hard time ignoring. I woke up this morning feeling a virus coming on, then ate a piece of chocolate tart and one piece of my cake this am. It was odd, sort of like a rebellion, but I feel fine, and recognise that I was feeling deprived and sick of feeling unwell- and am glad that I can identify the reason and observe the effects.

    Well done Sarah for posting about your breakout and what it brings out for you.

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  • Claire

    Thanks so much Sarah – I’m starting the 8 week program today and I know I am seriously addicted to sugar. I love that your perspective on all of this is so down to earth & realistic. Wish me luck! x

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  • Kerry

    I love your honesty! I’m on week 7 of IQS and I had a bad binge weekend and then got back on track. The main thing is getting back on track and recalibrating. I also think they key is to have healthier version o your favrouite treats available so you eat a brownie made with nut meal, coconut flour, stevia etc rather than wheat, sugar, etc.

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  • http://www.quietmind.com.au Sarah

    Beautiful. We have all been here. As we learn in meditation .. it is all about the witnessing, observing our habitual patterns, seeing our stories .. and returning again and again and again from the distractions. This is the real journey in life. Thank you for sharing once again :)

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  • Leah

    Hi Sarah

    Thank you so much for making me see that I’m not alone. It’s like you took my thoughts and put it into words today xo

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  • http://www.beadinstyle.com.au Ruth

    Yes, I get it too … all of the above, but damn it, why wasn’t it a very very special yummy bit of a mistake?

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  • Cate

    Sarah, thank-you for you honesty in writing this post and sharing your experiences with us. It is brave and a beautiful thing to do.

    It was also very timely for me. I have always believed myself to be somewhat ‘educated’ about food; I’ve studied it, I’ve read countless books about it, I eat primarily organic produce & I love vegetables. But recently I’ve found that my ‘knowledge’ (my head knowledge) was just too much, I’d read too much conflicting information (eat nuts / don’t eat nuts – eat grains / don’t eat grains) & I wasn’t satisfied or enjoying my own approach to food. I recently went to a dietitian who commented more on this (my approach) rather than giving me the ‘information’ I was seeking.

    I had the lightbulb moment. I often talk about balance & I realised that in relation to food there was a rigidity (all or nothing type thinking). And echo Rebecca’s comments about discovering that ‘no food is bad’. I approach food a little (ok quite a bit) differently now. There’s more excitement, there’s more freedom and there’s more choice. “In this moment; what do I FEEL like? I could have (Insert x,y,z) but what do I FEEL like?” What does my body tell me? What will I consume with joy now and today? The key being on feeling (rather than need / want / desire). It seems to come from a deeper place and responds in a happy way when listened to.

    And in this process having some awareness about what my body likes and doesn’t (wheat isn’t great, nor onions & garlic – so eating them doesn’t bring me great joy at all!)

    It is a process.. and a journey and practice… and life..
    And again am thankful to Sarah (and all) for hosting a forum for these kinds of discussions. xx

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    Clare Reply:

    I definitely hear you – it seems sometimes that too much knowledge is not a good thing as it can lead to so much inner turmoil. I was commenting on this last night to my husband, saying ‘remember when we were younger, how much freer we were with our food?’ Sure not all of it was great but it was so much easier to sit down and eat something without analysing everything on my plate and feeling guilty if something doesn’t align itself to the latest information!

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  • cassandra

    I’m learning that life is about moderation and making thisngs easy, and not telling myself that I’m busy, not anxious. if we make ourselves feel bad and anxious over food then we are giving energy into to the part of the brain that says ” i shouldn’t eat that, but i want to eat that”. Good luck with the next 3 years and thanks for your book. I’ve shared it around and a lot of people have got a lot out of it.

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  • Michelle

    Thanks for sharing this moment Sarah …. I think this is why I really enjoy reading your blogs. You are a real person Sarah with highs and lows like everyone else and you don’t spin crap like so many other so called celebrities do.

    I find your blog so helpful especially since I also suffer from anxiety BUT thanks to this no sugar diet, no bad oils in our house policy …. I am feeling so much better.

    So thanks Sarah for keeping it real :) :)
    Michelle C

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  • http://www.paulakotowicz Paula Kotowicz

    Hi Sarah. The response you describe must have been quite frightening for you. I have to admit though that as a therapist who specialises in eating disorders, disordered eating and body image issues, I really do question the helpfulness of completely avoiding an entire food group, without medical necessity. Obviously medical necessity is a whole other thing…
    To some vulnerable people in our society, it simply provides an excuse to restrict and control and can trigger these people into disordered eating or even into bona fide eating disorders. My other concern are the notions of ‘failing’ or ‘slip-ups’ as described by many of the readers in their comments. A great deal of my work is focusing on helping people to develop self-compassion and a greater sense of self overall – including self-worth, self-value. Self-kindness in a nutshell. While you may wonder what this has to do with anything, imagine being able to say to yourself: “So I ate the croissants… Did I enjoy them? No. Will I do this again? Almost definitely. But for some reason, I needed to eat them and that’s ok. I am human after all…” Being harsh on ourselves, not only does not help, but makes us feel so much worse in the long run because it deconstructs our sense of self and causes us to beat up on ourselves.
    Isn’t it possible that there is a happy medium in there somewhere? It’s not crack. Just food.
    Thanks for sharing and opening up the discussion.

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    Beginner therapist Reply:

    I will third Paula’s response. I think it’s brave of you to have posted this, and being vulnerable is a powerful way of getting acquainted with yourself. But what strikes me here, Sarah, is that you describe spending literally hours getting yourself back to “normal”. How much of that was real and needed, and how much of it was blown up by anxious feelings and unhelpful thoughts? Not only do we deconstruct our sense of self as Paula said, but our sense of reality and what is out there. What if next time (and we all know there will be a next time) you’re not on holidays?

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  • Clare

    What a great post. It’s so easy to feel ‘weak’ and completely alone when you go through cravings and then beat yourself up about it and so helpful to know that even the most dedicated amongst us go through the same things we do. Just the boost I needed to fight the little sugar monster on my shoulder telling me that just one little bit of chocolate surely couldn’t hurt!

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  • Kristy

    Apparently Mia Freedman is worried about this post. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=526250494117584&id=440782702664364

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    Vasiliki Reply:

    Thanks for alerting us to this, I was quite annoyed with some of the comments to be honest. My reply was:

    “Interesting how many negative comments have been thrown at Sarah Wilson. I find that these “bully” reviews are more disturbing because they are comments from people who really HAVE not actually READ the science behind what she advocates or followed her blog and thinking; so, in essence, you would find that your own comments about her are more “ignorant” and more “ill informed” than you state she is.”

    I think that when a person is opening themselves up personally and people make such horrible statements it really shows how ignorant and rude they are as people.

    Keep up the good work Sarah .. there is never anything wrong with people being “raw” and “open”; critics will always find some “loop hole” to attack.

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  • http://themonarchcompany.com/ Katie at TheMonarchCompany.com

    Hi Sarah,
    I just wanted to thank you for telling it like it is. Your honesty is refreshing and appreciated, and really beneficial. Too many people pretend they’re perfect and they don’t make mistakes — and that state of perfection doesn’t exist! — so all that pretending is so silly and pointless. It was nice to read about your emotional process, considering I nearly destroyed a pint of ice cream tonight and was feeling a little bad about that. This post reminded me that tomorrow’s a new day.
    I also really appreciate all the information you’ve put together about sugar. It’s enlightening. I used to rely on protein powders almost daily, but they were usually artificially sweetened, and I didn’t like the news I was reading about that. So I found one sweetened with fructose. Well, I just chucked a full can, unopened, in the trash this week and I felt no guilt about it knowing what that fructose is capable of.
    Thanks again,
    Katie

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  • DaSpatzi

    Hi Sarah

    It’s wonderful that you share these very personal experiences with us! I think we all strive for perfection somehow and beat ourselves up for when we don’t reach something that simply is impossible anyway. In truth I think it is all about the journey. About growing and learning when pushing further and picking yourself up over and over again. This is about so much more than quitting sugar. This is about loving and nurturing your body and soul and standing strong and tall in the big waves that life continously rolls over us. And just like when you play in the real ocean at times, being knocked over by a wave isn’t so bad afterall. As long as you get up again and ready to face the next one. Some big ones may knock you over real bad though and stagger us. Just focus on balancing yourself again and you’ll be right. :-)

    XX

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  • Jess

    Beautiful post, Sarah. Thank you for sharing your story and your vulnerability. Love and light to you x

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  • Clare

    Yikes! Exactly why I stopped reading her blog…. after disagreeing with something in one of her posts (quite politely I thought!) I almost got torn apart by her fans and decided not to go back there again!

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  • http://www.thewholedaily.com.au Alice

    We put so much pressure on ourselves sometimes to be ‘perfect’ straight away. It is only then when we slip up that we have such a sense of failure. I learned that when these things happen, we simply have to say to ourselves “well, that experiment was unsuccessful”. And move on. Guilt free. We have to CHOOSE not to end up in that vicious merry-go-round of guilt and perceived failure. Great post Sarah.

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  • http://www.mikewilde.com mw

    Good on you Sarah for coming clean ..
    It’s all a little bit intense and extreme ..
    and a journey I am all too familiar with.
    This may sound a bit Woo Woo (1 of your expressions)
    but I’d be looking into past life stuff if I was you.
    Having been somewhat of a zealot in a previous existence
    I can totally relate to the exacting, edge of a knife boundaries
    that you set yourself.
    (1st time I’ve written about this publicly .. getting too old to care what anyone else thinks.)
    I’d also be looking .. again .. at your definition of perfection ..
    in nature, in the life of the mind and the physical body.
    It could be worse .. as I’m sure you are aware.
    You could have picked much nastier demons to battle with.
    There are some paths that offer no return journey.
    But then we would be without your light ..
    and the world would be worse off.

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  • http://glamamuma.blogspot.com.au/ Glamamuma

    I too cannot eat Gluten and I am trying really hard to cut out sugar but as you see it is very hard!
    Thank you for your honesty it helps me not feel so bad when I slip up and have Gluten filled products because I feel I am missing out :-( I know I pay for it with pain in my tummy and feeling very blah but I still sometimes stumble.

    I have been on a mission to find Gluten Free products that taste normal and so I don’t feel I am missing out and slip up. I post about it on my blog to help others see that there is yumminess in Gluten Free world and yes in the sugar free world too!

    It’s hard to keep up the perfection all the time especially when you are surrounded by all that gorgeous yummy poison.
    I mean when I go back to Paris how am I going to resist a real baguette or those pastries!!!

    Keep up the good work and as I say it is one meal at a time and pre planning is the key. If you know you are going somewhere that will tempt you plan yourself a non toxic treat when you get home.

    Cheers
    G

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  • Taz

    Thank you for being human Sarah. I always feel inspired and encouraged by your blog because you are real. You are not perfect. You are honest. I started my IQS journey almost 3 months ago and while I noticed a huge difference in my taste buds and my lack of cravings..but I admit, I’m terrible at saying no to carbs. It’s still my weakness, but I think now the fructose addiction no longer controls me, I can now start on those carbs…one step at a time. I was at a party on the weekend with a chocolate fountain centrepiece and I was so proud of myself for not even lusting after it, not tempted and not sad that I couldn’t eat it. This is a huge step for someone who 3 months ago would have gone crazy over it (think Vicar of Dibley episode!) and I have you to thank for it. Keep being real. Keep being human and keep being honest with yourself and with us…

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  • Pen

    Wow.
    18 months ago, I Quit sugar. 11months ago, I fell off the wagon. I was overwhelmed, stressed and facing a big life-changing decision and in a moment of weakness, gave it all up.
    I’ve kept following your journey Sarah, for many reasons. But (and I can say this because we’re being honest and open today, right?) I started to feel jealous and frustrated by how ‘easy’ things seemed for you. It’s an easy trap to fall into, thinking other people have all their shit together. Now, 12kg heavier and at my most unhealthy self, I can see I was wrong.
    Thank you for sharing this Sarah. I honestly am so grateful that you have the courage to show your true self, your vulnerabilities and your lessons. You have once agin inspired me and I am recommitting to quitting sugar…its what i need to do, its what i want to do. And i know its something i can do. Thank you so much.
    Much love to you x

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  • emma

    fab post sarah! respect to you!

    love and best wishes :-)

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  • Sarah Wilson

    yes, more human… I like that!

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  • Sarah Wilson

    Hey all, AGREE, very important chatting point. I also agree that allowing yourself to eat freely is so beneficial. I guess I bring this philosophy to things with the “gentle and kind” message I repeat over and over. For me, when I eat sugar, the freedom goes. I’m a slave to cravings. 95% of the time now I eat whatever I want and feel really comfortable about it. I celebrate it. But like I say, sometimes I revert back to my rut.

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  • Sarah Wilson

    You’re stronger than I am Anne-Marie. My psyche just doesn’t operate that steadfastly sometimes.

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    Lucy Reply:

    Sarah your steadfastness is why you’re such an inspiration!

    I personally have experienced disordered eating as a teenager, (deprivation and overeating) and I found quitting sugar helped to break the vicious cycle.
    Iqs advocates a nourishing balanced diet, with complex carbs, protein and fats, all of which satiate, maintain stable blood sugar, and consequently mood! – which is critical for people overcoming eating disorders (any medical condition for that matter). Anyone who has read the book will know that iqs is NOT a ‘diet’. I adamantly disagree that quitting sugar is a “trigger” for disordered eating, alternately I think those suffering will find solace in Sarah’s honesty, and inspiration in the creativity and beauty of the recipes.

    Whenever I hear of anyone criticising your work or your message Sarah I am reminded of the observation (as I think you’ve pointed out on your blog before) that, all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. I believe we are nearing the latter category, slowly but surely.

    Thank you Sarah for your relentless honesty, integrity, you make me appreciate my every quirk.
    Keep enjoying your time away, the Sardinian hills are blowing my mind!
    Lucy

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  • Sarah Wilson

    I would have preferred she contact me privately, yes. But I guess it creates controversy and hits…? I honestly don’t understand the motivation, nor do I wish to.

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  • Sarah Wilson

    so true about the TV!

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  • Debra

    I stopped eating sugar/gluten (again) on July 4th. Almost into my second month, and have fallen off the wagon a few times in very controlled amounts (one scoop of chocolate ice cream from a high quality place), and a square of dark chocolate that was not 100% cacoa, etc..But, all in all, I stuck with it, even though at times I did not see any enormous changes–”why do those other folks drop so much weight, and I don’t”, etc.
    But, it was refreshing to read your post, and just know that even you drop off the wagon.
    This morning I put on a pair of my smaller sized pants that were ready to be sent to goodwill because they did not fit any longer, and they were almost wearable. I could zip and button them. The last time I tried them on I could not even get them on. Thanks for the encouragement and honesty.

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  • Rachelle

    Agreed Lauren. I came off as condescending, particularly with my last remark, that wasn’t my intention. Anne-Marie’s comment definitely hit a raw nerve as I often feel like we don’t understand the diversity in experience and brain-wiring that exists in other people! I lean towards being a Highly Sensitive Person and can relate to the depth and intensity of emotion that Sarah is describing here (not that I am suggesting she is HSP). When this is met with misunderstanding, be it misplaced concern, beratement or otherwise, in a vulnerable moment, it saddens me.

    Grazie mille Sarah for your honesty and for bringing these experiences to public forum.

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  • Sal

    It appears she has since deleted the reference to it on her Facebook page. She reminds me so much of the bully women in the corporate world. They are all for supporting and nurturing women in the workplace but then as soon as a women is what they perceive as slightly more successful and potential ‘competition’ they wait till they are at their most vulnerable and shoot them down.

    Sarah I can COMPLETELY relate to your post and I don’t even have an auto immune disease so I can only imagine how crap you would feel when this happens and how quickly you need to go about correcting it.

    Keep up the honest non judgemental blog Sarah, you are such a terrific journalist and writer that is spreading a positive message. You are a refreshing honest resource that the online community needs!

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  • Sal

    Whattt???
    I’m a bit confused, are you saying Sarah has an eating disorder because she has an auto immune disease that she has found can be somewhat managed when she cuts out refined sugar and gluten?

    Are you saying diabetics are irresponsible by sharing their story about how they manage their blood sugar levels by eating a clean diet?
    Are you alluding to the fact that people that suffer from the very serious celiac disease are ruining peoples lives by sharing (preaching?) their gluten free recipes?

    It just so happens that Sarah has a very big audience because there are MANY people in this world that can relate to feeling not so good so they experiment with loads of different lifestyle approaches and tend to gravitate to Sarah’s books and blog because they can relate to feeling good after cutting out refined sugar. Those that don’t move onto the next book and blog. No big deal…..

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  • http://www.laurenraso.com Lauren Raso

    Beautiful, honest, real, truth. Love it.
    Travelling alone ALWAYS brings out a test of your spirit, soul and being! I travelled alone for 10 months in South America and…shit. got. real…. Anyway, I ate a crossaint at some point. Being a grain-fee nutritionist, not ideal. But, letting it go and being teflon coated about the experience is a gift, skill, equally as important.

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    Emily Reply:

    Amazing Lauren! Whereabouts in South America may I ask? xxx

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  • shesajem

    Wow, this post is so awesome. I had 2 unavoidable meltdowns last week and I was so tempted to scoff my face with sugar (I didn’t though!) and I realised my sugar addiction was actually emotional eating, this post kinda re-confirms that. Thanks Sarah. :)

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  • http://www.soulfulspoon.com Heather Williams

    Sarah, You’re amazing!:) I feel like I have someone out there who just “gets it”. The emotional thing. I quit sugar 10 years ago due to a seizure condition I was able to heal through a no sugar, no white anything basically, diet. It worked miracles and I would never go back. Yet I’ve still had my traumatic and dramatic issues with food, still the same. Quitting sugar was never the problem, but the emotional aspect of food addiction was, which sometimes I feel stems from my childhood and teenage addiction TO sugar. I lived it, breathed it and I finally quit it, but the emotional stuff was still there. I eat almost perfectly today, and don’t say that to be prideful, but instead to show my rigidity towards extremes. When I do indulge in healthier sugars such as dried fruit , etc. I can get that same drug like feeling as I did as a teen when I was on sugar, and I flip. Like you, I walk. It helps me feel I’m able to process the emotional panic better. And now, I know that I can get back on track, and it’s quiet easier to do so when you know this about yourself. Thank you for what you do. You’ve been such a positive influence to this young woman here in SC, USA and your words mean so much at the right times.
    Blessings,
    Heather

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  • Stef

    The happiest people in this world are the ones who are most flexible with their beliefs.
    Black and white thinking is the enemy.

    Keep up the awesome blogging Sarah!

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  • Meg

    I love your honesty. Thank you so much for the real encouragement you offer. I have just had a major coffee bender and paid for it with about a week of thyroidy days of needing to disappear for a bit each day to recover.
    You are doing such awesome work.
    I love your book. And while I’m here…. I have always wondered where is the recipe for the biscuits I can see on the front cover???

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  • Stefanoir

    So so SO true Renee!!

    I miss solo travel. Of course family holidays are lovely, but they are hard work. And we fight. And its all about the kids. And the BLOODY TV is on. I HATE it.

    I’m planning a solo trip for my 40th, just to remember the joy of discovery that comes with travelling alone. The life changing experiences, “the immersing, the indulging and inhaling” as you say. Like I did when I was young.

    Aah nothing is ever as perfect as it seems is it!

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  • http://www.infinitehealthwellness.com.au Angie @ Infinite Health & Wellness

    You are only human… All we can do is forgive ourselves and move on. No one person is perfect… xx

    [Reply]

  • http://www.livehealthysimply.com Jessica Nazarali – Blog Coach

    Thank you for your honesty Sarah. We all relapse, however we still live to see another day.

    [Reply]

  • bonnie

    truly appreciate your courage and honesty in sharing. nothing knocks me off balance more than travel and emotional confrontation, as you put it! good to know i’m not alone out there on that issue…

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  • Nicole

    Oh babe I just want to give you a great big hug! I just got back from a solo holiday also….I know that lonely feeling, especially with all the romantic holidaying couples around. Sending nice thoughts your way x

    [Reply]

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  • Chelsea

    Thank you for sharing your experience Sarah. I can imagine how upset you would have felt. I hope you are having some happy, peaceful days now. :-)

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  • Elle Judd

    Darling Sarah – good honest post. Anxiety gets the best of them here n there, yes it is all an experiment. A big deep breath and mediation thingy in those moments may help. Pursue the self sabotage thing around male attention for sure- you don’t need to shovel poor quality sugar anxiously – this behaviour will cyclically keep occurring until you go deep and make Peace with whats around that. Love your work.

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