Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Week one...no sugar for me

Here we are....one week into no sugar. I just want to start out by saying that this blog and journey may not appeal to everybody and that is OK. I know there were hundreds of blogs about no sugar and diets and healthy eating and all sorts of similar things and I encourage you to go and read and learn. My goal here is to note down thoughts as I progress through this journey. I don't know how long it will be or where it will lead me, but I do hope that if you are reading this we can care and share thought, ideas and experiences below to encourage one another.

Back to business though, I am one week into my little experiment and it has been interesting I guess you could say. So far what has happened is  I feel rather spritely! I have more energy then I have had before and not in the sense that I can go go go all day but more in the fact that come mid afternoon or evening there is no slump or lull to the energy but rather I can just keep going or need to keep doing something to be mentally active. Although I must admit that with uni break currently in full swing and more then a month until I return I do watch lots of TV and am not the most active in life which would usually lead to lethargy but not in the last week.

The other big thing I have noticed is my taste buds. In two different ways. The first is that they always seem dry and almost as if I am thirsty. I can guarantee that is not the case as I drink a river every day in water to help clean out my system but yet that feeling remains. I think it is their way of craving sugar and requesting that sweet, flavoursome sensation again. Last night I did notice a big change though. We had baked pumpkin stuffed with mince from the I Quit Sugar website and it was yummy but that pumpkin was the sweetest pumpkin I have ever tasted in my life! It was amazing to see a new world of flavour open up. Honestly, in all the books I have read about this sugar thing they all speak of sweet vegetables and taste buds changing and even milk becoming sweet but I didn't really believe them. BUT IT IS TRUE! Things do taste sweet and yummy like they never have before!

For my wife and I this week has been an eye opener. She unfortunately got sick on the first day and vomited. She believes this was not sugar related but I am skeptical about that. Each day after lunch she felt queasy and not hungry at all as if she would be sick. Thankfully a quick jelly bean did the trick and made her feel fine so I would not be surprised if sugar was the culprit here but we will never know! Good news though, after 5 days with the jelly beans she now does not have them and feels fine.So there is hope for all of us.

But did we cheat at all? Well, we are just trying to give up added refined sugars and any sweetener alternatives for now. So carbs and fruit are still in but only whole grains and not in large volumes. We did eat home made pasta, which is delicious and some bread but the good expensive stuff. The only non strict day was when we were invited for Chinese dinner. We ate the Chinese food but avoided dessert. I am sure there is some sugar added into it somewhere but I was not too worried as it was one meal only. We do not want to be people who go and make everybody change just for us so may eat sugar occasionally if it is a\unavoidable and that is fine by us.

What we did eat was lots of vegetables, baked meats, cheese, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, avocado and nuts. Below I have some pictures of a few meals I ate. They were all yummy and you really do not have to feel like you are missing out on yummy food and eating lettuce that is for sure!
Roast Lamb with home made gravy, roast potato and vegetables

Salad with tuna, chia seeds and crushed almonds

Natural Yoghurt with chia seed, crushed almonds, banana and a freshly made coffee with milk!

Please leave your experiences below and ask if you have any questions or thoughts!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Weight Tracking

A common recommendation for achieving goals is to setup a way to track your progress and assess how you are going or when you achieve them. This means you should set a specific goal with a number to achieve. For me I am going to start by aiming to lose 10kgs. Ideally I should give this goal a time frame according to the experts but that is one reason I am blogging, to stay accountable to myself and to you guys. I only told my wife a few days ago I was blogging so there is news!

I set out to find a simple way to track my weight. Weight fluctuates up and down throughout the day and week and many people will tell you to set aside one day a week at a certain time to weight yourself. I am rather forgetful and have tried this before but I suck at it. So I decided to just record it each time I do it. For this to happen I need a really simple way to enter the weight quickly and easily. I am also a bit of a sucker for a graph that charts the progress of how I am doing so I can see it visually. I recommend the graph so it is easy to see how you are going.

I searched the internet for a solid 45 minutes googling best weight trackers etc. and found some apps for my phone. I decided a phone app was the easiest as I would always weight myself on my scales at home so my phone is always within reach as I weight myself and the data can be added straight away. Only there was one problem....there was no good apps. when I say no good apps there are lots of apps just not to my liking. I even tried linking something with ITTT (If this then that) button app but that didn't work either.

Enter GOOGLE! What I have done to quickly and easily record my weight and body fat percentage is to create a google form online and add a shortcut to the home screen of my phone (I am an android guy so that was easy!)
So here is what my second home screen now looks like....
I simply click that icon and this form appears to fill out....
This takes less then 30 seconds to complete once loaded (Note: internet connection is required which is fine in my case as I will be at home so will have my wifi!). I fill in those two boxes and click submit and am done! It actually now takes longer to weight myself then enter my data which is great to keep my motivation up!

But where does it all go?

Well if you know anything about Google forms you will know that google conveniently compiles all the data for you in a spreadsheet. This is my spreadsheet:
The spreadsheet records the time the data was entered and has a separate column for weight and body fat percentage. I added the graphs as well to see how I am traveling. The entire spreadsheet automatically updates itself as do the graphs. So all I do is enter my number on the form whenever I want and then look at the spreadsheet sometime to see how it is going. Here it has been 6 days so there are no long term trends to see. I can even add notes next to a certain day if I like. If I ever have a cheat day I might make a note on the spreadsheet to see if it has an influence later on.
The other thing to note is the reason the graphs drop right off is because I created a fake entry further down the spreadsheet with a date in July and entered my goal weight. This gives me a good visual idea of how I am going at getting towards my goal. The dream is after a couple of months the line will have a general downwards trend toward that point but only time will tell!

This is honestly really easy to do all of this and so if you have any questions about it please leave them below.


With all of this talk of trying to get healthy and live better it is hard to know what to do and what to believe as everybody quotes doctors and nutritionists and many other health professionals trying to prove their way is the best way. So I needed to figure out what to do and how to do it.

Now I am not sure if it is a male v.s. female thing or whether it is just our personalities but maybe you are thinking what my wife was thinking. Why not just commit to eating healthy food and leaving out the unhealthy foods? Well for me I just cannot do it! I am a rule follower and always have been. I need to set myself boundaries. I need to create black and white so I know what is right and wrong. I am not saying this will work for everyone but it definitely will work better for me! So I need a plan with rules to make decisions easier. After all what does healthy food actually include or not include?

So I started in one of the most resource laden places I know of when it comes to eating differently...my Mum's bookshelf. After considering our options after christmas and returning home from holidays, my wife and I have decided to try and give up sugar. Now I know what you are all thinking...here we go again, another guy jumping on the fad which could be true. It is one of the latest crazes along with paleo and whatever else but it is one of the most compelling to me as well! There is only so much chocolate you can eat in a life time after all. The trouble with deciding to give up sugar is that there are a lot of books and differing people from I quit sugar to Sweet poison the 2That sugar film. So I investigated each one a little bit (I mean come on who really has that much time to read 5 whole books about sugar and what to eat and what not to eat. I skimmed the useful parts).
The main points on contention include:
  • Fruit
  • Coffee
  • carbs
  • bread 
  • gluten
So we have started our journey into no sugar land and don't really know all the rules but the main aim is to avoid any added refined sugar. For now we are avoiding sweetners too so trying not to use honey or rice malt syrup as replacements for stuff but have decided to keep eating fruit, it is summer after all and that is when the yummy fruit is around. We will probably also eat bread and carbs but the wholegrain stuff baked fresh and things like fresh pasta. But hey it is a journey and we are on it and have started so that's always a good thing! Better to jump in and try then not jump at all!

If you want to see how our journey continues then keep coming back for more....I will try and post every few days whilst I am not at uni but hey you don't have to return!

The New Year...A New Goal

So I have realised what many a blogger has probably realised when they start out. Blogging is HARD! It is hard to keep up with the timing and to keep continuously posting and keeping content up to date. For me I am only blogging to help keep myself accountable and hopefully for some of you to see the struggles and successes of just an ordinary bloke trying to change the way that he lives and feels. I do not aim to make this the world's best blog with the world's best writing and photography but rather just a little bit of sharing and caring for everybody's benefit.

Well it has been a fair few months since I posted last on here. A lot has happened and a lot has changed. I completed another year of university, I got married, I went on my honeymoon and I celebrated Christmas (See what I had to endure below). All of those things together with their stresses and celebrations have meant that I lost control of the whole weight loss thing yet again. But alas, there is still hope. With all the yummy food at weddings, in Fiji, Christams and what I like to call 'study food' (really its just lots of chocolate and chips and yummy stuff) comes consequences. Those consequences have meant not much weight loss and a touch of weight gain. The dream was to lose 10 kgs or so in time for my wedding. I mean, everyone says that you need a goal and some motivation. That was perfect..groom loses 10kilos for wedding was perfect. But, there was one problem. With uni, weddings and I guess life comes time constraints and stress. And so that did not really work out. But with a new year comes new challenges, ideas and understanding. And so we (My wife, myself and you) are going to try and make this year more successful. We will try and set ourselves up for more chance of success. A new year means a new me. I know it is cliche and all but it is a good time to start. For me, I need a line in the sand to commit to and being from so LET'S DO THIS!

Here is a picture of my wife's gloriouis Christmas Trifle...It was delcious!

If you are liking my take on life from an odd males perspective then please come back for more. The next post will be up in 2 days time!