Memory Lapses? Mood Swings? Weight Issues?

All symptoms of being addicted to sugar discovers Emma Brophy

Personal Fitness in Chiswick

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Memory Lapses? Mood Swings? Weight Issues? Mental Fuzziness? These are all symptoms of being addicted to sugar according Chiswick based Urban Vitality Company’s John Limpus who suggested I take his Sugar Challenge.

I didn’t think I was addicted to sugar until he informed me that eliminating it from my diet would mean having greater and sustainable energy (vital as a mother of three), be free from cravings (actually come to think of it I do eat rather too much Green & Blacks), have a clear head again (have no recollection of how that feels) and shift that stubborn weight from around my middle (result of draining the European wine lake during the summer). With so many plus points how could I refuse?

Then, as it always does, comes the reality which in this case didn’t just mean having to give up sugar but also caffeine, dairy, wheat and alcohol. I admit that I was horrified at the thought of such deprivation but as I had already agreed to the challenge, I had to go through with it.

The Sugar Challenge is based on The Elimination Diet, a tool used by nutritionists and leading health coaches to identify which foods an individual may be intolerant to. The diet is based on a very simple concept to eliminate the amount of toxins in your body and replace them with healthy nutritious food.

John supplied me with all the necessary information, GI indexes and even ideas for meals and provided valuable motivation via his daily calls and emails. Family and friends did the rest.

Upon completion, even the sceptics who didn’t believe for a moment I would make it through the ten days of the challenge, have grudgingly admitted that I do indeed look refreshed, have bags of energy, am, apparently, “annoyingly perky” and have managed to shift a good few pounds in a matter of days all with healthy eating.

Although I won’t admit it was plain sailing – the withdrawal symptoms from caffeine were the worst - deprivation did not come into it. I managed to eat out in restaurants five times, attend one christening, one birthday party and an evening at the theatre over the course of the ten days without any issues with food or alcohol.

Water replaced my usual daily gallon of tea, toast and jam was substituted with fruit and yoghurt in the morning, snacks of raw cashews, avocados (not together of course) replaced chocolate though lunches and evening meals admittedly didn’t alter that much as they mainly consisted of grilled meat or fish with salads and vegetables anyway.

The Sugar Challenge came about after John and a friend decided to compete in Europe’s toughest marathon race, the Snowdonia Marathon, after completing the world’s longest warm up - they are going to cycle to north Wales from Chiswick, a distance of 255 miles.

“We are doing this to raise awareness about the amount of sugar school children currently have in their diets” says John “The average British school child consumes 93lb’s or refined sugar every year which is about 14,000 calories a month. We will be burning off this many calories in 24hours!”

“We are also hoping to raise £7,000 for the starfish appeal at King’s Hospital. This is largely because excess sugar consumption by children causes real damage to the liver at an important stage and we feel that no body appreciates a liver more than a child that has just had a transplant and cannot have alcohol or excessive sugar for the rest of their lives. The hospital is currently raising money for the refurbishment of their Mountbatten ward, a world leading facility in child liver transplants.”

Emma Brophy

September 13, 2007