Sorry Sugar, It’s Just Not Working Out Anymore

too-much-sugar

One of the biggest benefits of this yogic path I’ve chosen to walk on is that it seems to have given me an internal camera, inward eyes if you like, that not only allows me to get more in touch with myself on a spiritual level, but helps me to really see and feel the affects of the food I’m putting in my body. More than ever before. And the more steps I take along the path, the clearer the lens gets. But what makes it blurry again is when I eat shit. I can’t give many concrete facts around this topic because I’m not a Deliciously Ella-fied nutritionist (watch this space), but what I do know for sure is that not only does a poor diet eventually show itself on the outside, it also massively affects our mind and our mood; a link that I’m growing increasingly sensitive to.

Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am a sugar fiend. Ok addict. BUT. I’ve admitted it, I’m fully aware of it, and now I’m doing something about it. After Easter a few weeks ago, with the whole week having been underlined with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, I felt repulsed by the amount I’d consumed and the new wobbles I’d inherited. You know that feeling when you jog up the stairs after a few indulgent days… Uh uh. Not cool. But not only did I feel physically bleurgh the following week, I felt blocked, unfocused, lethargic and moody; trying to get anything done was a sticky, uphill struggle. Ok I’m gonna be honest – Easter aside, this is a pattern of mine that generally shows up on Saturdays and Sundays. Most used phrase: ‘Start Monday!’ Anyone relate? I’m not gonna lie, I ate two chocolate brownies, a piece of banana cake and half a family-sized slab of Green and Black’s white chocolate last night, with a sugar-coated devil on my shoulder whispering “it’s okay, we’re starting tomorrow!”. Urgh. SORT. IT. OUT.

 

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It’s not normal.

So! I met another Sugarholic at my friend’s hen do this weekend, who had last month gone cold turkey and cut out all refined sugar for 21 days. I decided on the spot to follow her example and take on the challenge – STARTING TODAY. She warned me of the withdrawal symptoms – the headaches, low energy for the first week and a high risk of Moody Bitch Syndrome – and I was up for it all. My plan was to declare my ‘21 day sugar-free challenge’, document it and put it out there for people to read and maybe try out for themselves. But it was literally until I started writing this blog that the whole thing suddenly didn’t feel right to me… Firstly, if I know me, I know that completely cutting out something I enjoy will result in a mega-binge, probably sometime over the next seven days. And secondly, if I’m trying to practice and encourage generally not taking short cuts in life, slowly and surely feels like the right way for me. I used to be all or nothing. (All of the cake. None of the vegetables.) I still kinda am. I want to change. But not drastically; just steadily. The tortoise wins the race, right? (Is she still going on about the bloody tortoise…)

We all know that sugar is the new fat. It’s just not good for us, physically or mentally. Not only does it pile on the pounds, it gives us foggy brain goggles, messes with our metabolism and wreaks havoc with our insides. Saying that, I do also believe that if eating something indulgent once in a while makes us happy, then on some level it’s good for our soul, and surely there’s some kind of balancing act going on there… Balance being the definitive word! So to all of my fellow Cookie Monsters reading this, I invite you to join me in abandoning the ‘quick-fixes’ that normally lead to longer-term disappointment, and instead focus on making small, achievable changes over time, to clean up from the inside out. All of these little daily dietary decisions, good or bad, that we don’t think make any difference, all in fact add up, and one day ultimately determine how healthy and happy we really are.

A few healthier ‘sweet tooth curb balls’ for when you’re gagging for the cake:

  • A teaspoon of ‘Meridian’ or ‘Whole Earth’ peanut butter – no added sugar, and fills you up!
  • Raw cacao – try ‘Ombar’ (WholeFoods or Planet Organic) – a great alternative to chocolate, and full of extra benefits (high in magnesium, iron and vitamins)
  • A piece of fresh fruit – berries are the best option, with high fibre and low sugar
  • Vegetables such as sweet potato and parsnips with your meal
  • Honey or agave syrup in your tea over sugar – yes it’s still not ideal, but it’s au natural
  • Greek yoghurt with honey/agave syrup rather than ‘low fat’ yoghurts (which are often high in sugar)

OMBAR

Well, it’s a start! It’s all about taking small steps in the right direction, without beating ourselves up if we stray from the path from time to time – every day is a new chance to try again. I know I’m a sugar addict but I also know that I really want to change that, and that’s the first step right there. I want to be in control, I want to look and feel good, and I want my body and brain to function at their best. My revelation is that my spots won’t fade with cream, my cellulite won’t disappear with a body brush (apparently not even the Body Shop’s finest), and my unfocused mind won’t sharpen if I’m not giving it the right fuel to work with – at the end of the day, WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. As always, life is a mirror, and our outside will only ever be a reflection of our inside. It all comes down to what we really want for ourselves. (Ahem, summer body.)

Wishing you health, happiness and willpower,

Holly x

Chill, You’re Already Perfect

Have you ever looked at a snowflake? I mean, really looked at one? Have you ever stopped to think how something that falls from the sky could be formed with such perfection? Ok I sound like I’m about to break into a Disney song. Which definitely did happen in the mountains of Austria last week. I was skiing, I was surrounded by snow, I had a blonde side plait (totally unplanned, honest) – let’s face it, I was Queen Elsa from Frozen. Singing ‘Let It Go’ was not optional in that moment, and I was really trying not to let the cold bother me anyway. In all seriousness though, the snowflake situation got me thinking. That tiny flawlessly formed creation started me questioning life, and if this thing we’re all in together is actually just one giant snowflake – perfectly designed, perfectly created, all imperfectly perfect without us even realising. I know – deep as snow.

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Totally unplanned.

 

In the car on the way to the airport at the end of the short but incredible trip, I’d started feeling pangs of anxiety about leaving and going ‘back to reality’, as we like to say. I started thinking about the things I needed to do, the people I needed to please, the desserts I needed to stay very far away from after all the Apfle Strudels ja, oh the apple strudels… I could feel myself heading down that slippery slope of self-depricating mind gabble. It happened again after teaching my third ever yoga class the other night – I noticed everything that went wrong and nothing that went right, and started beating myself up about it on my drive home. I had to force myself to stop, told my ego-in-training to shut the hell up and tuned right into Soul FM. The best frequency there is, the station of silence. The place where the real you resides – in stillness, not noise; inside, not out.

It does feel like we’re in an age where we’re living outside ourselves, all striving for this flawed concept of perfection. We’ve been conditioned throughout our lives to feel like we’re never quite good enough, that we should be earning this much by then and have 2.36 kids by the time we’re blah blah blah… I think we all feel like we’re in some warped version of Big Brother with a secret camera on us all, individually scrutinising us to be more, be better… ‘They’ say this, ‘they’ say that. Enter Nikki Grahame. Who ARE THEY? So much of the time we’re making choices based on what we think ‘they’ will be most pleased with, or what will look best on paper. The value of people seems to correlate with their bank balance. It’s backward. It’s outside in. Who are we living our lives for? What if we’re all already perfect the way we are? And even when we fall, fail, go a little off-piste in life… Could it all be part of a grander design to help us move along our paths? Science has proven we’re all formed of the same stuff, the same matter, the very same particles of energy as what the entire universe is made of! (Don’t know about you but that totally blows my mind.) So if nature falls perfectly, why wouldn’t we? The rain falls so the plants can grow. Our perceived ‘failures’, I believe, are helping us to do just that – grow, towards the light that we’re all reaching for.

What I’m trying to get at in this short and sweet blog is, it’s all about the way we look at life. We can go on beating ourselves up about how many Skittles we ate or how much money we drank through last weekend, or we can choose to see the hailstones as snowflakes, our imperfections perfectly. The good, the bad and the ugly; it’s all necessary, and we’re all going to be okay, because everything is happening the way it’s meant to. I’m not saying to just sit and wait for things to happen – keep going, stay true to yourself, and have faith that life’s got your back. It’s helping us to win, even if we do trip over a few times before the finish line. To be honest, I’ve probably read this post over a hundred times now trying to make it perfect but it’s nowhere near, it might not even make sense, so I’m just going to stop here and choose to trust that it’s just another small jagged piece of the whole perfect puzzle.

Have a wonderful week, and try tasting the raindrops like you taste the rainbow 😉 x