Jon quit sugar three years ago when we first started the I Quit Sugar journey. Six months later he contacted us to say it changed his life. Here, his story…
I have always been a ‘big’ guy. I’ve been over six feet tall since I was about sixteen. I steadily got heavier over the next 30 years or so, but because of my height, I got away with being a bit overweight. I had very bad eating habits, but I didn’t realise it at the time. At university, I’m not sure whether it was the stress, or even worse eating habits, I was put onto anti-hypertensives. I was on them for the next 30 years. A few years later I developed a tumour on my thyroid – it was removed and was luckily benign. I think it was diet related, but I have no evidence of this.
My weight peaked at about 115kg.
My job stresses were increasing and I was diagnosed with quite bad depression and went onto anti-depressants. My weight was becoming more of a problem for me as well, and I couldn’t even finish a game of tennis with friends. I decided I had had enough and didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I was drinking a lot of juices (thinking they were healthy – aren’t they!?!) and trying a number of other diets that just weren’t working. I read the papers every Sunday and would always read Sarah’s article in the liftout. One Sunday, she wrote about sugar. I decided to go through my pantry and fridge and food cupboards and read all the labels and throw out anything with sugar – I pretty well cleaned out the house! I was following Sarah’s webpage and Facebook notes and was happy I was on the right track, and I was getting lots of ideas and other tips. To say it was hard at the start is an understatement.
The hardest thing for me was drinks.
I used to drink a lot of soft drink, energy drinks, iced tea, chocolate milk, iced coffee, etc, etc, etc. I tried green tea, but I hated it unless it had 2 teaspoons of sugar. But I was sick of feeling overweight, sick, having bad skin (acne since early adolescent), high blood pressure and depression. So I gave myself a good talking to and developed willpower that I didn’t think I had. I just went cold turkey. I stopped the cappuccinos, made myself love green tea with no sugar, stopped the soft drinks, energy drinks, iced teas, just to see if I could do it.
I started losing weight, averaging 1kg a week.
It wasn’t easy, but I remember reading that it only takes 6-8 weeks to create or break a habit – it worked for me – and the weight loss was a reason to keep going. I became a bit of a self-experiment with the more I read – mostly guided by Sarah and other books I was finding on the internet. I was actually amazed how many people were out there yelling these things to the masses, but no-one’s listening. Eminent doctors are saying how bad sugar is and how insidious it is creeping into everything we eat, but they keep being told how stupid they are.
My weight loss was going on and I was reading all I could on the subject and following Sarah’s writing and she was saying a lot of the things I was finding out myself as well. I hit a few plateaus – the hardest one was breaking through the 100kg “wall”. It took me about five weeks and it really tested me. But I broke through the barrier and kept going until I reached about 92kg.
I had lost so much weight, about 20kg in six months.
I’ve been between 92-95kgs ever since, for about two years now. During this time, I was feeling a lot better about myself and I went off the anti-depressants – almost cold-turkey as well – and have never gone back. My doctor also said I could try to wean myself off my blood pressure meds, and now my blood pressure is normal. For well over a year now. As I said earlier, my skin was bad since school and since I gave up sugar, it has pretty well cleared up as well. As a result of years of being overweight, another issue I had was a bit of floppy skin, under my chin, etc. This has slowly receded and people are still asking me whether I’ve lost more weight, but I think it’s just my skin shrinking back to normal.
My life has changed in many ways. I still have a few treats every now and then and I live by the adage (from Michael Pollan, I think) “Party food is for parties”. I feel soooo much better. I will keep this up for the rest of my life.
I have never eaten better in my life and I feel like my body is a machine that I will only put the best fuel into to get the best performance I can out of it. It now works like it should after I got many years of bad stuff flushed out.
For more inspirational testimonies like Jon’s click here.