Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Being that honest with your yourself isn’t easy, but hopefully your eyes have been opened. You’ve gathered crucial intelligence about yourself and the role that sugar plays in your diet – knowledge you’re about to put into action to slim your body and safeguard your health.
Now welcome to Phase 1. This is where the going gets tough, but, should you succeed, the pay-off will be life changing.
Faced with an unruly sweet tooth that wants what it wants when it wants it – “Doughnut! Now!” – you need to exert the same tough love. During this phase, you will remove sugar from your diet. Even fruit. That’s the only way to break sugar’s grip on you.
Why no fruit? Fruit is good for you, but you need to readjust your palate and get your metabolism running smoothly. That’s why we don’t want you to have any sugar. To that end, this phase also cuts out a vegetable that rivals fruit in sugar content: sweet potatoes. Like fruit, it’s incredibly nutritious, packed with fibre and antioxidants and, along with fruit, can come back into your diet when you move on to Phase 2.
To further help you quell cravings, improve the quality of your diet and rebalance the way your body uses glucose and insulin, there are no processed grain products – white or wholewheat – in this phase. Because it can be hard to go without bread or pasta for very long, we begin to bring them back in Phase 2 in limited amounts. However, you don’t have to eat them if you don’t want to.
We can’t sugar-coat it: we call this phase the Tough-Love Turnaround because we know that it may not be easy. But we promise you’ll love the results! For the first several days, you may not feel at your best, physically or emotionally. Did you ever give up smoking? Do you remember the tiredness and irritability? You may experience similar symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue and edginess – and the cravings may get intense.
Your score on the quiz you completed on Day 1 or 2 (page 34) will give you an indication of how strong your sugar cravings are likely to be. But don’t let that scare you – let it be a motivation. The good news: it’s all over in seven days and the meals you’ll be eating are designed to keep you satisfied, keep your blood-sugar levels steady and keep cravings at bay. All of the meals and recipes were developed with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat to prevent the wild swings in blood sugar and insulin that trigger cravings and promote fat storage.
We’ve included a daily food log with all your options on Phase 1 – check off what you eat each day.
Plus, this is where our smart tips and your own personal reward card will become an essential part of keeping your motivation on track. And, because you’ll carry the strategies you learn each day into the next, your discomfort eases day by day. Any symptoms you may experience typically fade, replaced by a positive upswing in energy and mood.
By Day 9, you should begin to notice just how good you feel. More energy, a brighter mood and sound sleep are just the start. As your body regains its sensitivity to insulin and maintains steadier blood-sugar levels, sugar’s iron grip on your body and mind will loosen.
So will your waistband. By Day 12, if you’ve followed the meal plan faithfully, you can expect to lose an average of three kilos and nearly 20cm all over, nearly five centimetres from your waist and hips, and 2.5cm off your thighs. Those numbers aren’t theoretical – they’re the average losses experienced by our test panellists. Women just like you, who shrank their sugar bellies and retrained their taste buds to savour the sweetness of whole, natural foods. These rewards aren’t temporary, like a sugar buzz. They’re lasting and the benefits only get better as you progress through the plan.
DAYS 6–12: What to do
Have breakfast every morning to keep cravings at bay. Choose from the high-protein options you’ll find on pages 58 to 59. Breakfasts have about 1 250kJ and at least 15g of protein.
Mix-and-match the lunch and dinner options; they’re interchangeable from a kilojoule and nutritional perspective, and we don’t want you to get bored having the same thing over and over. Lunches and dinners contain 1 700 to 1 900kJ and, of course, they contain no added sugar. Have something different every day, or stick to three or four meals you love – it’s up to you. Every meal is easy and quick to prepare.
Don’t forget to snack! Eating every few hours prevents the blood-sugar dips that trigger appetite and sugar cravings. When you have the snacks is up to you. You can snack mid-morning to tide you over until lunch or in the afternoon to keep you going until dinner. Just make sure you’re eating something about every four hours.
Avoid the following items: fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit, sweet potatoes, processed grain products (both white and wholewheat) and sugar in any of its many forms (including the table sugar you might add to foods, honey and maple syrup).