By Lisa Cunningham
One thing that I have learnt during this fit bride process is that the amount of sugar I consume has a direct correlation on my energy levels.. which in turn then has a trickle-on affect to my motivation to work out and eat right overall. Working in a pretty demanding job with long hours means that I need to ensure that I’m keeping my energy levels high, BUT it doesn’t mean smashing a can of coke to get me through that 3:30 lull.
You would have to be living under a rock to have missed the whole “anti-sugar” movement that has been consuming (get it…) our Instagram and news feeds. While I know that sugar is bad, I’m also a HUGE believer in balance & making sure that you go easy on yourself so that you don’t burn out and binge on a whole tub of Ben&Jerry’s.
So with balance being key, but knowing that sugar does really need to be monitored to make sure I’m feeling & looking good – what do I do?
Looking at hidden sugars was my first stop to “lowering – not eliminating sugar”. Sugar is a sneaky little ingredient that finds its way in to lots of thing that are tasty & a lot of things we don’t even realise. Replacing simple sugar with natural sugar isn’t a good idea either – so hitting that all you can eat fruit diet isn’t advised either.
eatforhealth.gov.au is a great resource to get plain, simple and reliable information. An initiative by the Australian Govt, it gives you simple meal plans and doesn’t aim to confuse or scare you more by giving too much detail or telling how bad you are for drinking that can of coke at 3:30. (side bar – soft drink does need to go.. the level of sugar in those cans of bubbly cola flavored drinks is out.of.control. Do yourself a favor and stick to water – and if you need the bubbles hit up the soda stream and carbonate that baby).
So what have I done? I’ve tried to carefully cut down on things that do have hidden sugars & try and cut out those that I know that are loaded with them. So for instance, I’ve opted for tea with milk vs. a flat white with my breakfast in the morning. Milk does have a lot of natural sugars. For breakfast I’ve replaced my bowl of muesli and Greek yogurt to a slice of rye bread with either avocado or a boiled egg on top. This was twofold – it allowed me to reduce complex carbs and also cut down on diary (I have a secret love affair for anything in the diary section of the supermarket so this was hard to execute, but I’m feeling the benefits). Starting your day with a protein kick is also a great way to beat that mid morning slump and gets you through to lunch.
For lunch I go heavy on protein and ensure I mix it up with some salad or raw veggies. This is where I aim to try and eliminate the amount of processed foods the most. This can be tricky when you are working like a mad person all day, but planning ahead and packing a lunch of protein, fibre and folate rich foods will make sure you don’t let any little sneaky sugars hit your lips.
Then for dinner is about keeping it as simple and as anti-processed as possible. I have found that introducing carbs a little here works for me personally. So grains like quinoa or rice are awesome & if I have gone for a run or hit the gym after work and are often inhaled!
I’m not a 100% advocate of #cleaneating. Sometimes I feel that it can be too hard when you prepping for a wedding, and working full time, while still living your life, to really take on board that approach to eating. But what I do believe in and what I have tried to do is really just think about what I’m eating, doing my research and finding out what is actually IN the food we eat and making sure that all the things I do consume are deliberate and have an end goal of good long lasting energy & nutrition.
You know there are days when having that bowl of ice cream is ok. Allow yourself BALANCE. Manage sugar levels through the day, but then enjoy a glass of wine. This is not for everyday, but if those days do happen it is ok & you don’t need to worry about beating yourself up for it.
A lover of adventure and of finding all the hidden gems her latest travel destination has to offer, you will often find Lisa glued to Instagram looking for the next hot location. With a serious online shopping addiction and the need to ensure her fitness attire is on point, Lisa is a always on the hunt for the latest & greatest – which is what brought her to Base Athletica! When in Singapore you will find her eating up a storm at a local hawker centre or on the hunt for the best coffee in town.