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"I now have a bank of go-to recipes that have become firm family favourites and I have saved money by buying the real foods too. We just love this as a family and I have personally really enjoyed the programme and have made changes that will last us forever. " Trish Little

How Nikki is conquering her sugar addiction

Nikki, childminder from Redditch, achieved her ideal weight and is now on the way to kicking her sugar habit having completed  the 12 week 1-2-1 weight loss programme.

Before the 12 week programme…

How I felt before the programme was sluggish with low energy and controlled by cakes and biscuits. I had no willpower and felt a failure because I couldn’t stick to a diet.  I didn’t sleep well and would wake up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all.   I would go to bed feeling my heart racing with the stress and overload of sugar.   I felt such a failure because I had lost my weight but then went on holiday and totally lost it for two weeks and I couldn’t get back to it again.

I thought the problem was me and my willpower and I couldn’t understand why I would stand in front of the kitchen cupboard frantically eating anything I could get my hands on.  It didn’t matter what it was or whether I even wanted it as long as it was something sweet.  Even cheap chocolate, it didn’t matter!

Nikki says ‘I could have quite happily eaten cake, chocolates and biscuits all day long from the moment I got up to when I went to bed and even ate these in place of a proper meal.  Before the plan nearly everything I ate was processed food, without realising it I was eating labelled low fat/diet products which unknowingly to me were full of sugar.’

I realised I’m addicted to sugar

I thought I was an emotional eater but I think I’m using my addiction as an excuse to eat.  It’s just given me a reason to binge.  I can say I’m eating because I’m stressed but actually the truth is I’m addicted to sugar. 

One of the worse feelings in the world happens after the first few mouthfuls of intense pleasure, it’s when the addiction takes hold and I’m cramming food into my mouth even though I don’t really want it and the helpless feeling of not being able to stop.  Your head is telling you to stop but you just can’t.  And the feeling of guilt that follows when I would insult myself calling myself disgusting and then feeling so bad I would turn to sugar again to cheer myself up. 

This was Nikki’s typical day before beginning the 12 week programme
Breakfast: Belvita breakfast bars
Snack:  Biscuits or cereal bars
Lunch:  2 slices of bread and baked beans and muller light yoghurt
Snack:  Biscuits or cereal bars
Dinner:  Spaghetti Bolognese made with sauce from a jar with ciabiatta bread and butter, cake
Snack:  Chocolate bar
Drinks:  Sugar free squash
This is Nikki’s typical day now she has completed the 12 week programme
Breakfast:  Porridge made with semi skimmed milk, sprinkled with blueberries
Snack:  2 oatcakes with hummous
Lunch:  Chicken with large mixed salad
Snack:  Natural yoghurt sprinkled with raisins and nuts
Dinner:  Homemade spaghetti Bolognese sauce with large mixed salad or green veg
Drinks:  Water


Weight loss with a ‘well-known’ diet failed to tackle my sugar problem

I had managed to lose weight using a 'well known' diet which allowed me to eat sugary products but as normal I found that I was using my daily allowance to eat chocolate, biscuits etc and really skimping on my meals.  In hindsight I can now see that the diet wasn't tackling my sugar problem and was only re-enforcing my bad habits.
During my holiday I totally lost it for two weeks, filling myself up with churros for breakfast , ice creams during the day, puddings in the evenings followed by cream –laden cocktails. I was trying to fit in as much sugar as I could.  Unsurprisingly I gained a lot of weight just during those two weeks and on my return I found I couldn't get back onto the diet however hard I tried.  Every evening I would tell myself that tomorrow I would start again, but I would find myself with my hand inside the biscuit jar yet again and tomorrow never happened.

Giving up sugar was hard

Starting to give up sugar for the first three to four weeks was the hardest task I’ve ever set myself. 

My physical symptoms were headaches, no energy at all, very short tempered and snappy and the cravings left me in tears.  For example during a trip to the theatre I had on one side of me a friend eating jellies and on the other side a friend eating chocolate buttons and everywhere I looked there were people eating bags of sweets, ice creams and drinking fizzy drinks.  I felt like I’d hit rock bottom and I was on the verge of tears throughout the performance. 

No energy at all

I like running and I couldn’t believe the effect that ditching sugar would have on my running in the first few weeks.  I always run 3 miles two to three morning s a week but during the first week of giving up sugar I couldn’t even run one mile without feeling like I was going to pass out.  Every step was a struggle and my body didn’t have any energy at all.  And this did actually reduce me to tears.  Anna did reassure me that it would get better and to give my body a chance to settle down.

I didn’t believe sugar addiction could be so strong an addiction.  I cut out all the dense carbs and didn’t have any craving s for potatoes or bread but the cakes, biscuits and sweets were a different game altogether.

Not having a pudding after my meal is a hard habit to break but no longer leaves me in tears.

Shopping was an upsetting torture.  I would walk up the aisles looking at the biscuits feeling like crying, I wanted them so much!

Then things started to get better and better

After four weeks I began to see an improvement in my running.  I can now run for longer and faster.  I did 10K on Sunday with a group of friends from the running club and I found that I was managing to stay with the faster runners when usually I would have been a long way behind at the back.

The day I picked up chocolate bars that had been reduced after Christmas and I put them down because I actually realised that I didn't really want them and put them back.

The same thing happened with tins of biscuits and I put them back too.

I even stopped my husband from buying shortbread.

I threw away an open bar of chocolate from Christmas so we wouldn’t eat it.  It would just have been for the sake of it. 

When I go to the pub for a meal and I don’t have to have a pudding, I am starting to break the habit.

I can go to the cinema and buy water instead of coke or diet coke.  I find coke really does affect me now and I cannot sleep if I drink it.

Some days can still be a battle and I’ve had some wobbles and found myself on a binge but managed to control myself as I realised the addiction had taken a hold.  I no longer give myself a hard time about it but accept I am doing my very best.

How I feel now I no longer eat junk

  • A lot more confident
  • I don’t insult myself all the time now
  • I feel happier I no longer feel like I’ve let myself go
  • Much more in control of food and not food in control of me
  • My running and fitness has improved
  • Loads more energy
  • I don’t feel bloated any longer. 


How I felt before I began the 12 week programme

  • I felt Sluggish
  • I Felt like everyone was talking about how I had gained weight
  • I felt a failure
  • I felt I had no willpower but of course it was nothing to do with willpower but my addiction to sugar
  • I felt bloated
  • I had more cellulite
  • I didn’t want to go out and would make excuses not to go
  • I hated clothes shopping

Simple yet dramatic changes

I have made some simple yet dramatic changes to my lifestyle.  I eat healthy meals and healthy snacks throughout the day and I plan and organise the food and shopping for the week.  I cook nearly everything from fresh, which doesn’t take long when you get into the swing of it.  I would definitely recommend this 12 week programme to everyone.

Nikki says 'it isn't a quick fix fad diet and for a real sugar addict it is tough, but it's the only way to start eating healthily and to stop the addiction ruling the way you eat.  I know it's going to take around 12 months to be totally free of the addiction and to enforce all of my new healthy habits, but I'm 3 months into it and all the time I am learning about food and the effects it has on my body and I am looking forward to the day when I find that I'm not tempted in the slightest by the left over sweets from our baking activities or when I'm faced with the left over icing and marzipan from the Christmas Cake and I can honestly say 'No thank you I don't eat choc/biscs/cake when offered them'.

Nikki Oakley - Redditch


Further case studies..

If you found this post interesting you may like to take a look at our Odds and Sods, a small collection of random feedback, more here.

Judith has also made huge changes to her eating habits, read more here about the changes she has made and how she feels for making them. 

If you are part of a company and would like to find out more about our healthy eating services please call 0845 533 5302.

If you are an individual and are interested in our 12 week online healthy eating programme you can find out more - here. When you're ready you can login to My Healthy Eating Programme using the login button at the top and entering the code VIP10 into the register now box. The cost of the 12 week programme for an individual is £49.99 and we have corporate rates available upon request.


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