Mentor me off Sugar- A final review

Well folks, around 8 weeks ago I was talking with Laura from Happy Sugar Habits and she offered me the chance to talk part in her program mentor me off sugar in return for my honest opinions… so here goes… and its a big one.

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I have written some other posts throughout this process here is one of them but I am now ready to talk about my overall views.

I thought that I was pretty sugar aware, I had heard it wasn’t that good and this particular program focuses on fructose. I had an awareness of fructose as I am unable to absorb this with my FODMAPS so could only eat it when combined with equal or more glucose.

First off the program. Its friendly, supportive and well structured. There is a meal plan, should this suit you, for me I used the guide and quick guide and ate more as I prefer. There is a fantastic facebook group which is chock full of other folks doing the plan. I used this a LOT. For questions, recipes and just support. The other thing I love about the program is Laura acknowledges just how hard quitting is and tells you to expect to slip up. This is not considered a fail, if it happens observe and learn and get back on the wagon! You also get lots of emails with links to new material as you progress through the program and texts.

I thought I knew. I also ate loads of stevia, rice malt syrup and all the sweeteners which are fructose free. The trouble is I still craved sweet treats after each meal. Little did I know I need to give it all up to ‘reset’ my tastebuds. After a few days these cravings subsided and I really enjoyed the freedom it gave. No cravings. Just eating to true hunger. I really liked this. Things which weren’t sweet before ( thai food) started to taste sweet, I enjoyed my coffee with no sweetener, I liked natural yogurt with coconut shreds.

Then it was my birthday and the week after valentines day. It ended up in a week of sweet treats. Each meal was still within guidelines, I was still having no extra sugar but with a few people taking me for meals and buying me cakes the cravings were back BAM. I got a bit down to be honest. Then I learned from it and it has really helped me design my new feelings towards sugar and guidelines for myself.

I am happy eating low sugar. I cant believe the amount of sweetness I would load natural yogurt ,smoothies, porridge and other so called healthy treats with. I also used to give Milly some sweet treats occasionally as I didn’t want her to become one of those kids who goes crazy on sugar. I actually think are home will now be sugar free. Not just sugar free but free of all the replacements which make sugar free treats. After falling off the wagon spectacularly I learned a few things. Eating from home is easier. Eating a meal out which have sauces and sugar is fine but don’t have dessert. Having a sugar free meal and a dessert is also fine but only ONE meal. If I do this and get back on the wagon the cravings stay away. Too much of this and they are back and I have a tough few days getting them under control again. I should probably add at this point that my cravings, I have learned through the program, are purely physical not emotional. If yours are different Laura covers other coping mechanisms. I do use these now as it has made me realise I eat when not hungry just because it means I get to sit and have a rest. I am changing this with a magazine, cuppa or sparkling water and permission to site for 10-20 minutes , or longer if needed, when Milly naps.

So down to the nitty gritty…. what did I eat? I sort of evened out into a routine.

6.30 AM  Lemon water EITHER sprouted spelt bread and avo or nut butter or eggs or a bowl of porridge and spoon of nut butter and sprinkle of cinnamon

9AM Latte and handful nuts, zucchini slice or other sugar free recipe

12 or 1- lunch- sprourted spelt bread and cheese and salad, quiche and salad, chopped salad with avo, seeds and home made dressing and quinoa are just some examples.

4PM natural yogurt, sprinkle of cinnamon, coconut shreds and I Will start to include 1 serve of fruit.

7PM dinner fish or meat and veg or salad

This works best if you eat from home. I like to eat out. So once a week I can have a meal out either a free main and no dessert or a good meal and dessert. Also WINE is ok  on the plan. I only ever have one glass so will not limit this as its a treat for me anyways.

I think we can honestly say even though I didn’t manage to complete the program perfectly I did learn a lot, which in itself makes it worth while. I understand the resources stay available to you after completion so I will be re doing the 6 week plan to reset again. I feel I can do better again and get more results because I know what to expect and have seen the rewards. .

Have you given up sugar? would you?

Thoughts of late #4

I am really enjoying these sorts of posts as they just contain things which I have been thinking about and have been interesting me lately!

1. I have budget on the brain! I am going to download all last years transactions, firm up a budget and get our savings goals in order for the year. Given that our situation is so variable, ie. we have more if I work, if hubs works abroad etc I will base it on worst case ( or least money scenario) then anything else is a bonus. I am also checking in with centrelink to see what assistance we may be entitled to if I am not working.

2. I am also feeling the spring vibe, I want to finish the house off and then give it a darn good clean… anyone else with me?

3. On the subject of budget since having Milly our priorities have shifted so vastly. We are also really trying to be healthy and not use junk food or sugar as a treat or reward. We don’t really ‘do’ valentines day as such so have decided that we will just cook one another a nice meal, or do something together and buy a lotto ticket. We both find lotto quite exciting but limiting our purchases to valentines day and other special occasions means its not a regular expense.

4. So on Valentines day this year we headed into the city. All plans to go to the movies went out the window and we watched ‘the giants’ in the city. Oh my god these giant puppets were amazing. Milly had a ball. We then had lunch at my dads and came home and all ended up having a 2 hour nap… bliss!

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5. Milly is so mobile now and is loving being out and about and active. We went to a soft play place this week… what an adventure. We climbed the scramble nets and went down the slides, had a bounce on the bouncy castle, stopped for lunch and then carried on playing in the small kids area.

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6. Freebies in a few magazines. I don’t buy magazines too much, but now I have less time for books and I want to spend less time reading on technology infront of Milly ( bad habits and all), I may start getting the ones with free stuff… why not!????

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7. Tomorrow I am off for girls morning with Mr Grey. I have no idea how it will be but this made me laugh….

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8. I got some Popbasic in the post. This company is so fantastic. Their stuff is lovely and really reasonable. Follow this link for $15 off your first purchase. I got the shirt and the bracelet was a present from them.

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9. I had a gorgeous birthday meal with a girlfriend at Miss Kittys Saloon. It was lovely and the sunset after was even better.

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Whats been happening lately? Fill me in….

Having a baby on a budget-#2

There are no two ways about it having a baby is expensive. However, in my experience, there are some cheaper ways to do things.

We were given so much for our baby. We didn’t have a baby shower, as I really don’t like them, but we had plenty of generous gifs when she was born and also lots of people gave us second hand items.

My suggestion is borrow, use second hand items from gumtree and ebay don’t be snobbish. Some of the toys may be really faded but if it proves to be a favourite you can always go and get a nicer one knowing your money will be well used. Milly gets through toys fairly quickly and I love to be able to use them and then sell or pass them on without regret. I did choose an item I loved and got this new ( the jumparoo) but I got it on half price sale so it was a bargain and would resale for what I paid anyway.

We were given a lot of items or sold a lot cheap and second hand this was brilliant. I had no qualms if I was so sleep deprived and she had done an almighty poonami just binning an outfit if I knew it had served three kids. It also helped having back up clothes if you didn’t make it to laundry and she had pooed and spewed her way through six outfit changed that day! I have just been through all of her clothes and made a massive pile to pass on to pregnant friends ( what goes around comes around). I did buy, and was given, some more special clothes all of which have been saved away incase the next baby is a girl and if not will be sold.

For Christmas we knew she would get a lot of smaller toys so we put all our money into a larger, good quality toy, which would last. Again, we got it on sale.

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We also put away some toys from birthday and Christmas and every now and then I put some away and get new ones out… Also people often ask what she would like. I had a list. I hate it when people specify actual items as, in my opinion, a lot of the joy is in choosing, but I offered an area… bath toys, books, outdoor toy etc that way you have a variety.

Baby food is pricey. Milly has home made with recipe books you can get from a charity shop ( mine were a gift), I try and do homemade at home and shop bought pouches when out. I pick these up when they are on special. Some days its too hard, I haven’t heated/defrosted food in time etc and in that case we use a pouch… honestly you can only do your best.

Look at smaller ways to treat yourself. A monthly beauty box, bath bombs, a book. Time is often short and money is less. Each time I sold items I rewarded myself as well as her with a little something. You need to feel good in yourself as a mum too.

Finally, I would say in my experience. Try not to stress it. Milly has great stuff and spent yesterday in a nappy playing with a box and old waterbottle! be inventive people didn’t used to have all this stuff. Also, be realistic. IS everything  really worth selling? I prioritise what I sell and other stuff is passed on or sent to charity. I wouldn’t have time to sell everything and I really have found by being as generous as we can to others it really does come back around.

ANY BABY BUDGET TIPS FOR ME?

Thoughts of late #3

Well, I need to get back in the game. My sugar dodging ways have slipped, since my birthday, and although I am eating way less than I was I still feel sluggish. It also speaks to me again, I hear bakeries calling, and I loved it when they didn’t so I am doing a final two week no sugar push. Then I am going to enjoy some fruit! I have learned so much this last few weeks I will write a post about it.

I am still enjoying life and have been working on a few projects. It’s not ready enough to share on here but I am so excited about it all. A bit of a final push and the ball may get rolling!

I need to look into support financially. If I am not returning to work, which looks likely for now, then I think we would be due some government assistance with the baby. Next weeks jobs!

I am loving Kayla and finally, next week, having finished the pre workouts I start the proper program! Working out this way really suits me and my current life!

I have had so much coming through my letterbox lately sometimes I think doing a YouTube video may be easier!!! What do you think?

After my post when life throws you lemons, I can confirm we are super happy with decisions made and where we are at…. Let’s not stress about what we can’t control.

But let’s continue to cut back where possible. Foxtel…. Gone, back to base monitoring… Price halved, life insurance etc,… Reassessed and reduced as I am not earning, centre link…. Being visited, stuff going on Gumtree!

Also, I think I have a good grasp on what I wear post partum, as a mum and also when pregnant now. I don’t like clothes which make me feel mumsy. Clean, simple clothes with a pop of colour, studding, leather or something a little edgy and I feel good. Frills and flower prints get me down. Time for a clear out and eBay sale me thinks!

how are you all feeling? What’s new?

Having a baby on a budget- #1

Over the last year I have learned a few things about budgets, babies and now we look set for me to potentially not return to work I think its time to write down some of the learning to share with folks.

So you find out you are pregnant, holy bejeezus, time to freak out! Actually its a time to be really happy, but also to acknowledge life is going to change A LOT!.  First up, in most instances, you have 9 months to get straight and prepared. This advice is not about having a baby on a super tight budget it is about having a baby on your budget. So first thing have some conversations. Our conversations revolved around, our thoughts for the future; would he be working?, would I be working?, would he be working away? For us we hoped that I may be able to work part time, IF I WANTED, and he would be working at home a lot for the first year and we would review.

Once you have an idea of long term income, work out what your budget it. We always base it on worst case scenario ( or lowest income scenario) for us this is him working, from Perth and me at home. Then work out your outgoings and see if they meet the incomings. For us they didn’t!

We then worked on reducing outgoings, we combined insurances saving a few hundred each week, made sure we had all insurances necessary ( after all you will be responsible for a little person so you do need to be sensible), moved our house to a more competitive mortgage, spoke to people about bills ( our back to base monitoring just halved our bill when we mentioned not requiring it any more) and generally know where your money goes.

Now it was conversation time again, once bills had gone out it was time to look at food and try to plan and shop more sensibly which I have written about before

We also didn’t want to have any arguments around money. He likes a beer, playstation games and I like makeup and clothes so we each had pocket money each week. This is used for food not from the kitchen, trips out and our chosen indulgences aswell.

Then talk about other expenses. We placed an importance on keeping me fit in pregnancy so spent money on pre pregnancy exercise and physio. We also had our baby privately which we thought was a good use of money.

The luxury of doing this early meant we had 9 months on both incomes to practise, because you wont get it right straight away, we actually saved a lot of my salary which meant we had a buffer. This buffer was money we could both decide to spend on items- we are coming to the end of it now but bought baby nursery items needed, paid for the birth and health care, a new bigger car ( bought outright) and we had the house re insulated and cladded ( which means we can stay here for another baby). It has also meant a relatively stress free first year of Milly’s life with a mum at home full time which in our opinion was priceless.

How did you prepare your budget for a baby?

Aloha…Setting yourself up for a great day

How do you set yourself up for a great day? Aloha contacted me to see if I would be interested in writing a post about how I set myself up for a good day. Always keen for a bit of reflection it got me thinking…. How do I do it!???

Naturally it has changed vastly in the last year. As a mother my mornings start at 6AM at the very latest and go a bit like this…

6AM- At the latest Milly wakes. Bring her in bed for a ‘cuddle’ which normally results in a few cuddles being mixed with a lot of standing, rolling and moving around, poking me in the eye etc. Still a slower wake up than straight out of bed.

6.30AM we go to the kitchen and pop the radio on. A morning disco ensues. A bit of singing and dancing gets the blood pumping and then we prep the food. I actually often start prepping for the morning the night before by boiling a big kettle full of water for Milly and sometimes prepping a protein grab and go brekkie like egg, bacon and veg muffins, zucchini slice. I also quite often whip up the husband a green smoothie or protein smoothie to take to work.

For breakfast I like to have good carbs ( like sprouted spelt bread or oats) with some protein or fat ( eggs, avo, nut butter). I also have a big lemon water. In winter this is warm in summer its cold filtered water with some frozen lemon wedges. We pick lemons off nanas tree when they are in season and slice them into wedges and freeze ( top money saving, and water chilling tip!)

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Once breakfast is done I clean the kitchen up. Clear home clear mind and all. Then we go into the lounge. Milly has a play and I check emails, social media, read blogs etc. I also have my morning coffee ( always lemon water and food before coffee hits the tummy if you are being good!).

Once she has her nap 8-9AM I then do a circuit workout 3 times weekly and shower and dress. Taking time to use some nice products in the shower, fix my hair and do my makeup so I am ready to face the day!

Before I had a baby and was working my routine was really different. I would get up, exercise, grab a smoothie and hop in the car and drink it on route to work. If you need some good recipes to shake up your morning routine it looks like there are a few good ones here.

What do you do to feel good in the morning and set up your day?

Bucket list for 32

Goals for my 32nd year

*boring I know but start work part time again
*get us saving again
*reach target weight
*get pregnant again-maybe
* run half marathon
*learn to surf
*paddleboard
*do more yoga
*complete bbg 1.0 and 2.0
* give up sugar ( for a period at least)
*visit kalbarri
*visit cocos islands
*learn to rock climb
*do more wellness events
*research business idea and maybe start own business.

Well this is quite the varied list, some easily done, some challenges, some ( like holidays) depend on others ( like work for money and saving)

what’s your bucket list?

Turning 32

It’s my birthday, I will be 32, and all I can think about is what a special year 31 has been.

So many people are negative about having children. You won’t get any sleep, life is never the same again. It’s true but whilst it’s hard it’s not bad.

I write this with tears of joy because being 31, becoming a mum, and having my own little family has brought me more joy than I ever knew humanly possibly.

Husband, I love you. You are an amazing husband and wonderful dad.

Milly, you are my everything, you make my heart sing so loudly!

And a note to me…. You my friend are doing ok!!! You may not be perfect but you are lucky, blessed and try hard each day and that is good enough!

do you feel lucky?

When life gives you lemons

As some of you may know I have applied to go back to work part time, I actually suspect this may not be possible given my current role. It’s also looking like there is very limited other work in my field. I know that it is not that I need to up skill or anything like that, there are lots of people who would be keen to work with me as I am, it’s just that the work is literally not there right now.

So what’s a gal to do! Well I have been looking at PhDs, something I have always wanted to do but never been sure of best timing wise. I have sent my cv to a lot of people and I have come up with a new business idea of my own!!! I felt comfortable with any of these ideas. I have done work so they are in the pipeline and as ready to go as they can be when I get final word from my work.

This week we received some news that my partners work may struggle, or indeed no longer be there. Should we panic, previously I would have done but really what’s the point? What does it actually change? What will happen will happen?

If life serves us lemons I say take that pay packet and travel for a year, my plan involves a summer in the south of France and some more time in the uk!!! If the last year has taught us anything it’s as long as we have just about enough money for basics then money really doesn’t buy our happiness!

has life served you lemons? Do you make lemonade?

Meal Planning

After reading Jessica’s post on meal planning it really got me thinking about what I could take from it and how I can apply it to us. So this year I am trying….

1. A monthly food delivery from the supermarket which includes store cupboard items ( sauces, flours, tins etc) and basic butter, nappies, wipes ,baby food, formula and  loo rolls etc.. ONLY ONCE A MONTH. Ideally we can keep this cost to $250.

2. Every quarter a toiletries order which includes- sunscreen, body wash, soap, razors, dental, shampoo etc. We are such suckers for just grabbing these at the supermarket where they are more expensive. Target cost $100.

3. Bulk buy cleaning and laundry products from a shopping website like scoopon.. This is a new one for us and I have no idea what the cost will be??? anyone know???

4. leaving me with $100 cash for fruit, veg and meat each week or bi weekly as we have the lettuce shop delivery every second week which is meat, fruit and veg for $110. Perhaps we can even have this weekly if I get really good at organisation!

With these resolutions Jess suggests 2 weekly meal planning with some left over dinners as lunch. As you know I am trying to eat better, and from home, so this makes sense. It got me thinking about our go to meals in this house….

1. Roast chicken and salad or veg

2. Left over chicken in Asian chicken soup ( this is delicious).

3. Eggs for breakfast

4. Porridge for breakfast

5. Green smoothies for breakfast

6. Quinoa salad with grilled Halloumi

7. Baked sweet potato with salad and humous

9. Meat or fish pan friend or grilled with veg or salad

10. Tuna pasta bake

11. Tuna fish cakes

12. Sausage, veg and mash in winter

13. curry

14. stir fry

15. Taco bowls

16. Stroganoff

17. Prawn, mint, chillie and veg pasta

18. cesaer salad ( chicken)

19. Pancakes for breakfast

20. yogurt and fruit or granola

21. BBQ with coleslaw and garden salad.

We are such creatures of habit…. what meals do you go to? what ideas are there for more meat free lunch options I can have at home?