Throw the Sugar Bowl Away and Start Living

Sarah Wilson is recovering and flourishing. You can be, too.  Simply follow her lead. Stand up tall and say clearly “Today, I quit sugar.”

Perhaps she was on a sugar high. It might have been writer’s block or, more likely, a quest to report something new and different. Whatever the original motivation, the Australian journalist found herself with a blank page and a column to submit. Wilson decided to try eliminating sugar from her diet, detailing the process in her column.

Wilson met her deadline and you know the rest of the story. Sarah Wilson is a New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur who has assisted more than one million people around the world in defeating their sugar addictions. A past editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Wilson hosted the first series of Master Chef Australia achieving the highest ratings in the country’s television history.  Her online wellness program, IQuitSugar.com, presents fresh takes on everything from cooking without sugar to living a simplistic lifestyle. Her latest book, The I Quit Sugar Cookbook – 306 Recipes for a Clean, Healthy Life, is a guide to eating, feeling, and living well on a sugar-free diet. 

“In January 2011, I quit sugar,” she explained. “I have an autoimmune disease and had been told for years I should quit sugar. The idea was far too scary to contemplate, as it is for most people. I then decided to experiment with the idea and quit for two weeks. I wrote about it in the newspaper column I was writing at the time. It felt so good, so right – I lost weight immediately and my energy, skin and wellness improved so much – I just kept going. And going. It’s been over five years now. The ‘metabolic shift,’ that is, the switch to burning fat and protein instead of cheap shots of sugar, took about four weeks for me. It can take some longer.” 

In a recent interview with INSPIRE HEALTH, Wilson shared her background, her experiences and her views on healthy living.

“In January 2011, I quit sugar,” she explained. “I have an autoimmune disease and had been told for years I should quit sugar. The idea was far too scary to contemplate, as it is for most people. I then decided to experiment with the idea and quit for two weeks. I wrote about it in the newspaper column I was writing at the time. It felt so good, so right – I lost weight immediately and my energy, skin and wellness improved so much – I just kept going. And going. It’s been over five years now. The ‘metabolic shift,’ that is, the switch to burning fat and protein instead of cheap shots of sugar, took about four weeks for me. It can take some longer.” 

In a recent interview with INSPIRE HEALTH, Wilson shared her background, her experiences and her views on healthy living.

IH:  You have accomplished more in 40 years than most people could expect to do in two lifetimes. What is your motivating force?  

SW:  My perfectionism. It’s my Achilles heel and my driving force. Plus I find most things interesting and if I find something interesting I have to understand it completely. As you can see, it’s a double-edged sword. At the age of 42, I am grateful for it and accept that this is how I work and it’s also how I’ve managed to have successes. I have a Dostoyevsky quote in front of the I Quit Sugar Cookbook – “Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being.” I think I’ve lived by this all of my life. 

IH:  How do you maintain your energy?  

SW:  I do have a tendency to burn myself out very easily, especially having an autoimmune disease. (Wilson has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a disorder affecting the thyroid.) A morning routine is key. I exercise outdoors – ocean swimming, hiking in the bushland, for example – and I meditate in the sun. These are non-negotiables for me every day and give me a solid grounding so my energy can be level all day. 

IH:  How do you maintain your enthusiasm for the causes you are so obviously passionate about such as minimalism, thrift, wellness, nutrition, and simple living?

SW:  Again, I have a tendency to care about everything I sink my teeth into. But, if I do feel momentum lagging, my trick is to take a step back and remind myself of why I might be working on a particular project. I have a little trick. If I see things in black and white, it means I’m not meant to be doing it – the enthusiasm isn’t there. If I see things in color, I’m reinvigorated. 

IH:  Were you always an energetic, enthusiastic person? 

SW:  My parents will certainly attest to my tenacity, independence and need to be involved in everything. I think growing up in an isolated environment in the country steered my vision forever outwards onto the “excitement out there.” I think this played a big role in being enthusiastically curious. 

IH:  Is there an incident in your life that influenced the philosophies you have today?

SW:  I got sick about seven years ago and hit rock bottom. Like, really rock bottom. It forced me to make a choice: do I want to exist or live? This choice is something I reflect back on often. 

IH:  Were your early business endeavors, including making doll’s house furniture when you were 12, motivated by creativity or did you have a purpose driven goal? 

SW:  They were motivated by a need to engage with the outside world. My first business, at 12, was all about having contact with adults and people in the city. 

IH:  How do you maintain your commitment to make life better for yourself?  

SW:  I continue with my morning routine every day. And I modulate, modulate, modulate. I have to manage my disease and this keeps me on the straight and narrow. I also regularly touch base with wise people – my meditation teacher and other “healers” – who challenge me when I start to get complacent or begin to grip onto life too tightly. 

IH:  How would you advise others to improving their lives – besides quitting sugar, of course? 

SW:  Learn to meditate!  And exercise every day, even it is just a 20-minute walk. The “doing it every day” bit is what counts.

IH:  Who inspires you? 

SW:  Some people who have lived big lives include Viktor Frankl, Nelson Mandela, and every single mother out there who has to hold down a full time job at the same time. 

IH:  What are your goals for the future? 

SW:  To continue to pull back from “work” and steer my contribution to giving. 

To live a free life where I am not bound by expectations. I hope to be a cool, seventy-year-old woman who really doesn’t give a damn. 

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For more information on Sarah Wilson, quitting sugar, sugar-free recipes and a whole bunch of good hints for a healthier life, go to sarahwilson.com

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