Jen Unwin

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Psychology with Dr David Unwin's GP Office

North West, UK

MEATrition author
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This website is the one I wish I had stumbled across 46 years ago. If I could have had this knowledge at the age of 10 it would have saved A LOT of heartache. My aim is to share with you what I now know about sugar addiction. This knowledge has finally enabled me to overcome decades of struggles with weight, food cravings and the growing hopelessness of finding a long-term solution. I want to spread a little light to those of you still trying to find your own path forward to food freedom.

My brightest early memory is of some warm cheese scones, covered in melting butter. I was maybe 4 years old. I already loved sugar and carbohydrate heavy foods. I saved all my pocket money to spend on sweets. Food was front and centre in our family and I’m pretty sure my Mum was a fellow addict looking back. The tragic death of my father’s brother and then his own life-threatening illness put a strain on the family when I was still only young and I turned to food for comfort and amusement.

I loved sneaking food from the kitchen; buttered toast, hot milk with loads of sugar, condensed milk, baking chocolate or whatever was available. I also adored baking and cooking, so was an avid maker of cakes, biscuits and puddings. Needless to say, by 12 years old I was over 12 stone or 76 kilos in new money. I hated being overweight but looking back can see I was already addicted to sugar. I got the shakes if I couldn’t eat regularly and eating was how I managed boredom and other emotional states.

I went on several crazy diets with my mum over my young teenage years. Egg and grapefruit was a memorable one. I finally managed to lose 20 kilograms when I was 16 and absolutely determined to get a boyfriend! The magic formula was boiled eggs for breakfast, apple and edam cheese for lunch and dinner without the carby part of the meal or pudding. I was thrilled with what I’d achieved but hadn’t yet understood that I would never be able to moderate my relationship with carbohydrate. So, when it crept back into my diet the weight crept back on. This ushered in decades of successful dieting, followed by weight re-gain and a cycle of misery. Meanwhile, I succeeded in all other areas of my life. I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist and had a career I loved. I married my wonderful husband and we made a beautiful family. Still I struggled with food cravings, weight gain and increasingly desperate attempts to maintain a healthy weight. I really disliked being overweight but I absolutely loved eating.

Finally, at 48 years old I stumbled across a book by Dr John Briffa called “Escape the Diet Trap’ in the sale section at the supermarket. This was to be my ‘fork in the road’ moment and the beginning of my food freedom journey. The knowledge in the book was about low carbohydrate or keto diets and why they work. I understood the science and dove straight in, going cold turkey from sugar and carbohydrates. I felt pretty grim for about 8 days whilst my body learned to burn fat instead of glucose for fuel but soon felt better than I had for years both mentally and physically. My husband and I later took this knowledge and started to help patients at his GP practice to reverse their diabetes and other chronic health conditions. We were both amazed at the results people were able to achieve and have both spoken internationally on the topic.

Low carb eating was a big part of the answer for me and many others but not the whole story. It was the start. Lots of things have tripped me up along the way and sent me back into weight gain and struggles with food cravings. There was much more for me to learn personally about staying in recovery from sugar addiction. The information that has been most useful to me about food but also about understanding addiction is now here on this site. I am not smug. I have no doubt I will have future struggles with food but I now have the knowledge to re-gain the right path and that is what I’ll share with you.

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