No Sugar

Lose weight with Clean & Lean

The UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge is much more than a controlled diet program. It's a major milestone towards a changed lifestyle. It will enhance the detoxing processes in your body, introduce you to better ways of eating and better food choices, and help you become leaner.

Importantly, as you begin to enjoy the taste of real food and the feeling of it in your body, you will develop new eating habits before you know it. We are creatures of habit after all. 

Our most important guiding principles are to base our food intake on fresh products, as close as possible to their natural state. It includes lots of vegetables, good sources of proteins, good fats, limited carbohydrates and no refined sugar whatsoever. On top of that we encourage you to challenge yourself with physical activities and fun fitness.  

Photo: Sofia bon Foster

Photo: Sofia bon Foster

Photo: Vincent Chan

Photo: Vincent Chan

The changes you see in the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge are amazing. After overcoming sugar withdrawal symptoms and detoxing side effects such as tiredness, grumpiness and headaches, you will suddenly feel so much better.

YOU WILL START NOTICING THESE IMPROVEMENTS IN YOUR WELLBEING AND APPEARANCE:

  • Your blood sugar levels will stabilise - Drastic changes in blood sugar levels are caused by excessive consumption of carbohydrates, which in turn are responsible for food cravings, drops in energy and mood swings. At first, when we reduce our carbohydrate intake we might feel tired, hungry and grumpy, but after a few days once the sugar levels are low and the body has the opportunity and ability to use fat storage to create energy, all the symptoms will have disappeared.

  • You'll feel less hungry - You will control your food intake and the food will not control you!

  • You'll have much more energy throughout the day - Stabilised energy all day long, without massive energy drops and need for stimulants.

  • You'll have more energy during your training sessions - Once your body is trained to create energy from fat storage, it can do it faster and more efficiently, prolonging long term energy throughout your training sessions.

  • You will feel more balanced emotionally - Mood swings are often affected by our sugar ups and downs. At the beginning of the process, the limited carbs might lower your serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for our happiness. However, when your body gets used to lower sugar consumption you will experience a much more balanced emotional state.

  • Your weight will drop - At the beginning of the process your weight loss will be mainly due to loss of fluids, as carbs attract fluids. After a few days you will experience real weight loss, mostly from fat storage.

Rob, before and after Clean & Lean 16  - he lost 11kg - the first time  in over 15 years he weighed under 100kg                                     

Rob, before and after Clean & Lean 16  - he lost 11kg - the first time  in over 15 years he weighed under 100kg                                     

  • You'll lose body fat and become leaner - Once insulin levels drop, the body will burn fat to create energy. We aim to lose body fat as opposed to losing body mass.   

  • You'll notice your skin is clearer and your eyes brighter and whiter - You might experience some skin rashes during the detox period, but once this phase is over your skin and eyes will shine.

  • You'll experience improvements in your blood lipids and blood pressure - Lower triglycerides, higher HDL cholesterol for example.

  • You'll learn more about your body - The clean diet will help you eliminate foods that are suspected to cause indigestion, gassy stomach, heartburn or any other problems. It is a good way to learn which foods suits you the best.

Photo: Melanie Lim

Photo: Melanie Lim

Sweat it out Sunday at Tanjong Beach Bootcamp

Sweat it out Sunday at Tanjong Beach Bootcamp

Finally, at the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge, you'll meet great people and form a supportive team, sharing ideas, recipes, difficulties and achievements.

You'll also have a set deadline to achieve your goals within, and get great ideas and support from our community via the closed community Facebook page.

This will help you to be accountable and stay on course, and eventually help you achieve your goals.  

There is no better way to kick-start your new year than with the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge - starting Saturday 13 January! Sign up right here.

Clean & Lean results and tips over the holidays

Once again - the results from the latest UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge have been amazing. 

Well done to our overall male winner Guillaume Augustin who lost a staggering 9.38% body fat, and female winner Hang Nguyen who lost an outstanding 6.88% body fat! What a truly fabulous effort, hard work and consistency always pays off. The runners-up were not far behind, with Bryan Shon losing an amazing 8.41% body fat and Jennifer Gillespie losing an exceptional 6.55% body fat! What a great start to the Christmas holiday season! 

Regardless of the results, we are proud of all our participants in our Clean & Lean Challenges this year. Even the smallest changes count, like thinking twice about what you eat and drink, and embracing healthy new foods that keep the weight off and help you feel great.

Photo by Sofi Bon Foster

Photo by Sofi Bon Foster

Recipe and photo by Sofi Bon Foster

Recipe and photo by Sofi Bon Foster

This leads us to the Silly Season, it’s called that for a reason! The Head of UFIT Nutrition’s Wendy Riddell shares with us her tips for staying relatively Clean & Lean over the holidays:

  1. Watch your drinks - go for wine (red or white) or spirits with soda water, and don’t bulk up over Christmas with beer and sherry. Champagne and cocktails also have lots of sugar in them and it's best to avoid those drinks if you can.
  2. Don’t overindulge on a daily basis, plan your events diary and don’t use Christmas as an excuse to go off the rails for the full 31 days. If you do get off the program get back on it the next day 
  3. Try using the phrase “I don’t eat/drink that” instead of “I can’t” and be strong by choosing what you want to have and not what's forced on you
  4. Load up on proteins and salads first, what's not to love about great turkey and ham combo or a fab bit of salmon! Then have some carbs if you have room. Start with the good stuff, not on the boring old bread sticks 
  5. Pick one dessert and own it! Don’t keep going back and trying everything till you feel nauseous, have that one special something and make it last 
  6. Enjoy the festive period! Don’t blow a whole year of gains on a week off excess, but in the same breath have some fun too
  7. Stay active with your fitness over the holidays - try to make time for it as much as you can.
  8. Remember to sign up for the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge 18 starting 13 January to get the new year off to an amazing start.
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Two successful UFIT Clean & Leaners share their story

Rob Hewitson

ROB lost a staggering 11.4kg AND 7.2% body fat in the last UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge AND TOLD US:  

“It’s been a great 4 weeks! The before and after photos are unbelievable! Really don’t want to go back there, especially as I thought I was in OK shape before!! Told you I was competitive …” 

He shared his experience with us some more:

1. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO THE CHALLENGE?

I am coming up to a significant birthday and having been over 100kg (always 108-110kg) for about 15 years, felt it was time to give it a proper go at getting into double figures and staying there!

2. HOW DID YOU FIND IT IN THE BEGINNING AND THE END?

In the beginning I felt very dizzy and lightheaded, plus exceptionally grumpy. I wasn't great to be around! I found it easy to maintain the food menus and exercise but I dreamt about beer and whisky … A LOT!

I found I lost a lot of weight in the first week then hit a plateau and it wasn’t until week 4 when I started to see the scales really change. It is worth sticking with it.

3. WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT AND EASIEST PART?

The hardest part was going out with work and not being able to join in with a drink. The easiest part was the food, especially the fry-ups every morning!

4. WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT SURPRISED YOU?

How much sugar I take in on a normal day without realising. I haven’t been under 100kg since I was 25 and I feel so much better for it. 

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5. WHERE WILL YOU TAKE YOUR CLEAN & LEAN KNOWLEDGE FROM HERE?

For me it's about having a better balance so keeping the Clean & Lean food options for most of the week with a couple of cheat meals. Food prep is also really important, as is always have Clean & Lean snacks in the fridge! 


SHVETA N.

SHVETA LOST 5.6% BODY FAT IN THE LAST UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGE. SHE SHARED WITH US: 

Educating people about nutrition is probably the most important thing that can save this world :-

Why she did the Challenge

"I have always had problems with my weight and my problem was a bit of both - laziness and weak willpower with food. I took various gym memberships but could never stick to them out of sheer boredom. One day I attended a group fitness class and I was hooked. The music, the energy all around got me going and I didn't realise 1 hour was up. I joined that community and though I didn't do much about food intake, I did see some progress.

And then last year in September 2016, we moved to Singapore and my entire schedule went hay-wire. We started eating out more and last month I realised I had gained 10 kgs. All the weight I had put off the year before that and some more. Finally I realised till I don't mend my relationship with food, whatever I do will always bounce back. UFIT's Clean & Lean challenge seemed like the perfect thing to join.

It was a group thing + the competition part was really motivating + I knew I could do it if only I had the right knowledge and awareness about the food I consume. 

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How did she find it?

At the beginning, I was super-motivated. The thought that the first week we only have to consume greens was a little un-nerving but it wasn't so difficult. Thanks to the amazing options all over the CBD, I learnt to make similar salads at home for dinner. It wasn't as hard as I had expected. I felt lighter but felt a mix of highs and lows (energy wise).

The Saturday sessions always made me look forward to the new additions in the plan and that's what kept me going. However, towards the end of the third week, somehow I started getting demotivated. Maybe I was expecting too much and started doubting myself. But I started cheating a little here and there. I wish I had stuck to my willpower and hadn't done that now. Even after C&L ended, I've been continuing with the same dinner options and I don't feel it's being forced on me. I enjoy having them which is the best thing for me. 

The most difficult and easiest part ...

The most difficult part was the weekends. When you're meeting friends, being social and saying no to everything. I had started dreading weekends if we had plans with someone. Making sensible choices was easier compared to constantly saying no to persistent friends. I can't seem to decide the easiest part of the challenge. I had started enjoying salads and dining outside, choosing the right places / foods to eat even when outside became easier and easier. Grocery shopping became easier and faster because you end up skipping most of the rows and only end up at the veggies / meat and frozen sections. 

What was the biggest surprise?

I was always a little aware about how harmful sugar is for our body but that knowledge was only limited to processed foods. The Saturday sessions were an eye-opener. The biggest thing that I learnt was that even a clean diet like C&L gives you so many food and flavour options that you actually can't get tired of it. 

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Next steps ...

I'm looking forward to eating the C&L way and making the right choices if eating outside. It all comes down to decision-making and I feel the last 4 weeks have given me a lot of knowledge and particularly the result has given me that belief that I just have to keep working hard in this direction to reach the fitness level I want to be in. I'll be focusing on making those right decisions. 

It's not to late to get into great shape for the forthcoming Silly Season!! The next UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge is running 28 October to 25 November - just in time for Christmas. Finish off your 2017 with a bang and sign up now here for Clean & Lean 17 !!

Say goodbye to sugar and hello to a Clean & Lean body

Since the low-fat food guidelines came in at the end of the 1970s, the amount of sugar in processed and commercially produced food increased hugely. The main reason for this is that when fat is removed from food it doesn’t taste, smell or look as appealling. So as an enhancement sugar was added to foods to make them more edible. Sugar is highly addictive, so products high in sugar sold well. In short the current generation is very addicted to sugar in comparison to our grandparents' generations. 

Sugar is a natural product, found in a variety of natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes and dairy products. Its benefit is that it breaks down quickly and supplies the brain and muscles with instant energy to function. However, too much sugar will cause us to gain weight. Studies show that the average person consumes around 22 teaspoons of sugar a day from food, snacks and drinks. This is about 3 to 4 times more than the recommended intake advised by the American Dietician Association.

The damage caused by consuming too much sugar over time is wide and does not stop on the scale. Much of the problem is due to the consumption of white sugar and the corn or fructose syrup added to our processed food and drinks. Even though it has been well known for many years that these products are damaging our health, the consumption of processed food and sweetened drinks keeps increasing.

Why should we limit our sugar consumption?

 

1. SUGAR CREATES FAT AROUND THE INTERNAL ORGANS

Sugar (sucrose) as well as corn syrup contain fructose. Consuming too much will create a burden on the liver, that has to convert fructose into glucose, which our cells use for energy. The excess fructose will be stored in the liver and around it as fat cells. Fatty liver is damaging the liver functionality and long term this might cause cirrhosis.

2. SUGAR CAUSES INSULIN RESISTANCE

Insulin is a hormone that regulates human metabolism. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas whenever we eat something that contains sugar. The Insulin hormone sends a signal to the cells that they should put transporters for glucose onto their surface, thereby allowing glucose to get into the cells where it can be used to generate energy. When we eat sugar, glucose levels rise and Insulin levels rapidly increase in order to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and into the cells.

However, when too much fat is accumulated, especially around our internal organs, our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. In response, the pancreas will secrete even more insulin in order to insert the glucose into the cells. The problem is that insulin has additional functionality. One is to send signals to our fat cells, telling them to pick up fat from the bloodstream, store it and to also signal the fat cells to avoid burning the fat stored in them. Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle, as it will generate more fatty cells and worsen the cell’s resistance to insulin.

Because of the resistance to insulin, the glucose doesn't enter the cells properly and fat storage doesn't break down into energy as well and we feel lack of energy and hunger. As a result we eat more and gain more fat.

Consistent resistance to Insulin will lead eventually to Type 2 Diabetes.

3. SUGAR INCREASES OUR RISK TO SUFFER FROM TYPE 2 DIABETES

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar to be too high, and in time might damage other vital systems in the body. Type 2 diabetes is caused by combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, a diet high in sugar from any source contributes as well. Research has proven that drinking sugary/sweetened drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.

4. SUGAR MAY CAUSE OVEREATING

Studies show that excessive consumption of sugar damages the ability of our body to signal the brain that we are not hungry any more. The reason for that is that high levels of sugar in our bloodstream cause our brain to become intolerant to a hormone called Leptin. In a normal healthy situation, Leptin is secreted by fat cells when they become bigger. When the brain senses the increased Leptin levels, it signals to our body that we are full and we have enough fat stored for rainy days. When the brain develops resistance to Leptin, it doesn't get the message that the fat cells are full of fat. This situation leads to increased food intake and decreased fat burning.

5. SUGAR AFFECTS THE BLOOD LIPIDS

Blood lipids such as LDL and HDL cholesterol are markers of the biological processes that impact cardiovascular disease. When we think about the impact of food on blood lipids, dietary fat typically comes to mind. Yet a new study shows that dietary carbohydrate, specifically high-fructose corn syrup, can have a large impact on blood lipid markers of cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers noticed that "bad" cholesterol and triglyceride levels spiked in those people who consumed more sugar then others. One of the assumptions for this phenomenon is that the sugar damage to the liver, causing the liver to produce more cholesterol than needed.

6. SUGAR AFFECTS THE HEART

Excessive consumption of sugar increases the blood lipids in the arteries, which raises blood pressure and increases the chance of having a heart attack or stroke. In fact, 65% of the people suffering from unbalanced type 2 diabetes, die from heart attack or stroke.

7. SUGAR AFFECTS ALZHEIMER DISEASE

New study proves that there is strong correlation between high consumption of sugar and the increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The study shows how the decreased ability to produce energy from glucose has negatively affected brain metabolism and created damage to the brain neurons. It has been referred to and named as "brain diabetes".

8. SUGAR IS ADDICTIVE

Sugar affects the brain in a similar way to drugs such as opiates, alcohol and other legal and illegal drugs. It affects the pleasure centre of the brain by increasing the serotonin, dopamine and endorphin levels. As a result, the body develops tolerance to glucose in the same way it does for other drugs. In time, in order to feel good, we will need more of the sugar. Studies conducted on rats showed serious withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and tremor when the rats were banned from sugar. No wonder so many of us find it so hard to reduces the intake of sugar in our daily diet.

9. SUGAR MAKE YOU TIRED

Sugar makes you more alert and energetic for a short period of time. However, this energy does not last for longer than 30 minutes. Thereafter the energy level drops significantly and you feel exhausted and drained, this is referred as ‘sugar rollercoaster’.

10. SUGAR DAMAGES THE SKIN

Sugar cause insulin levels to spike, which leads to a burst of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the broken collagen through a process known as glycation. The result is sagging skin, wrinkles and higher sensitivity to the sun. Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. 

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU REDUCE SUGAR

The UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge is based around the premise of cleansing your body of sugars and reducing carbohydrates - under the controlled guidance of our nutritionist Wendy Riddell - and re-introducing limited healthy sugars at the right time, whilst getting nourishment from a balanced diet of healthy fats, proteins and vegetables. 

Whether you are new to the Challenge or have done it before - the benefits of stripping sugars and eating Clean & Lean are endless:

  • Reduced body fat

  • Reduced weight

  • More energy

  • Clearer skin

  • Brighter whiter eyes

  • Reduced cholesterol

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Increase training health

  • Zero blood sugar crashes

  • Reduced hunger & cravings

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And even better - with the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge you're not alone. You get the expert guidance of Wendy Riddell, a supportive community of others sharing the same experience, an online community to meet and get inspired by, and an e-cookbook with delicious healthy recipes to try. And - the excitement of knowing you are giving your body the love and attention it deserves. 

Sign up here for the next Challenge starting 13 January 2018. 

Oh sugar! How cauliflower became our third best friend with UFIT's Clean & Lean Challenge

Our amazing dynamic duo Mike Thornton and Trine Kaehler took on the Clean & Lean Challenge in January as a couple to give each other the motivation to stick to the program and avoid any temptations. Hear more about their journey of the four weeks right here. 

 Why UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge?

For both of us, coming off the back of a strong festive season, neither was happy with how we looked in the mirror and we knew it was time to make a change. Mike had undertaken the first C&L challenge back in 2013 and achieved good results so we thought it would be a fun challenge to do by starting off 2017 in the right way and also allowing us to spend more time together in an otherwise busy working schedule. Both of us had our goals in mind however achieving them would take serious commitment!

Week 1: Oh Sugar!

After the first seminar (which are excellent and very informative) and with the same excitement as a kid on their last day of school, we rushed to place a food order containing all the ingredients on the approved menu. Lunch was already planned out, as we are both working full time, Trine would get a salad from the closest Salad Stop every day and myself lunch from The Daily Cut. The tough part was making a food plan for the week (breakfast and dinner) and think out of our old routine. Eggs and cauliflower became our best friend – cauliflower bread, cauliflower fried rice, steamed cauliflower, roasted cauliflower (you name it). We both experienced dips in the first week due to the sugar withdrawal from our diets, Trine’s was immediate while mine (Mike’s) took some time to work in before crashing hard after a 5 a-side football game. Nevertheless, we powered through with the support of the C&L Facebook group. In week 1 we found out how much sugar we had actually been eating before and that there is a massive amount of meals you can make with limited ingredients

Week 2: Carrot-Gate

With the hardest part, over, we looked forward to the reintroduction of new items to the food menu for Week 2. Without giving away too much information, the reintroduction of carrots to the diet made life much easier…it really is the little things! We noticed that Trine was definitely experiencing a pop in energy in the mornings while myself…. well let’s just say on the 5th alarm I at least acknowledged it. We had both been pushing hard in the first half of the C&L, Trine with her Yoga and PT classes (thanks Wendy!) and myself with lunch time workouts and football. By the end of Week 2 we started to see the first signs of changes to our bodies which was exciting and gave us the motivation to keep going.

Week 3: It’s a complex situation, don’t lose your nut!

After pushing so hard in the first 14 days of the challenge it was inevitable that we would reach a burn out / plateau period at some point in the challenge and for both of us, this was week 3. We found ourselves sticking mainly to the Week 1 and 2 diet plan mainly due to our attempts at adding Week 3 foods into our diet plan had made portion control difficult, something Trine is much better at controlling than myself. Nevertheless, on the workout front we continued to do what we could when we could, a highlight of our days being our evening walks around Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay which kept the clock ticking over while allowing us to clear our minds, evaluate on the day and to discuss what to cook for the next day…. Planning is the key to make C&L a success!

Week 4: Cross the finish line and say cheese!

The final week saw both of us making a big push for the finish line with the intensity of our daily workouts ramped up as the date of our weight out came closer. The introduction of cheese in week four had severely thrown a spanner in the works however apart from a homemade pizza utilising cauliflower crust (this challenge is impossible without cauliflower!!) we did our best to stay away from our favourite snack.

The Weigh Out

Saturday, 11th February, 8:30AM – D-DAY. With the standard “good luck” comments out of the way in our own time we stepped onto the scales…

Trines results:
Weight: 2.6kg
Body Fat: 5.9%

Mikes results:
Weight: 7.4kg
Body Fat: 4.7%

 

Should you do C&L?

That is a question you are probably asking yourself right now, in short, it depends very much on what you are looking to get out of a four-week diet plan. In our opinion the best way to approach it is to view the C&L as the kick start you need to change your lifestyle habits and not simply as an isolated course, this helps you to keep on the straight and narrow when times are tough. Yes, you will experience headaches, tiredness, nausea and dizziness (am I still selling it to you?) from time to time but once you battle through these short-term difficulties the change to your diet and lifestyle will provide huge upside potential. It doesn’t matter if you are 28 or 58 years old, 50kg or 130kg, each person is on this challenge for their own reasons and the coming together of complete strangers into a supportive community network where you make new friends and change for the positive is worth the admission cost alone.

A huge thank you from both of us to Wendy, Noa and the rest of the UFIT Clean and Lean brigade, these guys put in a HUGE amount of work over the four week period to provide support, assistance and in general “feel good vibes” to everyone on the journey in addition to their already busy lives and it simply would not have been the same without them.

Now, if you are still reading this; get online, get signed up and best of luck in your own C&L challenge – we look forward to reading the next persons story.

Mike & Trine


UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGE

The 2017 Clean & Lean sessions are happening on March 11 – April 8 (4 weeks), May 20 – June 17 (4 weeks), September 2 – 30 (4 weeks), November 4 – 25 (4 weeks).

UFIT is Singapore’s largest independent fitness community that offers a 360 approach to health and fitness island wide. For more information, visit our website.