Are you thinking about enrolling on the IQS8W Program?
Curious to know what’s included, what works and if the program is a good fit for you?
Here I lay out a comprehensive I Quit Sugar review, specifically the 8 week online programme.
I'll share my own experience from when I did it; what the benefits are of this particular sugar detox programme and outline what considerations you need to make before signing up.
The rise of the sugar detox
So I think it’s fair to say sugar detox programmes are on the up!
Now that sugar is well known for being dietary culprit No. 1 and it's ill effects are understood, understandably many people are wanting to significantly reduce the amount they’re eating - quickly and with some sort of guidance.
Once you have that penny drop realisation that you’re eating a heck of a lot more sugar that you thought and you know your sweet tooth is playing on you in less desirable ways, you start looking at your options.
About the I Quit Sugar 8W Programme
The I Quit Sugar online programme provides an answer to these and came off the back of Sarah Wilson’s hugely successful I Quit Sugar & I Quit Sugar Cookbooks.
I have followed Sarah and I Quit Sugar for nearly 4 years now and their work is fantastic. It educates, inspires and champions lower sugar living in a non dogmatic approach. I’m a huge, huge fan having most of the books and cooking many of the recipes regularly.
The online programme gives you full meal plans, recipes, e-mail support and community via a forum and social media.
What are my loves?
- Practical recipes & meal plans
- Organisational tips
- E-mail information
- Social media community
- Enough time to change habits
Recipes & meal plans
Quite frankly, the simple, delicious IQS recipes are everyday easy and busy-fitting. You get exclusive access to 93 recipes that aren’t on the free blog website and each week your recipes are cleverly organised into a food waste optimised meal plan and shopping list. If you value your time and want the hassle taken out of healthy meal planning or want a new injection of recipe ideas, this is a huge benefit.
The programme encourages you to have a Sunday cook up preparation session where you make things like pureed pumpkin mash or prepare your eggs so that you save food prep time in the week.
I learnt a ton of new things via this part of the programme that I still do today.
Even if you don’t follow the meal plans exactly (I tend not to do this), but you use the programme to learn and test out all the new healthy organisation tips, this is of great value to someone who is quite new into cooking lots of sugar-free meals at home and just needs to get a bit more organised.
The weekly e-mails keep you engaged with much wider information on tips to reduce cravings, theories on changing habits and some great background reading to get you nicely up to sugar speed.
Social media community
Whilst they have a very active forum, I actually think the social media community is the most valuable whilst on the programme. It’s super easy to search the #IQS8WP hashtag and engage with everyone else who is preparing and eating the same dinner as you. It incentivises you to make an effort with food presentation which makes you enjoy the food more and it’s super fun to have a programme so interactive.
Enough time to change habits
I really love that the IQS8WP is a full 8 weeks long. This is super important where it moves away from a quick fix diet and really helps you transition into a low sugar lifestyle. The programme takes you through a few weeks where fruit is limited but then re-introduces this in the last few weeks as it does with rice malt syrup (the sugar substitute of choice).
As far as it exists as a ‘sugar detox’ programme (I will explain my views on this later), I really do feel like the IQS team have it covered.
Only slight improvements that could be made that I have come across reading other reviews could be the fact it’s not as couple or family friendly or low income adapted where it requires you to cook in bulk and have access to a lot of freezer space. But I think if anything learning the techniques will actually help you save money in the long run.
Obviously the programme doesn't deep dive as much into mindset, emotional eating and binge eating which can all be important factors in a successful transition. I don't think they can include everything though and I think IQS is wise just sticking to doing the programme as well as they do.
My experience on the programme
I actually did the programme when it first came out back in 2013 and each round they improve so I know it's way more advanced for these current rounds.
I wasn’t coming into it a huge sugar fiend as I had already lowered the sugar in my diet and previously had completed the same format through Sarah’s original I Quit Sugar book.
However, I was keen to get the extra recipes, learn new organisational tips and inject some new inspiration for planning out my meals. I saw it as a bit of a refresher and obviously I was curious too!
Things to consider before signing up
This is IMPORTANT! :)
Before deciding to enrol on the IQS8WP it’s worth you really understanding the nature of your own relationship with sugar and exactly where you are.
I say this because I’ve seen first hand that a programme like this can work absolute wonders for some and do the opposite to others. The IQS programme delivers amazing value but only if you’re at the right place for it.
Things to note are:
- It is a diet
- It will make you think about food more (and assign attention bandwidth to it)
- It somewhat removes your inclination to intuitively eat for yourself
- It can excaberate all or nothing mindset patterns or binge eating behaviour
Although touted as a lifestyle, the actual 8 weeks are putting restrictions and eliciting a form of control over what you eat - so it is a diet.
However that doesn't mean to say you can't transition what you learn into a lifestyle afterwards - and many do. It's just accepting initially that this is a diet and understanding the implications of that.
Like with any diet, you will on a day to day basis become more conscious of what you eat. You are likely to think about food more, even think about sugar more (very likely at the start) and naturally assign your attention to eating according to the plan and rules rather than what feels more intuitively right for you and your body/hunger that day.
This can be a good thing if you were previously unaware of sugar; your bad habits or sweet cravings were getting the better of you; and you know a bit of structure will get you into a healthy gear and teach you loads about yourself.
I personally embrace a intuitive eating and a long term no-diet approach, but for sugar with it's certain 'addictive' qualities, I fully appreciate the value in a structured programme (or sugar detox) to help someone tame down their cravings and recalibrate their sweet tastebuds for a period of time.
If I didn't believe this, I wouldn't be reviewing this programme!
HOWEVER, a sugar detox is not so good if you’ve been on loads of diets before (especially sugar related ones); you have strong all or nothing mindset patterns; and you judge yourself heavily if you don’t stick to things.
If you recognise any form of binge pattern behaviour in yourself, I ask you take some serious consideration on your motivations before enrolling.
A great idea would be to take my Sugar Addiction Quiz and Test to help you get a handle of what’s really going on and if you’re still not sure about the IQS8WP and if it’s right for you right now then just drop me an e-mail.
Is it worth the £80 (or $150)?
This is down to you, your income level, your current ‘improvement’ priorities and what you value e.g. accountability, creative meal plans etc.
The IQS8WP is pricer than a standard sugar detox programme - you can of course always get the book to DIY it, or find another cheaper programme (although most are a lot shorter).
But if you know you will find significant value in the fact it’s 8 weeks, the community aspect, the organisation-optimised meal plans and the weekly structure, it’s probably is worth the money (relative income level depending).
It’s great if you can look at what you spend elsewhere and make a budget reallocation e.g. cut one night of drinking wine, stop the PM cake run and give up a clothes shopping trip for a month or two. Calculate how much you spend on chocolate in 8 weeks and it might even cover it!
I’ve recently decided I want to do more yoga in London (read EXPENSIVE!) so I’m trying to work out a wine-yoga trade off that I’m happy with so that I can make this happen a bit more (note, I’m by no means trading all the wine...just cutting out a little excess!).
I’ve also just had an ex-client e-mail me to say his blood tests have all dramatically in the past year since his sugar change and he’s reduced his risk of serious liver disease and gout significantly.
An investment in your health like this can pay off more than you even anticipate and help you be a healthier happier Mum, friend, employee etc. for years to come.
So there you have it, my review of the queen of all sugar detoxes - the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program.
To round up, really understand the unique value points of the the IQS8WP - the community, the organisational element and the length of support - and weigh this up with what you’re looking for.
Make sure you consider your current relationship with food and sugar before you enrol. The programme and quality of material in my opinion is nothing short of excellent and it will only be ineffective if you’re not in the right place for it.
Please do my quiz and test and if you're still not sure comment below.
The next round starts on the 9th June 2016 and registrations close on the 7th June.
If you do enrol, GOOD LUCK - I’d love you to keep in touch and let me know how you go!
Note: I am a proud IQS affiliate and do get a kickback if you enrol via one of my links (thanks if you do!). I only share stuff of great value and share my honest opinion to help you make the best choices for YOU. As I said, feel free to e-mail me if you’re feeling super stuck on if to go for it!