Fit Chat: Sweet Talkin' with Blake Williams
Sugar is a beastly substance, innit? And we're not just talking about the refined white sugar you might pop into your coffee once a day. Sugar is the champion of Hide & Seek and is lurking in a bunch of things we might not even think about as "sweet" (like beetroot and dairy!). Because sugar is so abundant in foods these days, particularly packaged food, it's super hard to quit - but if you're looking to dump the sweet tooth, check out Sarah Wilson's now infamous I Quit Sugar 8-week plan. I have the plan and the cook book and there are recipes that'll blow your mind. Her website is a great resource, too :) ANYWAY. Blake Williams is a hugely talented Perth local who has managed to eliminate most of the sugar from his diet without compromising his quality of life [read: without giving up vino]. Here's his story.
What do you do for a living?
I’m firstly a professional musician. I have been fronting bands and playing 3 – 5 shows a week for about 10 years now! Secondly, I’m a radio/TV presenter. I've hosted shows for MTV and you can catch me now on Perth’s mix94.5 most days. I love music!
Most people haven’t always followed a healthy fitness and nutrition regime. How did you get into living a healthier lifestyle, or was it part of your upbringing?
Most of my life, and mainly though music/radio, I’ve worked very late nights! It's often a 7am – 3am day on Fridays and Saturdays. Over time, you develop bad eating habits. For me it was about identifying how to manage my life with the times I had to work - when to prepare meals, and really, to take my health seriously!
My Dad, who for a while in his younger days was a fitness coach and boxer and easily the strongest man I know, had a heart attack not too long ago. That was a wake up call!
What/who made you decide to reduce the sugar in your diet?
I heard though a friend who had been overweight about the benefits of low to zero sugar intake. I jumped on Google and it all seemed pretty obvious! Sugar is the most addictive and life destroying white power on earth!
I ended up finding a doctor who would guide me though my reduction in sugar/carbs and increase in protein. I still see them every week.
How long have you been sugar free?
I’ve been pretty much sugar free for about 5 months. No fruit juice, soft drink, chocolate (well...maybe one or two!) etc. It’s been a pretty amazing process. I feel SO much better. Less lethargic, more energetic and I’ve dropped about 15 kilos...not a bad side effect!
What have you eliminated from your diet and what differences have you noticed?
For me it’s been about elimination of sugar and testing carbohydrates to see what effect they have on my body. Most pasta makes me feel bloated and I’ll gain about 1.3kg overnight. Potatoes have no effect on the way I feel or my weight. A very interesting learning process. I've mainly cut out soft drinks, chips, lollies, pastas, beer, rice and pretty much every fast food take away.
Do you get sugar cravings? If so, how do you tackle them?
I always have a few different packs of Atkins bars in the house [ed's note: Quest Bars are also a good option and some are sweetened with natural sweeteners - search for 'em on iHerb.com]. They work really well for the craving if you need it. I've also found very low sugar versions of other ‘bad’ foods! Zero sugar Peters ice-cream with strawberries is so yum and has ¼ of the sugar that you’d usually eat in a treat like that.
I love wine! But I’ve learnt that white wine has a truckload of sugar, so I’ve shifted to red, mainly shiraz (picked first so there's no sugar in the fermentation process). As time goes on though the cravings getless intense.
What do you do to relax and unwind?
I find that I’m always under pressure to perform in the jobs I have (on stage, on radio, MC’ing, etc) that relaxing has become SO important! I really savour turning off the phone, radio and jumping in the car with my partner and just driving. Picnic by the river. Or even just drive around and chat! I love finding a new album I’ve never heard and playing it from start to finish.
A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone that has helped you re-focus your mind?
Just take it one step at a time. Sounds so simple. But it’s the hardest thing to do! We all want to see results (diet, physicality, change of behaviour and success) but it comes gradually. As long as you're moving in the right direction, it's all good.
Name three things that make you happy.
1. My puppy
2. Sunday afternoons in the sun with a wine and knowing I’ve got Monday off!
3. Impromptu movie dates
Name three health/food/fitness/wellness products you’ve been diggin’ lately.
1. Atkins bars!
2. Home made spaghetti with zero carb pasta! (tastes surprisingly ok! Haha)
3. Pepperjack Shiraz (quite possibly not a health food?....) [ed's note: I love this Shiraz!! Annie's Lane Shiraz is also a great quality mid-range drop]
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Pizza is still my weakness!!
Blake is a Perth musician (check out his band here) and commercial radio announcer for mix94.5. He tries to enjoy the simple things in life; reading, playing music and drinking wine. It’s all about balance.