Here’s how I’ve just lost two stone – Hayley Matthews

I’ve just hit the two-stone weight-loss mark since switching to a high-fat low-carb lifestyle.

Saturday, 14th September 2019, 7:45 am
Hyaley has struggled with her sugar-free diet, but is feeling better for it. Picture: PA

Unable to have an MRI until I stop breastfeeding, the wait for an arthritic diagnosis was getting me down. I needed to know what was causing this pain and I think I’ve found the answer – sugar!

However, if I’m honest I was really struggling to give up sugar. I needed some help so I turned to Sarah Aguilar who runs

Originally set up to source products for her husband who had been ­diagnosed with adult epilepsy, they found it hard to find information and products for the ketogenic diet on which her husband is thriving. She has been a fountain of knowledge for me and I’m now coining her ‘sugar-free Sara’ as I am forever grateful for her advice and recommendations.

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So many of you have messaged me asking about keto, what I’ve been eating, how I feel on it etc, I thought I’d share some of Sara’s good advice because it can be tough. However, if you’re in pain it’s worth the lifestyle change.

Our modern diet is so abundant in processed sugars and carbohydrates, that our metabolisms have become glucose dependent and it’s making us ill! You just need to spend an hour watching The Magic Pill on Netflix showing doctors, scientists and chefs around the globe combat illness with dietary changes, believing fat should be embraced as a source of fuel.

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Apparently, arthritis is quite strongly linked to inflammation, which is exacerbated by sugar, gluten, grains, dairy etc (all the stuff that tastes great), so for me it was something I had to do. Sarah advises that we can alleviate joint inflammation by removing sugar, especially processed sugar, from our diet so she switched me on to erythritol – a sugar alcohol that does not impact blood sugar levels. It’s a gut-friendly sweetener and tastes really good.

Next step was collagen with vitamin C – she advised a chocolate orange powder with vitamin C, delicious blended with almond or coconut milk, just like a chocolate milkshake! She told me how vitamin C increases collagen synthesis which my crunchy, grinding knees have been thanking me for. I found that with the lack of carbs I was drinking a lot of water. Apparently we lose a lot of water weight first, so it’s really important to take electrolytes and salt. I picked up some in Holland and Barrett, but Sarah put me on Quinton isotonic electrolytes and minerals to replenish electrolytes and ease the joint pain. I’ve heard nutritionists raving about these for years and I can understand why they are important.

MCT oil was also something Sara added in and, with the combination of the above, I’ve been able to tackle my sugar addiction a lot more easily.

I still have bad days when you’ll catch me dreaming about having a Mini Magnum after tea but my ­eating habits have changed massively over the past few months. Sara has really hit on something and it’s great to see her doing so well. She’s even launched another site – – to help people gain more energy with a few changes. So, if you’re thinking of going sugar-free, she’s at [email protected] (sorry Sara, your email may explode!).

If there’s one bit of advice that I’ve found really easy to put in place, it’s go for real foods, such as unwrapped vegetables, unprocessed meat and fish. If the food package states ‘Heart Healthy’ or ‘Low Fat’, I leave it on the shelf because I’ve found this usually indicates it is full of sugar or artificial ingredients. So, to those of you with painful joints and inflammation, I dare you – give up the sugar for a month and you’ll be running about like Usain Bolt!