Mum-of-3 embarked on a sugar detox and lost 38kg!

Mum-of-three Gemma Corey has embarked on a sugar detox using The Healthy Mummy's 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
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Mum-of-three Gemma Corey set out to do a sugar detox using The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

Astonishingly, the 42-year-old Brisbane resident has managed to lose 38kg in three years by following The Healthy Mummy and quitting sugar with our Sugar Detox.

Incredibly, she’s dropped from 98kg to 63kg and gone from a size 18-20 to a size 8 during her 3 years with The Healthy Mummy. What an amazing achievement!

“Sugar has always been a huge issue for me! I had always relied on sweet treats to help me through stressful situations and give me the energy to make it through the day,” she says.

“Just prior to starting The Healthy Mummy, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition which affects the pain receptors in my brain so that I ‘feel’ chronic pain.

“My specialist recommended weight loss, but cautioned against any restrictive diets. She suggested I stick to a diet which reduced refined sugars and processed foods, which was the majority of my diet at that time.”

Gemma shared with our community this is what “just 6kg” weight loss looks like…

“I am a slooow loser – like 3 years to lose 38kg slow. So losing up to 500g a week is actually achievable for me.

I know some of you are in the same boat and might be questioning whether Healthy Mummy is worth trying.

Heading into the new 12 week challenge, you may be wondering whether only losing 6kg is worth it? I wanted to show you what that “only 6kg” CAN look like!!! And for me – this comparison shows me that it IS worth it!!!”

You can also download our FREE Sugar Detox Recipe Sampler From 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge here.

How Gemma discovered The Healthy Mummy’s Sugar Detox

Gemma discovered The Healthy Mummy via Facebook and signed up to some of the free ebooks you can download from the site.

“I saw that they were recommending a higher target calorie meal plan of at least 1,500 per day. I had always struggled on a 1,200 calorie per day diet. I would stick with it for a couple of months and then regain all the weight back again in a vicious cycle that lasted close to a decade,” she says.

“I also saw that The Healthy Mummy ‘allowed’ desserts, but ones that were lower sugar, or made in sugar alternatives! This looked perfect for me!”

2016 vs 2023 Christmas photos!

‘There’s a BIG difference between these two photos! Not just on the outside but on the inside too!

In my before I felt like I was just surviving. I was angry that I couldn’t just “lose” the baby weight! I felt exhausted all the time. I tried every fad and diet but it all felt so hard. I just wanted to be a happy, healthy mum!

Fast forward to 7 years later – you KNOW I still don’t have it all together all the time. But with Healthy Mummy I have learned how to carve out time for my at home workouts to keep active.

I have learned how to prep healthy meals and snacks so I can stay on track eveN during this festive season. I have also found a community of motivational women who share their journey with courage and inspire me daily to keep going!!!”

From 98kg down to 63kg and from a size 18-20 down to a size 8.

I have also gone from having a wardrobe full of clothes but fitting into NOTHING but a single pair of over stretched stretchy pants and baggy tops. I now have a wardrobe filled with clothes that fit but also make me feel comfortable and happy.

It took almost 3 years for me to reach my goal weight – but that required me to break years of unhealthy habits (emotional binge eating and an all or nothing attitude). But Healthy Mummy showed me that consistency and moderation were the keys to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

How Gemma was able to quit sugar and lose weight

Consuming too much sugar can have a HUGE impact on your energy, sleeping, overall general health as well as your ability to lose weight (especially from the stomach area).

But reducing your sugar intake can have a dramatic impact, as Gemma knows!

Plus, too much sugar can increase your chance of health issues and diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dental cavities, so it’s a no-brainer that reducing your daily intake will help you have a healthier lifestyle.

This is why The Healthy Mummy has put together a SUGAR DETOX pack to give you the tools you need to help detox from sugar.

“I always follow the Sugar Detox when it is the theme of The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge. I love finding new recipes which are lower in sugar or use sugar alternatives to add to my favourites,” says Gemma.

“I love these challenges because they are more of a gentle detox, which really limits the initial side effects that I ordinarily suffer when I completely remove sugar from my diet. Personally, a sugar detox reduces my brain fog and I am able to cope with stressful situations better!

“I also find it helps me get more restful sleep, which is important as a mum to a toddler! I suffer from fibromyalgia and I find that it is triggered by eating too much refined sugar.

“So doing a detox ensures that I don’t suffer from any flares throughout the month! These impact my ability to train and workout so it’s nice not to be forced to take it easy and I can just go for it!

“I also find myself enjoying different varieties of fruits because these are allowed on the sugar detox and are often my main ‘sweet’ fix!”

How Gemma has more energy since losing weight

Before finding The Healthy Mummy, Gemma admits she was lost. She suffered from chronic sleep deprivation, undiagnosed postnatal anxiety as well as PCOS, hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia.

“Once I get past those first few days without sugar, which can be very hard, I honestly feel amazing! My energy levels increase and I feel more focused and alert,” she says.

“As a working mum, I can handle the many obstacles that are thrown at me daily in a calmer manner. I also find that cutting back on sugar reduces my bloating and digestive issues. It is such a simple change – but makes a massive difference to my health and well-being!”

Low refined sugar and moderation is the key for Gemma

As a person who has tried a huge number of fad diets, Gemma says she doesn’t believe in cutting out whole food groups. This can happen when you are cutting out sugar (including foods that are naturally high in sugar).

“Enjoying everything in moderation really works for me and helps make it easier for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she admits.

“There is something about knowing I ‘can’t’ eat something (even for a short amount of time) that makes me want to eat it even more. And then I tend to overindulge when I let myself enjoy it again!

“However, reducing my intake of refined sugars has definitely helped me on my weight loss journey! I have gone from relying on family blocks of chocolate to give me the energy just to make it through the day – to boosting my energy levels with nutritious foods and workouts.”

Even Gemma’s kids join her on the Sugar Detox Challenge 

Gemma, who is a legal professional, says she lets her kids know they will be trialling some new Healthy Mummy snacks when she is doing a Sugar Detox.

“My kids are eating less sugar in The Healthy Mummy muffins and bars that I make for their school lunchboxes. Which again, has a lot less sugar than ready-made packaged snacks.

“During these Sugar Detox challenges I am often enjoying more homemade dips with crackers and veggie sticks and a variety of fruit for snacks.

“So I lead by example and they see me eating more of those foods. Often, they will ask for the same snacks that they see me eating! Which is a win because I am not having to force it on them – they are choosing to do it!”

The changes Gemma made to help her lose weight

This lovely mum has also reduced the amount of takeaway she would eat, increasing her water intake and incorporating the healthy meals in the Challenge plan as well as drinking The Healthy Mummy smoothies.

“I would also do a gentle 30 mins walk a few times each week.  As I started to lose weight and increase my fitness, I tried some of the workouts in The Healthy Mummy app,” she says.

“By sticking to my target calories and staying consistent with my app workouts, I lost 25kg in the first 12 months.

“Then, I took a mini detour for 12 months to have our third baby. It was my first Healthy Mummy pregnancy. I simply followed the pregnancy meal plans and workouts in the app. At 41, it was my healthiest and lowest medical risk pregnancy yet!”

Reaching her goals

Incredibly, in the last 12 months, Gemma has exceeded all of the goals she has set!

“My BMI for my height and waist measurement were finally in the healthy range. I lost the last 10kg (and even more!) taking my weight loss now to a total of 38kg,” she says.

“I have started running again for the first time in over a decade. I have found a renewed energy and joy that had gone missing from my life. 

“Right now, I am living my best life, enjoying being more active while still indulging in chocolate, pizza, burgers and pasta, just healthier versions! I love my healthier lifestyle and being a good role model for my family.”

Gemma’s top 3 tips for staying on track

  1. Just START! Stop waiting for that perfect day, week, month or time. It doesn’t exist! You don’t have to be perfect – but you do need to start! 
  2. Do what you can with what you have! Use up your pantry staples like white flours/pasta/sugar first. Then buy the healthier substitutes when they run out. This will save you money and reduce waste.
  3. Repeat meals and snack as much as you need to so you can cut down on your meal prep and stay on budget.

Gemma’s day on a plate:

Breakfast: Healthy Mummy smoothie 

Morning Snack: Healthy Taco Quiche Boats and Apple and Popcorn Snack 

Lunch: Tuna & Green Bean Salad

Afternoon Snack: High Protein Snack Bar Cookies and Cream

Dinner: Schnitzels with Veggies and Gravy

Evening Snack: Healthy Mummy Protein Custard Chocolate with Blueberries  

You can find all these recipes plus similar ones on The Healthy Mummy app.

Side effects of having too much sugar

Our Healthy Mummy meal plans are about getting a good variety of whole foods into each day. We don’t cut out whole categories of food; instead we prefer to find the healthier alternatives.

Sugar provides our bodies with energy but it’s the types of sugar we choose and how much we eat that can potentially lead to poor health and long term issues.

We need to choose the healthier types of sugar and reduce our overall consumption to avoid it being “bad” for us.

Why start a sugar detox?

Understanding these key sugar facts will help you to make better choices to help you reach your weight loss goals…

1. Sugars can be simple or complex

Sugars belong to one of two groups – simple or complex sugars. Simple sugars, including glucose and fructose, cause a fast spike in our blood sugar levels, and these are the ones we should try to reduce to improve our health.

2. Complex sugars take longer to break down

Complex sugars, like sucrose, maltose and lactose, take longer for the body to break down, therefore keeping blood sugar levels more stable, without the sugar “high” followed by an energy “crash.”

When including sugar in your diet, complex sugars are a
better choice.

3. Sugars can be sorted into two categories

These are free sugars and bound sugars.


4. Free sugars are any sugar that is added to a food, i.e. it isn’t part of the food’s natural state

Free sugars contain ‘empty calories’ as the calories or energy they provide contain only very low, if any, nutritional benefit.

Free sugars include processed fruit juices, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, glucose, brown sugar, white sugar etc.

5. Bound sugars are nutritionally better for you

Foods that contain ‘bound sugars’ are complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables. Fruits are a great way to add sweetness to your meals as they also provide nutritional benefits.

6. ‘Bound sugars’ often also contain fibre

This helps to slow down blood sugar absorption, making the energy you receive from these types of foods last longer.

Is there such thing as a healthy sugar option?

We all know that too much sugar is bad for you. But is there such thing as a “healthy” sugar option? And if so, what’s the best type?

What is the best sugar option?

White sugar

This type of sugar probably has the worst reputation. When sugarcane or sugar beet is refined, the moisture, minerals and compounds are removed, resulting in white refined sugar.

Brown sugar

So is brown sugar healthier? The short answer is no. Brown sugar is basically the same as white sugar except it contains molasses, which are the compounds removed during the refining process that give sugars their colour.

Coconut sugar

This variety of sugar is made from sap from the coconut plant. It has a lower GI (glycemic index) than other sugars, which means blood glucose levels will rise slower when the food is consumed, though the effect may differ depending on the person.

So even though coconut sugar has a lower GI, it is just as high in calories as regular sugar so it doesn’t make it much healthier.


Made from the nectar collected by bees, honey seems like a super healthy, natural option. But because it’s high in fructose which is sweeter than table sugar and has a moderate GI level, make sure you enjoy it in moderation.

How much sugar should I have?

The current recommendation from the World Health Organisation is to reduce “free sugar” intake to less
than 10% of a person’s total energy intake, adding that a further reduction to below 5 per cent would provide further health benefits.

“Free sugars” are defined as simple sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose, which are added to lots of processed foods, and are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

WHO recommends we try and reduce our intake to 5% to improve the health benefits even more. So with 1,500 calories per day this is approximately 20g of sugar or around 5 teaspoons.

On average

• For a 3-6 year old child this means anything from 2 and 1/2 teaspoons to 13 teaspoons of sugar per day.
• 7-12 year olds average 3 -19 teaspoons of sugar per day
• 13-18 year olds average 5 and 1⁄2 -14 teaspoons of sugar per day
• 19-70 year old men average 7-15 teaspoons of sugar per day
• 19-70 year old women average 5 and 1⁄2 -12 and 1⁄2 teaspoons of sugar per day

Finding out your own energy requirements is pretty easy (you can use the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App to work out your daily calorie requirements), then you can customise your ‘free sugar’ limits based on your own needs, and aim for a 5-10 per cent daily total.

The best sweet option for weight loss?

Cutting out sugar doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your desserts!

By cooking with fruit, you can add in extra nutrients that you wouldn’t get with regular sugar but the fructose means you can still get that sweet flavour. But with everything, moderation is key.

Fruit contains natural sugars, including sucrose, fructose and glucose and while fructose is harmful in large amounts, it’s VERY difficult to consume too much fructose from just fruit.

What we need to watch is our intake of free sugars. Though they include the same sugars found in fruit (fructose, glucose, sucrose), in free sugars, they have been removed from their natural source and can be found in all of those sugary treats like lollies and cakes we see on the supermarket shelves.

Eating fruit is also important because it contains a lot of nutrients and fibre, the latter of which is often absent in free sugars.

People who eat fruit and veggies regularly are less likely to develop conditions like heart disease and diabetes, yet only around 50 per cent of Aussies eat their two serves of fruit per day.

Aim to eat TWO serves of fruit per day and FIVE of vegetables every day as part of a balanced diet.

4 sugar free sweet treats for under 200 calories

Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – 128 calories

You won’t believe that these are actually healthy and only 128 cals! They are so indulgent and delicious, the whole family will love them. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer (if there ARE any leftovers!)

Get the recipe for Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups here

Choc Raspberry Volcano Cookies – 192 calories

These Choc Raspberry cookies are the perfect sweet treat. So you have them on hand for when cravings strike, make them in bulk and store cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 months, simply top with Jam when serving.

Get this recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Flourless Chocolate Cake – 200 calories

This flourless and sugar-free indulgent cake contains a mystery ingredient that’s full of fibre and protein! This show-stopping dessert won’t just satisfy your sugar cravings, it’ll keep you fuller for longer.

Get the recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake here

Mini Salted Caramel Cheesecakes – 119 calories

How amazing do these little gems look? At just 119 calories per cheesecake, they make the perfect dessert or sweet snack. Using Natvia’s salted caramel topping, you get that wonderful sweet-salty hit!

Get the recipe on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

Do a sugar detox with The Healthy Mummy

Reducing your sugar intake is a great place to begin your HEALTHY eating plan BUT it can be overwhelming on where to start!

So we have put together a SUGAR DETOX pack to give you the tools you need to help detox from sugar.

This pack will arm you with facts about sugar so you can make the right decisions and make healthy eating part of your everyday life.

Calculate your BMI here.

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