1. almost a year of doing no exercise bar the sporadic (read three) 5km run;
2. three years of being on the (ahem slightly older) side of 30;
3. too much indulgence (mostly Marks and Spencer chocolate covered popcorn and chilli oil covered pizza both of which are my Achilles heel); and
4. a recent summer holiday that involved a little too much bon viveur (copious amounts of… deep breath… G&Ts, allioli, white baguette, chorizo, cheese, pizza (aargh pizza again)…),
I tried to fit into a work dress I hadn’t worn for a while.
And then another.
But none of them fitted me.
I was baffled. What happened to make them all shrink? I wondered puzzled. Maybe I have a wardrobe that shrinks clothes?
Despite them being dry clean only, I wondered if they had ALL have shrunk in the wash?
It was time to get my head out of the sand. I knew it was time for action. I took a deep breath and my slightly girthier stomach sank.
I very, very rarely get on the scales. I just don’t like them and I know exactly why Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, calls them the sad step. If you don’t know who this homme du jour and all round cheeky, chipper chappie is then you’ve been living in a cave. He promises to get you lean in 90 days – no diet, no gym and not that much exercise. But I needed a short, sharp irrefutable shock and gee whizz did I get it. I promptly had the most adult reaction I could think of, I put myself straight to bed and refused to speak to M (like it was somehow his fault).
It was 7pm on a Saturday night.
A few months earlier M had bought The Body Coach’s SSS plan for himself at a cost of £147. We had dipped into some of the recipes but had never taken it seriously. The wedge of paper just sat on a shelf occasionally coming onto our radars.
However, after that Saturday I instructed that we would be starting Monday. The very next day. M wasn’t being left off the hook – it’s a tough household ours. That and he never cooks so he’s eating what he’s given anyway! Enough was enough. It was time for a lifestyle overhaul.
You might be familiar with the principles of the Body Coach but, if not, here is a link to his site.
It’s a 90 day plan. I cajoled myself into it, just as I am now cajoling myself through it. I spent six months training for a marathon. I can do 90 days. And do you know what? Bizarrely, and not to tempt fate, I can. I find that if I get to the point where I really can’t tolerate something any more, when am really fed up with something, then I will make a change and go cold turkey. It’s instances like these when my stubborn streak comes in really handy! The plan fits perfectly into the period before we go on our winter holiday to Cornwall so I’ve got a goal too.
The 90 days are broken down into three cycles of 90 days: Shred, Shape, Sustain. They are short enough so I don’t get bored. The last two weeks have gone by in a flash and I am now halfway through cycle one: Shred.
Out went the alcohol, pizza, pasta, bread, chocolate, biscuits, processed food and caffeine.
In came meticulously weighed out meals filled with protein (so much protein) and good fats and then some carbs (but only carbs following a HIIT session).
In came five High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions a week (get yourself on YouTube). Twenty seconds flat out exercise followed by 10 second recovery then repeat again and again and again… I do it in the dining room – as Joe says, no equipment, no excuses. It can be incredibly tough – it’s not like a Rosemary Conley work out video from the nineties. My dog looks at me like I’m crazy when I’m doing my burpees and mountain climbers. God forbid anyone can see over the garden fence and into the dining room. I can tell by my reflection in the patio doors that I am nothing if not ungraceful. It would be a mortifying sight to behold.
But it’s working.
Now I have a little confession at this point. I don’t have my own plan. I share M’s. As there are lots of foods M can’t eat, largely centring around nuts, lentils, chickpeas and beans (all of which he is allergic to), I use his plan and cut the portion size by 20% for me. I honestly just don’t have the time to cook us both separate meals. I do the cooking, M does the tidying up around me as I’m cooking – he is nothing if not overly efficient removing my utensils out of my hand whilst I’m still stirring, peeling or chopping….
Nevertheless, 15 days in I’m 4lbs down (naughty me weighing myself when I shouldn’t) and my skirt is looser around my waist.
What I’m learning
· Also, bizarrely (and super surprisingly) I’ve found it easy to say no to alcohol and no to all the other good stuff. I am a girl on a mission or rather I am still saturated from the summer.
· It’s easier because M is doing it too.
· There’s an insane amount of prep. I have to yet to quite adhere to the principle of cooking in big batches, I prefer to make each meal the day before so it’s fresher. I know I’m making life more difficult for myself this way but the thought of the same thing for days in a row makes my heart sink. I do however always “prep like a boss” the night before so I can just pick my Tupperware up out of the fridge, give my smoothie a whizz, and go in the morning. I think I’ve lost half of the weight just through walking around my kitchen.
· Sunday is the hardest day. I’ve been good all week and I feel like I deserve a reward. It’s dull being good all the time. But I’m saying no (95% of the time). Instead I am buying nice shampoos and candles to console myself.
· I LOVE looking at a good transformation pic (but I knew that already – I love a makeover show which essentially is what half of his Instagram account is).
· The food isn’t cheap but neither is buying a coffee and breakfast from Pret every day and a lunch from Itsu. And eating out twice a week.
· It’s best to start in a week when you don’t have any/many social engagements as eating out can be tricky.
In short, so far I feel lither, stronger, more mentally alert and my bank account is thanking me.
If you are going to buy anything I’d really recommend electronic scales because the recipes require things like 72g of avocado or 11ml of coconut oil. Just to be clear the 90 day programme is not the same recipes as the book – each plan is tailor made.
I’d also recommend a Nutribullet. The days I’m in London, I’m up far too early to stomach a feta and spinach omelette. It’s also far to early for the reduced carb oatmeal. I tried the latter at 6.30am but the portion is MASSIVE and that’s coming from a girl who loves a big portion! Instead I whizz up a raspberry, lime and avocado smoothie and take it to work (I use frozen raspberries – cheaper, last longer and they make the smoothies taste really fresh) in the handy travel cups that come with it. I also use it to whizz up the protein shakes that are part of the plan which actually, after a lot of huffing and puffing about them, I now quite enjoy.
Know the right carrot to dangle in front of you. Everyday that I complete successfully I put some money to the side and then I can but whatever indulgence I want at the end of 90 days. The more I work out the more I have to spend (hopefully on a new wardrobe)!
I’ll keep you posted with how I get on!
If you’ve got any hints/tips or are doing the same plan, I’d love to hear from you!