Like many brides to be, I went through a last minute phase of…OH MY GOD, I need to shred some serious poundage before I fit into that stunning gown. My muffin top had turned into a cake shelf over Christmas and my wedding was looming!
Now, before you think that this is a story of how I turned my life around in 3 months and had the body and the confidence I wanted for my wedding – wrong! I, like so many others, left it too late and only got to a place where I was ‘satisfied’ that I look ‘good enough’ on my wedding day. Hey, I had the most amazing day, my pictures are RIDICULOUS (in the good way) and I wouldn’t have changed a minute.
My story is, like so many women, the journey AFTER the wedding. You know which journey I mean – the one when you finish off the wedding cake, have a 2 week all inclusive honeymoon with food, drink, food and more food…and then you’re so happy with life you let yourself get back to the unhappy state you were in before your Big Day. Error…
Diet: First of all, I hate that word. We’re so obsessed with the word ‘diet’ and I now prefer to refer to the culinary and gastronomic habits in my life an ‘eating plan’. I find this term has more longevity – it is after all a marathon and most certainly not a sprint.
My eating plan is based on Tim Ferris’ slow carb diet from his internationally acclaimed book, The 4 Hour Body. It is a combination of high protein, low carb, repetition, low sugar and no lactose. It steers clear of processed foods, hormone rich lactose that affect your bodies ability to digest, sugary foods including fruit and of course foods dense with carbohydrates means your body turns from the carbs that it is so used to getting it’s instant energy from and takes it from the protein which is slow release and doesn’t give you that instant sugar spike that is a problem when it comes to losing fat.
I’m not going to lie and say it’s the most exciting and diverse eating plan – you are allowed things such as red meat, lots of fish, a selection of veggies including asparagus and 1 glass of red wine a day (you will probably need it to start with until you become accustomed to your new regime!) But what about breakfast I hear you ask? No fruit, milk, bread, porridge, yoghurt….whatever will I do?! Well, you’re about to get a stomach of iron and really test that gag reflex – peas and turkey for breakfast anyone?! Yes I’m serious. Veggies, legumes and meat/egg whites stretch as early as breakfast time too and if that’s not an adjustment enough, make sure you get those greens down within half an hour of waking up to really get your metabolism going!
A massive part of the ‘change’ that you need to go through is to start seeing food as what it is – fuel. It doesn’t necessarily need to be your favourite meal or taste amazing. It needs to get the job done and after 2 or 6 or 12 months of your entire life, when you look INSANE and feel $1 million bucks, then you can start to change things up should you feel the need.
PS – did I mention you get one cheat day a week? It’s usually a Sunday for me when I sit and indulge in cake, crisps, chocolate, pizza and whatever else I want! I should mention that a handful of raisins nowadays makes me feel like my head is going to explode because of the sugar so don’t expect to feel amazing after your cheat – you will feel so horrendous. Fact.
Secondly and lastly, EXERCISE.
Now, you don’t have to exercise to lose weight. In fact, if all you’re looking for is the numbers to change on the scales, then it’s probably best not to exercise. BUT if you’re looking to tone up at the same time as shedding fat – get moving!!! Remember that saying:’Skinny girls look good in clothes. Fit girls look good naked’.
I started running a few years ago and really got into it. I was 24 years old and ran one mile (1.6km) a couple of months before my 25th birthday. I nearly died. It took me about 15 minutes and although I never stopped moving, I was not impressed with my physical abilities! After only 8 weeks I ran my one mile route in 9 minutes and 9 seconds on my 25th birthday and never looked back. Since then my running trainers have done a bit of globetrotting and we’ve run together through the medinas in Marrakesh, along the east Coast of South Africa and through Westville, Durban.
The REAL exercise that I want to fill you in on is what has catapulted me to new fitness levels and muscle I’ve never had before and a serious sense of motivation and achievement. The 30 Day Shred. Developed by Jillian Michaels and introduced to me by my sister-in-law, this 20 minute daily workout that is broken down into 3 levels is AMAZING! The first 2 levels are free on youtube and you can buy all 3 for only £6.99 in order to get level 3. It truly is fab and can be done in your living room before work, after work, before bed – whatever time of day works best for you but don’t tell me you can’t find 20 minutes because you can!
I finished the 30 Day Shred a few weeks back now and lost 11.5cm of fat across my body in that short space of time without any other form of exercise. Now, I’ve pumped it up a notch and have just started the 6 week 6 pack challenge – again by Jillian Michaels -coupled with running and level 3 of the 30 day shred on alternate days – it’s still a great way to get an all over body workout in! I’ve also thrown in the plank challenge for good measure but haven’t set a time limit on this one.
I still have a long way to go to get into the shape that I want to be in – I’m going to Australia this year with my husband and step-kids and I’ve told them that like it or not I WILL be spending all of Christmas Day in a bikini. That’s just how it is. If the in-laws I’m yet to meet feel uncomfortable with it then so be it!
1) Measure yourself as well as weighing. If you do an intense workout like The Shred, T25 or Insanity you will build muscle. Fact. This weighs 3 times more than fat so you may even find you’re heavier one week even thought your tummy is 2cm smaller. It’s the measurements that count so don’t forget!
2) Take before, during and after photos of yourself to reflect on your progress and achievement. They’ll help when you feel like tucking into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s.
3) Get your partner to do it with you. Everyone can benefit from eating a little healthier so at least whilst you’re at home together, make the effort to eat the same meals and share the journey and experience – it’s a massive help and support rather than watching them tucking into fish and chips while you’re stuck with chicken, beans and cauliflower.
4) Vitamins are a great way to start the day and although there is no proof that they help you in any way, they are packed full of essentials that your body can choose to use or not (plus they’re super sweet which is a delicious bonus!)
If anyone would like more information on the slow carb diet, what works and what doesn’t or any advice on running or the 30 day shred just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to swap stories, hints, tips, recipes or check out You Tube for some awesome and quick exercise posts and how to be adventurous with your slow carb ‘eating plan’! You’ll be standing at that alter looking fierce, fit and feeling AMAZING in no time 🙂