Today marks a week since I started my yearly summer holiday bikini diet, but this year things are a little different. Usually I'd be counting the calories using My Fitness Pal, and making sure I don't clock up over 1,200 a day, doing the odd bit of exercise when I remember to, and generally feeling down about the whole idea of dieting whilst seeing very small results. This year I've decided to loosely follow the nation's new favourite health and fitness guru, Joe Wickes (aka The Body Coach) after hearing amazing things about his 90 Days Shift, Shape and Sustain plan. Now don't get me wrong, whilst I'd love to be able to pay for the plan myself, right now with a holiday to pay for, I just can't afford the £150 fees, so with the help of his Lean In 15 book, some pointers from someone already on the plan, and getting creative in the kitchen, I'm on my way to a healthier and happier lifestyle (cringe, hey?).
I've always been one of those girls who steps on the scales once in a while and hates what she sees, so when I read up about Joe and his plan, it was refreshing to see that he doesn't believe in the scales (or the 'Sad Step' as he calls it) or calorie counting, and instead encourages you to eat the right things at the right time, and exercise little and often to burn fat and build up muscles.
The 90 Day SSS Plan itself is tailored to the individual, based on weight, body shape, height and lifestyle, hence why there is a cost to it, but the Lean In 15 book follows the same principle, without the personalisation. The idea behind the first four weeks, or cycle one, is to eat three meals and two snacks each day, but to ensure you eat the right kinds of food. He encourages 4-5 twenty minute HIIT workouts each week (I follow the ones he posts on Youtube, or hop on the exercise bike) and after you exercise, you're rewarded with a high carbohydrate, high protein refuel meal (a diet that includes carbs!!). The other two meals should be from the reduced carb selection, or on rest days when you don't exercise, all three should be from this range.
I'm not going to go in to the food too much right now as I'm hoping to do a bit of a review of the first cycle after four weeks with pictures of everything I've eaten, but what I will say is that after just a week, my eating habits have completely changed for the better. People who know me will know that I always crave something sweet after a savoury meal, so will often be found snacking on chocolate or biscuits. Sometimes after a long day at work I will raid the fridge as soon as I get home, before even making dinner, or at night I'd often take a little snack to bed with me as I would get hungry only a couple of hours after eating dinner. I was also a huge carb lover; almost every meal would include some form of bread, pasta, noodles, potatoes or rice, yet even though they would taste amazing, I'd feel horrendous after eating them.
How things have now changed! In the first week I have only eaten the set meals I've made each day, I haven't touched a single chocolate bar, biscuit or pack of crisps, I've exercised on five days (even whilst staying in a hotel room for work!) and I've been drinking so much more water. I feel much better in my general health; I'm sleeping better, I'm finding it easier to wake up in the mornings, and I don't feel bloated or unwell after eating meals, even though they all fill me up.
I'm really enjoying all of the food I'm eating, and I've really got in to the whole idea of eating well and looking after my body again. Let's see what the first four weeks brings!!
Are you doing the Lean In 15 or 90 Day SSS plan? What tips would you give for a healthy lifestyle?