Recently, I found myself feeling a bit demotivated in regards to my health and fitness. Despite having been going to the gym regularly for over a year, I had become stuck at a certain and very frustrating point. I was working out regularly, eating reasonably (but not well by any stretch of the imagination), and everything was just staying the same. Physically, I was strong, but I had got to the point where I was sick of not looking strong. I’m sure it was 90% down to my eating habits, which have always been a bit of a battle for me; I have an enormous appetite and a real tendency towards emotional eating. Everything I’d tried in the past to ‘improve’ my eating habits only made me more miserable. So just over a week ago, I started The Body Coach’s 90 day plan. Actually that’s not strictly true – I haven’t actually bought the plan. I already had the Lean in 15 ‘shape’ book, and will be doing the plan by using just Joe Wicks’ 3 books; ‘The Shift Plan’ for 30 days, ‘The Shape Plan’ for 30 days, followed by ‘The Sustain Plan’ which will be for the last 30 days and hopefully as a lifestyle change beyond that. So far, I’m absolutely loving it, and wanted to share a few of my thoughts so far with you.
First thing’s first, the food is by far the best part of this plan. As Joe explains really well in his books, it’s not a diet whatsoever. In my first week or so, I’ve eaten homemade burgers, fries, club sandwiches and some gorgeous creamy recipes as well. The food is filling and satisfying. The plan includes no ‘low fat’ substitutes or boring salads, which lets face it, make life miserable. Just as importantly, the meals are SO quick and easy to cook, and many can be batch made and frozen. It’s accessible even for the busiest people. The plan is about eating the right things at the right time, strategically working your meals around workouts, rather than simply ‘cutting down’. In fact, it’s quite the opposite of cutting down!
As I’m currently in the ‘shift’ phase, which focuses primarily on burning fat, the workouts are short and intense. I am doing 4 approximately 20 minute long HIIT sessions per week (yep, that’s it!) Trust me though, if you do your HIIT right, it’s enough! Despite having been working on my fitness for over a year, nothing has ever tested me like these workouts are. Honestly, I really hate cardio, but HIIT makes it doable; 20 minutes of super hard work is easier to work yourself up to than an hour of dragged out medium intensity work. Even better is that it’s not all cardio! Two of the sessions are, but the other two are focused on resistance, which I find a lot more enjoyable. I can truly say that during this first cycle I’m really enjoying the workouts. Yes, they are tough, but also incredibly rewarding, and the fact that they’re tough just tells me it’s exactly what I need. I’m totally looking forward to getting some weightlifting back into the mix, but until them I’m finding the change in my usual routine pretty refreshing, plus HIIT seriously gets those endorphins flowing!
Overall, I’m finding this plan amazing. It’s rewarding, simple, flexible and most importantly, not grounded in depriving or punishing yourself, as so many ‘diets’ are. I rarely find myself hungry or as though I’m missing out. Of course, there are times when it’s hard to make a healthy choice, but it’s all part of the process of letting go of those emotional attachments with food. Having said that, it’s not about perfection. If I’m going out and want to treat myself I will, it’s just all about planning, moderation and fitting in workouts at the right time.
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve tried various ‘diets’, and each one has left me feeling one thing only – miserable. I would punish myself if I didn’t lose any weight, and constantly feel as though I was missing out. Low-fat, chemically altered versions of foods were I’m sure the cause of the bloating and stomach pain I would regularly get, and I had zero energy. It was a miserable way of living my life, but this plan is nothing like that. Almost 2 weeks in, I feel stronger, I feel happier, as well as more productive and energetic. Yes, I’m thinking about what I’m eating, but my life doesn’t revolve around it. This isn’t about what you can ‘lose’ on the scales, this plan is about what you can gain, and I love that. The feeling of being able to make healthier choices, whilst also having freedom and no sense of guilt is so incredibly liberating, and I’ve honestly never felt better.
If you love eating real, full fat, filling and gorgeous tasting food, and don’t have hours a day to spend working out, then this may well be the plan for you. You can buy the 3 books on Amazon, or find more info on the paid plan at The Body Coach website.