Wow! That's the end of week 11 already. How time flies. I seriously cannot believe that this 12 week programme is nearly at it's end. The fact that I've managed to get up at 5.30 (ok, it's been stretched out to 5.40 of late) twice a week for a 20min drive, in cold, dark and often wet conditions, for 45minutes of self-inflicted-punishment, is a miracle in itself. Particularly for one that really does not like driving in the dark and/or rain.
Looking back over the past weeks I'd really like to take this opportunity to re-cap on some of the key strategies I've adapted to and changes that have happened because of them.
Mind Over Matter - It goes to prove just how the power of the mind can really be the make or break of practically anything/any goals you want to achieve. If the mind is in the right place, the body will follow. After all, the body (in most cases) will only do what we tell it. Good in = good out or vice versa.
Stepping out of the Comfort Zone - To achieve results it's almost always necessary to step out of that comfort zone. For me, at the beginning of the programme, that was simply about actually attending PT session twice a week and lifting weights, of any proportion. As the weeks have progressed, so have the weights increased every week, I've been pushed, just that little bit more, out of my comfort zone.
Re-programming - To re-programme the body (metabolism) meant re-programming the mind. To do this, my food consumption took a pretty decent over-haul, which also meant re-programming the mind to purchase, prepare and consume nutritionally balanced meals at consistent and timely intervals. This in turn also meant re-programming my body to be able to consume these new volumes of healthiness. Thankfully this was done with a steady progression, despite my impatience to 'have it all down pat' in week 1.
Shop 'n' Chop, Prepare, Grab 'n' Go! - There is no doubt in my mind that one key factor that has made this programme work for me, is the necessity in thinking ahead. When those veggies are 'shopped', get them home to be 'chopped'. Portion them, prepare them and they are then ready and waiting for the 'grab n go.' A couple of extra hours in the kitchen twice a week has certainly saved me hours of preparation and cooking each and every night. This has to be, without a doubt, the best new habit I've formed. It's a keeper.
Less is More, More is Less - Remember that one? Less exercise, when properly structured can actually give better results. Gone are my weeks of excessive output or hard exercise 5 or 6 days a week. Two 30min weights-sessions a week plus a couple of 30min cardio sessions thrown in for good measure and I'm done. As for the More is Less, well, that's about the food. This has been the common thread throughout all of my posts. More food! Eat more often! Load the plate with veggies! Protein at every meal! I could go on, but I won't I think you've got the picture by now.
Challenging Times - Certainly there have been challenging times, weekends away, meals out, no snacks/meals to hand, and of course slip-ups have been made. I most certainly have not been 100% compliant the whole 12 weeks. In fact, at a guess, I'd say that the first half I was only about 50% there, on a really good week I've been 96% compliant. On average, I'd say I am now about 90-95% compliant, most of the time. I've been through bouts of hunger when my body thought it was never going to be fed again, my colleagues and family have suffered a fair few HISSy fits (Hungry Irritable Sarah Syndrome) because I wasn't getting my food proportions quite right. There was the uncomfortable bloating and gassiness issues whilst my body re-adjusted to the new vast amounts of fibrous veggies. And not to forget the awful skin break-outs whilst my body was detoxing.
However, all this said and done, the programme has been an extremely positive one for me. So, is this the beginning of the end? Not at all, it's the continuation of a whole new beginning. I'll be keeping the new food habits, this way of eating really suits me. Gone are the 3pm slumps. Gone are the days of counting calories. Gone are the hungry mood swings (when I get it right of course). Now, if I'm hungry I know it's because my body needs food. Good nutritious food. So I eat. Don't worry, if you feel like inviting me to dinner at your place, I will not feel the need to BMO (bring my own), I'll happily consume and enjoy any meal you choose to lovingly prepare and even help you enjoy the wine that goes with it.
What's next? Well, next week I'll be posting the final results of my transformation, including before and after photos. Be excited! I am.
After that, well, I've decided to continue with the training programme and committed to starting the new round that begins mid August. Yes! You heard it here first. I really am enjoying the results. I feel so much stronger and healthier. And this can only be a good thing.