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My 8 Week Journey Thus Far

We are just about to enter into week 7 of the June/July Challenge and so far I have lost 4.3kg and approximately 2% body fat. I will reveal the pictures at the end of the challenge, along with my colleagues, as we all agreed to participate and submit our before and after photos for voting purposes.

 

In the beginning of the challenge I was excited to have extra motivation, especially at this time of year, where lets face it we’d all rather be a bear and hibernate through the colder months. However then there was the extra, we’ll call it incentive, no fear, of adding in section four to the challenge where the trainers agreed, or were peer pressured, I don’t even recall how it all went down now, but I remember it was Tim Coombs idea. What ever happened it seemed like a good idea at the time and we were all going to do the challenge anyway so why not make our results public, everyone was letting us see their results, it only seemed fair this way.

 

Motivation however is a small part of the journey that can start strong and is influenced by so many factors, such as our; mood, stress levels and the amount we sleep get each night. So I wanted to find something more solid than a wisp of motivation to keep me going with this challenge. The fear of my before and after pictures being public was strong.

 

Stressing about where to start with the challenge and what exactly I wanted to achieve, I did what I love doing best and wrote out a list to help construct my master plan for the challenge. I began at the end, where I wrote down exactly where I was going to be at the end of the challenge. For me, my big goal revolves around me competing and I really wanted, no I was going to get to my goal weight category of 72kg or under. This meant with a starting weight of 77.1kg to be precise, that I needed to lose 5.1kg in 7 weeks (the competition I’m entered in falls in this week of the challenge), but I’d prefer to lose around 5.5kg or perhaps a little more, so that I don’t have to weigh in naked in front of people. So the goal of 5.5kg in 7 weeks whilst still building strength and maintaining my sanity were the big goals written down, now to break them down into achievable steps. The weight wasn’t going to just fall off, unless I cut a limb off but I wasn’t keen on the idea, I also couldn’t precisely control the amount of weight that I lost, what I could control was; amount of exercise and food, as well as, the types of food I consumed.

 

Exercise/training is something that is part of my weekly routine and I know from past experience that it is one thing I cannot play around too much with or it impacts my recovery and strength gains. So with that in mind and after a few cardio sessions reminding me not to change my training schedule, I knew the changes must all come from diet and other lifestyle interventions. So from the diet front there were obvious alterations that I could make that would positively help me achieve my goals; no chocolate or sweet biscuits were top of the list! For me this was going to be a big change, I am a chocoholic! I’m a bar a day kind of girl at the very least. I would go scavenging through the house, rummaging through family members drawers in search of chocolate and resorting to cooking chocolate if known could be found. I also happened to watch a documentary the weekend before the challenge that was about the ‘Perfect Human Diet’ and specifically the evolution of mankind and the diet changes that went along. The main message of the film put very simply; we are designed to eat meat and vegetables. It was also around this time I finally decided to take on Tim’s recommendation of reading ‘That Sugar Book’.  It went over one mans experience of consuming a perceived healthy diet, the implications of consuming sugar and then how he went back to a real food diet on the same amount of calories.

 

With the combined power of the book and the documentary, I decided to experiment on myself by quitting sugar. This in my mind meant it would be easier to not have chocolate and sweet biscuits as they contain sugar. I was prepared for the withdrawal effects of no sugar but fortunately did not suffer. I’m not saying it was easy to avoid chocolate or biscuits as they were still in my environment. In fact I recall one particular time when I got home hungry needing dinner and finding cake, not one cake but three on the bench and a small plate with the most mouth watering caramel slice on it (caramel slice = my kryptonite) and my lovely little sister begging my to eat it as she had bought it especially for me. But in hind-sight I do not for one second regret not eating that delicious looking slice. Times like these, there were more, lead to me insisting on feeding every house guest a piece of cake and even resorted to cutting slices and putting into other family members bags as they left for work without their knowledge. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hide bad foods in rooms I do not go into but you do what you gotta do to avoid the sugary devils.

 

So with no sugar on the cards it meant a serious diet revamp. Breakfasts consist of 2 eggs, spinach and mushrooms, sometimes with avocado and bacon. Snacks if and when I am hungry between meals are; cheese (loving goat’s cheese for some reason), nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts and macadamias), chia puddings or Greek yoghurt with some fruit (berries, passionfruit or half a banana). You might be thinking fruit contains sugar and yes it does but I am limiting my fruit consumption to two pieces a day and only eating whole fruit, no juicing, that way I am getting the fibre as well. Lunches and dinners are usually pretty similar with meat (venison, kangaroo or chicken) and whatever and however many vegetables I feel like. This means I usually have mushrooms and spinach again with some other vegetables. If I felt particularly hungry or like carbohydrate rich foods after training I would have air-fried potatoes (chips).

 

What I’m finding more and more is that by consuming these foods and not fake foods with added sugar, my body is actually registering when I’m full and when I’m hungry. In turn I’m most likely consuming less calories than my previous diet and not even thinking about it. I did on one day calculate that I had just over 2000 calories in a day. I remember in my previous competition preparation seeing a Nutritionist who recommenced me having around 1800 calories to help with losing weight and we had the protein worked out to help maintain muscle, I stuck to that diet for a solid 3 weeks and then no amount of will-power could combat the absolute hunger I was constantly feeling! It is something I have read a lot about, that calories are not all created equal and this proved that to me. Not only was I having more calories now and losing weight but also I’m not getting ridiculous cravings and the effect on my mood and energy levels is amazing. I feel very level headed at the moment and have stead release of energy. When sugar was in my diet I was getting bursts of energy and then needing another hit every hour or so to keep going. I have also noticed that I’m sleeping better and my skin is clearer. It is fascinating feeling the effects that I have been reading so much about. I could go into great detail about the biochemistry of it all but for the purpose of this piece I will just say that it is due to an overabundance of fructose being in the diet and by mostly removing it; I have noticed the above-mentioned effects.

 

In summary my experience so far in the challenge is I haven’t made any changes to my exercise but purely focused on my diet by removing fructose and in turn most processed foods, which has ultimately helped with my sleep, weight-loss and mental well being. Things I have found helpful during this time are; furthering my knowledge on the implications of sugar (specifically fructose), some good books I’d recommend are; That Sugar Book (or the movie which is out now, if you prefer watching documentaries to reading), David Gillespie has a few good reads out; Sweet Poison, Eat Real Food and the documentary I first watched was called The Perfect Human Diet. Staying in contact with people on the same journey has been really beneficial also, I love checking in on the 4 U Body Fitness V.I.P page.

sweet_poison that_sugar_film the_perfect_human_diet

I hope everyone else is going well with their challenge and making steps towards their goals!

 

Rhiannon Leake
Mobile Personal Training Specialist
4 U Body Fitness

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