I am very pleased to report that I graduated from Cycle Two last week and today is my first day on Cycle Three of your 90 Day SSS Plan.
I have to say, it does feel good to be over halfway. It’s been such a positive experience for me. I guess it’s a good sign then, that I am beginning to feel like I have learnt enough and it would be quite nice to test my wings, and see if I can fly this balanced-diet-with-focussed-exercise journey alone.
That said, I do like to finish things that I start and after a weekend of letting myself off the hook a little, I am ready to be a good student and work to plan for a final 30 days. This takes me, rather inconveniently, to the 2nd January. Nothing like increasing the challenge tenfold by doing the final cycle through the Christmas season eh!
It’s OK though. Don’t panic, I have a plan. One thing I have learnt so far is that calculated “blow outs” are no bad thing. I could never eat only the good stuff day in day out, forevermore. I’ve found that I can be very disciplined for about 3-4 weeks, but at some point around week four, I need treats. I find that if I plan it, book it in, decide on a day when I am allowed treats (in abundance), then it will be just that. One day or one evening of indulgence. It’s not out of control, I haven’t fallen off the wagon, I have decided to enjoy the naughtiness. It’s a positive part of the plan.
So I am giving myself Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve off. Plus when there are parties or festive gatherings, I am going to have a glass or two of wine. I am pretty sure if I stay on plan for the rest of the time and bash out the exercises, then progress will still be made.
Which takes me to my progress report for Cycle Two. My expectations were pretty low for this one as I’d read a lot of the graduate testimonies saying this was the cycle they saw the least change in. Plus I have been enjoying the carbohydrate-for-every-meal rule on training days, so all that bread would surely not equate to major weight loss? How wrong I was!
I don’t go on scales as a general rule, so I literally stand on the “sad step” once in the month to send in my results and would you believe it, I lost a further 5kg! This takes me to my pre-children weight. Along with that, I had lost a couple more inches off my waist and chest (not necessarily a good thing!). Oddly, my hip measurement has gone up from end of Cycle One but is still less than where I started. I haven’t felt that in my clothes, in fact it’s been great this month, wearing trousers and jeans I haven’t worn in a few years. I am hoping it’s because my bottom has got more pert so it’s sticking out more? Arms and legs stayed the same.
Getting results is great. Each time there has been change in the right direction and this gives me an enormous sense of well being (yeah I’m quoting Blur). What is far more exciting for me though, is the daily result of feeling stronger and more energetic. And enjoying wearing my clothes. I don’t have a muffin top over my jeans anymore. This is so liberating! When I am late to pick up the children from school, I can run up the hill and not arrive at the school gates out of breath. I can feel my muscles. I don’t mean I squeeze my biceps with my hands, I mean when I am moving I don’t feel like everything is wobbling, I feel like my body is working. It feels engaged with what I am asking it to do. It’s hard to explain, but I just feel like my body is more alive/switched on.
Now then, I feel like perhaps the PR on food for Cycle Two was a little misleading. I had understood that I was going to be given lots of freedom and be given permission to start using my own healthy recipes. I was excited about smoothies for breakfast again and maybe enjoying some hoummus for lunch. That wasn’t really the case. I tried to get my favourite smoothie signed off by one of your heroes, but got a firm shut down. Think it might be the splash of maple syrup they were opposed to, surely couldn’t have been the spinach or coconut water?? I even tried to get a couple of your smoothies through, but it was a hard no. I may have rebelled a couple of days…ahem…. Hoummus was nowhere to be seen on the rather strict list of allowed foods for my pick n’ mix meals, so chicken and salmon remained lunchtime faithfuls.
I took my freedom from the set-recipe regime of Cycle One and didn’t weigh things out anything like as much as I used to. Perhaps this is also because I now know how much protein is the right amount and for my money, you can never have too much green veg on your plate.
Quite surprisingly, I found that having carbohydrate in every meal on training days, felt like too much. I was happy to just have it after the training. Although as I train mostly in the mornings, being able to have carbohydrate for my evening meal, particularly when I was out or having dinner with friends made life a little easier. As I planned my menu for my first Cycle Three week, I realised that I can only have one dinner this week with carbohydrate. It’s all good for a relatively quiet week but when the social engagements come up, it’ll be tough!
The introduction of weights into the programme has gone really well. I was a little daunted as free weights haven’t been in my routine in the past, but I found dumbbells straight forward and I was able to adapt the weights to the exercises to work to the right level. Perhaps I thought I would see more results than I have. I don’t really see any definition in my arms, shoulders or legs. And yet, I always ached the next day so I’m pretty sure I was doing it right. Maybe the definition comes in Cycle Three with the ‘pyramid training’? I shall let you know.
Overall, I am happy with the results. We’re going in the right direction. I am starting to think about how it will be in the New Year, when I am fully graduated and free to take the reins myself. I think I will be ready. I’m going to write out some rules as I see you did on Instagram, I’ll show you mine when I write at the end.
Have a lovely Christmas, don’t eat too much Ben & Jerry’s!