Sunday, August 26, 2012

Simple, Honest to God DIET.

I was standing in front of the mirror. Oh misery.

A little over 2 months ago, I decided it was time to put a stop to my weight gain. After 3 kids, the whole thing was just getting out of hand... and it's so hard when you're a foodie like me. I had no idea whatsoever how to start and how I could stick some kind of weight loss plan into my day.

Another look down at my stomach. 
I deserved a good beating for letting it all go that way. Uhh... a punishment. That's what I needed. I remembered trying some type of workout exercise a few years ago and it was still fresh in my mind how hard that was and how I didn't really give it a fair try. Yep, it was Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I quickly looked it up on YouTube. So, all I needed was 20 minutes a day and a sensible diet, right? I took out my old, cat clawed camping mat and dug out a pair of dumbbells I got a good few years ago. They look surprisingly new. Oh, right, that's because I never used them.
I picked Level 1 and hit play.

I can't lie, it was intense, specially when I was so out of shape, but when it was done, it felt great. It's like a near death experience and coming out into the light after 20 minutes of vigorous pain.  I could actually feel my muscles clinging for dear life, trembling in terror. The last time I broke a sweat like that was when I dug out a  mango tree in my garden and that was no picnic. I was soaked in sweat. 
I was so sore the next day, I thought I'd take a break, but how could I get "shredded" in 30 days if I took breaks every time I was sore? So I did it again the next day and behold, the soreness was gone and the happy feeling was back. At least temporarily. That's what got me hooked... I couldn't stop anymore or I would feel like crap the entire day. Against my better judgment, I'll admit I never took even one day off, with no ill effects. My body was quickly getting used to that cycle of exercises and in a few weeks, I wouldn't feel any soreness at all.
I kept on strong for 3 weeks, which is more than I thought I could handle, telling myself it's just 20 minutes. I was really patting myself on the back by then, specially with 2 kids running around my mat and my toddler playing "under the bridge" when I did push ups and laying on my stomach when I did crunches. This new routine actually changed things around the house. It became a rule to let mommy have her "exercise time" every morning and even my 4 year old daughter started to join me in with the exercises, which is ohh so cute! Even my toddler gets on her back and tries to do crunches... with so much ease I must say. Flexible little monkeys!

The first change I felt in my body was in the legs and stomach, how they looked more toned. I'm not nearly getting into my old favorite jeans yet, but those that felt kind of tight around the waist are now too loose to wear.
It was time to take it up a notch and try Level 2 of the workout. I also looked up Jillian's recipes online and tried a few. While some of them are nice, I feel they rely far too much on processed food, like store bought tortillas, low fat processed products, jerky and specific brands that I don't have access to. But it's a good guide though. The punch line of the diet is, start cooking your own food. Keep it simple. You can't possibly have control of your calorie intake if you're not making it yourself. Even an innocent salad can undermine your efforts. Cutting down on the carbs is also a good idea. I don't know the science behind it, but take my word for it, your gut will thank you. You'll feel lighter, less bloated. You don't need more than a couple of handfuls of carbs a day, the rest should be lean protein, vegetables and fruit. If you follow Jillian's workout, you will be building muscle fast, which needs quite a bit of protein to build properly.
It's been 2 months now. I only lost 2 kilos, but while it might sound disappointing (don't we all love numbers?), my body actually build muscle like it never did before. best of all, I went down two full sizes.

So does it work? Yes, it does. No questions about it. 
But it works much faster on a reasonable meal plan (I hate the word "diet"!). Don't force yourself to eat disgusting stuff like quinoa... that thing is truly hellish. It smells terrible and looks like maggoty porridge. But there are a good few super foods out there that can make for a wonderful healthy, low calorie meal. In the next few posts, I'll share everything I've been learning from my experience. 

So get that mat and a couple of 1.5 kg (3 pound) neoprene covered dumbbells (you will be sweating profusely, better have a good grip on those) and hit Play!

Even my kids got the Jillian Michaels bug!

I'll be back soon with some tried and true recipes.

Feel free to message me with any questions, I'm no professional, but I'll do my best to help you get there! 


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