Body Makeover Challenge blogger Hannah Thompson reveals the highs and lows of week 4-6 on the Shift, Shape and Sustain (SSS) plan from personal trainer Joe Wicks.
Overall, a good week. No, I haven’t been perfect, I’ve still ‘cheated’ – there were the 1 or 2 squares of dark chocolate in the evening after a long day, and the 99 flake ice cream (no wafer) on the super sunny Sunday. But shock, neither seemed to affect my progress too badly. This week I have made the best progress out of any, having lost inches overall, and managed to keep them off.
Eating this well is boring as heck, but hey, it works
I feel slimmer, and lighter (and the scales prove me right, even though the bloody before and after photos still barely register a thing… frustrating).
But honestly, my secret this week? Treating the plan like a game. Just to see.
my secret this week? Treating the plan like a game. Just to see
Just to see what happens when I really try to make it work. When I just try it out, to appreciate how well I could do if I had the discipline (and the boring, home-based, never-going-out life) to stick to this thing properly all the time. I imagined it like a game that I was playing, with points for staying on track and feeling like I’d lost if I strayed. Eating this well is boring as heck, but hey, it works.
But then there’s the socialising thing. Let’s not forget, this week (and next week, hopefully) are looking successful largely because socially, there’s nothing happening.
I’ve purposefully kept this week as clear as I can as part of my ‘game’. That’s meant no work events, no dinners with friends, no drinks – nothing. It’s pretty damn boring, but I figure I have to give this diet a proper shot at some point, otherwise why bother? And the plan isn’t super-cheap, so I at least need to try. When you’re not out with friends or having a quick catch up over a drink, it’s much easier to eat healthily, especially when you plan and cook in advance. Yes, spending 4 hours on a Sunday planning, shopping, and prepping doesn’t exactly fill me with joy, but it’s far better than spending hours every single evening over a hot oven.
Honestly though, it does show that dieting and “being good” (i.e. ‘on plan’) is just not compatible with having a genuinely enjoyable social life, at least for me where my life is now.
I don’t want to feel like my diet is restrictive and sad and stops me having a nice time. It’s a tough balance
I genuinely do try not to go too mad when I go out, e.g. one gin and slimline tonic, rather than three sugary cocktails; a chunk of chocolate rather than a whole doughnut, which I appreciate are still moves in the right direction, but it’s not exactly a perfect record.
But then, I could go out and eat only salad and lean chicken and only drink water, but wow, What kind of boring arse would I be if I did?
I know my friends would probably be fine with it, it’s not like they encourage me to eat badly, and I never binge drink or eat anyway, but it’s not exactly sociable to be like ‘um, I can’t’ to everything. I’m single, I’m young, I work hard – I don’t want to feel like my diet is restrictive and sad and stops me having a nice time. It’s a tough balance.
Still, this part of the diet isn’t forever. I can worry about that later. Onwards…
This week, another OK week, although my resolve not to cheat has waned slightly.
My ‘game’ from last week isn’t looking quite as compelling as before. A drink with a friend who I’d not seen for ages, a few bites of focaccia, some olives, another G&T….it all adds up.
Not to mention my sneaky squares of dark chocolate habit. Honestly, compared to some people on one of the plan’s unofficial Facebook groups, who swear blind they’ve followed their plan 100 per cent give or take a few Jaffa Cakes over four weeks, it must seem like I’m barely following the plan at all.
dieting like this does really make you question why you want food sometimes, and underneath it all, you have to admit it: it’s boredom
And yet, I am still trying. I am still eating planned food at every meal, every time I can. I’m doing the workouts, come rain or shine, hell or high water – and pushing myself until I’m completely exhausted every single time.
Yes, I’m cheating when I feel desperate/have to, which isn’t great. But it’s not been too bad.
How will I ever square the sociability and comfort of eating lovely food with the knowledge of the plan I’m trying to stick to?
Nothing too horrendous – in fact, it was nearly a great week until dinner on Friday, brunch with a friend on Saturday, and an early dinner out on Sunday. Damn you, brilliant weekend.
How will I ever square the sociability and comfort of eating lovely food with the knowledge of the plan I’m trying to stick to? I’m not sure I ever will, or even if I’d want to.
That’s the thing – dieting like this does really make you question why you want food sometimes, and underneath it all, you have to admit it: it’s boredom, habit, comfort, a feeling that food equals good times. It’s not because you have to eat something, and it’s not because you’re hungry. Uncomfortable truths.
And, when you’re a ‘foodie’ like me, it feels like such a shame to always eat the same, boring, healthy meals – like, yes, I know I should only eat lean meat and steamed veg, but have you ever even tasted chorizo? ! How can you learn to love spinach and cheese omelettes when chorizo exists? Anyway. That’s probably enough of that…
I know I should only eat lean meat and steamed veg, but have you ever even tasted chorizo?
I haven’t lost any more inches this week really, and my weight’s stayed the same too. Fair enough, I haven’t been as strict as before. But it’s frustrating, because I have tried (social life permitting, and even then I didn’t go mental), and compared to what I could have been eating if I wasn’t on a diet, I’m eating boringly well.
It’s so annoying that I have to achieve a perfect record to get proper results. I reckon that’s because I’m already quite slim compared to some people on the plan, and also because of my underactive thyroid slowing everything down. Basically though, I’ve never done well with that – I’m always someone who likes to bend the rules a bit, to make it feel like I’m not a hamster on a wheel. My small way of rebelling. So maybe I’m finding that aspect of this a bit difficult – it’s like, I really am like everyone else, I really do have to follow the plan exactly to get results. Which is boring. Again. And doesn’t chime with the identity I like to feel I have: someone spontaneous, food-loving, and generous. Quelle horreur (pause for sarcasm).
Again, I’ve lost nearly 5kg (almost a stone, in old money) and about 5 inches overall in this cycle
And even though I’ve been trying new recipes, it’s true that overall, restricting your diet and planning and cooking and only eating what you’ve planned and not deviating with anything that tastes remotely sweet or naughty…It’s just fundamentally BORING. And I really hate that. And that’s what I’m struggling with right now.
Again, I’ve lost nearly 5kg (almost a stone, in old money) and about five inches overall in this cycle, which isn’t to be sniffed at. But can you see it in my photos? Barely. And that’s really rubbish. People on the Facebook group have said the same thing about their Cycle 1 photos, so maybe that’s just how it works.
Maybe you have to get into the next Cycle, Cycle 2, and start lifting those heavy weights, before it starts to really show in the photos. That’s what I’m telling myself right now, anyway. In the meantime, I’ve got a ridiculously busy week next week, which will probably undo most of my good work this week.
But it’s OK. No panic. I’ll receive Cycle 2 by email at some point, and then get straight back on the horse to the next stage, and see what happens. It’s a game, right? That’s my motto.
Another not-great week, largely thanks again to life getting in the way, as I knew it would. This included a big awards dinner early in the week, a work trip away to a series of food producers in Ireland at the end of the week, and a friend’s wedding over the weekend.
Which left me with precisely two days exactly when I was able, realistically, to stick entirely to plan. Ha. No chance. Again, another great week life-wise. Another not-so-great week diet-wise. Alas, you win some, you lose some…
And of course, when you know you won’t have any choice over what to eat, and you know that social (and polite) drinking will be on the cards, for 5 out of 7 days, it’s extremely difficult to stick to plan the rest of the time. So, basically, I haven’t.
Yes, my meals have all been on-plan, I’m still cooking and eating my omelettes and courgetti and lean turkey mince and weighing out my cheese and all that jazz, but everything else around it – drinks, snacks, a little bite here and there…it’s been a bit wobbly.
I never drink much anyway, but I can’t shake that feeling that I shouldn’t be having anything not on-plan. I feel like I’m cheating myself. But again, I absolutely refuse to let a diet get in the way of my life, because that way obsession and madness and disordered eating lie, and I will not go there
But then, that means I’m not getting the best results. Which means I feel like it’s not working. Which means I feel down. And means I feel like I can’t combine being healthy (or “ripped” haha) with being sociable.
I can simply try to live life as best I can, eat treats/things I can’t control within reason
And there we are, back on the diet-social life conundrum.
Yes, it’s about balance, and yes, I’m probably doing OK, when all is said and done. But there’s no denying I could get better results if I properly went for it.
Well, whatever. This is all I feel I can do. This week is technically a ‘rest’ week anyway, as it’s the dead time between end of Cycle 1, waiting for Cycle 2 to be sent.
So, hey, I can simply try to live life as best I can, eat treats/things I can’t control within reason, and when I can control it (e.g. order my own food), try to be as sensible as I can. And remember how it feels when I have a good week, and I look in the mirror and actually like myself and feel good.
Because that’s why I’m doing this. It’s not about obsession, or about looking sexy for a man, or about trying to fit into someone else’s view of what I look like. It’s for me.
When I’m smaller and healthier, I feel better. I feel like I can look myself in the eye and say, yep, you’re doing what you can to improve your health, not to mention, it makes me look better – more alive, more energetic, happier, better skin, less tired – when I’m slimmer and healthier. That’s it.
So, this week – bit of a write off, let’s just do what I can. Life is for living, after all.
But next week, without wanting to sound too much like a cheesy song I vaguely remember from High School Musical, I’m getting back in the game.
Plus, Cycle 2 sounds totally different to Cycle 1 – there are heavy weights, there are carbs – so it looks like the fresh start I just might need. And I also secretly enjoy lifting weights (it just feels so hardcore). Maybe this time I’ll stick to it, and finally start to carve out that muscle definition I’d love to achieve. maybe. Maybe.
I’ll let you know…
Hannah’s stats in numbers
Hannah Thompson is a serial dieter and daily high intensity exerciser with one problem – she really loves food (and not always the right stuff, either). Constantly on Twitter, she’s decided to do the Shift, Shape and Sustain plan from social media whizz and personal trainer Joe Wicks, which is a semi-tailored food plan and HIIT exercise programme.
Follow her on Twitter: @
Joe Wicks is a health and fitness professional with a strong background in sports science, nutrition and personal training. Joe focuses on weight loss, building muscle tone and training for endurance events by providing boot camps, personal training, diet plans and personal workouts whilst providing motivation.
You can try Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy
Start your 90 day SSS plan now, by clicking here.
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