Body Makeover Challenge blogger Hannah Thompson is getting the hang of the Shift, Shape and Sustain (SSS) plan from personal trainer Joe Wicks during Cycle 2
I’m on Cycle 2, week 3 (which means I have done 8 weeks in total so far). I feel good this week, like I’m getting into the swing of things more.
The “pick n mix” menu from Cycle 2 – which allows you to choose a meat, a veg, a carb, a side (e.g. Greek yoghurt, sour cream, or cottage cheese) per meal, and two snacks per day, and assemble your meals yourself, rather than having to follow set recipes ‒ fits in much better with my life and budget.
I do enjoy cooking (even though doing it at 9pm with a pile of Tupperware in the sink isn’t my MOST favourite way) and this lets me get much closer to things I would usually eat – such as chicken in curry rub with tzatziki in a pitta bread, omelette with mushrooms and cheese and a side of spinach, salmon fillet with curry paste and tortilla wrap, or spaghetti with lean minced beef and lots of fresh tomatoes, chilli, garlic and mushrooms.
This cycle allows you to eat a measured amount of carbohydrates at every meal on ‘training days’
And yes, I did say PITTA bread, TORTILLA wrap, and SPAGHETTI Bolognese. Because this cycle allows you to eat a measured amount of carbohydrates at every meal on “training days” – or days you go to the gym. This is fabulous. On really busy days, I just eat leftovers from meals that worked for “rest days” (non-gym days), but add in a pitta bread, or a bit of pasta. It sounds like absolute dieting heresy, and is totally alien to what I’ve been doing for years. But it’s been OK.
I can’t pretend I haven’t suffered from the horrible bloating that everyone talks about on the Facebook group (tip: peppermint tea). But apparently, it’s all part of the process. Apparently, we eat carbs to fuel our bodies in month 2, giving us the energy we need to do the weight-training, before going back to largely low carb in month 3, stripping away more fat from our now-muscular bodies. Hopefully. And it’s so lovely to feel “too full” on a diet than empty. What a change.
Overall, despite some bloating, having more freedom to create recipes, to cook the way I usually do, and add in carbs to really satiate my hunger, is definitely working so far. I’ve been trying to stay away from too much temptation – there have been a few bites of chocolate and some Haribo sweets a couple of times, I’m only human, and have a terrible sweet tooth ‒ but generally, it’s been a good week.
I went out for dinner once, but it was pretty healthy – some scallops, some chicken with a Filipino coconut curry jus, and a small egg flan for dessert, no pastry. I had one glass of white wine, but nothing too terrible. I refuse to beat myself up about it, as I’ve had a great week pretty much the rest of the time.
I have also snuck in a few quick ab workouts and yoga sessions, which makes me feel glorious
Lifting weights felt slightly easier this week, and I’ve been keeping track of the amount I’ve been lifting, to see if I can kick it up a gear the next time. For example, I started hammer curls using one weight in Cycle 2, week 1, and this week, added another kilo. It was fine. And it felt good. It’s great when you’re in the gym and you can actually feel it working.
I can even say that Cycle 2 food is much less boring! Yay!
Through necessity I needed to add in a few evening workouts to this week, and it was totally fine. I had to wait for a machine once, and have had to be a bit of a squirrel about taking weights and keeping them next to me for maybe a bit longer than I should, just to finish my sets. But nothing major. Also, when I’m not rushing to get to work afterwards, I have a bit more time to make sure I’m lifting with proper form, and have also snuck in a few quick ab workouts and yoga sessions in there too. Which makes me feel glorious (although ab workouts, not so much).
And yes, I’m in the gym, preparing food, planning meals, and working a lot, so I’m maybe a little bit more tired and obsessed than I might be if I was just eating the most convenient option and never going to the gym. But then again, I might be feeling really lethargic and fed up if that were true.
At least this way, I’m doing what I can, and I have the satisfaction of having a plan, and following it through. So I need to sleep more. This is always the case with me, plan or no plan, for years. I’ll let you know how that goes…
Delicious, and hardly ‘diet food’. I’ve even made a ‘pizza’
And I can even say that Cycle 2 food is much less boring! Yay! Witness one of my favourite meals to date: turkey burgers with onion fried in a little butter, stuffed into pitta bread with tzatziki made with fat-free Greek yoghurt, garlic and cucumber. Delicious, and hardly “diet food”. I’ve even made a “pizza” using a tortilla wrap – using tomatoes, mushrooms, and a bit of cheese, in the quantity allowed on Cycle 1.
we are allowed to bring in some recipes from Cycle 1, as long as the “carb” ones are eaten on training days, and “non carb” ones on non-training days. This means I can still have super-convenient porridge for breakfast after the gym, and omelettes for breakfast if I haven’t been to the gym. Joy (not sarcastic!)
I’ve even been doing smoothies a few days a week, using an apple from my snack options, a bit of lemon juice, Greek yoghurt from my side options, and ALLLLL the spinach I need to fulfil my quota of green veg a day (it’s quite a load).
Being part of the Facebook group has helped- it’s a great place to go for recipe ideas
And you know what? I like it, I like it a lot. I haven’t lost lots of weight (although I’ve got down to the symbolic 57 kilos, which is quite significant for me, after years hovering between 58-62, ), and my measurements are still pretty stagnant (except for a bit around my bellybutton – one of my most stubborn areas, whoop!) But everyone assures me that’s how Cycle 2 works. One of the women on the Facebook group lost NO weight in Cycle 2, but looked much better at the end of it, and saw great results in Cycle 3. And also? I think I’ve already said: Joe Wicks calls the scales “the sad step”, so I shouldn’t be on it anyway.
I’ve got down to 57 kilos, which is quite significant for me, after years hovering between 58-62
I know that my weight can fluctuate by as much as three-five pounds in one day, and I also know that this is a 3-month plan, not a quick fix. It’s about how you feel. And sometimes, I feel bloated and huge, and other times, I feel lean and serene (albeit a bit sleepy).
Generally, I feel better, my skin has improved – FINALLY, after weeks of rubbish going on over my chin – and I’m more productive, more efficient, and generally feeling happier*. Being part of the Facebook group has helped too – it’s a great place to go for recipe ideas, and a bit of support when you’re feeling bloated like a whale and want to know if that feeling ever goes away (it does).
Roll on Week 3…
*ps. I’d feel even happier if Ben & Jerry’s was on the menu, but hey, we can’t have everything.
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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