This is a personal story but one which might resonate with my clients. I fully believe in talking about the hard times as well as the good as I have done in the past regarding my post-natal depression and IVF (on my old lifestyle blog).
Three and a half years ago I had 18 month old twins and had put on about 2 stone. Not during my pregnancy (I actually lost weight due to the sickness with twins!) but afterwards, when I was breastfeeding all the time, constantly hungry and lonely in our new village with no friends. I sat and I ate. The only exercise I got was walking the country lanes with the double buggy alone or occasionally with my 50 year old neighbour. By the time they were one I had found some other mum friends and was getting fed up with wearing old maternity or breastfeeding clothes, at 15 months I'd stopped breastfeeding. I missed my old colourful style and I was ready to do something about it.
I signed up to The Body Coach plan after my Mum had shown me some of his transformations on Instagram. At the time he had over a million followers and so many success stories, it was inspiring and when I looked into the plan I understood the science behind it and the way it worked made sense to me. Plus - lots of food! I know I could never "diet" in the traditional sense. It worked! I loved it and felt so energised despite getting up at 5:30am to do my workouts before the twins got up around 7am (they were going through a fairly "easy" and predictable stage or I'd have really struggled).
These photos were taken a year apart in the same (stretchy) dress, just after I'd finished the plan.
I'd been nervous about the weights in Cycles 2 and 3 after finding the HIIT workouts quick and easy in Cycle 1 but I bought the kit (about £30 from Argos) and set up Netflix on an old TV in my garage, it took an hour but I watched How I met Your Mother for the first time so really enjoyed my peaceful time working out 4 days a week.
It transformed my body almost back to pre-babies, if not even stronger.
I was thrilled with the results and always planned to keep up with the lifestyle change as is the point of the 90 days - to instil good habits and remain healthy throughout life. But... sometimes life has other plans. I was a bit fed up with weighing EVERYTHING, 11g of tomato puree is one value which is still stuck in my head. I planned to relax a bit and follow the recipes but without being quite so specific!
The twins' behaviour got more difficult to manage - age 2 and definitely 3 were hard, especially the year Nik had big important exams and I found myself on my own again dealing with everything. I started my business and am therefore spending more hours sitting in front of my computer editing and snacking on rubbish, grabbing quick easy meals, takeaways and eating the kids' leftovers. Over the last 3 years I've slowly been sliding back to square one, in fact I weigh more now than I did when I started the plan last time.
For the last year I've been meaning to get back on the plan, using my old print outs to start over. When the newly revised plan was announced, old graduates were offered free access so I signed up and planned to start but by the time I gave myself the push to do it, it was too late and had expired. So I gave up again. By this time I was fully into the post-natal depression, on meds and in a catch 22, I knew that I needed to get healthy and start exercising again to feel better but felt so bad I couldn't motivate myself to start.
I'm not sure what's changed now, maybe meeting new friends, missing my old clothes again, feeling uncomfortable about my own family photo shoot we do every year (I get it, I really do!) and just being tired ALL THE TIME. I always had excuses not to start but it was annoying me. So, I'm back on it - I signed up to the new plan when there was an offer and having paid this time and made the decision - I know I will stick to it. Once I start I know I can do it, it's getting that kick to begin that's a struggle. Last year I had a fab dress for our Christmas party but I was just too big for it, this year I still don't think it'll fit but I have a new dress I feel confident in and I am excited for next year.
The best thing is it's working again, I feel SO much better. I have more energy despite the 5:30 starts again, I mean I'm still pretty knackered as this time I'm working more days in the dental practice AND have my business to run with never-ending edits but I'm generally happier and feeling better and fitter. I'm 2 weeks in and down a belt notch already! It's been tough sometimes, especially when faced with temptation like I was yesterday shooting The Hurstwood's Christmas menu and being offered some awesome food! I just had tiny tastes - so good!
Keeping organised has been a struggle some days - I'm currently busier than I've ever been at Bexphoto (awesome but full on!), working hard before I go on holiday in January and also trying to make advent fun with activities for the kids - we love Christmas and I have so much fun planning and executing little things to do in the run up plus there's allllllll the emails from school about various things I need to do - hamper/tombola/Christmas fair/nativity costumes... so I'm rather overwhelmed at the moment but so far managing to stick to the plan!
The thing is, I know it works and I'm loving the food - the recipes are even better on the new plan and there's none of the disgusting BCAA protein that I hated last time. I also have more flexibility with pick your own options to invent my own recipes in Cycle 1 as well as the other months. Today I had nothing prepared for a rest day breakfast so whipped up an omelette with veg and cheese to eat in the car like a sandwich! My favourite meal is the Chipotle chicken burrito bowl, a huge serving bowl full of lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheddar cheese, sour cream, jalepenos, coriander, black beans and chipotle marinated chicken!
So, fingers crossed for success again, I'm certainly working hard enough. I couldn't do it without Nik's support, he just has to sort his own meals, I literally couldn't cope with cooking more meals, never mind the mental load of thinking about anything else on top of everything else!
Has anyone else signed up to Joe's plan before or currently? Anyone think they'd like to give it a go? You can read all about my experience last time here: http://www.olivedragonfly.com/p/90-day-shift-shape-sustain-plan.html
And if you made it this far reading all that just spilled out of me, here's the side view of last time's start to finish...