As I began this year, I was feeling on top of my training. Despite the festivities, I’d dropped a well earned 11lbs over the Christmas holidays, shaking off the pounds I’d popped on with all the pre Christmas boozing and feasting. And I’d toned up with weights. This meant I was close to my comfortable marathon weight, but not quite there yet.
Help was at hand to take me down to where I needed to be. My personal trainer, Mike Pearce had put together a 30 Day Plan, to give us a kick start after the Christmas break and help us into the new year.
It’s a combination of a two week intense stage to reset your eating habits, and then two weeks of ‘normal’ eating kicks in, so that it becomes part of real life. For me, as I know what I should be doing and often don’t do it, it was a chance to give myself that last push and get to exactly where I needed to be.
The first two weeks are the most intense.
After the relatively relaxed Christmas period, we were asked to ditch sugar, alcohol and caffeine and refined carbohydrates, sticking only to more complex carbs like rice and oats.
Of all of the above, caffeine for me was the hardest.
If I’m not eating out, I can happily cook at home and I’m a creature of habit. Egg fried rice (using coconut oil and using the eggs for extra protein) is an easy go to for me, and I absolutely love it. I can eat it almost 7 days a week. Add in porridge for breakfast, bumped up with Greek yoghurt for protein and frozen fruit, and I was good to go. Alcohol too, isn’t so difficult, unless reviewing, I don’t tend to drink at home and so keeping the gin on the shelf, wasn’t a problem.
Even ditching the sugar, once the withdrawal pangs had passed, wasn’t so bad. You learn to look where the refined sugars are, to hunt them out in packets of foodstuffs and leave them firmly on the shelf.
I slowly weaned myself from it’s clutches. Being a happy addict, I knew that cold turkey would hurt. But I knew the result would be worth it. Over time, you build up a resistance to the caffeine. You find your coffee getting stronger and stronger, you find yourself moving from one cup to two, to an extra shot, to four cups a day. This would, like the rest of the plan, be pressing the reset button and going back to the beginning – to the caffeine free me.
In the gym, things carried on as normal. Weights, classes and running. My distance was slowly building past the half marathon point, and as an unexpected bonus to the lack of caffeine, I suddenly had much more energy.
I’d bounce out of bed in the morning, into the gym or out onto the street, and come back smiling.
Who was this crazy woman?
The restrictions in the kitchen forced me to get creative – it was about as few ingredients as possible, taking us back to basics and whilst I was happy with fried rice all the time, Mr GFB a little less so. I added in salsas and stir fries, more spices and lots of chillies. For his little bit of grumbling, even he was pleased of the break from the richness and indulgence of the Christmas period and felt more comfortable in himself.
The bonus to the programme was the support. There’s a Facebook group full of those both currently on the programme and finishers. We chat recipes and
Into the second stage and we could relax a little bit. I could bring in more carbs and a weekly cheat day – which was celebrated in style at the Drunken Butcher post Christmas party. Well if you’re going to cheat, you might as well cheat properly.
Sweet potatoes made their way into the diet, as did peanut butter and a small amount of bread – eggs and avocado on a slice of toast, with a good helping of sriracha to be precise.
And I could once again drink occasionally and enjoy my coffee. No matter how nice the decaffeinated coffee from Grindsmiths is, the real deal is still my first love.
So after the four weeks, how had I done? Another 9lbs down, but the best bit was the inches. Inches off my waist and hips, my face and even my shoulders. Others in the group had similar experiences, and the recipes I now have in my back pocket are a complete bonus.
There is, however a little sad ending to the tale. As is stands, I am now injured and unable to run both my planned marathon and ultra marathon – a pressure injury to the ball of my foot meant that all that hard work, has now come to a stand still.
But that’s OK. I’m working with my physio to fix it, and it’s slowly getting better. I’ve registered for another marathon and two half marathons later in the year and I know, with this programme, I can just go back to the beginning and start again.
Does anyone have any decaff?
With thanks as always to Mike for pulling me through and kicking my arse where necessary. Which it often is.