What I ate between Xmas and New Year
Be honest. The new year was 2 weeks ago but I bet you're still blaming what you ate between Xmas and new year for the way you're feeling/looking right now.
Jeans leaving scrawny lines on your stomach? Or maybe they've been tossed to the back of the wardrobe because they won't even do up.
Whatever your woes, I promise you there's an easier way of doing things than punishing yourself with lettuce leaf dinners and hour-long HIIT workouts.
But you have to promise me you'll S-L-O-W down, okay?
All this rushing isn't helping. You can't hurry your way to a body that feels and looks good. If it were possible to get perfect abs in 3 days, it'd be possible in reverse - e.g. if Joe Wicks gave up his routine for a month he'd suddenly be Mr Blobby. And although there are trolls out there who'd undoubtedly find that funny, it wouldn't be so great to consider the concept of losing all that hard-earned muscle so quickly.
So! Now that we've agreed time is your friend, here are some insider tips on how I've managed to get into shape (yep, I'm boasting about it) but do it without punishment or deprivation.
Disclaimer: I'm not one of those 'lucky' people who can eat what they want, do little and still be slender. But I am one of those lucky people who stumbled across a PT who's changed her life. More on him later.
Firstly, you'll know from a previous blog post that it took me MONTHS to get into shape. But it didn't happen until I focused on my diet. And by diet, I don't mean cutting vast numbers of calories. I mean following the rules on the checklist below. The bit about fibre is particularly important for coeliacs as it's easy to go short (what with having to cut out Weetabix and so forth). The bit about chocolate is particularly important for sanity (or so I like to think, anyway!).
And here comes the week of food. I know you're itching to have a nosey!
I absolutely love starting the day with a hot lemon (that's a good wedge of lemon with boiling water on top, which I wait to cool slightly). I recently saw someone declare there were no health benefits to this whatsoever. I don't care - I love the taste first thing.
Admittedly, a lot of chicken features in my diet. I find it's one of the easiest ways to get more protein in. I've been doing a 30% protein diet for some time now and it's really helped me get into shape.
There are definitely days when I just don't feel like cooking. After frying up breakfast, making lunch and then my children's tea at 4 o'clock, sometimes it's easier to go for a ready meal. So I hunted in the freezer and was really pleased to see I'd got an Amy's Mac & Cheese. It tastes really good and I pimped it with spinach & sweetcorn for added yumminess. I used to eat a lot more Nak'd bars than I do now. I usually go for a protein bar instead so I can meet my macros.
The popcorn maker was a solid investment! Sometimes these things are faddy and you realise you've got yet another kitchen gadget you won't use. But this one entertained the children time and time again over Xmas and I truly enjoyed eating the popped corn. You can find uncontaminated popcorn at Holland & Barrett.
If you're wondering what Xmas pudding I went for, I made my own with this recipe. It went down really well with everyone and a reasonably large slice was 300 calories, which isn't bad when you look at some of the gluten-free pastries you could opt for!
I really enjoy curry, which is handy as it's so easy to get gluten-free (the only thing I miss is naan bread). The Goa Classic curry place round the corner from me is one I trust for coeliac-friendly food.
Those Cornettos that are gluten-free & vegan even make my husband happy - Wall's have done themselves proud! They're easy to find in a supermarket like Tesco.
So that's it - that's my week between Xmas and New Year! And it's not really that different from normal weeks (apart from the Xmas pudding) as I'd still be having the same number of calories and 30% protein. Plus, since I work from home (like many of us these days) I'm able to cook up lunch, which is really handy.
I sense you think there's a 'but'.
Of course there is! In fact there are two.
But number 1: portion control.
Everything I ate was carefully measured out so I consumed exactly 1,950 calories every day. Yes, I can eat a roast dinner, but I don't pile my plate so it's overflowing or go back for seconds.
But number 2: exercise.
If you want to see results, food portioning probably isn't enough. But the exercise I do is quick and really fun. I truly enjoy it and fit it in before the rest of the house wakes up.
So back to that PT I mentioned. His name's David Bates and he's truly revolutionised the way I view food and exercise. I now see it as fuel and training, and I absolutely love both.
I just wish I could go back in time and tell my twenty-something self. (It'd save her a lot of guilt around eating and working out.)
Find out more by reading my fitness training schedule here.
Disclaimer: just because this plan worked for me doesn't mean it'll work for you. Everyone is different and you therefore need to speak to a professional (like David) to get a plan suited to you and your body.