I’m rather happy with my body these days. Focussing more on what I can achieve versus how I look is a far better mindset for me to be in. Keeping my sights on good nutrition and physical activity has meant that my attitude has remained positive and my physical appearance is simply a by-product of my lifestyle. With this said, you may be wondering why I am looking to make changes with a ‘3 week body blast’ if I’m so happy!
During the summer months, it can be a little more difficult to stick to a healty nutrition plan. Ice creams, beer in the sunshine, BBQs and a schedule based on beach time can all lead to the intake of far more energy than we require. I ate and drank with gusto this summer and of course, this has led to me feeling a little bloated and a little softer than I am used to. I’ve had less time to train and so now, I’m really feeling the need for a little blitz to get me back to myself.
It is our wedding anniversary next month and I have been reliably informed that I am being whisked away to a beach and a little bit of sun. This is the perfect excuse for me to get my booty in gear and get back to my healthy lifestyle (minus the 99’s, the ice cold beers in the sun and the late night all you can eat BBQ’s). The plan is to add more vegetables to my diet, exercise strategically and build the shape I want.
Where to Begin
The week started with a clear out of the fridge and the kitchen cupboards. I cleared out many of the things that would be detrimental to my progress – in other words, I ate 2 packets of digestive biscuits, one carton of custard and 2 tubs of Häagen Dazs cookies and cream. ONLY JOKING! I just cleaned out the fridge and made space for lots of veg! Restriction, in my experience, usually leads to breakouts (plural!) so I just try to make healthier choices and put the brakes on my chocolate addiction.
Once the fridge was cleared out, I went and did a huge veggie shop. I also chose a selection of protein sources to use throughout my week. These ranged from fillet steak (locally sourced ), organic tofu, greek yoghurt, vegan protein powder, tuna and a selection of mixed beans & lentils.
What Vegetables Did I Choose
I pack all my greens and cruciferous vegetables on one side of the fridge. Green leafy vegetables are full of flavonoids and are known for their ability to mop up damaging free radicals within the body. This is true too for tomatoes which are packed to the brim with lycopene (well known for its amazing properties in the prevention of cardiac disease). For this reason, I always try to have at least 1 thing from this drawer on my plate.
All my colours go in the other drawer. Plenty of onions, garlic (also choc full of antioxidant properties) peppers and anything else that catches my eye. I do try to pick up vegetables with low travel miles and your local farmer’s market is a great way to do this. This particular shop was done in Super Valu in Clonakilty where there is a huge selection to choose from.
A great idea is to cook large portions of meals in advance. This means that you will always have a healthy option to reach for when you are tight for time. I often chop lots of vegetables then seal them in tupperware, ready for cooking. This works really well when you want to make something quick and healthy without the hassle of lots of food prep like this home made pizza above.
This week was the best eating I have had in ages. Surprisingly (to me) it was meat free despite having 2 fillet steaks waiting for me in the fridge. I just ate what I felt I needed and that worked out well for me. These days, I’m finding meat a little heavy on my stomach but I can eat fish with ease. I definitely believe that your body craves what it needs (this does not apply to chocolate or red wine!) and you should listen!
Depending on my plan for the day, I would start with 2 small meals or one large one. My breakfasts usually went like this:
- Greek Yoghurt with a heaped tablespoon of homemade linseed granola.
- Glenisk Vanilla yoghurt with Quinoa crunch
- Poached eggs x 2 with Sourdough (with or without avocado)
- Slice of brown bread toasted with hummus
I am not inclined to eat large breakfasts early in the morning these days. I prefer to have a coffee with a slice of toasted wholemeal bread or a small portion of yoghurt and then follow up with a larger breakfast mid morning. My second breakfast is usually where I would have my poached eggs and avocado toast, fried mushrooms with roasted tomatoes or some dahl and pitta bread.
Lunch & Dinner
I make an effort to prepare as many meals as possible each time I cook. This means that I will chop lots of veg at once and have 2 pots on the go. It allows me to forego making a dinner on the nights that I am training or working. Another idea is to make a big pot of ragout and have veg bolognese one night, add chilli and kidney beans for chilli night and add curry powder and coconut milk for night 3!
My meal selection was really healthy and while I tried to eat lots of vegetables daily, I did try to vary them so I wouldn’t get bored.
One night I would cook broccoli and cauliflower and add pesto, the next evening I would try to do something with peppers. The ingredients pictured below were for my delicious Fajita or Taco mix. A great filler for your wrap is shredded white cabbage. It is full of vitamin K, Vit C and B6 and an array of other minerals and vitamins in a lesser amount. The best part is that it is fantastic for volume and fills you nicely.
Whichever selection of vegetables you choose, don’t be afraid to experiment. It is through experimentation that you will begin to learn what you like and what you don’t like.
I’m not strictly vegetarian and if I’m honest, I had a fillet steak for my dinner last night. However, I love that my diet is predominantly plant based. No matter what I cook, I always start off with vegetables then I build with protein choices and sauces or herbs to complement. My choices this week were predominantly vegetable based and I didn’t feel the need to have meat. I made smoothies with vegan protein and fresh fruit and I used tofu in the place of meat for 2 or 3 meals.
I have been a little wishy washy with my training since I pulled out of my ‘A’ race this year. Goal setting is essential for me as I get little training done without it. I started this week by getting back into a routine for my triathlon training. I also began my prehab programme again as I intend to get back to weight lifting.
Core work is an essential part of my programme. Of course my core has become weakened greatly by my transplant surgery so this is one of my main priorities in terms of my strength training. Surgery or no surgery, a healthy, conditioned core means a healthy back and posture. So, it should be a priority for you too!
My Week of Training
My week went like this for training:
Monday: Recovering from Sunday – Session was 10 times 45 second efforts (running uphill) with 15 seconds recovery in between.
Tuesday: Body weight squat and mobility session with glut conditioning work. The picture below was one from a session I did earlier in the year but you get the idea.
Wednesday: 3km run in the dunes – total killer as the surface is uneven and the hills are just torture
Thursday: Morning was yoga at home. Lots of stretching and core work. Thursday evening was 4km in the Dunes with a group! More climbing and more speed!
Friday: Rest day – technically! I moved about a tonne of stone in a wheelbarrow! Consider it a leg training day!
Saturday: Definite rest day – I stretched in the morning
Sunday: I did a triathlon. 710 m swim (I obviously took a shortcut), 18.5km cycle (pace was appalling, but likely due to the Everest type hills!) and 4.5km run (my legs just wouldn’t go after the hills!). As you can see from the photo, I was far enough at the back to get the photos of everyone climbing the hills.
Results From Week 1
I started taking probiotics early in the month. As I explained earlier, my stomach has been very uncomfortable recently and this could partially be due to my anti rejection medications. So, I went easy on week 1 and stuck to my gradual increase in vegetables. One point to note is that if you haven’t been eating lots of veg and you suddenly eat only veg, your stomach will NOT thank you for it. It is important to increase your fibre intake gradually as your gut needs the time to adjust.
While my shape hasn’t changed drastically, I feel that I am retaining less water. The most logical explanation for this is that I have reduced my intake of starchy carbohydrates like potato, bread and rice and I am eating more vegetables instead.
My abdominal discomfort has certainly reduced. It may be difficult to see it but my bloating has gone down a little too. The main point is that after week 1, I feel considerably better than I did at the beginning of the week.
In Summary – Week 1 of the Body Blast
The changes I made were simple and did not impact my life to any great degree. They were small, sustainable adjustments that I know I can continue into the winter. Have a look at the list below and see if there are a few of the points that you could incorporate into your daily life.
- Clear out the fridge and buy a selection of varied vegetables
- Ensure you have healthy options in your cupboard – ditch the super noodles and replace with quinoa!
- Choose some good quality protein to put with your vegetables – outrule anything that needs to be deep fat fried. Make choices that you can fry in a non stick pan or grill or oven bake.
- Be more conscious of the volume of high calorie treats you have in a day. For example, allow one of your snacks to be your sweet treat – but watch out for portion sizes of ‘healthy’ nut butters or hummus that could tip your fat allowance over the edge
- Move More! Find a plan and stick to it.
- Sleep – I don’t advise this lightly! Sleep time is when your body repairs and prepares for the following day. Without quality sleep, your body cannot function properly.
I look forward to updating you on the changes made in week 2 of my challenge. If you want to know how to make any of the changes I wrote about in this blog, you can contact me here to book a consultation.
*** None of the photos of me in this blog have been edited in any way. There appears to be a glitch in one photo (it looks like I have a titanium knee or something – I can’t explain that one!). But all photos were taken with a samsung S9 phone. 🙂Follow Me Here