It’s all too easy to look back on 12 months and dwell on the things you didn’t quite manage. OK I wasn’t selected to appear on the Victoria Secret’s runway and I’ll have to live with that, but there are many positives that I take out of a year that was filled with as many downs as there were ups if I’m completely honest.
I started the year with a shoulder injury. It really started in the December of 2016. I tried to train around it, but I did a workout on New Year’s Eve that really hurt and I was in agony. I booked in to see an osteopath for treatment and what January held in store for me was a month of no training, several sessions with the osteopath and a lot of frustration. By the end of the month I was cleared to start working out again, but weights were out of the question still, so I took the decision to go back to C1 and start again.
It was disheartening to go back to the start of the plan again, but I had a goal and that was to make it onto The Body Coach transformation page so I got in touch with my support hero (back then we had a designated support hero we could email) and I asked some advice about making my C1 workouts more effective. I took the advice on board and I went for it but with a degree of hesitation because I knew what was coming in C2 and C3. When I did the plan the for the first time, there was no prior knowledge and I threw myself into it, putting everything I had into every workout, but this time on reflection I see that I held back and perhaps this impacted on the results I achieved.
The cycles flew by. I was delighted to see the back of C1 and it’s set recipes and I welcomed C2 and all it’s carby goodness with open arms and then back to C3 with it’s carb restrictions and my hangry tendencies! I was carried through the plan by adrenalin and a determination to reach a goal I’d set myself, for all and sundry to see me in my underwear and to prepare myself for any unkind comments that I’d seen other graduates unfairly receive. Well as you can see I bloody made it onto the transformation page, Facebook page and Instagram too. The comments were lovely, but I really wish I’d picked better underwear for my start pictures! At the point when I finished the plan in May I decided to do a Facebook Live chat to my Facebook group and talked about my experiences, did a little Q&A and revealed details about a secret project I’d been working on with the Mr, but more about that later!
After graduation I decided to sign up for SAS, the graduate program by The Body Coach. It was merely as a security blanket and I soon decided that I wanted to follow my own path, both in terms of training and food. I started but I never finished. When it came to training, at the time I really enjoyed weights and I came to the conclusion that I was ready to move my workouts to a gym. This worked out well to start with until one night I was doing some floor work. I would go to the gym after the boys went to bed and at that time of night there were few of us working out and more often than not I was the only woman there. This particular night there were some guys using one of the weighted work stations and while I was in the middle of my floor work it felt that they were almost on top of me and I felt very vulnerable. I went less and less to the gym, not admitting to the Mr my reasons for avoiding the gym and it was only after a heated discussion that I came clean and told him about how I’d felt that night. I’m sure the guys that night didn’t intend for me to feel that way, but I wasn’t able to shake that off so switched back to home workouts, switching between T25, cross trainer hiit and Ben Davie sessions and weights.
When it came to food I still ate my plan friendly recipes, but I had a desire to learn more about the Mediterranean diet and of course the gut health revolution had started so I read Clever Guts by Dr M. Mosley. I’d been following a few people on Instagram who were at the centre of the gut health community and despite my very healthy diet, I felt my gut health could do with improving, so the Mr started making his own kefir and I started introducing foods into our diet that were famed for improving gut health and over time I did start to feel better.
June was a real highlight to my year because earlier in the year we booked tickets to BBC Good Food and I managed to get tickets to see the Joe Wicks cooking demo. ‘Midget trees’ in the flesh (so to speak!!). I’d been so busy finishing 90 day that I didn’t really do any research into the show, what else was there etc and it completely passed me by that Joe was doing a book signing. Of course on arriving and finding this snippet of info out, I knew I’d had to buy another copy of his latest book Cooking with Family and Friends even though I had one at home! We travelled in a pack of 5 that day. Myself, the Mr, twin 1 & 2 and our bestie Tyson Brealey. The children were in pushchairs and we tried to get into the queue for the signing. They really didn’t know how to handle people with pushchairs or even wheelchairs. There was a disabled lady queuing with us and we all were treated like a tripping hazard with cries of ‘move back’ from the security detail despite us not having moved an inch. Tyson was asked to join the queue and the plan was that we would pop into the signing when Tyson reached the front. I can smugly now say that things didn’t go their way! So there we are standing at the side of this HUGE body of people waiting for Joe to come out with 2 pushchairs, the crowd starts to chatter with excitement and as he reaches my party to walk past, he catches sight of me and declares ‘Nella!” comes over and gives me a hug. The next we know security are being nicely told off and the lady in the wheelchair is the first to go in closely followed by my party with Tyson being retrieved from the queue. We had a chat, I showed him my secret project (more about that later) and as time was short he asked us to meet him after the signing back stage so that we could chat more. All I can say is that I didn’t stop smiling that day. Joe is such a lovely man and better looking (if that’s possible) in person.
Also in June I decided to ask Ben Davie, Fitness Co-ordinator for The Body Coach if he’s like to join my Facebook group to bring an extra dimension and add a fitness element to the group. Since joining he’s held many live workouts, answered questions and provided motivation in spades at times when you feel you have nothing more to give. I’ve followed Ben on Instagram since I started my journey and he’s been a great source of support to me and he’s a very popular member of our group. Ben recently launched his own Youtube channel Move with Ben (click here) and if you follow him on Instagram you’ll see that he has more get up and go than any Duracell Energizer bunny there ever was!
At the end of July we launched our secret project, The Lean Cook recipe app. The app itself was written by the software demigod that is the Mr and it features all the recipes that I created during my time on the 90 Day SSS plan. Of course I was sharing recipes to www.mydietburble.com but having them in an app with lots of cool features was amazing to be working on. When I first started the plan back in July 2016 I hit C2 in August and the Mr presented me with the website to do with what I wanted. Blog writing, recipes, it was up to me. Naturally I started writing recipes as a way to document them so that I wouldn’t have to create the same recipes when I wanted to cook them, so it seemed natural to share recipes to others on the plan. Many have suggested that I write a cook book and I would dearly love to one day, but my focus was either on my young family or getting through the plan so the book is on the back burner, for now. The app took around 5 months to design and write and of course I was busy creating recipes. In the end we launched the app with all the features we wanted and over 200 plan friendly recipes. It’s a free download including 75 recipes with options to buy the current recipe pack or take out a subscription to give you some great features and unlock all the recipes. Click here for more details and to download for free.
In September as a family we took a holiday to Butlins as part of toddler week and while we were looking forward to seeing the children’s faces when they first clapped eyes on Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble), the thing I was looking forward to the least was the food. I knew I wasn’t going to be eating as I was used to, but the selection of salad and vegetables at times were somewhat restricted to the point that one day we left the compound and was on the hunt for a Pizza Hut where we could go to town on the salad bar – how sad is that!! In actual fact, the children ate pizza, while we ate salad, but we got our monies worth so to speak and the children loved the pizza!
As you can imagine, Butlins was packed full of families but what was really upsetting was seeing so many overweight families, children as well as the parents, and it seemed the norm if I’m honest. Walking around the buffet searching for salad or vegetables seemed like a fruitless exercise at times and a plate without chips seemed incomplete! Undeterred I continued to avoid things like triangular pieces of hash browns and chips opting for boiled potatoes if available. Unfortunately the holiday didn’t end well as on the last night the Mr spent the night throwing up. I decided to give him some space to do what he needed to do without fear of disturbing me so I moved myself to the firm sofa for a not so restful nights sleep. Come the morning, he felt a little better, but I on the other hand didn’t feel so well, so I managed to get the car packed with the Mr and we headed home with me in the front seat feeling delicate.
After the family were fully recovered (the adults not the children, they were fine!!), we were keen to get back to normal life and we started back to our workouts, and if I’m completely honest I never found a rhythm. It didn’t help that the Mr sustained an injury and now my osteopath was his osteopath! The last 3 months of this year was spent cooking up a storm to finish a recipe pack full of Lean recipes for the app. As I write this all recipes are written, I just have the task of editing them before they’re added to the update, but I’ve cooked some lovely things including Lean Fish & Chips and Crispy Baked Chicken!
In October I was amongst a group of very lucky individuals to have some one to one coaching sessions with the lovely Sarah Gordon. She’s a Neuro Linguistis Programming Practitioner & Life Coach in training as well as a valued member of The Body Coach team. At the time I was struggling with the direction I was headed in, experiencing self doubt, I had trouble with goal setting and anxiety was starting to set in. In her own way, she guided me to think about how I could find the tools and coping strategies to overcome the obstacles I was putting in my way. It’s not a process where she hands you the answers, she guides you to think in a way that helps you find the answers yourself and I’ll be forever grateful to her for listening to my ramblings or my burble of a different kind. Sarah writes lots of really interesting and insightful blogs which she posts to her Instagram page. If you feel like the need of 5 minutes of calm, I urge you to find her Instagram page (click here or on her name above) and look through her posts.
I love the culinary voyage of discovery that I’ve been on so far, but now as the year is ending I’m looking to 2018 with new goals in my sights. For a while now I’ve been interested in completing a course in nutrition but it’s been hard to find something that wasn’t just a weekend intense thing or something that had entry requirements as I left school as soon as I was able to!
Then just before Christmas I stumbled across a course in the UK local to us and spent a few days reading all the info on the website. I even went as far as messaging the head of the organisation to find out if he felt I would be able to manage the level of study required with my family commitments. I’m now delighted to say that I enrolled in the course just before Christmas and I have 3 months to completely restructure my life to be able to fit everything in!
It’s going to mean my day will start at 5am but I should have enough time to work on recipes, look after the children, workout and study, but this reorganisation won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some getting used to, so I was planning to get back to a workout regiment from home. I know this is as much about mindset as it is desire to workout so I’ve equipped myself accordingly!
- Mind – I’ve taken out a subscription to the Headspace app. If you’ve not heard of this, it’s a meditation app which bills itself as ‘Meditation made simple’. I started using the app a few months ago to help me get some order into my daily chaos. At times I struggle to think when there are two little people demanding attention from mummy and at times I find myself getting lost. Meditation is a great way for me to start to find where mummy stops and Nella starts and having a 10 minute session during my day, even when they go back to bed is just enough to help me go back to my factory default settings so to speak.
- Motivation (part 1) – can be sometimes a struggle to muster especially if you’ve found yourself in a spiralling funk, but I’ve been able to surround myself with people who motivate and inspire me to be a better version of me. Your key people no doubt will be different to mine, but it’s one thing to find them, its another to let them in and help you by just being there.
- Motivation (part 2) – comes in different forms. Back in 2016 I started T25 workouts and the trainer is ShaunT. During the workout he has the ability to motivate you throughout and he makes you want to give your all and his words ‘Trust & Believe’ have stayed with me. Just before Christmas he launched his book T is for Transformation; unleash the 7 superpowers to help you dig deeper, feel stronger and live your best life and I was very lucky to pick up the audio book that he himself reads and I can’t wait for him to motivate my socks off!
- Wellness and mindfulness – are both words that have been banded about quite a lot in 2017 and I strongly feel it’s down to the individual as to what they really are. I’m very guilty of feeling overwhelmed and anxious at times for whatever reason and I can often be heard declaring how tired I am and how busy I am, but I’m determined to change that. I want to be more positive, I want to use my time better and I want to have time to breathe so I have 3 books to read to help me find that balance. So along with 5am starts, I plan to head up to bed at 9pm, putting all phones and tablets away giving myself until 10pm to read in bed before lights out.
- Support – Finding a community of support isn’t easy to find at times as we all are on our own journey to our own destination but they’re there and willing to support if you are willing to give something of yourself to support others. Between my Facebook Group The Lean Cook/Mydietburble recipes & support etc and The Lean Cook followers on Instagram and my Facebook page I have found and amazing collection of individuals to connect with to exchange words of support, silly quips and of course meal and recipe ideas and to you I thank you because it’s possible to feel quite alone on this adventure and a like, comment or private message reminds me that I’m not alone and you ARE listening!
So while my year has been quite mixed and lacking in direction and goals at times, I feel that I’m ending 2017 on the biggest high possible. While I said never again, I decided on December 27th to sign back up to the 90 Day SSS Plan for a 3rd bite of the cherry. But I’m not going to use an old plan, I always paid for a new plan as I never saw the point of trying to guess what I should be eating. Signing up to the plan and having a plan spelling out what food to eat was exactly why I signed up to start with.
You may wonder why I’ve signed up to SSS and not SAS? Surely as The Lean Cook I should know by now what to eat and how much? My reason for signing up is simple, and it’s down to it being a new version of the plan with the promise of a workout plan taking no longer than 35 minutes. Having completed SSS twice and losing so many evenings and early mornings to lengthy workouts, I’m hoping this is the answer to my prayers for a workout plan that fits into life rather than taking over my life as it’s done twice before. I’ve looked at other fitness plans and popular apps and the sticking point for me has been the workout time. I was willing to commit to working out 45 minutes a day for 4 days so 35 minutes 5 days sounds like an offer I can’t refuse!
As I sit and write this blog, the 90 Day community is buzzing, firstly with the news of a new book, The Fat loss Plan which we’ve all known about for ages and if I’m honest (sorry Joe) but I’m not a fan of the name as I don’t want to be reminded that I have fat to lose, but I instead prefer the message about getting lean. Essentially it’s the same message, but delivered differently. And today the 90 Day community was drip fed news of a new 90 Day Plan, different to what I’d successfully completed before. New recipes, new workouts, pick and mix from cycle 1, but not everyone is happy. Will it deliver the same results without the intensive weights-led workouts? No idea, but has The Body Coach just made graduation and transformation from 90 Day SSS achievable to more people who need a program to fit into work, family and life as we know it? Yes I think so.
So my final commitment is
6. Accountability – Throughout this journey (I think I should go back and see how many times I’ve dropped the j-bomb) I’ve strived to be honest with myself and to anyone who’s taken the time to follow me. I’ve freely admitted that my past C1 experiences haven’t strictly been by the book but the reason for that is because I wasn’t a fan of the set recipes and I found a way to get through that cycle to reach the much feared C2 (my favourite of the cycles!). So now that the plan has changed I’m hoping that I can at last follow it to the letter in all cycles instead of just the 2nd and 3rd. When it came to my workouts I always did what was required of me. I didn’t sneak in any extra workouts or active rest days because I felt that my workouts were hard enough. So I will continue to use Instagram and Facebook as a means to let you into the food I’m eating, my workouts and what’s going on in my head. The 90 day plan has in the past consumed me, but as a mum of almost 3 year old twin boys, I want to show mum’s in a similar position and of a similar age (I’m now 45) that the only thing stopping you from smashing this plan is you. I really mean it when I say if I can do this (and I’m no superwoman) then you can too and if you reach out to me when you’re struggling and want to give up, I’ll help to gather up the pieces of your confidence and put them back together.
As a mum of twin boys who will turn 3 years old next month it’s been really important for me to find a training plan that isn’t all consuming, that fits into everyday life and that I find enjoyable. Having the structure of 90 Day SSS is going to kick start my year and finally I have set my goals, right up until April 2019.
On reflection, 2017 has been an amazing year. I have achieved quite a lot, but there’s always room for improvement and I always feel I could have done more had my children been a little more accommodating, but that’s life I suppose. I’m so grateful to have met so many amazing people in this community that surrounds Joe Wicks. Followers of his plan, past and present. Members of his team and of course the man himself. I am very grateful indeed for this opportunity to help others make the best of themselves and I feel so honoured to be able to play a very small part in others journey to reach their goals. My soul feels so much richer to have joined such an amazing community of people and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018!