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BULLET BLOG: CYCLE TWO OF THE BODY COACH 90 DAY PLAN

Lifestyle : Getting Lean with Hypothyroidism

Having done the old plan a few times before, I knew that Cycle Two was going to be tough for me. The only reason I dread this cycle is because the increase in carbs (which I will discuss below) doesn't really agree with me. My body is always more sluggish and my progress slows down when I eat more carbs, however I know this about myself now so I just got my head down and focused on the fact that I would be building some serious muscle. 

How it works.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the 90 Day plan I will just give you a brief overview of how cycle two works. 

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Month Two | AKA Cycle Two

NUTRITION - During the second month you up your carbs to two meals per day on training days, and you will still be aiming to work out 4-5 days per week - but this time you include resistance training as well as HIIT. So for at least 2 days a week you will be eating low carbs all day as in Cycle One. A typical training day for me looks like this (I usually trained mornings in Cycle Two):

Breakfast - Breakfast Pizza (Post Workout Refuel)

Snack - Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter

Lunch - Almond and Honey Pancakes (Low Carb)

Snack - 25g Mixed Nuts

Dinner - Mixed Bean Chilli (Carb Refuel)

My typical rest days would look something like this:

Breakfast - Coconut and Chocolate Smoothie (Low Carb)

Snack - 25g Nuts

Lunch - Fish Pie (Low Carb)

Snack - Protein Yoghurt

Dinner - Chilli Beef Nachos

TRAINING - Cycle Two is the kind of training I like because it mixes a bit of HIIT with weights and I absolutely love improving on my strength. I always aimed for 5 days training a week so that way if there are days I am suffering with fatigue a lot more, I can let myself off for having an extra rest day.

Workouts are 30 minutes long this cycle, so the time has increased by 5 minutes from last month. You will typically do 5 rounds of weighted exercises such as squats, chest press and shoulder press and then finish with an intense HIIT session at the end. 

Here are a few things from month TWO of the plan:

  • I felt extremely tired and sluggish during this cycle - as I mentioned above I try to eat low carbs most of the time when I'm not doing the plan as this works better for me with my condition. A lot of people with Hypothyroidism actually go Gluten Free completely. 

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  • I didn't see a lot of physical changes throughout the cycle which can be disheartening when you are looking for NSVs (non scale victories) to help you get through and motivate you. However, I know I am edging ever nearer to my goal and gaining muscle at this point, so I tried not to let it get to me too much and stayed focussed. 

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  • It was Easter during the cycle so I added on some time at the end. I was completely lured in by Easter because our house was full to the brim with chocolate (that's what having children does - and I didn't want them to eat it all did I?!)

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  • I did get bored with this cycle very quickly, I know this is a mental battle because I wasn't seeing any results, and in fact as you'll see from my photos, it seemed as though the carb bloat actually hid the progress I'd made in cycle one. The best thing for me was to move on quickly to the next cycle with no break as demotivation can lead to lower restraint in my experience. 

So here are my all important results:

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Of course I saw these numbers and felt pretty disappointed. My weight went up and where my inches did drop they didn't drop by much at all. My progress is definitely slowing down the further along I get but those last pounds of fat are always going to be the most stubborn.

I've also started to accept genetics a lot more - they play a major part and are a big reason why you should never compare with someone who has always been a size 8, when you're naturally a size 12. The smallest I've ever been is a size 10 and I have reached that size now, but I'm the fittest and healthiest I've ever been in my life so that's the added bonus. 

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So when the numbers aren't saying much I go back to the photos. At the end of the day this is what we see in the mirror and is usually where we want to see change when it comes to confidence and wearing the clothes we like. This is a major factor for me in body confidence because I want to express myself through fashion and this just wasn't possible when I was at my biggest. 

Though the changes are minor I can see that my legs are more toned, this is a big deal for me as one of my genetic traits is having big thighs and wide calves. I have a much more defined collar bone and let's just say those squats are paying off! 
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I have also been measuring body fat % and muscle gain on a Boditrax machine at my gym, despite the above numbers my muscle mass has increased from 48.7% to 50.2% and my body fat has decreased from 28.7% to 28.2% so something is happening beneath the surface.

If, like me, you suffer from a metabolic disorder then I urge you to take as many measurements as you possibly can along with photos and body fat %, as this will give you a much more rounded view than the scales ever can. 

If you have any questions about how I keep fit with Hashimoto's then please get in touch - I love talking to other people who are just as determined about their health!

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Bullet Blog: Cycle One of The body coach 90 Day PlanSharing A Chair

Lifestyle : Getting Lean with Hypothyroidism

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 Left: 2016 first plan photo. Right: Beginning of Cycle One February 2018

Left: 2016 first plan photo. Right: Beginning of Cycle One February 2018

I found the Plan really easy to get into this time around (I've done the old version of the plan twice previously). I'm not sure if it was the brand new recipes and fresh set up or whether I was just mentally ready to start seeing results again. Either way, I was grateful for the motivation because that is the one thing between staying put or moving forward.

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How it works.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the 90 Day plan I will just give you a brief overview of how this first cycle is laid out. 

Month One | AKA Cycle One

NUTRITION - During this first month you only eat carbs after a workout, and you will aim to work out 4-5 days a week. So for at least 2 days per week you will eat no carbs at all. A typical training day for me looks like this:

Breakfast - Cocoa Coconut Pancakes (Low Carb)

Snack - Apple Slices and Peanut Butter

Lunch - Mac 'n' Cheese (Post Workout Refuel)

Snack - 25g Mixed Nuts

Dinner - Prawn and Chorizo Stir Fry (Low Carb)

My typical rest days would look something like this:

Breakfast - Peanut Butter and Jam Smoothie

Snack - 25g Nuts

Lunch - BBQ Turkey Meatballs

Snack - Protein Yoghurt

Dinner - Chicken Cashew Curry

TRAINING - Cycle One is solely HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and you aim to do 4-5 sessions per week (one per day only) for 25 mins each time. You would essentially do different moves for 40 seconds on followed by 25 seconds rest and you complete 3 rounds, but this does varies from workout to workout. 

Here are a few things from my first month of the plan:

  • I didn't stay away from the sad step, I find this is really difficult when you have hypothyroidism because weight loss is like walking a tightrope. There is a fine line between losing fat, water retention and building muscle and Hypothyroidism doesn't seem to care if you are working your butt off, it will increase your weight with no warning or visible reason.

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  • At 5'2" and weighing 11 stone 9lbs it seems obvious I was overweight. However, looking at photographs of myself on my wedding day at the same weight - I am carrying significantly more fat. This helped me to gain perspective when this months results came in because fat loss is so much more than the scales.

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  • I had a few periods of complete exhaustion. There were two days halfway through when I could not exercise, luckily they were at the beginning of the week so I overcame it by making them my rest days. The tiredness was a little concerning as I kept falling asleep throughout the day (luckily I'm home all day) and I wasn't sure if it was thyroid problems rearing their ugly head - fortunately, after two days rest and early nights, it ebbed and my energy levels went back to normaI. 

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  • I had one treat on Valentine's day but I allowed for this by adjusting my day, making sure HIIT was before dinner and I had eaten strictly on plan the rest of the day. I had absolutely no guilt about this because it is a lifestyle change and I was back to being completely focused the next morning.

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  • In the final week of the plan I did find my restraint starting to deplete a little, I was getting bored of HIITs and just looking forward to Cycle Two and getting back to lifting weights, which is what I love. I like doing HIITs as part of a variety of workout methods but when it's the sole method it does become a little boring. As soon as I feel like that I know it's time to change things up so I submitted my results and I'm waiting for Cycle Two to be delivered.

So here are my all important results:

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Overall I felt a little disappointed. I worked extremely hard and only lost a few pounds. This is the continual struggle of Hypothyroid, it doesn't help that on the plan I think they put me on higher calories than I would allow myself with such a slow metabolism. That said, I fully trust the plan, it's all going in the right direction and seeing my photos showed me that sometimes it's not all about the numbers. 

 Half and inch lost on the waist makes a big difference to look at!

Half and inch lost on the waist makes a big difference to look at!

 A slight tummy shrink and a perkier 

A slight tummy shrink and a perkier 

So now I'm just waiting for Cycle Two to hit my inbox. I'm not a fan of increased carbs as I don't react well to them, but I am very much looking forward to building muscle in the gym again.

In the meantime I always relax for 1 or 2 days and have a little of what I fancy without going too crazy. This isn't the approach for everyone, but for me it's realistic and I miss a pizza or some sweeties so I find if I allow myself a little of what I like, I'm even more ready to attack the next 30 days. 

If you're doing the plan at the moment then I wish you the best of luck, if you're thinking about starting then I couldn't recommend it more. You can sign up on Joe's website, where you will also find my guest blog about staying focused when illness or injury hits during the plan. 

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How to take better care of you in 2018

Bullet Blog | Self-Care

 

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 'Self - care', it's happily replacing the term 'New Year, New You' and if you ask me (you didn't, but let's pretend you did) I'm all for it. I've spent far too many years being awful to myself, not taking enough care of my physical or mental health. In 2016 after the birth of my daughter something clicked and I took a leap in attitude to change this. With the help of the inspirational Bodycoach and unending support of my husband I lost a lot of body fat and fell in love with the Gym. 2017 was the year of the mind for me and I tackled some big hurdles with my anxiety and mental health. Now I know the two go hand in hand so this year I'm all about looking after myself, body and mind. Here are my tips if you want to get on board!

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  1. Baby Steps - no matter how you plan to tackle your wellbeing this year, my number one piece of advice is to take it slowly. As soon as we say we're going to overhaul our diet, exercise or commit to completing a giant list of tasks (or all three), we are setting ourselves up for failure. Too much too soon. Take one thing and then break it up into bite sized chunks, making little changes that you build upon is much more sustainable.
  2. Add Something - I find adding to something I already do helps me to not feel overwhelmed. For example I help to walk my Nana's dog every evening, so instead of walking with her I now run with her and it doesn't take anymore from my day or my brain!
  3. Write it Down - Whether it's your nutrition or your house clutter you are tackling, things feel that much better when you write them down. When I do this I find it isn't so overwhelming and not as bad as I thought. I then have the satisfaction of ticking it off when it's done. 
  4. Do Not Limit Yourself - Don't put a time limit on your change. If you say 'I'm going to get fit by summer', and then you don't quite manage that part of your plan, how are you going to feel about yourself? Only commit to things that are going to improve your attitude to yourself, and don't put limits - you have the rest of your life to achieve and slow progress is still progress. 
  5. Take Baths - We can't all take a regular spa day, it's pricey and it's time consuming. What we can do is give ourselves a little pampering at home whether that is taking a bath, painting nails, looking after your skin with a little face mask or just simply sitting quietly in a room with some scented candles. 
  6. Make Time - Leading on from the above it is important to find time. It's funny how now I'm a busy mum of two I realise just how much time I have in my day and I manage to fit a lot more in. I used to have an excuse for everything but now I know I can fit a little of everything I enjoy into my day if I prioritise my time and use every free minute wisely. It takes practice but if I can do it - trust me you can too!
  7. Read - You may not be a big reader, but I think reading is such a great way to unwind. So many people I speak to say they don't have time for a book. But we all find the time to scroll on our smartphones nowadays so if we cut back on this (good for the soul) then trust me you'll find an extra half an hour. If you don't believe me then download the app 'Moment', and see how much time you're spending on your phone, you'll be in for a shock! I find reading before bed helps me relax into sleep naturally rather than screen time which actually keeps you wired.
  8. Forgive yourself - This is a big one for me. When I first had children I struggled so much with not being able to keep on top of things. Before I would pride myself on a dedicated day to clean the house, keeping on top of washing, writing thank you cards and sending out birthday cards and gifts on time. I just don't manage this anymore and I consider myself a pretty organised person. You have to learn to forgive yourself the little things and let them go, we spend too much time measuring ourselves against an invisible standard. Set a new standard - one that ebbs and flows with the fluctuation of YOUR life.
  9. Clear the clutter - Have a good clear out of stuff. My mind feels so overwhelmed when my house is cluttered and all I can see is stuff everywhere. It's very cathartic to rid little corners of your home of clutter - it will have the same effect on your mind. Remember write a list i.e. under stairs cupboard, sort computer files, tidy bookcase, shred paperwork, and then just aim do one a month maybe even just doing a little bit each day when you walk past.
  10. Take walks - If you aren't one for the gym, running, or high impact exercise then just go for a 10 minute walk. I find even just going for a 15 minute walk around the block each day clears my head and gives me breathing space. Sometimes changing the air is all it takes and if you can listen to some calming music whilst you do it, then all the better.
 
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So remember it's all about the little changes, over time these will have a big effect on your wellbeing and you may find there's a little room to make another change, and so it will continue like that. The more positive you are the more, the more you will welcome positive change. 

Take care of you

Rebecca is running everyday in January to support Mind Charity and their R.E.D. January campaign

You can show your support too by sponsoring Rebecca on her Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/reb-does-red2018

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