Project Goal Body - ONELIVE Challenge
Over the Easter break from university, I undertook an internship, working in the marketing department at Les Mills UK. As a company, they were in the process of counting down to their big ONELIVE tour event in London and so the office had decided to run a 'Get Fit for ONELIVE Challenge' for anyone who wanted to get involved.
The plan was to complete 3 strength based workouts a week, eat 5 small-medium balanced meals a day and keep refined sugar to a minimum, with one cheat day in the middle of the 6 week programme. Although I knew I was going back to university for the duration of the challenge, with summer coming up, I thought it provided a great opportunity to get myself in tip top shape. With goal setting an extremely important part of any programme (see previous post), I was pretty keen for the challenge. I promised myself to go back to university with the aim of following their guidelines.
For the past few years now, I have had a less than healthy relationship with food. I would eat super strictly during the week, limit my carb intake and make sure I was exercising at least 5 times a week. My cheat meal on a Saturday would easily turn into a cheat day and occasionally into a cheat weekend. I would binge until I felt sick and make up, if not exceed, my calorie deficit that I had built up throughout the week. I would keep this up for 3-4 weeks, until I just couldn't take it anymore and I'd end up not caring and eating whatever for a good 2 weeks until I worked up the motivation to try and be strict again. And I wonder why I had never been able to get back to my goal body from a few summers ago...
However, I'm not sure what was different this time, but something definitely was. Following the plan, I could start to feel myself worrying much less about food, and exercise in particular. I ended up dropping my quantity of training down to Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday - the days I taught classes, meaning I had more energy to work very hard on those days. I stopped thinking about which meals I was allowed to eat a carb source with and included them in every one of my 4-5 meals a day. I forgot about a 'cheat day' and treated myself to a homemade indulgent snack a day - including pancakes, brownies, muffins, cookies, chocolate mousses. I made sure that none of these contained any refined sugar, so they were a perfect treat both mentally and physically. I experimented with main courses too, trying out new carb sources and ideas for fun dishes rather than the usual plain chicken and vegetables for dinner. In the 6 week programme, I had one evening that I will call a real 'cheat', but unlike normal, I didn't crazily overindulge nor did I feel guilty for it as I really enjoyed my night out.
ONE LIVE took place a couple of days ago now and it was a real success! Sadly, that does mean that in theory, the 'challenge' is also officially over. However, for me, it was more than just a 6 week stint, as it has really helped to stabilise my relationship with food and exercise. I feel much more comfortable with my diet and I definitely don't feel the need to starve myself of treats throughout the week leading up to an almighty binge anymore. They say you can't out exercise a bad diet and it's so true. Since sorting out my eating patterns, I have been able to limit my training to three times a week and still see my body change in a positive way.
For the first time in a good two years, I feel genuinely happy with my figure. What's more, I'm so proud of myself for the changes I have made to my lifestyle - eating carbs with every meal, not going on a wild weekend binge etc. With summer quickly approaching and a good few holidays to look forward to, I am so excited for the next few months. I'm looking forward to continuing this healthy lifestyle, trying out new clean treats, without the fear of going crazy and eating all of them in one sitting. I am looking forward to allowing myself a few days off the gym if I want to do something else and not feeling bad for it. But mostly, I am looking forward to just enjoying food again and not over analysing everything I eat.
I want to thank the Les Mills UK office team for organising the amazing ONELIVE event and the challenge which in turn has given me the push I needed to get back to where I was a few years ago - both mentally and physically. After a great 6 weeks, I couldn't be happier with the results and am looking forward to keeping it up!