Failing one health kick at a time.
Hi, I'm Jess. I like cheese, movies where Julia Roberts is the romantic lead preferably opposite Richard Gere, and not exercising.
So it certainly surprised a lot of people when in the New Year, I decided to sign up for the Ultimate You Transformation (UYT) program, designed for participants to lose 9 kilos (20 pounds) in a matter of 6 weeks, which, at first glance, is batsh!t insane.
Like many people, I had tried lazy girl's way outs. Swore to not eat carbs for a day or two only to find myself hovering over a pizza:
I tried Soul Cycle:
Five minutes later:
I tried home delivered meals, which. to be fair, is a good program if you do it properly, but I found it was more convenience than weight loss for me, and I would still finish each meal with a Paddle Pop. (The dinner and dessert stomachs are separate. All women know this). And you know, the obvious trick - wishing on an eyelash or a star that I would Wake Up Thin. Weirdly, this did not come to fruition.
In the space of two years, I had put on 15 kilos. Whilst not obese, I am only 5"2 and it was drastically affecting my self-confidence. Zips weren't going up, bathers looked terrible, and I had put on weight in places I never had. Most of this was due to getting in a new relationship (I do have to point out that it is Not His Fault so I can stay in said relationship). Less time for gym, more time for fun pizza and movies on the couch. A five month trip to the US also found me having hot dogs, pizza and McDonald's on a daily basis, and alcohol daily. I found myself looking at photos when I was 21 and though I was 'fat' and scolding that girl just like my mother did. It was time to do something. It was time to get real.
I saw the ad for UYD on Facebook. Thinking it may be fake but intrigued, I clicked on it and was welcomed to a consultation. I did like the way it had real-life people, not 'Give us your credit card number and you will get email work outs'. We all know when you do your own work out, it's one push-up, breathe, one mint slice, repeat. I need someone to scream at me so I hate them.
My initial consultation gave me the details - basically, pay AU$500 upfront. To do the program, you must:
-Attend the gym minimum 5 times a week and check in on Facebook each time.
-Change your profile picture to their logo (I admit, I had a hard time with that one. I thought the picture of my boyfriend and I in matching Hawaiian shirts on a Bahamas cruise was gold and deserved the glow basking it was receiving).
-Follow The Damn Plan #ftdp. A meal plan over 6 weeks mainly consisting of meat, vegetables, protein shakes and eggs. Body-builder brand, basically. Come at me, Holly Holm!
Best part: If you lose the 9kg, you get your $500 back!
I was also told that there was a 92% success rate on the plan. Sceptical, I wanted proof. When I went in, I was lead to a room where there were hundreds of transformation photos (Side note - is anyone as obsessed with transformation photos as me? I could Google them all day!) as well as stats on a board showing starting and finishing weight, and lots of women were around the same size as me. I must admit, I was impressed. Sold by the idea of my body looking mint af by mid-Feb, I paid on the spot.
Next is where I made my first mistake. I indulged over the Christmas period, hardcore, thinking like a Death Row patient I needed to savour my last meals. Prawns, cake, pudding, pastaaaa, come at me Best Friends!
I put on 3 kilos in 3 weeks.
Luckily, I had already paid, and like any good Jewish Australian Princess, money was a real motivator. At the beginning of January, we had a Biggest-Loser style initiation. A motivation talk, inspirational videos, protein shakes, and (eep!) a depressing-as-hell weigh-in. Looking at the photos, I knew it was time.
I suppose for me, I liked the idea of this program because:
a) It had an end date (of sorts - I don't plan on eating McDonald's the day it finishes!)
b) It has a very set, realistic goal (I think?)
c) everything was organised. I don't have to hold myself accountable to 'push myself' on a treadmill (grrl pllz) as they are all classes run by an instructor, I don't have to 'guess' what good food/ a good portion is because I have been told, and there wasn't any confusing af recipes for people like me who liken cooking to camping. (Ergo: Unenjoyable, and I could be scratching my bellybutton on my own couch during both instead).
I spent the Saturday night before savouring lasagne and ice-cream, before a huge shop and fuck-off cook up of meats with veggies:
Not gonna lie, I thought I was amazing and sent this photo to as many people as possible (Pretty much the amount of cooking any Mum does every damn day, I assume...). Organisation is hotter than me and Zac Efron in a sauna.
I came in for my first class on the Monday, surprisingly not hungry after all my carb-loaded, indulgent meals. The work out was death. I suppose I am a bit more real and have relegated myself to the fact that whilst I will never be someone who 'loves' to work out, I can 'tolerate' it.
I also am a big believer in not forcing yourself into food or exercises you will HATE, or you won't succeed. For instance, I do not 'love' salad (who ARE you weirdos who do??) It's never going to happen. So instead, I would have bolognese with mashed cauliflower as a makeshift 'cottage pie', or hot chicken and spinach. Make it so you like it. Similarly, I don't like spin classes, because like most humans I do not like inflicting torture on myself through never-ending time, so I signed up for more adrenalin-based classes.
One week down, I was tired. I had gone to the gym five times after a year of my biggest movement being reaching for the TV remote. But, surprisingly, I was not hungry, and I was not craving my usual mix of biscuits, chocolate, chips and fast-food. I was craving healthy sweets - fruit, muesli, yogurt. But, I lost 2.3 kilos. I was absolutely elated. Whilst this is common for the first week and not on-going weeks, it was the real motivator I needed to keep going. How many of us have killed ourselves for a week with no results?
So, did it work?
Yes and no. At the end of the challenge, I lost 6kg, not the 9kg. It's probably good if you need a kickstarter, or you're wanting to look good for a particular event. For me personally, HIIT-style workouts 5-7 a week is a bit too much on my bod, and I'd prefer to interject with pilates/swimming or let's be real, nothing. I think eating that way can be beneficial if you were able to add in some sweeter nutrients in time - yogurt, berries, muesli. If you stick to it, it can't fail. But it's the motivation for me that lacked.
Next time: The Cambridge Meal Plan
*Please note I am not endorsed or paid by UYT for this article, all opinions and advice is author's own. I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or health instructor and do not claim to be, that would make my friends laugh much too much for my over-sensitive self to bear. This is simply a blog of my personal journey, and if it motivates you to seek educated advice, fantastic. For your own wellness plan, please contact a health professional.