Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution Kickstart, Days 1-2

It’s the end of the second day of Jillian’s seven day kickstart to the Body Revolution, and I am really, really tired. I cheated and jump started the workouts on Wednesday, when I got my kit through, but I had to wait until Friday to get all my groceries. So, I decided to do an extra couple of days of doubled-up exercise before I actually began the programme, and I’m really feeling it today – my fourth day of hour-long exercises. I did not want to get up today, but I did, because I had to go into town with my parents to help my mum pick out some new clothes. Then, I got back and did workout 2 and cardio 1. I have to do them back to back, otherwise there’s just no psyching me up for it! I was totally prepared to half ass it, but Jillian managed to shout me out of that idea, and I gave it as much as I had.

So, that’s where I am with exercises – I thought it was a bit of a pushover at the start, to be honest, but now I’m rethinking slightly! I think a lot of Jillian ‘veterans’ find the first couple of workouts to be fairly easy, but I know she’ll be stepping it up a notch towards the end of this month. I was particularly unhappy to hear the phrase ‘jump lunges’ – probably my least favourite exercise bar cardio in plank (mountain climbers and the like!).

Food wise, it’s going really well actually. I started off on Friday with some delicious bacon, eggs, tomatoes and… avocado…
Nitrate free bacon
Jillian demands nitrate free bacon, so that’s what I got. Very expensive, and thick cut too. I much prefer thin cut bacon, but weirdly it seems like the more expensive the bacon, the thicker the cut. I’d happily pay for thin cut fancy bacon but you can never seem to find it! This was hard enough to find anyway, I had to search through all the product details to find one that’s nitrate free. An unfortunate side effect of this is that the bacon comes out slightly grey when you cook it – the pinkness is mostly due to the addition of nitrates.
Bacon, Avocado and eggs
Still, I’d eat it… wouldn’t you? I added some delicious lemon pepper that we bought on holiday in Cornwall last year. I knew that would come in handy! I wasn’t just buying it willy nilly, promise!
Halzephron Lemon Pepper
Even though there’s not really much reason to do this, I’ve been logging my calories with MyFitnessPal as well as following the diet. I was fairly concerned when my breakfast came up as 343 calories, rather than the 269 calories it was listed as. Yikes! Luckily, it seems as though the rest of the recipes come in way under the estimates given… Or at least, my versions do!
Lunch was the grilled salmon citrus salad – loved this. I really love salmon!
Salmon citrus salad
I probably shouldn’t have, as sodium is a bloater if ever there was one, but I used a simple Japanese recipe to perk this up and really bring out the flavour of the fish. I salted it 15 minutes before eating, then right before cooking, just wiped the salt away, and grilled it. The flavour is amazing.
Salmon citrus salad 2
I have to confess, I slightly overcooked this, so I’ll keep the cooking time to a minimum the next time I make it! It came in at just 184 calories, which is amazing – and I felt full until dinner. Well, the story there is that I didn’t get to eat breakfast until 1pm, so lunch was at 5… Let’s say, I broke Jillian’s ‘no eating after 9pm’ rule right out of the gate, and I also managed to end up eating my snack *after* dinner. I only have myself to blame! I had an epic cleaning session with my mum on the Friday morning, so I just didn’t eat until late. Oh well – you can’t always control the circumstances, but you can control the damage, right? Right!
Dinner was more fish, this time, tilapia!
Raw tilipia
I really like fish, and capers, and rosemary… So this was delicious! The rocket was pretty ropey, though – wild stuff from Ocado, it was absolutely full of insects and had to be washed several times and picked over leaf by leaf before I was happy to eat it. I wasn’t so crazy about having to do this, but there was no way I was chucking it all out!
Rosemary citrus Tilapia
It came with the now-familiar salad with dressing and tomatoes – something makes me think I’ll be sick of lettuce by the end of the week! I tried to buy plenty of varieties, so let’s hope I can stave off the boredom. I also bought Waitrose’s low fat essential vinaigrette, which I quite like, and some low-fat Caesar dressing (in place of Ranch, which really isn’t common in the UK) for the Chef’s Salad later in the week. Again, the calorie count for this was much lower than was listed, at just 184 calories. Then, after that, I had my snack of hummus and veggies.
I am cheating somewhat here, because I just can’t give up tea. I have milk in it, which amounts to a serving of dairy, which on the days where I also have yogurt, is not recommended in the plan. I also have a couple of sugars and some sweetner along the way… GASP! No one’s perfect. That’s right, not even me – I just seem perfect. Big distinction! Needless to say, any failures as a result of this are squarely on me. No one can say I wasn’t warned. I am prepared to face the consequences of my tea drinking like a true Englishwoman – with a stiff upper lip!
Today was Saturday – I cheated again a little bit with my breakfast and had the Greek yogurt, cinnamon and almonds – WITH HONEY! Yes, a teaspoon of honey. I’m so sorry… No, I’m not, because sour Greek yogurt actually makes me feel a tiny bit sick, and I can’t eat bacon and smoked salmon all week long, as much as I’d love to.
Lunch had to be out, because I was in town all day, but luckily, Pret a Manger came to my rescue with their tuna salad, a fair substitute for the Chef’s Salad:
Pret tuna salad
It does help that I *love* this salad, and it’s only about 315 calories with the dressing included.
Now, another confession – I had a cappuccino when I was out. I counted this as my snack, does that make you happy? I sure hope so, because by the time I got home I was starving and exhausted, but I had to grit my teeth, knuckle down, and exercise until I felt like I was going to black out. It was 8pm before I ate, but if that’s okay with Jillian, then I’m counting it as a minor victory. It did help that dinner was steak.
Peppercorn steak on wilted spinach with tomato salad
Mmm, steak! I put steak seasoning on some sirloin and fried it with cooking spray. I’m not grilling a steak in our grill – it’s a pathetic, fake grill and I only honour steak with the mightiest of kitchen utensils – the frying pan. The salad of tomatoes and olives was delicious, and the spinach was pretty good too. Although the recipe title says it comes with wilted spinach, the recipe itself doesn’t really get you to wilt the leaves (other than with the heat of the steak sitting on top), so I took the liberty of wilting them in the pan while the steak was resting. Calorie count: 299 calories.
So, two days down. I’m definitely missing puddings and Coca Cola Zero, although I’m not missing carbs that much. I could eat some fries and bread, but I’m not going to kill my cat to get them. I can’t believe how satisfied I’ve felt just eating various types of salad and a protein portion every meal, it’s really eye-opening. Having the recipes has definitely helped me stay on track in that respect, but then it’s still early in the process and I’ve not had to repeat any meals yet… So, we’ll see! But so far, other than my weary body and aching muscles, I’m feeling very positive and motivated to continue!

The 1953 Vintage Diet: Day One

Today was the first day on the 1953 diet, and I’ve already made quite a few changes to the suggested menu – mostly swapping things around. I had to wait for my food shopping to arrive at one, so instead of a fairly substantial breakfast of 1/2 grapefruit, a boiled egg, a slice of toast with butter and a cup of tea, I just had the tea and toast (with Flora). The original breakfast would have been approximately 271 calories. I then had my tomato juice for a snack, and had some off-plan blueberries (my goodness!) to tide me over until the shopping got here.

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For lunch, I had the soup (using a tub of chicken broth powder, very economical), plus 45g of wafer thin ham, two leaves of romaine lettuce, the boiled egg from breakfast, and a fruit salad. The original lunch would have been 362 calories, and mine was near enough there. The fact that it actually turned out to be a three course lunch was pretty darn good, too!

Dinner as set down in the menu should have ended up being around 316 calories, but I swapped my baked apple out for the fruit salad, and also swapped out the tomato juice. With 120g of roasted (not poached) chicken breast, 100g each of carrots and green beans, plus a Bramley apple baked with 30g of maple syrup, that brings my dinner to 486 calories. I mashed the carrots so I didn’t miss the carbs as much… It kind of worked…

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As I’m a massive caffeine addict, I also allow myself tea and coffee (with sweetners and a total of 2 tsp demerara sugar) so my total calorie intake for the day was 1146. I also ended up drinking my Alibi Pretox drink instead of the milk, as I drink a fair bit of milk in my tea already…

I may or may not have eaten some white chocolate buttons ‘to finish them off’. I’ll leave that up to you to detect…

All in all, it’s not going too badly so far – this lunch was actually pretty good, but there are some challenges ahead for the midday period for the rest of the week. In order to stave off hunger, I’m also taking psyllium husks, to keep me feeling fuller for longer, I definitely recommend them to anyone who is on a low calorie diet to prevent those empty tummy pangs.

The 1953 diet previously posted at the Tuppence Ha’penny blog.

First day on the plan: Six Weeks to OMG

Okay, first day on this plan (on Quake, the hardest ‘difficulty’), and already not going so well. This is going to be an honest review, though – which means reviewing myself, and where I slip up, as well as whether the plan slips up.

First of all, I didn’t get up on time because I was avoiding the dreaded cold bath. I love my morning routine, and messing with it really puts me on edge. Unfortunately, most of the plan’s most crucial parts take place in the morning, and galvanising myself to do all the most unpleasant bits first thing was beyond me today.

As far as I understand it, this should be the sort of routine I’m aiming for:

8am: get up, 15 minute cold bath

8.15am: drink black coffee

8.20am: first ‘period of movement’ for 45 mins

9.05am: begin the 3 hour waiting period of ‘water only’ before first meal

12.05: breakfast

3pm: second period of movement for 30 mins

3.30pm: waiting period for 30 mins

4.00pm: lunch

8pm: third period of movement for 15 mins

8.15pm: final waiting period

8.30pm: final meal

10.30pm: blow up balloons… and SLEEP

Those of you with an office job, or kids, or hefty commitments are probably hearing alarm bells right about now – I think it’s fair to say that this plan doesn’t really fit in with the traditional day’s schedule, which is based around meals in the morning, and midday, and in the evening. I work from home, so I have a lot more freedom to tweak my schedule.

But, back to how well this schedule reflected reality… I shamefully I admit I skipped the ‘skip breakfast’ part, skipped the first POM, and had my cold bath after breakfast. I didn’t wait three hours after waking up to eat, and I didn’t drink black coffee either. I even pigged out on chocolate in the evening. Other than THAT, I was perfect…

Technically, eating the chocolate wasn’t so bad, apart from the whole ‘avoid sugar’ part… I was still well within the carb allowance, which is a maximum of 120g per day. I came in at about 100g – let’s not talk about the fact that I was aiming for 60g.

The meals were easier than I thought. I usually rely on Muller Breakfast Corners for my breakfast – they’re only about 162 cals each, but they’re heavy on sugar and carbs. So, I ditched that in favour of greek yogurt (high in protein, and very thick) – and full fat, for a change. I’d always usually go for low fat when it’s available, purely to save calories, but as Fulton points out, low fat = high carbs. In the case of my Breakfast Corners, I can see straight away that was right. To 100g of Greek yogurt I added 1tsp of honey and a kiwi fruit – my only allowed serving of fruit all day.

For lunch, I had a two egg omelette for protein, then asparagus and mushrooms.

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Dinner was a cup of roasted chicken (with skin), 100g butternut squash roasted with cumin seeds and chilli flakes, 100g purple sprouting brocolli, 60g cucumber, and 30g feta cheese. I did not get on so well with the whole ‘small plate’ thing – I overestimated how much room everything took up. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put everything on the plate, then find out how much it weighs, rather than working the other way around. However, when you take into account the feta cheese, I think I did sort of all right on the 50% protein thing, for a first attempt, anyway. I seem to be hitting it about a third, in all honesty.

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Fulton is very keen that you not drink your carbs – but I can’t give up milk in my tea, and I’m not giving up sweetner or sugar in my tea, either. So some of my carbs go towards that – we’ll see how I get on. But, disregarding the chocolate debacle, I managed to keep my carbs in today at under 60g, and I really can’t tell anything is different. Maybe I can blame my poor, desperate body craving carbs on my chocolate binge, but really what happened was I saw it in my kitchen, and decided that for the good of mankind I should really eat it now, so I’m not tempted later. Best of intentions, I’m sure you’ll agree.

My exercise was very basic – Fulton reckons the best kind is walking, and rates ‘stepping machines’ as a class below. If you swing your arms, I can’t see the difference between a stepper and walker – and I know for a fact that stepping burns more calories. So, there was 45 mins of stepping for me today. There should have been 45 minutes more, but as I said, the whole morning routine was a bust.

You’re not supposed to count calories on this diet, but in order to count carbs I end up being able to track my calories anyway, so what the heck? Again, not taking into account the chocolate, I came in at under 1200 calories, but the exercise burned off 327 calories. The full 90 minutes would burn 655 – that’s a huge deficit, and no wonder Fulton feels confident in claiming you can lose big here. That’s not taking into account the supposed witchcraft of the balloons, the coffee, the baths, and the timings of eating and exercising.

Of course, I can’t write a proper review without talking about the cold bath. It was bloody horrible. I was preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, and it was about as bad as I thought it would be. I had to buy a bath thermometer from eBay for the express reason of torturing myself in the bathroom for 15 minutes, and to be honest, I’d love my money back. It felt almost warmish (if you have a good imagination) when I was swirling my hand in the 20c water to test it out… Then I stood in it. Cold… Yes, but okay to stand in. Then, after a couple of minutes, it was time to sit. ARGH. Cold. Horrible. Disaster. After three minutes, I was supposed to lay back and allow the base of my head to dip luxuriously into the icy water – well, that didn’t happen. I lowered myself shakily backwards (now, that’ll work your abs), and sort of hovered for a bit, before resting with the whole of my body above my bellybutton out of the water, arms crossed over my chest. Nothing on God’s earth would have compelled me to move any further under the water. The whole 15 minutes dragged by. If you ever feel that your life is moving too fast, and slipping away before your eyes, take a cold bath, and the clock will stop. Maybe it’ll come in handy if you need extra time for your tax form. The period following the bath is very strange, because your skin retains the sensation of coldness long after you’ve actually warmed up. At this moment in time, I find nothing refreshing about it whatsoever, unlike some of the other reviewers of the book lurking on Amazon. However, I am not a quitter, and I’ll be doing it again tomorrow…

The balloon stuff is actually pretty fun, so no problem there. I’m also taking fish oil capsules, and multivitamins, which completes the night routine.

Tomorrow, the morning plan is to exercise for 30 mins when I wake up, drink the coffee after, take a cold bath after that, to see if that makes it any more likely to happen…