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13 April 2017

I Gave Up Cheat Meals for 40 Days | Here's What I Learnt

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THE DECISION TO EAT CLEAN
We all have peaks & troughs in our fitness journeys, but recently my weekend cheat meal had evolved into a cheat weekend... And although I hate those sayings - 'Don't let the weekend undo the progress of the week' - it couldn't be more true for me. Now when I say cheat weekend, I wasn't eating junk food all day every day, I was still eating quite healthy, but I would be having a lot of little treats, trying to sample a bit of everything before the weekend was over. A little here & there can quickly mount up to surpassing your calories for the day. So I decided - since I liked a challenge - to go cold turkey for lent. This would mean 40 days without any cheat meals & on top of that I wanted to eat within my macros - IIFYM - & eat cleaner in general. So instead of my weekend cheat meal, I might treat myself to honey on my porridge & make a healthy, clean version of my favourite meals - such as sausage & mash or burritos, cooked from scratch.
SETTING MY GOALS
So why did I decide to do this? It wasn't because my diet was bad, it had just wavered off track of how disciplined it had previously been. I had found myself in a plateau; despite having heaps of enthusiasm to workout 5-6 times a week, my diet over the weekend was preventing me from progressing. So I decided to take the opportunity of lent to clean up my diet & refresh my body, to give it a real opportunity to lean out & curb the bad habits of which I'd fallen into. So although dropping body fat was a goal of mine, my main objective was to eat cleaner & feed my body the fuel it needed. I must admit the idea of 40 days without a decent dessert was a little daunting, but I had worked too hard previously not to give it a go.

CURBING THE CRAVINGS
I must admit the cravings were strong at first. So what I would do would be to record anything I was seriously craving & either make a clean & healthy version of it for the weekend or save it as a treat after the 40 days were up. But honestly, now that I have completed the challenge, I'm not in any rush to satisfy those craving anymore. In fact it's been 4 days extra now, that I have not reached for a cheat meal or exceeded my macros (other than protein of course)! Instead I know I have a meal out to look forward to with friends this evening & plenty of family meals over the Easter weekend. I know I have the strength to wait, so that is exactly what I am doing.

Chicken Veg Fried Peri Peri High Protein Low Carb Eat Clean Get Lean HealthyEat Clean Get Lean Green Tea Cravings Sweet Honey Natural Hydrated
IT STARTED TO BECOME EASY
Once the initial cravings had subsided, it actually become super easy to stick to the challenge. So that's great news if you're thinking about making a healthy change to your diet. I think it took around 2 weeks for me to break the habit of craving food that my body just didn't need. I was eating plenty throughout lent - 3 meals & 4 snacks a day & was still within my macros - so my body was suitably fuelled & full of energy. Once the challenge became easier, it also become more enjoyable & I began to see the benefits.

Confident Happy Progress Eat Clean Abs Body Transformation Weight Loss Lean TonedMeal Prep Eat Clean Chicken Recipe Meal Plan High Protein
THE CHANGES TO MY BODY
I have noticed so many positive changes through doing this challenge, far more than just getting leaner! I have definitely curbed my cravings & am on track for eating a cleaner, healthier diet - one that will help me meet my fitness goals too. I also have a lot more energy - I am more motivated & focused at the gym, am sleeping better & am generally more productive. Plus I have proved how strong willed I can be. I have also learnt that I didn't crave certain foods nearly as much as I thought I would & in fact I don't necessarily enjoy overindulging as much as I used to anyway. It's been a very positive process for me - one that has helped my eating habits get back on track & I have definitely noticed an absence of stored fat, especially around the tummy, hips & thighs.
Body Transformation Happy Confident Abs Toned Lean for Lent Fat LossBody Transformation Happy Confident Abs Toned Lean for Lent Fat Loss Eat Clean
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE
I have come so far & plan to stick with it. Although I will now be having a cheat meal each week, I will be eating a lot cleaner for the remainder. Now that I am enjoying it much more, it will be easier to stick to. There has been one negative however, I have lost a little muscle & strength, so I am considering a lean bulk to build up my glutes & upper body & build my strength back up. I will keep you posted!

WHAT I EAT IN A DAY | LEAN FOR LENT
Before I give you my typical meal plan from my 40 days, I just want to state that everyone's different in terms of how much food you need. My Fitness Pal is a great app to help here. For reference my daily allowance is  -  2090 Calories  |  261g Carbs  |  58g Fat  |  131g Protein  |  78g Sugar
  • Breakfast  -  60g Overnight Oats with 150ml Coconut Milk  +  Green Tea
  • Snack  -  Milky Coffee  +  3 Nairns Mixed Berry Oat Biscuits
  • Lunch  -  1 Can Chicken Noodle Soup  +  1 Slice Hovis Wheatgerm Bread Toasted (plain)  +  100g Low Fat Cottage Cheese  +  1 Square Dark Chocolate  +  Black Coffee
  • Pre Workout Snack  -  Pink Lady Apple  +  Black Coffee
  • Post Workout  -  1 Can Tuna in Water  +  1tbsp Low Fat Salad Cream
  • Dinner  -  Homemade Turkey Meetballs (150g Mince  +  20g Cannellini Beans)  +  Tomato Sauce (200g Tinned Tomatoes  +  1/4 Onion)  +  40g Peas  +  25g Spinach  +  1/4 Red Pepper  +  50g Wholewheat Pasta  +  15g Feta Cheese  +  Green Tea
  • Pudding   -  175g Vanilla Icelandic Skyr Yogurt  +  24g Dark Chocolate McVities Nibbles  +  Tea
  • Water  -  Aim for 2 Litres with Lemon
Actual Macros Consumed  -  1831 Calories  |  201g Carbs  |  49g Fat  |  130g Protein  |  78g Sugar

Eat Clean Get Lean Pre Workout Snack Apple Peanut Butter & Cinnamon EnergyMeal Prep Eat Clean Turkey Meetball Homemade Tomato Sauce & Veg Recipe Lean Healthy Low Fat
MY TYPICAL WEEKLY WORKOUT
I aim to workout 5-6 times per week, doing cardio within 3-4 workouts & yoga too. My workouts last between 1-2hrs, but I take my time to do them thoroughly & enjoy them.
  • Monday - 3 mins warm up, 1 hr abs & core, 10 mins yoga stretches, 15 mins HIIT cardio
  • Tuesday - 3 mins warm up, 1 hr glutes & calves, 15 mins yoga stretches
  • Wednesday - 3 mins warm up, 1 hr back & biceps, 10 mins yoga stretches, 15 mins HIIT cardio
  • Thursday - Rest day
  • Friday - 3 mins warm up, 1 hr abs & core, 10 mins yoga stretches, 15 mins HIIT cardio
  • Saturday - 3 mins warm up, 1 hr legs, 15 mins yoga stretches
  • Sunday - 3 mins warm up, 1 hr shoulders, chest & triceps, 15 mins yoga stretches
Most of my workouts come from Youtubers Carly Rowena & Heidi Somers, but check out my Instagram stories for more ideas!

Carly Rowena Fitness Inspiration Motivation Personal Trainer Abs Girl CrushHeidi Somers Fitness Inspiration Personal Trainer Muscles Strong Weight Training Abs
I decided to do this post, to honestly tell people my experience of trying to eat cleaner, so that it may help others with their fitness journeys & get them motivated to challenge themselves too! If you have any questions about my healthy eating meal plans, the exercise I do or would like to get your hands on my free Lean for Lent guide, which focuses on how to get leaner, where to start with eating healthier & setting your own goals, then do let me know! Hope you've enjoyed this & don't forget, there's always more on my social media pages!

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