I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I loathe all exercise apart from hula-hooping and dance. I was enrolled in dance classes from the tender age of 2 and a half and have the tiny shoes to prove it, so the love for dancing is deeply engrained in me by my mother's forceful (but of course wanting the best for her child) hand.
Stage one, then, was no cake walk (I wish it were, oh my god I want cake). I'm surprised to find that I find the exercises concentrated on the abs the easiest, and the strength exercises incredibly tough, like press-ups and lunges with bicep curls.
Day 6 reaches a stalemate as my resentment for Jillian Michaels plus a weird (and painful!) pain in my wrist sees me giving up in disgust after 5 minutes. I proceed to feel varying levels of pissed off at myself for the rest of the day, compounded by the fact that the night before, Kieran's mum decided it was takeaway night. Having carefully avoided chocolate, cakes and sweets, I didn't have much of a choice and ate what I was given - I mean, it's curry! It's delicious!
The funny thing is, my day off the Shred doesn't make me feel better at all. It provokes a prolonged period of self-examination, and every item of clothing I try on makes me feel psychologically plumper, and I grump about listlessly for most of the day, getting very little done.
So, on day 7 (now to be known as day 6: part 2), I get right back on that hamster wheel, the Shred, and squeak my assent to the Supreme Ruler and Imperial Overlord of all pain, suffering and exercise, Jillian Michaels.
I decide to do two things:
- Assign myself a rest day from the Shred: I need variety and doing the same exercise routine 5 days in a row just made me bored and annoyed, and then doubly so of the latter because I missed a day of exercise. I declare each Sunday a Jillian-free day.
- Find variety: Even though I've chosen a 'rest day' from the Shred, as it were, I resolve to do a different form of exercise. I choose hula-hooping. Every Sunday, I hula-hoop from 30 minutes to an hour, and blast some cheerful tunes out whilst I'm doing it. Instant cheer.
The whole hula-hooping thing takes a turn for the surreal when I end up hooping in time to the James Bond theme tune (the snazzy quick one from Moby!) My shame at finding it even in my music library is tantamount to finding Bananaphone by Raffi (sadly still instated upon my hard drive) whilst doing... unmentionable things.
So, my stats:
Before shred: 9 st 7/60 kg/132 lbs
After stage one: 8st 13/56kg/125 lbs
... I blink and reweigh myself at that one, and come to a conclusion. The first time I weighed myself was in the evening, after dinner, in a hoodie and jeans.
This time I weigh myself... not in the hoodie and jeans (shall we save you a mental image? No? I WAS WEARING JUST MY GLASSES SO I COULD SEE THE NUMBERS), and in the morning.
I estimate my proper weight loss at about 5lbs in 10 days and feel elated - it couldn't possibly be a loss of 8lbs as I don't feel I've worked hard enough, but 5lbs is a flying start.
So, the things I learned after round one?
- A switch flips in my brain and I have this huge desire to eat better food with fewer calories and bad fats. Every morning, I refuel from my shred with a bowl of porridge made with rice milk. Not because I'm a sudden-vegan, but because porridge is really awesome for the body, and that amount of milk makes my stomach unhappy. So I eat porridge every day - usually with half a banana and some vanilla essence. Sometimes blueberries, or pieces of pear, or raspberries. Yum. For lunch, I eat couscous in varying combinations. I eat home-made vegetable soup, I eat copious amounts of salad. When I'm hungry, I eat fruit, and not because I feel I need to, but because I feel I want to. If I need something sweet, I'll have a snack-a-jack, or a low-fat biscuit (sounds gross, but they have low-calorie Hobnobs now!)
- I underestimate myself in my power of resisting temptation. I've never been very good at it, but I've never had cause to resist it. This time, when fruit pastries and giant cookies are brought home, I don't eat them. I don't even think about them, the thought just doesn't cross my mine.
- My ability to get a straight line and flick on my liquid liner diminishes as my biceps tremble from the strength workouts I've been subjected to.
- I learn not to dread the shred so much as look forward to the delicious bowl of porridge waiting for me at the end of it. Simple, but effective.
- I learn that it's not about the number, the amount of weight lost. It's about how I look and feel in the mirror, and how my self-esteem is. I'm not interested in how much I've lost so much as how I feel when I look in the mirror. Although I've lost 5lbs, it doesn't mean anything until I can honestly say I am happy with the way my stomach looks now.
That's not to say I'm as virtuous as you think. I do succumb to chocolate (dark, 70% cocoa, YUM), and I do succumb to a cupcake with peanut butter frosting (drool). I do eat the occasional fatty dinner (my world-famous chorizo soup is something I get hankerings for), but mostly I stay on the straight and narrow, though weekends are difficult; Kiwi's around, and he eats a lot. That makes me want to eat a lot. He offers me the odd crisp and rations them (I think he rather likes being the dungeon master), but overall, he's supportive.
But it's still bloody hard.
However, if you got through that, have a (low-calorie and inferior to its original incarnation) cookie. And bring on stage 2.