“Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Possibly the most famous food related quote ever but one might argue it’s not totally accurate. Obviously I understand the metaphor behind this theory but Forrest Gump definitely wasn’t a literal kind’a guy. I however, know exactly what I will get if I eat a box of chocolates – satisfaction, then a sugar high, perhaps some fat gain, and shortly followed: a slightly crippling feeling of guilt.
Ever since I finished Uni, I’ve been more aware of my physique. Who knows why? Perhaps I just didn’t care that much before, or I didn’t need to. Since I hit 21 I’ve noticed that the main area I store body fat is on my hips or suprailiac crest. Annoying as hell and I could never understand why I couldn’t shift it, no matter how much training I was doing.
As a rugby player, having a seriously low body fat percentage isn’t the highest on the priority list for things to do. In fact, a little softness here and there is important for protecting vital organs; typically the kidneys. But as a wing, I need to be lighter than say…a prop. (No offense to props, it’s just how it is).
The hips are a typical area for women to store body fat more than men. In fact, research tells us that women who predominantly store fat in this area are better suited to child-bearing due to the protective and nurturing qualities it holds. So why am I concerned? Ok maybe concerned is the wrong word – curious is probably more accurate. Although I don’t need to go on a diet, I do have an added interest in trying it as I’m a personal trainer and rugby player. It’s always fun to try new things.
So I thought I would put myself through a little experiment.
On the 8th of May 2012, I started a diet, or should I say ‘intense fat loss detox food plan’. It involved zero carbohydrate, zero sugar, zero fruit (contains sugar), zero dairy, and zero caffeine. I was on this plan for just 14 days because it was my first time. Here it is:
Breakfast – Red Meat and 2 portions of Green Veg
Lunch – White Meat and 2 portions of Green Veg
Dinner – Fish and 2 portions of Green Veg
I know what you’re thinking – ‘Cripes! Is that all!?’ In between meals I had nuts, olives, cooked meats, plus 2L of water. On the odd occasion I had some sweet potato with my dinner. This was simply to liven my meals up; to get a bit of colour and flavour in my day.
The first 3 days I resembled something like a grouchy ill-mannered bear – the immediate effect of not having the usual intake of carbs and caffeine really hit me hard. This is a normal reaction as it usually takes us 5-6 days for your body to completely flush caffeine out of your system. Symptoms included headaches, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, and grumpiness (technical term). My housemates quickly learnt not to speak to me in the evenings and by day 3 of my food plan I was left alone. Of course symptoms do vary in degree and type.
But don’t feel too sorry for me, because by day 8 I became a new woman. I was performing better at work, training harder than I had done in ages, and was sleeping better than ever. I learnt how to plan my eating around my training efficiently.
To begin with I really struggled with how to get my post training nutrition on board as usually I would have a protein shake. Instead, I either had a main meal or a large portion of nuts and left over dinner. Doesn’t sound too exciting I know, but when using the ethos of Food is Fuel, it became second nature.
On to the most exciting part of the experiment – The Results.
My hip measurement reduced from 32mm to 19mm and put on 2kg in muscle in just 14 days. This works out to be about half an inch in fat loss. In real life terms, I went down from a 10 trouser to an 8…with no love handles.
As many of you already know, I rewarded myself substantially after my success. Thanks to the many suggestions from the public in how to celebrate – I think the best one was “eat lots of pies!” In fact, the first thing I did was go for a curry.
Since the experiment I have maintained a less strict version of this diet as it is NOT sustainable. I still eat at 3 portions of protein a day but I have brought milk and coffee back in, and the occasional treat.
Like I did, consult your GP for a thorough health check before going on any diet. Just to make sure you are safe to put your body through a change.
Feel free to email me on Fiona@findrugbynow.com with any questions. And if you have any topics you would like me to discuss, please do not hesitate to get in touch.