Monday, 29 September 2014

The Circuit Factory - The Challenge

I can actually pinpoint the moment that my life changed forever.

That one moment when all the blocks fell into place and I began making the changes that would reshape me as a person, and open up an entire new world of opportunities.

It sounds ridiculous, because I'm not stupid. I'm also not incapable of using Google. All of the things I am now applying, almost all of them I knew before. Almost all of them had nestled themselves in a dark corner of my mind, where I chose to ignore them.

I had also been ignoring the reappearance of my eczema; the stomach upsets that never really seemed to go away; the brain fog; the sluggishness; the lethargy.

I was becoming more miserable and irritable and quite frankly a bit of a pain in the bum. I started to not be able to see the good things in people, particularly those close to me. All I saw were the irritations, the problems.

Inaction definitely breeds more inaction. And then it breeds lethargy in all other areas of your life. I had stopped really working at the important things in my life, and was just moving from day to day. I had taken my family and friends for granted and most importantly, I was neglecting my marriage.

The moment my life changed was when I sent one email. One small email to Signing myself up for "The challenge".

The Challenge is the Circuit Factory's weight loss program. It last for four weeks (or two weeks if you are doing the mini challenge) and alongside four sessions of the Circuit Factory a week, you are expected to follow their diet plan.

My introduction to clean eating began here. As the Circuit Factory continually reminds it's participants, it is 80% diet and 20% exercise that yields results. So I could continue to work my bum off in session after session, but I was not going to see the results I wanted to see while I was eating all of the wrong things.

In theory it is a really simple diet. A brief overview of clean eating:

  • No processed foods;
  • No white carbs (Potatoes; white bread; white pasta; white rice)
  • No carbs before bed;
  • No chocolate (except a small amount of at least 70% dark chocolate);
  • No refined sugar;
  • No fried food;
I'm sure no one is surprised by that list. I wasn't. But even though I knew it, I just wasn't doing it. 

So essentially, eat no crap. Eat foods that are good for you and good for your body. Not rocket science. 

Except this time, when the challenge started, the emails started too. Emails which contained so much information that it made my head spin. They arrived at 5am every morning, so I was in complete information overload by 6am. 

The truth about food. About where it comes from, and about what companies do to it in order for it to make them the most money. I have never been so shocked by what I was learning, and even more shocked about why it hadn't occurred to me before. 

Take chocolate for example. Milk chocolate. It should be made with... well, milk? Ok, so would I take a bottle of milk out of my fridge, leave it on the counter for a month and then drink it? No I damn well wouldn't. Because it would be absolutely rancid and foul. And not just because I have a real issue with milk that may be even slightly off, but because it would be beyond consumable. 

And yet I am perfectly happy to buy milk chocolate which has been sitting on the counter in a shop for months on end, and eat it. Why has this never crossed my mind before? Surely that can't really work? 

But it does. It does because the food companies have found nifty little things called preservatives that extend the shelf life of food. Food companies have managed to find preservatives that can stop Mother Nature in her tracks. 

So the question that finally springs to mind is: If the preservatives can stop Mother Nature from degrading the chocolate, Mother Nature who can creates a Tsunami, who can wipe out half a city with an earthquake, how on earth is my body supposed to digest it? 

The answer is, it doesn't. Not really. Not properly. My body cannot process all of the chemicals that is in processed food because it doesn't understand them. 

And finally it clicked. My body only runs because of the food that I put into it. If my body is working hard to deal with things that aren't supposed to be there, how is it supposed to have time to actually function properly? It only has so many hours in the day, much like the rest of us, and it has an extraordinary amount of work to get through. 

To get the most out of my body, I have to put the right things in. The right things are simply the things  my body has been built to digest. Real food. Food that does not come out of a packet. Food that comes out of the ground and from an animal. The way nature intended it. 

So I completed the mini challenge. I lost six pounds in two weeks and lost four centimetres from my waist. I am by far not the biggest weight loss from that challenge, but I didn't just lose the weight, I gained muscle. 

I went from walking a mile in 20 minutes 57 seconds (that's not a typo) to running a mile, the whole mile, in 11 minutes and 8 seconds. I can shoulder press 10kg weights and do full press ups (not on my knees). 

I am fitter than I have ever been in my life and the difference in both my physical and mental state is radical. 

I have had to make some further diet changes because of my thyroid problems, but other than that the Circuit Factory has been the one thing that has illuminated the path ahead and shown me the only way for me to be healthy and strong for myself, my husband and my children. 

And that is how you get the body you are looking for. That is how these transformations have been able to take place: