You know, as much as I tout the benefits of menu planning, the actual process of doing it bores me to tears.
It is one of my least favourite jobs!
So the past few weeks were an amazing breath of fresh air as I completed the 21 day Reshape Your Body with Real Food Challenge with naturopath Jessica Donovan from Energetic Mama.
I've written before that I've been feeling fat, frumpy and tired this past Winter. All of this has been due to some health issues I've been having and while I definitely wanted to lose weight, what I really wanted was more energy and to just feel a little better.
I've been on Jess's mailing list for years and wasn't actually going to do this challenge until the 11th hour when she sent an email detailing how her program can help women with thyroid problems, oestrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue.
Umm, that's the exact trifecta I'm dealing with. I signed up on the spot and couldn't wait to get stuck in!
There was a daily email for the 3 weeks covering the menu, shopping, meal prep, mindset, exercise and some naturopathic advice on the specific conditions so many of us are struggling with.
So 3 weeks later, was it worth it?
In a word, YES.
Within the first few days I could see where some bad habits had been sneaking in.
I could see just how often I was reaching for something sweet, that I wasn't having a substantial enough lunch and then snacking before dinner, and that I'd become too reliant on carb-heavy foods like potatoes and brown rice.
1. It is run by a naturopath so you know the nutritional information is sound. Plus Jess is always available to answer any questions in the private Facebook group during the challenge which was great.
2. Jess specialises in treating mums and this program is designed for women with hormonal, adrenal and thyroid issues. Like I said, this is exactly what I need.
3. It got us out of a food rut. Despite eating well, lately we've been busier and tending to make the same things over and over again. The whole family appreciated some different things on the menu and they have been easily adaptable for our gluten and dairy free way of eating.
4. I loved not having to decide what was for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. The menu and shopping list were provided and all I had to do was check the menu and cook. No thought involved!
5. The food was delicious, very fresh, great variety and easy to prepare. Some of the dinners have become new family favourites and I've made them several times since the challenge.
1. The cost of the food. This was something I didn't even consider. We already a eat whole foods/no junk diet but we eat simply, and we buy and cook in bulk. Our food bill essentially doubled for the period of the challenge which was hard for us to absorb. But if you buy processed food and a lot of takeway chances are you would end up saving money.
2. The exercise program was way beyond me. If you already exercise no doubt you would be fine. But coming from a background of chronic fatigue syndrome and no regular exercise for years this was completely, and totally beyond my capabilities.
3. No ongoing access to the exercise videos. While all the menus, shopping lists and exercise planners are downloadable, the exercise videos are not, which is a shame because I would have liked to be able to work up to doing them and track my progress.
- 1.4 kg weight loss in 21 days
- No more bloating
- 3.5cm off my waist measurement so my jeans are comfy again, and
- I gained a new repertoire of fresh and delicious meals
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I have to say I have been sticking with this way of eating quite easily.
I'm now not only planning dinners, but breakfasts and lunches as well and finding I don't really need to snack at all. I'm also more tuned into my body and only eating when I'm hungry, rather than when I'm tired or bored. This is huge!
I think this has been the perfect way to get back into healthier eating, especially with Christmas coming.
I'm not sure when Jess will run the challenge again but you can go here to get on the waiting list for next year.
Thanks Jess! It was a great investment and I'm so happy I signed up.
* This is not a sponsored post. I paid for the challenge myself and was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. You should seek medical advice before embarking on a diet and exercise program.