Yahoo senior reporter Sophie Tighe is taking on The Body Coach's 90 Day Shift, Shape and Sustain health plan. In the interest of keeping you guys interested, it has been truncated to 30 days but a month without alcohol and cake is far from easy. This week Sophie starts her diet...on holiday.
If you read my first fitness blog post, then you will know that I’m not the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to health and fitness.
So it should come as no surprise that I decided to start a diet the week I was going on holiday to Italy AKA the worst idea ever.
I spoke to my fitness Yoda, Joe Wicks, and told him that much as I’d like to prepare and eat the seriously tasty, healthy dishes he had suggested to me, chances were that pizza and pasta would win out.
I’M ONLY HUMAN, OKAY?
Joe’s advice was to make smart choices – avoid the cheese-loaded pasta dishes and the bread bowl at dinner.
I was nervous.
If it was a choice between authentic Italian lasagna and a limp salad, well lads that’s just not a fair fight.
Before my crack of dawn flight, I popped into the supermarket and bought myself a box of oatcakes and oh how they saved me.
The wonder that is oatcakes
I don’t know how familiar you guys are with oatcakes but they are a dieter's best friend.
To be honest, I was underwhelmed when I saw my first oatcake.
For want of a better word, they’re like crap digestives.
However, as a vessel for other, tastier things, oatcakes are THE BEST.
Smoked salmon, guacamole, peanut butter and jam – top them with whatever you want and I swear you will not miss the bread.
An added bonus is that, like porridge oats, these things are filling.
Have a couple with some scrambled eggs for breakfast and watch how you’re still full come lunchtime.
Brands like Nairn's do them in all kinds of flavours and I can personally recommend the own brand boxes from Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.
Armed with my box of oatcakes, I embarked upon the first health conscious holiday I’ve ever been on.
Feelin’ hot hot hot
When I met up with my family in Sardinia, it was 32 degrees, lunch time and immediately the oatcakes were whipped out.
While the others tucked into giant paninis stuffed with mozzarella, prosciutto and smothered in olive oil I created what might be my new favourite lunch – a teaspoon of pesto spread on an oatcake and topped with prosciutto.
No, it’s not a chicken breast or a whey protein shake but it was tasty and healthy. Well, healthier.
And for a sweet snack, I spread some oatcakes with Nutella and topped with bananas. Enjoyed with a cup of authentic Italian espresso, I swear I had found sweetie heaven.
I told Joe all about my oatcake adventures and I got a mixed response.
“Your food choices haven’t been bad but of course they could be better.” Boo.
“Snacking on nuts, olives, fruit is always good and very portable.” Olives? Yuk.
“There is loads of sugar in Nutella and banana of course which is not ideal.” Dammit!
“But all in all a good effort.” Yay!
Eating out every night is my favourite luxury on holiday and I’m not ashamed to admit I have hunted down random menus online and pre-picked my dinner.
For the most part, I steered clear of the cheese and bread laden dishes and instead opted for steak, fish and vegetables.
I know, the self-restraint I applied amazed even me.
Dairy and yeast are my two bug-a-boos so it was more for my stomach’s sake than anything else (TMI?).
One night, I had the expected "f*** it" moment and ordered a cheesy pasta dish.
Yes, it was delicious but within an hour it felt like someone was punching me repeatedly in the stomach so probably not worth it.
After just a week of avoiding dairy, I could already see the difference in how I felt.
The bloated belly was gone, which was handy as I was in a bikini 95 per cent of the time.
One area where I did slip up was on the booze front.
The SSS plan operates a zero tolerance attitude towards alcohol, which I stuck to for the three days before leaving for my holidays.
But, as previously mentioned, I am only human and allowed myself one glass of wine with dinner each night.
I know, I know – I’m a terrible person and you were just starting to trust me and maybe even learn to love me a bit and now I’ve gone a ruined it all by being a gin-soaked alcoholic.
I’m sorry guys, really I am.
However, by only drinking one glass of wine a day I was eschewing beers on the beach, cocktails at sunset and bucks fizz with breakfast.
So, really I didn’t drink at all…
We must do our exercises
Funny story – remember back in my first post where I said that the only exercise you have to do in the first stage of the SSS plan is 20 mins a day, four times a week and thought that would be SO easy?
Yeah, I was wrong.
The fitness gods must have had a right old laugh when they saw me try out my at home HIIT routine for the first time.
Put it this way, I made it to 14 minutes and then had to stop for fear of fainting, puking or death.
Joe, that smug toned b****** that he is, makes it look so easy – running on the spot, mountain climbers, burpees and jumping lunges, each for 30 seconds before taking a one minute break.
I didn’t know it was possible to sweat that much after just two minutes of exercise.
For all of you guys rolling their eyes right now and thinking I’m a total wuss, well you’re probably right but Joe has kindly provided the video of his HIIT workout (no equipment necessary) so go on, try it out yourself.
Packing my sports bra and leggings felt pretty optimistic back in London, but I actually managed to do my workout three times while I was away so I was feeling pretty chuffed.
I'll level with you guys - I was NOT optimistic about eating healthy and exercising while on holiday.
But thanks to Joe's kick-arse but not time-consuming workout and my trusty oatcakes I think I did a pretty good job and I didn't feel like I was depriving myself of any of the delicious Sardinian dishes.
It’s back to reality now and I’m actually looking forward to choosing, cooking and enjoying the meals the Joe has planned out for me – there’s an Italian chicken and beef stew that I’m particularly looking forward too.
Check back in next week guys to see how I get on. I’ll either be as lithe as Kiera Knightley or falling off a bar stool like Shane MacGowan.
[The 90 Day SSS Plan: And So It Begins...]