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As you’re probably aware, through my blog and social media accounts, I have recently taken part in the Bear Strength, Conditioning and Performance 8 week challenge. If you didn’t know then you can read all about it here in my previous post. Now that I’m into my second week, I thought I’d share with you my progress so far;

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For those of you that know me, you’ll know that I’ll more than likely be found trying on outfit after outfit in a shop, out and about with my camera or sat drinking cocktails in a bar somewhere…living off salads and spending my days at the gym is not something I associate with. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love the drive and determination to stick to a fat-free diet and gain those rock hard abs, but, I love food more…

So this 8 week challenge is actually a pretty tough thing for me to do.

But, I’m slowly learning that being healthy isn’t all about cutting out the fatty foods and spending hour after hour at the gym. It’s about learning how to balance both your diet and exercise, as well as still leading an enjoyable life.

My Diet – So, choosing the right foods to eat has been difficult. I’ll be honest, when I start these health kicks, it’s the food I find the hardest to stick to. Like many of you, I love food. I enjoy trying new things and spending my evenings at a nice restaurant with a glass of wine. I hate sitting there, with a menu in front of me, scanning it over and finding myself having to choose from the salad section because choosing a burger would mean all my hard word at the gym was for nothing. So, the thought of having to do this AGAIN was stressing me out. But, before the 8 week challenge started, I decided to take advantage of the internet and look online at some fun yet healthy meals I could make. And I found some pretty good ones!! There was the Tomato, Egg and Chorizo, the Freezable Breakfast Muffins and the Veg Soup to name but a few. I couldn’t wait to get started and prep my meals for the next week. Luckily, my first day of the challenge I had off work so this meant I could spend my entire day in the kitchen and prepare these delicious meals. Yay!

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The next morning, I woke up bright and early and set to work tearing my kitchen apart and creating meal after meal. I had so much fun and knowing that my breakfast, dinner and tea were prepared for the next week was a huge weight off my shoulder. Everything looked amazing and I just couldn’t wait to try it all!!

And how did it all taste I hear you ask…..Disgusting! I’m not even kidding. At first I tried the Veg Soup for my tea and it tasted of Vegetables in hot water, obviously that’s what Veg Soup is but even with the stock cube, there was just no taste to it at all. It’s like when you were a child, if you didn’t eat your vegetables, your mum made you sit there and eat them all. Do you remember that bland taste? Just vegetables! So, I ended up throwing it all away. The morning after I tried the breakfast muffins. I was pretty excited to try these as they looked so good online and I was super impressed with my perfectly round eggs I’d created. Just as it stated, I took one out of the freezer and warmed it up in the microwave, it smelt beautiful but again tasted horrible. The egg was turning green and I was terrified I was going to be spending the afternoon in the bathroom throwing it back up. So, I threw those out too. I ended up just munching away on my grapes and blueberries. For lunch, I decided to try the Tomato, Egg and Chorizo. I had high hopes for this one. It was by far the best looking and most mouth-watering one to create. Wrong again. I blame the egg. I just don’t think freezing egg is a good idea, despite the health and fitness experts saying it is. I put it o top of wholemeal toast and if I hadn’t been starving then I wouldn’t have eaten it. Overall, my meal prep was about as tasty as tap water!

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Personally, I think everything would have tasted so much better if I’d had made it and ate it on the same day. And maybe if I’d had blended the soup…I’ll be giving that another go this week sometime. I’ll let you know how it goes. I then decided that so long as I keep up with my exercise, there’s no reason to not eat a little of what I like. So, I made homemade, fat-free pancakes for breakfast and added a sprinkle of lemon juice for flavour. I’ve been living of soup and fruit for lunch and a full meal, of my choice, for tea. Usually Pasta. I have noticed though, through not snacking in the day, I’ve not been as hungry as normal and have been opting for 2 meals a day, without snacking, rather than three. I’ve been eating a lot more fruit and drinking plenty of water, which is not something I even considered a few weeks ago. I’ve also noticed that if I treat myself to a packet of crisps or a bigger meal then I become easily bloated and uncomfortable. Not something that usually happened a few weeks back.

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IMG_7866My Fitness –  With my fitness, this has seen the biggest change. I’ve always loved running, I used to be pretty good at it back in school and the idea or putting in my earphones, blocking out the world and running along a beautiful, idyllic, country lane excites me a little. So, I decided running would be something I’d include within this 8 week challenge. I even went out and bought a load of new gym gear! And so far so good. After overcoming a few breathing fits my first few times, I’m slowly getting into the swing of things and running further day by day. I’ve also been doing a few exercises for my arms and abs, those being the two areas I want to tone up the most. My favourite being the forearm and plank exercise which involves you starting in plank position whilst resting on your forearms on the floor and slowly pushing your body up, one arm at a time into the usual plank position and then returning back on your forearms one at a time. I try to do 10 of these in 5 sets with a few minutes rest in-between. Other than that, I just dance along to music when and wherever possible. I remember photographing a girl for a boudoir shoot a few months back and her body looked amazing. So, I asked her how she kept in shape and she said healthy eating and dancing to music videos in her living room…if that’s not the most fun exercise ever then I don’t know what is?! Oh, I also like walking, so rather than getting the bus into town, I’ll walk. Not only do you walk off a few calories, but you save a little money too!

I will however, be attending the Bear Strength headquarters in ancotes, Manchester this coming week where I’ll be taught a few more exercise I can do from home and I’ll also be having a one-on-one MOT session with Darren himself, where he’ll be helping me determine and work out a plan on how to achieve my 8 week challenge goal. How exciting!

How I feel – Truthfully? So much better! I’m not just saying this but I honestly feel so much happier within myself and although I can’t physically see any change in my body yet, I have lost 4lbs!! Woohoo!!! in 2 weeks, I’d say that’s pretty good. I’ve also just started a new job which involves a lot of walking around and carrying heavy plates. It’s like a mini workout in work! So far so good. And I’ve decided to not put too much pressure on myself. If I want a chocolate biscuit then I’ll have a chocolate biscuit. If I don’t feel like going for a run one day then I won’t. There’s no point in being hungry, moody and miserable. Being healthy should make you happy!

I hope this helps and inspires you a little. If you want to keep up to date with what I’m up to then you can find me on all of my Social Media;

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Now, for the exciting part! Would YOU like to WIN a 30 minute one on one fitness MOT session at Bear Strength, Conditioning and Performance? Yes? Simply email me at littlephotographystudio@gmail.com with your name and a few words on why you’d like to win. Darren is one amazing fitness fanatic who’s great at what he does! Not only does he help you lose weight and tone up, but he makes it fun too! So…What you waiting for?!! Get emailing! The winner will be announced on Tuesday the 31st May. Good Luck!!!

Sincerely, Sophie x