Day Eight: “The home stretch…”

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This morning didn’t start off well. Upon gathering up my supplies for the day and checking I had all the things on the Clean 9 checklist (still relying on it – although not nearly as much), I discovered that I was one scoop short on my protein powder. Well done Forever Living, I’ve measured this out to the bastard letter for the past week and you give me ONE LESS SCOOP! Why? WHY? I am SO close to the end of this, and you just decide to go “fuck you Shelly – no breakfast for you on Day Nine” *evil laugh* Wicked. Nice one.

Somewhat miffed, I set out to work and had recovered from my initial grouch when the bag I have been using to lug all my protein measures, water, free foods and tubs of carefully measured out Aloe gave up the ghost on me in the middle of Grand Central Station in Birmingham. As it fell to the ground with a thud, I rolled my eyes skywards (such restraint for 8am on a Monday morning) and gathered it all up to carry it around in my arms like the Americans do in the movies. I looked far less cool then them tho, I reckon ‘addled bag lady’ was the vibe I was emanating in droves to be honest.

Once on-board train number two, I checked for damage, and wondered why half of my protein shake (and food source that was to last me till 1pm) had somehow disappeared into the bottom section – which contained the portion for my lunch.

Fuck.

I waited until I got to work (clever) before opening it at my desk to see what had happened (not so clever). You can probably picture the scene  – as the last remnants of protein shake on the penultimate day of this cleanse flamboyantly pirouetted out of the bottom of the (smashed – obviously) shaker ALL OVER the office floor. Double fuck.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” *emits small whimper*

Cleaning up protein shake first thing on a Monday morning whilst my stomach rumbled wildly away like some kind of satiric accompanying theme tune is NOT the way I wanted to start my week – but me being me, the only thing to do was see the funny side (and hot foot it to Tesco for two boiled eggs in a pot!)

Aside from this, today was the first day I woke up STARVING hungry, last night I very nearly caved, as the craving for honey on toast, beans on toast… toast on toast became almost overwhelming. How did I overcome it? I ate a teaspoon of peanut butter. *inserts side-eye emoji* That’s the closest I’ve come to ‘cheating’ during this whole debacle, and I still went ‘healthy’!

As Clean 9 draws to a close I’m getting less restrictive, I’ve lost another lb and another 2 inches since Friday (so 3 days) and the importance of hitting my quota of calories is becoming more and more important, especially as I workout far harder, and far more frequently than the programme suggests… and also because, you know, my main calorie intake for the day resulted in a puddle of misery on dark oak laminate before 9am.

As it’s Monday, I like to make sure I get a workout in to start the week off right, so I gathered up my kettlebell and handweights (which are laughable in comparison to what I’ve been lifting at the gym, but you have to work with what you’ve got right?) and did this workout video from Fitness Blender on YouTube (another favourite channel). They’re not wrong when they say it’s brutal – and 15 mins in I was thankful that I only had puny weights!

So I have one day left (sans protein shake) and I’m feeling, well to put it one way… ‘alive’. I feel better than I have in a very long time. I have seemingly boundless energy, I’ve shrunk substantially (I’m looking at this as a platform to now put on muscle mass properly and get my weight back up healthily) and I have a spring in my step that coincides beautifully with today – the official first day of Spring.

Here is to the last day tomorrow, already having dinner plans on Wednesday and the start of a health and fitness journey I desperately needed the kick up the ass to embark on.

Cheers Clean 9, you’ve done exactly what it said on the tin. I’m going to carry on with all the good habits you have taught me, and look very much forward to the summer and a healthier, stronger, far more bouncy (especially ‘dat ass’) Shelly.

Day Seven: “The light at the end of the tunnel…”

IMG_1273Day Seven. A WHOLE week without sugar, caffeine, salt and bread… and you know what, I don’t even miss it. Yeah sure there’s still a slight hankering for a chocolate HobNob after dinner, but I don’t miss tea and coffee at all, I don’t feel like I need it to get me through the day any more.

The weekend has been a lot harder to stick to the routine set out in the Clean 9 booklet, with morning and mid-morning having a tendency to merge into one when you’re not sat at a desk working and can keep track of time. It’s also a LOT harder to get 8 glasses of water down your neck when you’re running around doing stuff – I’ve found that if I fill a bottle of water, I can count a lot easier, and take it with me.

I split my meals into two again, and changed up yesterday’s plate of deathly boredom a little by making a raw spinach and mushroom omelette instead.

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I’m MUCH less rigid with it, because I know the stuff I’m eating is healthy, and I’ve got a good idea of serving sizes after 4 days of weighing everything I put on my plate!

So I have two days left, and at this point I’ve realised that clean eating and healthy living is a piece of piss when you put your mind to it. The trick is to switch up your meals and experiment a little with them to stop you from getting bored. Am I going to stick to it when I’m done? I’d say 95% yes – the other 5% will be filled with Haribo Tangfastics, Chocolate HobNobs and the occasional Chinese takeaway, as it should be.

Day Six: “Just call me butter ‘cuz I’m on a roll…”

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I appreciate the irony of the heading of this post – but aside from the fact I can have neither butter or a roll, the terminology is bang on. I am so focused and driven on this cleanse (a happy side effect – but also how I am anyway), and with how it is going and where it is taking me, that frankly, I’m starting to bore myself.

I looked at my Instagram feed last night and it’s basically leaves and pictures of me in my gym gear. Gone are the memes, powerful woman quotes and general randomness that normally makes up my feed (and shows, you know, my personality) – it’s all replaced with images akin to that within the pages of Women’s Health… and even they have fashion and make-up on the go! I do not want to be a person that has nothing else to say about myself, and if you follow this blog for long enough, I promise you you’ll see who I am outside of writing about a fucking cleanse!

I have an obsessive personality, I am very much “go all in or get all out”(as I have said many a time, as it’s a phrase I live by. That and “it will all be fine”- I digress.) and this is something that, when taken seriously, can very quickly take over your life. You have to dedicate yourself fully to the cause and basically follow it to the letter if a: you want results and b: you want to blog about it accurately ha!

I’ve signed up for this, and I’ve also decided to deliver an entry on here each day documenting my journey, and I can understand how I could quickly be perceived as being a right nause once the novelty has worn off, but it’s 9 days – and I want people who are thinking about doing a Clean 9, to read this, see it from an honest point of view – and decide if it’s something they want to do themselves. I’ve already had a number of messages asking more about it, and also a lot of ‘well done’s’ from the people who have done it themselves already – to all you guys. Thank you – it’s spurring me on!

So, onto Day Six…

I woke up this morning before my alarm went off at around 6.40am. More importantly, I woke up, and I GOT UP. That#s right, 6.40am on a Saturday morning… I’ve changed I have.

By 8am I was dressed and on my way to a spin class – something I have never, or could never have envisaged myself doing before the past month or so, but you know what, if you want change, you actually have to change your behaviour. Act accordingly, change your habits and find a better path. It’s the only way you’re going to ever get anything back.

Now – remember the first 2 days when I was horribly sick in the morning? It’s not the Aloe – it’s the Forever Therm tablets. It says in the booklet that these can be taken with free foods. Listen to me right here and now, this is not to be taken as a suggestion – you HAVE to have them with food. I thought I was getting used to the Aloe on Day 3 – turns out I wasn’t sick because I had lined my stomach with a protein shake. This morning, I didn’t have anything before my spin class – just the Aloe and the Forever Therm, and low and behold, like clockwork half an hour later I was doubled over in the street. One more time now – have that tablet with or after food! Your stomach, and your local street cleaners will thank you for it.

Jenni and I did a 45 minute spin class, during which I realised how much I’ve abandoned cardio in favour of the weights of late. I’m aiming for a better shape, I’m slight AF anyway, and so any definition or ‘curves’ that I have are muscle. When I was younger I did purely cardio, and wondered why I was straight up and down, then I discovered weight training – the beginnings of an ass appeared and I sacked off anything else. Today taught me that I need to balance the two, cardio is just as important as strength training, and they go hand in hand with one another. Spin hurt, but afterwards the rush of endorphin’s that I’ve massively missed out on hit me like a truck, and I felt AWESOME – like I could take on the world – and so we went and did another 90 mins weight training. I am definitely going to feel that tomorrow, but there is something vindicating about the pain of post workout ache for me. It shows me I am actually making a difference and creating change.

I’ve also been really struggling to hit my 600 calorie food quota – not sticking to it, reaching it. Do you know how much food you have to eat to get 600 calories on a plate and still eat healthily? It’s nigh-on impossible. After chatting with Jenni (my Clean 9 companion, amongst other things) she reminded me that you can split it into two, 300 calorie meals to make sure you’re getting them in. So I had poached eggs with avocado and wilted spinach – which was boring as fuck. I longed for some bacon and a couple of slices of toast with it, but with it hitting 268 calories on it’s own, I powered through and washed it down with the second shake of the day. It was, so far the least satisfying meal I’ve had during this whole process. Hell it might even be the least satisfying meal I’ve had in my life – but it did the job. For dinner I had already decided on chicken, sweet potato and salad, then I saw this meal on Buzzfeed / Facebook, so I adapted it to fit in with ‘what I am allowed’ and it turned out to be lush (see below).

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I am sleeping better, performing better throughout the day, and my usual default setting of being absolutely shattered is a thing of the past. I’m more alert because I’m well rested, and nothing anymore seems unreachable or unachievable. Because I have the energy again to do things, I can actually be bothered to do them, and it’s given me a little sense of my much sought after goal -to be my very own ‘Wonder Woman’. To do it all, be it all and have it all.

Clean 9 is not a miracle cure, it’s a way to reset and change your habits, and keep you on track to achieve you goals.. My goals in life go WAY beyond what the numbers on a scale say, and if I can put my mind to, and achieve something as mentally challenging as a cleanse, with it’s withdrawal, dedication and determination, then I’m pretty damn sure I can achieve anything else I want in life too.

(Wonder Woman Image credit: http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/wonder-woman-%E2%80%9877-vol-1)

 

Day 5: “4 Days, 4lbs, 4 Inches…”

First off, let me get this off my chest before my OCD riddled brain pops off my shoulders and makes a mess that I would have to immediately clean up. I am SO pissed off the I got triple 4’s on day 5! Why? WHY?! My blog is Eleven Times Two, AKA ‘1 1 1 1’ – FOUR OF THEM! Saaaaake!

Anyway, I’m officially more than half way through, and I’m feeling pretty great in all honesty. I’m not really going to write much today – I’m going to let the below picture and figures do the talking for me… (I’ve ‘censored’ my underwear because this isn’t that kind of blog and I’m not that basic).

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Day One: Chest: 31″ | Waist: 28″ | Hips: 34″ | Weight: 7 stone, 9lbs

Day Five: Chest: 30″ | Waist: 26″ | Hips: 33″ | Weight: 7 stone, 5lbs

That’s a grand total loss of 4 inches all and 4lbs – in FOUR DAYS. I have 5 more to go – there’s going to be nothing left of me! I’m going to be so devo’d if my ass disappears, I’ve been deadlifting and squatting like a bitch for the past month, and it was finally starting to appear! Me thinks a major lower body session is in order tomorrow morning.

Thay being said, it’s late and I have a spin class at 9.30am…

Day Four: “So I think this might actually be working…”

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Day Four: HALFWAY (ish – maths is not my strong point) THROUGH. I woke up, dying of thirst again, so either that’s a: a side effect, b: I’m not drinking enough or c: someone broke in and poured a bucked of sand in my mouth while I was asleep. It mostly felt like the latter – I don’t care how unlikely it is.

I am NOT a morning person, that’s part of the reason I’m doing this, aside from re-setting my eating habits, I’m trying to get some semblance of a sleeping pattern on the go. The fact that this is something I’ve been trying to achieve since my parents stopped telling me when to go to bed as a child is irrelevant. So far this is the hurdle I’ve stumbled at the most, and I’ve not yet managed to put my head on my pillow before 1am this week. Even still, the difference in my complexion is already pretty noticeable – I’m only catching about 4-5 hours shut-eye a night, and STILL the dark circles under my eyes have improved enormously. Imagine what could happen if I only went to bed at a decent hour?!

Thanks to the extra shake in the morning, I’m no longer hungry throughout the day, like – at all. Also, (and I’m throwing an upwards grateful glance to The Universe here) I only have to drink the Aloe gel first thing in the morning now, so the worst part is over straight away leaving me to crack on with my day. I don’t think I could have coped with 4 times a day for the entire 9 days, my tolerance to it was actually reducing with every mouthful. When people say you get used to it – don’t believe them, IT’S ALL LIES! That stuff would test even the strongest of gag reflexes.

My energy levels are pretty much through the roof and I feel pretty wired (for want of a better word). Instead of getting home from work and wanting to collapse on the sofa, I got in, put my gym kit on and jumped around my living room for 40 mins to a Pop Sugar YouTube video (go and subscribe to their channel, they’re awesome) – and I actually felt like I was working each muscle individually. Even though it wasn’t particularly difficult, I was a lot more mindful about each move and rep, and I could have easily done another hour at least, BUT – everything in moderation (she says – doing a cleanse). I realise I’m on seriously reduced calories, and I want to do this sensibly. I’ve not weighed or measured myself since day one, but I know I’ve dropped a few lbs, I can mainly tell from this brand new jawline I have acquired. To be honest that’s quite terrifying in just 3 days – I’m worried that “I’m waaasting awaaaaay Sal!” (If you don’t get that reference, we can no longer be friends).

Dinner was grilled chicken, brown rice and veg, and the Jamaican in me DESPAIRED at not being able to use any coconut oil or salt, and so I used black pepper, garlic and ginger to prevent it from being the blandest thing I’ve ever cooked,and it turned out well, I’m getting quite good at this! I am missing a lot of the little things tho when it comes to cooking, and as Hot Pepper Sauce is also a banned substance, my menu for the next week is basically fucked.

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It’s now 9.40pm, and I’ve worked out, cooked, eaten AND written this blog entry – pass me my to-do list because I’ve got a lot of things to cross off! I decided this morning (after being a Negative Nelly yesterday), that if I am actually serious about changing my behaviour, then I have to catch myself on when I’m setting off down the wrong path. I gave myself a massive kick up the ass this morning, and promised myself to go all in, or get all out. No more moaning (unless I can do so in a particularly hilarious way for the sake of you guys reading this), I just need to step up and get shit done. It worked. This extra focus has been channelled into being productive, getting more done in my day and having the time to sit, regroup and reflect on the day gone by… and you know what? Today was a good one.

 

Day Three: “Hangry…”

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Only a short blog today as I’ve just got home (It’s 11.26pm) after setting out at 7.30am and I’m tired, I’m pissed off and I’m hungry.

The day started off so well (and come mid-afternoon I had a massive smile on my face, but that’s another story – one that I’ll keep to myself). I made it all the way to work without being sick on my shoes (yay – go me!) and suffered my Aloe gel at work – where I was able to sit down and be very still for 10 mins while I shuddered and pulled the same face I do after doing a tequila shot as one of the first drinks of the evening. It wasn’t pretty.

I ‘cheated today’ and ate my meal at lunchtime, and saved my shake for the evening – purely because a: I knew I was going out and b: I would have chewed my own arm off if I hadn’t. I had grilled salmon, brown rice and steamed veg (see image), and it tasted like the fucking nectar of the Gods. I did, however briefly forget how to chew, and about 4 mouthfuls in I had stomach ache and felt full up. My stomach has clearly shrunk to the size of a grape these past few days :/ I slowed right down, and dutifully cleared the plate!

I’ve been to a F.R.I.E.N.D.S Charity Quiz Night that my friend Alice had organised, and was looking forward to re-living all my favourite moments. (I refrained from yelling ‘PIVOT’ as I walked up the stairs… but only just.) This night rapidly went downhill for me. Not because of the event itself, but because I was sat clutching a measly glass of water whilst THE WHOLE PUB tucked into burgers and chips all around me. I so nearly caved. I very nearly cried, and after half an hour of the smell of deep fat fried chunky chips, vinegar and meat, I was about ready to go home and demolish my fridge. I was impatient, irritable and not very much fun to be around. So – handy hint, if you’re going to embark on Clean 9, find time in your schedule to lock yourself in your house where you can’t be snarky with anyone – and stay there the whole time.

So what else have I noticed in these last 3 days? Well – my cheekbones have appeared, but so have a smattering of spots. I have boundless energy, which means I’m up late trying to burn it off, and my jeans are notably roomier, but I think that’s because I didn’t put them in the tumble dryer this time round.

I am liking that I’m paying attention to what I’m eating though, and opting for apples and salads rather than biscuits and toast. At the moment I have no choice, but it’s something I’d like to carry on doing going forward.

With that, I shall bid you all an irritable adieu, go to bed and hope to be bringing you something more positive, upbeat and more ‘Shelly’ tomorrow.

Day Two… “The Hunger Games”

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Day Two of Clean 9 and I woke up more thirsty than a basic bitch pretending she ‘didn’t know’ about that nipslip on her latest Instagram selfie. How, I will never know, as I drank enough water to worry that I might drown my brain yesterday.

I got up, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I actually felt like I’d had a cracking night’s sleep, and my normal zombie-like morning ritual had an awareness about it that I’d forgotten I was capable of. Perhaps this is going to be worth it…?

The Aloe gel in the morning does not go down well for me, and I almost missed my train finding a bush to wretch into on my way to the station. I don’t suppose it helps that my leisurely walking pace is something akin to The Flash on speed, but I’m going for ‘revitalised’ here – this is so not a good look!

When I got to work, I’m not going to lie… I felt rough. I had very little energy (I’d burnt off anything that may have been remaining missioning it up two hills for the 07.39am London Midland) and I genuinely didn’t know how I was going to get through the morning. Mind over matter it would have to be. I’ve been drinking hot water and lemon which helps a lot, but then I decided to add a Honey & Lemon Green Tea bag to the mix to spice things up and it was so disgusting I wanted to cry. *sigh*

The fibre sachet drink at around 10.30am was a chore, and I swear at one point the Pink Lady apple sitting on my desk was staring at me (I caved and ate it around 3pm – it’s ok, it’s a ‘free food’). At ‘lunchtime’ I was due another shot of Aloe gel, and I’ve found that having it near a sink works for me – mainly so I have somewhere to throw the plastic shot glass I drink it from as far away from me as it humanely possible. There’s something therapeutic about watching it dash off the side of the basin and secretly hoping it will shatter. A friend on Facebook said she found biting into a strawberry straight after helped – and she was right (thanks Vicki). I’ll deffo be doing that from now on – and passing it on to future sadists who decide to partake.

The protein shake, was once again the saviour of the day, and within 5 minutes of finishing it I felt loads better, I am SO glad I get to have one in the morning as well tomorrow. By 4.15pm I’d decided I was going to make a meal from my free foods (see image) when I got home, so I made a makeshift salad from spinach, mixed leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions,peppers, broccoli and asparagus. I dressed it with lemon juice and black pepper and it was actually delicious. Then within 5 minutes I was craving my normal ‘after dinner HobNob’ with a cup of tea – the first real glimpse into the habits I have and the things do automatically without even thinking about it. I guess the whole point of this is to break those though right?

Time for a quick 30 min low intensity workout (the only thing I haven’t ticked off today’s checklist) and I am most definitely having an early night. Willpower is exhausting.