I’d tried to lose weight many times before.
Occasionally, I had a little bit of success. Mostly, I failed.
Yet this time, in just one hundred days, I reached my lowest weight as an adult.
I lost forty-eight pounds – twenty-two kilograms – during my 100 Day Diet Challenge. That’s three and a half stone. And the weight has stayed off.
I’ve never felt so good in my life.
This huge amount of weight loss proves how effective my unique system for managing dieting, health and other personal projects can be.
If you’re reading this, maybe you have weight loss goals too. If you do, remember this: it is achievable.
I did it. So can you.
WHY WAS MY 100 DAY DIET CHALLENGE A SUCCESS?
- Compelling reasons to do it in the first place;
- Creating a bespoke plan which worked for me;
- Limiting the scope for failure by identifying risks before starting;
- Eating a delicious, common sense diet of primarily unprocessed food;
- No snacking, cheating or portion control;
- Not needing a hardcore exercise routine for my weight loss plan to be effective;
- Rewarding myself as I went along for sticking with my plan;
- Publicly and privately holding myself accountable;
- Trusting myself to do the right thing and adapting whenever I needed to;
- Coming up with small hacks to support my new habits and make my life easier; and
- Maintaining my weight loss after the challenge ended.
I HAD COMPELLING REASONS TO DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE
Losing weight wasn’t just an aesthetically-motivated vanity project. I had compelling reasons to stick with my plan.
Before starting my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I ate a somewhat healthy diet most of the time and prepared food from scratch as frequently as I could. Yet I was carrying unwanted excess weight, as I had done for my entire adult life.
I grew up with insecurities about my appearance and this apprehension leaked into many areas of my life.
My confidence improved as I acquired more life experience during my twenties, especially after meeting my (now) wife. But that nagging discontent, that belief I could be a healthier, happier person if I lost some weight, never really left. It bubbled under the surface.
Reaching my thirties heightened my awareness of the potential health issues associated with being overweight and, particularly, the problems it could lead to in later life.
Exercise is vital for good health and, on top of gym visits and runs, I wanted to try new sports like boxing and cycling. The problem was I didn’t do enough of any of it. It was uncomfortable and I felt self-conscious.
I also aspired to fit into smaller clothes. When you can only buy trousers with a waist size of 38 or 40 inches, sizes which are frequently out of stock, shopping can be demoralising.
Something needed to change. I reached the point where I realised it was now or never.
There are many things in life outside our control. My health, in terms of how I feed and move my body, is within my control.
Of course the thought of being in great shape – maybe, God forbid, eventually having a six-pack – spurred me on. Why wouldn’t it?
But I also sought to give myself the best shot of living a long, happy, healthy life. Losing weight was the first, crucial step on that road.
I CREATED A BESPOKE PLAN WHICH WORKED FOR ME
Eating to lose weight and eating to be healthy aren’t necessarily the same thing.
Sacrifices need to be made to get in shape which perhaps don’t need to be made to stay in shape.
This realisation led me to decide against creating a diet I needed to follow forever, despite this being conventional dieting advice. I wasn’t interested in weight maintenance at this stage. I wanted weight loss.
Instead, my plan would last for one hundred days.
This is a sensible amount of time for a weight loss plan. It’s short enough for the end to be in sight from the outset but long enough to make lasting, meaningful change.
I could revert to a healthy-eating, weight-maintaining diet afterwards.
My big psychological trick was to divide the one hundred day period into ten shorter ‘sprints’. This broke the overall challenge down, resulting in ten 10 day mini-diets.
I planned and reviewed each sprint, meaning I knew what I’d be eating and how I’d be preparing every meal. I could remove anything which wasn’t working, repeat the things I enjoyed and do more of what was effective.
My system was influenced by the agile and scrum project management frameworks I’ve studied and used professionally. Such methodologies often require that project tasks are broken down into smaller actions which are completed during fixed-period sprints, with progress tracked and plans adapted to ensure projects are delivered.
Projects which are well planned and properly managed are more likely to succeed. Treating my 100 Day Diet Challenge like any other important professional project meant planning accordingly to ensure I could manage the process throughout its duration.
It was hard work, requiring commitment and dedication. But creating a bespoke, clearly defined plan meant my 100 Day Diet Challenge was less difficult to adhere to than any other diet I’ve tried in the past.
I LIMITED THE SCOPE FOR FAILURE BY IDENTIFYING RISKS BEFORE I STARTED
To lose weight, it’s important to navigate around problematic areas where we’re at risk of going off plan.
That’s why I created The Rules.
By assessing my struggles with previous weight loss attempts and envisaging situations where I might slip up this time, I knew where my boundaries were throughout my 100 Day Diet Challenge.
For example, I was concerned at the outset that my social life might derail the challenge. What would I do if I had an unavoidable event I needed to attend? What about drinking alcohol and seeing friends?
Fortunately, most of these worries didn’t come to pass. I understood my social life would take a hit for a few months but accepted it was for the greater good.
Even so, there were still occasions when I was tempted to drink booze and eat crap, such as when meeting up with friends and while watching football games. But The Rules showed me how to behave. This is what Rules 15 and 16 said:
“15. I can socialise and should do if I want. Drinking alcohol, save for potentially on an exceptional occasion or during a planned cheat meal, is not allowed but coffee, tea, sparkling water and/or diet drinks (within reason) are fine.
16. Exceptional occasions may arise where I need to deviate from my diet plan. These could include, for example, a major life event or an important work occasion; use my judgement. These should only occur, if at all, once or twice during the challenge. If they occur frequently, I need to reassess my commitment to the challenge. Should such an event occur, I can eat and drink what I like (holding back if it is polite to do so and within reason). I shouldn’t rely on willpower alone to ensure I stick to my diet plan and should go with the flow. I can drink wine or spirits but steer clear of beer, if possible. Count the occasion as a cheat and resume the challenge as normal for the next meal. Try, if possible, to plan and factor in an exceptional occasion in advance but also accept life happens and sometimes things are unpredictable. That being the case, roll with it, enjoy it and move on when it is over.”
Notice how I dealt with alcohol: I didn’t just say I couldn’t have it. I listed alternative options.
Likewise, I acknowledged that unexpected events occur. During my 100 Day Diet Challenge nothing like this happened, partly through luck and partly because I carefully planned ahead. However, I honestly believe my final results would have been the same regardless of whether one or two occasions cropped up or not.
I wasn’t afraid about how to behave in social scenarios. I was thorough in my planning and motivated to reach my goals.
And anyway – for the sake of one hundred days, why not push myself to see how far I could go?
The Rules reminded me it was OK to venture out of my comfort zone and to take pleasure in the process. This assisted me in taking a mindful approach to planning, ordering, cooking and eating my meals. I didn’t see any of these steps as being mundane. I took pride in them.
By mapping out where temptation may arise, I knew what to do in most situations.
I ATE A DELICIOUS, COMMON SENSE DIET OF UNPROCESSED FOOD
I, like many of us, find dietary advice from different sources to contain contradictory information.
Well-meaning people are constantly adding to the list of food we should avoid, and this often conflicts with government-backed suggestions. We are persistently told certain food should only be eaten on ‘cheat’ days, whereas other meals are ‘clean’.
One area of almost universal agreement, however, is that processed foods should be limited for good health and, in particular, for weight loss.
For the purpose of choosing what to prepare for my own slimming diet, eating a wide variety of unprocessed food and limiting processed ingredients seemed to be a sensible, sustainable approach. Common sense became my guide because the definitions of processed and unprocessed foods vary.
Eggs, vegetables and fruits are generally unprocessed, as are herbs and spices.
Meat and fish can be unprocessed too, although we need to tread carefully because a lot of it is processed. For my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I primarily bought meat and fish fillets, breasts, thighs, steaks and so forth. I did, however, occasionally prepare tinned tuna and good-quality bacon.
Like I said: I used my common sense.
Processed food can broadly be defined as anything containing refined ingredients. If an item of food contains lots of ingredients, some of which are unrecognisable, it’s probably processed.
Before starting my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I was already eating a relatively healthy low carbohydrate diet of mainly unprocessed foods most of the time, with occasional binges, deviations into fast-food, ‘bad weeks’ and so on. By my thirties, I’d gravitated towards a diet of what could perhaps be called a mash-up of paleo, primal and keto eating, for want of a better phrase.
I had a reasonable understanding of the types of healthy food I enjoyed which made me feel less bloated, less uncomfortably full, less prone to sickness and less susceptible to rapid weight gain. However, a general lack of foresight meant I didn’t eat enough of this good stuff to make any meaningful progress towards my weight loss goals.
I’m not really a believer in any particular diet or food ideology, some of which have developed almost cult-like followings. I think personal trial and error is the way forward.
That said, the theories behind some diets do make sense.
Going into the biological or evolutionary arguments surrounding paleo, primal and keto diets isn’t necessary here. It just seems logical to me to eat meat, fish, eggs (unless you’re vegetarian or vegan), vegetables and fruits at the expense of bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits, especially for weight loss.
Once I moved past all the shouting from different sources about what to eat and what to avoid, and after comparing this with my own experiences, the message I received loud and clear was this: unprocessed food is more likely to assist with healthy weight loss than processed food.
I believe the best diet is the one we tailor for ourself, rather than simply doing what we are told. For my 100 Day Diet Challenge, this meant including food I enjoy.
As a consumer, it’s important not to take anything at face value if we want to lose weight. It’s why I decided to create my own plan, based on what I know works – and, perhaps just as importantly, doesn’t work – for me.
I usually fry with olive oil or butter and cook eggs with both the white and the yolk. I don’t always choose the leanest cut of meat available. I’m not convinced any of this has a negative effect on my health (having paid attention to what works for my body). For me, factoring in my preferences was sustainable and, therefore, likelier to help me reach my goals over the one hundred day period.
I also had several delicious recipes which I repeated and perfected. Check out my peri peri chicken, Mexican lamb mince in lettuce tacos, pan-fried sea bass, baked salmon, breakfast smoothie and other recipes.
I love food. I don’t cope well with a bland diet and I couldn’t face eating boring meals during my 100 Day Diet Challenge.
So I didn’t. I kept it interesting.
NO SNACKING, CHEATING OR PORTION CONTROL
My family nickname around the dinner table is Hoover because, like a vacuum cleaner, any food left on other people’s plates will be cleared up by my knife and fork.
Moderation doesn’t work for me when it comes to food. I find it easier to say no to an entire category of food or drink, rather than say yes to a small amount and fight against the constant urge for more.
It’s either all or nothing. During my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I didn’t want to fight this daily battle.
Giving food labels like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ presents problems. Good food becomes boring, and bad food becomes tempting because it’s forbidden. The words ‘treat’ and ‘cheat’ imply the food being eaten day-to-day isn’t good enough.
But with weight loss, there are no cheats. No super quick fixes.
For my time-restricted slimming diet, eating delicious healthy meals every day was important. I wanted to try to make each dish enjoyable.
So I barely snacked. Being that I’m not much of a snacker anyway, this wasn’t difficult. I did, however, sometimes munch through gherkins on days where I was preparing an evening meal later than anticipated.
I also decided I didn’t want or need cheat meals. Instead, I occasionally cooked slightly more elaborate meals. For example, on Day 43 I prepared homemade chicken nuggets with sweet potato wedges and a selection of dips.
But I had second portions after meals if I was still hungry.
That’s what worked for me. I allowed myself to eat more at meal times if I wanted to but I didn’t otherwise snack because I didn’t have cravings.
I ignored calories completely by focusing on eating unprocessed foods slowly, until I was full. In the past, calorie counting tricked me into pretending that food which wasn’t helpful for weight loss was still acceptable if I remained below an arbitrary daily calorific figure. Knowing what I’m like with moderation, I didn’t want to fall back into this trap of allowing a little but taking a lot.
It’s important to eat a diet which works for us as individuals. I’ve even found what works for me on some days might not work on other days. There are so many factors that come into play, including variation in diet, exercise, sickness, sleep and stress.
For those who deal with moderation better than I do, eating healthy snacks and cutting back on the occasional second portions at meal times might be preferable.
I didn’t worry about portion sizes or counting calories. All I did was make sure I used good quality ingredients and cooked everything from scratch.
And just by following this simple approach, I didn’t need to think too hard about what I could or couldn’t eat.
Once I’d lost some weight over the one hundred days, I knew I could revert back to a normal weight-maintaining diet – something I’ve done for years with relative ease – without regaining everything I’d lost. That would mean getting back some of the foods I’d be limiting during my challenge, if I wanted to reintroduce them.
I DIDN’T NEED A HARDCORE EXERCISE ROUTINE FOR MY WEIGHT LOSS PLAN TO BE EFFECTIVE
Changing our diets is tough enough. In a perfect world, dieting and exercising go hand and hand.
But we don’t live in a perfect world.
Time is limited. We have jobs to go to. We can’t all devote several hours of each day to the pursuit of weight loss. It’s not feasible.
Exercise is undoubtedly an important element of an overall healthy lifestyle. Long-term, the benefits are huge. Our propensity to fall ill decreases, our happiness increases and our health improves. Plus, we can’t get big guns without lifting big weights.
But short-term, the benefits of exercise as a major component of a weight loss programme – where considerable weight needs to be lost – are oversold.
The advice we often hear is along the lines of the ‘calories in, calories out’ school of thought: if we limit our calories in or mitigate the calories we consume by burning calories while exercising, we’ll lose weight.
I’m not saying counting calories doesn’t work or is incorrect.
Yet focusing on exercise is a poor way to lose weight, in my experience.
Before starting my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I had plenty of excess weight to lose. If we were talking about a few pounds or kilograms, exercise would have been a greater priority. I’d have placed less importance on the scales and a greater emphasis on my reflection in the mirror.
That wasn’t the case, though. Unless our goal is to improve our fitness, strength and health as a whole, we shouldn’t rely on exercise as our primary method of attack for slimming down. We’re setting ourselves up for failure if we do.
Because weight loss was my primary goal, my diet became my main focus. Preparing unprocessed food from scratch ultimately requires spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Relying on exercise on top of that was unnecessary.
I therefore included the following Rule:
“14. I must exercise for my general health, rather than specifically as part of the Challenge. I should aim to complete at least 10,000 steps on most days and undertake one physical workout per week. If I find I don’t have the energy even for this, I should reassess my diet plan.”
I used a Fitbit to monitor my steps and tried to include at least one bodyweight exercise session per week. After Day 50, I started including other exercise classes. So, in addition to walking 10,000 steps on most days, I initially exercised once per week and, sometimes, upped this to twice per week.
My approach was somewhat sporadic because I prioritised my diet first and my other priorities, such as work, next. Then, if I had time, I factored in exercise.
Dieting was my priority. And as the popular saying goes, you can’t out-train a poor diet.
And as the equally popular other saying goes, you are what you eat.
I REWARDED MYSELF AS I WENT ALONG FOR STICKING WITH MY PLAN
I used to reward myself with food during previous weight loss attempts.
I’d justify spending a fortune in Marks & Spencer on a Friday evening because ‘I’d been good all week’, or I’d book a meal out, or I’d order a takeaway.
There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but the behaviour was detrimental at the time when taken in the context of my goal to lose weight.
I identified that rewarding myself with food is a behavioural tendency I’m prone to and I sought to reduce the risk of it occurring during my 100 Day Diet Challenge. To counter it, I made a list of various items and experiences I wanted to purchase.
Before starting each sprint, I decided what my reward would be at the end of those ten days. If I stuck to my diet plan for that sprint, I’d purchase the reward.
My rewards list was varied and included:
- A Hario V60 dripper coffee maker;
- Lush bath products;
- New Balance shoes;
- Levis jeans;
- A Dyson Supersonic hairdryer; and
- A one day sourdough bread baking course at a popular bakery in London
Some of these items were expensive. But I wasn’t spending money on other luxuries – except food – during the one hundred days.
From a motivational point of view, giving myself permission to buy things I wanted – provided I stuck to my plan – was another factor keeping me focused.
Without acknowledging and dealing with my susceptibility to reward myself with food from the outset, I may have been led astray.
I PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY HELD MYSELF ACCOUNTABLE
I adhered to the following two Rules with an almost religious fervour:
“12. I must weigh myself every morning before I consume anything.
13. Photograph every meal and post daily pictures on Instagram.”
Committing to publicly sharing pictures of my meals on Instagram kept me accountable, as did recording my weight each morning.
My scales automatically sent each weight reading through to an app on my phone, meaning I was able to easily check my progress.
Posting photographs of each meal every day on Instagram also ignited an interest in food photography. I wouldn’t say I’m a brilliant photographer but improving my pictures has become a mild obsession, particularly because I’m posting recipes on The Writing Struggle.
Having ten day sprints and adopting a project management mindset, including ‘meetings’ with myself to assess my progress, also helped as an added layer of personal accountability.
By building in these various tasks whereby I had to effectively ‘check-in’ every day, I ensured my progress wouldn’t falter. My ego wouldn’t allow it.
I TRUSTED MYSELF TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND ADAPTED WHENEVER I NEEDED TO
Smoothies weren’t something I envisaged becoming a staple part of my diet. Likewise, I didn’t expect to spend ten days eating only vegan food.
But I made adjustments as I went along to keep things interesting. I didn’t stick to a rigid plan throughout the one hundred days. I made changes as and when I found it necessary to do so.
In the case of smoothies, I found that eating cold boiled eggs for breakfast – something I’d done frequently in the past – wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped. But smoothies were quick to make, tasty and filling. After only originally anticipating including them occasionally, they eventually became an almost daily occurrence.
With my vegan sprint, I wanted to find out if the weight loss I’d been experiencing could be sustained without eating my primary sources of protein: meat, fish and eggs. This meant creating an entirely new meal plan for those ten days. It mixed things up, kept it interesting and, lo and behold, the weight loss continued.
There were other times when a meal wasn’t as nice as I hoped, or took too long to prepare. This happened a few times, particularly in Sprint 1. I took it on the chin and didn’t make those meals again.
I also swapped meals around, skipped meals, changed ingredients and so forth. This was inevitably going to occur during the course of one hundred days. I went with the flow. By listening to my body, I got better at knowing when I needed more food and when I didn’t.
I even experimented with intermittent fasting and found it particularly effective on weekends and on days when I worked at home.
At weekends, I generally lay in bed longer than I did during the week and was thus awake for fewer hours. That meant I didn’t need to eat as much food and could have a decent-sized brunch instead of a separate breakfast and lunch.
Working from home was usually unplanned – as a result of train cancellations, for example – and the fasting, therefore, was also somewhat spontaneous. Keeping my body on its toes wasn’t too tricky, though.
We all have unique bodies with their own individual demands. This ultimately affects how we react to dietary changes and portion control. Intermittent fasting definitely sits in that pocket where it’ll work for some people and others will find it unbearable.
The important point to remember is that weight loss is achieved through eliminating foods which make us fat and eating a higher proportion of unprocessed foods. Eating the correct food is paramount. The manner in which we choose to eat that food is a matter of personal preference and experimentation.
I listened to my stomach, was adaptable in my approach and moved away from standard cultural and dieting norms.
I CAME UP WITH SMALL HACKS TO MAKE MY LIFE EASIER AND SUPPORT MY NEW HABITS
Moulding our environment in ways which support our healthy habits reduces our reliance on willpower. This makes positive changes likelier to occur because doing what we set out to do becomes straightforward, and the opposite becomes harder.
Tactics win games of football, and they also win the game of dieting. I recognised this and utilised it to maximum effect by coming up with hacks to make my life easier.
I started by throwing out all the food in my kitchen which I knew wouldn’t feature during my 100 Day Diet Challenge. This removed my ability to pig out on a whim. People who don’t have bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits in their cupboards don’t eat bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits at home.
Including a Rule about drinks inadvertently led to one of the greatest hacks of all:
“9. I can drink as much water as I like, including sparkling water. Black coffee and tea (without milk) are also OK. Occasionally, and within reason, a diet fizzy drink (such as Diet Coke or Red Bull Sugarfree) is alright, too.”
I didn’t end up having any diet fizzy drinks during my challenge. But flavoured tea – lemon and ginger, strawberry, peppermint and others – was a revelation. As my taste buds and stomach grew accustomed to my diet, I realised drinking tea during the day and in the evening not only suppressed my appetite but also meant I didn’t desire anything else sweet. Having a strawberry tea after dinner was a surprising luxury.
I also came up with ways to simplify in the kitchen.
I used my Magimix food processor to convert several heads of cauliflower into rice. Unheated cauliflower rice lasts in the fridge for a week so I’d transfer it to a large Tupperware until it was needed.
Many supermarkets now sell frozen garlic, ginger, spices, fruits and vegetables. These proved to be handy. Using frozen garlic, ginger and spices in dinners saved chopping, and the difference in taste was negligible. I also used frozen fruits, spinach and ginger in my smoothies.
I even used smaller side plates instead of large dinner plates to serve my meals at home. This is because we are inclined to eat what is in front of us, rather than until we are full. My meals were naturally smaller so, if I was still hungry, getting a second portion didn’t matter.
Despite committing to cooking unprocessed foods from scratch for the duration of my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I didn’t want cooking to take over my life. In Sprint 1, however, I ended up spending more time in the kitchen than I wanted to.
The solution was to regularly prepare and eat the same thing for my weekday lunches: peri peri chicken. I’d marinate and cook twelve chicken thighs on Sundays, which sorted my lunches out for a few days in one go.
I’d be lying if I said I loved it every time I ate this dish. I perhaps overdid it and it became repetitious, at times. That was a learning curve for me because I found myself occasionally getting bored with a meal I liked.
However, I found mimicking the same technique with a different dish – tinned tuna salads – ensured I could prepare lunch for a few days and thus limit my time in the kitchen.
I’d also prepare more for dinner than I’d eat so I could have leftovers for lunch the following day.
Keeping my food preparation simple and convenient ensured my 100 Day Diet Challenge didn’t become a drag. It also meant that, on those occasions when I prepared dishes which took a bit longer, I enjoyed the process more because I didn’t feel as though I was spending all my time in the kitchen.
I MAINTAINED MY WEIGHT LOSS AFTER THE CHALLENGE ENDED
Immediately after my 100 Day Diet Challenge ended, I took a week off from watching what I ate and drank.
I spent a few days walking and eating my way around Paris before celebrating Easter over several roast dinners. I didn’t eat a ludicrous amount of food but I allowed myself to rest and consume whatever I wanted. I’d earned it.
But after my week off finished, I started a brief post-100 Day Diet challenge weight maintenance project.
This was a less regimented period of twenty-four days where I continued monitoring my weight and posting my meals on Instagram. I took a broad 80/20 approach to my meals, whereby I tried to continue eating as I did during my challenge for around eighty percent of the time but with occasional deviations, including allowing myself to drink alcohol.
I ate some meals out after finding a few cafes in London which sell great quality unprocessed food. This enabled me to continue eating well but without having to prepare every single dish myself. In particular, I became a fan of Vita Mojo, Shot and Protein Haus.
In any case, after completing my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I realised how delicious and easy it is to prepare simple meals at home. I wanted to continue with my newly acquired and hard-earned habits, even if that meant doing so at a reduced rate to previously.
The purpose of my brief weight maintenance project was to ensure I continued monitoring my food intake so that I didn’t put all the weight I’d just lost back on.
I also wanted to start the process of upping the amount I exercised.
Overall, it worked. I expected to put a small amount of weight back on. I knew that due to increasing the amount of exercise I was doing, I could start gaining a small bit of weight because muscle weighs more than fat. Either way, by the end of the twenty-four days I’d only gained a couple of pounds.
In the months that followed, I travelled a number of times which limited my ability to prepare my own meals. However, the weight stayed off because I stuck to an 80/20 weight maintenance diet.
A few months after completing my 100 Day Diet Challenge, I started a new 100 Day Health Project. You can check my progress on Instagram. I’m also writing about it on The Writing Struggle soon.
Me in Lanzarote in December 2016, days before I started my 100 Day Diet Challenge.
Me in Paris in April 2017, days after I finished my 100 Day Diet Challenge.
AT THE START OF MY 100 DAY DIET CHALLENGE, I HAD FIVE AIMS
- Weight loss;
- Eating a healthy diet full of tasty food;
- Cooking every day, improving my culinary skills along the way;
- Writing about my journey; and
- …Enjoying each of the above.
I persevered with each of these five goals and I’m delighted with the results. Aside from slimming down, I ate the healthiest food I’d ever eaten in my life during the one hundred days. It was certainly my longest period of continuous healthy, tasty eating up to that point. I cooked every meal myself from scratch. Even though I wasn’t a bad cook before, I improved considerably and learned lots of new tricks and recipes. I wrote about my journey on The Writing Struggle, Instagram and in my soon-to-be-published book The Health Project.
I’m also releasing an exclusive recipe book soon for all readers of The Writing Struggle which contains several of the meals I cooked during my 100 Day Diet Challenge.
I planned my meals for each of the ten days in advance, preparing and cooking everything myself, and had daily objectives such as recording my weight and posting photographs of each meal on Instagram. Towards the end of each ten day period, I reviewed that sprint to assess what was working, what wasn’t, how I was feeling and if anything needed changing. I then repeated the process by planning my meals for the next ten days, and so on.
It sounds straightforward and, to be honest, it was. I created Rules which I needed to adhere to and I put aspects of my social life on hold for a little while. I ate a relatively uncomplicated diet of home-cooked, unprocessed food and even included a sprint where I ate a vegan diet.
But it wasn’t easy.
By and large, I tried to enjoy each of the above – even when it was hard. It would have been a lot easier not cooking everything myself, and if I didn’t record everything, and by not posting photographs every day.
I’d be lying if I said it was fun all the time. I was a difficult person to be around at times.
But hard, focused work pays off, and I got there in the end.
There will probably be things I’ve said or done regarding my approach to losing weight which you’ll disagree with. That’s fine. You’re right to question me. We should all be questioning everything we read when it comes to dieting and eating. Everybody is different. What works for me might not work for you.
There are no shortcuts, but there are simpler paths. All I’m doing here is telling you where I went and nudging you in a direction you might want to go in.
Sometimes in life, the simple answer is the best one. Create a realistic plan, stick to it, be flexible where necessary and achieve your objectives.
I lost nearly fifty pounds in one hundred days. What could you achieve?
Read more about my 100 Day Diet Challenge here:
My 100 Day Diet Challenge
10 Steps to Success
50 Days: A Review of the First Half of My 100 Day Diet Challenge
Cooking Up a Storm About Why Publishing Recipes Is So Important to Me
Is Dieting Cheap or Expensive?
All Recipes Published on The Writing Struggle
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