If you've ever tried to change your lifestyle, you'll know there are a million and one plans out there that claim to help you get fit and healthy. With busy work lives, home lives and more social events than we can keep up with, it can be tough to fit everything in - and you're especially vulnerable to the 4 o'clock oh-my-God-are-those-Krispy-Kremes-in-the-kitchen moment if you work in an office.
As a team, we've tried everything. Gymming before the sun's up, lunchtime classes, only having healthy snacks in the office and even some weird health smoothies and shakes, but still many of us are left feeling sluggish, bloated and definitely don't feel like we're treating our bodies the way they should be treated. Reaching for easy, carb-loaded food and only doing 3,000 steps a day is a lot more appealing than eating like a rabbit and dragging yourself into the gym every morning when you feel that your free time is limited - but long-term, it's not good for us at all.
Like most people, we want being healthy to be easy (because we're really lazy, if you hadn't already guessed), so when our Publishing Director, Camilla Newman, was offered the chance to take a 12-week course which has people up and down the country raving about it, she jumped at the chance.
Here's how she got on...
What is ?
Created by Darren Glenister, is a plan that focuses on making small changes in your lifestyle and training your body to fuel and burn. After leaving the military, Darren worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years so he knows a thing or two about creating food plans that work. Darren believes that eating the right food groups relative to the time we need to use it as energy is the key, along with getting your body moving more in simple ways that can be easily added into your day.
What does it involve?
It's really quite simple: tick off everything in the list each day and you'll start to have more energy, feel less bloated, your fitness will improve and you'll lose fat and gain muscle. The 7 key factors include things like drinking 2/3 litres of water, drinking 3 cups of green tea, walking 12,500 steps and completing specially designed circuits. And the best part? Unlike many lifestyle plans, there's no cutting out carbs - you just tweak when you eat them so your body starts burning fat. After all, your body needs all food groups to function. Sounds simple, right? And to always feel supported, there's a huge group chat with everyone who's doing the plan with you (and Darren, too) which you can turn to for advice, tips and motivation.
We're all about body positivity at GLAMOUR and feeling happy in your own skin, so in a bid to get off our bums and feel better in our bodies, our Publishing Director put it to the test.
About me: "As Publishing Director of GLAMOUR and a mother-of-two young boys, it's safe to say I have a jam-packed schedule. I am lucky enough to have a car parking space under my office, and an electric car that I can plug in and charge up so my commute is both civilised and cheap. Fast approaching my mid-forties, I had resigned myself to being a certain body shape and size and knowing I was stretched to capacity in all areas of my life, I thought I had to accept the little exercise I did at my weekly netball game as enough.
"I was, however, keen to explore a change in my lifestyle, that would be sustainable after the initial enthusiasm wanes and would have me feeling healthier and in better shape. I had been trying fitness apps on my phone, but giving up very quickly as there was no one to check up on me. I had heard of Darren Glenster, founder of #afitterme, as many friends had suddenly dropped a dress size, so I was immediately drawn to his simple, no-nonsense approach for incorporating health and fitness into my hectic life."
How I got on...
"I went gung-ho into the programme and made my husband join up too, so we will either get divorced because of competing over targets or encourage each other to stay on track. The main struggle was fitting 12,500 steps into my day. I drive to work, get the lift up to the 6th floor, sit at my desk, drive home and was averaging under 3,000 steps a day. I had to look at my work diary and find days where I could take the train to work, get out a stop early and do my steps as part of my commute rather than as an extra thing, which would happen. I managed 4 days out of the 7, just under the 5 day a week target. My mindset is determined and enthusiastic, I’m loving the FB messenger group for constant updates of how the rest of the community is doing, albeit on mute and being a bit of a “lurker” rather than joining in. I’m energetic and enjoying it.
"In the first few weeks, I am a bit bloated and tired but still committed to achieving my 5/7 day targets. I've found that circuits are best done first thing in the morning to get them out of the way and I’m enjoying exploring new breakfast ideas which don’t contain carbs: smoked salmon, avo and a boiled egg is the current favourite. It was my son’s 13th birthday this week so I did sneak a glass or two of Malbec and a piece of birthday cake outside of the 11-2 “carb window” (although, on this course, nothing is off-limits), but everything in moderation hey? Also, I’d walked over 15,000 steps that day so figured I’d earned it.
"As the weeks pass, I've stuck to the 7 daily rules and haven’t deviated once. I've found a way to fit the 12,500 steps into my daily routine and started to enjoy them. I was ready for the first weigh in and confident I would hit the target set of 5-7lbs off. However, when I saw that I’d only lost 4.5lbs in 3 weeks, instead of being elated I felt really disappointed and a bit demotivated. Darren explained there were loads of reasons our weight fluctuates, and actually I was only half a pound off target. He then asked me, before I was weighed, how was I feeling? In truth I felt fitter, brighter, more alert, had slept better and had clearer skin than I had seen in years. So feeling re-energised, I’m trying not to think about the results on the scales but concentrate on how the programme is making me feel and the change in lifestyle it’s showing me. I am learning that even a full time working mum with a demanding job and even more demanding kids I can still find time for exercise and work towards a healthier me. I don’t need a fancy gym or personal trainer, I can do this myself, with the support of the messenger group and my GLAMOUR Squad!
"Overall, the program follows 7 easy steps which include a daily step count of 12,500 and a set of circuits you need to complete 5 days out of seven. This combined with only eating carbs within your daily “carb window”, drinking lots of water and green tea and a positive mindset saw me losing weight in a way I haven’t done for years. I did find it hard, and had to make some big changes like taking public transport and walking an extra stop to and from work every day. I also had to set the alarm for a 6am wakeup call in order to do the circuits but liked the fact that I can do them at home in my PJs before jumping in the shower. It has taken commitment, but the Facebook messenger group really helps with motivation as everyone ticks off their daily targets and you know you have to get out and walk around the block a couple of times to hit yours.
"Best of all I haven’t driven myself crazy with counting calories or obsessing over food, and although I hate the early alarm, nothing beats the feeling of knowing you’ve done 45 minutes of exercise before the day has started. Darren is on hand constantly through the messaging group but you only get weighed at the start, at three weeks and then at the end of the 12 weeks so the long-term commitment is there and it’s really down to you.
"I’ve had a blip over Christmas, taking a bit of a mix and match approach to my ticking boxes and have put on a few pounds, but was back doing my circuits and steps this morning and I am so pleased that I’ve found something easy to stick to that's sensible and works. The best news? I've lost an entire stone in 12 weeks and I feel better than ever."
Want to get involved? Visit the website . Darren is taking new bookings for his February onwards.