Six Weeks To Strong: Week 3 And I Can Barely Walk

Having completed week three of her six-week challenge, deputy ed Rosemary has yet to fall off the wagon – but smug levels are no longer what they used to be.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit – but the only thing I’m in the habit of, after three weeks of clean eating and working out four times a week at Lift Training Studios, is complaining. Because I’ve realised that eating clean and living virtuously is one of the rare things in life that actually doesn’t get easier, the more you practise. Instead, you begin to realise that you’re actually on a rather long road – one that, if you have the discipline and determination, will never end.

When people ask, “how long are you doing this for?” I feel kind of confused. Because this isn’t a temporary state – while I’m hoping that I’ll one day be way more relaxed and less rule-abiding about food, this is a lifestyle change. And it should be forever, right?

If that sounds negative, I’m sorry, but the wave of smug I’ve been riding has definitely crashed ashore. While I’m definitely feeling like I’m doing really, really well – the only slip-up I’ve had, in three whole weeks, has been eating one (one!) Lily O’Brien’s salted caramel disc – and getting stronger and leaner, it started out as a gentle run on the beach and has now turned into an uphill marathon.

What have I done to make me feel proud?

But guess what? I’m still going – and I’m finding new things to be proud of every day. Who knows? Maybe by the end of recounting them for you, I’ll be back to feeling smug again.

  • My Wednesday wobble – I blame the hump-day horrors – involved a meeting running late, which meant I couldn’t make it to afternoon Pilates class. Then, my mooncup failed me (it happens) and I just couldn’t face training. I texted Niamh: “I’ve had a menstrual mishap.” Her sympathetic response? “They have things for that in Fresh.” Despite the fact that I really, really didn’t want to, I went to Wednesday evening Strongman class. (It was agony, but I was glad I’d gone.)

bake house dublin

  • Saturday morning training involved a walk to Lift in the lashings of rain, followed by a walk back into town. I then met a friend of mine in a place called The Bake House, and while he nommed on his pancake stack, I ate a spinach, mushroom and onion omelette (above) – and sent back the bread.
  • On Sunday night, I sat on the couch with my boyfriend and watched Last Days in Vietnam. He nibbled on a bar of milk chocolate with fruit and nuts; I ate a single square of Lindt 70% dark chocolate. I wasn’t even jealous – although I did kind of want a second square.
  • I got up yesterday morning at 6am – I had a personal training session at 7am. I packed my breakfast – three rashers and scrambled eggs – into a tupperware and assembled my lunch: leftover roast chicken, slow-roasted tomatoes (3 hours at 140C rubbed with olive oil and sea salt), avocado, mushroom, peppers and mangetouts. I made myself a bulletproof coffee and I drank my greens. Then I walked, in the dark, to Lift. Seriously, there’s so much to be amazed at there: getting up early, prepping my food, walking to Smithfield. Six months ago, that would’ve been unthinkable.
  • I didn’t starve. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’m getting used to feeling a bit hungry all the time. I’m not starving by any means, but I’m not stuffed, either – something that’s a bit unusual to be perfectly honest. The upside of this is that, in three weeks, I haven’t had that lazy, full feeling that means I can’t get up off the couch / walk the dog. Which is kind of weird. And nice.
  • I feel way stronger, and much leaner. Before you ask, no, my clothes aren’t exactly “loose” yet – but they do fit, which marks the first time in a while I haven’t been wodging myself into my jeans. I’m lifting heavier weights; my squats are getting lower (which goes a way towards explaining why I can’t walk properly this week); the prowler feels (slightly) less difficult.

Ultimately, the things that have been surprising me – making me proud, and astonished, in equal measure – have been to do with self-control, something I would’ve said I possessed very little of, before this little experiment. Which means this next fortnight should be a doddle…

The next challenge

Niamh’s decided that we’re going to take body fat measurements every Monday, something that didn’t exactly fill me with glee – after all, Saturday was my cheat day! But when Monday came around and I was down another 1.95%, I was pleasantly surprised. Until, that is –

“Okay, how would you feel about trying the elimination diet we talked about?”

This involves, essentially, eliminating all allergens from my diet – as a way of seeing what does and doesn’t agree with me. I’ll reintroduce things slowly, one at a time, once a fortnight is over, and see how my body reacts.

So what can I eat? Meat, fats and vegetables, essentially – no sugar, no fruit, no grains, no root vegetables, no gluten and no eggs. Breakfast will be meat – steak, mince or chicken – with vegetables. Lunch will be chicken, turkey or fish and salad. Dinner will be meat – I’m especially looking forward to chowing down on some duck fillet – and loads of green veggies.

The rub? There’ll be no cheat meal for the next two Saturdays.

I’ll readily admit that the first three weeks were spent dreaming of, and salivating over, my cheat meals. Now, what will I have to look forward to? Here’s where psychology comes into it; I’m really trying to find things to get excited over that, y’know, aren’t food.

dusty boy designs

So, instead of going for a slap-up meal, last week I treated myself to a brand new notebook from Irish brand Dusty Boy Designs (above). I also went for a massage at Nautilus in Fairview. This weekend, I’m off to Lusty Beg Island for an overnight stay and (hopefully) some form of relaxing spa treatment.

Whether that’ll get me through is another question… keep up with my antics on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter @rosemarymaccabe – and check back next week for the week four update!