The 12-week programme is designed to inspire individuals to reach their personal goal in 2013 and you can find out more here
In the first of a series of weekly blogs on USN's Body Makeover Challenge, PA Alex Meltzer details how she's getting to grips with the lifestyle change.
"Well, it has been an interesting first few weeks since starting the USN Challenge. I really hated weighing myself and taking the [very unflattering] “before” pictures. Starting on 7th January meant that I was feeling (and seeing) the effects of Christmas over-indulgence – eek!
So, the diet… This has been a real eye opener. I think I’ve learnt a lot and now have a new-found respect for the food that I put into my body. Part of my reasoning for taking on the challenge, was that I wanted to experience how my food would “fuel” me and how my body would feel depending on what I gave it and at what times. I never realised what rubbish goes into some foods and how fattening some meals are without you even realising.
I don’t actually feel that deprived most of the time. I‘m glad that I don’t often find myself starving hungry, so long as I space my food out properly. It has been more about having smaller portions more frequently. Planning is another big part of it. I have downloaded a great mobile app called My Fitness Pal, which has been really helpful; allowing me to log what I’m eating and it tells me the nutritional values so I can ensure I’m getting the correct protein, carbs and fat balances.
The funny thing is that I can “feel “it when I’ve got it right. I am definitely now more energised to work through the afternoons, which was always when I was less productive during the day. It is only really on the odd days that I have forgotten or just winged-it that I’ve felt most lethargic, cranky or hungry.
For example, on Monday night I went home and was a bit moody because I was hungry… I started the day quite well, but had forgotten my lunch, so had to resort to a boring tin of tuna and two pieces of Ryvita that I happened to have in my desk drawer. I was a bit depressed about this, to say the least! Even my yoghurt at 4pm didn’t really hit the spot, and that in-turn made it difficult for me to think about what to actually eat for dinner when I got home – because it is at these times (like USN warn you) that you tend eat “emotionally” i.e. I could have easily ruined all the day’s good work by buying a greasy fish and chips (mmm, chips…) I didn’t though. Instead, I opted for some wholegrain pasta with sauce, topped with cottage cheese (full of protein goodness, don’t you know) and a little Cajun seasoning – which was actually quite tasty! So I guess I’m learning to be a bit more creative with my food too.
On the exercise front, I’ve probably become more shape conscious than weight. I’ve been running a few times a week for about three years now, but I never really thought about creating core strength and toning. Saying that, it was difficult to get out and run last week, as Birmingham had loads of icy snow. I tried to make up for this by walking to work every day, but it just doesn’t engage your lungs or muscles with the same level of intensity, so it’s just not the same. However, being stuck in-doors made me focus more on working my abs and lifting some light weights to tone up. It may still be too early to tell, but I think I’m starting to see some improvements…so watch this space!"
To sign up for the Body Makeover Challenge, log on to: www.usn.co.uk
and click the ‘Body & Lifestyle’ tab. Share your own stories by tweeting @bcfcdotcom