A few things I learned on the Highway to Health Fastrack:
- It’s only for twenty one days. That’s three sets of seven days. Three weekends. It’s not even a month. Cross the days off as you complete them.
- Water is your friend. I have bottles of water all over the place. Everytime I get in the car I grab a bottle and aim to finish it by the time I get where I am going. It might mean a few desperate toilet runs but it makes drinking water incidental to all of the time I spend in my car.
- Food preparation makes everything so much easier. I would sometimes do a stack of this on a Sunday but it’s easy when you are preparing a meal to do more than you will need of things like: bowls of pre-chopped spring onion, chilli and ginger in the fridge as I used this combo all of the time – either added to salad or as a base to cooked greens. Fruit for smoothies can be chopped and put in the freezer – bananas (peel them first!), mangoes, kiwi fruit.
- Egg muffins can last a few days, as can hard boiled eggs which I would then take to work to have with salad (my version of basic eggs).
- Distractions are key when all you can think about is food. I didn’t quite get to doing the 10 push-ups, but to stop me staring at the fridge I developed a few new habits: 10 minute hyper-cleans. I would set the timer and clean a shelf of the fridge, or sort out my bedroom (the Good Sammies did very well during H2H). Quick bursts of food prep – there is always something that needs doing – hard boil some eggs, chop some chilli and onion, get some fruit into freezer bags or clean salad ingredients. Go to the bathroom and do a proper face clean (this only works at night!) get all the make up off, do the cleanse and moisturising you might be too tired to do properly later. When all else fails, I go and brush my teeth and then have a really cold glass of water.
- I learned that I could live on smoothies. This new habit will stay with me – all of the nights that I don’t have the energy to make dinner and then later end up piling a plate with cheese and crackers – I now know I can make a smoothie and feel happy all over.
- I have been starting my day with a mixture of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and warm water for about 8 months. I put on the kettle as soon as I get up and make it up in a travel cup that I sip on my way to training. I don’t really even think about it, I just do it and believe in all of the benefits it’s meant to have.
- Ignore the saboteurs. There are a lot of these – in my case my worst is my mum who gets annoyed with me for not eating or drinking or certain things. Her reasons for not wanting me to succeed are her own reasons and I can’t change those. So I surround myself with supportive people – the Fastrack Facebook forum is fantastic.
- I used to function only on coffee. At least two takeaway long macs before 10am. Then I made the switch to long blacks which I didn’t love as much, but still believed were vital to my existence. Imagine my surprise to learn I didn’t need them at all and they were possibly the reason I would feel like a zombie mid-afternoon in need of something (anything) to perk me up for the rest of the day. It’s a habit that took some breaking but I don’t think I ever want to repeat that two day headache. Dandelion root tea and ginger kick tea are now all I need during the day.
- It’s easier to eat out than you think. If you are at a place that does all day breakfasts go for eggs with spinach, mushrooms, avocado. Otherwise adapt a meal to the most basic protein and greens option.
- I wasn’t fabulous at the prescribed work-outs. I do something most mornings and didn’t always have enough time during the day or the energy at night. When I did do them I felt great – so that will be my aim the next time I do this.
- I learned what it feels like to be hungry. Not bored, anxious, lonely or pissed off but actually hungry. Then I would have a glass of water as someone told me that hunger is often thirst. While I drank my second glass I would work out what my next meal was meant to be and when I could start preparing it.
- There are a gazillion calories, bad sugars and other nasties in wine, vodka and beer (sob) and I had to make myself not have any of them. I learned a lot about what makes me reach for the wine (bored, lonely or pissed off are not good reasons) and then when I didn’t I learned to love how much better I felt in so many ways for not doing so.
- I didn’t go to town on myself if I slipped up a little bit. If I sneaked a piece of grilled cheese from the side of my kids’ toasted sandwiches I just did it and then moved on. I did, however, think more about what I put in my mouth. It’s too easy to grab things off my kids’ plates or out of the pan while cooking. Then I would picture all those little bites on a plate and realise how much I was sneaking in there. Pickers wear big knickers.
- I learned to say Thank You graciously to all of the compliments when the Fastrack started to work. Because it really, really does.
– Karen Campbell, January 2015
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