This is the fifth week I’ve been on the Cambridge Weight Plan. The first three weeks were spent in the ‘trial and error’ phase, trying to work out how the plan fit in with my current lifestyle and what changes I needed to make, to make it work for me. There are 5 different steps you can follow, and I think I tried all of them over the space of three weeks. After a lot of ‘i know best’ moments (from me), I eventually took my consultant’s advice and just followed the plan, I chose Step 2 (three Cambridge products and one low kcal healthy meal); I finally nailed it on Week 4, losing 6lbs in 7 days.
I only entertained the idea of the Cambridge Weight Plan because my wedding is fast approaching and all conventional methods of losing weight, healthy diet and exercise, have failed me quite dramatically.
I’ve always considered these types of diets to be nonsense; the easy way out; for people too lazy to meal prep and work out. After discovering the joy of cooking from scratch, and cutting out carbs and processed foods a few years ago, I have become increasingly sceptical about any product or plan that involves ‘quick fix’ results. Deeming them unhealthy and again, for the weak and the lazy.
After beginning this plan myself, after trying pretty much everything over the last 12 months to lose weight, or at least inches, I have been forced to review that opinion. Here are some of my thoughts so far…
1. It is/isn’t an easy way out.
This is a tricky one. Because it would depend on the context the ‘easy way out’ statement is used in.
The plan is an easy way out in terms of not having to spend hours in the kitchen each night meal prepping. I no longer spend my day off fighting a sea of pushchairs and the indecisive trolly manoeuvres of the uncoordinated shopper. There are no more melt downs in the ‘what the hell is this’ aisle in Tesco when they don’t have that one random ingredient that my healthy eating plan says I need to make the perfect LCHF curry. All of the stress and time consuming pressures of always having to be prepped and ready to make healthy choices, have been removed. And it’s wonderful!
It is most definitely not the easy way out in terms of will power, especially during social occasions (what I struggle with the most). It’s one thing watching your colleagues eat a carb heaven sandwich and a bag of crisps, when you’re sat opposite with a chicken salad, but it’s something else when you’re sat there with a shake. Don’t get me wrong, the shakes are lovely, with a great variety of flavours to suit all tastes. But, during lunch, there isn’t a flavour made yet that can stop your senses going into overdrive when someone walks in with food. It takes a lot of mental determination to keep saying no to Angela’s home-made cakes, the ‘someone’s leaving but I’m not sure who’ biscuits and sweets on the table in work, and the offer of ‘would you like one?’ on a daily basis. And don’t even get me started on eating out.
2. It doesn’t teach you anything about eating sensibly? Actually, yes it does.
Since hanging up my 6 inch heels and putting on my flip flops (I got engaged, moved in, and learnt to cook = game over) I have become more than just a little bit of a foodie! In fact ‘what’s for dinner’ has been the main thought taking over my day for an embarrassing amount of years.The portion sizes have got bigger, the ‘treat days’ have increased, and naturally, so has the size of my waist (and arms, legs and face). And I was always able to justify it. ‘I work long hours, I need the food for energy’, ‘life’s for living, it doesn’t hurt to have a treat’.
The thought of living on 3 shakes a day blew my mind! And it turned out I wasn’t able to do it (step 1). However, step 2 has made me really appreciate the food I eat, as opposed to inhaling it and then moving straight onto the chocolate. The shakes contain all the vitamins and nutrients that my body needs and I rarely feel hungry or still wanting for more. My dinner then usually consists of an omelette or chicken salad, but a normal size portion, not enough to feed two like before. Because the products are providing everything my body needs I don’t feel like I have to overindulge when it comes to dinner time, and I’ve come to realise the amount of food I was eating before, was obscene. It’s no wonder I wasn’t losing weight! And my chocolate consumption has gone from daily to zero. I just don’t crave it any more (unless I’m hormonal, in which case get out of the way, mama needs her Hersheys).
3. I can have a good time without alcohol.
I’m not allowed to drink whilst on the plan. I thought this would be the area I would struggle with most due to drinking being one of my favourite things to do, but so far I’ve actually been on a night out in Cardiff and to a BBQ and just drunk water and diet soft drinks! This may seem like no big deal to some of you, but before starting this plan I would think nothing of drinking two bottles of wine to myself after a stressful day in work. And it turns out I can have just as much fun drinking Pepsi Max as I can drinking wine; it turns out you don’t need to find the right drink, you just need to find the right company.
4. Be prepared for the eyebrow raise and conversation to end.
Due to my previous opinions on plans like this, I can’t really be mad at other people when they think it’s stupid. But it can leave you feeling a little bit left out in the cold when it comes to conversations about healthy eating. People don’t even ask you about it. They literally just raise their eyebrows and end the conversation. It generally goes something like this…
Me: I weighed today and lost six pounds, I’m so happy that something has finally come off, and I’ve lost an inch off my waist.
“Wow! Well done that’s amazing. What diet plan are you on?”
Me: It’s the Cambridge Plan. I have three shakes a day and then a proper dinner after work, like an omelette or chicken.
On the plus side there is a fantastic support group on Facebook where I can post pretty much anything, positive or negative about my day on plan (or not on plan in some cases) and receive a wealth of knowledge and support.
Meanwhile, the Slimming World brigade are congratulating themselves on their diet coke chicken and pasta, because cooking something in aspartame and carb loading is soooo much better than drinking a milkshake that contains all your nutritional requirements…
5. My confidence? Let me just climb up onto the roof to get that down.
I feel AMAZING! And by that I don’t mean my mood is always great (the lack of sugar seems to have reduced my tolerance levels dramatically) and I have major trouble sleeping at night since starting this plan (tired me isn’t much fun either), but I feel awesome about me.
I don’t really know what’s changed. It can’t be due the weight loss, even though 6lbs is good, it’s hardly enough for anyone to even notice I’ve lost weight, never mind make much of a difference to how I look or feel about myself. But, I feel good about myself. I feel good about the decisions I’m making for my body and my health. I feel empowered now I’m back in control of what I eat. The mindless binging I’ve been doing for the past three years has been keeping my body a prisoner under a layer of grotesque fat and self-loathing, and even though I know I am still in a very vulnerable stage and could easily slip back into bad habits, I’ve never felt more confident and in tune with my mind and my body.
Based on this, the law of attraction is in full swing, I can feel the people around me dividing into two camps, those who are attracted to my confidence and light, and those who feel threatened by it, and I’ve never been clearer about what I’m willing to accept.
Follow my Cambridge Weight Plan Journey for progress reports, tips, highs, lows and successes.