If someone told me I’d be following a diet & lifestyle program for 2 months during pregnancy last year, I’d laugh at them. Pregnancy isn’t the time to ‘diet’ and as for lifestyle, I do some meditation. However, what I didn’t realise is that when pregnant, I literally wanted to eat everything. And goodness knows what happened to my tastebuds but Haribo cherries were my fruit of the day.
As someone who has learnt the hard way that nailing fitness and food doesn’t by any means lead to good health, I’ve been looking to incorporate other aspects of a balanced lifestyle, such as Hatha yoga and meditation. But what I didn’t realise until I did The Body Confidence Program is that there’s a simpler way to build up that third leg of the health triangle. And it wouldn’t cost me anything.
Ru-tee, from the Body Confidence Program is a client of mine; I’m helping her with her marketing and communications to get her program off the ground. I wouldn’t normally touch diets with a bargepole as I just don’t believe in them, but after learning more and seeing the results she had gotten with them, Ru-tee had me convinced that her program was different.
And for the following 6 main reasons, I decided to take part in it and accept her as a client:
- It looks at food AND lifestyle changes, unlike many other programs which are food and fitness.
- There’s no cutting calories – you can essentially eat as much as you like, as long as ratios are maintained.
- It couldn’t do anything BUT improve what I was eating (think massive bowls of pasta with cheese and marmite at 10.30pm at night, a bag of Haribo, plates of chips etc).
- I knew I needed to get more sleep – Ru-tee actually pointed out that half the emails I were sending out were at 2.30am. Now was the time I should be getting more sleep to prepare myself for Hungry Bear, rather than less.
- It could help improve my skin (go away eczema).
- It focuses on fat-loss, rather than weight-loss. The whole program is an education around fat-loss which I found so interesting, I wanted to try it for myself.
What Doing The Body Confidence Program is Like
Once you’ve signed up, you’re required to submit initial photos and measurements within the exclusive membership area on the Body Confidence Program website. Within this area is a whole set of supporting resources, including articles on the important of hydration, a food list, recipes, short fitness videos (although Ru-tee prefers you to get food and lifestyle aspects nailed first before getting trying to squeeze in exercise too) and more. This has everything you need for you to start, but first, there’s a welcome call to ensure everyone is on the same page and there aren’t any questions.
It’s not an easy program – mainly because it’s such a change to what you’re eating and how you’re living. However, it made it easier having a supportive husband who really got on board with the lifestyle elements and both of our lives improved because of these rules. I discovered that the first week is pretty grim, that I have an issue with turning raw meat into burgers and that my levels of grumpiness can reach new highs. On the upside, I also learnt that eggs mess with my body, that I really do react to gluten and dairy when I decide to eat them, that sugar gives me a headache and that more sleep is the unexpected answer to many of my problems. I was also eating more vegetables than I’d done in ages. It also got a lot easier from week 3.
A couple of Challenges
As expected, I did hit a couple of challenges during the 8 weeks. The first came in the form of weekends away and holidays to Italy. When you have one cheat day a week, how do you manage this? Especially when taking more than one cheat day in a week can mean it takes a lot longer to get back to where you left off. Some times, my cheat days went over a day. And during Italy, it was hard to have one day where a blacklisted food didn’t sneak its way into my diet. Those were bittersweet moments – on one hand, I really relished eating those foods and on the other, it felt like I was jeopardising my program. However, it also taught me to go easy on myself and just do my best. After all, that’s all anyone can ever do in life, don’t you agree?
The second was in the form of a friend who didn’t think I should be doing the program whilst pregnant. As a trained nutritionist who had touched upon pregnancy nutrition during her course, her point was that cutting carbs could seriously harm the baby as supposedly the baby uses the carbohydrates from my food to feed itself. Personally, I felt better than I’d done for a while but once someone tells you you could be harming your baby with your dietary choices, it’s a little hard to ignore, so I chatted with Ru-tee and she agreed that we could look at adjusting the percentages of meat to veg and add in some carbs. So did it make me feel better? Sadly, no. White potatoes gave me stomach ache and brown rice made me awful when I had it. It also meant that I ended up allowing chips into my diet which I knew were doing more harm than good. I had also been eating a good portion of carbs on cheat days so I doubted Hungry Bear was going hungry. A chat to the midwife also suggested that whilst she wouldn’t recommend cutting out carbs completely, reducing them and getting them from vegetables and sweet potatoes was absolutely fine. This was one of the more stressful moments of the program.
Who Would Benefit?
If we lived in an ideal world, we would be able to exercise self-control, listen to our body and automatically avoid foods that deep down we know aren’t good for us. We’d also get to bed at a decent time and prioritise sleep. Yet most of us don’t. I for one, know that dairy and gluten messes with my skin and yet you’ll still find me reaching for that odd gluten-laden meal. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need programs like this. However, we’re human. And The Body Confidence Program provides accountability, a set of rules and easy instructions for kickstarting a healthier lifestyle. It’s simple, yet I won’t lie, it’s hard to stick to and that’s where the weekly calls and Facebook group are essential to provide support.
I’d say this program is great for anyone who ticks one or more of the following boxes:
- You know you need to eat better but you just haven’t gotten round to it
- You’re looking at your phone or watching Netflix until gone midnight each night
- You skip breakfast
- You get stomach aches and suspect it may be to do with something you’re eating – which is on your to-do list to look into but you’ve just not got round to it yet
- You can’t say no to a little sweet treat after meals
I’ve finished the program now and even though I’m much more relaxed with what I’m eating, I do miss it – it certainly kept me on track with what I was putting into my body and gave me the prompt I needed to say no to certain foods. Of course, there’s nothing stopping me from continuing with it and I will certainly be taking the lifestyle elements forward as they have proven to be hugely beneficial (more mental resilience, clearer thinking and focus) but it’s certainly a lot harder.
Most people on the program also end up losing inches – from their arms, thighs, stomach and legs. Indeed, in the first week, I lost 3.5 inches from either thigh which was amazing. But… pregnancy and losing inches don’t go hand in hand; one of my goals wasn’t to get bigger in areas other than my stomach and boobs and I believe the program helped me reach this goal.
Want to do the program?
Email Ru-tee to find out more about it at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website. If you want a little look at some of the recipes allowed, head to the website and download the Sneak Preview.
The full 8 week program costs £450 and includes access to the exclusive Facebook group, memberships area, recipes, meal planner, weekly calls and more. There’s also the option for on-going support once you finish the program.