I used to find time to go to the gym and workout, but this completely stopped when I started my family. I just did not make time for myself anymore, and if I did go on the occasional jog or attend the odd yoga class, I was not consistent enough for it to make a difference. As a busy, married mum of two boys aged 4 and 7, my family comes first and that meant I would often drop my routine in order to care for my children.
To add to this, I have always struggled with my weight. From the age of 18 I tried every other popular weight management programme out there, but I always found myself slipping back into bad habits. I realise now that those programmes were always just about what I was eating, rather than combining diet with exercise, so when I heard about Forever Living’s #BeResolute campaign and the January 24-Day Challenge (which consisted of doing a nine-day body reset followed by a fifteen-day fitness programme), I thought this sounded exactly like what I needed to finally get myself back on track and feeling fitter.
There are various levels of the F15 programme (the fifteen-day fitness plan) depending on your fitness level, but since I had not really done any form of exercise, I started with Beginner Level 1. This can then lead onto Beginner Level 2, Intermediate Level 1 and 2 and Advanced Level 1 and 2.
My hope was that this programme would inspire me to start eating healthily, reset my bad habits and get me exercising. I had also seen photos of myself over Christmas which I was not pleased with; my clothes were getting very tight, too tight, and I was uncomfortable with myself. I noticed I’d slipped into a habit of having a glass of wine most evenings and reaching for the chocolates, and I knew this wasn’t good. My mind was made up and I spoke to a friend about the programme, and as a result we decided to do it together. It was great to have the support and we were able to motivate each other throughout the whole process.
On day one, I asked my husband to take some photos of me – I kept checking back on these images throughout the challenge and I really found this added to my motivation levels. Day one also meant starting the C9 – a nine-day weight management programme that revolves around a purposeful meal plan, gentle exercise, supplements and purifying aloe to cleanse your body, adjust your mindset and stop those bad habits.
The first day of this was probably the toughest but, in my head, I knew it was a mind over matter journey. I also had some cravings but the C9 comes with a list of free foods (fruit and veg) that you can tuck into when you get hunger pangs, so it was great to be able to use this. A medium apple, some cucumber sticks and steamed broccoli – which I love – was all I needed to curb my hunger on day one, although I will admit that I did go to bed early! However, by the time I woke up on day two, I already felt a difference, and it felt good!
After the first two days had past – the two days that are notoriously the most difficult – I found the programme plain sailing. Having two soy-based protein shakes a day (Forever Lite Ultra), plus a 600-calorie healthy meal cooked from scratch, made me feel great. The programme also includes supplements, Forever Garcinia Plus, Forever Therm and Forever Fiber, and these all play a part in assisting bodily processes* so that your body can keep on track by getting what it needs at the right time. Forever Aloe Vera Gel also plays a major role in this whole journey, aiding digestion and supporting immunity. It may have an interesting taste (challenging to some) but WOW, it makes you feel good!
To ensure I didn’t neglect exercise, I enrolled at my friend’s yoga studio. Yoga was something I really got into fifteen years ago, so it was good to try it again. I was also enjoying looking up recipes and getting creative in the kitchen. Some of my favourite meals included chickpea curry, salmon with rice, vegan mince bolognese with wholemeal pasta, and king prawns with wholemeal rice. I chose the vanilla flavour shake and mixed it with non-dairy milk alongside a couple of strawberries. If I did not have strawberries, I would use a couple of tablespoons of frozen berries.
Once the nine-day cleanse was over, I moved on to the F15, and it was great to see specific exercise routines and additional recipes for added inspiration. Having a poached egg with avocado on wholemeal toast was a particular favourite of mine! I also increased my exercise so that once a week I was doing 30 minutes of jogging and two hour-long sessions of hot yoga. I must admit, when I first started the exercises, I thought they were a challenge, but I felt great afterwards and knew it was essential to keep up – it was the mind over matter. My little boy also asked if he could start coming to yoga with me, and it’s amazing to do it together.
At the end of the challenge we took my photo again, and I was so excited to see the difference. My tummy and thighs felt more toned and my clothes were not as tight. I felt I looked better and I also felt stronger in myself. Having a friend do this alongside me helped as we kept each other boosted and we were able to inspire each other with different meal ideas.
Now that the programme has finished, I am continuing to attend the yoga classes with my son, I’m jogging once or twice a week and I am certainly eating more healthily. I am also saving that glass of wine for the weekends and the chocolate cravings have stopped altogether!
I would most definitely repeat this programme when and if I need to in the future and I’m looking forward to being able to start with the intermediate level next time. I highly recommend the Forever F.I.T. Programme to anyone who wants to look and feel better – it’s really flexible and can work for anyone.
*Forever Garcinia Plus is high in chromium. Chromium contributes to the normal macronutrient metabolism and to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels. Forever Fiber is for digestive health; it’s high in fibre and low in saturated fat. Forever Therm is high in vitamins C, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid. All these vitamins, amongst other things, contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Vitamin C also contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of cartilage and bones; vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism; B2 protects the cells from oxidative stress; folate contributes to normal blood formation and psychological function, and B12 and niacin contribute to normal function of the nervous system.