Every woman that I know has been on a diet at least once in her life, only to experience little to no results.
I thought I knew food, but I found myself in a place where I actually didn’t know how to rescue myself from the weight I had gained. I turned for advice to Ru-tee – a body confidence expert. At the age of 50, she’s a true example of what a woman can achieve through a healthy lifestyle.
How the past has shaped me
Growing as a fussy-eater I have been underweight for most of my life. I have never been on a diet, I simply didn’t like food. If it wasn’t for my mum’s efforts to force feed me when I was a teenager, I’d probably have a serious food disorder. As you can imagine, I turned into a very skinny young woman that wasn’t in a particularly good physical condition. Only somewhere in my late twenties did I discovered my love for cooking and eating, and I was introduced to exercising and an overall keeping of a healthy lifestyle. Over the course of 3-4 years, I managed to build muscles on my bones and I felt good and happy in my skin.
I should say that for our wedding last summer, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been – tight stomach muscles, fit legs, chest line, nicely formed shoulders and just enough biceps. Soon after the wedding, we decided to do two road trips, relocate our belongings and move across Europe. With customers back in London, blogging in two countries, family to visit in various places and a new business venture in a new country, you can imagine how life started taking over my healthy habits.
I knew I was getting a bit too heavy and rounded, but I was in denial and constantly trying to un-see what was in the mirror. Until the day I joined the Viking Arty Party in London. I was in complete shock when I saw the pictures of myself: big cheeks, a double chin and soft chubby arms. At the same time a purchase for our new flat arrived – BeetsBLU smart scale. I had to face it: I’d gained a stone since the wedding last year. What was even worse – I gained the weight so quickly that it had turned into cellulite all over my body – including the stomach!
Of course, one can argue that I wasn’t too bad – I only put on 1 extra dress size. But the problem was that I didn’t feel like myself in this body!
My stomach was layered in fat and often bloated; all the muscles and bones that I used to have were now covered with a soft cushion. A few people even dared to congratulate me as if I was pregnant. It could hardly get any more embarrassing. The line was drawn!
I was still eating a protein-heavy breakfast, but lots of uninvited carbs had entered my daily intake, along with a few glasses of wine with dinner… each evening. I couldn’t even remember the last time I exercised. Obviously something had to be done, but for once I didn’t know where to start from. I’ve been on the other side – trying to gain the correct type of weight, but never knew what to do to get rid of so much fat.
However, an email arrived in my inbox that was about to change my life. I was approved to join The Body Confidence Program!
The Body Confidence Program
TBCP is not a diet. It is an 8-week sustainable program teaching participants how to live a healthier, more confident lifestyle. It claims a 100% success rate in the personal fight with weight-loss, and promises not only to help the reduction of 16 inches on average, but to also kickstart your way to a healthier, longer life, reducing many other health issues too.
The Body Confidence Program has been designed by Ru-tee Block, a former Adidas model with 25 years in the health and wellness industry. Combining ancient knowledge of circadian rhythms with personal experience as a PT and nutrition coach, this 8-week program optimises the body’s natural aptitude to lose fat when a certain set of lifestyle and dietary rules are applied. It offers a shift both in body and in mindset.
Setting goals and challenges
After filling in a questionnaire covering both my mental and physical states, I was given access to a members only area of the website. I found a menu plan, list of instructions, forbidden foods to be aware of and lots of other good practices that I was going to follow for the next 8 weeks.
Each Friday I’d receive the menu for the next week, take measurements and get new exercises to follow. Exercising at least three times a week was a must, but it was down to me to decide what and how much I can fit in my daily lifestyle. I was introduced to HIIT workouts – a completely new concept for me which I learnt to enjoy so much. It only takes 10-15 minutes to do some simple and relatively easy exercises, which would fire my metabolism for the whole day.
Each Monday there was a conference call with Ru-tee over the phone. She listened to each of the members current state and advised us how to tackle our personal struggles. She asked us to set a personal goal for the whole program duration and look at that picture every day, along with a weekly goal to help us stay focused and achieve smaller milestones. Our group was made up of 7-8 ladies and one guy – all at different stages of our lives. We had a secret Facebook group where we could share pictures of our meals, give each other virtual hugs & support in the difficult moments, all under Ru-tee’s supervision. It was very much reassuring to see that other real people were going through exactly the same struggles I was experiencing.
I knew it would be challenging for me. I was smaller than most of the ladies on the program, so it may have seemed like I didn’t have to do much, but it was just as difficult. I had to burn the fat cells I had in the right way in order to keep the muscles and get lean.
The first month was very difficult. I had to leave lots of bad habits behind. I slipped out a few times, I felt bad, I felt good, my energy levels were up and down.
I was ready to leave on a couple of occasions, but I’m glad I didn’t. At times it felt like I had signed up for a rehab program – it was harsh!
The other ladies were very helpful and we had evenings when we all would just moan to each other on Facebook. With the pictures of my daily meals uploaded to the secret group, Ru-tee was able to tell me if I was not eating enough of this or too much of that. During the second conference call she told me I wasn’t eating enough in general. I was so happy to hear it, as I was constantly hungry during the first week. It wasn’t just about getting the proportions right, but also about eating the right kind of foods 4-5 times a day. The Body Confidence Program is NOT designed to make you hungry, it does the opposite – it keeps you well fed, but with the right type of food that would help you reduce fat and get lean.
Ru-tee allowed us one treat day a week. Notice that it wasn’t a cheat day, but treat. I usually had it on a Friday or Saturday, so I can enjoy a glass of wine at the start of the weekend. I kept close to the menu plan even on those treat days, but I would allow myself a little carb treat or something sweet.
Coming off the alcohol so drastically was an interesting experience too. The first week serving dinner, it felt awkward to not have a glass of wine with my meal. On the second week I was still thinking of it as a punishment, but I read somewhere that in just a glass of wine you get the calories of a full portion adult size meal, so I didn’t want to spoil the healthy eating plan. On the third week it didn’t bother me at all to not have a drink.
Somewhere after the 4-5 weeks of only having a glass of wine on a treat day, my body rejected it!
The hottest summer days in Bulgaria and my week was extremely busy work wise, so I was dreaming of a glass of chilled dry fermented grape juice. Friday came, we fired the bbq and whilst I was making the salad, I filled two glasses. I had exactly two small sips and I had to sit down. My forehead started sweating, whilst my legs and arms went cold and shaky – it felt as if I’d just had some kind of poison. Mint tea was now my new best friend.
Despite all the struggles, Friday was the most exciting day in our secret Facebook group. In the morning we all had to take our measurements and send the chart to Ru-tee. From week 1, there was a noticable change in my results. Even when I felt low and like nothing was happening, I was still losing inches and that kept me going. For the first few weeks I was mostly dropping from my stomach and belly area. In the weeks to follow my hips and butt joined the shredding game.
It wasn’t easy, but I was already used to it. My body was slowly but surely getting back in shape. The cellulite was getting less by the day and I found a way to exercise regularly: if it wasn’t too hot, I might go for a short run in the morning; if it was too hot – a 40 minutes gym session or a quick HIIT in the park before dinner.
Ru-tee added a few more ingredients and new options to the food list, which made my life easier. Whilst in the UK there are imported foods from all over the world and the variety of green veg is larger, over here in Bulgaria organic food varies according to the season. You can’t find many leafy vegetables in the peak of summer, but the tomatoes and cucumbers are the tastiest. There is no local salmon, so it’s a rare treat to find a good quality fillet in the supermarkets. There was no lamb in the summer and I don’t eat pork. My food list was brought down to free-range eggs, tinned tuna, chicken and mackerel all mixed with the season’s freshest veg available and a huge amount of raw nuts.
All grains and starchy foods were out of my diet. On some of the treat days I allowed myself some diary or flour based products. I gained some new healthy habits that helped me immensely with bloating, sleeping and my personal confidence!
It took 4 weeks to change my old habits and another 4 weeks to build new ones. As a result, I’m visibly in better shape, I have more energy, I eat better and I look better. I saw how other women dropped 2 dress sizes for the duration of the program. I achieved my personal goal – to drop body fat from 24% to 19% and reduce my weight by half a stone. I never wanted to just lose weight, my desire was specifically to burn fat. And I did.
See my results in the pictures below…
The switch wasn’t easy, but it was well needed. Now I’m back in control with my weight and I can continue living healthy. Even if I slip off in the future or I put on weight when I get pregnant, I know the food plan that will bring me back to the norm.
The Body Confidence Program not only helped me reduce the scary fat, but also gave me a new perspective and taught me some new healthy habits.
I’ve lost 11 inches – all from the tummy and bottom area. Ru-tee was very helpful during the whole program, always there to give advice or encouraging words. The weekly goals and menu ideas were very useful. The support of the other girls in our Facebook group and the ability to see how others progress was also a real wake-up call that helped me stay on track.
I’m now off the food plan, but I have better knowledge of what and how I should be eating. I eat regularly (3-5 times a day) to keep my metabolism fired up and I stick to better meal options with lots of tea and water. It has been a month after I completed the program and I’m still at my desired weight. I don’t have much time to exercise, but I incorporate small HIIT activities in my daily routine.
Are you next?
What is your level of self body confidence? Have you struggled with weight loss or fat percentage? Don’t go for impossible diets or starvation plans. The Body Confidence Program looks after the meal planning for you and if you follow the instructions correctly, you’re never hungry and you’re always well hydrated. Just a little amount of exercise accompanied by eating and sleeping at the right times of the day, can make you maintain an optimal weight with ease.