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After one workout, Chris, my PT surprises me with a Quest double chocolate chunk protein bar. The next week he brings me a pot of Total 0% yoghurt mixed with chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and cinnamon. Two weeks later, it’s a tupperware of overnight oats. “You could run your own food service” I say, as I text my thank you. Prior to this culinary sampling, I’d never touched natural yoghurt, I’d concluded that all protein bars tasted like cardboard, and all previous attempts at overnight oats had resulted in a tasteless paste and the texture of shredded paper soaked in water.

I was touched that Chris was attempting to break my negative feelings towards these high protein snacks, and pleasantly surprised by all three. I’ve gone from burning more calories than I eat, and feeling that happiness is found twenty pounds lighter, to eating more, working out less (“quality not quantity” says Chris), and feeling happier about how I look. I know that I’ve gained muscle and lost fat, I look leaner, and I’m less bothered about the numbers on the scale anymore.

Juice diets and calorie restriction seem a great idea until you realise the damage they do to your metabolism and your muscles (I am still in the midst of a long slog to get my metabolism back up to a ‘normal’ rate). Not to mention all the weight you gain back after. Filling my days with back-to-back cardio is a thing of the past (not forgetting the gym challenge of June 2016 where I resorted to living out of the lockers in order to make third place); now there’s always a protein bar in one hand to hit my macros, and I’m deemed a regular in the weights area. It’s definitely more rewarding having Adrian cheering you on as you squat a 65kg personal best, rather than hitting 1000 calories on the treadmill, and only a puddle of sweat to show for it.

by Connie Foster-Hall

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