The Longest 12 Weeks Of My Life!
I decided that I was going to wear my favourite Superdry shirt that night.
Last time I wore it, someone put a picture of me on Instagram with the caption “I’d like two tickets to the Gun Show, please” and I really liked that feeling.
When I couldn’t do up the bottom buttons up because my middle had become slightly larger than it used to be I was gutted…
… but not as sad as I was when I realised that my ‘Gun Show’ was not smoking either.
It had been two years since I’d left my full time job to run my own business. Two years of sitting at a desk instead of driving a van and delivering heavy wine had changed my physique.
My guns used to be a very positive part of my body, and my middle had got to an all-time low thanks to cycling to work two or three times a week.
But now I worked from home, and the heaviest thing I lifted was a Chihuahua off my keyboard.
Life had changed.
It was in January 2015 that I found Phil Sims.
I’d somehow subscribed to his emails. I still can’t work out how, but I was getting them regularly and I was impressed. I loved his writing and his way of thinking.
I contacted Phil and we chatted about goals and where I wanted to be.
One thing I wanted was to get back into shape and work on the gut I had quickly created thanks to being a keyboard pilot.
Rather than a fit and healthy deliver driver who cycled to more than 50 miles a week, I was now out of breath going up the stairs. Plus I was getting comments about my weight.
I remember Phil declining the miniscule biscuit that came with his coffee.
In the back of my mind all I could see was the huge biscuit tin at my client’s office that we regularly emptied, along with many cups of tea.
Something needed to change and those biscuits were the first things…
The training sessions started and like most people I was expecting everything from a few training sessions a week.
What I did outside of the gym didn’t enter into it.
I had come from a life of being active all day long and then cycling home too.
I could eat anything… at least that’s what I thought!
Actually when I look back at photos of me then I looked good to a point… but I still had the belly.
I had good arms from lifting all day.
I had good legs from the cycling.
But I looked very skinny in the face and shoulders, and really not how I thought I looked.
What that lifestyle had taught me was that it didn’t matter what you ate when you were training because you just burn it off.
Lengthy bike rides were followed by beers and full English breakfasts.
Runs were followed by huge bowls of porridge and lashings of honey.
Oh… and some really sugary drinks to keep me going.
Beers at the weekend? Sure… I deserved it. I worked hard.
But this was all about to change…
Phil was about to help me make that change.
You see; it’s not about the training in the gym.
It’s not about lifting boxes of wine.
It’s not even about cycling 50 miles a week (although that did keep me fit).
It’s actually more about what you put into your body that make the difference between success and failure with weight-loss or body transformation.
That biscuit that Phil didn’t eat stayed on his saucer… until I ate it!
It was just a biscuit… but it’s never just one… and that’s the problem.
What I was eating was making me fat; not the lack of moving boxes and exercise. I didn’t really make much of a dent in that belly in the beginning.
Then the longest 12 weeks of my life started…
The 12-week plan was a brand new concept that Phil was working on and when I started the plan we didn’t even have the third phase yet, as Phil hadn’t finished it.
The first two weeks were detox. Like all detoxes, you need to be clean and lean.
This was OK. I’d given up drinking for six weeks before (for a bet) and I’d given up coffee for a month too. I gave up sugar in drinks a long time ago.
But all of this had to be done at once – and I also had to cut bread, dairy and anything sugar-based from my diet. And replace it with good stuff!
Fine. I’m not a bread eater anyway and my partner, Jo, is gluten- and dairy-free.
I took to the plan with grit and determination and it suited me.
I’m very structured and I like to know what I need to do to succeed.
If it’s laid out in black and white then I’m likely to do it well, as I’m a real stickler for following rules and doing the same thing over and over again.
The plan was great and we changed what food we bought right away.
The biggest problem for me was beer.
It was the summer and we have a canal-side pub near our house. It just tempts me to it so often.
I’m happy there, in the sun and by the water, and the thought of giving that up was a worry… because I wasn’t sure if I could.
But this plan wasn’t about giving things up.
• I stopped eating carbs and ate more veg instead.
• I gave up dairy and had almond milk instead.
• I had peanut butter with banana instead of biscuits, and I had red wine instead of beer.
“At least something in red wine is good for you. Beer is just rubbish.”
I’ll never forget that comment from Phil. It’s really stuck with me.
Was it hard?
Yes… but only to start with.
Now it’s just a routine I have. Now it’s just how I eat and how I choose to live.
I miss the beer but it’s just a habit that my mind told me I liked.
Actually, we went out for dinner after the Wolf Run and I had a beer for the first time in ages… and it wasn’t even that good.
It was refreshing and it was nice… but it wasn’t all that.
My mind had been tricking me all that time. Now a nice glass of red is really nice because “at least there’s something good in there”.
It’s been the longest 12 weeks of my life… because I’m still doing it 16 weeks on!
I’ve not gone back.
(Ok I’ve slipped a few times but I’m human, OK!?)
• I still don’t eat carbs in the week.
• I still don’t have alcohol in the house to stop me drinking it. (Not often, anyway.)
• I don’t have porridge for breakfast – I have a protein-rich one instead.
• And I drink 2 litres of water with lime and Himalayan salt each day.
… Oh, and I have a morning routine!
The routine involves some intense muscle workouts that last 12 minutes with no breaks!
We introduced that when we realised that my busy life didn’t allow for three training sessions every week.
Occasionally I manage the three sessions and do the 12-minute workouts as well. But at least I always have the 12-minute start to my day.
This 12-week plan has given me a new routine. A new habit. A new life and a better physique.
Oh… and I tried on that favourite shirt the other week, the one from Superdry.
The guns fill those arms more than before and the bottom buttons do up and I look better than I ever did. And I’m not even finished yet!
People keep telling me I look ‘bigger’ but they don’t mean fatter.
I like the fact that I’ve now got a much rounder top and shoulders, and I like that people comment on my gun show again.
This has been the longest 12 weeks of my life because it won’t end.
Greens drinks, protein shakes, water with lime and vitamins are now my habit and they’re something I do without thinking…
This isn’t about going without anymore; this is about having more of the right stuff and working towards constantly changing and adapting goals.
There’s more work to be done, but I’m getting there.
Thanks, Phil – you get two tickets to the gun show!