For those following me on IG, you might have noticed this hashtag. I was recently on a 28 days-to-lean-meal plan where I do 5 meals daily consisting mainly protein, fiber and greens. It was a very interesting journey of consciously paying attention to what enters the body, thanks to the lean meal plan which I easily looked up on the net.
The primary goal of the plan is to achieve fat-loss without compromising other valuable bodily needs and nutrition. It didn’t take me long to decide that I will go all out to make this #julie28dayschallenge a real one.
Anything with pushing off a cart and going down racks of food and down the fresh section is fun (and you sorta can go on and on). Anything which looks good will land into the cart and out of the cashier. For the #julie28dayschallenge, I’ve got a list with all the ‘raw’ stuff that I need to make the plan happen. My first stock lasted me for about 2 weeks (times 5 meals to 14days) a. This plan is more than a lean-meal to the body..its also lean to the pockets considering the net averagewas spending on each meal.
A few things had to be sacrificed temporarily for this challenge, but I was mentally set (well that’s what I thought how I should be gearing up mentally) when I first started.
The 1st week
Hubs was away and it sort of complimented the fact I shall be preparing my meals for myself. Lil one had her own meals (confined to dinner after I pick her up from school). So it just so coincidentally happen that the kitchen space will be mine. I stayed up a lil to make sure I have the food prepared according to meal (the first few session it was literally up to the milligrams!)
The thing about this plan is the meals are all healthy, tasty (if you can make them taste better even better), and healthily satisfying. No second thoughts on that. Remember its not really on the amount of food you eat but rather what your food intake is really consisting of.
The plan provided me no more than 2000 calories/day. I could have been more calculative but the general feeling which I got as I started my 1st week of the #julie28dayschallenge is that I am already consuming much lesser calories, and not just that I am eating healthier too!
And to make things more motivating for me, I decided to post my meals on IG !
The 2nd week
Looking at the plan daily was really fun (I know.. I should have just printed them). Some photos below from the challenge :-
I am not a natural cook hence every single bit needed referencing ie how to grill steak , how to make the perfect omelet, et cetera and et cetera. Along that line I actually got myself a steamer, so that I can steam the greens (and chicken!). I even got the hang of preparing my own lean steak. It was fun in one sense, but sometimes when you’re alone at home and have to juggle different house chores, it can be tiring ! So time management is important too !
Preparing the meals in batches worked well for me (ie steam all the broccoli/chicken breast for 2 days meal in 1 shot). It saved the hassle having to wash so many dishes. And oh, the Tupperware suddenly became my best friend, and the tea lady at the pantry in the office becomes my regular spectator watching me unpack my food stock and placing them in the office fridge !
Before this I didn’t know it is super duper easy to prepare some of the meals I’ve mentioned. Of course these are not the regular ‘masak rendang’ or ‘masak kari/merah’ meals – they’re not messy and meal prep time is quite short 🙂
The 3rd week
I’ve gotten the hang of this #julie28dayschallenge.
And 1 of the rules which is allowed in this challenge is at least 1 cheat meal per week (recommended: the 5th day of each week depending on when you start the plan). I couldn’t really plan my ‘cheat meal’ day as sometimes I had to attend lunches with colleagues (colleague farewell, team lunch etc). The fix was to just burn off the calories accordingly.
Since week 2, trips to FRIM, Kepong with friends and colleagues became more regular Lil one tagged along as well. Or at night/early in the morning, I go out for a short run. Minimum of 30mins, and 40mins at max.
The plan iup the 3rd week is to really focus on following what’s in the meal plan . And towards the end of the 4th week is to slowly start a training routine (signed up for a small race in November). I did not even track my weight regularly. I just step on the scale whenever I feel to. Alhamdulillah the biggest difference with my starting weight (56.6kg) is at max a 4kg difference. Again, the objective of the plan is to guide me towards a lean-meal diet, and not weight loss though ultimately it might as well end to that. Just say it’s a bonus which will finish up as quickly as it came if I continued eating the way I ate before starting this #julie28days challenge.
A couple of friends have asked if I was on an all-natural diet (ie no processed food). I mentioned to my buddies that the plan gears up for a lean-meal diet and at the same time fat-loss (not necessarily weight loss). The higher protein intake gears up the body for a higher metabolism and help maintain muscle mass, all of which helps with fat burning (www.bodybuilding.com). I can’t remember how many egg whites I’ve consumed for this challenge !
The 4th week
I’d like to just reiterate that being practical with the meal plan and preparation is important. One is to avoid disappointing family members and colleagues just because…’..’, and secondly to make sure you own craving for that chocolate bar doesn’t backfire on you and spoil the rest of the remaining weeks. If you really have to accept that ice-cream offer, bubble tea idea and (lets just face the fact) you really had no time to prepare your meals, than do with what you have(and have to). Remembers this is an act of getting to know your own limitation. Just like how you thought you would never climb that hill and one day you realise that you are looking down from that hill ! You can. Your potential is tuned in your attitude and mind. *sounds familiar?*
By the 4th week I’ve already felt a sense of achievement in me which I can take on to a different level after this. Try another type of plan perhaps? But the standing ovation came from the office pantry when my colleague (who I never really discussed) on my meal plan began describing my breakfast menu to the bosses who came and take a look at my fruit salad meal I was preparing.
So being healthy (what you do, eat, think..) is something which should be a part of a lifestyle. Not just a passing zone which you enter, experience, exit and forget.
Incorporating healthy eating habit should never be confined to just a ‘plan’–. But beyond that, with enough knowledge and fact, you can always tap on the healthy food and cuisine which you can find (and source) around you. It is easier said than done, but think again..its all in the mind. Give and take is the rule of the game. Eat and burn !
The 5th week
So now the big #julie28dayschallenge hoohaa is now over. What next ? What next is accepting the fact that I’ve learn something from the 28days experience. One of the take aways is that I can happily now pay attention to what I eat before I consume them. Like the Snickers bar this morning.. Flipped the packet..and ‘makk aihhhh 24g of fat !’ *pengsan*. But it was okay, I was celebrating my 29th day , yeayyy ! That followed by invitation to Kudu (a famous nasi kandar line in Jalan TAR, KL). So double that celebration. Of course I had to pay for my own meal lah. Had a very nice catch up with old buddies from the cycling and triathlon scene. Met Aini Zakaria after a long hiatus !! She’s expecting her 5th by the way if you know her. Memang super mummy. Hancik (silap, IM Hancik) lost so much weight . Congrats Hancik on the 14:22 ! Awesome feat !
Azmar (another tri/cycling/kudu gang) is away in Langkawi for his MTB marathon (bak kat Dicky ‘marathon) with his team. Good luck Azmar !
Yeah, so back to the question ‘What next ?’ Well, I’ve been started running lately—earlier for fitness… and now for that little race next month. I shall be travelling again soon insyaAllah but will try to eat as healthily as my #julie28dayschallenge. Perhaps experiment with more delicious and healthy recipes. Sapa ada, please share !
So if you’re thinking to…
If you think you want to give this 28 days challenge a shot, I’ve uploaded the document file right– >> 5 day meal- 28 days plan which I’ve formatted in table format to ease viewing (original source: here). There is a nutrition fact summary in the last row which tells what/how much you’ve consumed based on that particular day meal plan :
“1,959 calories, 254 g protein, 132 g carbohydrate, 39 g fat, 17 g fiber’.
I’ve also included a groceries listing to ease my shopping spree at the supermarket !
Lean meal shopping tips
1- Sort out your list first according to the plan
2- Tell your household/housemates that you’re on this plan and not to touch your stock in the fridge (unless they’re on the same plan as ya!)
3- Buy enough fresh goods to last 1 week. Coordinate from there as your fridge may/may not fit everything
4-Eggs are staple in this meal. Buy them in rack to save more $$
5- Go organic/natural/healthier option whenever you can (think organic sea salt, brown sugar, low fat peanut butter spread)
6- For fresh good stock up for a good 1 week and see how it goes from there unless asparagus and butter heads can stay fresh for 3 week !
7-Don’t forget to vary the greens and fruits 🙂 If extra, throw em in your salad mix ! Or share them, y’know
8. Look for the fat/sugar measurements in the nutrition info table printed on that low fat milk carton. Some brands have lower measurement/serving/box (ie HL has lower fat % compared to Dutch Lady low fat milk).
Some things to stay away from (in order for this challenge to succeed!)
1. Stay off the scale (unless you’re doing it once a week )
2. Snacking on chocolate and sweets as regularly as before you started this meal
3. Not ever treating yourself once a while (you can reward yourself with a cheat meal at least once a week), or have that Sara Lee ice-cream. Just remember to ‘pay back’
If you have any health issues or are expecting, best to consult your physician before starting any meal plan for that matter. This is not a weight loss program. This is a lean-meal-plan or ‘burn-fat-fast-eating-plan’ according to musclefitness.com.
Feel free to give feedback, or if you have any questions do drop me a line. I shall be responding as a ‘user’ of this meal plan .
Thank you and all the best !!