I can’t believe I am actually writing this post… it felt as though the time would never come! It did though and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for finishing the 90 Day SSS Plan. It has honestly been such a journey and I have learnt so so much. There have been ups and there have been downs but I am so pleased that I got to the end. I do feel that it was all worth it, mainly for the things that I have learnt about nutrition, strength training and myself, both physically and mentally.
The plan is tough. I am not going to lie and say it is easy. The first 10 days in particular were completely draining and I was close to giving up. The food prep is extremely time consuming and I felt as though I was spending all my free time in the kitchen. This aspect does get easier though as you move through the cycles and as you become more confident using the pick and mix principle in cycles 2 and 3. The transition into the diet also took its toll on my body during the first few days. I was tired, hungry, weak and felt quite shaky but once I had gotten past this I actually felt so much better for it.
Social things also become a bit of a nightmare and you really have to plan out how you are going to tackle nights out and meals out. Sometimes I prepped food to take with me instead of eating out, sometimes I managed to find something on the menu that was ‘plan friendly’, sometimes I skipped the event completely and sometimes I just let myself enjoy the event. It really depends how you want to do it. Whilst I wanted to stick to the plan as much as I could, I didn’t want to miss out on absolutely everything during the 90 days. I really tried to find a realistic and enjoyable balance.
Anyway, I have written up a list of the pros and cons of each cycle from my perspective. It will be different for everyone but this is how I felt they went.
- I loved how energetic I felt after the initial first few days. I felt less tired and lethargic and my sweet cravings really did start to disappear.
- I loved eating more, especially for breakfast. I felt hungry for the first week or so but I think this is more to do with the reduced sugar in my diet but once my body got used to this I was amazed that I could eat so many calories and feel so slim.
- I felt as though my digestion worked brilliantly on this cycle! I was never bloated nor constipated and I felt as though my body was really working as it should.
- I felt great at the end of this cycle. Really slim and toned and as though I had learnt so much about macros and nutrition.
- I enjoy the hiit exercise and getting my heart rate really high through short, sharp bursts of exercise.
- I felt as though I was spending so much time in the kitchen prepping food and it all became a little overwhelming.
- I actually missed going to the gym for longer than 25 minutes. Although it was very easy to fit into my lifestyle and was very sustainable I was keen to get into the strength training.
Cycle 2 (Read my cycle 2 post here).
- I loved the strength training and I loved following a really specific program in the gym. It felt so good to have a purpose when I went, e.g. Leg day or shoulder day and I really enjoyed seeing improvement and get stronger week on week.
- The introduction of Pick and Mix eating meant that the food prep became a little easier once I had gotten used to the concept. I could easily throw meals together using a selection of ingredients.
- I found that introducing lots of carbs into my diet again completely reignited my sweet tooth. It made me want so many sugary foods and treats! When I had an ‘off plan’ day I went absolutely crazy and this made me feel absolutely awful.
- I felt much less slim on this cycle when I was eating carbs and this made me feel much less motivated as I wasn’t feeling the results I did in cycle 1. I was often bloated and felt quite uncomfortable.
- Again I loved the strength training, although the pyramid training took a little getting used to. I really enjoyed following a program and learning how to target different muscles however I think I enjoyed the training in cycle 2 more.
- I enjoy returning to only eating high carb after a workout. I felt like I was slimming down again and my digestion was back on track.
- The mix of pick and mix and set recipes worked really well for me. I love following a recipe and thankfully there were so many good new recipes in this cycle.
- So many more foods are introduced into the Pick and Mix which I loved – especially the beans and lentils!
- Whilst the strength training was great, I found the pyramid training a little boring. Especially on leg day which seemed to go on for absolute ever. 300 lunges just felt ridiculous and I didn’t really enjoy this.
- I found cycle 3 a bit of a mental challenge but I think this might also be because of the time of the year? I felt very ready to finish though and had to really push myself to get through the last few weeks.
- The 90 Day SSS plan is a fantastic food plan that has been tailored specifically to your body shape, weight and lifestyle. I love how flexible it is too. You can pick which meals you make when and the pick and mix concept in cycles 2 and 3 mean you can create just about anything.
- I really enjoyed the strength training. Although I don’t think the training is necessarily what I would do continuing on from the plan, it is a great way to learn about the different exercise which can target your muscles snd put them into practise.
I have learnt that attempting to follow a plan 100% just doesn’t work for me. Before I signed up for the plan I followed a general 80/20 principle, meaning I would eat well 80% of the time and treat myself 20% of the time. Although I know now that I was actually eating the wrong combination of ‘good’ things. However, from a mental perspective, this meant I was very good at not having an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. I was able to enjoy a few treats without going completely off the rails.
It did take me a few years to get to that point. At uni when I first got into ‘dieting’ I fell into a huge ‘all or nothing’ hole. Fast forward to trying to follow the plan 100%, I found myself back in this hole a few times. When I wasn’t strictly ‘on plan’ for example when I came back from India and I paused the plan for a few days, or when I was a bit hung-over, I turned into a crazy food monster. I probably ate more than I would have done pre-plan! I hated the feeling after this and I felt incredibly guilty.
Although it wasn’t great to find myself in this situation, I feel like I have really learnt that the 80/20 principle works best for me. I feel so much more in control this way and it is much easier to eat healthily. I have been quite against ‘diets’ for this reason in the past and although I didn’t want to see the 90 Day SSS Plan as a ‘diet’ so to speak I guess it still was. This ‘being on a diet’ mentality just doesn’t work well for me. I am much happier trying to eat well and make good choices most of the time with the occasional meal out or treat.
Was it worth it?
Absolutely! I actually think the 90 day SSS plan is quite cheap considering what you get for it. 3 months is a long time and you learn so much about nutrition that a lot of expensive PTs wouldn’t necessarily do in quite the same way. Although I am so excited to go back to 80:20 eating and I am very excited to start experimenting a bit more and being way more flexible.
I am so glad that I did the 90 Day SSS plan. I have learnt so much about macros, strength training, my own body and my own mind when it comes to food and diets. It was difficult at times and I can only see this as a positive as I got through it! (With the few tantrums and tears along the way).
Would I recommend it?
If you are after a program that will really educate you about food and exercise and one that will challenge misconceptions about losing weight and toning up then I do think the 90 Day SSS plan is a great purchase. It is difficult though and you have to be disciplined to stick with it for the entirety. There are a lot of ups and downs and 90 days is actually longer than you might think!
If you are looking to gain new habits and to revolutionise your relationship with food then I think the plan is amazing for this. Especially if you are used to fad dieting and low calorie eating then this is perfect. One thing to consider is that the plan is often marketed to imply that you will only need to exercise for 25 minutes to ‘stay lean’. Whilst this is the case in cycle 1, the workouts for the rest of the plan last anywhere between 50 and 90 minutes. You have to be willing to either use weights at the gym or buy them to use at home and you need to be able to dedicate this kind of time to working out.
Has my body changed?
I realise that up until now I have mainly talked about the mental changes from the plan and the new things that I have learnt. Did it change my body though? Whilst I haven’t had a miraculous transformation and you won’t see me on any before and after pages, my body has changed in ways I never thought it would. I always carried stubborn fat around my bottom half and I just assumed that was the way my body was built. However, when comparing my before and after photos it has trimmed down so much! I think this might have something to do with the reduction in refined sugar and the increase in protein and healthy fats in my diet. I didn’t have much weight to lose anyway but I also feel as though my upper body has gotten so much stronger.
I hope this round up has been useful and if anyone wants to ask any questions feel free to email me on email@example.com or message me private on my Instagram: @mcr_food_bee.