I've tried a lot of fitness plans in the past, but was never able to keep the motivation up.
I am constantly wanting to go back to the kitchen and grab another apple. My husband pointed out this is probably caused by two things: cravings for something sweet, and lack of exercise.
I am a writer and artist, and I spend a lot of time reading as well. This means there is nothing in my daily routine that forces me to exercise.
I get bored with exercise plans easily.
The Plan's Inspiration
This idea started with the concept that I'd eat less apples if I had to work a little bit for them. I decided that if I did one hundred crunches for every half of an apple that I ate, it would be reasonable. But after trying that, I figured, why stop there?
Hunger vs. Cravings
This plan is good for combating cravings.
Hunger is when you're weak and tired.
Cravings are when you desire chemical reactions in your gut or brain to make you feel good, relieve stress, or when parasites in your gut are sending you messages through your spine that make you want to eat unhealthy foods.
Sometimes I think I'm hungry because I feel weak, but actually I just need exercise. Staying stationary for long periods of time will make you feel weak and tired.
I often give in to my cravings and then sit there feeling guilty about it. That guilt builds up over time and eventually the self-torture makes you snap and you stop caring abut whether or not your actions are healthy. Since I began this plan, I've stopped feeling guilt about what I eat entirely.
The concept is that every non-vegetable has a number assigned to it that is a multiple of 20. The numbers are higher for less healthy things, or highly sweet things, or things I simply crave a lot of. The number represents interchangeable exercises that can be decided at the time. One crunch, or one-sit-up or one leg-lift are all worth "one" even if the difficulty of the crunch is increased. This is so that I don't have to change the numbers as I get stronger, and so I can do harder crunches or leg-lifts if I have more energy, or do the easiest ones if I'm tired without stepping outside of the plan and feeling like I've failed. Push-ups are worth five (either from the knees or the feet.)
Because I get bored easily, I try and do as many variations as possible. This not only keeps me interested, but it's more effective as well. I have a short article about crunches variations here.
And the actual numbers I've come up with are as follows:
|A spoonful of Almond butter||40|
|A quarter package of seed chips||40|
|A handful of pistachios||40|
|A raw bar||80|
|Half of an apple||100|
|Half a mango||100|
|A fruit ball||120|
|Raw Potluck Meal||160|
I don't count the almond butter if it's on celery, since that's the only way I'll eat celery, unless it's in a green drink.
I do the full number even if I'm sharing with my husband, or not finishing until later.
I count up all the things individually that go into a raw dessert and do them before I have my first serving of the dessert, even if I'm splitting it with my husband and not finishing it until the following night.
I started this plan on September 14th 2010, and I'm writing this on September 22nd. I'm already noticing a difference in how toned my stomach is. I've done a lot of exercise before, but never have I built muscle this fast. Based on what I've read, an all-raw diet causes faster muscle gain due tot he influx of live enzymes which are amino acids, which build proteins. You can read my article about protein on a raw diet for more information on that topic as well as an interesting video.
I have a lot more energy from this plan than anything else I've tried. Because I generally eat four to seven times during the day, I end up exercising four to seven times. And once I've started exercising, the hard part is already over: I started. It's getting up the resolve to get onto the mat and start that takes so much will power for me. When I have the motivation of wanting to eat behind it, it's so much easier.