I am not a saint when it comes to food. I really wish I was. I wish I had a little bit less of a sweet tooth and a-lot-a-bit more self-control, but I don’t. I eat well most of the time and I mostly keep my sugar cravings at bay, but every now and then my love of sweet stuff takes over and my inner sugar monster rears its ugly head.

Not surprisingly, this is exactly what happened over Christmas. Like many people, I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and when I began to feel a bit ill, I took a break for half an hour and then started again. Yuk! Why do I do these things to myself?

The outcome was, by the end of December I was extremely grumpy, quite a lot blobbier than I would have liked and every joint in my body was stiff and aching. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to go clean and get off the sugar and the bread and the rich foods….and yet, somehow I just couldn’t do it. I’d wake up each morning full of good intentions and by bedtime I was feeling guilty, grumpy and full of chocolate once again.

I needed a little help to break this unhealthy cycle and get me back to healthy eating again. So I signed up to Mission Clean & Lean, an online detox programme set up by Fern Whittaker and Jo Parry. Ordinarily, I don’t think I would have signed up for something like this, but Jo Parry is an international fitness presenter whose classes I’ve enjoyed at Fitness Fiestas for many years so I was confident it would be good.

I wasn’t disappointed. The programme started on 7th January and ran for 21 days. A couple of days before the diet started, I was added to a private Facebook group which would become my social support network for the next 21 days. Each day Fern and Jo would post the food plan and the 10 minute exercise video (to be done twice) for the next day. The rules were different each day: some days we would be allowed a small snack as well as our meals, other days it was just 3 clean meals, whilst other days we were asked to fast, which was not as terrifying or painful as I’d expected it to be. There were various fitness tests to be completed throughout the week to chart our progress, and weight and measurements to be taken every Monday.

The whole programme is excellently designed to keep participants interested and motivated, and the emphasis is on enjoying food and exercise rather than starving yourself.

But for me the real genius of Mission Clean & Lean is the Facebook group which, I have to admit, became a bit of an obsession. I found myself checking the group every few minutes to see if anyone had posted anything new: a picture of their dinner perhaps, or a new recipe idea, maybe even admittance that they’d had a few too many cashew nuts that day! As time went by I felt as if I got to know the other people on the diet, even though I’d never met them, and that is the beauty of Mission Clean & Lean because the Facebook group keeps you interested and focussed and makes you feel supported and motivated.

I can honestly say there isn’t a single person who wouldn’t benefit from signing up to Mission Clean & Lean. Whether you want to lose weight, kick start a new fitness regime, or simply feel happier and healthier in yourself regardless of size and body shape, this is a great programme. My goals going into the diet were to detox and break my sugar addiction, and maybe lose that last, stubborn bit of baby weight. I succeeded.

Thank you Fern and Jo. And thanks to all the other Clean & Leaners for your support. x

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