90 Day Challenge – Week 2 smashed! Derby, not NYC!

Well, its Sunday which means its time for my blog of events for the past week!

First of all, thank you to everyone for sharing, commenting and sending me messages about the plan. It has been really encouraging to hear of everyone’s support, especially since I was expecting a torrent of abuse!

A couple of questions which came in this week were about my ‘Disease’ or Inflammatory Bowel Disease as its commonly known and what have I actually given up? I shall start by answering these…

Firstly, I have been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which is a form of Crohns Disease which people are more familiar. Please don’t confuse it with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), they are different conditions which affect people differently. I am on medication for the rest of my life, although my symptoms at present are well managed. The purpose of this blog is to hopefully give an insight in to some of the issues that people face with IBD. I have placed a link at the bottom of the page for anyone who wants to know more…

IBD is beginning to get more media attention due to the amount of people being affected by it. The statistics from NHS England state that 1 in 250 people in the UK suffer from the condition which is quite high but no one talks about it. The disease itself is awful when you get ‘flare ups’. It is painful, tiring and embarrassing. I have joined the Crohns and Colitis UK charity who issue people with the condition a card to allow them to use the loo and give you a radar key that allows you to access disabled toilets in case of emergency. Recently, it was documented in the news about a young lad who was suffering from a flare up and trying to go to the toilet in McDonald’s on a night out when a bouncer threw him out in agony, he produced his card but no one knows much about the condition. The problems associated with the condition are long but one key issue that I have dealt with is the fact that I don’t look poorly. I look like a normal 30 year old that goes to the gym, goes for a drink with the lads and generally I am seen as healthy. A common misconception is that to be considered disabled, you have to have a visible ailment. Supermarkets such as Asda and Morrison’s have begun putting new signs on disabled toilets for this reason.

So, what have I given up? Well technically I’m not giving up anything other than the fags but at the moment but I am inputting specific foods in to my body so I can detect what was causing me flare ups. I am also making sure that I drink 5 litres of water everyday. The list below shows what I have not eaten so far during this plan:

Bread, Milk, Sugar, Alcohol, excess hot drinks, cheese, crisps, any sugary drinks inc squash, pasta, bacon, fried foods, cigarettes, chocolate; generally all processed foods.

The plan consists of 3 cycles and cycle one is the toughest by far as its designed to help you lose weight and get rid of excess fat (Ideal for after the Christmas break).

So for week 2…

A week full of energy, less hunger and smashing the gym. Week 2 has been thoroughly enjoyable as my life hasn’t been wasted by waiting for food or fantasising about foods I can’t eat. The sugar cravings have really shut down and my body is starting to use the excess fat to fuel my body. I have really seen a difference…even Jenny noticed! When she asked if I had shaved my beard, it turned out that I had shaved my chin! no more two chins!

Day one, Monday; I never claim to be a good morning person, but you can go to hell if you think I’m getting up at 5 am on a Monday! Its difficult enough doing it on a Tuesday and Thursday but on a Monday, you must be mad…its a recipe for failure and puts you on a bad footing for the rest of the week. Just be honest with yourself and go to the gym at night. The Monday night work out is fantastic! I know you’ll think that I’m turning in to a gym buff saying that but its true. The plan says that you have 2 days off at the weekend and that’s exactly what I do. My body is absorbing all that healthy food over the two days but by Monday, I’m like a coiled spring! I want to blow out and I want to get rid of my excess energy, its wonderful! This Monday was a treadmill HIIT, 17.5kPH for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest for 20 minutes continuously. I was literally breathing out my arse and sweating like a maniac…if you were to see me, I would of looked deranged! A quick ‘Looking like a dickhead moment’ being fat walking round the changing rooms thinking I’m big time with a protein shake in my hand with the obligatory look in the mirror to see if I could make out any changes in the belly…non to what I could see, just a sweaty fat man! Anyway, off to the steam room to reap my reward of hard work! Later that evening was a meal which I personally love…A Build up bagel! For those of you who follow my Instagram account, you will notice that I have put a few pics up so far…its quick, its simple and it tastes amazing! I would definitely recommend it to you! If you want the recipe, let me know!

A quick trick which I learnt this week was the morning cook up. Its a pain, so I made Granola, properly! I slaved last Sunday on my big meal prep and this was the best idea I have had. The only problem is the sugar alternative, which led me to a natural foods shop and accidentally ran me in to a head case! She had lots of ideas to scare me in to thinking I had lots wrong with me; turns out she had lots wrong with her…absolute nutter! Anyway, back to the Granola…73g of Granola, 55g of berries (forfeit my morning snack) and a tablespoon of fat free Greek yogurt…quick, easy and good for you…I’d recommend it to all of you, however, its not sweet and its quite dry but at the end of week two of cycle one I can safely say that food is something that is functional rather than enjoyable, it fills you up!

Tuesday Morning, a big full body work out in the garage at 5:30am! Its horrible, I won’t lie but its well worth it. A bit of ‘man up’ attitude is required! “If you can’t get up, that’s your own fault, you should of gone to bed earlier” is my mantra. I am disciplined, I did the best part of ten years being told when to get up so, just get on with it and start your day! The best part of the morning work out is the quietness of the house, the dog refuses to say hello, Jenny is still fast asleep and not nagging me and the world is full of people asleep. Its fantastic, the feeling of productiveness in the morning will put a spring in your step (maybe not so much at 4 pm when you finish work). I am loving it, I am feeling healthy, I am feeling like me! What makes a morning work out even better…another build up bagel…I couldn’t walk past the bagels without wanting one, and you know what, I deserved it! Fresh ground black coffee, bagel…I could of been in New York…I wasn’t, I was in Derby but I felt incredible and was ready to start my day!

Wednesday…energy levels are high, mood is high, productivity at work is up and I have just about finished my last Post Graduate Diploma assignment…just the dissertation for my Masters to get next and my whole life is definitely moving for the better! A downside…my colleague wore the same jumper as me…fuming! I am now texting him to see what he’s wearing each day…ridiculous! Anyway, Wednesday…Sorry I have been off piste but I am feeling good about it! Wednesday night is rowing HIIT! Very painful and I am really struggling to get my heart rate up no matter how hard I go! It doesn’t feel as fulfilling as the sprints but my arms are hanging out! I decided, again, that I had more to give and as such went on to the treadmill for 7 minutes and did 7 sprints to make sure I was suitably tired! I really was after that, after the 3rd sprint I was talking myself in to not doing another four but I carried on and actually, the mind over matter philosophy worked a treat! Just another trip to the changing rooms, where this time a couple of eighteen year old’s were talking about how they can eat and do what they want…ridiculous…when I was eighteen I could also eat what I wanted, now I just so much as look at a hamburger and I can feel it snuggling in to my love handles! Even more embarrassing is the fact that I had to have a ‘looking like a dickhead’ moment with them. They were looking at me as though I was a beached whale! “Fair call” I thought, but screw you, I’m going to look better at 31 than you! Its the small things that get you by…i’m going in the steam room because that’s what cool people do! King prawn green curry and rice for dinner…rice…a carbohydrate God when you have worked hard and so tasty! The only problem is there’s never enough!

Thursday morning, I slept in the spare bed (Not because I was in the shit… I’m always in the shit, it just depends on the severity) but because I wanted to make sure that I got my 8 hours before I got up, I was beginning to feel tired after the previous evenings work out. My bum was so tight I actually thought that I had pulled a muscle…a tip for all reading this, make sure you spend adequate time stretching the old bum, I had obviously paid lip service to it the previous night and this mornings ‘high knees’ warm up was killer! The work out was completed, but it was rather mundane in my opinion, but I got a good sweat up and my heart was pounding so I was proud, but I felt rather tired! Overnight oats with fruit and honey put my Mojo  back on point and I went to work with looser legs and more importantly a looser arse (even though its loose generally).

Weekend is here, I am feeling good, as good as everyone on a Friday…its casual Friday and I’m making an effort! No football tonight, a bit of a pig, would much rather be doing grid sprints chasing a ball than sprinting on a treadmill…but oh wait…I was naughty! I said that I wouldn’t weigh myself, I said that I would let the pictures do the talking, but I lied this week. The last time I stood on scales was at the Consultants at the Royal Derby having my check up before Christmas…Remember that, BEFORE Christmas, this means that you can add at least 2 kg on to this figure. The weight at the Consultants was 104.8kg, it astounded the nurse who said that I had put on some timber. Having just weighed myself I can confirm that I have lost 9 Kg! I’m impressed! I won’t do it again I promise…maybe. That gave me a massive boost and I went big on the treadmill HIIT! I ramped up the speed to 18.5 kph and did an extra five sprints. This plan is working and I’m ready for the weekend! No training until Monday, so I have time to refuel and reset after a brilliant week of not failing at this plan! A funny moment in the changing rooms…I went to shake up the protein…didn’t hold the lid down and sprayed that room full of chocolate protein! It looked like someone had a dirty protest everywhere! It took ages to clean it up! Nevermind, at least I did clean it up…for all you fellow choices gym-goers and readers.

I hope you are enjoying reading about my journey, please share it and help me raise more awareness about the condition and it may help others who are currently in the process of getting a diagnosis.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram:



The links below will answer any questions you may have about the condition and please show your support to the Crohns and Colitis UK charity…




90 Day Challenge – Week 1 Complete

Well, that was a shock to the system!

In summary, the first week consisted of starving, eating stuff I didn’t like, sweating like a pig, being grumpy and my first taste of talking to a maniac…however, I have noticed a change in my body! I’m still fat, however, I think this last week has really shocked my body into burning up all of my carb stores and now turning its focus on to my fat stores.

I have now discovered a food which aggravates my IBD, spinach! Popeye lies, it doesn’t make you powerful, it makes me poorly! The pain within 2 hours of eating it is similar to the pain you might feel whilst being stabbed in the abdomen by a commando dagger! Its bloody awful!

Starting on Monday, the prospect of having to do a plan was exciting and daunting; exciting because I got to eat lots of different varieties of food and train doing different things but daunting because I had started this blog and knew I couldn’t quit! The first meal was eggs spinach, feta and tomatoes, sounds nice doesn’t it? Well, I bought the wrong variety of spinach, I bought the tough big leaf variety which essentially ruined the whole meal! I was gagging trying to eat it but this is due to another reason…how much the plan tells you to take! I will follow this on later in the blog. The exercise on Monday night was interesting. I looked like a nutcase but to be fair, I didn’t care because I actually felt like I was beasting it! I did the treadmill HIIT. This is essentially setting the treadmill to a sprinting speed (17kPH), running flat out for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds this happened continuously for 20 minutes. It was horrendous by the 15th minute but once you had finished, it felt amazing. Then the not so amazing; I tend to go in the steam room after a gym session but the plan tells you to take protein within 3o minutes of exercise, including 1 vitamin C tablet and an omega 3 capsule. One word of advice…people who go in the changing rooms and starting mixing protein shakes together look like douchbags! I hate it, I would much rather go home and make one rather than strutting around the male changing rooms, shaking the protein up like some sort of hotshot…picture it, a fat person sweating profusely whilst shaking a protein shake…hardly a picture of health! Anyway, I went home after a cheeky steam room and ate a steak! Not a bad way to end the phys session, and a Monday!

…I have a confession, on Sunday night after I wrote my blog I decided to have a blow out…go big or go home principle! I had a chicken kebab and a pepperoni pizza. It was amazing…looking back now, it was the best meal I have ever had.

Tuesday, the first “Up and at ’em” morning exercise, one word ‘horrendous’! I was up at 5 and got the laptop on to do a full body work out. It was exciting to feel the benefits of a morning exercise, as that’s what all the gym bosuns seem to say, however, within 15 minutes of waking up, breathing heavily, sweating heavily I was struggling to see the enjoyment, especially considering the breakfast sounded OK but not very filling. The breakfast actually was a pleasant surprise! A build up bagel; beef, turkey, tomatoes and cottage cheese first thing is ace! However, it did not fill me up very much and by 10 I was fantasising about food and praying for my first snack. Then came the disappointing lunch…a tuna salad, which didn’t fill me up at all and left me starving again for the rest of the day! Tuesday in my memory was basically a starve day! It was painful, but at least I got an extra hour in bed on the Wednesday…small wins? Not sure!

Wednesday morning…massive bags under my eyes, felt weak, felt tired but strangely, not massively hungry. This I think is because I was lacking sugar, two days without any refined sugars starts to hit you like heroin addict. I was flagging big time, I was in a foul mood all day and was not looking forward to the training session planned in for later that day. The food started making me happy though. The Beef and Chicken sausage casserole is a life saver, tastes healthy, looks healthy, is healthy and fills you up. The HIIT session for the day was a rowing circuit; again, max out reps as fast as you can for 30 seconds and rest(ish) for 30 seconds. The rowing machine was rubbish, if you slowed down to take a drink, the display switched off and ruined your rhythm. I didn’t think it got my heart rate up enough so I jumped on to the treat mill for ten minutes and did my 30 on, 30 off for 10 minutes to make sure I was suitably puffing!

Thursday morning, and getting up was difficult but the exercise was enjoyable! Another full body HIIT circuit for 30 minutes and I was feeling good, especially since the night before had taken its toll on my muscles and they were aching. More exercise woke them up and stretched them back out. One thing I am learning to enjoy is the getting up early and being wide awake as my wife is dragging herself out of bed. It makes me feel productive, even though by the end of work I will feel 20 times worst than her! The food is edible but not that good; most of the time it feels more like a function to heal my body rather than something to sit and relish. This I hope I can sort next week!

Friday, I was hoping to be playing football however, Leigh text to say that Springwood Leisure has wrongly taken our spot! Fuming, this means that rather than enjoying a big football work out I will be hanging out at the gym again! This work out definitely gave me the blues and the one cheery factor was the build up bagel at the end of it! Jenny was being her usual supportive self by smashing in the chocolate in front of me, which to be honest is getting easier to go without, but its early days!

The weekend has been relaxing in terms of no exercise, just dog walking, but the food is very boring. Low calorie meals are missing something, its almost as though they don’t have a soul…its something that you can’t really explain, but they’re just not as good as a normal meal! I did however end up having a chicken and cashew nut curry for my sunday breakfast (laziness dictated this). It turns out that it is possible to be a slob even on a diet as Jenny observed!

Points that I have noticed this week;

*I am really forgetful, I got to the gym and realised I didn’t have my trainers (no excuses, I had to drive back home and get them) I also forgot my headphones, again, I had to drive home and get them…this I think was due to losing concentration all day. I have never done that amount of forgetful things before leaving the house.

*The amount things weigh is ridiculous; a 105g portion of spinach is absolutely massive and a 55g of berries is tiny! Basically the nicer the food, the lower the amount! Awful!

*HIIT circuits make you look like a tit in the gym.

*People love trying to make you fail or when you explain why you are doing this, people have the same symptoms as you and don’t see why I’m doing this…rule one, unless you actually have the same disease, you don’t understand why. Rule two, don’t sit there eating a massive bacon cob detailing what you could or could not live without, this is a challenge for me… not someone who is currently operating fully!

*11 more weeks of this sounds awful!

Hope you are enjoying this blog, apologies for the lacklustre blog this evening! Keep following…I promise it will get better!!!

Keep following: @jamesfletcher4 on instagram