Erin Maw has never jumped on a diet but, in a bid to break through a fitness plateau, she recently made the decision to spend three weeks doing the Les Mills 21 Day Challenge.

Despite working out every day, nourishing her body with lots of fresh vegetables, and steering clear of fast food, in recent months fitness pro Erin Maw felt like she wasn’t getting any fitter. “I don’t have dreams of becoming super skinny or extremely muscular, but I’m always looking to build my fitness and physical performance – and lately I’ve felt like l have hit a plateau,” she explains.

Erin set out to see if the Les Mills 21 Day Challenge could reset her eating habits and help improve her physical performance. She also wanted to get a little more natural energy.

Although she eats healthily most of the time, Erin admits that sugar is her downfall. “Whenever I feel lacklustre I go straight to the sugary treats. I’ve programmed my body to ‘need’ spikes of sugar energy just to make it through the day.” As a result Erin feels that all the exercise she does is going to waste. “My daily workouts are not helping me get fitter, they’re just balancing out my sugar consumption! What’s more, thanks to daily doses of liquorice, sugar-laden mochaccinos and some sneaky chocolate, I’ve been sleeping terribly.”

When we spoke to Erin she was seven days in to the challenge and already enjoying the rewards. “I was pretty tired in the first few days, but I knew it was just all the sugar leaving my body. After day two I was feeling much less bloated and by day four I had dropped two kilograms. Best of all, I’ve started sleeping throughout the night, which is virtually unheard of for me.” Erin says she now feels fantastic, she still has the odd sugar craving, but when that craving strikes black coffee or water usually does the trick.

She’s learned a bit over the last seven days and has some great advice for getting through the first week of 21 Day Challenge.

  • If you exercise a lot you need to consider decreasing your exercise load. The sugar and carbs (aka the ‘fake’ energy) leaving your body during the first week are probably going to make it hard to keep your energy up.
  • Make time to prepare your meals. Planning your meals is really important because if you don’t you’ll probably skip a meal, go hungry and over snack, or snack on something you shouldn’t.
  • Get variation. You’ll quickly get sick of chicken and broccoli four times a day. If you want to enjoy your meals you need to put in some effort to preparing nice food. Diana Archer Mills has created some great options in the 21 Day Challenge recipe book.
  • Be strategic about when you eat. In my experience chicken is ideal to have during the day, as I find it burns fast in the body. By having chicken for lunch then, even if I quickly burn all the energy and get hungry, it doesn’t matter because there’s another meal to come. Fish is ideal to have at dinner time, because I find it’s slower to burn so you’re less likely to get hungry during the night.
  • If you’re feeling miserable spoil yourself – just not with food! Take some time out to relax or treat yourself by buying something new.
  • Self control. Constantly remind yourself that you actually do have it.
  • Remember, the 21 Day Challenge is no fad diet – if you do it properly, it works. It’s been designed by a talented team of professionals as an effective way of cutting out the bad habits and unhealthy cravings and setting your body up for healthy living. You can learn more about the 21 Day Challenge here.

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