Project Humphries is a six-week plan that I set-up to help my family take control of their health and overall lifestyle.
I offered them the chance to embrace a free plan from myself. I’ve got lots of experience and have been part of 100s of transformations in recent years, working with PlantsForFuel.
In part 1, I discussed what was instore and how participants reacted to the initial instructions for the first weeks.
In this article we cover the overall struggles, results and things that we learned.
You can improve your lifestyle, by simply following the tips I shared with my family!
Starting the Health & Fitness Journey
Dealing with a group of people, means tailoring the plan to suit everybody. Although there were individual elements to this project, there were also group aims and goals.
I liked this, because it offers a community feel. We began a Whatsapp group and I believe this contributed well.
A common problem I have noticed over the last few years, is that many like to dive deep into the plan right off the bat. Biting off more than they can chew (pardon the pun)… I can usually grasp an idea of how this is going to go ahead of time (I’ll explain what I mean, shortly).
The first thing I asked for:
- Drink more water
- Show me what a day of eating looks like
- Improve sleep
I asked for the simplest of things. This is to gauge how people react. I prefer consistency over a gung-ho approach. Plus, water and sleep are largely under-appreciated in the health industry. Probably because they don’t sell and they’re not glamorous. Who wants to post about sleeping on Instagram? It doesn’t garner the same type of interest as squats and backflips or whatever craziness we tend to see circulating the world of social media.
Next Lot of Instructions
After the first week’s instructions. I then gave out set calories for each person, this is by working out the BMR. Finding out how many calories they burn and combining this with their current aim. You can find helpful resources at iifym.com.
I also tried to direct what people would eat. Concentrating on wholefoods over processed.
Here’s exactly what I asked for approaching week 3:
- Stick to Calories- As discussed, I worked out everybody’s calories and also gave additional advice. This meant, I spent lots of time e-mailing and working out for each person. I asked everybody to stick to the calories, I noticed people would go way under what I asked for, especially the men. The problem with this, is that it batters the metabolic system. How many times have you seen people celebrate the most amazing transformations, only the next time you see them they’ve piled on all of the weight again, plus more! It’s important to think about the end-goal and stick to what’s been set.
- Chips- This was a generous instruction. If you want chips, then no processed oven chips/fries. Instead, I advised all to use one of my favourite tricks. Simply, cut potato or sweet potato into chip shape, add a tiny bit of coconut oil and put in the oven for half an hour. Not the healthiest, but a great way to eliminate junk foods and add more to your nutritious curry or chilli.
- No Bread- Bread is horrible for digestion. So many people are lactose intolerant, many who don’t even realise. It bloats you up. We’re too quick to reach for bread, purely because of convenience. I offered the option of wraps and pitta as a slightly healthier option and a way to cut down the. habit.
- Foods to Include- Want to eat healthy? Then incorporate the following foods into your diet- nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, herbs, vegetables, fruits, grains and nut butters.
- Get out and walk 5 times a week- Monitor steps and walk each day. Something we should all be doing, but sometimes we need to be made accountable, myself included. I didn’t want to throw the group into the deep end with vigorous exercise regimes, as they wouldn’t suit everybody’s aims or lifestyle.
How to Progress
My aim was to slowly walk my family through the levels. The first one was to drink enough water, now this was the easiest task I set. Yet, many had to make big adjustments to meet this one.
This gave them chance to understand how to push themselves and grind out what they need to do. It’s always a rewarding feeling when you accomplish these goals and that’s what I wanted everybody to feel. Rather than setting unreal targets, set things that will give a good feeling of accomplishment, whilst also achieving a positive action.
From there, I talked them through a routine. Water in the morning, a healthy breakfast such as oats and a smoothie (read part 1 for more info). I then offered suggestions for dinner such as a quinoa mix with chickpeas, a salad or a curry. I also emphasised the importance of essential/healthy fats such as nuts and seeds throughout the day. After that, I wasn’t too fussed about the early evening meals, as long as they were nutritious enough. That means homemade curries, chilli, soups and more.
Upon understanding the routine and importance of health foundations such as sleep and water, I wanted them to move into eating wholefoods. Wholefoods are unprocessed foods that are whole in ingredients. In other words, no additives. The meaning can sometimes be subjective or argued, but I asked everybody to include as many wholefoods as possible.
In the last couple of weeks I wanted:
- Everybody to struggle
- To eat all wholefoods apart from 2 treat meals per week
- To be exercising on a regular basis
Slowly adding instructions each week, and turning the intensity up a notch is a great lesson going forward. What it does, is allows everybody to take value for when the six-week period is over. You can figure out what worked well and then pick how far you want to go in future.
It’s Not by Chance
I wanted to take some time to reflect on the plan as a whole. What worked and what didn’t and my thinking behind the project. I feel as though my family may have thought I was asking some things for the sake of it. When, in-fact, gradual steps, not weighing yourself and treat meals were all planned and put in for good reason.
First of all, where could I have improved when setting this plan?
One thing I have noticed after years of experience is that the most specific knowledge is at the top of the pyramid, this means it isn’t necessary to most. It’s more about applying the basic knowledge (bottom of the pyramid) and motivating people to follow it. I’m not sure I managed to do this for all of the six weeks. I think that was down to time-management and the limited time I could commit to add content to the chat and get everybody pumped up for what’s ahead.
I could have also made the aims clearer when we started the group and what I’d require from everybody.
Touching on the pyramid again, many want access to the knowledge up there. Yet, it’s a distraction. If you’re not getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep, drinking over 3-litres of water and exercising 5-6 days a week, then you shouldn’t even be thinking about some of the specifics.
Here are common problems and distractions:
- Getting into specifics
- Weighing yourself
- Making excuses
- Being used to Yo-Yo dieting
- Doing it for the wrong reasons
Getting into Specifics
As I said, you will want to look at cementing the foundations before worrying about specifics. Drink enough water, get enough sleep etc…
Something you’d think would be synonymous with a fitness plan? Not on my watch… It’s another distraction, a metric that can be a good measurement for those who are realistic about it. But it’s not always accurate, you may gain muscle and lose fat, you may have more water weight that day, you may have just ate..
I prefer the scales to be used at the start and then at the end of the six weeks.
I haven’t got enough time. The food is too expensive. My routine wasn’t there.
All these excuses are fair enough? It’ll never be perfect and that’s why preparation is key. Prepare for these situations and make the best of a bad situation. No time? Well, prepare the night before. You’ve got a busy day or you are travelling, prepare beforehand and ensure damage limitation.
Many are used to limiting themselves to set calories. Then three weeks later they’re eating all the cake and treats they can get hold of. This seems to be true for most. Find some consistency, it trumps yo-yoing from one end of the spectrum to the other. Find what works for you and celebrate the small victories.
Why are you doing it?
Losing weight is a result of good habits. Can you do it to lose weight? It’s a weak reason, this won’t motivate you for long. Do it for health, so you can stay healthy for your grandkids. Do it for the feeling of achievement you will get when you can go for long walks or conquer self-confidence issues.
Think about the emotional feeling and sense of achievement if you meet your goals. You want to be able to run? You want to walk up the stairs without being out of breath?
Find motivation and then embed habits into your life.
Let’s talk results.
My uncle lost 3-kilograms (6.61lbs) in just over a week, even whilst being seat-bound with a serious injury.
My Step Dad managed to lose 9.5-kilograms (21 lbs) in six weeks.
I also noticed changes in the routine of many and everybody seemed a lot healthier in the face. Many were walking on a daily basis, eating routine foods and incorporating some of the healthy options.
What didn’t work? My instructions weren’t always followed. Some skipped steps, some missed things out and others were inconsistent, but that is life. We can’t expect perfection, but progress is what we aimed for and that’s what we achieved.
I feel as though, there were more results available to the group as a whole. If everybody paid £200 for the plan, would they have capitalised on the plan a little more?
A good question. I feel as though routines and other factors played their part. It would be great to see if anybody sticks to little things they learned about diet and themselves, going forward.
I was very proud of my family for implementing these changes and hope that they do it again in the future.