Get fit and combat menopause symptoms with the 21-day Annie Deadman BLAST diet plan

It's the perfect time to try it out.
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  • I can sense global eye-rolling.

    You’re thinking 21-day, fast-fix, fat-loss thingy, aren’t you? And you don’t have time for those. Good – neither do I.

    So let’s not waste any more time telling you what BLAST isn’t, because w&h has given me 1,400 words this month and I’m going to use every single one to tell you why this is an extraordinary plan.

    BLAST is, broadly speaking, a health and fitness kick-start regime, but because of what you are and aren’t eating, both your body and your emotions will experience change.

    MORE: At-home workouts for 40+ women to help you stay in shape (and keep you sane!)

    Apart from dropping body fat, you’ll have miles more energy, less anxiety and more focus. Your sleep will improve, your hair and skin will glow and I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say that  some hormonal and menopausal symptoms may also fade.

    The main aims of the BLAST Plan

    • To fuel the body with good food: We need to ensure internal harmony, so that means avoiding things that may upset the gut, leading to ballyhoo in the hormone department. And the less of that, the better. So plenty of protein, very little sugar, nothing processed and zero alcohol. Oh, and one caffeinated drink a day. Sounds like hell, right? Read on.
    • To preserve muscle: If we only ever ‘diet’ and never use our muscles properly, then our body will break down that muscle and use it for fuel, instead of fat stores. So not only do we have less strength, but flab as well as fat. Calamity. We want the opposite, so we need to exercise too.

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    Gulp. 😬Look what arrived today. 😳. Took me half an hour to pluck up the courage to open it. 🌟I still can’t quite believe it. Thank you Harper Collins, you have done an amazing job. 🌟And to Joy Skipper, nutritionist and all around lovely woman, for the cracking recipes….(only five are mine so the public is safe 😂). Thank you too to the Blast team at HQ for their tireless input into what makes Blast a fantastic health and fat-loss plan accessible to all, and which lasts way beyond 21 days. Publication date is 27 December. The link to pre-order is in the bio. 🌟🌟🌟 Proud. Delighted. Nervous. All at the same time. 🎈🎈🎈🎈 #harpercollins #Fitnessmotivation #FitnessJourney #Motivation #Weightloss #WeightlossJourney #PT #PersonalTrainer #HealthyLifestyle #HealthyEating #Workout #HomeWorkout #HIIT #OnlineWorkout #WorkoutTips #TopTips #ExerciseTips #AnnieDeadman #TheBlastPlan #FitnessPlan #WeightlossPlan #Fatloss #FatlossPlan #Fitandfifty

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    Food to enjoy on the Annie Deadman plan

    • Enjoy these anytime (AT): Unprocessed as possible, with little sugar. Quantities given are as you’d use them per meal – fish and meat (150-200g); good ham, chorizo (25g); tofu and Quorn products (150g); eggs (2); low-sugar yogurt (150g); all pulses, beans and legumes (75-100g, cooked); all veg/salad apart from those in the AW list; low-carb fruit (berries, tomatoes, melon, peaches, 100g per day, half a baby avocado); non-dairy milks (approx 200ml); nuts (10) and nut butters (2tsp); seeds (1tsp); oils (1tsp); decaf coffee/tea is not limited. Caffeinated drinks, one a day.
    • Enjoy these after a workout (AW): Add a portion of any of the following starchy carbs to the meal that follows your workout. Potatoes and sweet potatoes (200g); rice/quinoa, other starchy grains (100g cooked); oats (60-80g); non-wheat flours such as buckwheat (as per recipe); wheat-free pasta (100-150g cooked), wheat-free bread (2 medium slices). Plus a portion of whatever fruit you like.

    But, steer clear of these foods

    • Alcohol. A toxin, it prevents us from burning fat and turns us into people who can’t stop eating crisps.
    • Caffeine. One cup a day. High intakes up levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which doesn’t help health or fat stores.
    • Sugar. Cakes, biscuits and sweets turn into glucose fast in our bodies. A daily drip-drip turns unused supplies into fat.
    • Animal dairy. Has been linked to IBS, arthritis and migraines. The exception is yogurt, which promotes healthy gut bacteria.
    • Wheat. May exacerbate IBS, skin conditions and sore joints.
    • Weighing yourself! Salt, fluid and full bowel all influence weight, but have nothing to do with fat-loss. Stick with the tape measure.

    Weighing yourself is banned on the Annie Deadman plan! Credit: Getty Images

    The main principles of the Annie Deadman plan

    Start by measuring yourself: Chest, waist (narrowest part) and hips (largest part) will do. Also, stay off the scales – they will drive you insane.

    Eat three meals (plus a snack if you need to) made up of Anytime (AT) foods on the days you don’t exercise.

    On exercise days, add a portion of something from the After Workout (AW) list to one meal during that day (preferably the meal directly after exercising).

    Drink 2.5-3 litres water per day (including herbal tea, decaf tea/coffee). Do four workouts per week

    Buy Annie Deadman book, The 21 day blast plan

    A sample menu day on the plan

    Breakfast

    Anytime – Yogurt (soya if you choose plant-based eating), with 15 almonds, 1tsp mixed seeds, pile of raspberries. Or 2 x good gluten-free sausages with tomatoes, mushrooms and wilted spinach.

    After workout – Overnight oats with blueberries and banana. Or salmon kedgeree, coffee or tea.

    Lunch

    Anytime – Large omelette (2-3 eggs), 1 slice ham, chopped spring onion, peas, piles of salad and/or veg to cover the plate. Slice of melon if you need something sweet. Or, lentil soup, 3-4 falafels and a large salad.

    Credit: Getty Images

    After workout – A large jacket potato (that’s your AW carbs), stuffed with tuna and yogurt mayo with ratatouille and wilted spinach. OR A Thai tofu curry with cashews and rice.

    Snack

    Move over slice of toast, we’ve got some slices of chicken and cherry tomatoes (much more filling).
    Or, veg sticks with houmous.

    Dinner

    Anytime – Sausage goulash and cauliflower rice. Or, Black bean burgers with avocado mash.

    After workout – Cottage pie with potato rosti topping, or Green bean and butternut stew with rice.

    Small bowl of yogurt and berries. 2.5l water/decaffeinated drinks (plus lots of visits to the toilet!)

    Changes you’ll soon notice after following the plan

    Apart from feeling much less bloated, you’ll feel calmer. Your body is ticking along nicely, not passing wind, not craving or tussling with anything. It’s amazing the knock-on effect that this has on skin conditions, allergies and menopausal symptoms. And, frankly, your mood. You will lose fat and you’ll start to feel positive about everything.

    That said, the first few days you might have murderous thoughts towards your family, consult a divorce lawyer and put your children up for adoption, because your body (and head) may be fighting back against the lack of chocolate and Chardonnay. But after that you’ll fly. You are simply meeting your body’s needs, so now let’s look at moving it.

    What exercises should I be doing on the Annie Deadman plan?

    Strong muscle means not only supported bones and joints, but also a higher metabolic rate. The 21 Day Blast Plan book and online BLAST Plan both offer dedicated workouts of varying levels to choose from, but you may already have your own exercise regime in place. Terrific! Just be sure to include some compound moves, which target big muscle groups, like the examples below. Aim for a minimum of four workouts per week.

    Sumo squats

    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and turn toes out. Lower yourself down slowly, pause, then squeeze your glutes to come back up. Repeat 10-20 times. Bring on the nice tight feeling
    in your thighs and bottom!

    Press-ups

    These are brilliant for arms, chest and core. Start with knees on the floor, ensure arms point diagonally behind you and aim your head beyond fingers. Lower yourself slowly, pause, then push the floor away to come up. Doing 10 will make you hate them, so try five, rest, then maybe another five?

    1 prone lat pull-downs

    Lie flat on the floor on your stomach, arms straight. Exhale, lift yourself off the floor and bring your elbows to your hips in a W shape, squeezing glutes to protect your lower back. This works the back and improves posture. Do 10-15 reps at a time.

    BLAST has motivated so many people to boost their health and activity levels, reduce fat, get stronger and kick dirt in the face of raging hormones. I’d like you to share in that, too. I’m offering w&h readers an exclusive discount of 20% off the next online BLAST Plan, starting Saturday 25 April 2020, ending Friday 15 May.  Check out theblastplan.com, choose your plan, then use code blast20 at the checkout. Offer ends midnight Friday 24 April. The 21 Day Blast Plan (HarperCollins) and online BLAST Plan (theblastplan.com) have lots of inspirational recipe ideas to try.

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