Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Michelle Bridges 12WBT and Chicken Bun Cha

I am currently 3/4 of the way through Michelle Bridges 12-Week Body Transformation (12WBT). What Jane Fonda was to the US in the 1980s, sans headband and "don't forget to breathe!", Michelle Bridges is to Australia today. Her 12-week exercise, nutrition and mindset training program is designed to transform your body and your way of thinking about food and exercise. While Jane Fonda came into my living room in exercise videos, Michelle Bridges comes to me on my computer. For $200, I received a password and access to her 12WBT website with a customised plan for me. Each week, I electronically received a nutrition plan with recipes & shopping lists, a customised exercise plan based on the program I selected, weekly mindset videos, a message board, a store to buy her products and much more. Sounds great and easy? Well, it started off great, then went downhill and then my 12WBT hit ground zero. In fact, I've just returned from a weekend away where I was on a seafood diet - I see food and I eat it. Despite this, I have found her program to be helpful.
source: facebook.com
source: jillconyers.com
I wanted to give you a little background on Ms. Bridges. What would my blog be without a little investigative reporting? Michelle Bridges is a personal trainer, author, and TV personality as the trainer on Australia's lose weight reality program The Biggest Loser. She recently launched a clothing and sports accessories line with Big W. She started her career at as a teenager.  In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Bridges stated "I was 14 when I pitched the idea to my school mistress that I would take the kids at school who didn't play sport, who hung around smoking cigarettes, and do fitness classes with them." She then went on to take over space at a local squash court and taught classes there. She is prolific,  building a fitness empire and churning out strong marketing and PR, both in person and through social media. She is on morning news shows, Celebrity MasterChef, and on just about every bus when a new season of The Biggest Loser is about to lick off and also when a new 12WBT program is about to start. According to BRW, Bridges predicts revenue from Michelle Bridges-branded products will have earned $67 million in 2013. The 12WBT has grown 350% and is set to launch in the US this year. 
Source: news.com.au
source:mummysmiles.com
In my January blog I noted that one of my ongoing New Years Resolutions is to eat healthier and exercise more. I had heard good things about 12WBT so when two of my friends asked me to do it, I decided to join them. I had recently quit my gym membership and thought the running program, one of several exercise programs to chose from, would be good for me. I also heard her food was excellent. I liked the idea of new dinners and getting the shopping list emailed to me without having to go through a recipe book and find new recipes on my own. I also found Michelle to be a very real and credible seeming person. She is pretty but not a glamazon and it was obvious that she worked hard to have a toned body. This was in encouraging as I live in a beach area where there are so many gorgeous girls with legs up to my armpits. Michelle Bridges at least seemed normal and someone I could relate to.

Week 1 started off great - I had my exercise plan, recipes, shopping list and a great can do attitude. I headed up to the park to begin my running program. I use to run 5-10 miles a day and I'm active so I figured it'd be easy to start running again. Big mistake! My running felt like sheer drudgery with only negative thoughts in my head - "Wow, this is hard!...where's the bathroom?...10 more laps, are you serious?!...no wonder most runners look so miserable while running - they are!"  It reminded me of those times when I said, "Sure I can have another glass of wine. I don't get hangovers"....."Babies? Sleepless nights? I wouldn't be that tired. I have a lot of energy" Ha ha. I decided to drop the running program and increase the weekly sports I already do and enjoy - tennis, pilates, and walking.
oursuburbanfarm.com
I suspect most people who join any sort of exercise and diet program are motivated to lose weight. It is quite wise that 12WBT does not use the word 'diet' for the food part of the program. It is instead called 'nutrition.' Smooth move, Ms. Bridges. After all, the word 'diet' does have the word "DIE-" in it. I am lucky that I have good genes, a fast metabolism, and trouble sitting still. This all contributes to me generally staying at a healthy weight. However, I did think it might be good to lose 5 pounds. It was more of a personal challenge as I've generally been the same weight for about 20 years except during my pregnancies. Again I started Week 1 armed with my shopping list and recipes for the week. The food tasted very good, was generally easy to prepare and it was filling. However, I had a problem - the fact that I couldn't eat whatever I wanted when I wanted made me hungrier than ever. I started obsessing about food a lot. I dreamed of 'bad' food more than ever and didn't give up my regular glass of wine and dark chocolate I enjoy each night. I also had a huge occupational hazard that would set anyone up for failure - I have a small cupcake business and I wear many hats, including quality control. Sampling cupcakes and butter cream frosting regularly is definitely not part of the 12WBT program.  I don't know why I thought I might have the willpower to follow through with the diet, I mean 'nutrition' part. I didn't have much weight to lose and I love food. I enjoy baking and cooking and even going to the supermarket. I am usually thinking or planning my next meal and avoid people who say they forget to eat. Really, how could you? I once had a boyfriend who didn't care much about food and forgot to eat. I sometimes had to remind him. This should have given me a clue early on.....




So, did I lose weight on the Michelle Bridges 12WBT? No. Was that really my goal? No. Am I more mindful of what I put in my mouth? Yes. Am I exercising more? Yes. Have a learned some new dinner recipes? Yes. Could I have perhaps bought a few of her cookbooks and saved some money? Yes. Would I recommend this total program to someone who wanted to lose weight and live a healthier life? For sure.

I have gotten many new recipes from my 12WBT.  The dinner recipes have been great! There are many recipes I could share but I chose a Vietnamese dish, Chicken Bun Cha. Before this program,  I'd never heard of this dish. With Australia being closer to Asia, there are a lot of different types of Asian restaurants in Sydney - Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Singaporean, Malaysian, Vietnamese. I find Vietnamese food light and refreshing. This recipe is not spicy and works as a substantial, filling salad. 

Chicken Bun Cha 
Michelle Bridges 12WBT
Serves 4
100g/3.5oz Vermicelli rice noodles (common, in Asian section of supermarket)
350g/1.5lbs  Chicken mince or ground chicken
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons Fish sauce
6 tablespoons fresh mint leaves finely shredded
12 leaves Iceberg lettuce, torn
2  cucumbers, halved lengthways & thinly sliced
1.5 cups Bean sprout
2 Carrots, shredded
4 tablespoons Lime juice
2 teaspoons Brown sugar
1g Olive oil spray


1. Place noodles into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 15 minutes, until soft and then drain and set aside.



2. Meanwhile, combine chicken mince, egg white, fish sauce and shredded mint in a large bowl. Using wet hands, shape tablespoons of mixture into flat patties. Not pretty but trust me, it'll taste good. 
WARNING: the fish sauce smells and makes you think your chicken may have gone bad. 




3.Spray a non-stick frying pan and heat over medium heat. Cook chicken patties for 5 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through. 




4. While patties are cooking, drain noodles and divide between serving bowls. Arrange lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, carrot and remaining mint on top. 



4. Combine lime juice and brown sugar to make dressing.




5. Serve chicken patties on salad, drizzled with dressing.


Special design for SuzyQ Down Under by GeCe