Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Okay, now that I had my day to indulge in self-pity, it’s time to get back on the horse. I’ll keep up with my old routine until Monday, and then I’m embarking on a new adventure…I’ll be Making the Cut with Jillian Michaels.

Making the Cut is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. It’s an intense exercise and meal plan system designed to get those who are already in decent shape into the best shape of their lives (there’s a fitness test at the beginning of the book that you have to pass in order to start the program, but I’m confident I can ace it).

Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of this kind of thing. Even though I’ve never had real issues with my weight (I definitely can stand to lose some body fat and build more muscle after months off from kickboxing, though), I’ve been seduced into trying The South Beach Diet and Body For Life. Both plans had major downfalls.
The South Beach is divided into three phases: during Phase One, no grains or fruit are allowed–only lean meat and veggies. During Phase Two, you introduce whole grains and most fruit back into your diet, and in Phase Three, you can eat whatever you like in moderation, while sticking to Phase Two foods most of the time. One of the most time-consuming things about The South Beach is that it doesn’t allow for packaged or pre-made foods, or food components, EVER. The cereals you can eat are very limited (I think only two meet the incredibly high fiber guidelines. One isn’t sold in Canada, and the other tastes like cardboard), and you can forget about crackers, unless you’re talking about stale whole-grain toast.
I admit that I have never felt better physically in my life than I did on Phase One of The Beach. No stomach aches or digestion issues, no headaches, and no energy slumps. However, I craved fruit and muffins like crazy. I was just about dying for a bowl of cold oatmeal topped with berries. And if you workout intensely, neither Phase One or Phase Two gives you enough calories to sustain your performance.

But my main problem with The South Beach was this: what do you think happens when you’ve gone weeks without any treats, “forbidden” foods, fatty foods, or processed goodies, and then suddenly you’re on Phase Three, allowed to eat anything in moderation? Yep, you guessed it–moderation my ass! I ate like a starving lunatic, especially the previously forbidden processed junk like boxed macaroni and cheese, which–let’s face it–never tastes anywhere near as good as you think it’s going to.

Body for Life was a little better. At least its creator, Bill Phillips, knows a thing or two about working out, and developed his plan around muscle-building and fat-shredding. His meal plan is fairly easy to follow, except that it gets to be a pain in the butt to always have carbs and protein with every meal and snack. His cardio workouts and weight routines are fairly short (perhaps too short, especially for women who are trying to lose weight, which has been a common complaint with his program), and you have one “free” day per week when you can eat everything you want. Free Day, meet Phase Three of The South Beach, only worse. Because you only have one day per week to eat bad-for-you stuff, you tend to overindulge. There’s pressure to eat absolutely everything you may ever crave, because what if you don’t have it on your Free Day and then you have intense cravings for it the following day and have to wait an entire week? The horror! I end up eating way more crap during Body For Life than I do if I just eat what I want when I want it. I have a tendency to prefer healthy food over the bad stuff most of the time, although I do have a terrible weakness for potato chips and synthetic cheese-flavored snacks. Another issue with Body For Life is that, in order to lower your body fat while enjoying weekly Free Days, you have to stick to the plan like glue for the rest of the week. And let’s be honest, here–who does that? If you slip up just a little on Monday, and on Wednesday, your co-workers decide to bring in cupcakes, and then you have a Free Day on Sunday, you’re heading for disaster. But Bill’s workouts do build muscle and strength quickly, I will give him that. I’ve never been able to stick to his plan for the entire twelve weeks, though.

Jillian’s Making The Cut is only for thirty days. One month. That’s it. It’s almost perfect timing for me, because if I start the program on Monday, I’ll be finished right before the next session of Muay Thai starts. (However, my birthday falls within that month, so I have a feeling there will be some exceptions made on that particular day.) I’m already seeing a few potential issues with it, as some recipes that don’t seem particularly amenable to leftovers make ten servings (WTF – is Jillian expecting an army to do this with you?), and some meals don’t include enough vegetables for my liking. Apparently, I’m a “fast oxidizer”, according to Jillian, so she’s got me eating a quarter-pound cheeseburger without the bun for lunch five times during the month. That doesn’t seem too healthy to me. Even though she promises her workouts can be done at home, there’s some pretty serious gym equipment required for a few of the exercises. So I have to do some tweaking, but I will follow it as closely as I can for the entire thirty days. I don’t think I’m brave enough to post “Before” photos, but I may be brave enough to post my starting weight and measurements. I’ll definitely keep you updated about how it goes along the way. I’m excited but nervous.

Have you tried any eating/exercise plans? How did they work for you?

In Bed At: 10:45 pm
Awake At: 7:15 am
Novel Pages Written: Many pages outlining and hours of research
Exercise: Nada. Rest day? 🙂

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Kim

    I’ve tried south beach. I do believe it works but I think in phase I you primarily lose water. You are eating mostly food types that break down into big molecules when absorbed in the blood and that is going to draw water into your blood stream. (osmosis….)….

    Everyone would love for there to be a quick fix but I don’t think there is one in terms of exercise. I too could stand to lose body fat. I could also stand to be less indulgent when I eat. its more than will power though, it is like a whole belief system.

    And variety is the spice of life….

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks for your comment, Kim. I’m not looking for a quick fix, but rather a quick tune-up before I head back to my dojo in June. 🙂

    I agree with you on SB, but I did like the way it killed cravings for crap. However, once you eat crap again, all the cravings return with a vengeance.

    I’d love to eventually get to the point where I eat super healthy during the week, and relax on the weekends. Not in a Free Day way, but in a “if I want poutine and sushi, I’m gonna have it” way. One kickboxing class burns over 600 calories, and I have a fast metabolism as is, so I won’t have to be super rigid about it. Life’s too short, and as you say, variety is a good thing.


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