The Body Confidence Program is an 8-week diet and lifestyle commitment, run by Ru-tee Block, an ex-adidas model, personal trainer and someone who has been in the health and fitness industry for more than 25 years. Having suffered from fatigue, bloating and discomfort for many years, she used her extensive knowledge to experiment with her diet and lifestyle to fix her issues. It worked so well, that others were interested and over several years of tweaking it’s now launched as The Body Confidence Program and I was one of the first to try it out.
When I first met Ru-tee, I thought that for a 35 year old, she looked great – fit, trim and with glowing skin. So when I discovered she was actually nearly 50, I had to know her secret. I have worked with Ru-tee on developing her marketing and communications and as part of it, it made sense for me to understand her program first hand. Ru-tee also strongly believed that her program could greatly improve my overall health (I suffer from eczema and there were also a couple of emails that she received at around 2.30am at night – my normal working hours). I have, over the time I’ve written for Healthy Living London, tried many things, including going vegan and juice cleanses. However, this time it was different – I was pregnant and picky; there was absolutely no way I was going to cut any calories for the sake of a client and for a review.
The Body Confidence Program, over 8 weeks, radically rehauls your diet and lifestyle, looking to match what you eat, how you eat and when you eat, to your body’s natural rhythms. At the same time, it resets your lifestyle so that it is optimised to your Circadian rhythms too. As it turns out, your organs and systems have different times that it works best at and by working with them, instead of against (as most of us are currently doing), suddenly everything improves – from focus to digestion to sleep etc. Combine this with a diet that cuts out the crap, inflammatory items and nutritionally devoid ingredients and, according to Ru-tee, 100% of her participants see a significant improvement. Ru-tee also guarantees that each participant will drop 2 jean sizes naturally as a result of fat-loss due to the improved diet and lifestyle. Unlike most programs which focus on food and fitness, this focuses on food and lifestyle, and in fact, exercise requirements are minimal.
Oh, and did I mention that you don’t have to go hungry? It sounded intriguing and the results she’d gotten with past participants during the trial stages made me keen to see just what it was all about.
Even after a week, Ru-tee promised that I’d feel more clear-headed, sleep better and have less stomach aches. It sounded too good too true, so what was the catch?
The catch, I discovered, was in the first week.
The Body Confidence Program starts with a set-up call, a few days before the program begins on a Friday (why does it start on a Friday when the weekend is about to start?!!) where we were told what to expect and what we needed to do before we began. Our ‘homework’ consisted of taking measurements, submitting photos and filling in our measurement chart which would track our progress – how many inches we’d lost as well as how well we were sticking to ‘the rules’. Yes, there are RULES. Along with the rules, there’s also a food list of what we can eat, as well as handy recipes. All this is situated in the exclusive members section of her website.
Come Friday, we were off! This program is very protein-heavy with meat, including fish, or eggs making up 65% of each plate. As someone who is mainly pescatarian, my first stumbling block was, WHAT TO EAT? Sure, there were recipes but even cooking meat had become a little bit of a mental block. When I tried to make some burger, putting my hands in the bowl to squish up the ingredients made me retch.
That first week is undoubtably the hardest (this is the catch). Not only was I trying to get to grips with the food list (how can I survive without at least 7 portions of fruit a day as my go-to snack?!) but also the mental challenge. My body was rebelling massively and all I wanted was a pack of Haribo. Or a massive bowl of pasta. Or a pile of potatoes. Or even just one. Working out percentages too was hard – 65 protein for each meal is a LOT.
In fact, I almost crumbled several times during week one but I do promise, it does get easier. Here’s how I felt, week by week:
Good lord. I’m hungry. Day 1 and I’m starting. I also ate 500g of beef and turkey mince. In one day. Hello bowel cancer. For the whole of the week I’m insatiably hungry. And thirsty. It doesn’t feel right having so little veg. I actually hate Ru-tee. I also hate myself for agreeing to the program. My husband is wondering if this program is a good idea.
Lesson learnt: I’m a very angry person when deprived of certain foods.
Had a really nice brunch out with friends – the café was very accommodating and it was delicious; avocado, poached eggs, bacon and smoked salmon. Mmm. I also tried making some snacks I saw on Ru-tee’s Instagram account which were good but needed more salt.
I also had my first proper cheat day at a friend’s Hen weekend where I indulged on cupcakes, shitloads of fruit, went to bed late and ate tons of gluten.
Lesson learnt: The cheat day wasn’t worth it – I felt AWFUL – couldn’t sleep, my skin got itchy, I felt like I was ill.
Meals are getting easier. I’m even starting to experiment more; my chicken korma was actually delicious. I’ve also noticed I don’t need so much meat in my diet to make me feel full. Something has been giving me stomach ache though – I think it’s the eggs so I’m cutting those out. My husband and I are really enjoying getting more sleep and my skin is looking better than it has for a while.
Lesson learnt: Another cheat day full of sugar, another day of feeling rubbish. Rubbish. I think there’s a correlation here.
I don’t want anything sugary. Now this is new! I also don’t automatically reach for fruit. What’s happening to me? It’s around this time that I stop taking measurements. Even though I have consistently lost inches around my thighs and arms each week, my stomach is getting bigger (which is good thing) so Ru-tee suggests I stop measuring as this will skew my results. I reluctantly agree. It’s during this time too that a friend tells me I shouldn’t be doing this program whilst pregnant as it’s dangerous to cut out starchy carbs whilst pregnant. She’s a nutritionist so I discuss with Ru-tee and we agree to change the percentages of protein and introduce potatoes. The same evening that I have that talk with a friend, I fall off the wagon for a few days, eat a massive portion of fish and chips and feel horrendous.
Lesson learnt: Bad food makes me feel disgusting.
I’ve added some potatoes into my diet (rice was giving me stomach ache) and I feel like I’m over-indulging on them so eat them every other day. Skin has also flared up. Feeling pretty rotten actually. Didn’t have a cheat day this week as I didn’t feel like I wanted one.
Lesson learnt: Going crazy on a cheat day isn’t worth it.
A whole week in Italy full of pasta and cheese! Well, yes, but it was also more than that. It was also a week where I realised even if you ask if it has dairy in, many restaurants say no and then sneak cheese into it somehow. I also discovered the joy of chocolate sorbet (dairy-free) and that dairy has me running to the toilet within 15 minutes of eating it.
Lesson learnt: Stay away from dairy *sniff*
I’m feeling really stressed out this week and as a result of trying to meet a whole bunch of deadlines, I end up going to bed late and waking up early. My mental resilience is at its lowest since starting this program and I think I know why.
Lesson learnt: Sleep is so important.
The last week! I’m feeling part relieved and part sad. I’m really going to miss the private Facebook chat where people share recipes and ask all the questions I thought about but didn’t get round to asking. And also the weekly calls – it’s nice to hear how others have been getting on and Ru-tee’s encouragement really helps buoy me up for the forthcoming week. I make a special effort to really stick to the rules and start by getting my sleep back on track. It’s only now how much I realise how beneficial it is to have the group support and also be able to look back on my week and see how I did with my food and lifestyle goals.
Lesson learnt: Frequent reflection really helps keep me moving forward.
There is so much to say about this program that this review can only tell a small portion of the story. I’ve learnt so much about myself – that I need my sleep, that I have to listen to my body more, that I have terrible willpower when I’m not accountable to anyone and more. I am astonished that I no longer crave sweet things and also a little bit sad that fried foods such as fish and chips no longer have the attraction they once had. I am definitely looking forward to having more veg smoothies in my diet and reducing my meat intake but overall, those are probably the main changes I’ll make.
I’m certainly grateful that Ru-tee took me on as a participant, even though she usually doesn’t take on pregnant women. When I compare how I was eating (I was using pregnancy as an excuse, most likely also fuelled by hormones, to eat things I normally wouldn’t – think whole packs of Haribo and massive bowls of pasta) it’s without doubt that my diet and lifestyle instantly improved. Yes, the diet is a massive part of this program but The Body Confidence Program is also one of the few programs I’ve seen on the market which also addresses lifestyle; look around – we put so much effort into what we eat and how many times we work out, yet that third, incredibly important leg which provides the third part of the triangle – lifestyle – is talked about, yet largely ignored. The Body Confidence Program forced me to also get to sleep at good time and this resulted in better sleep duration and quality. With so many diseases caused by lifestyle factors more so than diet, the sleep element is critical to helping the body repair and restore and increase mental and physical resilience.
Unlike many other ‘diets’ and programs I’ve tried and experimented with, this is the only one that I’ve found to have aspects that I’m keen to continue with and incorporate long-term; there are certain elements of the diet which I’ll continue with and absolutely the lifestyle elements too.
Who’s it for? This program isn’t for everyone – you’ll have to be prepared to make some major diet and lifestyle changes but I’d say that if you’re someone who’s struggling to eat healthily or want to feel more productive and focused then you should set up a call with Ru-tee to find out more.
How much: £450 for 8 weeks, including full access to the Membership area where you can download recipes, check your food lists, access short workouts and lifestyle advice ranging from water intake to best times to eat.
Where: The Body Confidence Program is an online program so you can do it from anywhere.