28 Oct The Halfway Point
My 60-day health challenge is halfway finished and I’ve had several people ask me how it’s going thus far. The short answer is, well, it’s going!
I’ve had cravings for pizza and I’ve had dreams about bagels. I have replaced caramel macchiatos with Arbonne protein shakes in the morning. I’ve pushed myself so hard at kickboxing and glute camp that I’ve felt like I was going to pass out. At times, I have even felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. I have had setbacks, but I haven’t given up. Competitors don’t quit.
Here’s what I have learned during the first half of my 60-day health challenge:
Progress Doesn’t Happen Overnight
I immediately lost weight during the first week of the health challenge and celebrated my “win” a little too early. Of course, one week is not enough time to see any notable changes in a person’s body. True health transformations take time and reflect the results of sustained effort. I have a tumbler that reads, “Time + Effort = Results” and it’s true. The following week, I gained weight back and was frustrated because I had been doing everything right. I decided to stop focusing so much on the numbers, because progress doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, I am now focused on my training and overall healthy lifestyle.
As a full-time graduate student who also works 40 hours every week to earn a living, I truly didn’t think it would be possible to work out every day. Last semester, I was lucky if I made it to the gym two or three times in a week. Before the challenge began, I met with Jeff (one of our head trainers at Competitor Gym) and he asked me about my goals. He also asked whether or not I was prepared to make a daily commitment to visit the gym. I truly didn’t think it would be possible with my schedule. Who would walk Frankie (my dog) after work or pick him up from doggie daycare? How would I get everything done for school and my job? I have had amazing friends who have stepped up to the plate to help me and, by the grace of God, I have been able to manage a busy schedule. In fact, I am still maintaining straight A’s in my courses. I’m not trying to brag, but I’m sharing this with you to let you know that it’s possible. You can do it!
Everyone Needs a Cheerleader (or 5!)
I love food. I STILL love food. I am never going to stop loving food. However, I’ve learned that I need to make healthier choices in regards to my eating habits. It’s really, really hard. It’s even harder when you have friends who try to get you to eat Taco Bell at 2 am. (Oops!) Fortunately, I have other friends who have consistently checked on my progress and have encouraged me along the way. I have been trying to run a mile after each workout class, but it’s tough. It’s even tougher when I’m already soaked in sweat and worn out from an earlier workout. Still, my trainers and friends shoot me a smile when they see me on the treadmill and it encourages me to keep going. (Thanks, Coach Lauren!) I’m so thankful for the cheerleaders in my life, including my boyfriend Daniel who has reminded me time and time again that he thinks I’m beautiful no matter what I weigh.
(Pictured: Post Workout Runs)
I Have More Energy
I think this has been the most powerful realization I have made during my health challenge. Everyone has asked me how I can possibly juggle 40 hours per week of work on top of a 30 hour week for graduate school at the same time. The reality is that I work 12-hour days and rarely get a break. The gym is my escape and one of the only hours of the day that I get to myself. It’s counter intuitive, but I have noticed that my productivity and mental clarity has been enhanced because of my exercise routine. I’m also grateful to Bailey, my accountability partner and fellow competitor, for encouraging me to make it to the gym. (…Even when I don’t feel like it!)
How You Feel Is Most Important
It may seem obvious to some, but this was something I had to learn over time: How you feel is more important than what you weigh. I’ve had close friends and family members struggle with eating disorders, and even struggled with disordered eating myself in high school. Still, at the beginning of this challenge, I was so adamant about measurable results. Now, thirty days later, I have learned the numbers matter far less. At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel. If you feel great, then you’re doing something right. I feel fantastic.
I’m Still Not A Morning Person
At this point in the challenge, I thought I would be bouncing out of bed in the morning to run a 5k. Hahahaha! Nope. I’m still not a morning person. By the time I finish my UF graduate school coursework, I’m usually not in bed until after midnight. In order to get a healthy amount of sleep, it wouldn’t be smart for me to set my alarm at 6 am anyway. I’ve tried, though. I’ve failed. I’m definitely not a morning person. I’ve had to make the extra commitment to visit the gym after work. Unless it’s a weekend, a morning workout is just not going to happen.
My Motivation Has Changed
At the beginning of the challenge, I was most motivated by the financial reward at the end. The winner will receive $2,500. I don’t care how much money you have in the bank, $2,500 is a lot of money. I saw dollar signs and I signed up. I know that I could starve my way to a check, but after everything my family and friends have been through, it’s just not worth it. My motivation has completely changed. Now, I’m more motivated by how great I feel after a healthy meal and booty-kicking workout. I’m motivated by the energy I have during the day and how well I sleep at night.
If God Brings You To It, He Will Carry You Through It
In many ways, this challenge could be a metaphor for life. Life is challenging and life is tough. There have been times where I have felt like shouting from the rooftops and other times where I have wanted to crawl into a ball and give up. I’ve had days that have been a walk in a park and others that have been stressful beyond words. In all of my days, God has been there. I have failed a million times, but I’m able to push forward because of Him.
So, that’s what I’ve learned in my first 30 days of my 60-day health challenge. If you are interested in learning more about Competitor Gym in Maitland, I’d love for you to join me at a class sometime! Let’s chat. 🙂