The Challenge Life

January 26, 2018

I don't like working out. But, I love how I feel mentally when I finish and how I feel physically every day because I'm pushing myself and getting through at least 60 minutes five to six times a week. I can thank my family's annual wellness challenge for this because prior to its start five years ago, I wasn't doing anything fitness wise. ... And I was 30 pounds heavier. I didn't even realize it until I lost the first nine pounds, which doesn't sound like a lot. But, nine pounds showed up profoundly in my face and neck. At that point, I had lost from stress and from having dramatically changed my eating with the Challenge meal plan: no red meat, no pork, no sweets, no carbonated beverages or fast food, and no fried foods, smoking or alcohol consumption.

The physical part of the family effort calls for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. We didn't really start focusing on moving until year two of the Challenge, but when we did the changes individuals experienced in our family were great.

And so, I'm back on ... though I try to never really be off (the Challenge lifestyle). The first two years, I stopped being dedicated to it as soon as Memorial Day weekend passed, which is our official culmination weekend (January through Memorial Day). But, somewhere between years two and three, I realized how differently I felt. I suffered from heart burn less. I slept better. My appetite, which had always been poor (and completely slowed down my metabolism) was hearty. I had great energy. Why was I stopping? So, I kept going. And while the group context is really helpful for keeping me motivated, I became my own best motivator. Being able to sleep at night and going from a size 12 to a size 6 made a huge impact on my mind and my perspective. More than anything else, however, I feel good.

Yesterday, I did 30 minutes on my stair stepper, spent 25 minutes on arm exercises with 4 lb. weights and I walked just over 20,000 steps. This morning, I had dark chocolate, coconut almond instant oatmeal for breakfast (it's what's in my cup in the pic). I needed this added discipline in my life.

Someone asked me on the MVL facebook page this week for tips to jumpstart. A few thoughts:
1. Start simple. Commit to walking 20 minutes every day. I believe we often derail our efforts before they're able to take hold by biting off too much in the beginning. Just start walking. I read recently that walking 10,000 steps every day can cause you to lose a pound a week.

2. Find someone who is going in the same direction as you with your goal to be accountable to. Accountability is a powerful tool, if you don't allow yourself to be intimidated by it.

3. Be consistent. Do what you have in your fitness plan every day until it becomes your routine. A week is not long enough to make a determination about results. Give yourself time to see some benefits.

4. Don't wait for a certain date or time. Begin today.

* What I do everyday: At least 30 minutes of cardio, but usually more like 50 minutes. I walk a minimum of 15,000 steps every day, but my aim is 20,000. I eat five meals - which includes two snacks. I drink half my body weight in ounces of water every day. No fast food. No soda. No fried foods. No red meat. No sweets. No pork.


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  1. Your story is inspiring. I’ve been struggling with my weight for the past few years. I’m currently the heaviest weight I’ve ever been. I’m going to take your tips and see what happens. Thanks for sharing.


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