My 24 Day Challenge: Baby Steps

Let’s Go Back to the Start

When I undertook my Advocare 24 Day Challenge I wasn’t looking for an easy way out. Okay maybe I was. But, no matter how much I was hoping for a magical weight loss plan, I knew deep down that my true goal in just over three weeks would be to break some of the bad habits that have been part of my daily life for a long time.

To say the first week was a challenge would be an understatement of massive proportions. Not snacking between meals, giving up my 10am chocolate fix and trying not to eat AFTER dinner was hard. Really hard.

After the first week was over, I had three more days of a fairly strict “cleansing” regime to complete. Having the first 10 days with an eating and action plan fairly planned out worked really well for me. After that however, I lost a bit of passion and direction on the plan. I never stopped eating healthy and I picked up the pace on my exercise regime, but without something stringent planned out for me and a coach in my corner – I wobbled a bit when it came to staying the course.

I know my personality and I know I get the most out of plans and goals when I have someone looking over my shoulder and cheering me on. Someone helping me plan out my meals, pushing me with my exercise and (in the end) reminding me of my goal. Stepping outside of my comfort zone in relying on myself as an individual instead of part of a larger team (I’ve always played team sports) was an experience that forced me to grow. I’m glad for it.

It is now Sunday and Friday of last week was day 24. Yesterday we went out to dinner for the first time in months and I chose something healthy but also splurged on curly fries. Any guilt? Nope. Yesterday morning I did and intense hour-long boxing session and then followed it up with an hour of cross-fit. Today I am walking around like an 80-year-old and my muscles are screaming at me – but all in a good way. I love working hard and feeling the changes as they happen.

All in all, my 24 Day Challenge was a step in the right direction. A baby step. Now it’s up to me to make sure the changes I made during the past month become lifestyle changes. I will never be one of those people who can eat only chicken breasts and broccoli. I love cheese too much. And a cheeky glass of wine. Happily though, learning to eat smaller portions and only when I’m actually hungry will be great initiatives for health and longevity in my life moving forward.

I started the past 24 days as a healthy, fit person. Today, looking in the mirror, I see someone who’s healthier and fitter. That’s awesome.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and fun-filled summer ahead. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me along the way and who continues to do so in the days and years ahead. As I always say to others when they ask for fitness advice “It’s easier to STAY in shape than to GET in shape.” Treat your body right. Smile. Laugh. Dance.

Life’s too short not to enjoy every moment of it.

My 24 Day Challenge: Day 19

Setting myself up for disaster

In my last post pertaining to my 24 Day Challenge I wrote about the necessity to set yourself up for success if you want to achieve a goal – especially a lofty one like changing your lifestyle. Losing weight is hard enough mentally, so setting yourself up for success by feeling good about making better decisions is super important. Having others tell you they notice your hard work is paying off is like a cherry on top of the proverbial cake (that I won’t be eating any of anytime soon – well, maybe just a tiny slice!)

So, when I met this weekend head-on knowing full well that there would be temptation everywhere in the form of cotton candy at the school fair, wine at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Open Day and amazing treats at a BBQ, I steeled myself to know that I wouldn’t and couldn’t be perfect. Thank goodness I set myself up for a little disaster – because I fell for everything. Hook, line and sinker.

The wine at the Helicopter Open day was gorgeous (all 3 glasses of it), the cotton candy at the school fair was yummy and the cheesecake (a small slice with fruit) at the evening BBQ was divine. And the Dorito’s, don’t get me started, it might only have been a handful but they were beyond yummy. The day was like a free-pass to fail. And I grabbed it with both hands and carried on like someone who was having their last meal on death row. At the end of the night I even snuck in the gobbling down of my favorite lemon tart from the French Cafe down the street. And, I guitily loved every morsel while I was eating it.

Needless to say, I ate too much last weekend (yesterday to be exact). Worse still, I ate too much of the wrong things. I’m starting to think that going into the weekend with a mind-set that was already focused on “I know I’m going to fail” meant that I was going to go the whole-hog regardless. And man did I feel like one afterwards. I actually felt uncomfortable physically when we got home but since I’d already broken my diet with flair I kept on snacking. My stomach was so damn full and I lacked any energy. It’s not surprising that I fell asleep in a heap on the couch before 7pm. Yikes!

Lucky for me though, I exercised A LOT last week and kept it up over the weekend. So there’s not as much damage done as there could have been – I’m hoping I broke even. That said, I took a definite step backwards as far as seeing my bikini body return goes. I’m not going to let it get to me though. I know I am a creature than enjoys good food and an occasional wine. With summer on its way the prospect of a lot of social engagements (the calendar is full for the next 4 months) I will have to try harder to really remember that lifestyle changes are just that. Indulging now and then is perfectly okay as long as it’s paired with a positive outlook and a good long run outside. I can do this!

Here’s to the sunshine ahead…bring on Thanksgiving, Christmas and La Niña.

My 24 Day Challenge: Days 13 – 18

My 24 Day Challenge: Days 13 – 18

So I haven’t written about my 24 day challenge for almost a week, and there’s a good reason behind that – I got bored of it. Yep, like most dieters I started out all guns blazing and then lost my proverbial “oomph” to keep going at such a cracking pace. I didn’t ignore the diet or even slip treats into the days to throw me off the set plan, but I just didn’t find it sitting at the top of my priority list this week. And, maybe that’s a good thing? In hindsight, having a busy work week, dealing with issues at my child’s school and being very busy house hunting has meant that I haven’t been obsessing over my weight or what I’ve been eating. I’ve been constant in my efforts to do my best to reach my goals – but by not fixating on food, I’ve probably done myself a favour.

After 18 days of the 14 day challenge, I am feeling leaner and slightly lighter. My clothes are fitting better, I’m walking taller and with more determination and (the best of thing of all) people are noticing! I had one of those “did that person really just say THAT to ME?” moments this week. It happened on Thursday. One of the guys that works in our contact centre, a SUPER SHY man who I always smile and wave at in the all but whom I’ve never yet had a conversation with, ended up making a cup of tea next to me in the communal kitchen.

As always, I smiled. He nodded. And then, just as I took a sip of tea, he said (and I’m not kidding here, honest!) “I really love your style. Tell me, before you worked here, were you working at a modelling agency?” I didn’t mean to, but I spit my tea all over the bench. And then choked on my laughter. I answered him with a “You’re WAY too nice! I only have jobs where I’m stuck indoors behind computer screens!” to which he responded with “Well you’re tall, confident and beautiful.” WOW! It came from the most unexpected of sources, but that dude made my week! When I told my husband he rolled his eyes and giggled – what a line!

That same night I ended up in my local boxing gym for a quick class beating around the bags to get some calorie burning in since I’d had a pretty lazy week to that point. A regular who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks said “Wow! I saw you and had to do a double-take! You’re really doing well.” Wow, twice in one day a man macked on me and made me feel like I was walking on clouds. So, to say I’m seeing the results is exciting – but having others notice too is a real boon to the old self-esteem after seemingly hibernating over winter and getting into bad eating habits. I’m no Cindy Crawford or Kate Moss, but every girl can use a little boost every now and again.

What have I come to learn about myself and about diets in the past week then? That the old adage is true: calories in equals calories out. If you cut down on excess calories AND exercise on top of that, you really can enjoy treats – not just every single day. I’ve also learned that just walking with a bit more confidence helps others to take note of your newly found confidence. And I’ll need all I can get when I dress up for an entire day as a “sexy golf course officer” (I get to write and issue fines to guys who infringe on my rules) for 150 corporate men in one month’s time (I’ll also need tequila – just to super charge that confidence!)

But the golf day is still a ways off. Tomorrow will be a crazy day and it’s just around the corned. We’ve got back-to-back-to-back-to-back things on including the first true BBQ of the season. It will be a real test of my endurance and strength to “just say no” to overeating and eating the wrong things. We shall see how it turns out, but I’m positive if I set my mind to being good as far as food goes, it’ll all be gravy.

So to speak.

My 24 Day Challenge: Days 4 & 5

Since days 4 & 5 fell over the first weekend of my challenge – I thought I’d update on them both as a package-deal. First and foremost I should start this out by
admitting that weekends are rough for me when it comes to eating healthily. If ever there was a time I struggle to stay away from cakes, junk food, ante
pastas (cheese laden – yum) and an occasional wine or cider, it would fall on the weekend. In fact, it happens most weekends. Thankfully I am a gym junkie,
so the damage done on the silly days gets negated during the week – but eating as if I deserve a treat on the weekend sure makes losing any weight difficult
to say the least.

Friday night was the big struggle for me, not having “a few” of my daughter’s takeaway chips was like winning a gold medal for me – silly, I know, but it felt good to stick to my guns for once. Yesterday was awesome. Healthy eating, two hours of hard-out exercise and a lovely dinner. Today, Sunday, was a mixed bag of good and bad. In the morning I attempted to hit the gym for an hour of cardio (which is usually easy) and only made it to 35 minutes before petering out. Low energy was the culprit. Obviously I need to learn to balance my energy better before working out. After the gym the family headed out on an amazing drive around West Auckland and all around the Kaipara Harbour.

The day was stunning. Blue skies, white-fluffy-clouds and gravel roads that ended at empty beaches. In the afternoon we ended up at the Parakai Hot Springs and spent hours whizzing down the water  slides at break-neck pace. It was fantastic. Here’s  where my first hic up of the challenge came into play – I didn’t pack any healthy snacks and as we left around 4pm I was VERY hungry. We stopped in Silverdale to pick up some fish for dinner on the way home and Hubby bought Miss5 a donut (A HUGE ONE) at the bakery next to the fish shop.

I usually don’t like donuts – but I caved. I had a BIG bite. Yikes! Thankfully it was chocolate (not my fave flavour) and dry. Krispy Kreme it was not. I know in the scheme of things (considering my great week of eating and
exercising) that this isn’t a biggie, but for me I feel like I now need to re-focus my efforts for the next 19 days.

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m ready to conquer it. That said, it’s also Halloween! I will be steering well clear of the treat-sized chocolates this year, and for good reason. Here’s hoping trick-or-treating is frightfully amazing and that people hand out apples instead (hey, it might happen, NOT!) All in all, the last 48 hours have been a win. One minor “oops” moment isn’t going to curtail my efforts to continue getting fit.

Bring on day 6!!!