"For me, success did not come by way of the scale. I wanted to lose 10 pounds on this challenge and only lost 1. I was SO discouraged and depressed week after week about not losing any weight (and at times even gaining!) that I almost gave up. Thank goodness I was on the same team as family members that wouldn't let me quit. So, I don't consider that a success, BUT... and yes, my butt may have shrunk, there is still a big but here... I found success in so many other forms, even just being able to run up the stairs and not get winded was a success. I used to eat treats all day long. The first three weeks were VERY difficult for me to give up treats. I used to drool over them, dream about them and be angry if I couldn't have them. But now, I don't have ANY of those feelings anymore. In fact, tonight I turned down a root beer float (which I LOVE) even though I still have two treats left for the week. I just didn't feel like one. And that was a victory!
I still remember how I felt when I participated in my first challenge. Though I had already started making a few changes to my lifestyle, it wasn’t enough to make a dramatic impact on my insulin resistance. Valerie had asked me to be a part of it because she knew that we were feeling similar levels of sluggishness and discord with how we were (or weren’t, more accurately) taking care of ourselves. I felt nervous, unsure of what to expect, a little overwhelmed but also hopeful and excited to have a clear path.
I will admit my first challenge point values were pretty sad. I rarely got perfect points on any given week, I struggled to stay within reasonable boundaries when it came to sweets, and failed miserably in meeting my exercise goals. Well, that’s inspiring.... But, here’s the thing, despite my imperfections I still did pretty well. My team was supportive and as I kept working at incorporating exercise and good nutrition into my life, along with the other habits, I started to feel more energetic and I wanted to continue to move more and eat better. My work on a few key areas started a domino effect in other areas of my life as well. After consistently working to improve my healthy habits, I eventually DID see those dramatic changes to my insulin resistance diagnosis that I was looking for. In fact, after a year or so of making these changes, I was insulin resistance free and continue to be so today.
Lifetime Wellness Challenge rules are pretty straightforward. You earn designated points for the healthy habits you complete within a day. The habits that are encouraged (through points) are common-sense based; personal growth, exercise, increasing consumption of fruits & vegetables, adequate hydration, not eating late, staying in contact with your support system, contributing to the Hot Topic discussion and participating in the fun weekly bonuses. Even though the rules are straightforward in what needs to be completed, sometimes we can feel at a loss as to how to implement these changes into our lives daily without going crazy. So, I’d like to share a few tips for how I got started.
It's so fun announcing the line-ups every week and getting the chance to give shout outs to those who continue to work hard day after day. We've got people here working to lose weight, maintain their weight as well as those who are just trying to develop healthy habits that help them live longer, healthier, happier lives. All of those goals are worthwhile and inspiring.
For those of you just tuning in, I have to tell you how incredible these MINI participants are! They may not have perfect points every week, but they have been putting in their best as they face holiday festivity temptations, busy schedules that make fitting in workouts even more difficult than usual, some have been traveling, moving households, struggling with lingering sicknesses of their own and/or their family members. All the while, they have NOT forgotten themselves!! And you know what? It’s paying off! I want to share a few of the comments we’ve received over the last few of days.
“I am so happy that I joined this holiday mini challenge. The fact that I have lost a few pounds over the past 3 weeks and maintained it is amazing. I don't think I have ever maintained over Christmas let alone lost weight in the month of December. Usually the binge starts at Thanksgiving and continues well into the New Year. This challenge has really kept me in check and I have really enjoyed the Facebook page. It is nice to chat with others going through the same struggles. Thank You!” - Holly M.
I'm am ridiculously PROUD of this group of individuals! I don't think we've ever had quite a group like you. I don't know if the Facebook page is what is making the difference or if you're just a unique group of participants but I think I'm in LOVE with this MINI and all of YOU!!! You are eating healthy, trying so hard (even if not perfect) and losing weight in the HOLIDAY SEASON!! AMAZING!!! Want to know the BEST part? You are building each other up! You're not just competitors, but cheerleaders. It's that mentality that has always drawn me to the running and triathlon communities and I'm just so pleased to see and feel that same excitement and encouragement here as well. Thank you all for being so wonderful! We'd love to see you ALL make it through these 4 weeks strong or at very least hanging on! Let's all make it a personal goal to submit our points every single week, even if we're on the bottom of the leaderboard. I know we can!!
Last week I received a message that gave me a smile and made my heart leap for joy. I do tend to get a little giddy when someone has an "AHA" moment and starts to see the real progress they're making. I just have to share what she sent...
"I have struggled with this challenge because I haven't lost any weight. After I saw my pictures, I realized weight is just a number. I have been lifting weights and there is a definite difference in my body. I love lifting and feeling stronger and from now on I am just going to focus on getting in my workouts and making good choices - not the scale".
To my delight, Carrie sent her before and after pictures to show what she meant. She wasn't sure I'd be able to see the changes but I see a definite change in body shape! Don't you?!? There's no doubt in my mind that she has been putting in the "work" these past 8 weeks despite having only lost 1.6 lbs. For her, the scale isn't going to move down much but who cares? Her clothing fits better and she's building muscle that will keep her strong.
I have grown to really love oatmeal over the past few years. I didn't always. As a kid, it always seemed ultra sticky and I would tend to grumble and complain whenever my mom made it for breakfast, begging for Cap'n Crunch instead. My poor mom. As I've grown, I've discovered the health benefits of this breakfast food and also some tips that improves my overall oatmeal experience without having to add all the preservatives, chemicals, SUGARS, etc found in the prepackaged varieties.
One half cup of old-fashioned oats has 5g protein.1 Protein is important to every single cell in the body, and is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. These proteins are also fundamental to enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. 2
I love yogurt, but I don't love store bought yogurt. This is mostly due to the fact that I don't love paying out the wahzoo for 4 oz of anything and I especially don't love it when they add lots and lots of ingredients (aka fillers and sweeteners) that are unnecessary. So what am I to do then? Well, make my OWN, of course.
My husband is kinda a funny guy. He not only flies airplanes, teaches firearm courses, plays a mean rock lick but also makes homemade goodness such as granola, whole wheat bread and recently...yogurt! (Ya, he's a pretty good catch.) When approaching a recipe, he and I are similar in that we both tend to look at what other people are doing and then work it into how we like it! I thought since he was on a yogurt kick that maybe, just maybe, he'd be up for trying to make me some greek yogurt. I was wrong. While I may love the thick and creamy texture of Greek yogurt, he does NOT! (I tend to hear a lot of mumbling about gagging on sour cream...blah, blah) So...I was on my own to research not only something yummy but something that I would not totally BOMB and end up submitting to pinterestfail.com.
I made an amazing discovery the other day when trying to figure out a weight training plan for the my upcoming races this summer. It's called Fitivity. Have you heard of this yet? I'm probably the only who hadn't but from what I've seen so far it's kinda awesome. Okay, it's actually pretty darn awesome.
I am a PANSY when it comes to planks...and I REALLY wish I were exaggerating. I am literally intimidated by them and always cringe when I see them listed as part of a workout I'm trying. Why are they so incredibly hard? And why does it feel like time practically stands still the second I push "start" at the beginning of a 1 minute plank?? I'm aware that it's not "normal" to fear and loathe all things related to planking, but they hurt! And I don't particularly care to hurt...can you relate?
All this being said, I decided that with the end of a challenge fast approaching, I needed to combat my propensity to slack off during the break by not only facing my PLANK fear, but destroying it! I am starting a 30 Day Plank Challenge and would LOVE to have you join (and encourage) me. I'm going to need all the help I can get...AND to make it just a little bit more "FUN," I thought I'd throw in a 30 Day Squat Challenge as well. I mean, if you're going to go to the effort to put your workout clothes on, you might as well get sweaty, right? I guess you could probably plank in any clothes, but during a challenge break, I'm always on the lookout for a reason to put on my workout clothes and get to the gym. Hopefully, this will be just the inspiration I (and you) need. You know you don't want to undo all the hard work you've just put into these last 8 weeks, so print out the calendar and let's do this together!!!
"I DID IT! 13.1 miles done and a HUGE goal checked off my list of things to do in my lifetime. I couldn't have accomplished it without the help of friends and family encouraging me and helping me stay motivated (not to mention healthy and fit enough) to keep going when giving up and dropping out seemed so much easier.