On Sunday, I finished 12 weeks of a Healthy Living Challenge with a group of 15 people. For three months, I did the following:
Exercised at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Ate no sweets or sugar six days per week (Sunday was my sugar day)
Ate two servings of fruit per day
Ate three servings of vegetables per day
Kept a food journal (used my fitness pal app)
Stopped eating every day before 9:00 pm
Drank 64 oz. of water per day
Got 7 hours of sleep per night
Worked on a personal goal each day
Had contact with a teammate daily
As part of the challenge, each of the 10 items was worth a certain amount of points each week and you got extra points for losing weight. I don't know the final results of the challenge, but I think I ended up in about fifth or sixth place overall. I lost about 10 pounds in 12 weeks and though I'm very competitive in nature, there was no way that I could beat the people at the top, who obviously lost a ton of weight because after the first week, when I was in third place, they blew me out of the water. To be honest, I was super discouraged through the whole competition that weight loss was the key to winning when I turned in almost perfect score cards each week, largely because I'm on so much medication that makes weight loss almost completely impossible, but I persevered and fought through all my discouragement and am proud of myself for sticking it out until the end.
And a lot has happened in the three months I was doing this healthy living challenge. I've learned that there are a lot of foods that in the past I've eaten that now, make me really sick like pizza and pasta and tortilla chips and anything else super carbohydrate heavy. I'm not a huge fast food eater, but in the last three months, the only "fast food" I can even stand the smell of, let alone eat is In-n-Out. Everything else just makes me gag and sick to my stomach. I've cut 90% of the sugar out of my diet, as well as 95% of the diary and have no plans on adding them back to my diet in any regular rotation. I can barely finish a 12 oz. diet coke and don't even come close to finishing a 32 oz. from the gas station or McDonalds. It lasts me all day and then ends up just going down the drain.
I've realized that my biggest food weakness is bread. My goal for the next few weeks is to figure out how to eliminate most of the bread from my diet and see what kind of changes that makes to my waistline and my health.
Throughout the last 12 weeks I've been sick quite a lot. In the beginning, I had horrible stomach aches and felt queasy and nauseous a lot. Then, as I added more and more fruit and vegetables to my diet, I got more stomach aches as my body adjusted to all the healthy stuff. I've had monstrous headaches throughout the experience - every time I veer off the path and eat something I shouldn't, I get a mild migraine - food related - reminding me to stay on track.
Overall though, I feel so much better. My skin is more clear. The blackheads that have always hung out on my nose are almost completely gone. My hair is thicker and growing faster and falling out less. I fall asleep fast and hard and sleep deeply. All my exercise has revived the muscles in my arms and all the crunches I do at the gym on a balance ball are really starting to give me some definition in my abs that I haven't seen since I was maybe in high school. Flabby abby's, but still...there's something there.
Now, the challenge is over. Yesterday, my first free day, I didn't go to the gym and I didn't track anything that I ate. I did okay food wise except that I ate a little less than half of a dunford donut in the afternoon, just because I could. And, I felt sick for the rest of the day, and couldn't even finish my dinner at night I was still feeling sick.
I've trained my body and my mind.
I've got about 15 pounds to go until I reach the goal weight I set for myself last October. Hopefully I'll get to that goal weight by this October. Weight loss is slow going for me. Very slow going! But, I've lost 20 pounds and they seem to be gone for good and I don't want them to ever come back. I like the way things are turning out. I like the way my clothes fit. I like that I feel healthier.
Finally, I'm headed in the right direction.
Here's to the next "healthy living challenge."
Anyone want to join me?