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30-Day Challenge Wrap Up …and pictures of me in a bikini

I can’t believe I’m going to do this…

Or rather, I can’t believe I feel good enough to do this!

At the end of this post, I’m going to include a picture of me in a bikini before and three weeks into the 30-Day Challenge.

But first, let’s go over some of the cool things I learned, struggled with, and overcame!

If you’re just aching to see me sans clothing, you have my permission to scroll down, but please do come back up when you’re through ogling! ;) I learned some pretty awesome stuff and would love to share it with you so that you too can overcome those little things that keep you from your ideal state of health and fitness!

1. Get through the 1st two weeks

Wooooooo, was the first two weeks tough!

I established in the initial 30-Day Challenge post that I ate out of a need for stress relief and out of boredom. As I embarked upon this month without mindless nighttime eating, I was irritable, cranky, moody and anxious because I didn’t quite know what to do with those feelings.

As I started to embrace them, and see them for what they were, I realized that I had been using my nighttime eating as a crutch. I wasn’t dealing with those feelings.

I began to notice when they’d pop up, and breathe deeply into them. I would ask myself, “What is it that I need right now?”

More often than not, my brain would throw a little hissy fit as it would yell, “Chocolate, you Bi***! I need chocolate!”

I would listen calmly, then reinforce that no, I do not in fact need chocolate. I need to relax and deal to get to the root of this anxiety.

That, in itself, was usually enough to calm the tantruming brain enough to focus on something else.

One thing I had to be aware of, too, was actual hunger. Funny that I didn’t really know what that was like at night before this!

If I found that my cravings were due to real hunger, I would get a small snack to satisfy it, and the feeling would usually subside afterwards.

2. Setbacks ≠ Failure

If you’ve been following the 30-Day Challenge updates on Facebook, you’ll see that I went slightly off-plan this past weekend when I went up to visit my family.

I stayed with my Grandparents for a night, which was wonderful, but not so wonderful for sticking to the challenge.

I ate some cookies, ok?! Multiple delicious cookies at night! …and a few Reese’s peanut butter cups… and a piece of cake… Damn it!

As good as those cookies tasted in the moment, I didn’t feel good afterwards, physically and mentally. My body crashed from the sugar overload, my mind felt fuzzy, and I bloated up in my belly I had worked so hard to flatten. Worst of all, I felt like I let you all down, and I let myself down.

But it was only for the weekend, then I jumped right back on when I came home. The worst thing I could do would be to let that destroy the commitment I had made to myself and to you.

So many people take one misstep, and instead of going on toward their goals, they’ll just throw themselves off the cliff.

We all make mistakes. We all have moments of weakness. That’s what makes us human and not robots.

You have a choice in every moment to get right back on track toward your goals. I did, and the effects are diminishing already.

3. Habits aren’t forever

After I returned from my family vacation weekend (ie Grandpa-feeding-me-as-many-cookies-as-I-could-possibly-eat-weekend), I realized that that’s not how I want to eat anymore.

The way that it made me feel to eat like that wasn’t worth the temporary satisfaction it provided.

I am happy to say that I jumped right back into it when I returned home, and I didn’t lose any ground!

I am rewriting this habit in my mind after years of struggling with it. I just didn’t really want to change it before.

When you realize that you are in control of those little things that keep you from your ideal state of health, doors open everywhere. Once you take that one step to change, the others start appearing easier.

This habit is in the end-state of demolishment, after 30 days of commitment. Think of what you could change in 30 days if you committed to it. The choice is yours to make.

4. Staying accountable to a group/person is powerful

I chose to share this challenge with all of you in hopes that a) it would keep you all accountable as I keep my trainees accountable to me, and b) it would keep me accountable to you! It definitely worked.

As I started the challenge, I was surprised and delighted to hear from many of you that you would be joining me! I was a bit scared, but excited… and you know what that means: We’re onto something good. :)

One person in particular updated me weekly on her progress via Facebook. What I don’t think she knew was that her updates helped inspire me to keep going strong!

Beth, thank you for taking on this challenge with me and for your honest accounts as you faced every struggle. You made this challenge so much easier and more enjoyable for me!

If you’re taking on a big challenge, bring someone in who you trust to stay accountable to. Now, this is different than going and telling every person out there what you’re up to (we talked about the dangers of doing that last week). When you bring someone in that can encourage you to take action or who knows what you’re growing through due to experience or expertise (like, ahem, a trainer), you can gain insight when the going gets tough.

Having that person alongside you when you just don’t know if you can do it can be the difference between success and failure. Online groups are great for this as well. They all know what you’re going through because they’re going through it, too! If you’re interested in an online group, check out The Nerd Fitness Rebellion HQ or LiveStrong.com.

5. Amazing things happen when you push yourself

Though the pictures don’t really show off the difference as much as I’d hoped (I didn’t decide to post them until last week!), hopefully you can see the change in my waist at least.

My whole life, I’ve struggled to get a flat stomach. My whole life. No joke.

After 3 weeks on the challenge, I got it. I’m freaking psyched!

To be truthful, for the first 3 weeks, I also didn’t have any opportunities (those 10% off-plan meals I talked about a couple weeks ago). I ate extremely clean and made sure to drink plenty of water. This part wasn’t that hard, but the challenge of not mindlessly eating at night was.

This night-eating habit is the last piece of the puzzle I had to overcome to accomplish what I’ve been aiming for after years of roller-coastering around it.  All I had to do was choose to change it.

This habit is one I’ve been holding onto for years since my recovery. I think it’s because it’s that one guaranteed comfort I could afford myself back when I felt so out of control with the rest of my life. I’ve held onto it as if I still needed it.

This past 30 days have shown me, among other things, that I am stronger than any obstacle because I choose how to handle it.

You are not stuck in any way unless you choose not to move.

I put it off for so long for fear of missing out on that feeling of comfort and warmth that eating at night gave me. I knew in the back of my mind that it was a cop-out; there are plenty other ways to get those feelings. I was just too stubborn to accept them.

The 30-Day Challenge is near it’s end, and I have the line down my stomach to show for it. Man, is this a powerful challenge!

Now I want to hear from you. I’ve bared all (pictures as proof), and I want to hear your thoughts as we wrap up the 30 days!

There are 3 actions you can choose to take right now:

1. Comment below here on the site with what you’ve learned from the lat 30 days as you’ve gone through the challenge, and what advice you would give someone else that’s starting off on it now.

2. Write on the Strong Inside Out Facebook wall what you’ve learned from the challenge, and any advice you would give a new challenger.

3. Didn’t take the challenge? Comment here or on Facebook with the dietary vice you want to nix for 30 days and start TODAY! It’s never too late to change your life. That one dietary vice keeping you from ideal fitness? Take care of it now. If not now, when? Look to the original post for tips and advice.

This is your life, and you choose whether to deal with it or deny it. I’ve been doing the latter up until a month ago. Now, I don’t want to ever go back.

You with me?

pic 12, 3, 4, 5

14 Responses to “30-Day Challenge Wrap Up …and pictures of me in a bikini”

  1. Congrats- great job & big accomplishment! I’m slowly trying to get back on the healthy train- I’ve been great about running, but not so awesome with my diet. Just eating “normal” now is showing me how much I was really eating & eating poorly before. I may not be good/great/perfect everdyay, but it is an improvement over doing nothing.

    • Amy says:

      Small steps will still get you where you want to go, Amanda. I think it’s great that you’re aware of all your improvements!

      When you’re ready, just start implementing more small changes to your diet. Very happy to hear you’re on the healthy train again, though! Woo woo! ;)

  2. James says:

    I oogled, and you look fantastic, Amy! :) I wish we had palm trees here in Maine lol. I’m about to embark on this 30 day challenge Amy, and I will share my results after a month.

    James

  3. Carmelo says:

    Hey Amy … wonderful job! it’s a mindset, a commitment that says “I want to be this way now!” I took a similar challenge about one year ago (and 35 pounds ago) and I’ve maintained it ever since. I didn’t diet, I just decided to lose. It’s just a question of priorities I think.

    Anyway…. good stuff!

  4. Louie says:

    looking good Amy. ( Yes, i cheated and scrolled down to take a peek before I even finished reading :D)

    I always believe in a lifestyle change rather than Diets or Challenges when it comes to shedding pounds. Nonetheless I still admire those who have enough discipline to do them and see the result. The hard part is to keep the weight off for good. Kudos to you.

    • Amy says:

      Louie, I totally agree with you. I HATE dieting. I don’t like to do it. It makes me feel like I’m cheating myself. That’s part of the reason why I chose to do this 30-Day Challenge.

      Research shows that, for most people, if you’re trying to develop a habit, it takes about 3 weeks. If we do 30 days, the habit should just about be solidified in you! I’m hoping to keep this habit for a long time- it’s been way too long coming. :)

  5. Ryan L says:

    As of 8pm tonight I am one month free of all colas, sodas, drinks with HFCS. I’ve been drinking only water and seltzer. That was the challenge I purposely took on. The challenge I didnt realize I took on was that I went a month with almost no consumption of processed food. I had one slip up which was one slice of a personal pan pizza at one of the big chain pizza places (and it tasted awful by the way). I have a good amount of weight to lose and hopefully will see considerable changes after 80 days or so.

    Ever since I was a teen I considered myself a connoisseur of soft drinks. I never got into alcohol or tobacco and only ate the average amount of candy. Soda was my big weakness. I never thought I’d beat it (or would want to beat it).

    I won’t plug a particular documentary but there are several free documentaries on Amazon Prime streaming service that show the facts about processed foods and eating a healthier lifestyle. I encourage everyone to watch just one of these and see if doesn’t change the way you think about what you are putting in your body.

    • Amy says:

      Oh my gosh, Ryan!!! That is so awesome! YAYYYYYY!

      Have you seen ay results so far from cutting out those things?

      Hey, if you think they’ll help Strong Inside Out readers here, plug away! …just as long as it’s not in a sleazy way (i.e. “hey I just developed this product and think you should all buy it!”). ;)

      I’m a big fan of those docs, too. I saw Fast Food Nation a few years ago and still don’t eat beef…

      Thank you so much for sharing your triumphs here, Ryan! I really hope you’ll share more with us as you realize your goals! :)

      • Ryan L says:

        Amy,

        Thanks for the encouragement you give on this site. as far as the two documentaries that impacted me the most they were “Food, Inc.” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”. The latter film has a really encouraging ending.

        As far as results from my quitting soda I went through two weeks of excruciating headaches from caffeine withdrawal. When I realized that this was happening I stopped taking headache medicine since those contain caffeine. On the good side my sleep cycle is returning to normal and I have lost one pant size (52 to 50) and I’m darn close to a second drop to a 48. I’d be happy at a size 38/40. We’ll see what happens at day 60, 90 and so on.

        Thanks again for all that you do.

        • Amy says:

          Wow. That’s amazing, Ryan. And this is just the beginning!

          Glad you’re feeling better now that you can sleep. I bet that was brutal. I can’t imagine what I’d be like giving up caffeine… no one wants to imagine that. ;)

          I’m looking forward to hearing more updates from you!

  6. Honestly girl I’m proud of you but already think you look shit hot. So long as you love you and you have energy every day, happy thoughts and feel good about yourself then that’s all that matters!

    I’m embarking on my own journey to health for life right now too.

    • Amy says:

      Hahahaha! Oh, I miss you, Lady. Thank you. :)

      Yes, I agree with you: as long as we have energy, happy thoughts and confidence, there is little else we need in life. It was just a long time in the making and something that frustrated me, knowing that I coach people every day to become the ideal version of themselves, mentally and physically. I was only a few steps away from that same result. :)

      I can’t WAIT to see how things are coming with your program! :D Please do let me know how it’s progressing!

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