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
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.