Well. Been a while, huh?
When I last checked in, I was doing my first Advocate 24-day challenge. It went well, but I didn’t keep up the habits after it ended. Fall was rough – work continues to be brutal, I resigned from my role as president of a nonprofit board of directors (which was 100% the right move, but still a really hard decision to make, one surrounded by stress and self-doubt), and some personal challenges all combined to draw my focus away from my goals. And I ended 2015 in a really bad place, at least as far as my physical health was concerned. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t see the girl who lost all the weight and dropped all those inches. Instead, I saw the girl who first stepped into Studio Poise three years earlier. It was like nothing had changed.
I know that wasn’t entirely true. I’m stronger than I was back in 2013, and my cardiovascular health and overall stamina are worlds better than when I first embarked on this journey. But the numbers on the scale? And the way my jeans fit? They told a different story.
I needed a wake up call. I needed someone to hold me accountable for my health choices. I needed to start 2016 with a plan. So I hired a trainer/nutritionist and committed to twelve weeks with her. Today marked the start of our fifth week together.
The verdict? This was exactly what I needed to get me to focus back in on my goals. The fitness side is great – I’m doing strength workouts 4 days a week (I pick things up and put them down! Leg day is a thing I do now!) and I supplement those with classes at Studio Poise and Soulcycle to get in my cardio, yoga, and pilates cravings. I’m really enjoying the strength side. I’m learning more about the different equipment at my gym and I’m getting out of my comfort zone. I’m realizing the areas that I’m already pretty strong, and I’m learning the things I need to pay more attention to improving. I feel like I finally get it.
The nutrition, though… that ish is HARD. We added another Advocare challenge on top of our plan together, so I haven’t had a cheat meal in three weeks. And I’m actually doing okay! I also haven’t touched alcohol since this plan started. I’m trying to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day, with a protein source at every meal. Cut way back on carbs and fats, and trying to eat as clean as possible. I’m not saying it’s been easy – it definitely hasn’t – but I’ve found it valuable to hold myself to a strict meal plan. I’m finding ways to keep my meals diverse and exciting even within the plan rules, so I don’t really feel like I’m limiting myself. Have I had cravings? 100% yes, but I’m trying to work through them.
My biggest realization? I was doing a TON of stress eating, especially over the past six months. I spent most of my day at work reaching for snacks and not even realizing what I was putting into my mouth. I was also drinking a lot – not to say that I had a drinking problem, but I was reaching for a glass of wine every night to sip while continuing my workday from my couch instead of my cubicle. The nutrition element of this program is forcing me to actually confront the sources of stress instead of masking them behind snacks, and I think it’s helping me to create a better work/life balance.
It’s not easy. It’s not going to be easy. Some days I feel great; some days I feel tired or run down, or in really extreme cases, like I would cut a bitch for some pizza (that was just the one day, but man, that day sucked). I think it’s going to get harder as I get further into this, too – as the novelty wears off and I come to terms with the fact that all of this only works if I treat it as adopting a permanent new lifestyle, and not as something that I’m doing with a finish line in sight, and no real plan for after.
So I’m going to head back to this blog, but this time, I’m doing it for me. If you’ve stuck around since the last time I posted, welcome back, and you’re welcome to follow along. But I’m not going to be sharing this link all over social media, and I’m not going to be writing with the voice in my head nudging me to think about who might be reading this, or how I might grow this blog to a broader audience. I gotta get back to me and push myself toward my goals, and sometimes I need to be able to write just for the sake of writing.
Four weeks down. A lifetime to go.