Becoming a Better Me: Fitness

Necessities each morning. And water. Lots of water.
Necessities each morning. And water. Lots of water.

I am working on “becoming a better me” both inside and out. In order to get the “outside” part improved, it means exercise. And hard work. And good habits. None of these things have been strengths of mine over the last few years decade.

Back in the day, I was in pretty good shape. I was strong for a girl my size. I remember lifting in college and getting a kick out of shocking the shorts off the guys in the weight room.

“Here, let me help you with that.” says random guy.

“Nah, I’m good.” I say with a smirk and an eyeroll, then smash out my reps.

Guy picks jaw up from floor. 

Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite like that, but it’s my story so I’m sticking with it. Either way, I have not been that girl in a long, long time. She was tough. She was strong. She was confident.

I want her back.

I’ve been able to stick with short term fitness goals for myself when I set them. Run a few days here. Yoga a few times there. The problem is, I’d always stop. I’d skip a day or two, and instead of getting back at it, I’d make excuses and just be done. Then any benefit was erased. And you know what? I’m kinda tired of that. I know I feel better when I exercise. I know I sleep better when I exercise. I know I ultimately will look better when I exercise. So why don’t I just suck it up and do it!?

So, I am. Sucking it up, I mean.

I committed to an 8-week program from BeachBody called 22 Minute Hard Corps. Someone showed it to me and I knew it was right up my alley. So, six days a week (SIX!!), I get up and do my workout. It has a schedule all set up so there is no thinking on my part (which is good because it’s early and I’m currently off coffee). I just push the DVD button and get to work. And, like he says in the videos, “it’s only 22 minutes…..”

And it sucks and it’s awesome all at the same time.

This program is tough. I have to modify many of the exercises, and I can’t always do all the reps they do. But I’m still working. And I’m sweating. And I’m getting stronger. And I’m seeing results.

I took “before” pictures, and I plan to take “after” pictures. (Jury is still out whether or not I post them.) I did all the measurements like they say to do, and I even did the fitness test at the beginning so I can measure my progress at the end. Curiosity, and my vanity, got the best of me.

I’ll be starting week 6 tomorrow morning, and I haven’t skipped a single workout. That means on the days when I woke up with a headache, I still did the workout. On the days I was exhausted because I was up with a child the night before, I still did the workout. On the days I just didn’t want to, I still did the workout. On the days I didn’t think I’d have time, I got up earlier and still did the workout. I’ve completed five straight weeks and allowed myself zero excuses. You know what that means? That means I have no reason, ever, to skip my workouts. If I made it through a full month cycle and managed to keep it up, there is no reason why I can’t continue. Right?

(For full disclosure, I have a little extra motivation. Hubby will reward me with dinner anywhere I want if I make it through the 8 weeks without skipping a day. A little external reason to keep it up helps. Especially when my reward dinner will include an amazing steak at one of my favorite restaurants.)

Now, in order to be sure I don’t just stop after I complete the program, which is what I’ve always done in the past when I’ve reached the end of a goal, I need to have a plan. I need to start the 8 weeks over again or have some other schedule in place. I haven’t gotten that far, but you’d better believe that the plan will be in place during the last week of this program. I do not want to go backwards from the progress I’ve made!

This commitment is relatively short-term. 8 weeks is good, but I need this to become a lifestyle change. I want to be healthy and fit as I get older. I want to be in amazing shape by the time I’m 40. So, #fitby40 is the new goal. I have plenty of time to get there. (Sort of.)

That’s what I’ve been doing to become a better me in terms of fitness. I will start running again after my 8 weeks are up, assuming Mother Nature gets her act together. I will look into other home workouts now that I have a nice little set up in the basement. I will re-enroll at my local gym so Hubby and I can work out together. Baby steps toward long term progress and lifestyle changes.

Up next, the diet I’m doing….. Stay tuned!

Oh, and no, I’m not a BeachBody coach or rep or whatever they are called, and I’m not getting anything by mentioning the videos. But I do love this workout!

 

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Becoming a Better Me: My Why

Sure feels that way sometimes, doesn't it?
Sure feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it?

Well, this post is weeks overdue. I had planned to journal this whole experience here on my blog. But, well, life. Besides, I’m about 99.9% sure you would NOT have wanted to read what I would have said the first few days of this experience. Grumpy is an understatement. Beast is more appropriate for those days. But let’s back up, shall we?

If you follow me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) you will have noticed that some of my posts of late have leaned toward fitness and food. No, I haven’t been hacked, although I understand why you would think that. Instead, the decision was made that enough was enough. I’ve talked about trying to take better care of myself. I’ve committed to goals here and there, like a 5K last summer and my 30 days of No Excuses. I’ve reached those goals, and then fallen right back to my normal. And my normal isn’t good.

Backstory: I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression the last five-ish years. I’m pretty sure it was PPD after the little one was born, but I was never “diagnosed”. I was even put on anti-depressants for a while, secretly, of course. (Well, Hubby knew because he is the one who convinced me I needed to talk to my doctor and get them, but I kept it secret because *gasp* I don’t need those.) I managed to get off of the pills after about 18 months, but I never really got back to being the old me. On top of that I’m not really all that healthy. Again, I fake it well. People see me and assume I’m in decent shape because I’m thin, but really, I’m just a skinny fat person. My insides have been all out of whack from years of not eating well or often enough. I’d actually play a game with myself in my head when I’d start to get hungry. I’d hold off as long as I could before stopping to eat. Eventually, the hungry just went away. I’d often go with just one meal a day, maybe a handful of crackers or something to get me through the rest of the day. As a mom, it was kind of a given that I would just eat what the kids left on their plates, and I’d never take the time to cook for myself. With Hubby’s schedule, dinners just weren’t all that important to me. Breakfast was usually coffee, unless Hubby was home to cook or we had baked goods in the house. Lunch? Waste of time and effort for myself. So, yeah, I have had a problem for years. I would eat, but not often enough to benefit my body. Fortunately, I didn’t eat crap all the time, so at least there was that. I mean, I love desserts, so I’d eat crap when it was around. But I had been making an effort to keep it around much less. I thought that was good enough. Apparently, not so much.

I’ve also been beating myself up a lot over the last couple of years. I am a recovering perfectionist who felt like I was failing at life all.the.time. I felt like I was failing my kids. Failing my husband. Failing at keeping up with the house. Just failing at everything. Again, on the outside, it was all sunshine and roses, but in my head? Life was just not going well. That’s partly why I started this blog – it was going to be my outlet. I was in quite a downward spiral of feeling lost and lonely and full of anxiety. I rarely left the house. I joke that I’m a hermit, but for real, I was getting close to having a serious problem with anxiety when I had to leave the house for any reason without Hubby. Fortunately, my oils have helped calm that crazy-train down, but I still was not “right”. I was always tired. And not just a “I didn’t get enough sleep” tired, but so tired that I felt like I could hardly function for days. I had zero motivation to do anything, and zero reason that I could find to even bother.

So, what happened? Why now am I finally making some changes?

Simple answer, my family. Hubby needs me to be my best so I can take care of our family, and I was sooooo not there. My kids need me to be a good example for them, and I was sooooo not it. I was always tired and grumpy. I never wanted to play with them or really do anything with them because it was too exhausting, and eventually they stopped asking me. The house was a disaster to me. I was constantly overwhelmed with all the things, real or imagined. Basically, something had to give. I was wallowing more often than not, and it was getting worse and more frequent, and that’s not ok. So, Hubby pretty much said it had to change.

This year became my year of taking care of me.

I wasn’t going to take initiative to make myself better, even if deep down I wanted it. So, Hubby did that for me by finding a doctor. When I balked because of the cost involved, he sat me down and made sure that I knew I was worth it. He knows I’d do anything for him and the kids if something needed to be done, but me? Nah, I’ll live without it. I’ll manage and make due.

Except I wasn’t.

So, over the last few months, I’ve take steps to become a better me. I committed to an 8-week exercise program that’s kicking my butt. I’m now in week 5 and haven’t skipped a day, and I can see a difference! (I even have “before” pictures to post after I’m all done, with “after” pictures, of course.) I started seeing a chiropractor who has a focus on functional medicine, and we’ve been working through lots of my dietary issues to get to the root of my problems. This has been tough because I’m on a highly restrictive diet right now. Ridiculously restrictive. Dairy-free, grain-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free, chocolate-free, caffeine-free, fun-free diet. Hence the grumpy/beast mood. (Don’t worry, it’s getting better! The mood, not the diet. Ha!)

So, that’s my “why” for this seemingly crazy journey I’ve started. I’m not doing this diet or exercise program as an experiment because I really want to. I’m doing it because I have to. I have to fix me.

So, follow along as I work on #becomingabetterme. I promise to post frequent updates the rest of the way, including details of what I’m doing and how it’s going. I may even toss in a recipe or two from this crazy diet.

Spoiler alert – it’s working!