Becoming a Better Me: 3 Months Later

Not gonna lie. I never thought I’d make it to three months into this whole process. In fact, I questioned whether I’d make it through the first 30 days. But, here I am! Stubbornness for the win!

As I mentioned previously, I took some “before” pictures of myself. I took those pictures on March 1st, because that’s when I was determined to make some changes for myself….. Fast forward to April 1st, and that’s when I actually initiated said changes. Better late than never, right?

Well, this morning, I had Hubby take some “after” pictures. I was kind of excited because I just knew the physical changes were awesome. Hubby couldn’t wait to see them side by side. He’s witness my progress and also knew the changes were pretty huge.

I wasn't going to post these for obvious reasons, but then figured some of you may ask. Clearly, the change has been staggering. #sarcasm
Clearly, the change has been staggering. #sarcasm

Except they weren’t. Obviously.

My ego was a bit put out by this. What the heck? I’ve been working my tail off for 3 months, changing my eating habits completely, exercising every flipping day, and there is very little noticeable difference?!?! I must different by now! I have muscles, for crying out loud! 

Then, in the middle of my ego-temper-tantrum, I remembered something. Something very important. I didn’t start this journey to look better. I started this journey to feel better. Looking better, should that happen, would just be a pleasant side effect.

After this realization, I thought about it. How do I feel after three months?

In a word? Amazing.

It took some time to get to this point. During the first four to six weeks, “amazing” was not at all what I was feeling. But something shifted between weeks six and eight, and then even more after that. I started to feel good, and then I started to feel great. I have more energy. I leave the house more often. I think more clearly with no more brain fog. I feel more confident in what I say and do, and just in myself in general. I look better to myself, even if it’s negligible in pictures. My clothes fit better. My skin is clearer. My eyes are brighter. I feel…. lighter. Many of the issues I started with have been resolved. For example, I did not get a hormonal migraine headache this month for the first time in probably two years. I’m sleeping better and actually wake feeling refreshed most of the time. Even better? My attitude is different. For the first time in a long time, I’m not pessimistic about everything. I went from a “yeah, but….” type of person to someone who sees a great future in front of me. I make better choices, whether it’s about what I’m going to eat or what I’m going to do or what I’m going to think about. I feel hopeful instead of constantly worried and overwhelmed. I am much less stressed, and events that typically would’ve caused me to meltdown no longer have that power. I feel more level-headed. Little things don’t bother me so much. I’m more even-tempered and less likely to either go off the deep end or throw a pity party for myself. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I hosted a pity party for myself!

It’s crazy.

The funny thing is, when this all started, the phrase “lifestyle change” was tossed around a lot. I would smile and nod, because of course I would change my lifestyle and tell you whatever you want to hear, while inside I was laughing my butt off and saying no way – I like my wine and coffee and desserts too much! And I hate exercising! But something happened. I feel too good to go back. Now, I have most everything back that I took out of my diet. At the moment, I’m still gluten and refined sugar free, I avoid soy based items and processed foods, but I’ve gotten back dairy and wine and coffee and such. And I’m making more intentional choices about these things. I know now, for example, if I have more than one glass of wine, I’m not going to sleep well and I’m going to feel a bit sluggish and headachy the next day. I know that if I choose to eat a little too much cheese, I will experience pain and bloating later. I know that more than one cup of coffee will give me an “off” feeling in the afternoon. I know that if I eat something carb-ish at night without adding some protein, I will not sleep well. And if I don’t eat or snack regularly, or if I skip a meal? My crazy starts to come back out. I’m learning what’s worth it, and what’s not. What to do, and what not to do. And gluten? I never in a zillion years thought I’d  be able to live without it, let alone want to avoid it. I have had a little recently, once unintentionally, and once in the form of a delicious crusted tilapia filet. I  had no ill-effects that I noticed, so it appears I have no physical “issues” with gluten. But I know that it will quite possibly be my undoing, so I’m leaving it out, indefinitely. I’m making better choices. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever eat a sandwich, or make my favorite cookies or brownies again. And the Butterfinger I have in my freezer from Easter is still waiting for me…. But, for now, I know I can live without it, so I am.

And my exercising….. wow. Who would’ve thought I’d become borderline obsessed with making sure I can get my workout in?! Over the course of three months, I’ve missed a grand total of three workouts. Just three – and that’s only because we were camping. I refuse to miss a workout, especially when I don’t feel like it. It’s become a game – a mental tug of war between the lazy, old me and the better, new me. So far, the better me keeps winning.  I’ve now completed the full 8-week 22 Minute Hard Corps program (plus an extra week of it just for kicks), and I just completed the 21 Day Fix program. Not sure what’s up next, but I feel pretty confident that I will not fall off the wagon this time. It may take only 21 days to form a habit, but I want a solid three months, just to be safe!

So, yeah, I’d say this becoming a better me journey is working. And I now wholeheartedly believe it’s been worth it. I still have about two months to go until I’ve completed the program with my doctor, but so far, the results, while not outwardly visible to most, have been more than I could have hoped for.

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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!