Saturday, July 02, 2011
Only 25 days left in my 100-day challenge, which coincides with the end of our Biggest Loser contest at work. I am only down seven pounds since the contest began; my original goal was 30 pounds total. That was probably silly. I wanted to double my results from the first contest, but I'm more along the lines of half. So the question is, what have I learned from the first 75 days? How have I changed my life for the better? And what am I going to do for the last 25 days?
As I was thinking about this earlier today, I wondered if I have learned anything over the past 75 days, and it turns out I have. Giving up Facebook games has been the easiest, although there are times I really want to play because it was fun. The problem is moderation. It is so hard to stop when I say I am going to stop and I spend so much time in front of the computer accomplishing nothing. I believe I have given up Facebook games for good, even though I was originally going to let myself go back to them at the end of the challenge. My apartment is a little less messy and disorganized because I can walk away from the computer more easily now and so can focus on doing other things that matter more. I spend less time on Facebook and more time on SparkPeople. And I am finally working through my "To Be Read" pile, which is helping me learn a lot about myself when I read my self-improvement books, and allows me to de-stress when I enjoy novels and movies. This feels good and I don't want to give it up just to play games.
The sweets-free goals has been more difficult. Normally when I would go sweets-free in the past, I would allow myself sweet drinks because I generally don't drink a lot of them. This time I told myself not even sweet drinks (i.e. hot cocoa). My husband brought me some hot cocoa mix one day and I took it to work. Then I was super tired and so made cocoa using coffee instead of hot water (it's about the only way I can drink coffee). Later, my best friend's dad passed away and I spent some time with her at the funeral and such. She's been following a plan (The Flat Belly Diet) that allows her sweets, and she's been taking advantage of that. She shared some of her goodies with me, and sent home some Special Dark bars her dad bought before he got sick. Then there was the cookout at work, and several other excuses. I think it was about two or three weeks where I just didn't seem to have the strength to stop eating sweets. I was down on myself for failing, but now that I am revisiting all I have learned, I realize that even this is a success. My first "sweets-free experiment," as I called it then, was only two weeks long. I was proud of myself for keeping it going an extra day, for a total of 15 days sweets-free. Generally, I have done two-week sweets-free stints every so often since then, but have had little "luck" making them last much longer. This time, I was ON sweets for two weeks instead of OFF them for two weeks. I can really tell the difference too. I have been cranky, my TOM is off, and my face broke out like I was 20! I don't remember exactly what day I got back to it, but I have been sweets-free again for two to four days now. I realize this needs to be a battle I do not give up when the challenge is over, but that I need to stay away from sweets for life. Some people say that is too drastic, but I am addicted the same as an alcoholic. Just as one drink can send them spiraling, one candy bar or brownie can wreak weeks of havoc for me. The longer I do it though, the easier and more ingrained it becomes. The more sensitive I become to the ill effects on my body when I succumb to temptation. The more this becomes a part of who I am.
And then there is exercise. Wow. I started out strong. I was doing my 60 fitness minutes every day faithfully. I think I overdid it when I was outside in the heat, walking in work clothes, for well over an hour too many times. Now I just need to get myself back into the 10-minutes a day habit to turn things around. I have signed up for a 5k in August, so my official SparkTraining begins on July 11. I want to practice before then so that it's not too tough. I was scheduled to walk a half marathon in September, but I have decided I am not yet ready. One day, but not this year. And that's OK. I am where I am, and that is where I need to work. Staying within my own zone will allow me to make exercise a regular part of my everyday life in my own time, not some arbitrary time frame that I think I should be able to do it.
So I have learned a few things about myself over the past 75 days. I have continued the eating of fruits and veggies I learned from the first Biggest Loser contest. I now realize from experience how important these foods are to my health, happiness, and overall well-being. I have continued to make strides in my health goals. And even though I'm only down seven pounds, I AM DOWN SEVEN POUNDS!! WOOHOO!!! Plus, I found out yesterday that I am down two inches in my waist in just over a month. WooHoo! As far as what I have changed in my life that I will continue after the challenge, the FB games are gone and the sweets are gone to the best of my ability. And for my last 25 days, I am going to focus on exercising at my current abilities instead of reaching for goals that do not necessarily fit into my reality. I want to win the contest, but my health is so important, I know I must do this the right way. If I win, it's just olive oil on the whole grain bread (since I don't eat frosting on cake anymore ).
I will finish strong.