My Fight to Feel Better 42 Day Check In
This post has been something I've been thinking about for awhile now to share with my people. In summary, for the past 42 days I've been on a #myfighttofeelbetter. I didn't think I'd have much to say but because of the results from this new lifestyle change I'm inspired to share what's happened up to this point.
Here's what went down when I realized I had to change my life:
I want to rewind to when this all started. For years I've been uncomfortable with my weight. Then I got pregnant with Riley in 2014. When it was all said and done and miss Riley made her appearance, I had gained 60 lbs. 40 of it came off really easily but the other 20 has been a battle ever since. Focusing on my family, a move across the state, learning how to be a mom, and my business, my own health took a backseat. It's not that it couldn't have been a focus of mine but it just wasn't and I didn't make exercise a priority in my life. In fact, I rarely exercised. I'd try for a day or two with home videos but never stuck to anything. In my defense since moving to South Bend - we do not have a gym. It's terrible and I pray this changes for our community in the upcoming years.
Fast forward to the beginning of December when I pulled the scale out of the closet for the first time in well over a year. I'd avoided this moment for as long as I could but something urged me to stand on it and just see where I was. I stepped on the scale and it read 202. A healthy weight for my height and body is 160. When I got pregnant with Riley I was 183 (still not close to where I wanted to be).
So it's safe to say I had a little bit of a meltdown as I sat on my bathroom floor. I sobbed like a baby on my bathroom floor ashamed of what I’d let myself become. Then my sweet girl gave me a hug as I cried and it all finally clicked on what needed to be done. I had to change. I had to be better and I had to make some serious moves in my own life to start loving myself again because the truth is... I hadn’t for quite some time. I’ve been good. I’ve been happy. I’ve been content to settle and accept that it all just was what it was.
So instead of making excuses and settling I decided that in order to change my life, I had to make the commitment and it had to be more than just "setting a goal."
If I have learned ANYTHING over the years with goals and setting those goals, there has to be INTENTION behind a goal for it to be successful. It's super easy to talk about making changes and setting goals, but actually executing them is another story. We are ALL motivated, but motivation will only get you so far.
With every goal I have, I map it out with sub points on HOW I'm going to reach that goal.
When all this started, it was my goal to lose 42 lbs. Instead of just throwing that out there and hoping that I make it happen, I made a PLAN. Before that plan I sat down and said, "Okay, WHY do you want to lose 42 lbs?" My answer was, "I want to feel better." Okay, great... then I asked myself again, "Okay, WHY do you want to feel better?" My answer was something like, "I want to reach my goal weight by my 30th birthday." Cool. That sounds awesome but WHY? When I got down to the heart of it, I was brought to my family. I DO NOT want to die early because I did not take care of myself. I want to be there for my daughter's wedding and I want to grow old with my husband. I do not want my weight to hold me hostage for the rest of my life, I want to LIVE. I might want to have another baby but I'm not ready to do that until my body is better equipped to handle another pregnancy.
When I was finally able to get down to that WHY that has the most impact for me with my weight loss goals and success up to this point.
I was able to find the intention that had been missing the many times before now that I've tried to lose the weight. Instead of taking on this journey alone, I've embraced my Husband's help and love, and my friends. For so long I chased these little health goals on my own thinking that I had it in me to just crush it by myself but the piece that was always missing was accountability. So I took it a step further and opened up my studio space to the community to come join me in the evenings to workout. Totally free, totally fun. While I AM doing this for the community, more than anything I'm doing it for ME as a way to hold myself accountable. I HAVE to show up because someone else might be waiting at my door to workout.
Before I had my ah ha moments, I wanted to touch on my own journey with up and down weight loss and why I feel this time is so different. Before now, I've always relied on a program, or shake, or pill to help me reach my goals. Sometimes I did reach those goals, but quickly fell off the wagon.
To put it in perspective, in the past 7 years I've done the following:
Nutrisystem, Advocare, Thrive (for about a minute), Shakeology, Whole30 dieting, every "diet" you can think of, and I know there are more but I can't think of them right now. I have reviews on ALL of them and I will say that I still use and love Advocare products like spark, catalyst, meal replacement shakes and workout recovery shakes. Nutrisystem was no good in my opinion because while you can lose weight quickly... read the labels. You're eating boxed food every day and it gets really old. This type of plan does not set you up for long term success in my opinion because you don't cook yourself. You learn nothing about actually cooking and fueling your body with whole ingredients. As far as Shakeology goes, I think it's a great company and program! I'm not using their shakes or really following their guidelines with food, but I've been following the BeachBody 21 Day Fix video series for this first phase of my weight loss journey. I've completed two rounds of the 21 Day Fix series.
This is my own personal account. I know people who have huge success with these programs but for me personally I found that they put me in a box that set me up for failure in the future (I'm not speaking to Shakeology or Advocare) but the programs like Nutrisystem or super restrictive diets that pushed me deeper into a very unhealthy relationship with food.
From the beginning, I decided I wanted to take pictures of myself (and whomever joined me for my open house workouts!) to help hold me accountable. I've been sharing this journey on Instagram/Facebook which has been a huge motivator being surrounded and uplifted by such a supportive community. Here are some of those selfies! As the days went on, our group dwindled a little bit for the in person workouts BUT that doesn't mean the momentum faded at all because when we posted our images in our private group it started pushing so many others to get moving and exercise! I consistently workout with 2 other women in our town and we have our own little Facebook messenger going to help keep each other motivated. We love to workout together but it doesn't always workout so there have been plenty of solo workouts in the past 42 days. So here's a glimpse into all the photos we have taken!
So what it ultimately came down to for me was the lack of exercise in my life. I needed something that would force me to get moving at a pace that wouldn't shock my body or make me want to quit two days in so I found BeachBody on Demand and I haven't looked back since! I had tried the 21 Day Fix series back in 2016 but barely made it to day 18 because I just didn't have the WHY behind my goals. Here's how the videos are set up:
What I love about the 21 Day Fix is that it's easy to follow but HARD workouts in the 30 minutes. Every time I go to do a workout I tell myself it will be easier but the truth is that it doesn't get easier, I just get better. When I get better, I sink deeper into the squats, I push myself a bit harder in the cardio, or I increase my weights etc. There's a gal on there named KAT and I vividly remember following her modified moves for the first 21 Day Fix we did. However, once we got into the second round of the 21 day fix (day 22, 23, 24, etc.) I found myself doing the regular moves much more easily. Even now there are some moves I still cannot get to so I modify, but it's always a work in progress.
I have not yet grown tired of the 21 day fix videos. There was one day I did not want to listen to them talk so I played workout music but I realized I love listening to her directions and guidance through the workout. Autumn is easy to listen to and I enjoy her voice so it makes it easier to watch them over and over again!
30 minutes has been the perfect manageable workout time for me. We considered jumping into a new program BeachBody is coming out with very soon called the 80 Day Obsession but have decided as a group that we want to keep up what we are already doing but kick it up a notch with the 21 Day Fix EXTREME. I'm anxious to get started on Monday and to be able to compare the two! My guess is that it will be more fast paced with less of a break in between each set/round (right now it's 15 seconds). I got a taste of the 21 Day Fix Extreme cardio video and it was TOUGH. It took me several days to recover, haha. I am nervous, but excited! The videos are still 30 minutes long. I'm shared a peek of the extreme workout calendar below so you can see what my next phase will look like! The 80 Day Obsession videos are 60 minutes so it's an entirely new commitment with time and sometimes it's a challenge to even get the 30 minutes done with Riley so ultimately I don't want to ruin a good thing we have going right now with the 30 minutes. I'm also still what I consider pretty out of shape and trying to build endurance. I struggle with the cardio videos the most so I'm hopeful by the end of the 21 Day Fix Extreme, I'll feel big changes.
We reached a point on day 40 when we all hit a wall of fatigue and opted to take day 41 off as a day of rest. That was just this past week and it was SO perfect and so needed. We regrouped for the LAST day of the 21 Day Fix (second round) with the Dirty 30 workout and it was awesome. I'm learning that while the workouts are SO important, it's also very important to listen to our bodies and rest when necessary.
People have asked me, "How on earth do you make the time?" Honestly? I just make it. Even if I'm out of town, I pack my weights, yoga mat and laptop to make sure that I can access my videos wherever I am. The old me made excuses on why I couldn't carve out time to exercise. I was the QUEEN of excuses. So this time I chose to stop making excuses and show up for myself. There were days I made excuses ALL day on why I didn't have to do the video that day but would end up doing it at like 10 PM because that commitment to this took hold of me. It's been hard, but not as hard as I imagined it to be. 30 minutes a day is totally doable. Sure, you factor in the set up, actual workout, and then the shower, etc. but it's been fine.
I love the flow of the workouts and how they touch on ALL parts of the body. Each video is challenging in its own way. So there hasn't been some magic recipe, I've simply been working out for 30 minutes, every day.
The next biggest question I've been asked over and over again is about my diet! "Emma WHAT ARE YOU EATING?!"
Food has always been such a negative thing in my life for the past several years because it's been somewhat of an obsession. If I would travel to Wenatchee I honestly had anxiety thinking about WHERE I would eat because I wanted to have everything while I was in town. Anyway, I have a bunch of stories on how food has negatively impacted my life but all that feels like it's finally changed. Certain programs I've followed have been very restrictive like Whole30. While I LOVE eating clean like Whole30 promotes, I got overwhelmed very quickly each time I tried to follow the guidelines. So instead of following any sort of plan, I simply decided to drop the bad carbs and eat a higher protein diet. I've made recipes that I never would have tried before now and they have been so fun, and GOOD!
For the past couple of weeks I've also been intermittent fasting. I don't eat breakfast until about 11 AM or 12 PM. Then I fit in my lunch and dinner within an 8 hour window. So every day I'm fasting for 16 hours. It's been very doable and I haven't felt starving at all because of the high protein diet I'm eating.
Am I cheating? Yes. A little bit. I've had slices of pizza, homemade mac and cheese, some bread, chocolate, etc. but none of the cheats I've had have thrown me off my plan. I honestly believe what's working for me is that I'm working out every day. I'm also striving each day to burn more calories than I consume. It's been working so well for me and I don't ever feel like I'm that hungry.
If I did not eat meat, I think this would be so much more difficult.
Because I am married to an avid hunter, I'm pretty lucky to have a freezer full of fresh salmon, crab, elk, deer, and beef. I only buy breakfast sausage and chicken at the store which is great! Sometimes I'll buy some sort of random meat that a recipe calls for like the chicken apple sausage! This is one of my favorites for breakfast when I throw it into a mash with peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, etc.
I'm meal planning with Shaun each week. We basically sit down and decide what dinners we want to have (I'm in charge of my own breakfast and lunch most days). I like scrambles or just elk steaks for breakfast usually with some spinach or something green. Anyway, we will jot down what we want to have like this:
We decide on what meat will be pulled from the freezer and I meal plan around the protein. For elk, I like to do breakfast so I'll make eggs and spinach. For spaghetti, Shaun likes to do the sauce and I'll make my own noodles either with Zucchini or Spaghetti Squash. I don't really eat pasta anymore. We went out to my favorite Italian spot in Wenatchee in early January and I went nuts on my favorite pasta dish but felt horrible all night haha. It was worth it. For chicken I'll find a fun Whole30 recipe (one of my favorites is Chicken Chowder from this book below):
As far as lunches go, when we are meal planning there are plenty of leftovers in the fridge so I usually just have those. With it just being Shaun and myself (Riley doesn't eat much haha... there's always good leftovers after dinner).
Basically the only way I know I'll have long term success with this because I'm finding the balance with clean eating and also living my life. I still put my favorite creamer in my coffee and let myself indulge here and there. Next I'll share with you some of my FAVORITE cookbooks that I use every week!
I stopped drinking alcohol on Thanksgiving 2017 so it's been nearly two months since I've had any and I feel so good. I thought it would be harder to abstain from but it hasn't been hard at all. I got through the holidays and New Years without being tempted at all. I'm not a big drinker to begin with BUT I decided that alcohol makes me feel so bad anyway that I just wouldn't miss it. I do love me a hoppy IPA but it's been easy to omit from my diet while I'm hustling to meet some of my big goals. I don't know how long it will last, I don't have a timeline with it or anything, I'm just saying no until I want to say yes again!
I'm sharing these pictures below because this was right at the beginning of my new lifestyle changes when Shaun took me to a Seahawks game in Seattle. We stayed one night downtown and had the best time. Instead of taking an UBER, we walked or we rode the little bikes around the city. I ate mostly clean and enjoyed our time in the city. It's learning how to implement these little changes to my lifestyle that are making this journey more manageable. I'm also so blessed to have Shaun in my corner because he's been instrumental in my progress. For so long I've kept my weight a secret and felt like it was a fight I had to fight on my own but the minute I let my guard down and accepted his LOVE and help, it became a lot easier to change my ways. He's even done a few workouts with me which has been so fun! He's starting one of the BeachBody programs on Monday. It's a program for weight lifting but I'm excited for him to join me on this exercise program. We are actually setting up our new weight set in my studio and going to use my space as our own little gym... hey, why not! I pay for the space and don't spend a ton of time in there so this will change that and make the rent I pay more justified haha!
My daughter is a huge part of this journey for me and keeping me accountable!
When we first started these videos, Riley wasn't sure about the whole thing. She would whine and fuss. Now she cheers me on and asks me every day if we are going to go to the studio to workout with our friends. It's become a regular part of our routine and she's responded so well to all the new changes.
Between the busy schedules, traveling, naps, sickness and all, we have made our workouts a priority and Riley is with me 95% of the time! I'm obviously doing this for me but I'm also very much so doing this for my family and this little bug pictured below. I want to be healthy and keep up with her as she grows up. I want to grow old with Shaun. I truly believe the road I was traveling down would have only set me up for a more difficult (and shorter) future.
Here are some cell phone pictures from our last 42 days together. She's gotten really into taking pictures of me with my phone so you get a little glimpse of that, too!
So I gave myself a day to think about the images that WERE taken 42 days into this journey and if I'd share them or not. It's such a personal and emotional thing looking at the top photos that were taken from the beginning of #myfighttofeelbetter. It truly makes me so sad that I let myself get so overweight. My body is meant to be lean, not overweight. I was always an athlete in high school and strong. I've let myself go but am eager to get it back and feel like ME again... this body has held me back for the last 7 years or so and I'm so ready to leave it all behind.
For so many years I've envisioned 30 being my best year yet and I'm determined to make that my reality. I have a goal weight but looking at the most recent photos we took, I am reassured that it truly is SO MUCH MORE THAN A NUMBER ON THE SCALE. I've only lost 13 lbs as of a few days ago over the 42 days BUT I'll let the pictures do the talking on how many inches I've lost as of this week. I never took my measurements (inches) - kicking myself but hoping to get them done with the girls next week so I have somewhat of a baseline for all this. I have a general idea on where I am but I really should have taken those measurements from the beginning... oh well. I know how my clothes are feeling and that's kind of been my reference point.
I'm also keeping a journal which is proving to be a huge piece of this for me as I love jotting down my thoughts and how I'm feeling. It's also where I do my meal planning and grocery shopping lists!
I'm still not ready to share all my before pictures but I will say the changes from the beginning to now are DRASTIC. My body is literally shrinking. It's incredible. When we took our updated pictures, I cried. The results are there and my body is responding. I've decided to share ONE of my back because it's just so crazy how it's all changing so quickly. My Husband said I should wait to share any side by sides for the more drastic changes when I've hit my goal weight and I think he is right, but for the sake of keeping it real and raw and honest, here it is! This isn't about a big show for me when it's all said and done... sure, I want a rocking after picture but more than anything I want to share my story with anyone who cares to listen and if I am able to even change one persons life, it's all been worth it. All of this doesn't end for me after these "21 days" or "80 days"... this is the rest of my LIFE. I want to share the little triumphs along the way.
Here are just a FEW words from my online community and friends that has given me so much inspiration and drive to keep going. it's truly overwhelming and inspiring.
IN SUMMARY here are some of the changes that have happened in just 42 days:
I am so much happier.
My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever. I felt like strangers for awhile with our schedules but since changing my ways, I just feel a difference and I’m loving it. He’s been such an important piece of this puzzle and helping me stay motivated with unconditional love and support. Before now, I never wanted to talk about health or changing ways because it always felt so personal that I had to fight the fight on my own and I would get defensive when he would try to help me or give me tips. I look back on that now and regret it, but feeling good now that we are on the same page and helping one another.
Not having alcohol since thanksgiving has given me such a clear head. I wasn’t a big drinker before then or anything but NOT consuming it has recharged me physically and emotionally.
Riley used to be needy through the workouts if she wasn’t in the mood and now it’s completely different. She knows it’s my time and let’s me do my thing (aka not trying to climb all over me or whine for various things halfway through). She jumps in on the moves that look fun but mostly she self entertains while I work. She loves rolling out her mat and “workin’ oooout”.
While I realize I have been following these videos, I am well aware that that none of this stops after these programs are over, this is a lifestyle change for me and for the first time in so long I feel like I am finally on the right track and doing what I need to do to really make a positive change for myself and my future self.
I’m sleeping so much better.
My business feels more manageable because I’m focused, I’m rested, and I have a new found sense of dream chasing in so many departments.
My energy is incredible.
I WANT to eat whole foods and I WANT to workout every day now. I crave it.
That’s just a few... more updates to come as this continues.
If I've missed anything, please be sure to comment below so I can help answer your questions! I believe that the biggest piece of all this is that I finally found my WHY to make my goals a reality and I've asked upon my friends, spouse and community to help me. By letting my guard down and putting my number out there I've finally felt FREE with the drive to be more accountable on #myfighttofeelbetter. I'm 5'9" and come from a very lean and fit family. My body is truly not meant to be overweight. I know where I need to be and I know I'm going to get there. Slow and steady will win the race this time, not some magic fix. Hard work and lifestyle changes are what seem to be working for me this time. I know I still have a lot to prove to myself but I'm ready. Sharing that picture is SO hard, but I feel good about the hard work I'm putting in to be a better me. Cheers, friends!
Shaun snapped this photo of me over the weekend and for the first time in so long I don't feel as afraid to be in FRONT of the camera...
A LITTLE UPDATE:
The feedback from this post and direct messages I've received has been truly overwhelming and incredible... thank you! I've decided to sign up as a BEACHBODY Coach not to push product, but to help anyone who is interested in signing up for Beachbody on Demand (where I access all the videos I've been doing and will continue to do for a long time!) If I've inspired you in any way and you want to give me a little kickback you can use my Coach ID 1574073 when you purchase Beachbody OnDemand. $99 for the ENTIRE year! This is my gym membership and it's awesome... so much variety and endless videos. My Husband is even doing a weight lifting program now and loving it... he's 3 weeks in and I'm so proud. He doesn't have weight to lose but is trying to GAIN weight and muscle... there's something for everyone.
To anyone who has sent me words of encouragement the past 42 days... thank you. I read every message and DM and feel so overwhelmed by this community that has stepped up to help me change my life. I'm truly so blessed. If you're struggling, let's talk. We are in this together. We have what it takes to change our own lives. We are given ONE body in this life and I'm doing everything I can do honor and treasure that body... I'm here for you!
In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I appreciate the support and love you all have shown my blog and will only recommend products that I use, love, or covet. That's all!