In the last few years, I have been the fitness industry’s dream client. There isn’t a fitness trend I haven’t bought in to, financially, at least once, that’s available in Australia – the Michelle Bridges 12wbt, the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides (and app), the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge… I’ve tried and failed at them all, testing the boyf’s patience over and over again as I declare proudly, ‘this is the ONE! this is the TIME I will make moves, and make things HAPPEN! No more crying because I feel fat, because I will be in control!’Then one week later I am crying because I feel fat, having ravaged the kitchen for every piece of chocolate I could find and feeling very much out of control. It’s my personal vicious cycle.
Despite hundreds of dollars and many failed attempts, I have embarrassingly signed up for another diet/fitness overhaul challenge, and it starts on Monday. This challenge runs for 9 weeks, and involves a relatively simple food program comprised of meat, vegetables, fruit and grains (how revolutionary!) and a work out program drafted to incorporate what you already do, and a defined set of work outs to meet particular goals.
My goals are very specific this time: do a chin-up/pull-up, and do double-unders. Obviously the key goals are ‘lose weight’ and ‘love myself in a bikini’, but those goals are often fleeting, as the dream bikini is mentally overridden by the tubs of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer. I’m experimenting with this concept of very specific and measurable goals, and maybe this time, we’ll see a change.
This 9 week plan sees me drink 3L of water a day, work out seven times a week officially (in addition to one day of yoga and one day of the fitness program I run for young lawyers, which doesn’t involve a hard core work out), and being very strict with eating.
How simple!! I think to myself, as I scarf down my uncountable amounts of chocolate, and scavenge the kitchen for spoonfuls of nutella. I can easily overhaul three key aspects of my life overnight with no slip-ups or mistakes! But the reality is there will be many tests, and many slip-ups. Key events I can currently identify include weekly lunch provided by work, which does typically involve a protein and salads, but certainly not nice clean fresh salads, more the caesar salad with extra dressing variety; drinks on a Friday night; and last minute coffee trips with colleagues (these are being replaced by long blacks, yawn). However I look at those events, now, without the difficult of craving and the sadness that comes with giving stuff up weighing on me, and think these are all such underwhelming reasons to be standing in the way of my dreams of a fit bod for our northern hemisphere holiday. Every time I “fail”, and enjoy the temporary moments of pleasure that come with a glass of wine or dessert, I think how much happier in the long term I would have been if I just stuck with the program and seen it through, both because then it would have worked, and I would have gotten the opportunity to celebrate my success of finishing something.
To do this challenge successfully will require commitment to preparation: a weigh in, a very big food prep event today, and every Sunday following. And washing my gym clothes more regularly. Unfortunately it will also require flexibility. Next weekend is a long weekend and we have already organised a camping and hiking trip with some friends. That will make it much more difficult to control what I’m eating (mix of peer pressure and minimal kitchen facilities) and naturally will make the following week so much more difficult as I lose the organisational time. This certainly isn’t the end of the world, but it introduces surprising hurdles very early on in the challenge that I wish I didn’t have to face.
I truly intend to present to you some amazing before and after results from this challenge. I believe I have it in me to succeed, and do a pull up. and slim down. I don’t want to let the mental willpower be my downfall.
Beyond the organisational strategies, I’ve read about and will be implementing some mental strategies to combat moments of weakness. Some that have worked for me in the past is using language to redefine yourself – instead of saying to yourself ‘I can’t eat that’, say ‘I don’t eat that’. It is an empowering way of not indulging in sweet foods because you don’t define yourself as missing out, but as a person who eats fresh foods and still has an abundance available to them. Others include waiting half an hour, going for a walk when hit by a craving, having a motto to repeat to yourself in times of weakness, and sticking up a photo of your goal somewhere prominent.
I feel some kind of shame in announcing this health challenge, like I’m stringing you all along to support me in something that will inevitably result in failure. But I feel confident this time. And I hope I get to share my successes with you.