Week 4 of the 30 Day Challenge

Week 4 of the 30 Day Challenge

I’m down 2 more pounds for a total of 7 pounds lost in one month! Read on for my final week of the 30-day challenge, plus my closing thoughts of this 30 day challenge.

June 24th: Do a 45 Minute Workout 3x a Week

Basically, I’m doing change number 17 for 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes. This workout kicked my butt, but I felt better after I completed it.  I still need to continue getting 10,000 steps but I did not reach that today. My FitBit battery died in the middle of my walk today and I did not realize this. It takes me about an hour to get 6,000 steps, so I figured if I walked at least 2 hours then I’ll reach my goal (and then some).

June 25th: Drop or Reduce Added Sugar

Women should have no more than 24 grams of sugar per day while men should have no more than 36 grams per day. Jenna states that it takes about three weeks to get rid of any sugar cravings. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth (I’m more of a refine carb aficionado myself.) Occasionally (i.e. when it’s PMS time), I’ll crave some chocolate with caramel in the middle. Just one small piece satisfies my cravings. I’m more aware of my body and how it feels after eating carbs and sugar, so I limit that so I don’t feel sick. Other than that, having a small bowl of berries with whipped cream is a treat after dinner.

My husband and I have been working on reducing our added sugar intake and plan to go a week with no added sugar soon. Honestly, it’s not that hard to go sugar free (cue eye rolls). I know what you’re thinking. I sound like a naïve woman, but if you are a fan of fruit, veggies and dairy, then there are ways to go sugar free without going hungry or losing your mind.

I do not include dairy, fruits and veggies in this equation.  I still eat those foods, but I’m more aware of label reading, which my dietitian I saw last year taught me last year. Sugar is hidden everywhere! Being aware of labels and cooking at home help to reduce the added sugar intake. Also, I discovered that sourdough bread is okay to eat since the way that it’s fermented bread with minimal sugar. I also use raw honey, but since one tablespoon contains 17 grams of sugar, I only have it once per day and I watch that my other meals of the day don’t have that much added sugar.

I’m currently working on a recipe eBook with different meals I’ve been making that have little to no added sugar. Stay tuned! ?

June 26th: Perfect Your Posture

Check your posture as you sit all day. When I sit with my head up, spine straight and my shoulders back, I feel like a more confident woman. Having proper posture helps eliminate unnecessary motions as you move. This means you can perform the same tasks with the least amount of effort and muscle fatigue.

When I drive, I have always positioned my seat in a 90-degree angle, to the dismay of my husband who always asks, “how can you sit that way?” I feel more in control when I sit like this while driving. Who knew I was also helping my posture!  Another tip- wear properly fitted shoes! As a teacher, wearing shoes that are comfortable are important. I can still remember wearing a pair brown slip on shoes that were so cute but had zero support. I woke up the next day and could barely walk. I remember having to roll myself around the classroom that day and vowed to never wear those shoes to school again!

June 27th: Substitute Sauces for Something Smarter

When eating healthier, spices are a life saver! While working on the no added sugar meals, I’ve realized if you have the proper seasonings, you’ll be just fine! I’m currently growing basil and cilantro in our garden. For a quick side dish, I make a basil, tomato and mozzarella salad.  I also use it on my English Muffin Pizza.  I’m looking forward to making some salsa once my tomatoes and cilantro finish growing.

I also substitute plain Greek yogurt in dips and use avocado in my tuna fish salad. In this section, Jenna gives great descriptions of different herbs to use, how to use them and the nutritional benefit of the herbs.

June 28th: Drop One Stressful Thing in Your Life

Just one?

As someone who struggles with stress, this is an important change. Stress does not help weight loss.

One tip Jenna gives is to stay in the moment. Today, I’m visiting my sister and her family. Playing with my nephews is a perfect way to stay in the moment. Occasionally, I’ll snap a picture or film a video of them since they are two of the cutest humans ever, but I remember to put my phone down and play with them. My youngest nephew will sit in my lap and demand that I read him a book. I’m totally okay with this setup.

Walking outside, listening to music and writing are some ways that I combat stress. I don’t always rely on them, but I’m working on that.  When I’m feeling overwhelmed and not wanting to think about anything, I’ll clean my house or organize something that needs to be organized. Not only do I not have to think about life for a few hours, my house is clean and ordered so my mind feels the same.

Adding certain foods to my meal plans can also help with stress. Eating foods with folic acid, magnesium, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids and potassium can help with a variety of issues, from lowering cortisol levels, stabilizing your mood and boosting serotonin.

June 29th: Perform a 60 Minute Workout 3x a Week

I’m doing change 24 for 60 minutes instead of 45 minutes. I still need to continue getting 10,000 steps. I had a busy day with my nephews and managed to rack up about 6,300 steps. I also did not get a chance to do the workout.

Today I had a glance at what my life will be like when trying to balance kids and working out. It wasn’t easy. I bow down to all the mamas out there that work, take care of their kiddos and workout.  While I stayed busy chasing and wrestling with my nephews, it wasn’t the workout I needed to complete. I fully understand the challenges of dealing with motherhood, as well as dealing with mental illness and working out. I just need to figure out a way to incorporate this into my schedule.

 June 30th: Look in the Mirror

I’m currently trying to lose weight, have a baby and start a new career. That’s a lot of life changes to handle for someone who is also dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.  I have felt out of control for most of my life. I did not have the childhood I wanted, nor deserved. I’m working on accepting this (yay therapy!) and move on.  It’s not easy though. This past month, I’ve discovered things in therapy that were not easy for me to deal with.  I had my day(s) where I laid in bed, not wanting to think or do anything. I had to dig deep for motivation. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t. On the days that it did work, I got my 10,000 steps, worked out and completed my food diary. On days that it did not work, I napped, wrote and read books. I took it easy while I let my husband take care of me, something that is difficult for me to do. I didn’t beat myself up and more importantly, I did not give up. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I tapped into the anger that has been inside of me and used it to motivate me. I was not going to let my past dictate my future any longer.

I tend not to stick with things for whatever reasons: I don’t think I’m worth it, I don’t think I can do it or I don’t think I can handle it.

When I stop to think about where I came from and what I’ve been through, I realize that I can do it. I’m tough and I’m strong and I’m in control. I need this daily reminder, so I put post it notes on my mirror as a daily reminder that I’m worth it. I wrote my goals on these post it notes, as well as motivational quotes.

Final Thoughts

This month went by fast, but I enjoyed waking up each day to see what new challenge awaited me. I get bored super easy, so this was a fantastic way to change up my routine and do something different. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a change and doesn’t want to spend money on fancy workout programs, shakes or food. Jenna goes in-depth with the science behind her challenges and gives tips and tricks along the way (including how much fruit and vegetables you should be eating for your activity level and age.  All of these changes are easily adaptable and can become habit after a while (I now automatically drink water in the morning. Great way to start the day!)

These weren’t hard changes. In fact, some of the changes I had already incorporated into my life, like cutting out added sugars and meal prepping. I never kept up with a food diary before. I would start one but quickly dropped it from my routine.  I completed my food diary every day this month and it kept me honest with myself. If I bite it, I write it. Sometimes I would fill out my food diary in the morning with my meals and snack for the day. This helped keep me on track and accountable. I felt in control of something and it empowered me in a way. I love the exercises Jenna showed in the book. They kicked my butt, but they could be done with no equipment and in the comfort of my home.

My husband is losing weight with me, so I have a great support system at home, which is sometimes have the battle. We fill out our food journals together and plan our meals and grocery list each week.

      Life, hammock style

I also take time to indulge in some self care. The easiest way for me to do this is to sit in my hammock and enjoy the beauty of nature. I close my eyes, take some deep breathes and remind myself to stay in the present. Don’t focus on my past and don’t worry about my future.

While 7 pounds isn’t that big of a deal, it was to me. It showed me that I could do this and be successful.  I also think of this loss as a long-term goal.  If I lost 7 pounds a month for the next year, I will be close to my goal weight. I now know that I can do this because I already did it.

This month showed me that I am in control of my body and the decisions I make. Not my past. Not my husband. Not the media.

Me, myself and I.

I am the only person who can change myself. I could totally lie to myself and say I did my full workout when really all I did was sit on the ground half-assing it. I would only be hurting myself though.   And I’m done feeling anything less than awesome.

So tomorrow, July 1st, I will continue with these changes and look forward to another month of changes and loss (the good kind!)

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