Fall Challenges

I did it.  I signed up for another challenge.  I’d say it’s an addiction and it was a little bit but this one is different.  I’ve done it before and I legitimately enjoyed the process.

This is much needed.  Nothing health-related has been exciting to me for quite awhile.  I was, by no means, in tip-top shape a few months ago but I felt great about it.  Exercise 5-6 days a week had become my norm.  I consistently logged what I was eating and if I had treats, I would account for them at other meals.  This worked.  I liked it.  I felt strong and healthier.

But, then I did too much.  I did three halfs with little time in between to rest. The pendulum swung to one end a littler further than I should have let it.  Without fully realizing it, I started to rebel and didn’t want anyone (myself included) telling me what to do. After my last half marathon last October, I took time off from running.  The problem was I decided to listen to myself and figured I would know what I was ready to get back on the road.  That time never came.  I attempted to do easy workouts, like walking or the elliptical and a few weight workouts here and there.   I started sleeping in and skipping them.  I’d go a few days in a row and then decide I’d feel better with one more hour of sleep instead.  Guess what?  I rarely did.

Morning gym sessions are vital to my health success.  I’m for an evening class too but it’s so much easier to talk myself out of them or to be busy with something else.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who normally doesn’t have anything scheduled at 5am!  That time is quiet and my own to do with whatever I please.  There are only a handful of days that I felt more tired after working out in the AM.  (And that was when I’d run 6+ miles to fit into a training schedule.)

My eating went downhill with it.  It’s such a close link. When I run regularly, I naturally eat more whole foods and don’t really get cravings.  It can’t be obsessive with tracing every little thing down to the crumb, but when I reach for snacks mindlessly, I never feel full or satisfied. I’m constantly thinking I need something to fill me up.  IMG_5482

So many positives come out of sticking to healthy habits.  Mentally, I feel more awake.  Emotionally I feel great about myself, knowing what I just did before others even got out of bed. Physically I’m stronger, lighter, and more alive.

I’m worth more than the junk I’ve been feeding myself.  I’m worth more than sitting on the couch night after night.  I’m especially worth more than the excuses I’ve told myself why “tomorrow” I’ll be better.

When you take yourself out of the game for too long, your mind gives you reasons why it’s not worth it to get back out there.  It’s always worth it.

So, what am I doing about it?

My favorite girl trainers from Tone It Up have a 21 Day Fall Challenge that started today.  It’s free!  There are a few workouts that are extra and if you’re not a member you don’t see every single recipe but you can easily do the entire challenge without paying a cent. I enlisted my sister to do this with me.  I’ve actually never done any kind of workout program or training with anyone else!  I think this will help me stay accountable long enough to remember everything I love about fitness.  Muscle memory is a real thing and totally becomes a habit to get up at the crack of dawn, when it’s still dark and freezing.

Here’s the gist:

Workouts: 21 Days of workouts consisting of 21 reps/movement.  At the beginning of each week, you get the workouts you’re supposed to do for each day.  Some days there is 20-30 minutes cardio/HIIT and the your Daily Moves.

Meals: You are given 3 weeks worth of meal plans.  TIU is known for having 5 meals/day. You should limit starches after meal 3. No fried food, artificial ingredients, or added sugar.  It sounds like a lot but it’s actually pretty simple.  If you’re not feeling creative, you can follow the meal calendar to the “T,” but there are so many options you will never run out of combinations.  Meal 1 is oats, protein pancakes, eggs and veggies.  Meal 2 is usually a piece of fruit and maybe some nut butter.  Meal 3 is probably a salad but they have tons of flavor and dressing ideas that I’ve never thought of and every one I’ve made has been great.  Meal 4 is a low carb snack like a clean protein bar or hummus and carrots.  They have recipes for everything!  Peanut butter cookies, pumpkin pie overnight oats, avocado toast, etc.

My new favorite mug ($5.99 at Target) had leftover Starbucks Americano.  I made a quick  snack for meal 1.  Gluten free granola, goji berries, coconut flakes, and dates.  It was really good too.  IMG_5473There’s a free community you can connect with on Facebook, Instagram, or the TIU site.  Anyone doing the workouts and eating the same food, can “check-in” and talk to other members.  Everything i’ve experienced has been positive. I’ve never tried any sort of eating plan that had such range but was also easy and clean.  This is not an infomercial!  I’m just into it.

Today I ran 2 miles and did 3 sets of weighted exercises.  I had trail mix, eggs with veggie sausage and sweet potatoes, a protein bar, green beans with chicken, and an amazing pear and arugula salad with fish on the side.  Doesn’t that sound like a ton of food??  It was.  I wasn’t hungry at all but I wasn’t disgustingly full either.  That’s it.  I meal prepped some things and wrote down what I’m eating.  That little bit of preparation is worth everything.  I made oatmeals, washed lettuce, roasted a mixture of vegetables, and planned out my snacks.

This salad was delicious and I want to eat it all the time!IMG_5485I’m ready to have a go at a new lifestyle instead of a “challenge” with an end date.  Even though this is technically a 21 day feat, the entire premise is for life.  Periodically they do these types group challenges to kickstart your habits and/or get in touch with girls in the same mindset.  It’s not very gimmicky.  It’s more of a way of living.

By me putting it out here, I’m holding myself a little more accountable.  It was not fun knowing most of my jeans are crazy tight right now.  But, it’s a sign I need to get back to my real self.  It’s not telling me to throw in the towel!

It’s only the end of Day 1 but it honestly feels like just a simple, healthy day.  Nothing crazy but everything good.


Everyone is capable of change, no matter where they are in life.

~Whitney Victoria