Day 22: Reflecting on the challenge ...
Sunday, June 22, 2008
So, it's done. Over. Finished with. The 21-day challenge, I mean.
My goal for this challenge was to get in 60 minutes of cardio 5 times a week. I actually managed to meet that goal!
How do I feel? Well, about 12 days into the challenge, I realised that I'd done it again - set myself up for failure by setting my sights MUCH higher than my normal schedule! :) (Yeah, that's what GOT me to this size too - my brain has NO idea what normal is!)
Anyway, I decided I wouldn't quit - I went ahead and did the 5 days of 60-minute cardio sessions. And 4 days of weights each week as well. I was definitely sending myself down the path towards serious burnout. At the end of the second week, I was so tired of the whole thing that I basically spent a weekend eating. And obviously, gained back about 3 pounds over start weight again. Grumbled, and got back "on the wagon", food-wise.
And then, something weird happened. I attended the Millionaire Mind Intensive. This is a very experiential seminar, all about getting your mind "unstuck", challenging what you "know" about yourself and the world around you, and basically hitting the "Reset" switch in your brain. The seminar focuses on financial issues, but each and every participant delved deeeeeep into their psyche to figure out where our own "blockages" were.
So there I was, sitting on a chair for 12 to 15 hours each day (okay, probably only 13 hours - we did have a couple of 15- minute breaks each day, and an hour for lunch), but still - long days of very little physical activity. Or so it would seem at first glance. However, what I didn't notice was that we got in LOTs of cardio. Every time we returned from any sort of break, there'd be music playing, and we'd all wind up dancing (well, most of us did - I love to dance, so I was dancing as long as the music played!). Plus, the team-exercises we did involved moving around a lot, finding partners, etc. Nothing major, but we really did not sit still for more than an hour at a time.
I didn't think much of it, bemoaning the fact that I'd skipped going to the gym both yesterday and today. And the fact that I'd wound up eating burgers 3 days in a row ... I'd taken pasta and sauce for lunches, but dinners were an opportunity to network and I decided to do just that - winding up with burgers and fries or onion rings.
So, given what happened last weekend, I'd resigned myself to gaining a pound or two - I mean, sedentary for 3 days, no gym for 2, plus burgers with unhealthy side dishes.
Until I weighed in. And discovered that I've actually got down to 207 pounds! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
So, what did I learn? Mainly this challenge reinforced what I've known - if I have fun and am enjoying my life, the weight comes off trivially easily. When I'm stressed about ANYTHING (including weight loss challenges), the weight simply refuses to come off.
I'm going to have to keep this fun. Which means basically not thinking about it, planning intense workouts, etc., but rather keeping myself so busy during the day that all I eat is what I've planned and packed - no time to waste means I just treat food as fuel - enjoy it, but not overdo it! That's what food was this entire past 3 days - plain and simply, FUEL. When I got hungry, if the seminar was still on, I dug out an Access bar and munched it. Lunch was what I brought, no extras. Dinner was a burger with friends, and the fries or rings were tasty, but not essential. Basically, the meals were opportunities to socialize rather than just to focus on stuffing my face.
I think I just found another key to MY weight management riddle.
Regimented workout routines don't work for me - I need variety and flexibility. And I need to keep my portions in control. And keep moving, several times each day ... for me, it looks as though several short spurts of low-intensity exercise works way better than intense cardio! :) I'm going back to dancing! :)
I'll be keeping this "personal key" around! And using it as much as I can!
Start weight: 210 on June 01, 2008
End weight: 207 on June 22, 2008