Challenge accepted!

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My September challenge is slowly coming to an end and, even though I managed to stick to my objective most of the time, the results are rather disappointing.

Diet

I did excellent in the no junk food department. It is important for me to eat healthy but also to allow myself a few cheat meals. I enjoy food and eating out and I don’t want to restrict myself completely. I’ve been on the dark side as well and restrictive diets are anything but healthy, they are not maintainable and do a lot of damage on the long run.

Breakfast and dinner was mostly healthy and light but keeping it real for lunch at work is difficult. I go to the canteen most of the times because there are no other options, except having a sandwich or a slice of cake at a nearby bakery which doesn’t qualify in the healthy category either. The food at the canteen is as you can imagine nor light or healthy but I try to choose wisely and compensate it at dinner time.

Sport

I set a target of minimum 30 minutes of sports per day and I can proudly say that managed to keep it every single day. I even have proof:

Capture

I go running 4 times a week, I am doing the 5K training plan on Endomondo. Sidenote: the app and the website is awesome and great for motivation. My Endo-friends are cheering me during a workout and sending me encouraging peptalks which puts always a smile on my face.

I significantly improved my running pace in these last 4 weeks in general although this week I took a turn for the worst. I know during running when I don’t do so well but sometimes I have a good feeling about it and then I take a look at the statistics and it turns out I was slower than the previous times. I actually expected to see small improvements every time but it’s more like going one step forward and sometimes two steps back.

Additionally I try to do a bit of yoga and strenght training. I have a bunch of dvds at home I’ve been practicing with. Some I don’t like so much, others are too difficult but I do have some favorites. I also searched on YouTube on Apple TV and found some amazing training videos like the Jilian Michaels 30 Day Shred Level 1 (trust me, level 1 is more than enough for me right now!) and I’ve been meaning to try her Yoga Meltdown, Level 1 is also available on YouTube. I will probably buy the dvds when I can handle the next level.

Lastly, if it is not a running day and I failed to do the workout I planned for that day, I simply walk home from the train station which is only about 15-20 minutes but still better than doing absolutely nothing.

Lessons learned

I learned a lot during this month and I will share some with you:

  • I am used to weighting myself daily each morning. On the days when the scale shows less than the previous day, I indulge. On the days when it shows more, I eat less, perhaps even too little. Lesson learned: I now only weight myself once a week on Sunday.
  • I like to find excuses not to get my workout in. I am too tired. It is too late. I will do it tomorrow. My gym bag is still at work since weeks.Lesson learned: plan my workouts upfront. I print out a monthly calendar where I organize my workouts and stick it on the inside of my closet door so I can see it every day. If life happens and I can’t manage then I find an alternative, even if it is only walking for 20-30 minutes.
  • I calculated my BMR and set this as my calorie goal. I have also put the recommended macros into MFP but I recently realised that it’s not been working for me because I’ve been mostly just maintaining and not losing.Lesson learned: some values calculated on a website might apply to some but not to others. Experiment with it, tweak it and find the one that works best for me.
  • I do mostly cardio exercises. I walk and go running a lot.Lesson learned: In order to lose weight and reduce body fat, I have to build more muscle. I need to broaden my sport activities and do more weight training and yoga.
  • While I feel that I could run better and faster, I get out of breath fast.Lesson learned: learn to control my breathing during running. I still need to figure out how.
  • Sometimes I don’t eat for many hours and I get so hungry that I would eat anything and that anything ends up being most of the times something unhealthy and calorie-rich. I also go over my calorie goal sometimes and don’t stay within my macros (too much carbs and fat, not enough protein). Lesson learned: I will plan my meals ahead of time, perhaps even for the entire day, write it into my food diary on My Fitness Pal upfront so if I stray I will have to change it which might help me stick to the plan. Preparation is the key!

Most importantly I also realised that 30 days is a short time for such a challenge. Getting healthy and in shape requires time, consistency and discipline, especially when it comes to losing those last few stubborn pounds, so I have decided to continue this challenge in the next few months. I have become wiser and I will take the lessons I have learned, apply them, improve them and hopefully get the results I want.

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