What did I do?
Starting of slowly was super important, and it has allowed me to build more activity into my routine as my energy levels rise - yes, rise! You'd think with all the workouts I'd be an exhausted mess, but it turns out all those fitness bloggers weren't lying - exercise gives you energy. I mean, I knew this from a scientific standpoint - endorphins and all that - but I think there was a part of me that didn't want to believe it, that was using it as an excuse. No more.
But first - roadblock.
Three full days of bedridden nausea/headaches/bodyaches/fever/depression - you name it. My body and brain went full "nope" on me and I started panicking. February is a short month. How do I come back from this? Do I try and keep going anyway (bad idea)?
Rest. Is. Important.
You're going to get sick. You're going to get sore. Life happens. Roll with it, and just pick everything up from where you left off. A few days without working out, or a few crappy meals isn't going to undo all of your hard work. This is a lifestyle change, not a short-lived "fad" plan you need to stick to religiously to get results.
After I recovered, it was time to get back into it. Here's the activities I engaged in this month. So many activities.
As you may have read last month, I used to think that yoga was a boring thing pseduo hippies did so they could talk about their chakras in a room full of people paying them for their "wisdom".
Now, thank to the lovely Adriene of "Yoga with Adriene" on YouTube (I may have referred to her as "my yoga instructor" to my amused co-workers on more than one occasion) yoga is a daily part of my life. I'm definitely more bendy, my posture is better, by upper back pain is gone and I find I understand my body more - helping me in all my other activities. I evangelically recommend yoga to everyone who feels a bit "blergh".
I'm not at "fancy silhouette on the beach" poses level yet, but give it time. I'm so gonna be one of those people - and I'm not even sorry.
I do a 30 minute video every morning, and a 20 minute video before bed. This is the one I use after a big day of hiking.
Yoga 5eva. #namaste
Speaking of hiking, my little group is growing! Every week we alternate between the mountains and the sea, and the hikes are getting more and more intense.
I get to spend time with friends, explore our beautiful country, and expand on my badassery with survival skills - like removing a gazillion leeches off my feet.
With my endurance up a little from hiking, I was ready to tackle some high intensity cardio workouts - in the comfort of my own home where no one could judge me, of course.
Fitness Blender are brilliant, and have a whole bunch of workouts depending on what you're after. I get bored easily, so love this one. It only takes 25 minutes and no exercise is repeated.
I did these videos in place of tennis this month, since my tennis was super busy. In the past I would have just not done anything at all. Yay for progress!
I gave my weights routine a really good crack this month. Twice a week - and I'm more than ever. I don't make eye contact with anyone at the gym, still. The super-fit people still intimidate me and I always feel like they are juding me.
I put a good podcast in my ears, and lift. I've found if I do weights first, then a Fitness Blender video (while I'm still on an endorphin high) then finish it off with yoga I feel amazing on days I don't have a more "structured" workout - like hiking or axe throwing.
For real. I'm in an actual, real life Axe Throwing League.
Competitive axe throwing is tough. My axe throwing arm (lol) and shoulder were sore for an entire week after my first session. It requires a good amount of strength and co-ordination (of which I have very little at the moment) and a whole lot of perseverance (of which I proudly excel at).
I seriously do feel like a badass. Wonder Woman with axe throwing skills. Hell yeah.
Well, let's call it jogging for now. I am slow. I take so many breaks. And you know what? It doesn't matter. Because I'm still out there, still giving it a go.
I used to get teased a lot for how I run when I was at school. My legs do this funny "flick out to the sides" thing. But you know what? Who cares.
My legs work. I am grateful for that. And I'm using them.
I genuinely surprised myself at how far I can run (only 1km without stopping for now, but wow - that's huge for me). Oh, and I just scored some decent running shoes (although it should be obvious, I do not recommend Converse) - so that might help even more.
Before y'all recommend Zombies Run to me - I worked out how to cheat, so there's no point in me playing the game anymore. I'll stick with blaring Prodigy and Beyonce in my ears while I pretend I'm better at this than I am for now.
Hands up if you've seen Whip It and wanted to be Ellen Page. *raises hand*
That's how I ended up here. Roller derby name suggestions are welcome.
Not content with being in one kind of league, I also joined a roller derby league. I have it on good authority I'm likely to end up with many, many injuries from this completely badass full contact rollerskating sport that I'm yet to fully understand.
But for now, I'm taking it slow (like everything else in this challenge) with some learn to skate classes. It turns out you do a lot of squatting in roller derby, and because you skate in one direction, you end up with one of your glutes and thighs bigger than the other. So I'll have one axe throwing arm, and one roller derby lower half. I'm going to have to balance this out in my weights sessions.
What did I eat?
Let me remind you once again why I listen to my personal trainer/nutrition and health couch, Thor.
The dude clearly knows what he is doing.
He has me eating more calories than I have in my life, from a selection of good foods - here's a reminder of some examples of what's considered "good":
- Coconut oil
- Cheese (yes!)
- Flaxseed Oil
- Dark Chocolate
- Lean red meat
- Lean poultry
- Milk & Cheese
I just have to hit a macro intake - a certain amount of carbs, fats and protein worked out specifically for me by my trainer on a daily basis. I know how much I'm having by logging it in MyFitnessPal, but am quickly learning even without having to use the app what I can eat to get my macros balanced.
I love cooking, and rarely eat out, so it hasn't been a huge challenge for me. I eat oats with fruit for breakfast, have sandwich ingredients in my office kitchen at work (avocado, roast beef or chicken, salad stuff, cheese with a nice soy and linseed bread), snack on bananas, nuts, yogurt and more cheese.
For Dinners, I've managed to get myself obsessed with saving money cooking from Sarah Wilson's Simplicious book, which focuses on "just eating real food". I have a fridge and freezer full of stock, par-cooked vegetables, pre-sliced fruit, serving size portions of roast meats, homemade pesto and a whole bunch of other ingredients I pull together that meet my macro requirements. She makes it look prettier than I do. Meals like this:
I make my grated salads in big batches and convert into lunches throughout the week. By Friday it turns into a one-pan mish-mash, heated through with batches of meat from the freezer that I have collated from leftovers at restaurants. Today it's lamb from a wonderful dinner @folonomo a few weeks ago. #sarahwilsoneats #foodwastegirl #Simplicious #zerowaste #foodwastehacks
Also, I've managed to develop a slight obsession with boiled eggs. They are perfect little protein packs you can take on hikes, have in your bag, or in the fridge at home - just waiting for you to feel a bit hungry but not want to feel to full before a workout or before your main meal.
Surely I give myself a cheat day, though? Nah. I suck at those. Before I know it I'll have eaten an entire tub of ice cream, half a batch of homemade choc-chip cookies and one of those giant KFC family buckets. And I'll feel awful. What I do is give myself a "cheat meal" after my giant epic hikes. Although something strange is happening, even with those.
I'm okay with just something indulgent, like a hot chocolate. I don't want to eat fried food anymore. It makes me feel sick. And this is coming from someone who used to eat a ten pack of nuggets for second breakfast.
So...do you have any results?
This month I lost a grand total of *drumroll please* 2kg. That's double last month, and brings my total loss in two months up to three kilograms - but it's still not the huge drop you'd expect from someone doing daily yoga, grueling hikes, axe throwing, jogging, roller derby, HIIT training, and eating almost perfectly. There's infomercials that tell me people lost more weight than that in less time just standing on a vibrating platform.
But you know what? Those infomercials lie, and I'm perfectly okay with what the scales say. Last month I was a little let down, but this month I genuinely feel so much more comfortable in my skin I don't give a damn what the scale tells me.
My progress photos aren't a whole lot different to last month either (excuse the 6am bleary-eyed husband potato photos. I might have to do these properly for you one day).
I've now lost 4cm from by bust, 4cm from my hips and 12cm from my waist. My body fat percentage is down a total of 3.2%. I'm now officially "healthy" according to all of those (often inaccurate, but anyway) online calculators.
I feel incredible. I love my new lifestyle, I have way more energy than before, and I'm wasting far less time scrolling through social media. I feel like I'm living my life - gaining new skills, opportunities and confidence. I know I sound like an awful #inspo influencer, but I promise I'll always keep it real, no matter how bendy and fast and strong and badass I get.
Let's take a look at "The Plan":
- Strength (I'm lifting twice a week now, and am slowly upping my weights. The axe throwing is helping, too!)
- Flexibility (Daily Yoga is my religion now. I will be able to hold my foot above my head soon)
- Endurance (Hiking, running, derby, axe throwing - I can break a sweat and not feel like I'm dying)
- Eating food that fuels me (I definitely have the basics nailed, now might be time to go more in depth)
- Killing a man with my bare hands AKA badassery (I'm throwing axes, surviving in the wilderness and am on my way to being a terrifying Roller Derby player)
This month I definitely amped it up a little, so now it might be time to set some concrete goals. Do I want to run 5km? Complete a two day hike? Diversify my workouts even more? Focus on specific muscle groups? Finally start martial arts? I'm open to your suggestions!
You can follow along, even join in, with #couchpotatotowonderwoman on Instagram. Speaking of which, check out these legends:
I don't do shoutouts. But this is incredible. If you check out #couchpotatotowonderwoman you won't just see me fumbling my way through getting healthy. You'll see a whole bunch of badass women documenting their own workouts, healthy meals, and progress pics. I've tagged them all in this pic, so if you need more #fitspo - give them a follow!
There's a whole bunch of people doing this now, which is super motivating.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or there's extra info you'd like to know - just let me know in the comments below.
Until next month, Lifehacker.