Let the 8-Week Health Challenge Begin!

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The day has come. 8-weeks of health.

Intentional health-conscious decisions.

Remember – this doesn’t mean just losing weight. Health can take on numerous meanings that are very personal to each individual.

Last March I started a health journey that had absolutely nothing to do with losing weight. It had to do with me detoxing and protecting my brain. I heard Ted Talk that talked about the benefits of mental health and exercise. I was persuaded when the speaker talked about how we can limit our risk of Alzheimers and Dementia just by adding in 30 minutes of cardio, 3 times per week.

Check out that Ted Talk here.

I took action right away.

Sunday. Tuesday. Thursday.

Those were my cardio days.

I didn’t change my diet. I still drank lots of wine. I still ate Chick-fil-a almost every day. I just added three days of cardio – 30-minute sessions.

I woke up earlier on those 3 mornings and got the cardio done before my day actually started. I didn’t negotiate with myself. I didn’t have an option.

I would have my workout clothes sitting out the night before. When the alarm went off the next morning, I would get up – get dressed – grab my laptop and head to the garage.

I would pull up youtube and type in 30-minute cardio workout I’d find something that looked appealing and I’d get started.

On days when I felt weak or extra heavy, I’d type in 30-minute low impact cardio workout.

**Side note** Popsugar has some of the best workouts that I’ve found on Youtube.

And thus my health journey began.

Nowadays I workout 5-6 days per week. I do weight training, body weight training, and cardio. I count macros (on and off), I meal prep, and I limit my alcohol consumption.

My point is – you don’t have to get there today. You don’t have to conquer everything today. You don’t have to restrict every enjoyable food today.

You just have to start somewhere.

For me, that was 30-minutes of cardio, 3 times per week.

Which eventually led to me cutting back on alcohol.

Then led to me learning about intermittent fasting.

Then led to me realizing how I was addicted to food (carbs and sugar – constantly spiking my insulin).

Then led me to learn about supplements.

Then led me to the importance of good quality sleep.

The journey has revealed a lot. I experienced burn out. I had a psychological meltdown and went on a junk food binge (more than once). I injured myself a few good times. I was forced to rest and shut down.

Ultimately I’ve learned more about myself than I ever have. I realized I actually enjoy eating well and taking care of my body. But – I’ll also enjoy some donuts from time to time. And guess what? When you’ve worked hard and eat a clean diet (for the most part), a few donuts don’t ruin your progress.

Start somewhere.

Journal. Start writing to yourself about WHY you want to do this.

Why do you want to join the 8-week challenge?

What do you want to gain from this experience?

Last year, for me, it started with I wanted to have a better memory and better brain health. The weight loss was a byproduct. But my WHY was never weight loss. My Why was better brain function.

Here’s what I’ve done today to prepare for the next 8-weeks.

  • Earlier this weekend I mapped out the foods I wanted to consume based off of my “cutting” macros. See previous post.  Today I grocery shopped and started meal prep. I leave flexibility in my first couple of weeks. So I only prepped for 3 days out of my work week. The other days I’ll improvise based off of how I feel. The foods will stay within my calories for the day, but if I prep too hard, I feel boxed in and then I rebel. Tony, my husband is totally different. He can map his food, prep his food and eat his food without sliding off course one time.  Not I. I need some wiggle room. Leaving options open help me feel as though I’m in control and still enjoying life without being too rigid. This is how this stays a lifestyle for me.

 

  • I made food I like and food that’s easy to prepare. I’m not a huge fan of ground meats. But I like ground turkey meat with Trader Joe’s taco seasoning and 1 can of tomato sauce (per the instructions on the Trader Joe’s seasoning packet). This is a great protein source for me. I mix it up with some Trader Joe’s jasmine rice (microwavable) and some chopped sweet potatoes. Portioned out to fit my macros, this yummy bowl is about 400 calories. Super filling. Super delicious! I also don’t want to spend a million years making food. Microwavable rice is a quick go-to for me.

 

  • I wrote out a plan for the week (specific and detailed). I also wrote out a plan for the next 4 weeks (loose and overview). My plan for this upcoming week has a lot of cardio worked in. I’ve also got my food and macros listed. I’ve got rest days mapped out. I’ve got one “cheat meal” included. As far as the 4-week plan, my first 2 weeks are me adjusting to something new. Nothing too rigid and strict. The last 2 weeks are when I should start seeing some good progress and begin to tighten up a little on my diet (lessen out the carbs, give myself more food volume with veggies rather than carbs). At the end of the 1st month of this challenge, I’ll do the same with the next 4 weeks plan. Except it will be more strict and more defined.

Drinking lots of water, enjoying my Sunday! That’s my day.

I’m excited to be on this journey with you. What’s your why? What’s your goal? What did you do today to prepare for the 8-week challenge? I’d love to hear your responses. You may have some good tips to share with me – so please do!

Oh, and if you came here because of my Instagram post. Here is the probiotic and digestive enzyme that I take before each meal.

Day 1, y’all.

It should never feel daunting. If you’ve started and you already feel defeat. Stop. Re-evaluate. You’re not doing it right. Most likely you’re trying to start this 8-week challenge the way you’ve started these types of journies in the past. AND most likely, those journies didn’t end well for you. You can’t do what you’ve always done (if it wasn’t sustainable). This is a whole new beginning. You’re stepping out into something completely different this time around.

It’s a great time to take care of you.

Let’s get it.

-AP

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