Challenge yourself

I’ve been changing things up with my lifestyle, incorporating healthier activities and foods, for over a year now. But I still like to change things up. After the holidays, I had a hard time getting back in the game. I didn’t take a break during the holidays, but amidst the usual sweets and other sugary temptations, my weight loss had slowed down and plateaued for a while. I needed to mix things up so I re-evaluated what I had been doing.

Prior to January 1st, I had only been tracking my food ‘mentally’. I would write out meal plans and lists of various options of food throughout the day (snacks, breakfasts, etc), but I never counted calories. In fact, I was adamant that I didn’t want to count calories. I just didn’t want to feel restricted and wanted to go as long as I could just off of what I thought were healthier eating choices, and exercise. And it worked for a while, but after a couple of plateaus that were very challenging to get through mentally, I thought it was time to rethink my strategy.

So I started with creating an account on My Fitness Pal. Everyone was always talking about it as one of their weight loss tools, but I didn’t really know what it meant. I had a FitBit, and had just gotten my Garmin Forerunner for Christmas (thanks Hubby!), so I was interested in the option of sync’ing up my exercises and steps. Oh, it was life changing!

I loved how easy it was to track and count calories. One of my biggest fears/stressors was having to search for portions and certain foods, then having to log them and it all taking far too long. What?? There’s a barcode scanner??! It made the process SO easy! I drink a ton of water during the day (it’s not uncommon for me to surpass 16 glasses) so it was nice to actually log my intake and see how that and my calories would affect my weight. And the weight started coming off again!

I had some huge eye-openers. A breakfast quesadilla that I used to make myself on a regular basis was 800 calories! I had always thought it was such a good and healthy option because of what I put into it, but the portion size was out of control! At the same time, I started to see how many calories my workouts were getting me. This is where my love of cycle classes began. I could burn 500-600 calories in one class, and I actually started to have fun in them. The bike was no longer uncomfortable, because I was now used to it, and I learned how to efficiently adjust my resistance levels and what the class prompts meant.

In addition, I signed up for Beachbody. I had been a fan of their On Demand program, having seen a friend using it, and I loved PiYo Live classes. But I was most interested in the immediate availability of so many workouts, the support from other coaches and participants, and various challenges that you could participate in. I also wanted to get in on the tasty Shakeology vitamin shakes. I had always been horrible about taking vitamins, except for when I was pregnant and would take my prenatals religiously. I knew I needed to get back into a routine and this seemed like an easy fix. With the release of their new Cafe Latte flavor, I knew I would be hooked (and I am).

Immediately after joining with my coach, I signed up for a 30 day Cize challenge. Essentially, 6 days a week, I would do an OnDemand or DVD workout from their Cize program. Cize is a fun dance workout and my Zumba availability during the week is so limited because of my work and home schedule. Cize makes it easy to do anytime – after the kids go to bed or after a morning run… I just pop the DVD in or turn on my Beachbody OnDemand.

In addition to the workout challenge, I’m doing Shakeology every morning. I swapped out my usual granola bar and now get my drink, usually combined with half a banana and some almond milk, so I get a great combo of vitamins, proteins, and other amazing benefits, with about the same amount of calories. And it’s not so heavy that I can’t work out right after.

ShakeologyCizeChallengeMarch16
My morning routine now includes a Shakeology smoothie for breakfast or as a snack. I do a Cize workout everyday as part of my 30 day challenge.

I’m one week into the challenge, but I love it so far. I’d heard that workouts with Shaun T. were great, and I have to say I’m a little obsessed and wanting to try more of them.  I’ve loved starting my day with my Shakeology. My toddler keeps trying to fight me for it. In addition to the workout/drink combo, I get a handy little app where my coach posts daily updates and progress check-ins, as well as a message board where I can communicate with other participants. So, I’m totally sold! I’m excited to try leading my own challenge in the next couple of months. I’d love to do something like Cize or PiYo as they’re becoming two of my favorite programs. I an also track my workouts on the Beachbody website, and there are tons of great blogs and meal planning tools to give me some inspiration and motivation when I’m in a rut.

Even better, my husband is getting benefit from this too. He decided to do the 21 Day Fix challenge while I did Cize (he wasn’t feeling as coordinated). He had previously had a hard time getting a workout in or getting motivated to do one. He’s been doing Weight Watchers for the last few months, but knew he wanted to increase his activity. Well now, every night, he has been able to get in a quick workout from the 21 Day Fix dvd and streaming program.

I love that we’ve been able to make this a complete lifestyle change, but that we aren’t bored in the process. I’m looking forward to trying out the other video in the Beachbody arsenal – they just released a 22 Minute Hard Corps program that I’m totally tempted to try! Oh, and with all of this change, I’m excited to report that I went from a constant plateau to having lost another 18+ pounds. This combination of activities is helping me get to my end goal and fitness level.

If you’d like to know when I’m going to run a Challenge group for one of the Beachbody programs, ‘like’ my Facebook page for updates. You can also post to the page or message me with any questions.

How have you dealt with plateaus and other fitness/weight loss obstacles? What type of challenges do you like to participate in?

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