What I Learned
I wasn't really expecting this, but what I learned most wasn't how to eat better or some fun new workouts. Instead, it was the fact that I am stronger mentally than I know. Heck, we all are. The whole point of the challenge was to well, challenge myself to stick to a nutrition and training plan during a month when there are extra temptations at every turn.
Don't get me wrong, there were so many times I struggled to say no and had to literally look the other way in order to forget about the tray of sweets near me. But, my willpower was the strongest it's ever been because I told myself if I was going to do this challenge, I had to give it 100%.
During one of my last workouts, I also realized that it's important to trust the process. There will be days where you'd rather be a couch potato, or gorge on all the food, but you have to stay strong and know that each day you're one step closer to your goals. And the feeling of knowing you put every ounce of sweat in you could muster is a special feeling.
Physically, I feel great. Prior to the challenge (when my eating wasn't as strict) I would have days where I felt bloated or had a stomachache. Not one time during the challenge did I have any of those issues (with the exception of our cheat day because I ate like crap). It's pretty incredible to realize how the food we eat effects our systems - and how much of it is full of extra crap our bodies don't need and/or can't digest.
How I Feel
The program was created to lean you out and I can honestly say that it worked for me. I made a lot of progress during the month and I know that if I keep it up, I'll only see better results! However, I do feel a little lost. For a whole month, I was on a strict schedule and everything was planned out: from what and when to eat, to specific workouts, when to take a rest day, etc. I love having everything laid out, that way I can plan my meals and workouts ahead of time and stick to a schedule. (And if I have to switch my workout or meal time around one day, I still know what I need to do.)
For these first few days of January, I've been enjoying the post-challenge foods and some rest days. There were so many things I couldn't eat for a whole month, and right now I want all the Chick Fil A, Cava Grill, ice cream and chocolate. Plus, I've had a whole bag of sugar cookie Boom Chicka Pop sitting in the pantry... taunting me. Instead, I'm eating in moderation and sorta sticking to a good eating plan, just having a cinnamon roll when I want. ;) *follow on Snap?
After contemplating where to go with my training/nutrition, I have decided to do the challenge over again while adding in weightlifting. It's been a month since I've lifted and I miss it. Ryan from Skullz and Barbells is currently writing me a revised plan and I can't wait to get started!
With the start of the new year, I'm feeling so excited for what's to come. I've been reflecting and thinking about my goals for 2017 - fitness related and beyond - and my list is growing! I'll share more on that soon! ;)
In sum, this challenge was tough but I'm so glad I did it. I not only saw physical results but, more importantly, had a huge mindset shift. I feel mentally stronger and ready to tackle a new training and fitness plan which is the perfect way to start a new year if you ask me!