It’s the half way mark of the 8 week health challenge so, I wanted to do something a little different for this check-in. My partner, Trent, has been doing this challenge with me and I thought it’d be interesting to get his perspective on the experience so far.
What diet and lifestyle changes have made the biggest difference to your health and fitness?
Cooking at home more often – I’m taking food to work most days and not buying as much takeout. I was eating out lunch and dinner three or four days consecutively. It’s fairly obvious, although difficult to change the habit. Even when I indulge with homemade sauces and dressings, it’s still a much better choice.
Consistently going to the gym at least four times a week – I’ve found my motivation again and I’m actually enjoying my workouts.
Drinking less alcohol – Less often and less each time.
Drinking more water – I now drink 3.5-4 litres of water every single day. It’s my new normal.
Eating out less – We got a little lazy for a while there and were eating out 3-4 times a week. Far too many burgers and hot chips.
Smaller portions – I bloat easily and I find overeating is a trigger.
Consistency with my exercise – Currently I’m going to three fitness circuits each week, walking daily and stretching and foam rolling each night. I’ve found it easy to get into a good rhythm with this.
No alcohol – November was an alcohol-free month for me.
What results have you seen so far?
Strength and flexibility – I’ve placed a focus on going to gym more often and I’ve seen an overall increase of strength and flexibility.
Losing body fat – I’ve lost body fat around my stomach and “love handles”.
Increased energy – I’ve noticed a big increase in energy levels and my general interest for exercising and eating healthy has grown.
Saving money – I was eating out for lunch 5-7 times a week, so cooking more at home means I’ve stopped spending as much on food.
Bloating has drastically reduced – For the past few years I’ve struggled with severe bloating and spent hundreds of dollars seeking advice from nutritionists, naturopaths, acupuncturists and gastroenterologists. The changes that have made the most difference to the bloating is managing stress and anxiety (this one is key), cutting down caffeine intake (I only drink decaf coffee now), focussing on eating more whole, plant-based foods and less processed junk (even if it’s vegan), and reducing my portion sizes (eating smaller portions, more often).
I look forward to my workouts – I usually workout at 6am on weekdays and instead of dreading waking up early, I’m actually looking forward to exercise.
Losing fat and toning up – My upper body seems to lose fat before my lower body so, this is where I’m starting to notice the changes first.
Back and neck pain is almost gone – I’m putting this down to the combination of consistent exercise, daily stretching and foam rolling, seeing a chiropractor a few times and also changing my pillow.
What new belief, behaviour or habit has most improved your life over the past month?
Prioritising exercise again – I lost interest in exercise over the past few years. I was still going but only because I felt like I should. Eating well and exercising got me feeling healthy and all of a sudden I’m interested in the gym, and look forward to each session. As I start to see and feel results, my motivation keeps growing.
Focus on progress over perfection – This has been a game-changer. I am constantly reminding myself to let go of the unrealistic ideas of perfection and take the pressure off myself. Instead, I focus on making progress every day.
Each night, prepare yourself for the next day – Not necessarily a new habit, but definitely one that has made the biggest difference. Every night I lay out my active wear and pack my gym bag for the morning, I choose my outfit for work and make sure I have lunch prepared. Being prepared makes it easier to stick with my good intentions.
What areas do you need to improve in? What has been the most challenging aspect?
Making better decisions on food when hungry – I love eating, and I am pretty good at it too. Through my work, I’m often in a position which would be the norm to indulge in excessive amounts of food and alcohol. While its ok to enjoy myself from time to time, I’ve been known to get carried away in the moment and find myself feeling hung over or sluggish.
Managing stressing – This is something I have to work on continuously. I’m getting better at it but it’s not easy.
Too much chocolate – I don’t eat a huge amount. But it is a weakness of mine. Lately, I’ve been having the Loving Earth
Being patient – I’m at a point where I feel healthier and stronger but I don’t actually see a huge difference in my progress photos. I wanted to talk about this because I know how discouraging it can be. I’m putting in the hard work and consistency at the gym and still no weight loss. Which is COMPLETELY NORMAL. It’s only been four weeks… We’re in a time of social media overload. Never before have I been confronted with such an endless stream of photos showing drastic transformations and perfect bodies.
How do you stay motivated?
Just get started – For me, it’s more so getting motivated and started. Once I am motivated I can generally keep pushing and making progression, only stopping when I fall ill or have a large night out. I guess my response would be to avoid getting sick or feeling sick. This could be mentally and physically with work or play. One thing I have learnt since I had Dengue fever is to understand when my body is feeling run down and on the verge of being sick. So, as I feel that coming on, I will up the dose of Armaforce and pull back on the exercise and long work days.
Create solid habits and be disciplined – I’ve found that motivation wears off quite quickly and it’s actually discipline that kicks in and keeps you on track.
Which recipes are you enjoying the most?
I am thoroughly enjoying the Broccoli Pesto Pasta, mainly because I am obsessed with sun dried tomatoes.
The Mexican Salad is my favourite main meal and Chocolate Buckini Balls are my favourite treat. Both recipes will be up on the blog next week.
What are your goals for the next 4 weeks?
I had an injured shoulder from work, which has healed around 80%. I would like to see that at 100% so I can increase the type of exercises at gym. Other than that, it is to maintain consistency of eating and exercise. I am lucky enough to have a responsive body, so I would expect to see a further reduction in body fat while continuing to increase strength.
Goal #1: Be consistent with my exercise
I’ve found a good rhythm with exercise and now I need to maintain it:
- 3 x Fitness Circuits at my gym
- 1 x Reformer Pilates class, also at my gym
- Walking to and from work as much as possible
- Stretch and foam roll before each gym class and before bed each night
Goal #2: Eat home-cooked meals as much as possible
This means less takeout, regular sized portions and saving money.
Goal #3: Another month of no alcohol
I’m loving how I’m feeling with no alcohol so I’m going for another month. December is full of celebrations so I’ve picked a tough month to do it too. There’s one exception to this as I have a good friend’s 30th birthday winery tour this weekend and I’d like to drink. The next time after this will be New Years Eve.
Goal #4: Meditate daily
Even if it’s just for a few minutes. This is a habit I really want to form. I’ll be using Headspace, a guided meditation and mindfulness app that makes it easy to incorporate meditation into your day.