Jaeah L.

Jaeah L.

Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready | Day 23 (Member)
Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready
Day 23
 
Program progress:
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Kenzai Mind - unfinished business 

I got a lot out of Kenzai Mind in the first few weeks. The meditation, diet, and exercise combination felt like a holy trifecta of clean living. It helped especially as work and house projects scaled up as the holidays drew closer. After that I fell off completely and got swept up into the pre-holiday work rush followed by holiday extravaganza. I'm proud of the progress and learning I made in that short period of time, and looking forward to trying again in the coming year, along with Reach and who knows, maybe even KB2. :) Happy New Year to my teammates and the Kenzai community!


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Two weeks of short daily meditation has already taught me a lot about our perception of time and how it passes. It's been fascinating to feel like there is an eternity in those 10 minutes, a refreshing change from the usual feeling that none of us have any time anymore.

I'm glad the earlier lessons focused on thought chains and how they are a natural part of the practice. I'm finding that my mind wanders for most of my meditation session, but in between there are a handful of brief, fleeting moments where I only see the white drapes in front of me and can feel my senses taking in a quiet moment of now. They each only seem to last a few seconds, but powerful!

In between meditation, working out, the usual rhythm of life, Emory and I have been happy to dial the diet back in. We find ourselves recent converts to the spiralizer movement. I swore I could never get into zoodling—how could a vegetable replace noodles! And while the texture still isn't convincing, I've come to enjoy twirling zucchini around my fork over simply stabbing those green discs. Meal photo is of a recent dinner plate we made with herb chicken breast (season with spices, stick it in the oven at 400 degrees F, 25 minutes, done) and seasoned jasmine rice.

I recently found a lot of meal prep inspiration from Lisa Bryan's Downshiftology blog. She's done a few YouTube videos on meal prepping. Not totally Kenzai compliant, but good if you're looking for simple ideas. Here's a meal prep guide she shares if you sign up for her newsletter:

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/9c4fe2abc870cefd65b95f675/files/0b42cd5e-87a1-449a-920d-e4dd0e0db34a/Meal_Prep_Ideas_Downshiftology.pdf?utm_source=Downshiftology&utm_campaign=aa428f249a-AUTOMATION_Welcome_Message_1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_315c23a5a7-aa428f249a-288317977&mc_cid=aa428f249a&mc_eid=667eea82c3

main photo: bluecourage.com


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(photo: our family dog is a meditation master)

A lot of life happened after I finished KB1 back in April—moving, taking care of a sick family member, a ton of work travel...I can't believe these past seven months have blown by already.

It feels really good to log in after all this time to find familiar faces. Fun to see my old teammates still going at it!

When I finished KB1 I set a goal to learn lap swimming. I'm happy to report that while I've been away I've become pretty decent at it—I'm managing 20-26 lengths now and starting to work on flip turns...nevermind my poor form. :)

I'm a few days late to Week 1 but looking forward to catching up on the lessons, dialing in the diet/exercise, and building new habits in the mind. And returning to the blogs!


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Day 92 (!) - the moment of truth 

First, a confession: Emory and I stayed on program until today, which is technically Day 92. In one of my initial posts I mentioned that we were taking part in the Kenzai Study, a collaboration between Kenzai and UCSF to track our progress before and after. The earliest we could schedule our post-program body scans and blood tests was on Tuesday morning (Day 93), so we decided to stay on diet and exercise for an extra two days. It'll be interesting to see what those numbers show. I'll share before/after comparisons in a later post if that's possible. Tomorrow, after our tests are done, we'll begin our three-day rest period.

As Day 90 approached, our pace of life intensified, much as the workouts did. We moved apartments (currently sitting in our new living room surrounded by unopened boxes), and in a true climax Day 90 coincided with our official move-in day. We lost sleep last week because we were up late packing, but somehow we stuck to our workouts and meals through it all. Thinking back on it now, it feels like a miracle that we have come this far.

Back in December, I felt the most sluggish and weak I had in my entire life. Today, I feel the strongest, fittest, most physically confident I have ever felt. This was precisely what I hoped to get out of training with Kenzai. If I’m being completely honest, I really did not know at the outset where I would end up by the time Day 90 came and was even a bit skeptical. But here I am now, a transformed believer, not only in this program but most importantly in myself. Everything feels possible, and this high is something I hope to carry with me for many months and years to come.

As you all know, my other half Emory completed KB2 over the same 90 days, and as Jim and Malia predicted in the beginning, being a team of two gave us a superpower. There was something magical about going through this program with a partner. We worked out together almost every day. We helped each other prep meals and snacks when the other got slammed with work. We developed a shared obsession over the meaning of fitness, healthy eating, and the balance in between. All of this is unprecedented for us. It feels like we've entered a new dimension in our relationship through our shared Kenzai experience. We built new cooking, exercise, and sleeping habits. We leaned on each other through cravings and valleys. We learned to work together and grow through what has probably been the busiest three months of our lives. We grew more resilient.

Speaking of Malia and Jim, thank you for shining the light for us every step of the way. I feel we were really lucky to have been paired with such kind, motivating trainers, and without a doubt your encouragement and wise counsel deepened the quality of our training on all ends.

Last but not least, I would not be here without my fantastic, inspiring, dedicated Rigel teammates. At varying points, each of your words, photos, recipes, tips, and insights helped me push through the most trying and difficult parts of this long journey. Your support and this community we built is what I will miss the most. I literally cried while reading Kathleen’s heartfelt graduation post and look forward to catching up on everyone else’s.

I hope we’ll stay in touch and continue sharing, inspiring, through both the highs and the lows. I, for one, would love to share more Kenzai life hacks, insights on post-program balance, recipes, etc—I just figured out a chicken breast cooking hack that I will share soon. (Wait, we can continue blogging, right?) And if you're ever in San Francisco, please give us a shout!

I have to admit that during today's workout I felt like a fish out of water without my Kenzai app telling me which set to do next and how long to rest in between. But I'm feeling good about this next chapter and looking forward to finding my own balance, like adding more variety into my daily exercises. I feel confident enough now to start swimming, and am looking forward to returning to yoga and dance classes. And of course, when the time comes, I'm looking forward to joining a new program and embarking on a new set of discoveries.

I can’t wait to see where everyone goes from here.

Onward!


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We just discovered a new afternoon snack hack...

Start with a glass or mug of your allotted Lactaid 2% milk - nutritionally the same as regular milk, but tastes sweeter (an effect of the broken down sugar that the lactose intolerant have a hard time digesting)

Whisk in 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder...

Top it off with berries, chopped apples, or another fruit

Grab a spoon and enjoy!

SO DELICIOUS


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Life just keeps getting crazier as we ramp up into the final week of KB1...we are moving to a new apartment starting tomorrow! Thankfully we are not going very far, but still, organizing the move and packing, on top of work and regular life are all reeeeally challenging our ability to stay on top of the meals and workouts. More on that later...

I am just getting back from a brief two-night work trip to DC. Both flights took off early in the morning, and my time was stacked with work and family engagements, so this trip was more challenging than the last. Here’s how it shook out.

Before the trip - food and gear prep

The night before my flight, Emory helped me pack a tote bag with my breakfast, coffee with milk, lunch, plus my egg whites, fruits, and veggies for the day. The food lasted me through my afternoon snack, which was just what I needed before going out to dinner with family. I didn’t want to check any bags so I packed the minimal clothing I needed on one side of my suitcase and my yoga mat, jump rope, and bands in the other with my toiletries. I also had a small backpack with my laptop and valuables, so with the food bag I was pushing the carry-on limit but hoped no one would notice I had three items. (Thankfully no one did.)

Day 1, 6:45am - at the airport

SFO has a yoga room that I have seen advertised on airport billboards for years but never visited. I usually get to the gate after boarding begins, but this time I built in an extra half hour with a grand plan to complete my free cardio in the fabled yoga room. I wore my workout clothes to the airport and packed new underwear and comfortable clothes to change into after getting sweaty.

After getting to the airport I took a few minutes to sit and drink up my coffee and morning milk allotment before heading through security. The security lines were long because of spring break so I was glad to have my TSA-pre pass.

Once I got through security, I found a map of the terminal and located the yoga room. The sign on the door said the room was for yoga only, but when I got in there I was alone, so I took my liberties, pulled out my jump rope and got to it. I hadn’t slept well because I was afraid of missing my flight, but surprisingly I had a lot of energy for the 21-minute skip session. The sunlight came into the room as I finished up and that felt good. I finished up, changed real quick, and headed for my gate.

On the way I stopped at the airport market to pick up some plain yogurt (non fat because there was no low fat plain option), water, and a banana. It felt great to board my flight knowing I had gotten my workout out of the way for the day.

Day 1 - 5pm dinner out

After arriving, I went to see my mom and relatives, and had my afternoon snack before going out to dinner. My family knew I was on Kenzai and planned for us to go to a Brazilian steak house, which had a salad buffet and made meat without salt. I probably ate more than my allotted 70g of dinner protein, but I did my best to eat slowly and pay attention to how full I felt to keep it modest.

My mom is the best and had asked me to send her a list of anything I wanted her to pick up at the grocery store before I arrived. So when I got there she had yogurt, milk, broccoli/cauliflower, and eggs ready to prep for the following day.

Day 1 - 10pm hotel check in

This time the hotel was chosen for me by my client and I stayed at a Kimpton. Like my last trip, I scoped out the hotel’s fridge, gym, and breakfast situation before arriving. This Kimpton did have a fridge, but they did not have a gym and charged $14 for the continental breakfast (I think this is how most Kimptons are). In lieu of a gym the hotel offers a free pass to a nearby 24-Hour Fitness as well as what they call “yoga” or “exercise” rooms, which have a little more space and a little nook with what looks like a thick massage mat made for meditating. Some of these rooms even have an elliptical. I went for a non-elliptical yoga room.

Day 2 - work out and more meals out

There was just enough space in the fridge to fit a quart of milk, 500g of yogurt, and a couple containers of steamed veggies. I was glad to have all that plus eggs and fruit when I woke up in the morning. Moms for the win. I caught up on sleep and woke up later than planned, but with just enough time to grab coffee from the breakfast bar and complete my workout before my lunch plans with family followed by an afternoon/evening of work engagements.

The “yoga” room gave me extra space to jump rope, and thankfully I only had to anchor my bands for one exercise, which I did on the bathroom towel rack while standing (squeezing?) between the toilet and sink. That was a class KB trainee moment. The floor jumps + shoulders + v sits are the toughest combo for me but I made it through.

For lunch we went to a Mexican restaurant, and I was able to order a salad (no dressing) with grilled chicken and a side of corn tortillas. Again, I didn’t quote eyeball but rather went with my gut, and at a fist full of veggies for each grilled chicken strip. I roughly estimated from past corn tortilla lunches that three corn tortillas would be a good amount for lunch.

I hewed close to the program through my afternoon snack, before heading off to two work events.

Day 2 - talk and a dinner

I was in DC to give a talk related to an award I won recently, which was followed by a dinner banquet for a separate and unrelated journalism award ceremony that I was invited to. It was a special occasion for the obvious reasons and because I was meeting a fellow awardee for the first time in person. At the reception I ordered a sparkling water with a splash of wine, and took just a few small sips through out the night. I didn’t need to add the splash of wine but my whim got the better part of me and I did.

The first course was a pile of shredded carrots and radish, lightly pickled, with fresh basil; the main course was a roasted chicken or quail breast laid over a light gravy and risotto, with steamed string beans. Swap the sauce and risotto with more string beans and it could have been a near-Kompliant meal. I was hungry and ate it all, avoiding the sauce but not the risotto. Then the raspberry chocolate mousse came out and I took two bites. It felt so wrong and right at the same time.

After the dinner, and after meeting some of my heroes in the industry, my fellow awardee walked back to the hotel in a fog of glee and decided to stop at the hotel bar to chat some more. I let her know I couldn’t drink, and she put on no pressure, but I decided I would regret not having a proper roast with this woman whom I had been looking forward to meeting for so long. So we split a shot of tequila, and I stuck to two small sips without finishing.

The main takeaway of the day: When faced with a marathon of work engagements, try to sneak in a break to snack on fruits and veggies?

So all told, it was not a Kenzai-perfect trip, and I don’t love that I took some liberties in Week 12, but I have to say that overall I feel good about how it went. For better or worse, my barometer was asking myself if I will regret this decision later, and if the answer was probably not then allowing myself to make a modest compromise. As Emory knows I do not want to have a guilt-ridden relationship with food, so I’ve tried to maintain a sense of control over what I was eating. What felt different this time from the pre-Kenzai me was that I thought more specifically through the consequences and the hard work I’ve put in so far.

This all has me thinking again about what balance will look like after 90 days of strict regimen. I’m sure to face more of these dilemmas after Day 90l; I’m sure we all will. Emory and I have decided that we’d like to keep the core habits we’ve built during our programs as our new norm—daily workouts and clean cooking/eating at home. For sustainability we’re planning to shorten the workouts to 45 min - 1 hour max and go out to eat only when necessary, but not because we are too lazy or busy to cook. I’m not sure if that’s good enough of a plan. For now, I’m trying to not overthink it and focus on finishing strong this final week!

(photo: 7am at the airport yoga room)


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I am getting rather impatient with the long sets. The workouts are now taking me a solid 1.5 hours! But the stubborn mule carries on, one slow step at a time to Day 90. Anyway, I used some of that extra time in the gym to watch the others. Here’s what struck me:

- We are lucky that we get to go to the nearby university gym, which is the best in the city, with a state-of-the-art swimming pool and multiple basketball courts taking center stage. I’m very much looking forward to trying out swimming as my next free cardio session.

- We spend most of our time in the basement level, where there are two weight rooms, two rooms with mirrors for yoga/cycling/dance/martial arts classes, and the boxing room. The weight rooms definitely catch your attention first. We do most of the workout in the mirrored rooms but lately have been in the weight rooms more for chest dips, pull ups, and anchoring resistance bands.

- The vast majority of people we see working out appear to be in shape. Keep in mind many are college students and still have their youth. I do notice some of them idling on their phones and I wonder why they would want to spend more time in the gym than they have to.

- What has stood out the most is the sound—or lack thereof. Outside of the clanging of free weights and occasional side chatter, the gym is very quiet—it feels more like a library than a place where people congregate to exert themselves. I hear very few others grunting and panting like Emory and I do during our workouts. It also feels like we are in there doing our workouts for a longer period of time, as others come and do a short spurt of mat or high intensity exercises then leave.

- Even though we see many of the same people every day, we see barely anyone talking to each other. I didn’t realize how anti-social and introverted the gym can be, everyone zoned in under their headphones. We’re no exception I suppose, though I have felt tempted on multiple occasions to ask some of the fittest of the fittest in the room about their regimen. I’ve only met one person so far, Francis, who practices yoga daily. It’s ironic how we’re all there for the same purpose and yet don’t share with one another.

(I took the photo during our 8pm workout at the hotel gym last week. I love that I had no need to go near the treadmills, other than to do chest dips!)


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I've seen so many valiant trainees travel during Kenzai, so I doubt I'll have much to add to what's already common knowledge. But I'll document some challenges here and how I solved them. This was my first plane trip while on Kenzai, a 4-day in-state work trip, with Emory.

Choosing the hotel — I went with a "lifestyle" hotel that has a gym, a small market and cafe (which I hoped would sell basics like fresh fruit, yogurt, milk, boiled eggs), and included a complimentary breakfast buffet. I made sure the room came with a fridge (learning from Kathleen's experience). I even checked that the hotel was close enough to a grocery store should we need to make an emergency run. I could have called ahead to see what the breakfast and market offers, but I also thought it would be good to challenge myself and wing it a little. ;)

Day 1, packing and flying out — I spent an extra hour steaming veggies and packing 1 day's worth of protein, veg, and fruit for both Emory and myself. Without measuring everything out, I packed the perishables left in our fridge into our meal prep containers then into a cooler Trader Joe's bag to take as my carry-on. Also packed our two small, portable food scales. (Yes, we use separate scales for efficiency.) I paid the extra money to check in my small suitcase bc #priorities. We weren't sure whether TSA would let us through security with the food, and chose not to pack more liquid-y items like yogurt, milk. I also ran out of time and left the eggs behind. Turns out solid foods will get through TSA clearance, at least for this same-state domestic flight.

Day 2, dairy and eggs, and eating out — our packed food lasted us most of the way into Day 2, except for dairy and eggs since we didn't pack those. That's where the breakfast buffet and hotel market came in handy. The buffet included boiled eggs (we grabbed 8 for our combined daily allotment), toast, fruit, plain yogurt, milk, and other yummy things that we didn't touch. :) We grabbed a few extra servings of yogurt and fruit and filled the extra meal prep boxes we brought down with us. Between that and the food I packed on Day 1, we were good on food for the day.

I had a lunch meeting, the first time I had to eat out without bringing my own food since starting the program. We settled on Tendergreens, a salad bar chain, and I ordered the seared tuna, greens, and rice, no salt no dressing. I've noticed in general that even when you order things without salt, the food often shows up still with some kind of seasoning that probably includes salt/oil. In this case the tuna showed up with a little chimichurri, which I scraped off but didn't mind trying for taste ;) and the rice tasted like it had been seasoned with s+p+oo. The greens came plain. I decided to eat what was on my plate and then eat more steamed veggies when I got back to the hotel.

Day 2 was pretty draining work-wise and I had no motivation to work out. But even more I didn't want to wake up in the morning knowing that I skipped a workout, esp. with the gym right downstairs. Stubborn mule. So I finally put on my workout clothes at 8pm and headed down. Thankfully there were no floor jumps. Finishing the workout, as anticipated, felt good and refreshing, just like flossing. :)

Day 3, restocking on fruits, dairy, eggs — I brought one avocado from home and it was so worth having it on fresh toast this morning. For some reason today's breakfast buffet did not include boiled eggs, so we made a special order for 6 of them—figuring 6 sounded more reasonable than the 8 we actually needed for the day. Again, packed up extra fruit, milk, and yogurt. The hotel is working out really well so far, and the extra prep before the trip is paying off nicely.

In a few hours we'll check out and hit the road again for the next leg of our trip. Will update with any new lessons in a new post.

I have even more respect now for those who travel regularly while on Kenzai. Sure, the workouts may be designed for traveling, but traveling on diet takes a lot more work! It does feel nice to go through the exercise and discover a few healthy hacks.

Hope everyone's having a great week.


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Now that I have my breakfast carbs back (pictured) I can think again. :P

As we embark on Week 10—wow!—I've been thinking back on the 64 days past and the 26 days still ahead. Kenzai has turned my life upside down and right side up. I'm waking up early after getting a consistent 8 hours of sleep on most nights—a habit that I always dreamed of cultivating but never did. I'm growing muscles I never knew I could grow before, feeling more strength and endurance than I ever thought possible. Two months in, "new year, new me," is feeling real and tangible.

At this point I'm also really feeling the effects that my new regimen has had on my social life—or lack there of. I rarely see friends, and have stopped actively making plans (esp. during our fruit and yogurt dinner thin-out phase) at night. My obsession with eating clean and working out has become a tired subject among those I do see. I still see these as lifestyle changes specific to training mode. I know it's temporary. But it has also made me wonder if "having a life" and "committing to fitness" are at odds with each other. Dwayne Johnson says it often—as does pretty much every actor who has trained to become a superhero on screen: fitness is a lifestyle choice.

I know, if one tries one can have both. I know Ted still hosted dinner parties :), and folks in this group have (very admirably) continued their program while traveling for work, raising kids, dealing with injuries, etc. But during "muscle cutting" mode, as we have been these past few weeks, having a life outside of Kenzai has just not felt possible for me. I sort of just became a hermit and resigned to the fact that I had become one of those people: a gym rat.

By the same token, there was something nice about devoting so much time to self-care, even though it got a little monotonous. And when day 91 comes, I have no interest in trading all this hard work and results to "get my life back." I like this new and refined body, mind, soul that I've come to inhabit. After KB1 I want to continue making it stronger, more defined, nimble, flexible. I know that after training mode ends, a new life awaits on the other end, with my Kenzai lessons serving as the foundation. As I told Emory the other day, we're not just on the 90-day plan anymore; we're on the 90-year, 900-year plan.

But who am I kidding, I am also looking forward to slurping ramen again. So how will it all shake out? ;)


- Monday's workout (legs) caught me during a new low - I felt dizzy and lightheaded afterward, granted this was an evening workout when I generally have less energy. It was a record low since starting the program. BUT I managed to get through it all by lowering reps for the shoulder exercises, and even found myself just laughing in the mirror in between sets. Delirium? Exhaustion? Not sure, but the important part was I kept going. More proof that you can keep up momentum even when not feeling 100%?

- Then I slept for 9 hours, really let those muscles repair.

- Maybe as a result of some extra rest today's workout felt much better, not 100% but more like 70%. I still have less energy than usual but I took my time and was able to complete all my sets.

I must be channeling Kathleen's inner mule.

Bring it on, Day 59.


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Week 8 was a good but imperfect week. I noticed new strength and muscle tone during the workouts, which was great. I kept to my diet but with one downfall. I had two happy hours during the week, one which I made through without caving in, one in which I caved to a few bites of an appetizer. The experience taught me two lessons:

1) I last better at bars without food, as I don't crave drinking as much as I do nibbling;

2) When I'm training I should try to avoid gatherings at a restaurant in the evenings, when I'm usually at my hungriest and most tired (and have less control over temptations). We have barely gone out since starting the program, and I thought I could handle it this far in, but the evenings are just hard.

On Thursday, my A+ training partner Emory saw that the Week 9 diets had posted. We both took a peek. I freaked when I saw that my breakfast carbs AND evening dairy were going away. Poof. Emory's new diet, meanwhile, now included more food. I thought about the cravings and grew nervous about watching him eat the carbs and getting tempted. Then we had another exhausting weekend of cleaning at E's mom's house, and on Sunday I woke up nursing another headache. I was in a sour mood and started to feel overwhelmed by what lay ahead in Week 9. I broke down in tears at one point because it felt like I was back in the valley all over again.

The rest day worked its magic. Thank goodness. I took some time to calm down and process. I messaged Malia and Jim, who were supportive and kind and encouraged me to stick to it. Emory was there to remind me, as usual, to try not to psyche myself out before I'd even tried one day. I decided to blog about it. This morning I read Ted's blog post about celebrating accomplishments, and felt inspired to focus on the good feels and take the discomfort as it comes.

So in Ted style, a few recent wins:

- My arms and legs feel firm and stronger
- I made it up the stairs in my friend's walk-up without feeling winded
- Knowing that I am getting stronger and more toned has made me more confident
- A friend told me my skin looks "radiant," first major compliment since the program started
- At the risk of sounding like an obsessed cult member, being a part of Kenzai has meant having some real talk with the people I love about our different approaches to fitness and health, and I've learned new things about my friends, family, relationships as a result
- I have more endurance during the work day, even when I want to crash and take a nap starting at 3pm
- This morning I made my first carb-free breakfast (pictured), and I feel pretty good so far :)
- OH! We are waking up between 6-7am on most mornings, which is a HUGE accomplishment for these two late birds who always thought 8am was early. I am particularly proud of this one because it was one of the top goals I set coming into the program.

The middle of this program has tested my patience, endurance, willpower, my physical and mental limits at the deepest levels. This has been an unprecedented life experience, and it is teaching me new things about myself, like how the obsessive planner in me gets nervous when sudden or unexpected changes happen. Thanks to a great support system, in which you all play a huge part, I am once again feeling a new wave of energy to trust the process and give Week 9 my best shot.

Here we go...


For some reason today’s workout was a bigger struggle for me than most other days...perhaps there is more of the valley left, perhaps I’m just in one of those lows of the wavelength. That is, with the except the METRONOMES. For the first time those leg swings felt more controlled and focused. That was a pleasant surprise! Small wins to the end, y’all.


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It's been tough climbing out of the valley. I was really worried that with the extra parties and family obligations this week I was going to wake up feeling exhausted and ill again this morning, but I made sure to stay hydrated and even topped off today's cardio with some double unders.

Overall I'm happy to report that we pretty much nailed it this week and are coming out the other end today feeling stronger, if tired—even with the 8 hours of sleep we're getting each day. Not every day is perfect, but we're consistently proving to ourselves that we can rock the daily workouts and diet and stay on top of work/life, and that feels good. The timing of the indulgence was on point and desperately needed—it really helped me let out some steam.

I'm starting to find more solace during the daily workouts, and definitely feeling the grim enthusiasm of pushing yourself to the limit and craving that rewarding endorphin high that follows. I'm still feeling mentally tired from life and work not letting up and in between remembering to eat 6 times a day and measure all the grams. But I try to remember (and Emory is there to remind me) that this latter part is the gift we are giving our new bodies. I am finding so much inspiration and comfort in your blog posts, so thank you all! And thanks for all the words of support and advice, they really helped me get through the valley. Hopefully the worst of it has passed.

This week my goal is to carve out some down time for the spirit. I do feel a little more zen and confident looking ahead at the next 41 days.

Let's do this!


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We went for a no-shame all-in experience this time. Like two stoners we drove around town for an hour picking up a smattering of all the tasty treats I’ve been keeping on my cravings list (yes I took one of the Kenzai tips on cravings to heart and keep a list). My crazy vision was to do a tasting menu of all the junk food I had been craving, so we stuck to ordering the smallest portions. Our pact was to take one to a few small bites of each and throw out the rest. It felt insane and hilarious, we would never do anything like this before Kenzai, but that was the experience I was going for and Emory so kindly obliged. :)

- a slice of cheese pizza
- a small japchae (Korean sweet potato noodles with veggies and beef)
- shrimp dumplings
- turnip cakes
- spring rolls
- small carnitas super burrito
- a choc chip cookie from Emory’s favorite bakery
- McDonald’s french fries
- a small bag of Doritos, the new “blaze” flavor
- a small Cup or Noodles

We noticed that the entire time we were talking about food and nutrition and inclusive and exclusive diets, and the balance we wanted to maintain after the program ends. And after we indulged we both got hit with the high of eating salt and sugar, followed by the low, and went to bed early. It was totally satisfying to experience the foods, to realize that some of them were overrated, and some were worth the splurge.

We also noted that our indulgence food was nowhere near as pretty as our Kenzai compliant meals. See our salmon and wild rice lunch bowl for comparison. ;)

The next morning we were back at the gym and hitting it hard again. It felt good to know we could bounce back!

Indulgence 2—success!


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This morning I woke up feeling the worst I have this entire program.

I wasn't expecting this to happen given how motivated I've felt leading up to Week 6. After reading the lesson about Week 6 being the start of the valley for many trainees, I braced myself and persisted through the harder (longer) work-outs, intensifying work/life, and the daily grind of meal prep and making sure my body stays fed. We were mostly keeping up. I've been tired and crankier, but it was comforting to know that the dip in motivation and enthusiasm was normal and natural at this point in the program.

But then, yesterday did me in. After our workout, we hurried through breakfast, packed up our meals for the day, then headed out to help Emory's mother clean out her apartment. It was a pretty massive undertaking that involved filling a large U-Haul and transporting a bunch of heavy, bulky stuff to a storage unit. Afterward we rushed to a friend's 40th birthday party, stopping en route at a Bed Bath & Beyond to wash up and eat our dinner in the car. During the few hours we were at the party I forgot to drink water. We wound up getting to bed, absolutely exhausted, around 12:30am, three hours past our now usual bed time.

Today, my whole body is feeling drained of every ounce of energy, and I've been nursing a pounding headache. Perhaps I was feeling dehydrated for the reasons above. Perhaps I've been pushing it too hard—though, if anything, I've felt l that the diet and workouts have sustained me through the recent life chaos. I have not yet done my free cardio because of the headache. I'm feeling slightly better after my lunch and might still go get it done, but man, this is the most resistance I've felt thus far.

I'm feeling down and irritable as it feels like I'm falling off my 41-day streak of hitting every workout and meal. I'm feeling completely beat up and tired even typing all this out, like Frodo in Mordor. The self-doubt and cravings that I have successfully kept at bay are getting louder and louder. In the coming week we have a dinner outing with friends for a birthday celebration we can't miss, more cleaning at Emory's mother's house, and another birthday party. I'm going to need every bit of motivation I can muster. Will I make it? What if I don't? Is there room for falling short?

I could really use your boosts and sage advice to get through the valley of week 7.

Here we go.


Current

Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready
Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready

Completed

Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready