Complete, but not done... GRADUATION POST
Congratulations everyone!! That was as exciting, challenging and productive as I had hoped it would be. I'm happy for a few days of a break, but really looking forward to continuing on the path of Kenzai eating (most of the time) and daily working out (most of the time) so that my progress can not only be maintained but enhanced. I couldn't be happier with the way my body and mind adjusted to this program. I feel like a whole different person. My confidence is up. My clothes are fitting better (well...the new clothes I had to buy are anyway). My motivation to do some very critical things that I've wanted to do for years is finally back and I'm making my way towards opening my own business. Rekindling my motivation is something that I went into this 90-day adventure hoping for, but not fully expecting. I had kind of slid into a space where I was putting up all kinds of barriers to actually getting this business off the ground. Even though I knew it was something I wanted to do, I felt like I didn't have time; figuring out how to get started was difficult; the space wasn't right; the people didn't call me back; and on and on. Though I knew that all of these things were mostly just me and my head making excuses, it was nearly impossible to get through the barriers because I wasn't in a strong mental and physical state. Kenzai has helped to change all of that and I'm super grateful to have a jump start to making this thing happen. I feel as strong, mentally and physically, as I did 20 years ago...and emotionally I think I'm probably in an even better space. Kenzai didn't solve all my problems or take away all the barriers I had put up on things, but it shifted the perspective on it all just enough that I can see my way through.
Thanks for the lessons, the motivation and the mindset shift! The physical progress is fantastic, but the mindset shift is what really feels like it will leave the most positive lasting impression.
I can’t believe we only have 2 days left of this journey. So much change in my mindset has me super excited to be done and a little curious about how it is going to feel to have the structure gone. Tonight however, was a great test and gave me some confidence about what is to come. I wasn’t even tempted by the bags of candy the kids came home with. Not that I don’t think it would taste good, but I have my heart set on a cupcake or a brownie for a celebration this weekend, so I want to save my “indulgence” for that. I’m not saying that I won’t have any candy over the next few weeks, but for tonight, I feel safe. Hope everyone weathered their Halloween nights!!!
I would say that I definitely did not expect so much progress to be possible in just 90 days. It seemed like a long time, but at the same time, I didn't really think we'd be able to make such a difference within that time. I had to buy new pants this week. I had to add an adapter to my wedding ring because it has been slipping off my finger. I had to adjust my hats because they were loose (who knew we'd lose fat in our heads?). I still am happy with the fact that I went into this looking for long-term habit changes, because I could easily see myself being happy with my progress and then going back to some bad habits after it was over. Instead, I think my mindset all along has been to look for places that I could make permanent change and think about incorporating new habits and routines. That has been for me the greatest gain through the program. I know I won't do the full program at all times outside of these 90 days, but I do believe the habits I keep will lead to long-term health that I wouldn't have thought possible before this. Feeling very positive about the whole experience.
So, I've already talked a bit about my thoughts on what life beyond Kenzai will look like. For us, I think the major take away points that we hope to maintain are...
1. Work out everyday - There is no reason that something active can't happen each day. We hope to maintain at least 3-4 times a week of some weight training, whether resistance bands or kettle bells or body weight exercises.
2. Eat more veggies than you ever thought you needed to - This one we will maintain, if for no other reason than we actually love veggies! This was an easy habit to change and one that we're excited to keep on for life.
3. Savor the "cheats" and "treats" - This one is another one that just makes sense to us. All too often we would have a beer after work or grab a sweet treat during work and down it without really thinking too much about it. This program has really shown me that if I'm not willing to take the time and really savor it, process how much I love it and truly enjoy the taste, than its probably not worth my body dealing with it.
4. Sleep is important - This last one is the one I fear not being as good about maintaining. When life gets busy for me, sleep is usually the first thing that I'm willing to give up. I refuse to give up family time, but if I need to stay up late or get up early to get something done, I do. Through Kenzai, I've really started to appreciate how important sleep is and I think I will make more of an effort to fit those things that need to get done into another part of the day. We'll see how that one goes.
I did have questions about reintroducing certain foods after this thing and what the best way to handle it would be. How about beans, nuts and cheese? Do you recommend staying away from them long term and treating them like treats or can they be brought back into the mix in some reasonable way?
So, I've been thinking about what the "easiest" thing has been and I feel like it may be incorporating a daily workout into my life. It wasn't easy to start getting up earlier and it isn't easy physically doing the workouts, but the mental piece of incorporating it as a habit that should not be missed was easier than I expected. I think mentally, and emotionally, this was the piece that I knew I was ready for. Feeling like an athlete again, even if just for an hour a day, is exactly what I wanted to get from this program, so I think that piece was one that just made sense to me and that I was excited about.
The hardest has probably been the salt. I definitely have a sweet tooth, and over the years I've had times of giving up sugar, so I know that challenge and I knew I could beat it. The salt thing was a new one and I didn't realize how much I was going to miss that flavor. I know that my body is getting all the salt it needs through the food we're eating, but the actual flavor of salt is probably what I miss the most.
Which brings me to the indulgence evening. We indulged last night. It was really funny to think about because we had an hour drive to think through what would be a really indulgent dinner. Truly, what I was craving was hardly even off program. Sure, carbs are not on the plan for dinner right now, but what I ended up eating was a pizza, with no cheese, loaded with veggies (like piled on veggies)...and some pepperoni (salt). So, even trying to cheat, I feel like I didn't really want something that was so off plan. However, I did indulge in a full dessert and 2 beers (1 with dinner, 1 with dessert). We made up a gluten free apple crisp that was delightful and some coconut ice cream to top it off. Then even a touch of popcorn as a end of the night snack (with salt). I like the idea of knowing that these things are there when I really need something sweet or something salty, but that they don't need to be a part of daily life. And knowing that I can have them (once we've completed the program) will make it easier to not want them. Craving the things you can't have is normal, but changing the mindset around it makes it so much easier. We both realized last night that we don't really want to have a beer while cooking or while doing something else. We could just have water when we're distracted. When we have a beer, we want to be sitting and enjoying it...like really enjoying it. That's a great mindset shift as well. I think the big thing that has come from this program has been consciousness of our choices. Not just eating things because they are there, but stopping to think...is this really something I want in my body? Is it worth it?
In other news...we tested out our new camper this weekend and it was super fun! We love the adorable thing and can't wait to use it more next year!!
So, overall I think our lives have changed for the better for the most part. Certainly the idea of fitting into my clothes better makes it happier to get through my days. Probably the most difficult thing has been the limitations on drinking and eating in restaurants. A large part of my social outlets has typically revolved around food and drink. I've been out several times to just hang out and not partake, but sometimes the temptation is too much. I had a few drinks this weekend at a surprise party for my Mom's birthday, but I ate mostly compliant that night. The next morning, I had a less compliant lunch, but no drinks, so I feel like at least I'm limiting out my weaknesses to 1 at a time. Ha!
I think the morning workouts have made it easier to not want to be out at night for social events because we are exhausted. We have started thinking about what parts of this we will want to continue as lifestyle and what parts are going to become more flexible after the program. At this point, I like the idea of eating mostly Kenzai-compliant but allowing for indulgences as they are worth it (rather than time based). I also intend to continue with the workouts daily, but I may substitute in some yoga/pilates every other day and weights/resistance bands at least 3-4 times a week. I was wondering if there would be recommendations as we get closer to the end, but mentally that is what I feel could be possible in my world. I don't want to let all this work slip away after the program ends.
So, here in New England, mornings are darker and darker as we get up a bit earlier for our workouts to fit them in before the chaos of getting kids ready for school and adults ready for work, on top of the days getting shorter anyway. This morning I was jumping rope in complete darkness at 6am, with winter hat and gloves on too. That's a whole different feel. I was amazed at times how well I could jump rope without being able to see the rope (or anything)...and then in the next 30 seconds, amazed at how much I was tripping. Ha! At least I got to enjoy some amazement.
I'm loving the fact that we are 2/3 of the way done. I have my heart set on a cupcake that is now that much closer to me. I definitely feel like we are at a point where 30 days doesn't feel that long. Hopefully that feeling continues and helps get us through.
I feel like my energy has been very inconsistent. I do feel like I have more now during the mid-day time when I used to crash a bit, but by the time dinner rolls around I'm exhausted. Early bedtimes have become a new thing, which doesn't help when we actually have things to get done after the kids go to bed, but often times I'm asleep before they are. I guess my reading of books will just have to be slower these days...and I'm already a pretty slow reader. The library is not going to love Kenzai. :)
So, I was having a wicked sugar craving today, but at the same time, having a very happy time looking in the mirror...something about the shirt I'm wearing really allowed me to see the changes as I walked past the mirrors at work. So, here I am...pre-afternoon fruit, craving chocolate, and there is a bowl of candy put right next to my desk. I look at the candy, I walk past to the bathroom and look at the mirror. I recognize that I like the happy-mirror feeling better than the Baby Ruth feeling and make a decision.
I walk back to the candy jar, and take a Baby Ruth...one of my favorites!
And I walk back to my desk and tuck it into a corner of the drawer, knowing I will wait until November 4th to eat it. I made a date with my Baby Ruth. That actually worked. :)
(note...my willpower is not always this strong, but I thought I should share the moment)
I went all in for this indulgence. At first, I was having a hard time thinking of what I would want, but then we were near my hometown and my favorite pizza place was right there. I went with a GF pepperoni pizza and it was heavenly. Melted cheese, salty processed meat, all the good stuff. And then I spent the next 2 hours wondering how bad the reaction was going to be in my body. I didn't really have any physical reaction as I might have expected, but mentally, I definitely felt like it was way more food than I need (the same amount I would've eaten prior to Kenzai) and that when something is hot and melty and you eat it quickly, you can easily eat way more than you really need.
We also had a couple of drinks this weekend, which kind of felt like doing a double indulgence, but also was really nice to be able to enjoy a few drinks with family that we don't see often. Great, fun weekend...now back to the serious rigor of Kenzai second half! I felt no sadness going back to our routine again this evening. Egg whites and apple were actually great and knowing that our veggies switch to all you can eat style this week makes me feel less sad at dinner, not having what the family is having. I also got some great validation about how my body looks this weekend, which helps the motivation!!
Hope everyone else enjoyed their indulgence.
Well, it was an interesting question, firstly because I hadn't actually considered quitting until the question was asked. Ha! But, I do feel like I have some pretty solid reasons why I won't. Firstly, we are frugal, and paying for something we don't use is worse than the egg white dinners. Secondly, so far, this has all been worth the effort. Even though I don't feel like there is much of a difference in my photos yet, I do feel a huge difference in my clothes and my ability to do things without getting winded and my energy. The energy thing is an interesting piece though. It isn't that I have lots of energy...I'm still exhausted, every day and can't wait to get to bed at night. But when I'm awake, I feel that I have very positive and happy energy. I'm excited about things that have been a struggle for a lot of months. And, lastly, for as hard as it is to say no to certain things and to motivate every day to do my workouts, I feel like the routine of it all has taken over and even when my mind says "ooh, I would so much rather sleep in than get up and workout"...my body just hops out of bed, knowing that I want that part out of the way. Even when I love the smell and look of the meals my kids are eating for dinner, I sit down with my egg whites and apples and don't think twice about it. I will say, being out with friends is still a challenge every time, but the home routine seems to have taken over for the wants my mind tries to work into the days. We'll see how it feels to be on the other side of half-way.
So, we thought about cooking up the apples with our egg whites and adding a bit of cinnamon. Actually pretty good! Try it!
I've been nervous about how I was going to continue to get out of bed earlier and earlier as these workouts get longer and the time needed to prep breakfast and lunch was added into what already felt like a crazy time of day getting the kids ready for school and us ready for work and out the door on time. Oddly, the getting up and getting the workout done for the day benefit has far outpaced the grumbling about getting up earlier. I love knowing that I've completed my Kenzai commitments before I even leave the house in the morning (aside from eating well all day). I even try to read the lesson while I eat breakfast, just so I don't miss one. Its become a nice bonus on weekends when we take the same approach, but an hour later. That extra hour of sleep feels incredible and the day is still ready to start with Kenzai commitments done before 9am. Already thinking about how to incorporate this into life after Kenzai, but for now just enjoying the early moments.
So, I'm not feeling super challenged by the social life piece. I feel like we have the benefit of some of our social activities revolving around the kids, and though there is also usually some alcohol and food for the adults, there is plenty of distraction to not have to focus on what we're missing out on. I have drank a lot of seltzer water lately as I find the CO2 bubbles to be a bit of a mind trick to not having the beer. Love that there are so many flavors these days.
Overall I'm not feeling too bad about our sacrifices. We seem to have been able to manage on 2 very challenging travel/camping weekends full of drinks and food that we couldn't partake in. The confidence is up from that and I think we have a few calmer weekends ahead to keep it easier.
2018 back to school family picture (I'm on the left)
So, despite the fact that I don't feel like I can see a huge difference in myself day to day, I did have 2 moments of pride today. First, Facebook showed us a memory of last year's first day of school for the kids and the difference in my body shape from last year to this year was noticeable. I had already done some work earlier in the year to lose some weight, pre-Kenzai, so it isn't all from the last month, but it was fun to see a difference. And, despite having lost some weight earlier in the year, I had not been gaining any strength, hence the Kenzai approach to continuing my journey to fitness. It isn't that gratifying to lose weight and still feel weak and out of shape. Now I'm in a whole different space about myself and its great.
Second thing that happened today that one of our lessons had mentioned watching for is that someone who had no idea that we are doing this plan saw me at work and said "hey...you're losing weight. You look great" That was fun. So, I guess even if we aren't noticing the big changes yet, we are for sure making progress that others can see. Feeling great about that!
2019 back to school family picture (still on the left...I guess we have our spots)