It’s been a long time since I’ve given an update on my fitness goals, and I figure that now is as good as time as any to do it.
Fitness Goals Update: Going Well
A few months ago, one of my friends started a “health challenge”. This challenge was basically a contest that incorporated good health habits. It was really inspiring and motivating.
For eight weeks, I followed these rules:
- No Soda
- No Treats
- 80 oz water every day
- Five fruits and/or veggies a day
- Exercise 1 hour a day
- Daily Spiritual goal
- Rotating Health Goal (floss teeth, take a multivitamin, get 8 hours of sleep, etc)
- One “free day” a week
Those who signed up were put onto two-person teams, and you were able encourage one another while competing with everyone else. It was really effective at getting me to be smart and make good decisions. I worked hard, kicked my sugar habit, and started to lose weight.
I would absolutely suggest starting a “fitness challenge” for anyone who needs to have a little push in order to be healthier.
(there’s always a but…) Now the fitness challenge is over. I was a little bit worried about the fitness challenge ending. It was motivating to report each week to someone else, but I thought when I don’t have to be accountable to someone else, what will I do?
I thought I’d short-circuit this by starting a fitness challenge with my spouse, but it’s not the same as the other fitness challenge. I am still motivated. I’m still working hard. But I’m missing that strength that I felt when I was participating in the challenge.
That’s when I realized that although the challenge was a pretty good thing, it was also kind of a crutch. Instead of learning to cultivate character traits within myself, I was borrowing strength from this challenge. Instead of learning to have discipline and eat well for the sake of discipline and eating well, I was just looking to win. When the challenge was over, I felt at a loss…there wasn’t the competition driving me anymore, so maybe I’ll just eat a few cookies today…
Now. I’m not saying that the fitness challenge was a bad thing – because it wasn’t. It really helped me to see that I can do it. It helped me to believe that I’d be able to make the change I desire. Now I simply have to transition from this “challenge” mode to “character changing mode.”
The real challenge here isn’t to beat another team. It isn’t to rack up points. It is to learn to overcome the natural man. The real contest isn’t Catania vs. a lot of people from NWA; it is Catania vs. Catania. I need to learn to overcome my appetites–to be lazy, eat sugar, and over-eat in general. This is the real contest I want to win.
Several years ago (after having Panda, and when I then was divorced and single), I lost a lot of weight–probably 30-35 pounds, and I kept it off. I had Sasquatch, then I lost the weight. I had T-Rex, and losing the weight has been a struggle. I have been thinking about losing weight after Panda and Sasquatch. The thing is, I didn’t fret. I didn’t freak out about every gram of food I was eating. I ate well, I didn’t eat over-eat, and I exercised a lot. The weight naturally began to come off. I didn’t really restrict myself from foods, per se. However, I rarely ate sweets, hamburgers, fries, and the such because they made me feel sick. When I did eat a hamburger and fries, I’d notice how sluggish I would feel the next day. While running, I’d feel the lump in my stomach (not like I felt fat, but I felt a little sick to my stomach), and I’d promise myself: I’ll never eat another hamburger again!
Disciplined eating blesses you in the way that discipline in any area does. You are stronger, and you know what it feels to be healthy–emotionally, spiritually, or physically. When I started the fitness challenge, cutting sugar and junk food was tough. But it eventually happened, and I began to crave healthy foods. I loved the way that they made me feel. Of course, I still liked the idea of a cookie or cheeseburger, and on my free days I’d have one. I was amazed how, after a few weeks, I was starting to see the connection between too much junk food and feeling yucky. I realized that I had become physically “past feeling.”
In 1 Nephi, Nephi tells his brothers,
“Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder.” – 1 Nephi 17:44
Of course, Nephi is talking to his brothers concerning spiritual matters in this verse, but I think that it also applies to us physically. For me, the scirpture might read somethign more like this:
“Ye are swift to eat junk food but slow to remember your veggies. Ye have run a marathon; yea, ye have had children; and ye have been healthy and happy in the past, but ye are past feeling, that ye cannot feel a buzz from sugar;…” (and so on…)
I think that you get the point. I was physically “past feeling”. Nothing was sweet enough. No amount of food seemed to satisfy my hunger. I was so used to feeling horrible, that I didn’t know I was feeling horrible! And now, as I’ve implemented better health habits, I’m finding that I can taste food again! I can see how eating well gives me energy. I feel happy when I’m eating well. Now, when I go to In-N-Out on my “free day”, I’m beginning to feel so much bloating and discomfort from the greasy food. I can’t eat more than one cookie because they seem too sweet. It is like my body is responding to these foods in a proper way. I’m less inclined to eat poorly, and I’m happy to see that I’m feeding my body well enough now that I can finally receive messages from it!
A few weeks ago, I had my temple recommend interview. It felt good to say that I was keeping the word of wisdom–not only that I wasn’t doing the “don’ts”, but I was also doing the “do’s”.
So…my final verdict on the challenge is that it’s a good way to get motivated, but that at some point you need to learn to make these changes to your character, rather than to win a contest.
How are your goals going? Have you participated in a Health Challenge before? What was your experience with it? Please comment and share anything you’d like.