OMG I can't believe I'm eight weeks into this journey already!
Which means I'm 3/4 through this 12 week challenge I've given myself.
If you're just joining me on Day 56, roughly 8 weeks ago, after a health scare, years of yo yo dieting and finally giving up on being fit altogether, I decided to get into the best shape of my life.
But this time, I was doing things differently.
No crash dieting
No workouts I didn't like
Simultaneously healing my relationship with eating and food
It was borne out of a desire to live a long and healthy life, finally start treating my body with the respect I deserved, and stepping into the healthy, fit lifestyle I always envisioned for myself.
At eight weeks in, I wanted to touch base and review how everything's been going, recap the past eight weeks, and outline my strategy for the last four weeks in this challenge.
P.S. I talk about measurements, weight, and calorie counting in this blog, so if you find these topics triggering, please click away.
Sneakily I wrapped measuring tape around my waist two weeks ago and was horrified to find that my progress had COMPLETELY stalled.
After losing a massive 12 cm in the first four weeks of my journey I found that incredibly de-motivating and disheartening.
I was going to weigh myself that day also and decided to put it off.
I'm glad I did.
Over the past 2-3 weeks I've been working to bust out of that plateau (see below) and just two weeks later I'm thrilled to see that things HAVE picked up again. Here's where we're at:
Day 1 (Starting Stats)
Weight: 68 kg (150 lb)
BMI: 27 (moderately overweight)
Chest: 98 cm
Waist: 83 cm
Hips: 106 cm
Thighs: 60 cm
Body fat %: 35.7%
Week 4 Stats (One Month In)
Weight: ??? (not hitting that scale until Week 6)
Chest: 95 cm (- 3 cm)
Waist: 77 cm (- 6 cm)
Hips: 103 cm (- 3 cm)
Thighs: 60 cm (=)
Body fat %: ???
Week 8 Stats (Two Months In)
Weight: 66.5 kg (- 1.5 kg) [146.6 lb (3.4 lb)]
BMI: 25.97 (- 1.03 points) (slightly overweight)
Chest: 94.5 cm (-0.5 cm)
Waist: 74.5 cm (- 2.5 cm)
Hips: 101 cm (- 2 cm)
Thighs: 59 cm (- 1 cm)
Body fat %: 32.1% (- 3.6%)
So, in terms of centimetres about half the amount (6 cm) I lost in Month One BUT considering I'd hardly budged just a few weeks ago, I'm thrilled with the result because it means I'm out of that plateau.
And also, my kilos have hardly gone down (about 1.5 kg lost) BUT with the amount of centimetres lost I'm satisfied that I'm building muscle mass and burning fat.
This is why I haven't weighed myself until this point - because honestly, it doesn't matter to me so much. I don't want to get obsessive over something that is really just such a fickle and unreliable measure of progress on its own.
I always wanted my weight loss to be very gradual and slow because it's the healthiest way to do it. I haven't had to drastically cut calories, cut out food groups, or live at the gym, so I've been able to build a healthy, fit lifestyle in a way that's sustainable.
If it means the progress happens slower, SO BE IT.
And hey, given where I was two months ago, I think it's an incredible shift.
I'm thrilled to see that my BMI is going down (I'm now only slightly overweight, instead of moderately), so I'm reducing my risk of chronic disease.
Since I've started, I've lost 18 cm from my body (3.5 cm off my chest, a massive 8.5 cm off my waist, 5 cm off my hips and 1 cm off my thighs).
Also, at 83 cm, my starting waist measurement put me at moderate risk of chronic disease, because it's symptomatic of visceral fat covering my heart and vital organs.
Now, at 74.5 cm, my waist circumference points to a significantly decreased risk of developing chronic disease.
When I see statistics like that, I feel relieved, proud and accomplished. I did that. Me.
I potentially saved my own life.
Let's see how this looks visually.
Honestly, looking at these photos myself, I can't see a massive difference between Week 4 and Week 8.
But when I look at the difference between Week 1 and Week 8 - it's a huge shift.
Also, I thought I felt pretty good at Week 4 ... but checking in on Week 8, I feel 100 times lighter, stronger, and fitter again.
That's something no weight on the scale or progress pic can capture.
What's Been Working
So like I said above, in about week six, I think, I realised that my progress had ground to a halt. It even felt like it was reversing itself a little bit.
After much deliberation, I decided to start tracking calories and movement.
When I realised how much I was sitting, and how little I was eating, I realised what needed to happen.
Since I've started upping my steps to about 10,000 a day and calorie tracking, the progress kicked in again rapidly.
In two weeks, I lost a massive 2.5 cm from my waist. And by the way, I'd just started a new job and got sick, which meant I didn't work out at all.
I just made sure I was walking 10,000 steps a day and tracking what I put in my mouth, making sure I was eating enough to give me energy and help my body heal from illness.
Being more active throughout the day means I've increased my NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which basically means the energy you burn when you're not exercising, eating, or just existing.
The more you move THROUGHOUT the day, on top of your workouts, the more calories you burn, and the more calories you're able to eat.
It's a lot easier to create a caloric deficit this way, without starving yourself or living at the gym.
So this means I've been:
Drinking more water, which makes me need to pee, which means I'm getting up from my desk and walking to the bathroom a lot more (and walking to the kitchen too)
Getting up to talk to a colleague, rather than sending an email
Choosing to walk to and from work, rather than drive or catch a bus (I have that luxury)
Being active in my lunch hour - taking Tink for a walk when I'm working from home, or wandering into town to go window shopping if I'm at the office
Tracking my steps with a proper fitness watch, so I can keep an eye on how active/sedentary I am (and it beeps if I've been sat on my ass too long - how cool is that)
I have to say, this has made the biggest difference to my progress yet.
What Hasn't Worked
I like to talk about the things that HAVEN'T worked for me - because it means I can readjust and find a way that works instead.
It's not so bad through the week but I do find that on weekends I tend to just forget to eat. Today, for example, as I'm typing this, I haven't eaten breakfast OR lunch.
Just ... the day gets away, you know?
And so by dinner I'm STARVING and inhale an entire pizza to myself before rounding on anything sweet in my house.
It's a bad habit. It's gotta go.
I think on weekends I need to change my habits. Instead of sleeping in and sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee, I need to get up earlier, work out (it makes me hungry), and then eat my breakfast with coffee.
Such a simple tweak but I really think it will help me be more consistent with my eating on weekends.
You'll recognise this "not working" from Week 4, and it's because I'm honestly having a hard time with my YouTube channel right now.
It's like I don't have the energy to be consistent with it right now, which is a bummer because that's the key thing I wanted to grow this year.
Anyway, I'm working on it, and I'll hopefully have some new videos uploaded soon (although I did manage to film & upload a lower body workout).
I've been a little inconsistent with blogging while I readjust to my new work schedule. I've found it hard to do a daily food track post (and even to remember to photograph it)!
BUT I've made a commitment and there are only 33 days left so I really want to stick with it.
After the 90 day challenge I'm going to scale back to 1-2 blog posts a week. I think it will save my sanity!
It was well and good to blog daily when I had a less intense "day job" schedule but, you guys, I want what I put out to be quality stuff - and I just feel like that slips when I'm trying to rush through it in half an hour.
I'd rather post less often, you know?
This month going forward I'm going to stick to shorter form posts, writing before work and in my lunch break whenever I can.
This month my progress has been up and down because of getting sick and the new job, so I've shown up for my aerobics workouts where I can throughout.
Pleased to report that I'm full steam ahead with them again now!
Also pleased to report that one bonus of working close to home = I can walk to work. It's a good 1.5 km walk, or a 3 km round trip, so I've been able to nail down walking 10,000 steps a day easily.
(I also walk at lunch time for about 15 minutes.)
This is what has helped me most. By increasing my NEAT and staying consistent with my cardio, I've been able to bust through that frustrating plateau in Week 6.
At the end of last month, I wrote myself a proper strength training plan because I felt like my resistance training (if it happened) was all over the show.
I really wanted to get stronger, and so to that end I wrote myself a progressive strength training program that I've been doing 3 x per week (except while I was sick/in training).
I've been able to increase the weight I lift AND repetitions, so I know it's working.
The goal with a strength training program is to challenge yourself in every set of every movement in every workout.
If you're not progressing, and it's not challenging you, it's not training you.
Having a proper program focused on progressive overload will not only make you stronger and give you that "toned" look sooner, it also just keeps training interesting.
Every workout, I love to look at what I've done before and see if I can squeeze out just a little bit more.
Core, Posture & Flexibility
I haven't worked specifically on this area a lot this month (something I hope to change).
However, one thing I've been doing is making sure that core is turned the hell ON when I'm doing ANYTHING else - walking, doing aerobics, lifting weights, feeding the dog.
There is a HUGE difference in how you stand, how you carry yourself, how you move, how you feel and how you look when your core is engaged.
I'm still not strong enough to be able to do it all the time (unless I'm working out - then that core is on FIRMLY). But whenever I remember, I do a quick "gut check" to make sure my tummy is engaged properly!
The Plan for Next Month
Every month I like to reassess my goals based on what's worked, what hasn't, and what I'd like to achieve in the coming month.
This following four weeks marks the home stretch (the last four weeks) of my 90 day challenge, so I'm determined to finish STRONG and show myself what I'm capable of.
Aim to blog as often as I can - one blog post every two days at least!
Keep doing aerobics - 5-6 days per week.
Aim to do 3 strength training sessions a week, increasing reps or weight with each set.
Aim for 2 core/stretch sessions per week to soothe my sore muscles.
Walk 6,000-10,000 steps a day as often as possible - at least 4 days a week, but every day if possible.
Plan out some healthy meal prep ideas so I always have a healthy dinner on hand.
Get up at normal time, work out, and have breakfast on weekends, instead of sleeping in all the time.
Be kind to myself - there's lots going on at the moment, so focus on doing the best I can at the time, instead of worrying about being perfect.
I can't wait to share the final results in just four weeks time (eek)!!!
Anyway, my loves, thanks for tuning in for the update. If you’re on a fitness journey too, boy I’d love to hear from you!
Comment below with your biggest struggles, where you’re at, what has and hasn’t worked for you so far, and if there’s anything else you’d like to know!
Oh – and if you’d like to learn step by step the habits I’ve been building to create a healthy, fit lifestyle and get these results in four short weeks, click the image below for a free resource bundle delivered to your Inbox. Let’s do this together!