Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My job and family keep me busy and on my toes! My assistant Lisa encouraged me to try having some ‘me time’. A couple days later, a One On One flyer landed in my mailbox and ended up on my nightstand. The flyer had pictures and stories of these regular people who had made big transformations. Although I was not completely out of shape and did some light exercise twice a week, two kids and a decade-long lack of systematic and rigorous exercise left me with a kind-of-OK but soft ‘mom body’. Finally, I thought I’d give One On One a try.
How do you fit exercise (cardio/weights) into your life?
I go to One On One to train with Danny twice a week in the late afternoons. He’s the best, and our sessions are a lot of fun. At home, I also do some type of exercise on most days. Mornings are my personal time so it just made sense to fit it in there. My Weekday routine is that I usually wake up in the 4-5a.m. range, have coffee, make the kids and grown-up lunches, then do a workout. Afterward, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle other work and the rest of the day. Sometimes, if I’m feeling ‘low energy’ at work after a string of meetings, I’ll close my office door and do a 7-minute workout or 15-minute hotel workout for an instant reset.
At first, carving out the time felt hard because the wee hours of the morning were usually reserved for work (reading papers, writing, pestering my research team by email, etc), and late afternoons are equally precious. But feeling like it was hard to carve out time and it actually being hard is not the same thing. I just had to make the commitment to myself and block off the time in my schedule like any other appointment or meeting. The accountability of having a training appointment helps me to stay on track.
How did you hear about the Lean and Mean Challenge and why did you decide to sign up?
I first heard about the Lean and Mean Challenge in that fateful flyer. After joining One On One for a couple of months, Danny and Sandra mentioned that the next Challenge would be starting again soon. I decided to sign up partly because I thought it would be good motivation, partly because I wanted to have some kind of personal transformation , but mostly because I’m secretly competitive and wanted to win (hahaha).
What was the toughest part of the Lean and Mean for you?
I love exercise. The toughest part of the Lean and Mean is that I love food even more (good food, tasty food, slow food, hasty food —-like some kind of Dr. Seuss rhyme). I especially love nuts and olive oil (both healthy but calorie-laden). The second hardest part is that my family did not always want to eat the same thing that I did. Often, I had to prepare different food. One final difficulty was resisting the ‘no-waste’ compulsion – the urge to finish off the bits left on my kids’ plates so that it doesn’t go into the trash.
What was the most rewarding aspect of the event for you?
The most rewarding aspect is that the challenge changed my eating and cooking practices, and made me much more aware of the quality/nutritional value of foods. It also motivated a search for new and healthier family-friendly recipes, so we’re all progressively eating healthier (even if the changes are only incremental, they are in the right direction). The length of the Challenge is also long enough that it solidifies all those exercise and food changes into habit.
What did your friends, family or spouse think of what you were doing?
Only a few people knew what I was doing, and that mostly consisted of my husband and kids. About halfway through, they got more into it. My younger daughter, in particular, helped keep me on track by asking if I really needed to eat that (insert favorite food) second helping or not. Also, on nights when my husband cooked, he started making an effort to select meals more consistent with the clean eating approach.
I didn’t advertise it at work that I was in the Challenge. Several people had commented, however, on the physical changes – and that felt great. The best was when someone had commented after a lecture, ‘your delts look jacked’!
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that the main challenge for me is protecting the time to make health a priority. Once that time is protected, the rest of the commitment is easier.
When you fall off track with healthy eating and exercise, how do you get back on?
Fall off track? Never (Just kidding). Of course there are those less-than-perfect days. I don’t dwell on the short term failure too much. I also don’t dwell on the short term success too much either. Each day, each meal, each workout is a new opportunity for success or failure relative to the track. It’s the long-term and cumulative direction of those individual small opportunities that is important.
If you could give advice to another person who was struggling with their fitness what would that be?
First, try not to stress out and beat yourself up on the failures. Use them to figure out what derails you from your plan. Then start each day fresh and give it your best. Second, change is hard work and it doesn’t come for free; so make the commitment to yourself and don’t give up. Finally, don’t feel like you have to struggle alone. A personal trainer and dietitian can definitely help motivate you to achieve that success and stay on the proverbial track.