Have you heard about the latest trend? 75 days of a mental challenge? In short, the 75 hard challenge requires that you can't drink alcohol, you have to follow a diet (any diet you'd like), work out twice a day (one workout has to be outside), drink a gallon of water a day and you need to read 10 pages of a book a day.
A few people I follow on social media had completed the challenge and they raved about their results. Over the break I saw that a friend was also completing the challenge, so I reached out with some questions. I was intrigued enough that I wanted to try it, but with our anniversary trip to Telluride scheduled 52 days into the new year I knew I'd never make it 75 days with no alcohol (sorry, not sorry).
Anyways, she encouraged me to try it. Said she was loving the family time they were getting from their outdoor workouts. She was no longer sitting around at night drinking wine and eating crappy food (hello to my entire December). All and all she was happy with how it was going.
Our conversation was enough for me to want to try and so on Monday I embarked on the journey.
Here's the thing about me I have committed to nearly EVERY work out program and/or diet there is. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been successful and actually completed whatever I was doing. Typically, I make one mistake and it starts a mental downward spiral for me that ends with me saying f-it and going off the deep end into my plethora of bad habits.
The hardest part of any program for me is the mass amount of pressure I put on myself. The amount of pressure to be absolutely perfect from the beginning. One little slip and I'm so far down the negative self talk hole that I can't possibly rebound.
I'm also the queen of excuses. So on a parallel path, as I'm going off the deep end I'm also making all of the excuses to make up for why I'm quitting.
"I'm not a morning person, I just can't get out of bed. Working out before getting ready and getting the kids to school just isn't possible."
"I have asthma, so I can't run far."
"No one else in my house is following a diet, it's too hard to make separate meals."
Y'all the list of my excuses goes on and on, but it's this weird Jedi mind trick that makes me feel better with the mass amount of disappointment that I feel when I quit. And the worst part is there's no reason for me to quit. I messed up, I missed a workout, I had a cheat meal, whatever... people fall off the wagon, but they also get right back up and get back on and try again.
For the life of me I haven't been able to get back up. Instead I lie there so mad at myself for falling off that I can't recover.
So many people can't understand how I can put that amount of pressure on me. Part of the issues is my expectations are SO out of whack. I think that if I start a program on a Monday that by Friday I should be down AT MINIMUM 10 pounds and 2 sizes. 2 weeks in and I should be at my ideal weight/size. I should also be able to run a full marathon without stopping.
You might be laughing, but it's true. I'm a typical American who wants instant results with just a week's worth of effort.
The good news is after 8 years of this mindset, I've realized how my brain works.
Anyways, back to 75 hard.. I started the program on Monday, the same day I started a new Beachbody Program called 9 Week Control Freak. I figured this was perfect. My Beachbody workout could be indoor workout and then my outdoor workout would be a nice family walk.
Monday went well.. zero issues and I was proud that I hit all of the tasks. Honestly, the gallon of water was the hardest thing for me because I typically don't drink any water. Tuesday I got it done, but then Tuesday night I started not feeling good (non Covid issues). I was up half the night tossing and turning and Wednesday morning I decided I needed sleep more than I needed to get up and workout.
For Old Lauren, not waking up would have been enough to throw the towel in. "Not a morning person." "I can't do it." But, I rebounded like a champ. Did a lunch time workout and completed all of the necessary tasks. Y'all I was freaking proud of myself.
Thursday was another great day. And then Friday happened. Friday night we went over to a friends (quarantine pod) for their son's birthday party. My girlfriends were drinking martinis and I stuck to my guns and drank water. Part of me was proud that I didn't succumb to peer pressure (there was no peer pressure outside of my internal dialogue feeling sorry for myself) and part of me felt like I wasn't holding true to myself. Did I need to drink to have a fun time? Absolutely not. But, having a cocktail on Friday night with my girlfriends after a tough week is something I've always enjoyed, why was I giving this up? What was the purpose? To prove to my social media following that I could?
Saturday was such a great day. Mike and I got to sleep in. When we got up he went downstairs and made breakfast while I got a really great workout in. We played Mario Kart as a family, we got some much needed laundry done, we cleaned up around the house. Oscar and I had some 1 on 1 time and went fake plant shopping at Home Goods. All in all it was a dream day. I ate great, I drank a ton of water and tea. I felt really good.
However, I missed that second workout. No worries, we have dinner plans with friends (our first night out since this summer) and then I'll come home and do another workout.
For dinner we went to one of my favorite restaurants which also happens to serve FANTASTIC wine. Wine that I rarely get to have but always enjoy. Y'all the pressure from myself was too much. My internal dialogue was out of control. "Don't do it." "You're better than that." But why? Again, why am I doing this? What am I trying to prove? So I made the decision to have the glass of wine. And y'all it was delicious.
On the way home, I mentioned to Mike that I was disappointed in myself for not being stronger and he said, "It's okay. You can still go home and do your second workout, you can still continue." I said, "Oh, that's my plan, I can't miss that second workout."
So I started googling in the car, trying to figure out do I need to start over with Day 1 or can I just redo Day 5 since I had a glass of wine. I never found the answer but what I did find was an interesting article on the challenge itself.
I won't get into details of their opinion because it honestly doesn't really matter. What matters is the aha moment I had. 75 hard is great for some people. It's a mental challenge that pushes them to the extreme. But it's also laid out in a way that doesn't allow people to make mistakes or to deviate from the plan. You cannot mess up.
That is awesome for some people, not so awesome for me. I have spent the better part of 8 years messing up and then feeling like a complete and utter failure. It has taken me so long to understand how my brain works. These past few weeks I have made such progress when it comes to patience with myself, better self talk and more self love. Last night I saw that all starting to disappear in a blink of an eye. Over a glass of wine. One glass, y'all. It wasn't like I fell off the deep end and got trashed, I had one glass.
So in the midst of myself reflection last night I decided a few things. I'm going to continue forward with my journey to a better me, without 75 hard. I truly don't want this to be a phase, I want this to be a lifestyle. The more I thought about 75 hard the more I felt like it was like every other program I've done - just an opportunity for me to fail, disappoint myself and quit & I don't want to do that again.
I'm looking to make healthy choices. Eat better, cleaner. Cook more, eat out less. Workout more. I want to make sure that I'm in it for the long haul. We went hiking in Colorado this year and it was magical, I want to be strong enough to do more of that with my kids.
So here's my updated "plan":
Workouts - Complete ALL required workouts for 9 Week Control Freak (I love this program, if you're interested in more details, let me know!). On days that are rest days make sure to complete a yoga or stretching workout. Attempt to go for daily family walks. This was the best thing to come out of the 75 hard challenge. Our older boys are super chatty on these walks and we had the most amazing conversations about places we want to visit and things we want to do in life. Remind myself daily that I won't be perfect every day and that's okay. There is always tomorrow to be better.
Diet - I've been trying hard to cook as much as possible from our Instant Loss cookbooks. These recipes are clean and many don't include ingredients that trigger Oscar's EOE. They're also a great option for us to push the boys to try new foods. I've also been trying to avoid carbs when possible. I'm not doing Keto and I'm not doing low carb because its TOO much pressure for me. If we go to a friends house I'm eating whatever they're serving. If I'm eating out, I'm eating what I want off the menu. I'm trying to be conscious of what I'm eating. Avoiding the bread basket, not sitting next to the apps, etc. But again, I'm not putting the pressure on myself to be perfect.
Water - I'm still working hard to drink a gallon of water day. I pee a lot, but I also feel better when I do this.
Alcohol - Wine on the weekends :) HA! I want balance. I want to never feel pressure or anger towards myself for enjoying something that I truly enjoy. So will I be enjoying the nightly glass of wine that I was enjoying before, no. It's just wasted calories. Will I be enjoying a glass of wine at a friends house or on a Saturday night? Probably. Life is about balance, y'all!
Reading - Part of the 75 hard challenge that I really enjoyed was the mandated 10 pages of reading a day. I love reading and the last couple of years I have bought so many books and then just shelfed them to be read at a later date. I joined Goodreads this year and I've committed to reading a book a week in 2021. I'm super excited and hoping to find a balance between personal development books and fun easy reads. So far I'm one book in and looking forward to starting book two today!
I no longer want to be skinny, I now want to be the best version of myself possible. That person is strong, healthy and present with her kids. Having my clothes fit better is just an added benefit :)
I'm thankful for 4.5 days of 75 hard that made me realize where I'm at and what I truly want. I'm anxious to see how far I come in 2021.