Lately I've been doing a little fitness challenge each month, mostly just for myself but also anyone else who wants to play along.
- In February I worked on incorporating more moderation in my diet and workouts (and immediately went back to my rigid structure as soon as I could because I was so miserable).
- In March I challenged myself to beat my 85% success rate at earning stickers each day for good nutritional choices (smiley face sticker) and solid workouts (star sticker) for the month, and ended up with a 5% increase! Yay me! High five!
The purpose of the challenges is simple: find a creative and fresh way to keep personal wellness at the top of my mind and tackle a specific hurdle that I am dealing with. Since my attention span is pretty short, I keep the challenges short, and it is really rewarding to hear my friends talking about their own progress in the challenges, whatever spin they choose to put on it to suit their personal goals.
So last month I launched Operation Muffin Top, because when I pulled my summer clothes out of hiding...well...they didn't fit as well as they did last year. So I took a good look at my portion sizes, had a little come-to-Jesus meeting with myself, and tackled the problem head-on: a solid month of really cranking out the cardio and keeping those portions in check. After all, even healthy calories are calories!
After a couple of weeks my hard work began to show. And, to my complete shock and awe, so did my abs. Now let me get one thing straight - we all know people who won the genetic lottery and have slim, flat, muscular abs despite the fact that they regularly eat peanut butter straight out of the jar while frosting a cake, which they then eat. In this instance am referring specifically to my brother's former girlfriend. And then there are women who work their tails off by eating clean and sweating out their body weight every day to bring out their core muscles, and their discipline shows. I am neither. I have never, ever, ever, despite years of Pilates, hours of Abs of Steel, Richard Simmons-esque cardio marathons, and monk-like nutrition, had great abs. I just don't. It sucks and its not fair but it's true.
Or at least, it was true. One day last month, I saw something strange. It looked like...could it be? No! But there it was - the very first beginnings of my very first six-pack. More of a three-and-a-half pack. Hell, I'll take it!
I was stumped, and more than a little humbled. You see, while I had been cranking out the cardio and being religious about my nutrition and portions, I had also been doing something else: resting. On purpose, not doctor-mandated rest like I'm more accustomed to. I've been taking Thursdays off of exercise, going to bed earlier, and even sleeping later some mornings. Yeah, it's meant that I don't have as much time to watch TV or interact with other humans, but it's how I roll right now. And apparently, I'm rolling in the right direction.
So for May, I have a new challenge - do not make eye contact with any of the good work I did in April. Now that I've noticed this nice little development, I'm having to restrain myself from my usual modus operandi of poking at it with a stick until it bites me.
It's funny how life reveals these little lessons when you least expect them, but then "forgets" to include the instruction manual. I'm not quite sure what to do with this small victory over myself, and I don't want to screw it up.
Something tells me the best way to do that is to sleep on it.