Wait, what happened to 10 and 11?
So my week 10 was my birthday week – though I didn’t binge or do anything crazy, I didn’t stick to plan at all and ate a lot of pie. I’m not a hobbit per se, but if there were hobbits in my family tree, I wouldn’t be surprised. In any case, I didn’t really exercise, either.
So what about week 11? Well, we went up to my in-laws’ farm and there were baby goats, and a goose named Duck Duck, and a lot of just enjoying life, so I didn’t record anything then, either. Terrible, I know, but again, I didn’t binge and I walked a reasonable amount, so though I wasn’t on-plan in the traditional sense, I am not regretting those two weeks.
So where does that leave me? How did the Bodybuilding.com $250k challenge go? Read on, intrepid adventurer!
I was very gungho for this challenge when I first signed up in December. I was still feeling the effects of the creeping depression that sidelined me last year, and I was still adjusting to my new medication dosage, but I thought I could handle it. When I got to week 3 and was still having fall-off-the-wagon days, I realized I was going to have to fight to even achieve a moderate level of success.
So I did the best I thought I could. I pushed through bad sleep habits to kind-of work out in the morning at home. I forced myself to run a few times a week, and when the weather permitted. I stuck somewhat to keto in terms of eating, and through it all, each week I’d lose 2 or 3 pounds, and gain 1 back. Not the progress I was looking for, but still progress.
Overall, I started the challenge with back pain, bad sleeping problems (waking a lot, aches and pains from my size, etc), and at 325 human pounds. All of those things are terrible, so I sorted them out as best I could, and this is what I ended with:
My back pain is significantly lessened – I can work out without making horrific, demon-summoning grimaces. I sleep better when I actually force myself to be an adult and go to bed before midnight, and I lost 15 pounds. I now sit at a comfortable 310, and by comfortable, I mean I can’t wait to get the rest of this off of me.
So in a nutshell, the challenge was a success, in that I was able to force myself out of the malaise in which I was enveloped. I made some actual change to my terrible physical situation, though not anywhere near where I wanted to be. Still, I will take it as success.
Well, I don’t know if Bodybuilding.com is doing another challenge like the first of the year one, but I will participate regardless. I don’t need the motivation anymore – I have found that within again and have spent each morning for the last 2 weeks at the gym. No, I will be joining these challenges because they are full of like-minded people who are of all fitness levels, and they’re great to get answers and make friends. The sculpted Aphrodites and Adonises are daunting when I compare my end-of-the-first-Ghostbusters physique to theirs, but they almost always end up being super nice and helpful.
I will continue to go to the gym, because even though I worked out at home sometimes, I didn’t quite realize what I was missing by not having a regular gym. I missed the muscle soreness, the creakiness, and feeling genuinely physically tired at night. It’s honestly the best investment possible – getting a gym membership and going regularly. It’s like a mental wellness, physical strength, and overall health center, all for one price.
I will continue to eat a ketogenic diet. I have been back on that – without bingeing or falling off the wagon – for a week now. Not long, but the longest stretch in 18 months. I still feel that overall massive reduction in sugar intake is the fastest key to overall health, and the best defense against heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic lifestyle diseases of western countries.
I will retire this particular blog series and start a new one, to match my new focus. Look for that starting Monday, as well as new blog posts on Fridays, and alternating Wednesdays. Maybe it was winter funk/SAD on top of my normal mental health issues, but the warming spring sun has brought me around and roused my interests again.
A little closing advice
I felt so defeated each week I came back to this blog and had to write that I felt like a failure. It killed me to see the scale not change, or do it so painfully slowly that one false dinner move could set me back 5 pounds. I couldn’t see the big picture, though, and that’s I think the most important bit:
Progress is more than numbers on a scale. It’s more than perfection, and most often, it looks nothing like perfection. Progress is when you wake up week after week and finally one day realize the chronic pain in your lower back hasn’t bothered you in a month. It’s when you notice your clothes fitting better but the scale says you’re still the same weight as before. Sometimes progress is picking your kids up without going “oomph” (but more often than not I do that because the kid kicks me in the stomach on accident).
I know that every motivational speaker will tell you this, every coach, guru, or parent, but it’s true: progress not perfection. If you feel like you fell off the wagon and you should just start again tomorrow, and then bury your face in Oreos, tomorrow it will be that much harder to start again. If you were on a bridge and you slipped a bit, you wouldn’t throw your hands up and just jump off because you “didn’t walk across perfectly”.
Don’t let a simple mistake curtail all your progress OR your ambition.
See you tomorrow, when I will have a delicious low carb broccoli cheddar soup for you to check out.