In the past 12 years I’ve lost my “extra” weight 3 different times but have always gained it all back. I’ve tried unsuccessfully several times in the last couple of years to do it again but have always quit and not stuck with it. I know what I need to do I just haven’t had the motivation and energy to stick with it.
On March 28th I got an email in my inbox inviting me to take part in Q Sciences‘ “Spring Challenge”. A 3 month challenge where you submit a “before” picture and at the conclusion of the 3 months submit an “after” picture along with an essay on what you did. The grand prize – an all expenses paid cruise to the Bahamas!
First off you need to know I really love Q Sciences. It is a great company with amazing leaders and life changing products. I’ve seen friend’s lives transformed by taking their products. I’ve had the chance to visit with several of the company’s leaders and been able to personally consult with Q96 EMpowerplus creator Tony Stephens. I believe in this company and its mission and products.
Now back to the Spring Challenge… I really needed some motivation to get on the wagon and stay on the wagon so took this before picture and submitted it:
I then had 91 days to transform my life.
So I Set a Goal – to lose 20 lbs. in those 3 months
This was a reasonable amount of weight that I knew I could lose in the time period. I started the challenge at 160 lbs. That meant I needed to lose about 1.5 lbs. per week to reach my goal.
Next I Made a Plan
I think most of us know the basics of what we need to do to lose weight. We need to exercise and we need to eat right. But knowing and actually doing are 2 different things. Ultimately my goal was to make sustainable lifestyle changes because I knew from experience that the weight would come back on if I just went on a “diet”.
So here is what I did…
Exercise – I committed to exercising 6 days per week without excuses. Didn’t matter if I had to sacrifice sleep or skip doing the dishes or miss out on something fun. For 3 months I was committed to exercising everyday but Sunday. I stuck with it for the entire 3 months only missing 3 days when I was travelling. (I did get in quite a bit of walking on the day I was on the set of Nicholas Sparks’ upcoming movie The Best of Me).
To get my exercise in each day I used a stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical or rowing machine and spent a lot of time in the good outdoors walking.
Obviously I love to read. I have hundreds of books waiting to be reviewed but can never seem to find the time to read. I paired exercise with reading to make exercise enjoyable. I could sit on a stationary bike and read. I even mastered walking outside while reading on my Kindle. I listened to audiobooks when reading an actual book wasn’t feasible. Most days I couldn’t wait to start exercising so I could get lost in a book. It made the time fly by and more often than not I exercised longer than planned so I could get through another couple of chapters. In the 3 months of this challenge I made it through 50 books. Most of those got read while I was exercising. It’s a habit I won’t be giving up. Instead of sitting on the couch reading a book you’ll find me tying on my shoes and heading out the door to walk around the park or along the golf course while reading my book.
Food – I tried to eliminate white refined foods. For the most part I cut out refined sugar from my diet. I did make a couple exceptions for Easter (Cadbury Creme Eggs) and a 3 day trip to New Orleans to visit the set of The Best of Me (Creole Creme Cheese Cake & multiple desserts at dinner in the French Quarter) and a camp out (S’mores). Those breaks helped me to not feel like I was completely depriving myself of anything good (cause honestly who really wants to live in a world where you can never have chocolate). Unlike my typically way of eating where I ate sugar and junk food on a daily basis I used those treats as rewards and then I eliminated the sugar from my diet again.
I also eliminated most white refined foods and stuck to whole grains except when travelling. During the course of the 3 months I went out of town 4 times. It was trickier to eat healthy and count calories but I asked for nutrition fact menus at restaurants and made the best choices I could with what was available. I tried to eats lots of fruits, veggies and salads on a regular basis.
Calorie Counting – The first three weeks I didn’t count calories but by the end of those 3 weeks I knew exercise alone wasn’t going to cut it so I started to track what I was eating in myfitnesspal. It surprising how fast calories add up. My kitchen scale became an invaluable tool for determining portion sizes and calorie counts.
Water – I drank at least 8 ounces of water everyday.
Supplements – I took a vitamin and mineral supplement everyday. I opted to take Q96. This challenge was sponsored by Q Sciences. I had purchased EMpowerplus Q96 for my son but had plenty of extra product on hand. I had read an article about it helping with suppressing appetite and figured its mood stabilizing properties would help as I tend to get grumpy when I eliminate sugar from my diet. I took Q96 almost everyday for the entire 3 months. I honestly felt great while I was taking it. I missed a few days and noticed a difference. I was much more irritable and moody when I wasn’t taking it. I had less patience with my children and less energy.
Accountability – I committed to weigh in every Saturday and take a picture of myself and post it to my blog. My 8 year old served as my photographer and each week I donned the same pair of workout clothes and made myself a sign with the date to hold. By far this was the biggest motivator in keeping me going each week. I knew I was going to be posting a picture and I wanted there to be an improvement. It was hard to see a difference from one week to the next but over time there was an obvious change.
Motivation to Keep my Head in the Game – About a week after this challenge started I attended a class on home organization. Although the class had nothing to do with this challenge something the speaker said really affected me and how I viewed what I was doing. The just of what she said was…
Anytime you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. And conversely every time you say no to something you are saying yes to something else.
Something just clicked when I heard that. If I say yes to the bowl of ice cream or an order of french fries I am saying no to losing weight. If I say no to exercise because I’m too tired or too busy I’m saying yes to being out of shape. I decided that I wanted to say yes to a healthy body and was going to do what it took to get there. That didn’t mean I could never say yes to ice cream. I realized that I could say yes occasionally but that I need it to be planned out and a conscious choice. If I said yes then I needed to put in some extra time working out or be really strict with what I ate the next couple days to make up for the treat.
After the 1st 3 weeks I also enlisted some friends to help keep me accountable. We used a 10 point tracking system and reported in each day on how we did. I had done this in the past when I had lost weight and found the support of friends to be invaluable in keeping me on track.
10-Points Possible Each Day
1 pt – report in each day
1 pt – track food eaten in MyFitnessPal
1 pt – take daily supplements (Q96)
1 pt – drink at least 8 cups (64 oz.) of water
1 pt – no white flour, white rice, or white pasta – potatoes used minimally
1 pt – no sugar
1 pt – “weight loss” day according to myfitnesspal
3 pts – exercise (1 point for every 150 calories burned)
When school got out for the summer I adjusted my system to be a little more flexible because life with 4 kids at home is less structured than when they are all in school.
So here I am 3 months later. I weighed in at 139 lbs at the end of this challenge, that is 21 lbs. less than I was when this started. I feel great. I’m happier, healthier and have tons of energy.
I still have 10 lbs. I would like to lose. I have just ordered Q Sciences’ Cellerciser to help me complete my transformation to someone who is totally fit, healthy and happy. Below are my new set of “before” pictures. After I have cellercised for a couple months I will repost updated pictures. I spent a lot of time at the gym during the 3 months of this challenge and I am hoping the Cellerciser will live up to its promises and cut down on the time I spend exercising. I recently had the chance to meet Cellerciser’s creator David Hall and his beautiful wife and was thoroughly impressed by both of them.
Thanks to Q Sciences for helping me transform my life. The weight loss and feeling great should be reward enough but there was much more headed my way. I got an exciting phone call at the beginning of July from Q Sciences’ Founder & CEO Daren Hogge… I will post the rest of the story soon but for those who follow my social media you can likely guess what the outcome of the challenge was.
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