This summer I had the pleasure of attending a couple gorgeous weddings. And you know what that means? Pictures. Pictures of me — the person who’s usually behind the camera. So when I saw the pictures, I was a bit surprised. I didn’t like what I saw. Sure, I’d watched the number on the scale creeping up. (You know, the scale I finally bought because I knew I needed more than the button on my jeans to hold myself accountable. Mainly because they didn’t fit anymore.) But somehow I just kept pretending it wasn’t happening.
I knew why it was happening. For a number of reasons, really. One, because about a year and a half ago, my age hit a magical number that sent my formerly crazy-high metabolism into a raging mid-life crisis. Two, because now that I work from home — or Starbucks — I graze a lot more. You know, the one-for-them-three-for-me approach to snack making? And three, because I really couldn’t figure out how to fit exercise into my days. Just like all busy moms, I have lots of stuff going on — a minivan load of kids to raise, schools to volunteer in, a blog to write, a freelance writing business to run, and a house to clean…over and over and over and over. And exercise? Well, it just seemed like it could wait.
The truth of the matter is, the more I thought about how I needed to get back in shape, the worse it got.
Then, one day, a friend from high school posted on Facebook that she had been seeing dramatic results with T25 — an exercise program that requires just 25 minutes a day (plus cool down…so let’s say 30 minutes). Since that seemed totally do-able, I reached out to her. I wasn’t looking for dramatic results — I really didn’t want to do something that would be a quick fix or diet. What I wanted was to get in shape using an approach that I could sustain year round without drastically altering my diet (this girl loves her pizza and wine Fridays, after all). She told me she was a couple weeks in, and another friend of ours from high school had just joined too. And before I knew it, I’d bought the videos, joined their private Facebook group with an awesome coach, and I was getting started on the 10-week program.
Now, 9 weeks into the program, I’m celebrating my progress. (I did 8 weeks strong before getting hit with a stomach bug, so I repeated a week and am still in the process of finishing the last couple.) I’ve lost 6 pounds and 6 inches (while gaining a good amount of muscle along the way). My jeans button. Easily. I stand taller and have way more energy. And, the best part is that I didn’t do it for a short-term reason like I have in the past — a vacation, a party, etc. (In fact, we planned our vacation about 5 weeks into the program and I was thrilled that I was well on my way to getting bathing-suit ready!) The truth of the matter is that I did it as a long-term lifestyle change. And I plan to keep it up.
While T25 has been the perfect program for me for a number of reasons — the minimal time commitment, the way it’s allowed me to rebuild my cardio and physical strength from practically nothing, Shaun T’s approach to personal growth, and the variety/calendar (it’s a bunch of videos and each day has a workout assigned to it) — being a part of a group doing the program together has made a world of difference. Though the women in our Facebook group live all over the country, we check in with each other to provide encouragement, ask our awesome coach for advice on how to handle everything from pesky Halloween candy cravings to raging shin splints, and to hold each other accountable for our progress.
It’s true, three of us in the group were friendly in high school, but we weren’t good friends — we all had our different interests. But this unlikely collection of old acquaintances is now a group to be reckoned with. I’ve bonded with both of these women. As for Elizabeth, a mom of five, I’ve enjoyed her wicked sense of humor, loved her totally empowered approach to life since choosing to not only complete, but to nail T25, and been inspired by the fact that she lost 26 sticks of butter worth of fat in 10 weeks. And Teresa? I joke that she’s Shaun T’s dream come true. But it’s not really a joke. This gal wakes up at 4am — yes, you read that right — to get her workout done before she gets her two kids up for the day and goes to her full-time job. She, too, just rocked her 10 weeks and feels so empowered (and looks truly phenomenal, I might add), she’s moved on to Insanity. (Elizabeth has too! I, on the other hand, think I’ll be moving on to Hip Hop Abs. Yes, this girl loves an excuse to dance..)
And our coach, Sherie, of Fit Healthy Edge, has been a true professional. Her background and training in sports and sports medicine has made her invaluable to helping me get through the program. Just when I thought my bum shoulder or wrist were going to get in the way, she helped me find a way to treat and care for my injuries — strengthening my weaknesses rather than working around them. On those days I was feeling discouraged, she knew just what to say to get my head back in the game.
I also have my family to thank. Since I’ve decided to mostly squeeze my workouts into the hour between Big’s school departure and Little’s school departure, Little and Pink have had to learn how to keep themselves busy for 30 minutes (and sometimes longer if I get the luxury of a shower…which is most certainly needed after these body-drenching workouts). They start off eating breakfast nearby, and think it’s funny to shout “Focus!” as I, well, try to focus. Then sometimes they play right next to me — a real treat if Pink has a dirty diaper, which I’ve learned can wait, too. But Little’s also learned to check the countdown clock on the screen (one of my favorite parts of the program), so he knows when I’ll be done and can help him get a refill on his bowl of cereal or free the doll he threw up into the garage door tracks.
So why am I sharing this? I’ll be honest, I’ve been a bit nervous about it. I’ve been waiting for someone — anyone — to point out that they see a difference. That still hasn’t happened — I know I’m a work in progress. But then I realized, this isn’t about external validation. This is about me. About taking care of myself so that I feel good when I get dressed in the morning. And so that I don’t pass out when I’m running late to the bus stop in the afternoons. It’s about having control of one more thing in my life, when so many times I feel like everything is spinning so fast I can’t keep up.
So I’m sharing this in the hopes that it might inspire just one person to do something they’ve been wanting to — or needing to — do for themselves.
This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with Beachbody. I just wanted to share my personal story. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out Sherie’s blog — Fit Healthy Edge — or order T25 (among other programs) through Sherie’s Beachbody site. Or feel free to email me: usingourwords [at] yahoo [dot] com, and I can tell you more about my experience. If there’s enough interest from my friends/readers, Sherie’s offered to coach a private Facebook group just for us in partnership with the program. Or, if you’re interested, but would prefer to reach out to Sherie privately, you can email her at sherie [at] fithealthyedge [dot] com, and tell her I sent you.
Please chime in… What’s your secret to taking care of yourself with everything else you have on your plate?