I recently moved into a great new home, so I'm eager to share my decorating and crafting tips as I continue to get settled in!
At the beginning of this year, I decided to sign up for a 25-Day Challenge at my local barre3 studio.
[Background info- Barre3 is a recent workout obsession of mine: it's a whole-body workout that incorporates pilates, yoga, and ballet. Its objective is to lengthen and tone, rather than to bulk up. I went several times off-and-on since they opened in August, but had a hard time being consistent about it. The Issaquah studio is very close to my new place, though, and I found myself there a lot starting in December.]
The "Challenge," as it's come to be called amongst barre frequenters, involves completing at least 20 classes within 25 days. Two of my cousins and my aunt signed up for it, so I was eager to jump on board! It started on January 2 and ends on the 26th. So far, I've either gone to class or done the barre3 DVD at home every day! I've only had to do the DVD when class was full (one Sunday), or when it was cancelled (a couple of days this week). I can feel a huge improvement in my muscles and overall body. My core is already feeling so strong, and it's only been a couple of weeks.
I will admit, it's sometimes hard to complete the classes every day in a row. My muscles are often a bit fatigued, especially when I do an evening class one day, and then an early morning class the next. Even so, I've found it to be a wonderful experience. I've become comfortable and confident in the studio, and am going to continue trying to go 4-5 times a week after the challenge is over.
Along with the challenge came a detox. Barre3 is based out of Portland, and there's a gal down there named Andrea Nakayama who runs a company called Replenish PDX. I'm always skeptical of the words "detox," or "cleanse," as I often associate those terms with maple syrup fasts and a quick return of any weight lost. However, I did a lot of research and discovered that this detox looked like a pretty good decision. It was a 10-day detox that focused on whole, organic, healthy foods. We got a protocol book, recipes, grocery list, online seminars, and message board supports for the whole time. I'm on day 10 right now, and all I can say is WOW!
Going in, I assumed it would be another diet of deprivation- feeling hungry, antsy, and irritable with the hopes of developing some healthy habits. Boy, was I wrong. Andrea encouraged us to read labels and to make sure that we were putting whole foods into our bodies. Amongst other guidelines, the detox was gluten-free and dairy-free. Andrea wanted us to focus on our guts for this detox, and to work to reduce the inflammation that often comes from putting highly processed foods into our bodies. If you've met me (or my dad), you know we are a bread family! I've taught myself to believe that bread is the only thing I can eat before a long run. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about removing gluten from my diet. Let me tell you- I've been away from it for 10 days, and I do not miss it one bit! I really opened myself up to the experience and amazed myself at the unique foods I never would have even looked at had it not been for the detox: mung beans, sunflower seed butter (I'm allergic to nuts), beets, cabbage, flax seeds... the list goes on! I was able to eat delicious, satisfying, full meals while helping to gently clean out my insides.
Some people had a hard time with the detox, which included kicking coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker, so this was no issue for me. Thankfully, my body didn't go through any major withdrawals. I feel wide awake, energized, and healthy with these eating habits. Even though the official "detox" is over, I plan on continuing on the same eating plan. Of course, I will allow myself to eat things like beef and pork occasionally (Andrea didn't want us eating those while on the specific detox), and a glass of wine from time to time, but I have had such success that I plan on incorporating these skills into my daily life. I love that I can be healthy, yet enjoy all sorts of delicious foods (yesterday, I made chocolate covered brownie bites that are to die for).
Okay- now, the kicker of it all. One of the big reasons that I decided to do the challenge and the detox was, of course, for weight loss. I've never been overweight. I'm a runner, so I've generally been able to eat what I want and stay relatively thin. Of course, as I'm now seeing, diet plays a huge role in getting to the ideal body. However, with my first year of teaching, running and working out has taken a back seat in my life the past several months. I watched my weight creep up and up, and it hit a lifetime high over the holidays this year. This took a toll on my own self-confidence, and I had a hard time getting back in that healthy groove. However, my dad helped me map out a marathon training schedule, which I started at the beginning of the year, as well.
Going into the challenge and the detox, I was hoping to lose 2-3 pounds in the couple of weeks. That's a LOT for someone who's relatively small. If you can believe it, I've lost 10 pounds over the past two and a half weeks. I've been running 3x a week, barre3 everyday, and doing some hot yoga a couple of times a week. The working out, paired with the eating well, has been amazing for me. The great part is that I've lost all this weight healthily- by eating plenty of - tasty - food several times a day (three big meals and two snacks). I have not once been hungry or irritable. Plus, by eliminating those inflammatory foods, my belly has absolutely dissolved. It's a great cycle- I feel better, I want to eat better, I want to work out more, etc. I finally feel like I'm back to where I need and want to be! I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes that I've come up with on this blog.
It looks like I've joined the "resolutioners" club. I can't say I ever thought I'd even need to be here, but, to be honest, I'm glad I am.
Find a local barre3 or check out the DVD (online workouts coming next week): www.barre3.com
Check out Andrea and Replenish PDX: www.replenishpdx.com