I have no idea where to start. So much to be grateful for this week. Not only is the sun shining, I’ve enjoyed multiple breathtaking sunrises and sunsets (thank you Mom). There’s peace in my heart and soul.

 

I’m thankful a close friend mentioned Andy Frisella’s #75Hard Challenge. Knowing that both of us are huge competitors, not in the way that’s unhealthy and demeaning, but in a way that’s supportive and encouraging, and without really knowing what I was agreeing to, I told him I’d join him. The best way to stay accountable is to have others to be accountable with and I also know agreeing to it would help him. I’m grateful I’ve been able to talk one friend into joining us and hopeful a couple of others I’ve thrown the challenge out will jump at the opportunity. I’m grateful this also gives me a way to stay connected with all of them.

 

I’m grateful I said “I’m in” before I knew all the intricate details of the challenge (I might not have agreed to it otherwise). When I first heard about the challenge, what I pulled from it was two 45 minute work out’s each day, a gallon of water, and healthy eating. I worried I wouldn’t be able to follow the whole gallon of water, however, I believed that the two 45 minute work out’s each day would give me a needed kick in the rump to get back in shape (I haven’t worked out since the gyms closed six weeks ago). I sent an email to my friend explaining ways to “manipulate” the challenge to “make it work” for us.

 

Then I went on an hour and a half bike ride while listening to Andy Frisella’s podcast.

 

Crap!

 

The workouts are not to be consecutive! So the 20 mile bike ride I just completed only counted as one. Also, one workout must be outdoors, rain or shine. I was whining that I’d lose that hour of cardio in the gym where I got caught up on emails, online training for work, and a bunch of other things (the great multitasker).  Although I was originally frustrated about this unexpected twist, I’m grateful for the extra challenge it has created.

 

In addition, reading is not allowed on audiobook. It must be an actual old fashioned book and, a non-fiction one at that. A nagging sense of doubt attacked my mind. Where would I find the time to just sit and read? Add on top of everything, not one drop of alcohol or cheat meals. My mind resisted. Following my “mindful eating” plan, as long as I’m eating “healthy”, meaning I don’t eat over the calorie count for the day, I’m good. I can work out longer to have that chocolate cake.

 

Not on this challenge! I’m not allowed to. Not following the program to a “T” causes a restart.

 

My first instinct was to back peddle (great analogy since I was riding my bike while listening to this podcast) and tell my friend, I’m sorry, this sounds way too hard. And yet, I’d already agreed I was in. I’m grateful I try to stay true to my word. On Tuesday, reluctantly, I started the challenge and I’m so grateful I did.

 

I’m grateful I added 15 minutes of meditation and daily prayer/bible plans to the challenge. I’m grateful for the time spent in my rocking chair reading a book. These few daily routines have caused me to slow down in the morning. I’m learning how to become more grounded and centered. I feel that within my whole body.

 

While I miss lifting weights, I’m grateful I’ve found different ways to exercise that are just as good. I’m grateful for biking outside (not on a stationary bike), to running (again outside, not on an elliptical or treadmill), to Pound in my backyard on Zoom, to Just Dance on the Wii, and doing yoga with around 500 people live on Zoom. My muscles are screaming, “what the heck!” I’m grateful for my full body outside workouts (yes, I keep social distancing if I see someone else).

 

I’m grateful drinking a gallon of water wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The cravings, oh they suck. However, I’m grateful that I’ve, thus far, had the discipline to resist the temptation to cheat. Even when the family was toasting marshmallows and having s’mores, I was munching on veggies instead. I’m grateful that after giving me a hard time, my daughter suggested I roast my broccoli and baby peppers. Yum!

 

What I’m most grateful for this challenge is to see my mindset change when it comes to the reason why I work out. As I had mentioned, in the past, it was calories in = calories out and I called this mindful eating. I had tracked 639 consecutive days on my Lose It App until…April 7th. Then I stopped. There has been one week since the end of September where I was under my calories for the week. And since the end of October, there’s only a handful of weeks where my calorie count was less than 5,000 over my weekly limit. And yet, I continued with the belief, what goes in must come out.

 

Following this belief, I end up working out more just to cover the calorie intake. And while I may be at a healthy weight, I’m still not completely healthy. I’m grateful that I’ve learned that since I’ve cut out the empty calories, I can enjoy yoga as a workout without the thought that it doesn’t do enough because I only burn a fraction of what I do with other workouts.

 

I’m grateful I’m learning to be healthy for me.

 

I’m grateful for walking the dog to Starbucks with my older daughter. I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach my younger daughter how to drive a stick shift. I’m grateful the few days I got with my girls. I’m grateful for a morning walk with my ex and having a long needed conversation. I’m grateful we later had pizza together with our girls when she came to pick them up.

 

I’m grateful for a beautiful Saturday; a morning I started with a 12 1/2 mile bike ride, followed by my daily routine of meditation, reading, and prayer. I’m grateful for my SAA ZOOM meeting while I went on a walk, followed by joining my writing group for an hour and half. I’m grateful when I dropped off my youngest daughter, I sat alone with our dog in the backyard of her mom’s country home for a couple hours working on the back story of a new D&D character for an online adventure my friends and I were starting in a few hours. I’m grateful my daughter and her mom had one on one time making a vegan dinner and having the opportunity to enjoy it with them. It was amazing! I could go vegan with meals like that. I’m grateful I had time to hang out with my oldest daughter in her fort before I headed home. And I’m grateful for the five hours of online D&D adventure we had, especially trying to play a character that was completely outside my comfort zone.

 

I’m grateful for connecting with my close friend from the Netherlands. I’m grateful he’s safe and ok. I’m grateful that through all the time and distance we’ve had over the past 21 years since we flew together, that we’ve the means and the technology to stay connected. I’m grateful knowing that one day we’ll get to hang out. It would be so awesome to fly with him again! I’m hopeful he’ll join us with the #75Hard Challenge. He’s just as competitive as me. Game on baby!

 

The days seem to be blending and blurring together, especially since I haven’t been flown for thirteen days. Yes, I’m grateful for my beard. And even though wearing a mask and a beard is not that comfortable, I’m grateful I have four masks coming via mail with my company’s colors and insignia on them. I’m grateful for the opportunity to use this time to recharge. I’m grateful #75Hard is helping me to see this as an opportunity for growth rather than become stagnant and further depressed.

 

I’m grateful for life.

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