My 12-week fitness challenge is FINALLY complete. The results are decent, but not overwhelmingly so. The numbers feel mediocre to me compared to the amount of effort and dedication the challenge required. However, the visual results are much more telling. I do feel better, I think I look better, and my clothes fit more comfortably (or not at all in some cases).The final numbers are not terribly different than what I reported at the beginning of Phase 3. I lost another inch off of my hips and at certain points I was down several pounds. With all said and done, overall with the program I lost 2 inches off of my waist, thighs, and chest, and three inches off of my hips (yahooooo!), and a total of close to 10 pounds. Like I said, not terribly drastic results, but here are some pictures so you can see where it counts...
On the left is me around Week 3.
My muscles have much more definition, and my body is definitely firmer. Big R claims my curves are back - everyone loves having some curves, eh? I can't argue that I'm stronger today than I was three months ago, which makes several facets of my life a tad bit easier, not the least of which is carrying around little r. Here is a comparison of my first picture and my last. I tried to take the last picture to match as closely as possible to the first so that the comparison was fair. I even wore my least favorite workout top - Lord only knows why I decided to wear it for my first picture!
And on the right is me at the end of the 12-week challenge.
Whenever I feel like I gained nothing these last three months, I look at these before and after pictures and feel a bit better.
And I'm going to be brave and show you my favorite comparison - my abs. I took the "before" picture hoping that I would be happy enough with the results to take an "after" shot, and I think it's a decent enough improvement that I want to share.
Here I am (left) at the beginning (well, two weeks in, but close enough).
And this is me now (right).
Being able to see the difference visually makes me feel so much better about those pesky "numbers" not being more dramatic. Now that I have sufficiently embarrassed myself by sharing photographs of my mid-section, let's move along, shall we?
For some reason those 12 weeks felt like an eternity. Yes, I am such a drama queen. I suppose some things are just more taxing than others for certain people. This fitness challenge certainly fit into the category of being one of the more difficult challenges for me. The workouts were definitely a lot of work, but not terribly grueling or impossible. More than the actual "work" they were just hugely time consuming.
Being finished with Jamie Eason's 12-week LIVEFIT trainer is somewhat bitter sweet. It was exciting to be a part of a challenge and to have all of the work scripted and planned out. I rarely had to think, and that part was a relief. I enjoyed feeling myself get stronger when I was lifting heavier weights and running much faster during my sprints. I also really enjoyed the variety of the workouts. Jamie does an excellent job keeping your muscles and your mind guessing, so boredom was never an issue.
All that said, I could not be happier to have completed this challenge so that I can have my day back. As horrible as it is to say (and to think it), I felt incredibly guilty and selfish doing this program. It ate up so much of the time I had while little r was in kindergarten, that I was rushing around like a crazy woman trying to complete all of the other things I needed to get taken care of for the household. The workouts were also a tad bit exhausting, especially in Phase 3, so I had such little energy to get anything done. Juggling our schedules with only one car, many early mornings that started before 5 a.m. so that I could get my workout completed before Big R needed the car for work, and the constant feeling that I was extremely pressed for time all created anxiety I really could have done without.
Am I glad that I did the challenge? Absolutely. I really needed to do this for myself despite how it made me feel or how crazy I was for three months. I also learned a fair amount about myself, particularly in those areas where I need a lot of work emotionally. The challenge also helped me make healthier food choices for the family, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Speaking of food, I probably would have seen even greater results had I been stronger about following the "diet" Jamie directs you to do. I found out that I have zero will-power where this is concerned. (And all the running in Phase 3 makes me freaking hungry!!!) Sure, I can force myself to annex chocolate and wine and all those sugary goodies, but keeping the calories crazy low AND the carb intake at close to null is a recipe for moodiness and anger in this lady. It's not worth it to me. That is not healthy for my mind. Instead, I opted to take a moderation approach. I tried to make smarter food choices when I was hungry, and I made sure there were little to no unhealthy snacks in the house to avoid any binges. At the end of the day, I failed miserably at the "carb cycling" that Jamie has in her program, and the calorie counting went by the wayside at the beginning of Phase 3. Despite all that, I feel really good, and I'm much more conscious about what I eat.
So, there you have it. I don't look a thing like Jamie Eason, but I am slimmer, leaner, stronger, more confident... Let's just hope that after all this hard work, I can stay this way :)
Thanks for all your support as I worked my way through the last 12 weeks!