45 minutes for 45 days Challenge: Part 1
I have committed, with my friend Taryn, to a 45 for 45 challenge: sweating 45 minutes a day for 45 days in a row. I started jotting down my thoughts throughout the challenge and was surprised at how it's about so much more than fitness or health or losing weight. I'm on day 9, and so far the challenge has been teaching me about how I want to live my life, and its linked to design thinking so much more than I thought it would.
Here is Part 1:
- What is the point of low rise leggings or running tights? To trick me into buying them from lululemon when they are on clearance and you can’t return.
- Workout anxiety is real. Feeling anxious about working out in front of people at the gym or going to a class and feeling awkward. This has been less of an issue for me recently (praise Zoloft), but I still feel awkward af every spin when I have to set up my bike and stumble around getting my cleats in the things. I am convinced everyone is staring at me. Hiiiighly unlikely (except when they’re staring at my gorgeous hair). But it doesn’t matter, that’s my reality because I’m thinking it. If you have workout anxiety, I highly recommend (other than antidepressants), pushing yourself to show up to the class and breathing. When your Shame Monster shows up, focus on your inhale and exhale and tell yourself a helpful phrase. Repeat it until you can be present in the moment. Examples: “I am beautiful and brave” or “No one is staring at me. If they are, that’s creepy on their part”. I just keep showing up and it gets better each time.
- But you know why I’m so consumed with people judging me? Because I’m filled with self-righteousness and judgment. Brene Brown tells us the more harshly you judge yourself the more likely you are to do that to other people. Here is my inner dialogue: “I’m not comfortable in my own skin. I don’t believe I’m worthy, so I’m going to take it out on you, the skinny lady in yoga with terrible form. I’m insecure so I’m going to find what is wrong with you and tell myself how I’m better than you.” Soul Coach, Katie Kurtz, has a great post about this here.
- Grace. Giving myself grace is so fucking important. If I challenge myself to something and I slip up or don’t live completely up to my expectations, I used to let the Shame Monster tell me that I sucked and how I can never change anyway so why try. But now I’m giving myself grace and forgiving myself when my plan doesn’t work out 100% the way I envisioned when I was on a post-run/Adderall high. Things never work out the way we want; it doesn’t mean that I failed.
- I’m glad I bought my treadmill last winter. Couldn’t do this challenge without it. I didn’t get to use it a lot last year because it was such a mild winter. But this winter has been hellish and I’ve had some long days with work and school. Having the flexibility to go for a run (or brisk walk) at 9pm has been essential in this challenge.
- This challenge is inspiring me to take care of other parts of my body. Dirty Lemon Juice. I drunk bought $100 worth of Kiehl’s serums. I’ve been drinking more water.
- Commitments or challenges hold me accountable. Having a google doc to track my progress is really great. But I think having a friend who is really into it is super helpful. Taryn is dedicated to the challenge enough where I feel accountable, but I don’t feel like she would shame me.
- Tribe/community/pack is key. I don’t think I need a friend to go to a class with. It does help to get me there, but I haven’t found it to be necessary during this challenge. All of my workouts have been solo. Sometimes trying to synch up a schedule with a friend makes it impossible to show up to class. However, being a part of something bigger than me and connecting my physical fitness with that is extremely powerful. Whether it’s a really involved yoga/spin studio or a running group, connection is key.
- Movement and sweating are more than burning calories. Sometimes when I don’t have the energy to run or get to spin, I do a 45-60 min yin yoga hip opening series at home. It kills my hips. I’m probably not burning many more calories than if I just laid in my bed, but I am creating space in my body. Space which will allow it to be stronger. I’m also healing my body.
- I’ve been walking and running wrong my whole life. You’re supposed to pick up your feet, which requires substantially more core than I’m used to. Instead, I just pick up my toes, flex my feet, and land on my heels. #workingonit
- That being said. I don’t have to have it all figured out. Not having perfect form shouldn’t prevent me from showing up. Doing yoga teacher training at 23 years old kind of fucked up my mindset here. Combined with dong dance and cheerleading when I was young, I was obsessed with having perfect form. Fuck that. It's unlikely that my form is so bad that I’m going to hurt myself. I don’t weight lift, but I imagine that it’s pretty important there. For the most part, I just need to show up, do my best, learn something, and make small changes.
- I can’t run without good music. What good music means changes. But I know that moving to the beat is key. And Kesha is undeniably a bad bitch that moves me —spiritually and physically.
- Committing to working out every day prevents me from or postpones drinking.
- I’m not as flexible as I was in high school. In areas that I don’t even think about regularly. Like my back. I can’t do a scorpion anymore, which makes sense, I’m almost 29 and haven’t been consistent about practicing yoga.
- Walking Daphne doesn’t really count because she stops to sniff every 3 seconds.
- I love making a detailed workout plan or schedule. I calendar out a running schedule to train for the marathon or I say that I’m going to do the Bikram Yoga 60 day challenge. I want something that will “guarantee” I will look a certain way at the end. I like to google “60 days of spin results” and then get an image of my head of what I will look like. It momentarily gets me excited. This is something I tell myself is guaranteed to motivate myself – it’s not actually inevitable.
- The idea of a massive overhaul plan intrigues me. I’ve always wanted a fitness plan that is drastically different from my current lifestyle. Like Jared from Subway (seriously, fuck you Jared. You’re a rapist). But I never complete those plans.
- There is no perfect plan. There are a million ways to work out and plans I can follow. Creating a plan will only delay. Then I won’t follow it. Then I’ll give up. I just have to start fucking moving.
- Exercise is something you have to take bit by bit. Build up. It’s an annoying thing everyone tells me: “you have to slowly build healthy habits. Take it a little bit at a time.” But it’s true. I was looking for a quick and easy solution. That’s not how it works.
- This challenge has forced me to slowly build up. Even though I’m doing something every day, I don’t have to go hard every day. But I’m building up the habit right now.
- This challenge forces me to do something every day. So I don’t always go hard, but I always do something, which helps me to build the habit. This forces me to be present and sit with the unknown. I’m not chasing a specific outcome of what I want my body to look like.
- I like to balance having a routine and mixing it up. I like that the challenge gives me some parameters: 45 minutes every day. But its flexible enough that I can still do me. It’s that piece of design thinking to have a lot of options.
- The only thing about scheduling I do think is important: making sure you know your schedule and finding time to work out ahead of time is key. Take things into account like knowing when you’re tired and being realistic that you are not going to work out at 10pm after a long day. Or if you’re not a morning person, don’t say you’re going to run at 5:30am every day right away. if you like classes, make sure there is a class when you are likely to work out.
- I want this challenge to give me more self-confidence and develop a better relationship with my body. I truly appreciate the fitness or body transformation accounts I follow on Instagram who drill the self-love point home. They don’t ever encourage change for the sake of being accepted by society or just to be thin. I want that relationship.
- But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t desperately want to be thin again. I’d be lying if it wasn’t on the top of my mind every day. I’m reading at a storytelling event next week, going to Hawaii in early March, and have a friend’s wedding after that. I would kill to look like high school Stephanie again. I’m admitting right now that that mindset is fucked up, but I would never lie. I want to be thin and feel sexy. I want attention from men. #somethingtobecognizantabout
More to come soon!