At the beginning of this year, I decided that it was time to make a change in my life. I didn’t like where I was or who I was becoming; I really needed a life change. One thing I decided I needed to do was take control of my health and fitness.
I have this inspiring sister who is incredibly gifted when it comes to helping people with their health and fitness, but she never pushes herself and her ideals on anyone – and that usually means people ask her when they are “ready”. I was ready. And so it started.
That was in February. You may have noticed that I dropped off the planet a bit then –sometimes that is what it takes to really get things under control. It means managing your time differently. For me, it meant not putting health and fitness last, in the “I don’t have time” category. It meant gradually moving it higher up on the list until everything else could work around it, rather than it being fit in where it really didn’t fit.
I even used this idea for a “colouring contest” at a gym-opening I was at. They asked participants to draw a picture of what “fit” meant to us (shout out to FIT by Fun Fitness Fast – amazing place to go in the Burlington, ON area!).
So everything was going great on this front… and around rolls April. I had heard about the Whole Life Challenge in February from my friend Heather. In March during a discussion about health and fitness, she recommended I might want to try it out the next time… in April, her Facebook page began piling with information and promos about the Whole Life Challenge that was about to start in May. I signed up immediately, recruiting my sister and one of her besties to join me. After interviewing Heather for Ugly Ducklings in April, our very own Jenn also joined the team.
The challenge changed my life.
And, besides that, it was a lot of fun! I gained valuable information, education, and insight, self-esteem, and confidence. I was able to let go of a lot of the notions I had in my head about what health and fitness “looked like” and for the first time in forever, I felt like I was in control of my life and my health.
Anyone who wants to make a healthy change in their life, for whatever reason, I highly recommend you grab a friend who lives close by and join the WLC (even a long-distance friend can be a total game-changer, I’ve learned). ANYONE can do this challenge, regardless of your current health and fitness level – it just requires you to be mindful and accountable for the choices you make. There aren’t any crazy workouts or fitness regimes – it is about making health and fitness work for you.
The first thing I will say about the challenge is that Undisputed Fitness (the community we joined for the WLC) really knows how to build a tribe. There was so much support in their Facebook group and on the website –everyone on their team genuinely wants everyone else to succeed; they offer advice, recipes, encouragement and answers to the questions everyone has. It was such an honour to be a part of such an incredibly strong and gifted group of people.
I cannot thank Heather enough for all the love and support she gave me during this challenge (and just in general!), the conversation I had with coach Lorenzo just before the challenge ended was a HUGE game-changer and Nate was a fantastic team captain and creates the best Facebook memes.
This entire team is so badass.
I haven’t stuck to the “compliant nutrition” since the challenge ended – but I am way more educated now about the foods I am eating, what is in them and how they make me feel. You think almond milk that you buy at the store is a godsend?
Read the ingredients – you can’t even say half of them. I made my own!
And above reading the ingredients, I learned some other really important lessons:
- I do have time to workout and stretch. Every single day. Every. Single. Day. I do have the time. I just need to use it.
- Meals are way healthier and cheaper if you just take some time to prepare them.
- Whole Foods is highly overrated… WF isn’t exactly “local” here, but I took a trip to one of the few cities over during the challenge and didn’t buy a single thing – there was nothing there for me that didn’t have additives, sugar and other crap in it.
- It’s a good thing I love Canada because we get ripped off on so many levels.
- I don’t care about nutritional information nearly as much as I care about ingredients.
- Trader Joe’s is totally worth a trip across the border.
- Treats can be nutritious.
- I hate burpees and wish them harm.
- Squats make your butt look amazing.
- The people in your life don’t necessarily want you to be a healthier person. They take it personally, sometimes. And the challenge is a really good way of showing you who loves and supports you and in what ways.
- I have the best and most supportive sister/mommy in the world (seriously, my sister and I had a “care package off” and exchanged compliant treats back and forth for all eight weeks of the challenge).
Being super competitive can pay off. I might not agree with all the choices I made in the name of competition over the duration of the challenge, but getting this photo with this message the night the challenge ended made everything a bit more worth it. I was playing to win… I wanted to win this beautiful trophy!
- I am worth more than what I was giving myself.
And perhaps the most incredible thing about the challenge is: it isn’t about being perfect. Life isn’t perfect. Health isn’t perfect. They get that. As an ex-perfectionist, it did take me five weeks to use a single bonus point and allow my score to not be perfect for a little over 24 hours… but it won’t take that long this time around. I will not have every bonus point planned (hey, I’m a competitive person and I was playing to win!). I will not be perfect. But I will still be worth it.
We love you all and wish everyone could have this experience!
If you’re not already inspired, check out this video before you go. You might need to grab a tissue, but you’re sure to smile afterwards.