This is my last week of what Google Image calls the 30 Day Challenge.
I am one day behind because I went into it full-tilt, and my thigh muscles were in such agony for two days that I could barely walk, much less squat. I caught up by doubling up my workouts for a bit at the beginning, and again in Week 3 because I was so down on myself I missed a day.
These sort of workouts make it seem so easy. They have the obligatory photo of a woman with crazy cut abs as the background, they build up "only" a few reps a day, and when you first start, you feel awesome. I'm productive! I'm burning fat! I'm building muscle!
And some of that is true. I startled myself in Week 2 when I crossed my arms and felt my right inner bicep and it was hard as rock, even though I was at rest watching tv with my husband. I was so excited, I made everyone I saw feel it for two days. I made muscle!
Here's the thing though. The entire ordeal is almost not worth it when you see what it is costing you in groceries, in time, and in ego when you realize that all your hard work has done absolutely nothing on the scale or in your clothes. I went from spending only $50 or so on groceries for a week to spending over $100. I was doing my absolute best to "eat clean" and not eat anything processed or packaged. That's great in theory, not very realistic in practice. I haven't had much of a problem actually doing it - I love veggies, chicken and fruit, so it isn't like I'm eating things I hate - but it's so expensive that each week I find myself doing it less and less. I just can't afford it, and that makes me angry. Packaged junk is cheap, and for someone with bills and a child (someone with the average life), it is just not feasible. Not to mention it makes eating with my family an absolute chore and nearly impossible.
I give myself one "treat" meal a week when I can have french fries, Dr Pepper, and a burger. My mom calls them Hamburger Wednesdays and we started doing them years ago. It's her meal to break up her stressful work week. The rest of the week isn't nearly as bad for her and french fries are her one vice, much like me. One meal will not set anyone back for life so I don't worry about it, and it hasn't stressed me out at all. Even the most dedicated body builder has the occasional pizza (The Rock even posts about it on instagram with a certain level of glee).
I am in Week 4 of my 30 day challenge. I've built endurance so that I can do a ton of squats and barely break a sweat (I'm doing 200 tonight). Crunches, pushups and lunges, I haven't built as much endurance for, but I am doing them and getting better every day. My calorie tracker I got for free through work tells me I burn at least 100 calories each time, though that was disappointing at first because I expected it to be more. I have a great support system that really helps me keep going - my husband cheers me on as I nearly kill myself doing crunches, a friend on Facebook sends me inspirational photos and quotes all the time, and I follow a few people on Instagram that make fantastic cheerleaders. I have all the things I need, and I'm working hard.
But guess what? I have lost only a total of two pounds. My clothes fit almost exactly the same as they did when I started. I see only the most minute differences in my body, and in odd places - my inner knee, my inner arm, my hips. My belly looks exactly the same. My thighs, identical. I haven't even lost anything in my face, which is usually where you can see weight loss first. And I have been BUSTING MY BUTT, watching other people doing almost exactly the same thing see dramatic results. It's discouraging, it's disappointing, and worst of all, I want to quit. I feel like I'm wasting my time. Everyone says, "eat better, exercise for 15 minutes a day, and you'll see results!" And it's true...for everyone but me, I guess. I actually count every calorie I intake, and never eat more than 1500 a day, which is actually less than most programs tell you to eat.
And nothing. This is why people quit, or give up. I honestly don't know how people lose weight doing things like Weight Watchers, and not working out. Or paleo. Or this stupid "eating clean" bull. I'VE BEEN DOING IT. And NOTHING.
At this point, my frustration knows no bounds. I want to quit. I'm tired, I'm sore, and I'm so disappointed that thinking about it makes me tear up. It's so unfair to work so hard for nothing.
But I won't. Micah gets bigger and faster every day, and when I break into a disgusting, heavy sweat just carrying him across the house, or fail to catch him when he runs from me, it means I am a failure already. And I can't let this beat me.
But sometimes I want to.