I gave myself a 30 day challenge.

30 days to make a difference, physically and mentally.

Years back I wouldn’t need this.  Now as the years fly back I’m noticing big changes in my body.  Some good, mostly not!  Aging really is a bitch.  Yes, mother, you warned me.

So I wanted to give my body some overdue TLC.

For the past year or so I’ve been following the anti-diet.  It works for me.  It reminds me to slow down.  Eat until I’m satisfied, not uncomfortably full.  Make better decisions, but still indulge.  Stay away from labels.

I took a step back and gave myself an honest review.

Things I’m good at-  drinking loads of water, eating lots of vegetables, fruits & grains, staying away from meat, dairy, bad carbs and sweets.

Weaknesses- portion control, eating late, coffee, exercising, vino, potato chips.

While the stability from the anti-diet is great, I’ve been needing more of a push.  So four weeks before heading to Europe I decided to to make a change for a better Liza.  A ‘harder Liza’ means a more confident Liza.  And I like confident Liza.  Confident Liza is positive, ambitious, happy and energetic.  Not so confident Liza likes to lay in bed for half the afternoon watching  The Real Housewives of Hell over and over avoiding all contact with anything breathing.

I didn’t want to give myself limits.  I’m bad with restrictions and tend to ignore them.  And I knew little progress would be made if I was too hard on myself.

Here’s how it all began….

I read an article that was like ‘instead of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, do 5 minutes of jumping jacks, you’ll get the same outcome’ so I did just that.  No more coffee in the mornings.  I get up and I stretch.  I lay out my yoga mat and put on some music.  100 jumping jacks then 5 minutes of yoga.  Repeat for 30 minutes.  Then planks.  At first the jumping jacks were problematic.  Tight calves, abdominal cramps and shortness of breath.  With time things got easier.  100 jumping jacks turned into 200, then 500 and then 1000.  With the higher number of jumping jacks came less yoga.  100 squats got thrown in to the mix.  More stretching.  

This became my morning routine, 4-5 times a week.  Maybe it takes 20-30 minutes of my time.  I write down how many jumping jacks I did on the chalkboard in my room as inspiration for the following day.  Afterwards I make myself a fresh juice from 5 mandarins since they’re in season and so delicious.  While enjoying my juice I prepare maté (green tea loaded with antioxidants) and breakfast.  Breakfast is either fruit or toasted oatmeal.

I carry on with the day and find myself eating small meals here and there.  These small meals include nothing with a label.  Foods like-  charred brussels sprouts, seared fish, sautéed veggies with brown rice or quinoa, arugula salads with toasted seeds, yogurt, red beans & rice, soups, hummus.  No breads or pastas.  No coffee.  No labels!

Of course, there were some slips.  On the weekends while surrounded with leftover pork & grits and this and that I found myself indulging a bit too much to where I was super stuffed and uncomfortable.  The next morning it was like I had a hangover, my body rejecting the foods from the previous day.  I then started to become very conscious of my appetite and how I felt after each meal.  And the better I ate the less I craved or wanted the bad foods.  I mean literally I bought myself two churros stuffed with dulce de leche and after the first one I gave the second away because my stomach just didn’t want another.  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

The 30 days went really well!  The eating I didn’t find too challenging as these are the foods I normally eat but I really cracked down on slowing down. Chewing my food well.  Not over eating.  Drinking loads of water and maté which helped with digestion.  Also I stayed away from cafes where I tend to lounge with my computer.  Sure I normally just order a coffee or tea but the free little cookies & cakes that come on the side were exactly the things I was just trying to stay away from.

I lost 5 kilos from the start of my challenge and my body is kinda lookin’ sexy!

Your core, upper thighs and ass will start showing results fast.  They might even become ‘hard and start shrinking’.  Oh, and let’s not forget how the cellulite has simply vanished!!  I’m thinking that has a lot to do with circulation and all the jumping jacks.  For real!!

It really has made the biggest difference.  My clothes fit so much better which makes me feel way more comfortable.

For those of you thinking 1000 jumping jacks is crazy, let me tell you something.  It’s really not!  Start with smaller numbers, but be consistent about it.  I suggest doing them before you have anything to eat or drink in the morning.

Make sure you stretch out your calves well before and after and that you land flat on your feet when jumping, don’t stay on your toes.  Wear good sneakers and an even better sports bra.  Try to find a focus point while you’re jumping and don’t forget to put on some tunes.  Not sure why but Otis Redding & Stevie Nicks seem to do the trick for me.  No gym membership or equipment needed.  Just some motivation.

I planned on doing them while traveling but have found it a bit difficult.  Plus my backpack is mysteriously 10 kilos and we’re walking non-stop every day.  Still I’m finding time to stretch (most ) mornings.  Maybe once I’m in Paris with a solid home base for a few weeks I’ll get back on it.  Lord knows I need it considering all the cheese & olives I’m shoveling in my mouth!!