In this short time, I’ve had a spectrum of emotions…excitement, purpose, motivation, optimism mixed with feeling a bit overwelmed, discouraged, and confused. My original intention was (and still is) to do this for me. No one else. To create something that is 100% Amanda – some people have hobbies or play sports. I wanted to find an outlet to document my life, my challenges, and my progress. And share my inspirations on the road to a life of balance, freedom, and wellness.
But what if I want to do more? Take it to the next level, inspire others, and some day build a brand? As I learn more and more about this world, the more overwhelmed I am to think about standing out among the crowd. Especially when it’s filled with those who have been out there for years and are really, REALLY good at it.
I was reading something earlier on Tiny Buddha that was a bit discouraging. Then I took a deep breath, reminded myself of my purpose and that no one else can be me or do exactly what I’m doing, and found this inspiring post. And it was just what I needed.
Read it Here: Can’t Find Your Dream Job? Create Your Own
I’m loving his specific examples and practical, step-by-step advice in this article. Here are my thoughts:
All of us go through similar stages in life. Some stages may take longer or be more difficult for some than for others, but the ideas of growing up, becoming independent, and making a life of your own are familiar to most everyone.
I’m currently in a phase where now that I have an established post-college life and source of income, I’m itching for what’s next. How can I live my life to the fullest and maximize my strengths in order to live the life that was meant for me? Where I’m fulfilled and balanced as possible? I’m obsessed with the idea of all the possibilities the internet and this age of technology can offer, and I’m inspired by those who have taken what would normally be considered a hobby or pastime and translated it into a successful living. I don’t loathe my job, but I almost sure I’m not fully utilizing my innate strengths in the best way possible. And I lack passion. Why settle?
One of the places I’ve found tremendous inspiration is Zen Habits. I would like to share 90% of the posts on this site but that is for another day. Tonight I found the fantastic read above about how it’s possible to live, breathe, and work your passion. It’s such a simple concept – living what you love, and loving what you live. Most of us are quick to overlook or don’t consider this idea because we’re brought up to believe that making a living almost always involves doing something you hate. We end up working to live. As it turns out, when you pursue a lifestyle based on your passions and leverage the strengths you were born with, you can create your own dream job. I bet this feels pretty darn great, and of course comes with a lot of hard work. But it’s up to you to own it! Never count on anyone else to do it for you.
They say it takes 3 weeks to break a habit. Or, even better, make a new habit. If that’s the case, then the first full week must be the hardest so I’m thrilled to report that I’ve successfully made it through Week 1 of Insanity! I’ll admit that I was most apprehensive about making it through a weekend and sticking to my meal plan in situations where I could easily go overboard, but I stuck to my schedule with only a couple of exceptions so I’m feeling confident and healthy.
On the subject of eating, I think the biggest challenge for me is being at home and hungry, especially unsupervised. I don’t mean to sound like an over-eating shut-in as I’m writing this but really what I mean is I am used to borderline starving myself all week so when the weekend arrives, I see it as an opporunity to reward myself and I can go a bit crazy with the snacking. It had become routine for my boyfriend and I to load up on mostly healthy snacks each weekend (all natural tortilla chips, organic salsa, whole wheat pita chips, natural frozen coconut pops, dark chocolate bars, etc.) and we would basically munch our way through Saturday and Sunday. Usually with one or two meals out in between. What I’ve learned is this can easily add up as extra, unnecessary food intake and sabotage all the good I’ve done all week. Technically, the weekend represents up to 30% of a week so if your eating habits are spotty like mine you may not see the results you hoped for.
And I’m not even going to get into alcohol. Yikes.
So this past weekend I wanted to be extra disciplined and plan out my days as much as I could so I could take a couple of opportunities to indulge, if nothing more than to reward myself for completing Week 1 of Insanity and make sure my body had an opportunity to replenish any nutrients I may have missed during the week. I ate flawlessly until Saturday night when I ate out with my mom at an Italian restaurant. This could be sabotage but luckily I ordered a dish that was very buttery so I only ended up eating some chicken, spinach, and a piece (or 2) of Italian bread. Believe me, I am usually a lot worse. And I only had one glass of wine. This was on top of a fairly light day of eating and also the workout of the day Pure Cardio which is a real burner.
Sunday and Monday (Presidents Day Holiday) followed suit – 80-90% good eating, 10-20% cheat. I think this was due for the most part to planning meals and snacks ahead of time and having something substantial (300-400 calories) to eat every 2-3 hours.
I had my first Rest day on Sunday and boy I needed it. My calves no longer feel like knots and I was eager to jump into Week 2 yesterday. So far I have completed all the workouts that I’ll be alternating during the first 4 weeks of the program (with the exception of Cardio Abs which I add on Day 14). Today my scheduled workout was Cardio Power & Resistance and I think it’s my least favorite of all. The name makes you think it may be a bit of a break but it’s not and the actual workout is segmented by 3 intervals of 4 power moves and it doesn’t seem to go by as fast as the others. Tomorrow will be my second go-round of Pure Cardio so I’m starting to mentally prepare myself. If you read Day 5 you will know why!
Overall this week I have been feeling strong, slim, and light. And I’ve noticed I don’t feel as hungry or off-balance as I did through Week 1. It seems last week there was an adjustment period where my body was getting used to a higher intensity workout every day and also a shifted diet plan. But my advice to those trying to push through is that it will be no time until you’re past it and feeling amazing. It feels like my body has switched to overdrive and is accepting of the activity level and efficient on the amount of calories I’m having each day. Big difference!
My only reservation at this point is that I will not be running for the next 8 weeks. Actually, during our week in Florida I will have plenty of consecutive days of running but I have built that around my Insanity schedule. Running to me is the epitome of fitness level, perhaps since that’s where I started a decade ago. If I can get through a couple miles of straight running then I am on the top of my game and improving. A successful workout plan without running feels foreign to me, almost like swimming with your clothes on. I guess I just need to get used to the idea and hopefully I will see what results I can get without a minute in the gym. Prior to Insanity, I have incorporated interval training into my running days and seen an encouraging difference in endurance and speed. I suppose the downside to Insanity is that you may set aside the other fitness goals you have set for yourself, but I’m optimistic that the results with this program will out-do anything I could do on a treadmill.
As humans, we feel an inclination to always put our best face forward. On a job interview. To family we may rarely see. Even to our nearest and dearest friends. It seems we’d rather stretch or even manipulate our true selves in an effort to mask weakness or failure. At some point, or even in this very moment, we’ve all had people in our lives who do this more than others, and it’s those people who make it challenging to connect on a deeper level.
I believe in our journey to live more openly, honestly, and freely, we all have an obligation to be real. Especially to one another. We face challenges and we all have weaknesses that, as a matter of fact, make us unique and interesting. When we share our true thoughts and feelings, we become more relatable and people are drawn to us to make a connection. Have you ever loved a movie where all the characters led perfect lives and had no troubles? Opening up and owning our true story can be scary, but when we hide elements of our character or hardships we’re doing both ourselves and others a disservice. We chance falling even harder when the truth eventually comes out. And we leave interactions without a feeling of honesty or wholeness.
A good example comes from my recent commitment to Insanity. Of course I want to share my experience with family and friends. I would be doing myself and my progress a great disservice if I portrayed the program as being easy in an attempt to come across as exceptionally fit and disciplined. But what happens if in 70 days I haven’t made a huge transformation? The truth is the workouts are a struggle, the eating plan takes adjustment, so if I do make a noticable change I will have overcome even more in the eyes of others.
Like most other life lessons, the first step is awareness. If we can be aware of the positive impact being real can have on our lives we can start to be mindful of being open and putting ourselves out there in many interactions with others. It is unrealistic to be real in every interaction all the time, and there are certainly scenarios where holding back the truth is necessary. But just imagine how much more connected and supportive the world would be if people took less time building themselves up and more time being real.