30-day Challenge Progress

It has been about two and a half weeks now that I decided to really put forth some effort into losing weight and getting healthy.  I lost 5.2 pounds my first week and as predicted, I gained back exactly one pound for the second week.  I have a history of always losing weight and gaining back a  couple of pounds the next week with a continuous pattern of ups and downs. The bright side is that while this pattern may not be the fastest route to low-body-fat bliss, it’s a pattern that still provides positive results eventually.  I can already tell my body is changing and I’m eager to do my measurements again in two weeks.  I feel like the deduction of crappy high fructose corn syrup and fast foods are to thank for part of my success but I also think the 30 day challenge I’ve been doing is what is helping my puffy stomach slowly deflate.

I have done approximately thirteen days of my 30-day plank and wall sit challenge and miraculously was able to do the required two minute and thirty second plank today.  I began this challenge being able to do one minute and fifteen seconds so my strength has definitely improved.  I have also found that my ability to hold myself up greatly depends on where I’m doing it.  I have been doing them on the dog hair covered carpet of my house, using the desire not to get golden hairs all over my black sweatshirts to keep my core and thighs lifted above the ground.  However it’s been a struggle because the carpet is slippery and it’s hard to keep my balance when my feet are not firmly in place.  I remember on my fifth day into the challenge I did my plank at the beach and was able to reach two minutes easier since the sand was soft enough to comfort my elbows yet firm enough to solidly keep my body in one spot.  This support added a significant chunk of time to the forty seconds I managed to do two days before, on the day I was so sore after tennis.  Yesterday I finally used my yoga mat for the first time in months and also found much success with the ability to stay still… and then today instead of waiting to do my plank after tennis, I did it before and reached my two minutes and thirty seconds with pride… Though I was a bit distracted.

A plank


Here are a of the things I have noticed that are crucial for being able to do longer planks:

– Make sure you’re on a surface that has enough traction that you won’t be slipping all over the floor!  If it helps, slip on your tennis shoes and do the plank in those.  The support of the shoe and grip of the rubber might greatly help your balance.

– Have support under your elbows so the utter pain of the hard ground digging into your bones isn’t what causes you to lay back down again. You can do this by folding over your yoga mat, a towel, or that sweatshirt you left on your bedroom floor earlier.

– Use a timer so you don’t have to constantly focus on the clock.  Time seems to moves slower when you’re staring at the seconds and with an audible timer, you can toss it far away from you so you aren’t tempted to see the throbbing question of  “HOW MUCH LONGER?!?!?!?!”

– Take a break.  The days after I took a day off,  I always had better results.  The body needs time for the muscles to adapt and grow and it’s easy to get burned out.  Avoid sore muscles by taking a break every four or five days.

– Be prepared with a distraction.  I’ve found that music is what seems to distract me the most.  It’s easy for me to lose my sense of time while I’m singing along to Flogging Molly.  Otherwise, I recommend distractions like my dog Maggie, who found it necessarily to lie basically underneath me on my plank today and made my last minute filled with laughter.


Having a dog beneath you is a great distraction during a plank! You can play the “I won’t smash my pet game!”


My wall sit challenge currently has me at a challenge of three minutes but for the past week I’ve been managing anywhere from that goal up to four minutes.  Like the situation with my slipping feet on the carpet during my plank, the success of my time seems very dependent on my grip on the floor.  There are seventeen days left (if I don’t include the break days) of the challenge and I still have confidence in my five minute wall-sit but doubt my five minute plank abilities.

But who knows!?!  Anything is possible, right?

What kinds of challenges have you gotten over that you never thought you would?

Lots of love,



Now boarding: The Wagon

It’s been a while since I first gave up my seat on “THE WAGON.”  I was a happy passenger reaching all sorts of highlights with my weight loss/fitness ride but once I got to Europe, I gave up my seat and jumped right off  in exchange for the power of my two feet.  It seems like that stop would be a great place to get off the wagon but I came up with the logic that I needed Red Bull to survive the miles I was walking every day. Maybe I did need that extra sugar and caffeine in some way – but it also gave me a deep addiction to that liquid gold.  Since I got back nearly two months ago,  I’ve been coming up with all sorts of excuses of why I should avoid getting back on as if the wagon was as dirty and dramatic as a Halloween hay ride. Between the issues with my health and an overall lazy outlook on exercise, I’ve been lounging back and “healing” while filling my free time between work, classes, homework and socialization with my latest obsession. a scrap booking project,  called Project Life.  I just haven’t been burning the calories like I need to.

April is picking up that hula hooping again!

April is picking up that hula hooping again!

Last Monday,  in the form of vegetables,  I bought my ticket to get back on the wagon. I began taking my Whole Foods 2-week Detox kit again in combination with the Erba Vita supplements I’ve been taking for the past few weeks.  I promised myself that I would do two different 30 day challenges, one in the form of planks and the other with wall-sits.  I’ve progressed pretty nicely as I made it up to a 2:00 plank and a 3:45 wall-sit.  I need to get to 5 minutes for both of them in the next twenty days, I hope I can do it!  I did FINALLY play some tennis last week and will hopefully be committing to at least once a week, hopefully more as I find more people who are down to play. I’ve also picked up the habit of doing my 5-pound weighted hula hoop after my plank and wall-sit, soon I’ll be back up to my ten minutes a day. You have to ease into it or else you can get all sorts of beat up!  I did six minutes tonight and have found entertainment by updating myfitnesspal app I just downloaded on my phone.  Maybe that will encourage me to start actually logging in every day…

Even more exciting, I managed to lose 5.2 pounds from Monday to Monday.  If I can still lose weight this week, I’ll be doing good.  Honestly, I’m still hooked on the liquid sugar so cutting that out would help me save about 1,120 calories a week.  I should invest in one of those instant tea kettles and just start making tons of tea because I crave something to drink besides water ALL THE TIME.  I swear giving up sugar is harder than giving up cigarettes!  I smoked for five years in my days of being a young raver, quit, and haven’t had a single drag since 2007. I know I’ll never be able to go five years without ever having some sort of sugar!  And why would I want to?!  It’s delicious.


How do you all cure your desires for sugars or salts?  I know Alyssa is more of a salt feign where I’ll take sugar ANY MOMENT.  Any awesome low-sugar/low-fat recipes you want to share?

Thanks for reading!



Challenging yourself.

Most people seem to like a little bit of a challenge to encourage them to accomplish their goals.  I like challenges when it comes to all sorts of aspects in my life like: Coming up with enough money for my adventures, scraping off every bit of hot fudge leftover in an ice cream sundae, finishing my college education, small fitness goals, and for some odd reason, loving the challenges that come with finding the right guy.

When fellow blogger, Bella on the Beach, brought up how she was doing a “Plank-a-Day Challenge” three days ago, I decided I wanted to pick up that challenge as well.  I was doing planks pretty often back in my Pilates classes this past Spring, I even did a few planks in Europe, but I know it’s been probably around six weeks since I tried again.   The month starts at holding a plank for 20 seconds which should be easy for me since at the end of May, I had gotten myself up to 2 minutes and 45 seconds.   Sadly much of the strength has left me because I could only do one minute and fifteen seconds for the first day.  On my second day I held myself for a minute and thirty seconds as I sang along in my mind to the lyrics to that catchy “Blurred Lines” song.  Today, my third day, I only managed a minute because my body was screaming out in agony because of the half an hour of tennis I played (for my first time since May!). 20130904_234808

Because I like multiple challenges, I decided to do a “Wall Sit Challenge” as well. At the end of the past semester, I could hold myself against a wall for four minutes.  Day one and two I managed two minutes and thirty seconds.  Today I only did two minutes.

Both challenges end with a pretty high number and I’m quite skeptical that I’ll be able to achieve them as I remember very few girls in my Pilates class able to achieve these numbers.  By Day 30 the suggested amount of time for both the planks and wall-sits are five minutes.  Feeling strong in my legs,  I made my wall-sit for six and a half minutes instead.  But a five minute plank?!?!   I guess it is possible but it seems quite difficult for me at this point.

Could you do a five minute plank?   Do you do planks or wall sits as part of a common work-out?  What kind of challenges do you like to set for yourself?

Let us know if you decide to do a challenge of your own!

Happy Thursday,