Self Challenge: I’m doing it, kinda sorta

So the Self Challenge has started, and I’m mostly just paying attention to it, but not really doing it. It somehow seems like way too much work, keeping meticulous track of calories in and calories out. I’m doing a kind of free-form version of it, which is to work out every day, and to establish an eating plan I mostly think of as, “Don’t be an idiot, Julie.” Meaning, maybe I shouldn’t bake so many cookies and eat so much chocolate.

I’m also kind of obsessed with the very logical idea put forth in this article I read in Glamour (I don’t usually read Glamour; it was on the free magazine table at the library). Basically, you can lose weight just by sleeping more. If you get 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep a night, then your body is able to go into some kind of deep sleep fat-burning zone. And also, then you have more of the hormone that tells you to stop eating, whereas if you don’t sleep enough you have more of the hormone that tells you to keep eating, and to keep eating simple carbohydrates. It’s all fairly common sense, but when you’re as sleep deprived as I am, you need common sense articles to remind you how to be a human.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to work out every day, but the prospect gets easier as the snow melts and I can start to go on stroller walks again. What has totally been saving me is the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD which I’m embarrassed to say is the DVD of the trainer from “The Biggest Loser” (which, to my credit, I didn’t realize until after I got it). But the workout is only 20 minutes, and at the end of it I’m all sweaty and my muscles are shaking (I initially wrote “I’m all sweater” which is really more what I’m like these days). And there are three workout levels, and I’m still on Level One, and I can barely do it. And it’s only 20 minutes. So even though it’s painful and hard and sweaty, I figure I can do any workout for 20 minutes, right?

There is one aspect of the Self Challenge that I’m going to try to do, which is the “soul goal” of creating an inspiration board. I think I’m just going to draw on a piece of paper, and maybe glue on some of the buff chicks from the Athleta catalog or something. I know there’s all that stuff now about books like The Secret and Write it Down, Make it Happen, so I figure I might as well try it for myself. Can’t hurt.

Comments (9)

  1. Anne March 11, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Yeah, I’m not happy with the format of the Self Challenge this year. I’m busy; I can’t be bothered to calculate calories in/calories burned. Also, their site is not easy to navigate. I had to log in six times before finding the information for the first month. I was hoping it would be “cardio three days a week, strength 2x a week, and one [wild card].” But instead, it’s more number crunching than ab-crunching. No thanks!

  2. Julie March 11, 2009 at 11:23 am

    The website organization is really pretty terrible. I tried to find a link to the “soul goal” thing and they don’t seem to mention it at all. I get the magazine (I got a free subscription for ordering cereal from, randomly), and it all makes a lot more sense in print.

    The basic thing I got from it is that you should work out every day. They have all kinds of really specific foods to make, which is fine, but not if I’m cooking for a family of five.

    I was also a little put off by the fact that the sign-up online asks for name, address, birth date, and sorority. Huh??

  3. LoriO March 11, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I’ve always thougth there was a link between sleeping more and being thin, but I always thought it was because you just don’t have the opportunity to eat that 4th meal. I know when I stay up past my usual bedtime (usually around 10:30), I start to get hungry. I know my husband stays up really late (2 or 3 am) and usually ends up eating again. It’s an extra meal a day!

  4. Clog March 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I have been writing down everything I eat which is helpful as it sort of validates why maybe I am not losing those extra pounds. This is what the “Eating Well” diet recommends. I don’t diet, it just makes me more conscious of what I am eating and what maybe I should cut out. I mean, you wouldn’t want to have “Huge bowl of homemade coffee ice cream” written down.

  5. Julie March 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    That is exactly why I should write down what I ate. And probably why I don’t. Today I’d have to write down, “Fourth square of chocolate after Eli drove me into a blind, chocolate-eating fury.”

  6. EMILY March 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm


    alright I’ll stop, I jsut thought I’d weigh in (har har) on the efficacy of jillian micheals dvd, holy cow. I got it from amazon at the last wojulie recommendation, and wow! it DOES leave you sweaty and shaking after. I literally couldn’t do all of the last set of side-lunge shoulder lifty things – i worked to muscle quit stage, which is what yer after, right? jillian is just the right amount of bitchy and inspiring, and I’m suddenly hopeful. now, i can definitely do this 3 days a week, but maybe I should try the mornings before work? or evenings while son eats dinner (har har) – because I’d like to be shredded in 30 days, and if I do only 3 days a week (or, gulp, 5 with weekends) maybe it would take, er, 60? whatever. I’ll jsut do it as much as I can. anyone got advice for working out at home when you have to keep wrestling the handweights away from the toddler? “no, those are mommy’s! ok, it’s time for mommy’s turn now.!”

  7. Julie March 12, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I totally agree on the Jillian Michaels. It’s pretty much the only one I do anymore. Now, she seems to imply that you should do it every day, but I have trouble getting my brain around the benefits of doing exactly the same workout every day. Maybe you’re supposed to do each level for 10 days? I will say that I’ve done the level 1 workout about 6 times now, and it’s getting a lot easier. Not that I’m quite ready to move on to level 2 yet. I get total muscle fatigue on that last strength exercise too.

    Handweights with a toddler: I give Eli cans of black beans to use as weights, and he plays along.

  8. emily March 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    well, day 3 and am still sore, but I’m doing it anyway. the garbanzo bean cans are…sort of a hit. but what he really wants to do is take heavy things and hurl them to the floor…so thre’s still a certain amount of “no no! pant pant! no, we LIFT them and put them down puff puff”…also wanting to ride on my back while doing the pushups – which I’m totally doing on my knees, by the way- there’s time enough for like 20 in that first round, and, well, knees is what I got.

    but I feel good for doing it. really good.

  9. Julie March 18, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I’ve now down the Shred thing for three days in a row, and it’s still super hard. Maybe getting easier. Not sure. I’ve been doing it first thing in the morning. That way I get it out of the way, and don’t come up with excuses for not doing it. Also, I feel virtuous and healthier all day and have actually been eating better.

    Not sure what to say about W. throwing things around and climbing on you. Though I guess he does add resistance during pushups. Not that they’re not hard. I do them on my toes for the first round and on my knees for the second, because my arms are too tired after doing those shoulder presses.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *