What a great journey Leanne has been on and just goes to show the positive effects on both mind and body by eating healthy and regularly exercising. Thanks Leanne for sharing your experience with us. Leanne tells us that attending group fitness sessions and eating a clean diet results in significant gains in a short time frame.
Week 6: “I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” Abraham Lincoln
The home stretch, the final countdown, the finish line – the end of the six week challenge has finally rolled around. I will be the first to say that there were periods which were hard and I’m pretty sure there will be others who manage to complete the entire six weeks without derailing from the rules at all (unlike me), however, despite all that I really enjoyed completing the challenge and I was immensely proud of being able to get to the end and say “I did it!”.
The benefits at the end of the 6 weeks are definitely evident, with people who didn’t even know about the challenge, commenting on the changes to the way I look. The biggest areas I found have improved by the end of the 6 weeks are: weight loss, improved skin complexion, less digestive issues and more energy. And by far one of the best moments that I’ve had during this challenge happened to me on the Saturday right before I was due to finish – I managed to fit back into my “skinny” jeans! This may not sound like a huge accomplishment to some however for any person who like me has held onto piece of clothing that they hope they will one day being able to fit into it again, it’s a defining moment.
One surprising element of the challenge however, and something that I did not think would happen, was that my attitude to the diet changed. In the first few weeks I looked forward to finishing the challenge so that I no longer needed to restrict myself to certain foods. The strangest thing though is that despite coming to the end of the six weeks and being able to eat what I want, I still feel like continuing to eat the same things I ate during the challenge anyway. Yes I will occasionally have a bowl of pasta or a rice dish but I no longer feel like having these foods all the time. I have developed some really good habits and intend on continuing them. My first post challenge grocery shopping outing was spent in the fresh fruit & vegetable section and meats section, I didn’t even venture down the pasta aisle. My first lunch back at work was grilled fish and greek salad (no dressing, no feta) even though I walked past several sushi places to get it. Sushi had been my number one lunch choice prior to the challenge. It’s not like I still don’t love sushi I just would prefer to have a nice healthy nutritional lunch that doesn’t sit uncomfortably in my stomach all afternoon and make me sleepy around 3pm.
At the end of this challenge I no longer feel like I’m struggling to maintain a diet but rather like this is the way I was always supposed to eat and the best thing is it’s EASY! I’ve overcome the idea of a healthy lifestyle just being a short term focus and realised that sometimes some of the “healthy foods” I eat don’t actually even feel healthy. For example, my intense love of bacon is completely acceptable under the guidelines of this diet even if not acceptable to eat around my animal loving friends (Pigs smarter than dogs & really cute but I still love eating them – I will promise to buy free range though). From now on I will be aiming for eating clean & training hard 90% of the time with the other 10% being the exception to the rule. Looking back and reading through some of the entries of the past 6 weeks I realise how far I have come. I still remember how hard the end of week one was and how I wanted to give up but I’m so happy that I stuck with it. If the whole challenge had been like the way week one felt, I never would have made it the whole way through. For anyone who is intending on doing the six week challenge or is going through week one now; I promise you once you get past the worst of it you will come out and other side and wonder what the whole fuss was about. Even with me breaking the rules a few times during the challenge (see week 4) I still managed to achieve great results.
Winston Churchill once said “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” and that’s the way I’m choosing to view this diet. It doesn’t stop today, it’s only the beginning. This challenge has allowed me to lay the foundation for how I want to live and now that I have the tools to do it I can continue to put it into practice. Thank you Mel and the Own-It-Fit team for the encouragement and for giving me the knowledge and confidence to complete this challenge!
And for all those people dreaming about getting fit, healthy or losing some weight but worried you won’t succeed – Walt Disney said it best: