To be completely honest with you, when I first started my 90 Day Journey, I already knew that the hardest part wasn’t going to be hitting my goals on Day 90. It was going to be maintaining my results.
Every other time I had gone on a strict diet and fitness regimen (like my Bikini Competition in 2012), I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I was so sick of eating broccoli and chicken breast. So sick of feeling like I was in food jail. The workout part was fine – I mean I enjoy working out. But the food part was always the hardest for me. I am a foodie at heart and if I wasn’t a fitness instructor and didn’t need to ACTUALLY use my food for actual fuel, I totally, 100%, most definitely would be a competitive eater. I literally kid you not. I outeat all my friends and family. I’m usually the last one still picking at stuff at the dinner table. And then asking if we can have dessert.
This time though, when I decided to go on this 90 Day Journey, I made the very conscious choice to give myself time the freedom to experiment, fail, and try again. I never had that liberty before.
When I did Whole30, I couldn’t have any dairy, legumes, grains, added, sugar, baked goods, and junk food for 30 days straight. If I cheated, it was over. I’d have to start over.
When I did Keto, I couldn’t have fruit, I had to limit veggies, and had to force myself to eat more meat, dairy, oils, and fats to try to get into ketosis. Once I was there, I had to try to stay there…by eating more meat, dairy, oils, and fats.
When I did the bikini competition body builder diet, I pretty much could only eat protein. I got in trouble by my coach for eating too much lettuce…because it had “too many carbs”…plus I was eating only 1,000 calories a day for 8 weeks, while working out around 4 hours a day. (Unhealthy, please don’t try.)
The thing with all of these diets? They weren’t my own. They were someone else’s. And it didn’t feel good. That’s why almost immediately after my bikini competition, I gained all my weight back plus more. Same would happen after any other diet I’d try. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
So this time around, on my 90 day Journey, I wanted to once and for all find a diet that would suit my lifestyle – not for 30 days, not for 8 weeks, but for…forever. Could I do it?
Before, After & After-After
I can’t believe it’s been 333 days since the start of my 90 Day Journey. It was almost a year ago that I decided to embark on a personal mission to unapologetically get into the best shape of my life – MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY.
On my terms.
If you can remember, things got off to a really controversial start…with people saying that I was a “disgrace to all women”, “anti body positive”, ” a hypocrite”, “a bad role model”, “mentally disordered” plus a whole slew of terrible assumptions that really hurt me.
Even though the public shaming was painful, it was the exact start I needed to prepare me for the difficult challenges that lay ahead. It foreshadowed the shedding of toxicity, extra baggage, and extra weight that was holding me back from being the best version of myself.
I am so happy to tell you that today – 333 days after the start of my journey, I am the HAPPIEST, most CONFIDENT, most CREATIVE, and most UNSTOPPABLE version of myself that I have EVER been. And it feels SO GOOD!!! AHHH!!!!
You can see in the comparison photos above that the momentum of the 90 Day Journey is keeping me fitter, leaner, and stronger than I’ve ever been before. Unlike with the bikini competition, I did not want to go back to my old eating habits. Why?
Because I like the way my food makes me feel.
Because I like the way my workouts make me feel.
BECAUSE I LOVE THE WAY I FEEL.
I finally, FINALLY, FINALLY understand my body. You guys…it’s like I solved the ultimate riddle. For my whole life I’ve battled my body. I was always so confused why my friends could eat whatever they wanted and not gain weight. I was always frustrated that if I tried eating the same foods my sister ate, she’d have abs and I’d have a bloated belly. I was always SO angry at my body for not listening to me!
But you know what the problem was???
I wasn’t listening to my body.
This whole time, my body was trying to tell me things but I kept ignoring it because I was trying to compare my body to other bodies…my diet to other diets. I was forcing my body to eat stuff and do stuff that wasn’t prescribed for its uniqueness. I was totally blind to the signs my body was trying to give me. It wasn’t until I started journaling that I started seeing the patterns and making the connections.
During my 90 Day Journey, I wrote down everything in complete detail:
- What I ate
- How much I slept
- My mood
- My water intake
- My workouts
- My weight
- My body fat
- My muscle mass
- My accomplishments
- My setbacks
Writing daily for 90 days allowed allowed me to solidify the following truths about my body:
- Grains bloat me and make me constipated
- Dairy irritates my stomach, makes me gassy, and makes me break out on my face
- The combination of sugar and dairy will immediately lead to acne
- If I get less than 5 hours of sleep, I get bloated the next morning and lack energy for my workouts
- Eating late dinners messes up my digestion and bloats me for the next day
- I can easily overeat if I am not mindful, leading to unnecessary weight gain
- Increased stress increases my appetite
Additionally, I know once and for all that my genes do not allow me to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. (My 23andMe results confirm this as well.) I am simply not built like that! And that’s ok. I know that I do have to work harder than most people to get the results I want. But if that’s something I am willing to do because it brings me joy, then that is the very conscious choice I am going to make. No whining. No complaining. No “life is unfair.” This is the body I was born with. It is a gift. And I will do everything in my power to keep it healthy, fit, and happy.
So that’s where I am today guys! I wake up every morning to work out around 7:30am. I do a mixture of cardio/PIIT, Pilates, and/or weights. Then I cook all my meals at home every single day (thanks to quarantine). My meals are usually a lean protein with veggies. I snack on fruits, popcorn, freshly blended smoothies and/or protein bars. A couple times a week I have real ice cream (currently LOVING the ube ice cream and the strawberry oat milk ice cream from Trader Joes) because it makes my soul happy!
If you’re feeling inspired to start your own 90 Day Journey…
I have good news for you.
So you know how I kept charts, data, graphs, and literally recorded everything about my 90 Day Journey in blog posts, journals, and spreadsheets? It was a lot of numbers and notes spread across a lot of platforms. I was testing the best way to record key information for analysis. The entire time, I knew I wanted to share with you the EXACT strategy I used to crush my 90 Day Journey….and guys…here it is:
Meet the 90 Day Journal!!!! Inside is EVERYTHING I journaled to lose over 20 lbs (of toxicity, negativity, judgement, insecurity, and baggage) during my very own 90 Day Journey.
This is the daily page. Here you will record your food intake, macros, water intake, sleep duration, mood, workouts, and any notable things you are experiencing that day. Very important to be as detailed as possible so that in the future, you can look back and find patterns.
An upgrade from the last Fit Planner! This time there’s dividing tabs!!! This is SUPER necessary as you will be flipping back and forth between weeks A LOT. You will be comparing your progress and again, checking for patterns.
Goals. EXTREMELY important to set your goals. But not just physique goals. Your mental wellness goals (ie. not care about what others think about you) and your strength goals (ie. how many pushups on toes do you do by day 90?) are equally important. I added this page because I want your priorities CRYSTAL CLEAR. This will help give you direction when it comes to experimenting and tweaking your fitness and nutrition strategies.
I looked forward to filling out my weekly progress chart every week when I was doing my 90 Day Journey! I loved seeing how my hard work affected my results over the course of 7 days. If it worked, I would keep doing what I was doing. If it didn’t, I’d look back at my prior week of daily pages to find the culprit for my stagnation. Then I’d tweak my strategies for next week.
My fave part? How you can always compare you progress to Day 1. Sometimes it’s discouraging to not see change week to week. But you’ve got to look back to see how far you’ve come.
Grocery lists! You’ve got one every week. Bring this with you to the store and check it off as you shop!
Weekly recap. Very important. Taking the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t every week is what will help you tweak your process. You see – the reason why my 90 day Journey was so successful was because I wasn’t restricted to one method. I allowed myself to try, experiment, fail, and try again. 90 days is just enough time for you to focus and to also be flexible. Use the time to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to take risks! If you don’t try, you will never know.
If you really are serious about embarking on your own 90 Day Journey and finally getting in the best shape of your life – mentally and physically – DO IT. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My journey has positively impacted everything in my life: my relationships, my career, my happiness, my confidence, my creativity…even my hair!!! It is longer and healthier than ever!!!
I feel the best I have ever felt in my entire life. And that is not an exaggeration.