75 hard…on Day 76

“Discipline=Freedom”

Only a select few even knew I was doing it. 75 days of 2 workouts (one outside), a gallon of water, 10 pages a day, no alcohol, a selfie a day, and (for me) a macro counting diet with no cheating. Not. one. cookie for 75 days (even in peak Girl Scout selling season). I have made a vow to myself that I will see my abs again and be in the best shape of my life by my 40th birthday this October. So, after seeing others do 75 hard and starting to listen to Andy Frisella’s Real AF podcast, I knew this was going to propel me to succeed.

I planned to start on Jan 3rd but when the family was in quarantine for covid, I thought what the heck, and began Jan 1. I was 145.6 pounds, embarrassing for me on my 5’1” frame. As someone who worked out daily, I knew something had to change with my nutrition and mental toughness. I knew that if I could make it through that first week of snow and ice, kids all home, husband sick, and covid myself, I could do it for the long haul.  And I did. I lost 17.6 pounds and 16.25 inches.

These pictures are still embarrassing for me, and my day 75 pictures still don’t represent where I want to be. But, I think it’s important for others to know, they can do it, too, and for parents to know they deserve to start investing time into themselves. 

It’s called 75 hard for a reason. It’s not a cakewalk. I’m almost 40, have 3 kids, work full time from home, and have a firefighter husband on a crazy schedule. These 3 kids play multiple sports and have too many activities, and I spend way too much time carting them from point A to B. The hardest part of the 75 hard challenge for me was the logistics. Planning each day to fit it all in and continuing to make my needs a priority while not neglecting my family or job. But you know what? I made it happen. The time was there, I just had to block the time for me…and get creative. Sometimes this meant early mornings or late nights, walks while the kids were in meetings or at practice, working out with a 3-year-old basement gym partner. Yoga with kids screaming in the background (I do not recommend that).  Reading after putting everyone to bed. 

While it seems like 75 hard takes away so much on the surface (time, alcohol, yummy treats) what is gained is so much more. Normally I deal with depression and anxiety, especially in the winter. The outside workouts forced me to deal with the elements and get some Vitamin D. My mood has never been better during my least favorite season. Many outdoor workouts on my “rest” days were walks with my husband or kids, creating a break from the fast pace of life and giving us more time together. 

Here’s the thing. When scheduling so much into an already crazy schedule, I actually often found more time. I was more efficient because I had to be. I found more time to work and even landed an amazing new contract opportunity that I went for full speed ahead and got! It has been the biggest blessing professionally and for our family. Every walk or run alone, I would listen to Andy’s podcast and it would always motivate me to keep going, be the best version of myself, and not make excuses. Sometimes the kids had to wait 10 extra minutes for dinner. They survived. Sometimes they had to sit in the car while I finished a walk. Oh well. Sometimes my oldest had to watch the youngest while I got some treadmill time in. We made it work.

As the days went on, my oldest was my biggest cheerleader. “Ok mom, so you got your outdoor walk, have you done your indoor?” “Is your reading finished yet.” He even took my day 75 photos. And of course, the said babysitting that he took on so I could get the workouts in. He is an amazing 10-year-old. 

While it’s not a fitness challenge, the physical changes are the most visual and represent what has happened to my body and mind overall. Both mind and body are more disciplined and toned. Both have gotten rid of excess “weight.” See, during the challenge, you have to prioritize. Time is valuable when you are working on the best version of yourself. As an organized, type A personality, I never thought that I wasted time… until now. I realize even extra worrying, extra time spent entertaining other people’s drama, even time in unnecessary meetings or appointments, isn’t worth it. My time and energy will continue to go to the people I care about and what improves life for my family and me.

So what now? I’m nowhere near where I want to be, mentally, physically, or professionally. I still have lessons to learn and weight to lose. I will continue my macro diet after a few days “off.” I am focusing on body composition and losing body fat while maintaining muscle. I will continue to read each night because it’s something I enjoy and will exercise twice a day, but will not stress if I have to miss one. I plan on either moving to phase one or starting 75 hard over again. Because, while finishing is something to celebrate, there’s this void feeling now on day 76. Could I have gone harder? Did I really push myself as hard as I could have each day? If I lose discipline will I go back to the way I was? For me, there is no other option but to continue to push forward and I hope that everyone reading this keeps holding me accountable. Thank you to all of you who kept me in the game these past 75 days, my husband, kids, my gym crew, and those of you who told me you could tell the difference. It kept me going and I am grateful.

One additional benefit is 75 hard will have you looking deep within yourself. There is a lot of time with your thoughts and time to reflect. I’ve become clearer with my goals and what I need to do to accomplish them. I have also been able to see who is there to support me (and not try to make me eat just one cookie) and who is proud and happy to see me succeed. Not only does 75 hard teach you what you are made of, but also, what others are made of.

If you are looking for a mental game-changer, I can’t recommend 75 hard enough. Just remember, there is no perfect time. The only perfect time is when you decide to commit and see it through. You won’t regret it.

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