food · health · Mental Health

My #GlowupSessions Challenge Journey

It has been done! I completed the Blogilates two-week #GlowupSessions challenge, and I feel so great! How did I get here? Well, it was no picnic in the park. It was definitely a struggle and I thought about giving up early on, but I pushed myself to get through it. I’m glad I did ‘cause I haven’t felt this great bodily wise, mood wise, and mentally, and the challenge reinforced good habits of perseverance, consistency, determination and endurance.

Day 1 vs. Day 14

Introducing Blogilates’ Cassey Ho
I’ve been doing Cassey’s exercise videos since I was living in LA, back in 2016, and she’s been an integral part of my workout regimen. The goal of her brand is to manifest positivity and finding joy in everything, and she’s truly inspirational, motivational, and consistent with her message and workouts. She’s hosted other challenges in the past, which I’ve completed too, but this one really kicked my booty. So, strap in, friends – here’s the story about my journey! Learn about the food, the workouts and the mental health check!

The #GlowupSessions Challenge

  • Two weeks: January 3 – 16, 2022
  • Daily plan set for breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks
  • Workout plan for every day

The meal plan was vegan, so there were lots of fruits and veggies on the menu. To be honest, I probably only ate 80% vegan because of my own personal modifications. Eating a healthy diet has never been a struggle for me nor has overeating or snacking, so this part of the challenge wasn’t too hard to adjust. The only thing that was a “challenge” was feeling bloated for the first few days, but after that, everything was smooth sailing! Cassey noted early on that the amount of fiber might shock people’s stomachs, but lucky me: because of my ER visit and colonoscopy last Fall, my body’s already adjusted to increased fiber intake. The objective was to make each meal filling enough so you feel full faster and for longer, which I can attest to – I never once had intense cravings for anything else and was never starving for the next meal.

Some of my favorite recipes were:

  • coconut berry smoothie
  • veggie burrito bowl
  • stuffed pepper bowl

And the ones I didn’t vibe with: 

  • lentil zoodles with broccoli – Normally, I like zucchini noodles, but I think the texture of the lentils was a turn off and deterred me from finishing my meals.
  • mug cake – I could never get the consistency of a “cake” after trying the microwave and oven. I baked the mix in small ramekins for 30+ minutes and it never shaped.

The main modification I made was substituting brown rice for quinoa and cauliflower rice. In the past, I’ve tried eating these two things, and I did not care for the taste or texture and ended up wasting it. To compromise on the amount of calories, I cut the lunch/dinner recipe portions in half, which lent itself well to split a meal into dinner and lunch the next day since I don’t have time to cook at work.

After doing this challenge, I personally wouldn’t change to a 100% vegan diet. The first few days I was upset with how “limited” my choices were, and I missed other foods and began to feel bummed thinking about future meals out with family and friends. This is not to say there weren’t good things about the diet portion of this challenge ‘cause I definitely learned about new food items and want to incorporate them into my regular diet – things like flaxseed meal, coconut yogurt, tapioca flour, etc. For me, it’s all about what’s priority to me, which is a fine balance between healthy and “not-so healthy” food with a goal of being happy and truly loving the food I eat, never forced.

The best part of this portion is each day focused on a different muscle area of the body. Yes, this is common knowledge and best practice for exercising, but a noob like me doesn’t know how to find the proper workouts to effectively feel the burn and make true progress. That’s what I love about Cassey – she’s like a virtual coach who not only sets up the workout schedule, but during her videos, she demonstrates and explains the correct forms so the target muscle areas are actually working. This came in handy when making movements with dumbbells and kettlebells.

Day 1 vs. Day 14

So, you already know I was on the brink of tears with the diet portion of the #GlowupSessions challenge. Here is where the tears happened. I completed each day’s workout video, but it wasn’t easy. I was sweating profusely, droplets going into my eyes and falling onto the floor and mat, and my neighbors probably heard me grunting and screaming during the workout then proceeding to sob at the end of the workout. As much as I love Cassey, I took my frustration with myself on her and wanted to scream at my screen because she kept us doing reps without a break! But it was all me – I didn’t feel good enough and negative talked down my capability to be stronger, which is definitely NOT the attitude to be having. As the days progressed, I did take note I was able to complete more reps and even sets of reps than the previous week. Before, there were times I took a beat to rest and then jump back in, but by the end of the challenge, I was doing the full sets without stopping, especially anything involving my legs (‘cause I’m a pleb and usually skip leg day).

Day 1 vs. Day 14

Within a week, I was already seeing results and feeling them, too. Once the bloating stopped and I was getting back into the workout groove, I enjoyed seeing the progress and results, as well as feeling taller, more poised with better posture. All that to say my confidence boosted. 

Since the new year began, I’ve been documenting and tracking my moods every day, and the #GlowupSessions challenge was a great guinea pig to start with. Admittedly, it was a slow and rough start, with red and orange-colored moods of sadness, depression, and low self-worth, but before I knew it, those red and orange hues turned yellow then green! Every day, I woke up more energetic and feeling more productive and accomplished by the end of it. So, add together: good food for the body, stronger muscle building, inching self-confidence plus the increased sense of accomplishment, and we have developing happiness. To be honest, I haven’t felt this good in a long time, and I did it on my own.

The Pseudo-Sales Pitch
I definitely recommend Blogilates – you can ask my family and friends. I’ve gotten them started on their own journeys with Cassey. What I love most about discovering her is I can work out at home without the anxiety of finances and being on display at the gym. When I’m at home, I am 100% focused on me with no distractions. (This was extremely clutch when the pandemic hit, because it was no adjustment at all working out at home while everyone else either stopped or struggled to keep up their regimens.) But also, you should know Cassey does more than produce workout videos, she’s an entrepreneur who has expanded into custom-designed workout outfits, workout equipment, and journal accessories, such as tracking journals, mental health check-ins, and more. Essentially, Blogilates is a one-stop shop to get started on your journey to a better you!

What I Learned
It’s no secret I don’t need to lose weight or trim down my body, so why did I participate in the #GlowupSessions challenge? To do better for me. Even though I already exercise semi-regularly, this challenge pushed me to persevere and endure more than I have before. Yes, there were days I cried, days I wanted to give up, but I repeatedly told myself I could do it: I could get through this challenge and feel great on top! I learned I am stronger – both physically and mentally – than I give myself credit for, and the experience has enhanced my discipline, hopefully not just for health and diet, but in other areas of life. Routines work really well for me, so developing that good, consistent habit has set the tone for the year and I intend on maintaining it. At the end of the day, knowing that I’m putting in the work to take care of myself has unlocked more good, positive feelings, which will help me on the long road to loving myself.

Have you tried out Blogilates’ videos and products before? Share them in the comments!

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