Well, my gift to myself today was meant to be a healthy body. Instead I am eating chocolate cookies and a hot chocolate (albeit low fat versions) at the exact same weight I was at the beginning of this process. It is now time for the evaluation: what have a learnt? What have a done well? What have a not done well.
1. Meal plan: I was unable to keep up with the commitment of the meal plan. That was the first aspect to go - I am a creature of habit and I found the change difficult. The meals were wonderful, I loved trying new things, but I didn't enjoy the extra work - my husband normally cooks and he is 'unable' to cook to a plan or recipe. If I am to make permenent changes in regards to at least dinner time meals, I will have to do a lot of work on changing my husbands patterns as well as my own. The family meals will need to be adapted and a general shift in how we manage meal times will have to take place. Without this aspect of the program working for me I returned to the usual 1200 calories on Calorie King which I was doing before.
2. Exercise program. I had come into this expecting a little more in regards to exercise programs. I had hoped to get a proper running program - similar to the c25k program but for increasing speed and distance and more 'all round' fitness as well. I was able to keep my running up and meet several goals - I ran 10km for the first time, and I ran my 5km in under 30mins. I also started up swimming and have reached my first goal of being able to swim a full lap of the pool. The strenth training aspect - I went with Mish's 'outdoors' training program and went well the first week. But... I found it difficult doing the exercises with masses of printouts to try and learn the program from. If I had of stuck with it, I am sure it would have gotten easier. I would recommend to Mish that she considers a iPhone app (or just videos available online) which has the program listed (what to do and reps so you can mark it off as you are done) with the exercises described in video format. Strength training has always been the hardest aspect for me... the times I have done this successfully was through gym membership and through the sparkpeople site where I made my own program. I really liked the exercise program given though - I just wish it was more user friendly or that I knew how to do the exercises already (or that my iPhone app dream would come true! lol).
3. Videos, Live Feeds, Surprises and Prizes. The level of interaction was great although I felt like a teenager waiting for someone famous to acknowledge my existence! It sucks that the program is sooo huge and there are so many people out there - a little more personalisation would be awesome. I am thinking that if I participate again, I will organise a group and meetings for this area. That level of real accountability would help a lot I believe! The videos were great, and Mish has an awesome attitude which is infectious! It is absolutely the one thing that holds the program together! Prizes were great as well - I managed to win something in the final weeks! Seriously though - fitness tests should NOT be a part of the weekly surprises! Also, the live chat format is a bit weird - a great opportunity is lost as everyone is so busy throwing out questions. I would say it would work better to have a general live chat forum available on a few nights each week with Mish coming online every now and then and then have a seperate video made up where people submit questions by a certain time and then the video done up by the next day or something.
4. Forums and blogs.. fantastic. There was a real support network happening but it is really about how much you put in. The blogs were really supportive with lots of commenting happening to begin with but it peetered out toward the end unfortunatly, as did many of the blogs!
I have had a bad couple of weeks to finish up with. My Neice and her husband and child have come to stay in my tiny 3brm home and their work fell through thanks to the huge amount of rain we have had up here. Then I found out a friend of mine has had her children removed from her care. And now I have found out that a former neighbour's child - who was friends with my eldest son, was killed last week. We haven't seen her for the last 6mths as she went to stay with her father but she was a great kid and we miss her already. I have helped out by sending a box of groceries and pet food around but that is all we can afford. Oh yes, and our tenents in our rental property have not paid rent for 6weeks and have been breaking the law and terrorising the neighbourhood (literally - Australian federal police were called!). We have no money - I have thankfully got most the Christmas presents but things like the PS3 and Cam's iPad (which was to be his new communication device at school now the funding for his 'talking computer' at school has dropped) are now on hold. I can only hope we sell the house now as Cameron needs that iPad for school next year and I was hoping to have the holidays to be able to set it up for him. (For those who don't know, Cam has severe verbal dyspraxia and is not able talk as yet. this year he has started saying mum, dad, yes, no, I don't know, and a few other key words but the communication program allows him to tell teachers when he is hurt, to participate in show and tell, say good morning to everyone, and answer questions in class.).
sigh.. so with a few major things happening the last two weeks have disappeared in a blur of stress and commitments and helping others. Hopefully by next year I will be able to have some me time!