The End and The Beginning

 That feeling.. #lit

That feeling.. #lit

Oh my goodness! Holy What?! Eight weeks are over, already?!

I cannot fathom where the time went and how it seemingly passed kinda quickly. 
Classic hindsight makes time pass that little faster and with a little more ease. There were certainly days that felt like an eternity. 

 So that’s that hey. Boom, 8 weeks are donezo.

Saturday was the ultimate grand finale consisting of an Inbody scan, evaluation photos, photo shoot (uh huh, say what?!) and the break up party. Needless to say it was a biggie, starting at 4am and not winding down until 1am when I promptly crashed in my cuddly bed into dreamland. Bliss.

Rewinding for a moment, before I get caught up in the final hype of the finish line, imma take a moment to reflect on the last couple of weeks. B-b-back it up. 

Week 7 was the toughest I had experienced. Besides the fact there was plenty going on in my crazy world, I found it to be quite the battle to keep my motivation firing. I could see progress and I was feeling good in my bod, couple those feels with tiredness, my brain was starting to think, “Well, can’t we just have a mini break yet?”, “We’ve been working so hard, can’t we just stop.. For a second?” The whole week was a fucking uphill battle. Every training session was a mission, every mouthful of food was a chore, and I was just barely dragging my sorry ass through the week. I also had to get myself through more events where there was the usual wicked temptations. But das cool yo, I made it, with the help of some legends who make up my cheer squad. Ya’ll know who you are, you freaking ROCK.

Week 7 is the confronting yet beautiful reality of this fitness/wellness/health journey. You are not always going to be at 100%. You can’t always be smashing out strong sessions, feeling fiercely motivated and giving it 11/10. You can get damn close, like I did, but it’s also normal to not always be on your A game. That’s life, baby!

WEEK 7
FEELS: Not-so-motivated, a little flat here and there. At the same time, feeling more in shape than ever. Woo!
CHALLENGES: Pushing through the desire to take a break and take my foot off the training accelerator.
HIGHLIGHTS: I guess the fact that I DID push through the lack lustre motivation feels. I kept my food and training at 100% despite wanting to be a lazy doughnut of a couch potato. 
WHAT I LEARNT: Well, it was nothing new but a reminder that these feels are LIFE. That is all part of the fitness cycle and you have to really dig deep at times to keep going. It isn’t all going to be easy breezy. 

 Almost there!

Almost there!

At the end of week 7 on the Saturday morning of my usual early bird check in, I was not feeling too crash hot. I pushed through enough to drive 1km up the road, before turning around and heading home. I was bloated (and unsure why), I was feeling dead tired and struggling to keep my eyes open which is not ideal for a half hour drive.

Annnnddd here is the other lesson; that sometimes you HAVE to listen to your body. Sometimes you have to stop, rest and take a moment to regroup. I got home and got snuggled back into bed for a casual 5 hour sleep. I then awoke feeling more refreshed and a little more lively than earlier on. 

I have found getting stuck into the weekly evaluation, followed by a morning walk, a double up strength and conditioning + Muay Thai class, really sets up my week. So to take Saturday off left me feeling a little nervous about the week ahead, and knowing that it was the big week 8. However, I know I needed down time and I knew (deep down) that I would come back stronger than ever to finish the week. It’s all about balance! I hit the shops, had some pampering and got a couple of cute outfits for the weekends of celebrations ahead, which left me feeling accomplished (and organized, in other ways).

Sunday morning I woke up feeling better again, T and I got up and went for a big walk via a coffee stop. Got back home after a chill 7km walk and the motivation was REAL, which continued into the rest of the week. I could see the light at the end of the 8 week tunnel and knew that I had to make the most of every moment I had. And I can proudly say that I basically did, just that.

Life isn’t without its ups and downs though.
Life is going to find ways to challenge you and you have to find a way to keep going. You have to really focus on that goal and those dreams and find every last drop of inspiration to keep firing. That was me on Wednesday, I got home, got changed into my PJ’s after waving the white flag. A half hour later I thought, “What the fuck?! This is NOT Steph Doyle!” So I got changed into my gym clothes and went crazy in the gym downstairs.

The power of acknowledging that you are (in certain moments) choosing the easy/lazy/not so great option is a powerful thought. For me it’s not something I’m proud of which easily kicks my ass into gear. It hasn’t always been the case though. Once upon a time I would have then felt even worse and super sorry for myself, wallowing in self-pity, which is a nasty cycle to be stuck in. It takes incredible strength to pull yourself out of that moment, that day, those thoughts or that week that you may be experiencing. What I find helps me in those unpleasant circumstances, is to focus on how I will feel after completing whatever task it is that I’m avoiding. In this circumstance I was choosing to not exercise because I was feeling down about other insignificant goings on. I let that feeling settle in, that I was making a conscious choice to NOT do anything to work towards my goal.

Mmm, yep, that don’t feel so good.

So instead of feeling WORSE about the whole thing (which is basically what is happening up until this point, like I said, it’s not easy). I then reverse those thoughts and think of what will make me feel better. Numero uno, was to exercise and get physical.
So, what am I doing just sitting there?!
Despite not being in the mood, without too much thought I jumped up, got changed and thought "I’ll just do something small". This is generally when I find I unleash the inner gym demon and completely destroy a session. An hour (and a bit) later I was home, showered, back in my PJ’s and feeling more accomplished than before.
Next time you're feeling similar, try this! Trust me, doing that ‘thing’ you don’t feel like doing WILL make you feel better!

Week 8 continued on and I continued powering through. I somehow got to Thursday night realising that I only had 2 days left, the countdown was on big time, which kinda scared the crap out of me. I can’t believe that the last 2 months have passed, and finally all of that sacrifice was going to be reflected in my results. HOLY FKN SH!T.

WEEK 8
FEELS: Strong, feeling waaaay fitter, and noticing some srs gainz. Yeah buddy!
CHALLENGES: Rising up and kicking that self pity attitude to the curb.
HIGHLIGHTS: My strength is levelling up big time, and it’s feelin’ real damn good. More on that later. 
WHAT I LEARNT: That you have to find that inner resilience to keep fighting the fight. Remember that you are strong, capable and motivated (a frequent affirmation I tell myself). It’s also coming time to realise that 56 days of hard yakka is coming to a close, but it is really only the beginning of what I’ve got planned, which is daunting and exciting all at once. 

Friday night came to a close, I was covered in fake tan (my attempts at saving the horrible job I had professionally done the night before), and I was so. damn. excited. In true Steph style I couldn’t get to sleep despite knowing that I had to be up and at it at a bright 4am. 

Rocked up at HIIT first thing and jumped on that Inbody scan. The nerves and excitement were so damn real.
What were the results going to be?
How much weight did I lose?
Did I lose any weight?
What would my body fat % be?

My brain was officially in overdrive, I had been thinking those questions for the last two weeks (or more), but now I knew it was about to GET REAL. A blessing that I had my girl there with me to keep me a little more chilled.

My weight suddenly appeared on the screen, I remembered that it was 84kg to start and now it was reading a smaller 75.3kg!! 
I looked at Farron in shock, almost 10 bloody kilos!
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?!?!

On doing the math, it works out to be a neat 8.7kg, which doesn’t sound as impressive.. WAAIIITT.. I have to stop myself there, that shit that I’m typing right now is CRAP. Hello, Steph, are you okay?!

In 8 weeks I lost 8.7kg. If anyone was to tell me that, I’d say that is pretty dayum good going, and a totally maintainable pace (which is what you want).
It’s a nice rhythm, and one that I will continue.
The fire in my belly has been reignited and I’m so hungry, not really for sugar or crap, but for some big ol’ goals. I'm comin' 4 ya. 

We then had our final flattering evaluation photo, same undies, same crop top, same poses (for the last 8 weeks), and this would be that final sweet “after” photo, which is really just another progress photo. I then raced home to freshen up for a goddamn photoshoot <insert shocked emoji here>. Uh-huh, your girl, right here had a fitness photoshoot. SAY WHAT!?! Actually typing that blows my mind. It’s been a long time since I felt anywhere near good enough to jump in front of a camera, and even then, on Saturday I was pretty unsure about the whole thing because I ain't no model. 

I got back home, my make up and hair somehow worked in my favour and I was feeling as good as I was probably ever going to feel jumping in front of the camera for a shoot. I decided to take my crisp new white singlet off as I got my pump on before jumping in front of the cam (err, lame.. but a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do). It was then time to cheer on my partner in crime in her shoot, she was feelin’ just as nervous.
Andddd she totes killed it like a pro, and looked dayum hawt doin’ it.
Next minute, I was in there getting some cute bestie shots with her..
WITHOUT MY DAMN TOP ON!
Haha, okay, calm down.. I wasn’t topless, but I was only wearing my crop top and gym tights, which was certainly not in my plans. A couple of minutes in I realised and panicked, “Hold up”, I can’t possibly be doing this. I asked the photographer who patiently let me sneak a peak of some of the shots. And to my complete surprise, it wasn’t actually that bad. I actually looked good in them?! He reassured me that I was fine, and I carried on into my shoot with only my crop on.

So never in my wildest dreams would I a) have done a fitness photo shoot b) rocked it singlet free and c) looked good in some of the photos doing it! That pro lighting and good angles help, but STILL, I have to celebrate this moment, because it’s a biggie.

I lost my initial nerves being in front of the cam and I was feeling really damn great! Totally loving my bod and it’s sweet imperfections. I know I’ve still got a tum, back fat, stretchies but, fuck it.. I’m owning this castle that is my bod and owning it loud and proud. I’m sure I’ll share a few sneaky snaps from the shoot, along with my comparison photos. Stay tuned!

 Hate to be the "BTS person", but this is kinda cool!

Hate to be the "BTS person", but this is kinda cool!

Now, I’m a sucker for some good stats. I love hearing about cruise ships and the amount of stuff they have to account for, like how many eggs they need for one trip. That shit, blows my mind and I find it highly fascinating (yeah, imma little weird). To satisfy my bizarre love of high level stats, I thought I’d give you a bit of a run down on these 8 weeks:

In 56 days, here is what happened:

HIIT Classes: 30
Walks completed: 23
Gym sessions: 21
TOTAL: 74
KM’s driven: 1526.40km
KM’s walked: 317.68km
Step Total: 469,535
Sunrises witnessed: 31
Calories consumed: 68,030
Calories burned: 151,345
Days exercised: 52 days/56 days
Days eaten 100% (no more food, no less food): 54 days/56 days
Alcohol free: 56 days/56 days, baby!

I survived the following events food and alcohol free:

MY 25th BIRTHDAY
Family birthday lunch
Work awards night
Work trivia night
Hen’s night
Dinner with friends (multiple)
The stress of house hunting
Family morning tea
Exciting work changes (that I would norm celebrate)
Work morning tea’s (multiple)
A friends going away/house party (wild old night)
Engagement party
Bronco’s game
Work brekky

Pretty sure the last 8 weeks were busier than the last 9 months of the year. Classic.

The above has lead to some pretty killer results, so the sacrifice has certainly been worth it.

THE PHYSICAL:

Weight: - 8.7kg
Body fat %: - 7.5%
Body fat KG: - 9.3kg
Muscle mass: + 0.5kg
Bust: - 10cm
Waist: - 19.5cm

Thigh: - 8cm
Arm: - 4cm
Clothing: Size 14, to a 12 (sometimes a 10, so close). My size 14 target jeans are baggy AF, and my size 12 Sportsgirl jeans fit nicely, and the size 10’s are getting saaa close. A size 14 skirt that I bought just before the challenge started is also baggy as hell. My old clothes are starting to fit and I no longer have bulging muffin tops in my gym tights.

 Before and after, this is daunting AF!

Before and after, this is daunting AF!

More physical accomplishments:
I can now easily pump out half push ups and can do multiple full push ups. When I started, halfies were a struggle.
I’m squatting heavier weights.
I can do tricep dips with my legs fully extended.

I can hold a wall squat with a little more ease for a minute or longer.
I CAN BOX JUMP.
I can also throw a decent hit/kick in muay thai.
Burpees are becoming easier (still dislike them doe).
I can bicep curl a 10kg dumbbell, sometimes 12.5kg.
I can Arnold press 12.5kg +.
I can do waaay more ab work.
I’m now walking at a quicker pace from 5.5 to 6.2 on the treddy.
I am getting closer to doing an unassisted pull up (next goal).
My quads are starting to come back.
My mini biceps are getting a bit of life, and there is the small beginning of some returned shoulder definition (yass).
My face is less moon like and a little more streamlined.

I am so damn proud. Yes, I said it (it’s actually kinda difficult to say).
I am proud of all of those crazy (trivial) stats.
I am proud of my power, strength and endurance both in and out of the gym.
I am proud of my body, for the first time, evs.
I am proud of this pride I'm feelin', I am certainly making some serious ground on the self love front and it feels really, really good.

I have gone from lacking confidence, feeling unmotivated, feeling flat, unfit and not loving myself. To this new and improved confident, inspired, fitter and stronger gal, who is actually starting to really love herself.

I’m on top of the world RN, and excited for all that I’m going to MAKE happen.

Thank YOU for your support and for joining in on these insane 8 weeks. I am so blessed and lost for words to explain my gratitude.

And if you're looking for that extra kick, I would wholeheartedly and genuinely recommend HIIT Australia's 8 Week Challenge! They 100% know what they're doing and totally empower you with knowledge to continue beyond the 8 weeks. The classes are fun, energetic and have some serious tunes pumpin'. 

Big love, beautiful being.

X

SD

Wellbeing + FitnessSteph Doyle