Hello kids!  For those who have been following along, I recently completed the TahKole Fitness 21 day Fat Furnace challenge.  I am happy to report that I lost 9.5 pounds within three weeks!  Woo hoo!  I couldn’t be more satisfied with the results.  It was definitely a difficult challenge in that you had to be extremely disciplined.  Full disclosure, I had more than a few slip ups with salt and staying 100% on plan, but even with my transgressions I still managed to lose nearly 10 pounds in less than a month. Which is not too shabby.  All in all the challenge was a great jumpstart to my fitness journey.  However, with the challenge at an end it brings me to the burning question of “what now”?  Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely follow up support to the TahKole Fitness 21 day Fat Furnace challenge.  But, what happens if you feel you are ready to spread your wings and fly solo?  How do you even know if you are ready to fly solo?  After pondering how do I keep this positive experience moving forward, the answer became clear to me with one of those “you had the power all along” Dorothy moments.  I came to understand that the challenge was training me and arming me with the tools I needed to continue my battle with the bulge.  

So where do I start?  If the challenge has been preparing me for the battle ahead, then how do I harness the tools given to me?  Well the first thing is to really think about how I lost the weight in the first place.  What did I actually learn?  I really appreciate that the challenge got me exercising regularly.  I feel much stronger and more energetic.  I have more awareness of my body and that I actually want to put it in motion.  Sticking to a workout schedule was kind of like my therapy.  I felt like it was one of the few things that I could control.  Even though it was painful at times and I was completely not up to doing it, I still powered through.  By the time I was done I felt powerful and amazing.  I don’t think I’ve ever regretted finishing a workout.  I began to rely on it to set the tone of the day or to decompress from the stresses of the day.

It also changed my relationship with food.  It taught me to have a little more self control and discipline when it comes to my eating. I am a notorious meal skipper and that is absolutely terrible for your metabolism.  I get caught up in my work and home life, so eating just seems like a chore sometimes.  Planning the meal, shopping for the meal, cooking the meal… ok so I guess it is actually a chore. ;-).  However, I realize that the difference of success and failure is just being prepared.  Meal planning and prepping was how I stayed on track with food.  With a little bit of time and practice I became an expert meal prepper.  I also kicked my sugar addiction and I crave more healthy fruits and veggies now.  

For those who still have a lot more weight to lose, you can do another round of the challenge or follow the maintenance plan.  If you are ready to step out on your own, then the end of a challenge does not have to mark the end of your fitness and weight loss journey.  By using the same skills applied in the TahKole Fitness 21 day Fat Furnace challenge, not only have I maintained my weight loss, but I have managed to lose a little more as well.  Albeit at a decreased rate, but hey slow and steady wins the race.