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April 2017 archive

Gabby’s March Challenge: Drop it like it’s Squat

After a pretty hectic February at work, my goal for March was to go to the gym at least twice a week.

Because I hadn’t decided on my challenge until March 5, that left me a minimum of six visits to the gym I had to accomplish.

The first weekend was… interesting. After not working out in forever I was really feeling it on my first day back, although I stuck it out and stayed for an hour. Boom.

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#Dying. I make tomato face look cool.

My second day back was a little better. I managed to not throw up in my mouth, lol. Even though I could only stay for 40 minutes because I had to work, it was better than not going at all!

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#GetYourselfThere.

Unfortunately, midway through March, I really hurt my back somehow. Probably from constantly  being hunched over a computer. I made a conscious decision to take a break from gymming until it got better. There’s no use in forcing yourself to do something if it means you could risk injuring yourself further–especially when it comes to your back. But I knew I had to get some sort of physical activity, so I opted for stretching, walking, and light yoga 🙂

Fast forward to the week after that, and I’m back in the gym and crushing it. Let it be noted that I hate taking photos of myself at the gym. It feels so awkward!!!

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The next day I played in a dodgeball tournament for a few hours. It had been a while since I played, but it’s kind of like riding a bike–you never forget how to dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge. We came 3rd. (Single tear falls down my cheek) Still got some rust I gotta shake off, apparently.

As for my April challenge, I’m going through some pretty big transitions at work, and I have to figure out the next step to take. So instead of doing my taxes (that’s a given), I’m going to really work on what’s best for me and make a decision. (More details to come!)

Keep it real,

Gabby

Karyn’s March Challenge: Gettin’ Strong, Gettin’ Swole

At the beginning of 2017 my sisters decided to pick a word or a phrase that we would attempt to embody in the new year. For mine I decided on the word strength. To me this could mean finding strength in pretty much anything within myself. For my March Challenge I wanted to actually become strong. You have probably read some of my other posts where I gush about how I have joined Elite Martial Arts and I’m working my way to a black belt (fingers crossed) in Krav Maga.

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What you may not know is that being involved in this amazing sport doesn’t really come cheap. But to have incredible instructors teach me how to become a dangerous woman… well I’d say it’s worth every penny! For March I challenged myself to make the most out of my Elite membership and go as much as I possibly could. They offer classes near where I live as well as downtown Toronto, so I had plenty of options.

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My problem was that work was getting mad hectic and I kept missing classes. Missing class was no longer an option for me, especially since I was going to be dual belt testing in April which meant that I was going for my orange and purple belt. If I wanted to accomplish my challenge I would have to get my rear in gear and step my game up.

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My goal was to go at least four times a week. Since I work Monday-Wednesday in the evening (when most of their classes took place), I would have to make up for missed time by going on Tuesdays mornings downtown, twice on Thursdays and then once on Fridays. Plus I would try to supplement my workout by doing some P90X with the bf at home.

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For the first few weeks I was straight-up killin’ it. I was feeling strong and noticing legit improvement. Plus I didn’t feel guilty for spending the money for Krav since I was going so regularly. Everything was coming up Milhouse!

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And then work hit me hard. I was only able to go once during the week, and then the next week I only went twice. I tried to make up for it with P90X, but I was frustrated at myself since I had invested so much of my time and money in this. Plus the stress of dual belt testing weighed on me, and I started to feel like a huge failure.

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Luckily I have amazing managers that let me take a few nights off to be able to go to Krav and prepare, as well as fantabulous instructors that gave me extra attention and motivation to keep going.

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In the end after a two hour test, I emerged incredibly sweaty, seriously out of breath and victorious!

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#PurpleBeltFTW!!!!

 

During my test I was fiercely fatigued and almost gave up. My brain kept going over all of the days I missed and if I could have just gone to those classes I wouldn’t be feeling like I was going to simultaneously throw up and pass out. Amazingly, those negative thoughts were drowned out by the incredible support from my fellow students. They cheered me on when all I wanted to do was give up. My instructors demanded I continue and that stopping wasn’t even an option. I ended up finishing and feeling so proud of myself and so touched by how everyone had my back.

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Choosing to take this on for my March Challenge, I never would have thought that it would have been this rewarding. Usually when I complete my challenges I just give myself a pat on the back and just move on to the next thing.This time it really made me reflect on the choices I have made and the people that I surround myself with.

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I am so glad I chose strength as my word for 2017. I was able to discover that there is the physical and emotional strength that you can build by yourself, but also the strength you create by surrounding yourself with people who push you forward, who believe in you and who cheer you on when you think you can’t take another step.

As sore as I feel while writing this, I can tell you honestly it was well worth it.

-Karyn

Gwen’s March Challenge: A Meatless Month of March?

I’m dating a vegan.

He is quite wonderful, and often shares with me about his lifestyle and the benefits of not consuming meat products. He truly cares about what he puts in his body, and has an incredibly high level of compassion for animals.

His commitment to his lifestyle is truly inspiring. As I watched him, I thought, could I do this? Would I even want to be vegan?

The truth is… yes. In the past I have dabbled in altering my diet to be less animal-heavy. When I used to live in California a few years ago, my landlord was a hardcore vegetarian and didn’t allow meat in the house. I saw this as an opportunity and decided to go vegetarian (vegan wasn’t even on my radar back then). At the time, I had limited nutritional information. I soon realized I was eating my weight in bread, cheese (and donuts) to combat the feeling of missing something. Needless to say it was unsustainable and I ended up petering out and going back to meat. (The first thing I ate was a meat pie. OMG).

Flash forward to now… I have actively taken an interest in nutrition. I know of things like quinoa and lentils and tempeh and tofu… sources of protein that can replace meat.

So when I heard of the ‘Meatless March’ challenge on Instagram, I thought I’d try it out! Not only was I hoping to feel mo’ progress health-wise, I was also interested in saving a few bucks (as meat typically costs more than vegetarian options).

WEEK 1 & 2:

OVERALL: I gahdamn crushed it. No cravings for meat. No interest in meat. I was flying high on success.

FEELING: I realize I started a ‘diet’ at the same time I started a new job. At the end of each day, I felt quite drained, though chocked it up to the fast pace of my new lifestyle and learning so much each day that my brain needed a break. I also realized towards the end of week two, that although I wasn’t craving meat, I was eating waaaaay too many grains and my stomach kinda hurt most of the time.

WEEK 3:

OVERALL: I missed meat. I was proud of myself for giving it up, but at work (where we have catered lunches #yesiknowimlucky) I was sad to pass by the chicken and fish.

FEELING: I felt like I was missing out. I also realized I would feel hungry almost right after I ate lunch. This was a bizarre feeling. I realize I started eating more sugar, and reaching for things I never ate before like Pop Tarts and Diet Coke to fill a gap of cravings.

WEEK 4:

OVERALL: I caved this week. There was one day where I felt like complete poop. I felt sooo drained of life force energy. I tried everything. Water. Coffee. Fruit. Meditation. Walks. Nothing I could think of was helping to alleviate the drained feeling. I figured I was missing some serious nutrients (probably Vitamin B). So late in the afternoon that day, I went on a mission to get some meat. I got chicken shawarma and ate it alone, while trying to bring my body back to life.

FEELING: A little defeated, but proud of myself for doing whatever it took to feel a bit better. I don’t know if it was subconscious or what, but as soon as I ate that shawarma I started to feel life coming back into me.

WEEK 5:

OVERALL: I hadn’t succeeded in the challenge, so I ate meat once or twice this week.

FEELING: This week I suffered from a major burnout at work. On Week 4, I started to feel some serious pressure at work (all self-imposed of course) and it led to burning out this week. It kinda felt like adrenal fatigue. I couldn’t drink coffee without wanting to yack. I felt truly exhausted on every level. This doesn’t have to do with meat, I don’t think… I just believe it has to do with so many changes happening in life and me ignoring the small signs to take better care of myself.

To sum up, I was unable to successfully complete my meatless March challenge, though I’m incredibly proud of myself for living almost entirely vegan for 20 days. My hat is definitely OFF to people to live life this way. It’s definitely an adjustment and take quite a bit of self-compassion when you give into the cravings.

If this challenge interests you, I recommend starting with Meatless Monday or taking meat out of one meal a day before going alllll in!

Thank you for reading and happy eating!

-Gwen