Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

Late 2013 saw lots of very positive changes in my life, but I had one really big drawback: the lupus in body decided to get stuck on kidney infections and play them over and over like a broken record (I guess this is slightly better than in 2006 when it was stuck on sinusitis). I've been on and off antibiotics since July 2013 (it struck at a most unfortunate time--when I was at a Fellowship in Paris making it difficult for me to fully enjoy my three weeks there and making me painfully aware that most of my French that I don't use for historical data is pretty much lost) and it's contributed to a serious lack of fitness. It also didn't really help that around that time I started dating my boyfriend who is 6'5 and can eat for days and never gain weight or that I also became good friends with two of his best male friends who are both over 6' tall and are also able to pack away a ton of calories without it ever showing. This lead to a lethal (well, in terms of fitness!) combination of both lying around because I generally felt ill and when I was feeling better, packing in bazillions of calories while hanging out with these lovely lads at Nando's, KFC, McDonald's and the like. I really wasn't doing myself any favors.

One way lupus has really affected my life (although I've had it for nearly 1/3 of it now, which is absolutely nuts to think) is that I used to be quite active in both drama and dance. Although I've transferred my love of drama to writing, academia and arts consulting, my previous love of dance has fallen by the wayside. Up until I was about 14, I studied classical ballet intensively (although my non naturally anorexic looking body would have culled me from that career immediately). When I dropped that due to both my giant boobs and budding love of drama, I took up Irish step dancing and started competing locally (no, nothing crazy like a fake tan, orange and brown neon dress, two Shirley Temple wigs and flying to Dublin bi-annually to try to shred the competition by almost breaking my ankle with rocks and jumping higher than your head). I kept that up for a while and did it as a hobby for a bit in college (uni for the Brits), but as my joints because to ache, especially my knees (which are my most affected joint), I had to stop.

Since then, I've gone to the gym on and off, off when I'm ill, on when I've got energy. I'm actually one of those people who loves a good workout but when you're sick for months on end it's pretty easy to just pull the covers up and sleep (and justify popping those extra calories in somehow!).

When I went home to the US for Christmas, I discovered I was the heaviest I had ever been. Apparently, this was only noticeable to myself because when I mentioned my weight gain to people I know would point that crap out, they were very surprised. But I decided no more excuses, I'm going to lose weight and get into amazing shape. I also have a conference in Yalta this May I'm attending, and while the purpose is to talk about genocide and memory, I also want to prance around the hotel and on the beach in bikini and actually not be self-conscious.

I've lost the majority of the weight I've put on through good old fashioned dieting and calorie watching (shout out to MyFitnessPal!), but I'm still aiming to lose a bit more and get into better shape. The gym I'm going to be joining here doesn't open til next month so I've decided to strike out on my own. I did a whole bunch of Wii Fit at my parents' house, but without a Wii here, I've had to go in blind. I'd heard of the Jillian Michael's program but hadn't really looked into it seriously. I did Level 1 for a quick way to burn a ridiculous amount of calories using unopened Bath and Body Works three wick candles as weights and then decided to stick with it. I sucked it up and went to Tesco, purchased some actual weights and a yoga mat and am now actually going to do the whole 30 day program.

It's not an easy workout at first, but you will get there if you put your mind to it.

So I'll shame myself by showing you how my body looks at Day 4 (it may actually take me longer than 30 days because I am still having kidney infections and I'm not about to Shred with Jillian when I'm feeling that terrible). I'll post regular updates every few days (probably around Days 10 and 20...I won't get excessive with the pictures. BORING.). My abs are my trouble spot and the area I'm most looking to get in shape (that and my upper arms...all the women in my family have inherited the Hilary Duff upper arm, or what we call "The Miller Arm" due to the surname of the women on that side of the family). I'm also following this up with 100 jacknives after every workout. 

Here we go, Jillian! Here we are at Day 4 (and I just washed the mirror so there are streaks on it...forgive please!)
abs day 4

abs day 4

left arm day 4

right arm day 4

(I'm totally bringing back this section from my LiveJournal circa 2004)
Currently listening to: Sail by Awolnation
Currently reading: Annexed by Sharon Dogar

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