So it’s late April and we’re on the other end of the Carl’s Crew challenge sponsored by Subway Canada. Six weeks later, I’ll admit — I’m not much better than when I started. I’m still up at all hours working on the #BloggerLife, trying to turn all these ideas into… something. I still stress eat on the rough days at work, wolfing down Popeye’s three-pieces on the days that particularly suck. Life’s been dizzying lately, and while I’ve got a whole heap of reasons to take better care of myself, I repeatedly fail, continually choosing immediate gratification over long-term benefits.
I want to try, though. I’m a father now, and my son will pattern behaviour from what he sees around him. If he becomes a workaholic, it’ll be my fault. It he eats junk all the time, it’ll be my fault. I need to make better choices now to make the best possible future for him — and to make sure I’m part of it!
So even though I wasn’t being all that I could during the six-week challenge, I know there’re things I can take from the experience, slowly applying them to my life to make the right changes.
H2-Uh Oh — Week 1: The Water Challenge
It’s hard to drink when you’re always on the move.
I remember trying to drink more water late into 2014, figuring chugging 3L a day with my fellow Trolls would help change the body I’d mistreated for ages. But I fell off the wagon one day in December where my body couldn’t keep things down and I couldn’t tell whether it was food poisoning or shock from reintroducing so much liquid to my body so quickly.
So I went back to my old bad habits and haven’t really tried again since.
Now, in late April, I’m trying again, looking to choose water at the times I usually go for juice, beer, or fountain pop when fast food’s on the menu. It hasn’t been easy so far, but just like it takes 30 days to form a habit, your taste buds crave new flavours if you train them to.
Week 1 Lesson: Even though the men’s room will be my new bestie, I’ve gotta keep hydrated!
12 Servings — Week 2: The Fruits and Veggies Challenge
Sarah intends for me to live to a very old age (despite a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure), so she urges me to take fruits from the fridge to eat with my daily lunch. Dinners at our house include heaping piles of vegetables, dwarfing the meat portion that’s on the plate. I looked at this challenge convinced I already had it beat before starting the first day.
But the point wasn’t to hit some quota for daily fruit and vegetable consumption — what it was trying to teach was adopting a healthier habits, veering away from carb- and fat-laden meals that’re all too prevalent in North America, and moving toward healthier meal choices that’d prove far more beneficial.
One look at my Instagram these past months will show anything but, at all the dinners shoving all the foods down my gullet all the time. Though my co-workers constantly hear me munching on crunchy carrots or crisp apples on the other side of the cubicle wall; though I’ve long since lost my appetite for typical junk food like chips and chocolate (blame one too many all-nighters while trying to get things done in school)… it’s all for squat if I keep eating things that I’m far too old to mess with!
Week 2 Lesson: Fruits and veggies are only the beginning — they factor into a better regimen for healthy eating and building the habits needed to improve. Gotta keep at it!
I Don’t Know SQUATS — Week 3: The Squats Challenge
Though my son keeps me strong with regular reps of flying him through the house like an airplane and leaping from sitting positions to hoist him into the air, it’s not enough. The body needs conditioning with all sorts of exercise — muscle toning, cardio and more. Though I can carry my daily gear sans problem and bring multiple grocery bags in simultaneously when needed, I’m not a teenager anymore — there’s more I need to do to keep this body going!
Week 3’s challenge had us doing squats, starting with 10 each in the morning and evening on Monday, gradually increasing to 50 by Friday.
Yeah, no — I barely have time to get myself and the kiddo out the door in the morning, much less do squats. I envy my coworkers who manage to fit in their gym time over lunch, dedicated to a healthier cause than writing a blog to stuff their faces.
Hm. They may be on to something….
Week 3 Lesson: Make time to exercise your body — your metabolism won’t always be amazing, and those joints won’t always be so elastic.
Take care of yourself!
An Elusive Underappreciated Commodity — Week 4: The Sleep Challenge
I know sleep is important — I’m actually really good at it when I try, coming from a family of heavy sleepers — but rarely feel that I can sleep, with so much on my plate I’m trying to handle.
But some days I definitely feel it — the eyelids heavy from countless nights of horrible sleep, the dark circles under my eyes fortunately masked by my skin tone. The mind not quite as sharp as it could be, synapses slowed in a brain not rested enough for the quick memory or fluid creativity needed to write great stuff. If I found a genie who gave me 3 wishes, more time would leave my lips before I could even think!
Nah, this one’s a definite regret because I’d love to take it easier — but I think I’ll need to pursue a paradigm shift first before I even consider that.
Week 4 Lesson: Sleep is essential — one needs to re-prioritize and listen to their body if they don’t want to fall apart!
Counting all the Calories — Week 5: The Food Journal Challenge
Prior to testing the Samsung Galaxy S6, I was blissfully unaware of how much I shoved in my mouth every day — much less what it was doing to me.
Week 5 had us keep a food journal, noting what we ate to give us better insight into our regular dietary choices.
It probably would’ve been fine had I kept to pen and paper, jotting my lunchtime jaunts and semi-regular dinners as part of the #BloggerLife, ingredients noted with meticulous detail — but no. I chose to use S Health with its searchable database of thousands of foods.
It started out okay, watching the calories pile as I had fast food burgers for a going-away lunch or fried chicken combos when I needed a quick fix… but when you can only enter an ingredient at a time when you’re eating something that isn’t in the database, the process gets real tedious real fast.
So I gave it a try, learning that I often exceeded my recommended 2300 calories a day, and that someone should really create a food tracker that can tell what you’re eating from a photo so lazy slobs like myself can learn about what they’re shoving down their gullets without so much of the effort!
Week 5 Lesson: Watch what you eat — very closely. Some of the healthiest-looking foods can be the worst for you, and over time that’s a recipe for disaster!
It’s Gonna Be Me — Week 6: The “Me Time” Challenge
Ask a blogger to find some “me time”? HA — of any of the challenges we faced in Carl’s Crew, this is the one I probably did best!
I only create when I’m in the right groove — maybe that means wearing comfortable clothes, a tasty beer by my side, and music that’ll get me amped hitting my ears. I’ll get a solid pad of paper on my lap and go to town, hacking away at the thoughts until I’ve nothing left to give. These are some of my best moments.
But it takes a lot of myself to craft something I can stand behind, so though I probably only crafted a post or two in Week 6, they were work reflecting much of that “me time” used at its best.
Week 6 Lesson: Know what makes you tick. Take that positive energy and harness it to do something amazing for yourself!
So as you can see, there’s much for me to learn in various parts of my life — all I need to do is actually apply them so I can better the way I live, not wallow in complacency with things the way they are.
But do you know what you can all glean from this journey I stumbled through in March and April? That you don’t need to suffer like I do, putting these self-inflicted stresses on your life that hold you back from being your best you. You don’t have to be at odds with yourself, struggling between the different parts of your life all fighting to be on top rather than strive for the balance that would benefit them all. You can make the better choices today that’ll put you on the right track, starting with the small steps to get you going that can grow into massive impacts over time!
Case in point — if you thought the last Subway giveaway was it, we’re about to do this ONE. MORE. TIME!!! One lucky winner is going to wrap my Subway Canada Commit to Fit™ journey up by winning — that’s right — the other $75 Subway Canada gift card I had hiding up my sleeve!
Because I know you’re hungry.
You only need a mouse click and a valid email address at the minimum to enter, but there’re plenty of optional things you can do for extra entries, so feel free to enter at whatever level of involvement you’re comfortable with!
Back to One — Why Preventative Maintenance is SO IMPORTANT.
We know that we do plenty to abuse ourselves, the younger of us thinking ourselves virtually invincible and that we’ll deal with being old when we’re old.
But why not take action now? Why not recognize our faults for what they are and change our behaviour to live the best lives we can rather than keep pushing it off ’til the tomorrow that’ll never come?
Frankly, it’s because it takes a lot of hard work and discipline, and who wants that — life is for the living and we should enjoy it to the fullest!
But you can’t do that if your body can’t keep up — exactly why you need to give it what it needs so it can do what you need to to and the times you need it most.
In the end, I’d like to thank Subway Canada and Carl Savard for helping open my eyes to things I was simply ignoring about myself, and giving me the next steps to pursue so I can keep loving the man I see in the mirror. You can also see Cassandra’s and Heather’s journeys as examples of how transformative all this can be!
I hope you’re also inspired by the journey — we all have little somethings we can do to make our lives a little better… all that’s left is actually making them happen.
Have a great one, all — let’s start making healthier choices so we can enjoy the lives we have… not lament over the glory days we once did.
Disclaimer: As before, I was definitely compensated for this post, but you can still find me at the Subway downstairs getting a Parmesan Oregano BLT combo to go and eat at my desk for lunch. I’ve often considered trying the Chicken Pizziola, but I’m 100% a creature of habit, so let me get tired of the BLT sub first before I do anything drastic.
And if you want even more from the crew at Subway Canada, they’re bringing back a very popular contest — Build a Winner, where you can build your sandwich and name it for a chance to win weekly prizes of $100 SUBWAY cash cards and a grand prize of $1,000 cash! Go to it, my friends!