Throughout all the cycles I find Week 2s are always the hardest. The body is resisting exercise (a body at rest tends to stay at rest), the muscle aches is amplified, the desire to do something else is doubled (anything – eat, watch TV, sleep, go on facebook – anything at all!), the surge in appetite, the low motivation since there is absolutely no tangible results to speak of… the list is very long.
That said, Week 2 is also most crucial because it is the make-or-break week. If I can make it through Week 2 without cheating, Week 3 will be a lot easier.
This cycle’s Week 2 is no different. My body feels at its weakest, even the slightest change in intensity and I am seeing spots. I go nuts with hunger at night. I expect a weight gain. But I know I have to fight and overcome these challenges – done it before and I can do it again! How I know? I read back all my posts under the Running categories from as far as 2 years ago, I look at all the photos…. I don’t remember the pain and the hard work needed to get there, but I remember it took time and it is possible. This will get easier.
- No new gear this week.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
- 2L a Day is Easy Peasy. Thankfully getting back to drinking 2L a day was very easy. I was able to get back on Day 1 itself. I simply force myself to drink – if by lunch time my bottle is not half-empty, I just close my eyes and chug. It is a lot easier than it sounds. As an aside: I thought it is odd that the body can function at <1L water daily and at >2L water daily. Shouldn’t my body have a sensor or something to trigger my need to drink if I drink <1L a day? When I was a work-craze-person not too long ago, I hardly finished a bottle of 500ml mineral water all day; and then I would have the occasional coffee or another glass or two of water during lunch/dinner – presuming I even have time to have lunch/dinner. How did my body manage to survive? (Or maybe it didn’t and I am paying for all the damage that I have inflicted to it over the years? If that is so, body, I am sorry and I am trying very hard to make it up to you.)
- Mocha-Choca-Latta Shake. This is Malaysia. Berries are expensive ok. Even tiny strawberries from Cameron Highlands cost RM8 a cup. So these days I mix a cup of milk with the whey protein and two teaspoons of instant coffee. I don’t like mocha very much (I like coffee, but generally I don’t like any chocolate drinks including mochas) but this is definitely a lot more palatable than taking it as straight-up chocolate. Add a small ice cube and blitz and my mocha protein shake is ready. I love the berries one better, of course (seriously, it tastes so good).
- Fruity-Fruity Shake. I have yet to try making the shake with other fruits like bananas (which would go well with the chocolate flavour and a teaspoon of peanut butter I guess – but the calorie count would be skyhigh). I read up to find ways to make the shakes more interesting, some people put nuts and seed, and even cookies (!), fruit juices, herbs (mint seems to be a huge favourite) and leafy green vegetables into it. My current whey protein is double-chocolate flavoured so that limits my option. I will get a flavourless one next time, or something generic like vanilla so that I will have more options when making the shakes.
- Weighing Scale is the Enemy. I’ve been trying to tell myself not to, but I did it anyway, yes I stepped onto the scale. And to my horror, it showed that I have gained back all the weight that I’ve lost and then some! And this is after the cleanse, the protein shakes, the 2-week’s worth of exercise! I should just shoot the scale to pieces. I admit, seeing these kind of numbers on the scale upsets me greatly (if it is to be believed I have gained a whopping 10kg since April last year!). So what I do is to repeat continuously to myself that my aim is not to get skinny, it is to get stronger and fitter and leaner. So I will list and focus on all the positives:
- I am drinking at least a cup of milk every day.
- I am drinking 2L of water every day.
- I meet my protein, calcium and fiber daily intake.
- I exercise 3x a week.
- I haven’t been sick with the flu or fever for more than 3 months now. I get the occasional chills or overnight runny nose due to the cold weather or air-conditioning but none of those 3-day benders.
- My arms are getting toned and defined (love!)
- I am weak. Confession is the first step to recovery. On the first day of Week 2, I only managed 15mins of HIIT and 15mins of walking. I did better in Week 1, and I stuck to the same routine since I knew it was doable. My poor time made me feel real angry and defeated but I didn’t want to push myself to the point of injury. I decided that I would take the 15mins, and then work on increasing it to 16mins the next time, and then 17 mins the time after that and then a minute more each time until I can get to 30mins each. It is a long way to get to 40mins nonstop HIIT and even longer way to get to 90min nonstop running being that my knee is still a little stiff and wobbly when I try to run. But time should not be a reason for me not to go for it. So I am going for it, a minute at a time. (Update: the second time I did HIIT, I managed to stretch it to 20mins! Yay. I think I can increase the duration 5mins each session. So my aim for Week 3 is to get it up to 25min. )
- Skip and Run and Walk. Both feet hurt a little after each run/walk session. I managed to do a 4o then a 60min session in Week 2 (after the poor HIIT attempt that I wrote about above) – so that makes it 3 exercise sessions in Week 2. That was 2 sessions less than my previous routine (3x run/walk; 2x HIIT). The reason I didn’t do the balance 2 HIITs is simple: I was lazy. I knew I had to but when the clock struck 5:45pm I decided to sod it and hung out in front of the TV instead. So I have no one to blame but myself.
- Maybe…. the right approach is not to see exercise as something that I have to do. You see, I actually remember the breathlessness and the pain that I felt from the recent HIIT session. You forget those over time of course, but when it is so recent, it is very easy for you to go….oh no, no, I am not going to go through that again. The thing is, when I was in full steam in the original cycle, I welcomed these breathlessness and pain – in fact every day I could not wait for my HIIT days to roll around so that I can, well, hit it. So it is a matter of pushing and pushing til I get to that point again. And how I did it last time? I did it by chanting to myself as I worked out:
- I love running
- I love Benny (ok not relevant but it helped)
- I love HIIT
Positive affirmations do work. Some people think it is just new age mumbo jumbo, but it is a self-fulfilling prophecy really. I used to hate to folding my clothes (still do, but with less intensity these days). We were discussing this hatred one day when my sister suggested that maybe I should “love” it instead. An example that she gave was how she hates vaccuming, so each time she vaccums the floor she tells herself “I love to vaccuum, I love to vaccuum” like a conditioning exercise. Eventually, she learns not to loathe the chore. Ok, she still doesn’t love it and pays a cleaner to do it every week, but she doesn’t find it loathsome anymore.
(As an aside, I still find folding clothes loathsome so I only do it after a few laundry cycles. There is a huge laundry basket in my room, I fold only when it is full and can hold no more clean clothes.)
Anyway, photo for Week 2 and Week 00 as comparison: