Updated: Dec 27, 2020
75Hard is not for everybody, but I believe that anybody can do it! It is a challenge that comprises of simple tasks that must be completed exactly as is, every single day, for 75 days straight. IT. IS. HARD. But I did it. I did it during a pandemic. I did it while I stayed home with two very small children. I did it while running a business and an Airbnb. And I did it while I continued to support other parents on their sleep training journey. And to be honest, I will probably do it again!
They say that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I have tested this theory and 21 days isn't enough for me personally. It takes time, repetition, intention and focused energy to truly change/create a habit. My goal starting this program was to create a positive lifestyle change, and to FINISH something I set out to do. In the past, I have given up on goals that I thought were going to be interesting to me, but they always fell short, and so did I. I wanted to prove to myself that I could keep a promise to me. I wanted to follow through on something that would truly make me a better person. I wanted to be a better person.
I would be lying if I said that weight loss wasn’t also a WHY for me. Over the last 3 years I have been pregnant twice. My body has gained and lost and gained and lost. At my lowest, I was a very unhealthy 136lbs and struggling with depression. My heaviest was when I was 39 weeks pregnant with my second baby, I was 215lbs. It’s been hard on me, harder than I’d like to admit. I want to be clear that my goal was never to "get my pre-baby body back." I simply wanted to feel like myself again, and recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. So, I was definitely interested to see what how my body would evolve throughout this program and what it was capable of. It did not disappoint me.
Drink 1 Gallon of Water
This was hard for me because I don’t drink nearly enough water. I think I am perpetually dehydrated. I was glad it was part of the program because it would force me create a habit of drinking more water. I am confident that it has instilled a habit for me now, but it was difficult for a while. I really had to be mindful of drinking throughout the day. Too often I would forget and then end up having to drink half a gallon of water right before bed, which of course lead to getting up multiple times at night. It also probably goes without saying that I peed 1000 times a day, which got a bit inconvenient at times! I literally had to time my outdoor workouts around my peeing schedule!
I definitely noticed some amazing benefits of drinking so much water. Within a couple of weeks my skin looked better. And since I was working out so much, my body really needed the extra hydration. Surprisingly, I still felt dehydrated some mornings.
Also, more water equals more weight loss. (aka the mantra I said to myself as I forced myself to keep chugging).
Take a Progress Picture
I worked this task into my morning routine, so it was the easiest of all the tasks for me to complete. It became a habit fairly quickly, probably because I enjoyed looking back on the progression. It’s truly a remarkable evolution to see and it became a great motivator for me on the days where I needed it. There were a lot of those days! If you start a fitness or weight loss journey, I highly recommend taking a “before” photo to show your progression. I would actually add taking measurements too, I wish I knew how many inches I lost. The scale isn’t always the best indicator of change.
Read 10 Pages of Non-fiction
I already read quite a bit, but I usually read thrillers and then throw in some personal development every now and then. I was craving a change in my mindset and books are a great place to find knowledge and guidance. Since having started my Sleep Consulting business, my focus has been on growth and improvement. So, this was a clear opportunity to learn and I was excited about it.
I read 8 books in the 75 days. There were some days where I only read the required 10 pages, usually because of lack of time, or disinterest in the particular book or chapter. Most days, I read much more than 10 pages which is how I managed to read so many books! Here are the books I read, in order or my most favorite to my least:
1. The Compound Effect (Fantastic book about how small efforts and actions can make a big impact over time)
2. 5 Love Languages (this was my third time reading this book, but my first time since having kids. I think everyone should read it)
3. Grit (Grit is basically the goal of 75Hard and this book was incredibly interesting)
4. The Year of Yes (funny, well written and motivating)
5. The Montessori Toddler (very helpful if you have a toddler!)
6. You Are a Badass (not my favourite, I wouldn’t recommend tbh)
7. 75Hard (I suggest reading this before doing the program. Not because it is a great book (I found several typos), but because it explains the program. If you are not going to do the program, I wouldn't read it)
8. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (too dry for my liking, I read 10 pages at a time and struggled to finish!)
I also listened to 45 minutes of podcasts every day, while I did my outdoor workout. I stuck to personal development podcasts and I loved it. I thought I would miss music, since it keeps your rhythm for running, but I didn’t miss it at all. The podcasts kept me interested and motivated, because of the nature of the conversations. I started to feel like music was a waste of time. I had 45 minutes to myself where I was pushing myself physically, I wanted to push myself mentally too.
Follow A Diet
I started doing a Keto Diet for the first 10 days. Then I switched to carb cycling, which meant I would do one day with little-to-no carbs, then a medium carb day, then a high carb day. The high carb day would be on a day where I trained more intensely or did a farther run. I carb cycled for about a month or so and then I decided that I was making it more complicated than it needed to be. I stopped tracking everything to such an extreme and just focused on clean eating. Once I made that change, it started to feel more natural and sustainable.
I also choose to do intermittent fasting on weekdays. I followed a 16/8 fasting schedule, which means I fasted for 16 hours, and only ate during an 8 hour window. I feel really good when I fast and I have been doing it for a long time, not just during 75Hard.
I feel so much better eating strictly “real” food and cutting out the processed crap. I eat pretty healthy normally, but I tend to overindulge on the w