July 27, 2020

75 Hard: Week 1 Recap

First, if you don't know what 75 Hard is, you can read about it in this post.

I can't believe it's been a week already since I started 75 Hard. I thought time would drag on, but it's flying by and I feel amazing--a million times better (mentally and physically) than I did just a week ago. It's done a ton for my overall mood.

Going into this, I was feeling so out-of-control with everything. I was constantly planning for "tomorrow" on getting back on track with my diet and exercise, but mentally, I just couldn't get there. I needed to feel better mentally so that I could have the strength to focus on the physical. I wasn't feeling depressed, per se, but just angry and disgusted with myself for losing all focus.

It's only been a week since I started this mental challenge, but I was feeling better by Day 3. This is the longest I've stuck with any sort of plan in who-knows-how long. And the best part is, I don't hate it; I don't feel like I'm white-knuckling my way through a torturous 75 days. Sure, I could make it "harder" by cutting out food groups and doing insane workouts, but the main reason I wanted to do this challenge is to get my head back in the game.

So, to recap this week... there are a lot of things to keep track of! I've been using a habit tracker app to check things off as I do them, but it's become completely routine now. I actually get most of the items done in the morning.

Drink one gallon of water every day.

This one is easy for me. I have a quart-sized water bottle, and I typically drink the whole thing within five minutes or so. I stop counting the number of times I refill it after my fourth bottle, but I probably drink one or two more after that. So I'm drinking about 1-1.5 gallons of water. That seems like so much!

Take a progress photo every day.

I do this right after I get dressed to go for my walk in the morning. I just take a full-body selfie and in the mirror in my bathroom. I'm not going to post the photos (at least not yet!) because they are terribly unflattering. Depending on how this challenge goes, I may post them later.

Today, I compared the one from a week ago to the one from today, and I already notice a difference in my stomach (a lot of the weight I've gained has been in my stomach).

Diet of choice + no alcohol.

I'm doing intermittent fasting with a 4-hour window. I keep this flexible as far as what time I plan to "break the fast" because I want to be able to allow for social situations. But I typically eat at 4:00.

I've love being able to make and eat very filling dinners. Before, I was always trying to keep calories low for each meal so that I could spread them throughout the day; now, I've had to adjust things to make the calories higher (since I'm condensing a day's worth of calories down to a 4-hour window).

After I eat, I feel totally satisfied until I go to bed, which is so different from when I was counting calories. I always used to "need" a snack at night, but the intermittent fasting helps in a several ways:

1) I love that I don't think about food all the time. I literally don't think about it until I'm cooking and getting ready to eat. When counting calories, all I could think about was food!

2) I like being hungry when it's time to eat because everything tastes SO good. Food always tastes better when I'm hungry. 

3) I love that I can eat until I'm full. I don't eat until I'm completely stuffed, but I eat until I am full enough to not want any more food. 

4) I'm eating healthier foods. Because I'm condensing everything down to a small window, I want to make sure to eat something nutritious. But I don't restrict myself from anything, though. 

5) I don't feel weak during the day like I sometimes did when counting calories. I don't know how or why this is, because I'm probably getting the same amount of calories (I haven't counted, but I can guesstimate). The only time I feel tired is immediately after eating. But even that is starting to fade. It was most noticeable the first few days.

6) This is something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. If I had to follow a particular "diet" for this 75 Hard challenge, I wouldn't have decided to do the challenge. I like doing things that I find work well for me and that I know I can maintain. 

Needless to say, I'm feeling great about the intermittent fasting!

Read 10 pages of a non-fiction/educational/self-awareness-type book.

I've been reading 'The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are' by Brené Brown (Amazon affiliate link). I received this from my friend Emily as a gift, and I read half of it back in 2017. I LOVED what I read and it really changed the way I was viewing things.

It helped me to stop worrying about what others think of me, which was a huge deal. Writing vulnerable posts on my blog opens up the door to receive some harsh/rude/cruel comments that used to hurt my feelings. After reading (half of) this book, I truly realized why those comments spoke more about the commenter than about me, and it actually gave me sympathy for the commenters. Comments still sting sometimes, but I'm able to look at them differently and realize it's not really about me.

I felt so empowered after half the book that I stopped reading it! Not very smart. I thinks it's a great book for the 75 Hard reading, so I started it from the beginning and will finish it this time. It's been a good refresher, and this time, I'm reading "actively"--highlighting and really absorbing different parts.

Workout 45 minutes twice a day (at least one must be outdoors).

The hardest part of the whole challenge for me is the second 45-minute workout. Even though I'm only walking or riding my bike, I would rather be doing something else (something lazy). But I love that this challenge forces me to do it because I feel better for it.

I find that doing the first one right after getting up helps a lot. If I was to procrastinate this, I'd have a VERY hard time doing both workouts. And like I mentioned before, because I'm not doing hardcore workouts, I don't struggle with dreading it. 

Here is what my first week's workouts looked like (all were outdoors):

I like looking at my heart rate, especially to see how it works in the MAF zone. I'm surprised that my heart rate gets higher with bike riding than it does with walking, because bike riding feels easier. I have no idea why my heart rate was so high for my walk on Thursday. Since Garmin Connect was done, I didn't log any notes.

So, the first week of 75 Hard is in the books, and I'm loving the changes I'm seeing/feeling already. This week may be more challenging because I'm going up north to visit my sister, but I'm still planning to do the checklist every single day!


  1. I am on day 6. I am feeling tons better mentally. I have lost 6 pounds. I am very over weight so I expect it to slow down. The second workout. I am 64 years young. I love my morning walk. I just set my TV up in the spare room. I am going to do yoga a couple of days a week. Keep posting. I love reading what you write.

  2. Hi Katie!
    I am glad the IF is going better this time! I just love it myself and plan on continuing it indefinitely. 😍

  3. This is very inspiring, but I don't want to tackle the challenge on vacation. I just want to not have to think for a week (though I am already stressing about how much thinking this vacation is taking). I know in my heart this is the sort of thing I need to do and to be accountable to do it. Way to go! So proud of you!


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