Let me explain. Reddit has an annual Body Transformation Fitness Challenge where readers submit pictures of themselves, and 12 weeks later, re-submit pictures of themselves. Whoever has changed the most (they have men's and women's categories) wins. You can win a bunch of stuff, but I'm mostly doing it so that I have something tangible to work towards.
Here's one of my "before" pictures (you have to submit 4 pics total). I made it small so you can scroll past it if you want.
Yeah, I'm attempting to flex. I have no idea what I am doing. Perhaps the most awkward thing about these pictures is that you have to show your midsection. One option is to pose in your bra and underwear, but that somehow seemed more scandalous than a bikini... So bikini it is!
Problem is, that I didn't have a bikini. I'm normally terribly self-conscious about my belly, and as a recovering pregnant women, I'm especially self-conscious. So not only did I have to pose in a bikini on the internet, but I had to go through the humiliation of bikini shopping. Okay, it wasn't that bad... and it was certainly better than posing in my bra and underwear.
I should mention (especially if you're thinking about throwing in your lot for the competition) that you can blur out or cover your face. I figured that I had enough identifying marks that any attempts to obscure my face would be pointless.
Now that I have the "before" part out of the way, I have to start working on the "after" part. My goals aren't so much losing weight, so much as gaining muscle and lowering body fat. Really, all I want is a 6-pack, and I'm pretty sure that I have one, but that I'm too fluffy to see it. I'm not going on a "diet" but rather instituting a lifestyle change.
I'll spare you the details, but I'm essentially adopting a modified Paleo approach, consisting of meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and some milk (that is the non-paleo part). No processed foods, No grains. I've been doing it for a couple of months (with the notable exception of the holidays) and I really feel much better.
As far as exercising goes, I'm trying to work out about 5 days a week. This is where Fitocracy comes in. It's a website/game that allows you to enter your workouts to earn experience. Yes, it is an exercise-based MMO. Or at least that's what it aspires to be; it's still in beta. However, I can say that I have found it tremendously motivational. I will workout a little bit longer if it means I can level up. Plus it provides a community that is great for encouragement and help with exercises/routines.
Between eating healthy and upping my workout on Fitocracy ("grinding" as it were), I should be able to achieve my goals of a visible 6-pack and maybe even prove that I'm not a total dork on the internet.
Since you've no doubt suffered through this entire post, I'd like to close with my new favorite recipe. I got the basic recipe from the Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals cookbook, though I have tweaked it a little. Here we go:
Protein Nut Balls
5 pitted, unsweetened dates
1 cup of plain walnuts
1/2 cup of plain macadamia nuts
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
In the Food Processor:
Annihilate dates in the food processor, until they are a paste-like ball. Add walnuts and macadamia nuts and blend until they are a fine powder. Add the coconut oil slowly to the food processor. You may not need the entire 2 tablespoons. Add about a 1/4 cup of the coconut flakes.
Scrape the batter into a large bowl and add the cup of washed fresh blueberries (the original recipe called for 1/2 a cup, but I think it tastes much better with extra blueberries). Fold the blueberries into the batter.
Using your hands, form small balls of dough (about 1.5" in diameter), and roll them in the coconut flakes.
Refrigerate for about 2 hours until they are firm, and then enjoy!
I ate all these right after I took the picture.