Background, for those who follow the tribal roles and know that I consider myself to be a Sigma female:
Sigmas have warrior bodies — we lose and gain weight easily. There is a great reason for this: we gain weight easily during times of prosperity and peace in order to (in preparation for) maintain our fertilty during times of war and famine. AND when/if war and famine do strike, we have a store of fat and strength which we draw upon to fight (and win) against any potentially invading tribe. For those who study the Tribal Roles, Omegas easily gain weight, and they find it hard to lose that weight. Betas: Find weight hard to gain, and hard to lose. Alphas: find weight hard to gain and easy to lose (yes, of COURSE Alphas have it made). And Sigmas, because they are always serving the tribe, find weight easy to gain and easy to lose.
Without my steady practice of yoga sculpt at corepower yoga 6 days a week (1 class per day for 5 weekdays per week and 2 classes on Sunday) due to the “14 days to slow the spread” covid-19 lockdown, I have unfortunately gained a BIT of weight! So I decided to seek whatever workouts I could find on youtube to break the horror and boredom of this pseudo-quarantine. Here is a blog post journal of my 21 day adventure.
Day 1: May 12, 2020.
Food: coffee and creamer, probably about 4 tablespoons total
2 boiled eggs at noon
1 boiled egg at 3 pm
iced coffee and vanilla creamer
apple cider vinegar/cinnamon/cayenne/maple syrup elixir
one sweet potato with salt and 2 boiled eggs and 1 orange at 8 pm
Lavender yogi tea, 2 cups at 9 pm
Exercise: 2 hit videos, one 35 min kundalini yoga video, 30 min leisurely walk with the dog (this dog is a hound, so while ostensibly it’s a walk, it’s really what I like to call “going for a sniff.” She walks me and we go wherever her little nose leads — I do not count this as any kind of exercise except the kind that makes sure your joints and muscles don’t atrophy. Really.)
This one was great. She talks a bit much in the intro, so just hold a plank and then do some sit-ups still she begins the movement part of the video, about 2 minutes in.
this one, 10 min work out number 2 of the day is actually 12 minutes, WORTH IT. Starts hard, finishes hard. Love it.
And I finished every day with this amazing kundalini yoga video. I have been doing this video since 2002! Start at 6:24. I admit, I stop the video at about 43:00 minutes. The reason for that is that the second part of the series of exercises is several meditations which I do not enjoy or find helpful. You might love them! Yogi Gurmukh is a beautiful woman, and she has several one liners that have stuck with me since I first heard them at age 21: “If we don’t start somewhere, then we’ll be no where, so we must start wherever we are,” and, “It’s not the skill that matters. It’s the courage you bring to your yoga practice that’s going to change your life.” I finished writing, and self-published, two books with nothing but the memory of Gurmukh’s wisdom in my ear, reminding me that courage and the willingness to start again, no matter where we are, followed by ACTION (she repeatedly says, “keep up, just get it done”) are what bring about success at the end of the day. This is the real deal right here:
Day 2: May 13
In the morning at 10, I did this video, “Best 10 min Beginner Full Body HIIT for Fat Burn – NO JUMPING ~ Emi” It was good, but I ended up adding 100 jumping jacks and a quick 60 second wall sit just for good measure.
At noon, I did THIS MY FAVORITE 10 MIN VIDEO OF ALL TIME.
Booty shaping, indeed!
While my sweet potato was baking, I enjoyed my 35 min of kundalini yoga. Also a 30 min walk with the dog.
Food for the day included iced coffee with vanilla creamer, 1/4 cup of hummus, 5 boiled eggs, ACV elixir, one orange, one sweet potato, a grande starbucks iced Americano with sugar free cinnamon dolce flavor syrup and a splash of half and half.
Day 3: May 14, 2020
Up and at ’em on a beautiful day in DC, marred only by the economic despair of an unemployment rate nearing that of the Great Depression. But I digress.
Had previously searched “low calorie starbucks hacks” and learned that not only does cinnamon dolce come in sugar free, so does vanilla. So today I ordered a venti iced Americano with sugar free vanilla and a splash of almond milk. DELICIOUS.
This drink staved off hunger until noon, when I did my first 10 min video, and then had 2 boiled eggs. Then at 3 pm I did another 10 min video and ate another boiled egg and sipped ACV elixir. At 5, I enjoyed a brisk 30 min walk with the dog, my usual baked sweet potato and 2 packets of oatmeal and another boiled egg. I also had 2 emergenC packets that I sipped slowly as a way of satisfying my sweet tooth.
This was my original choice for video 1 of the day, but 3 minutes in, I was thinking to myself, “what in the SAM HILL.”
This was a dud (note: upon final edit of this blogpost on June 8, I will say, it was the only Popsugar dud I experienced during my entire Quarantine challenge). So I quickly searched the channel to find a 10 minute video and came across this AWESOME video and the title made me so happy for a moment as I imagined a Corona Virus free holiday season: Little Black Dress Workout, Holiday Fitness, Class FitSugar.
And my second 10 min video (remember, these are just to keep my heart rate up and keep my metabolism revved up throughout the day) was this intense yet fun crossfit video, also a popsugar choice. Their youtube channel is amazing.
I had done crossfit in the past, probably 3 times, at a crossfit studio, and it’s definitely a killer workout. Again, my goal for this 30 days is to never to do enough exercise to induce excess hunger which is what aerobic exercise does for women. Ironic, right? All those years in my twenties, I was on that treadmill killing myself for FIFTY minutes. Stairmaster: FIFTY minutes. What a waste! Remember, for women, it’s all about diet. You could follow this diet with no exercise at all and lose weight. Exercise is for heart health and muscle tone only. Period. Don’t ever believe the lie that exercise will help you lose weight. In most cases, it will do the opposite because it makes you so hungry! Exercise is to keep your butt looking hot. That’s all!
Day 4: Friday, May 15, 2020
Food: venti iced americano, extra almond milk, sugar free vanilla followed 3 hours later by a grande iced americano with sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup, and a splash of half and half, hummus and pita bread, two eggs. Of course my ACV elixir.
VIDEOS: 10 Minute Standing Abs — this was great: I broke a sweat and felt great afterwards.
and another Popsugar presentation …
I was really REALLY missing my usual 6 days a week of yoga sculpt at corepower so this was sorta like that. Not really.
I skipped kundalini yoga today.
Day 5: Saturday May 16, 2020
This was a hot hot day here in DC. Slept in till 9:30 am, had a venti iced americano with sugar free vanilla and a splash of heavy cream. Took the dog for a 30 min walk, had a 16 oz pot of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, took a long nap, then had hummus and pita. No videos. No yoga. Watched a bunch of Tasty videos, wrote some postcards/thank you notes. Ate 1 boiled egg. Went to bed early too. (I was getting a lot of stuff ready for moving in 2 weeks!!)
Some context: this was not a bad day or an off day. I knew I was having a rest day. I could feel intuitively that my body was recovering from doing more hamstring exercises and squats and lunges than I had done in a long time. Since before the quarantine. With the exception of three 3.1 mile runs I had sporadically forced myself to go on over the prior 8 weeks, and a day of seriously punishing lunges, I had not been consistent with exercise. I HAD been drinking so much Truly that the cashiers at Whole Foods were calling me “the Truly Girl.” This was the 5th day of the very reduced calorie diet and the 8th consecutive day of no alcohol (down from every other day), so I knew my body was acclimating. And acclimating nicely! I slept a lot, more than usual, and the next day, felt rarin’ to go.
Day 6: May 17, 2020
Doggie and I got up early to miss the rainfall, then went back to sleep for a couple hours. Woke up, did my kundalini yoga video and it was the first time none of the exercises triggered soreness. My hamstrings and biceps were finally used to the intensity of that video again. Felt so good after this video. I enjoyed a venti sugar free vanilla americano with a splash of heavy cream, and then I took Lilly on her regular long walk. 1 16 oz pot of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, and 1 boiled egg. Enjoyed a really good 10 min popsugar video, had a baked sweet potato, and 2 more boiled eggs. ACV elixir (remember it’s not calorie free because it has about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in it — this is what makes it hit the spot if you’re craving something sweet) before bed.
10 Minutes to Tighten and Tone Your Entire Body! | Class FitSugar
I liked this video a lot. I finished it up with 100 sit-ups for good measure, and felt great!
Day 7: May 18, 2020 … a MONDAY! This began the start of a very successful week.
Food: 2 pots of coffee, vanilla soy creamer (no SBUX today!), ACV elixir, 4 boiled eggs, 1 orange. 2 packets of oatmeal
12 MIN AB WORKOUT – Medium Level / No Equipment I Pamela Reif
This is hard. Added 60 seconds of jumping jacks. Felt great afterwards but did not complete every segment, and the full number of reps.
Later I did this one from PopSugar:
10-Minute Calorie Burning Cardio and Core Circuit | Class FitSugar
This was good and hard! I hate bear crawls! Hate mountain climbers! LOL – when I wanted to quit, I would imagine myself — and my amazingly cute butt — reclining on the roof of my apartment building, a black cherry White Claw in hand, the smell of sunscreen emanating from my decolletage, as the sound of friends and neighbors frolicking in the pool in my imagination made me feel happy and un-quarantined. And I persisted! No way I would fit in my cute swimsuit with these extra inches. And I’m not buying a new one, damn it! I’m getting a pedicure and my roots touched up as soon as this is over!
Day 8: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Food, 1 americano, 1 pot of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, 4 eggs, 1 sweet potato, ACV elixir.
5-Minute Standing Flat-Belly Workout | Class FitSugar
this was quick and suprisingly hard for all standing! love it – fit it in during a break and managed to take the dog out too!
Squat and Plank Workout | Class FitSugar
This video was the hardest one yet so far in this challenge. WOW. I will definitely be doing this one many times in the future.
Day 9: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Food: 2 pots of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, 2 boiled eggs, 1 sweet potato, ACV elixir
The 10-Minute Workout to Help You Look Good Naked
10 MIN CARDIO / No Jumping – silent & neighbor friendly / No Equipment I Pamela Reif
After I got back from taking the doggie for walk, I felt like doing another video but just a short one… this turned out to be the pattern for the rest of this challenge! I’d do two 10 or 12 min videos and then one 5 minute abs video every night. It was great!!
Tighten Your Love Handles With This Fitness Quickie
Day 10: Thursday, May 21, 2020
Food: hot Americano on a cold day in DC, 1 pot of coffee and soy vanilla creamer, 2 boiled eggs, 2 boiled eggs mashed with 1 T mayo and a little mustard, 1 can of tuna mixed with 1 T of mayo, 2 emergenC packets. I ran out of ACV so no ACV elixir today!
VIDEOS: Wow, 2 duds today. I mean, they did the job — I broke a sweat and they were ok, but I would not do either of these videos again in the future.
10-Minute Calorie Burning Cardio and Core Circuit | Class FitSugar
I think I just didn’t like how boring this was, but maybe I was just having an off day. I added 100 sit-ups for good measure. Took the dog for a 30 min walk.
Video 2 wasn’t much better.
10-Minute Jump Cardio Workout You Can Do Anywhere
It’s just the one person in the video and she repeatedly promoted Samsung Gear Sport earbuds — I get it, I’m not paying for this awesome channel so product placement is a must. Ok, now I feel bad. I should be grateful. I’m saving $140 a month on my suspended CorePower yoga black tag membership and paying no dollars a month to have unlimited access to Popsugar’s fitness channel. Alright: gratitude! Thank you, popsugar, for your (usually) awesome channel! Sorry I didn’t like these 2 videos. (And I can’t WAIT to go to corepower and spend an hour a day in the steaming hot 96 degree studio! I miss it so so so so much.) Added a wall sit for 1 minute at the end.
Day 11: Friday, May 22, 2020
FOOD: well I woke up and my calves HURT. ACHED. They hurt. You know why? Because of the 10 min jump cardio workout from yesterday! I guess that’s good. But wow. Damn. So, it was Friday, I ached when I stepped out of bed and padded to the bathroom. So I thought, you know what I want? SO BAD? A caramel machiatto from starbucks. And I said to myself, too fucking bad. You can’t have one. So I met myself in the middle and had a caramel Americano, hot, grande, with a light splash of heavy cream. DELICIOUS.
Later I had my usual pot of coffee, with vanilla soy creamer. Then 1 boiled egg and a sweet potato. Later I made 2 boiled eggs into deviled eggs (1 tsp mustard + 1 T mayonnaise). Delicious. 2 emergenC packets. 1 small banana.
I did go to the store to get more ACV but then didn’t end up drinking any that night. I also got bananas because tomorrow I’m going to have banana-egg pancakes with maple syrup! I have never had them before and one of my yoga sculpt teachers (the only guy teacher at the studio!) swears by them.
10-Minute Booty Workout For the Muscles You Forget to Work
Ok, first it starts out as just another video. AND THEN THERE’s LEG LIFT FROM A SIDE PLANK. I actually fell. I was so annoyed, I made myself do that part of the video twice. Good Lord. Can’t wait to feel how much pain my obliques will be in tomorrow.
Video 2: LOSE BELLY FAT in 10 Days (lower belly) | 8 minute Home Workout
This video was ok. I would have rather done more repetitions of fewer exercises than switching so often. Notice the adorable dog at the beginning and of the video. I definitely do NOT want “11 abs,” thank you very much. And I didn’t like the music so I had the volume super low which made it harder to do the entire thing. First and last video I tried from this creator. (But she would be awesome if you were *going* for abs like that, I think.)
Sweet Lilly the rescue dog walked me for 30 minutes and then I made sure to stretch my calves against the outside concrete steps on the way back in the building after the walk. Felt great.
Day 12: Saturday, May 23, 2020
FOOD: iced sugar free vanilla americano, venti, with coconut milk, a pot of regular coffee, keto pancakes (2 eggs + 1 banana, mashed, fried into silver dollar pancakes) with maple syrup, a sweet potato, and ACV elixir.
10 MIN AB WORKOUT – Side Abs & Obliques // No Equipment | Pamela Reif
Wow, that sucked, a lot! Had to modify 3 of the exercises because I literally couldn’t do them! But I finished it. That’s what matters. This is NOT a beginner video.
The 10-Minute Fat Incinerator Workout | Class FitSugar
10 Minutes to Leaner, Longer Looking Legs
10-Minute Pilates Butt Workout | Celebrity Fitness | Class FitSugar
I learned something today and I pass a new recommendation on to you: please do not drink an entire 16 oz ACV elixir during the day on a mostly empty stomach. It does have a detoxifying effect — I noticed this a lot on previous days because when I would drink it “for dessert” after eating my nightly sweet potato, I would get up twice in the night to pee. Well, instead I drank today’s ACV elixir while sitting on the roof in the bright sun. An hour later I had a throbbing headache. The only food I’d had prior was 2 eggs and a banana. I really felt kind of crappy. Took the dog on a walk, took a nap, woke up … and my head still hurt. Popped a sweet potato in the oven and threw down my yoga mat to do my 2 videos, and really felt awful. Pushed through it, though. After my nightly sweet potato, I had some lavender yogi tea and went to bed.
The Scientific 7-Minute High-Intensity Workout
I had done this one earlier during quarantine and it was really awesome. I did it again, doing each exercise for 1 minute. (This doubles the time of about half of them, so it took about 11 minutes)
The Quiet At-Home Workout That Crushes Calories
LOL, I happen to be moving in 6 days and I’ll no longer be on the first floor of an apartment building so I think that’s why this one caught my eye. It’s been a while since I had downstairs neighbors to worry about! This was easy and fun. I added 60 jumping jacks and 90 glute bridges.
Day 15: Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Food: an iced Americano with caramel and a splash of half and half, 3 boiled eggs, 1 sweet potato, 2 small red skin potatoes, homemade iced coffee (folgers and soy vanilla creamer, popped into the fridge for 2 hours, then poured over ice — not as good as starbucks, as you may have guessed), ACV elixir
10-Minute Red-Carpet Ready Dance Workout
This was easy, and I didn’t break a sweat. I added a hundred jumping jacks for good measure.
10-Minute Cardio Jump Workout to Burn Major Calories | Class FitSugar
This was good and hard. I added 100 situps for good measure. I also did extra calf stretching to avoid what happened last week. We’ll know if it worked tomorrow morning when I wake up!
Wow, has it really been 15 days?? It’s true what they say, 4 weeks for you to notice, 8 weeks for others to notice. I definitely only see fat reduction on my arms. Tummy is still at quarantine levels. Now, logically, I know that cannot be the case based on my caloric intake (specifically, my caloric reduction). BUT. Because I know in 2 weeks, my clothes will be back to fitting me normally, I’m mentioning this now, for you, the reader to remember, 2 weeks isn’t going to cause a visual difference. Why do you think your clothes fit the same way mid December but by Jan 1, you can feel and see a noticeable difference? Because Dec 15 is only 3 weeks after Thanksgiving. It take 4 WEEKS to change. Your clothes will fit the same if you go up 5 or even 7 lbs. 4 weeks of overeating is probably going to equal 10 lbs up. Now that’s a different story. But think about it: that is actually good news. It means that if you ate what you wanted from Thanksgiving through Dec 7, dieted from Dec 7 through Dec 21 and then ate what you wanted from Dec 22 through Jan 2, you’d never have to diet for 4 weeks in a row. Food for thought. 4 weeks for you to notice, 8 weeks for others to notice!
(on that note, if you are trying to lose more than 15 lbs, i.e. 20 lbs or more, there is a very good chance you will want to work on a whole new way of viewing food, and re-learning, “Eat only when hungry, stop when full.” I had to do this from age 18 to 25. And I had to learn it, and re-learn it, and practice practice practice. After our brain stops growing, at age 25, it is much much harder to learn this, and practice it habitually. If you didn’t grow up on this natural way of eating, where your hunger stops when your body is full, you will likely need some professional help in order to make a change of your habits.)
Day 16: May 27, 2020
FOOD: 2 eggs, 1 banana, tsp of peanut butter, no ACV elixir or sweet potato today, I had a can of Amy’s chili. I was so so hungry today. Not sure it was just the cumulative effect of dieting or what, but I woke up hungry and my usual Americano was not helpful!
VIDEOS: no videos were done today! Two 30 min walks with the dog were all the exercise I got.
Day 17: May 28, 2020
FOOD: I had an iced espresso instead of an iced Americano and it really hit the spot. 1 pot of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, 2 boiled eggs, 1 sweet potato, 2 more boiled eggs. ACV elixir.
VIDEOS: I admit I was getting a little tired of popsugar and didn’t feel like Emi Wong or Pamela Reif either. But I knew I really liked the 7 min work out so I searched that in the youtube search bar. Both of these were excellent. I finished both with another 60 jumping jacks. (Also the usual 30 min dog walk.)
The Scientific 7 Minute Workout Video – Bodyweight Only Total Body Workout
Video 2 — this is great!! so interesting, it’s not the classic 7 min workout
7 MINUTE WORKOUT – DROP A DRESS SIZE – 7 DAY HOME WORKOUT EXERCISE CHALLENGE
Day 18: May 29, 2020
I miss yoga sculpt so much. Just want to say that. Oh, I hate this quarantine and I hope CorePower Yoga fully recovers financially. They are such an awesome yoga studio.
Iced espresso with 2 pumps of white chocolate, 1 pump of caramel syrup. 1 pot of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, 2 boiled eggs, 1 sweet potato, 2 more boiled eggs. ACV elixir. 1 baq microwaved popcorn.
Day 19, May 30, 2020
I’m moving in 2 days. I am packing day and night and also squeezing in these 2 workouts. Had one pot of coffee, creamer, 2 microwave popcorn bags, and an orange and 2 boiled eggs. Also a can of Amy’s chili.
This was hard and awesome and you should do it … right now!!!!!
Day 20, May 31, 2020
Iced caramel macchiato. 1 pot of coffee with vanilla soy creamer, 3 boiled eggs + 2 T of sweet relish + 1 T of mayo, 2 pieces of bacon. 2 more boiled eggs. ACV elixir. 1 peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.
30 minute fat burning home workout for beginners. Achievable, low impact results.
This video was not hard and burned a ton of calories. DO IT!!!
Day 21, May 31, 2020
1 pot of coffee with coconut flavored creamer. 2 boiled eggs. ACV elixir. 1 peanut butter egg pancake with maple syrup. 1 can of Amy’s Chili. 2 boiled eggs.
FAST Walking in 30 minutes | Fitness Videos
In conclusion, I want to show you a picture of me from today and a picture of my mom from 1987. As of this writing, I am 7 months away from my 40th birthday. In the below photo of her, she is 7 months away from her 40th birthday (yep, that’s little Sarah sitting next to her on the couch).
Me in May of 2020
My Mom in Feb of 1987
YEAH. Compare and contrast. Moral of the story? Don’t smoke. When you drink, follow up the next morning with a heavy sweaty workout and plenty of electrolyte rich food and drink. Try not to marry a malignant narcissist who makes getting a divorce a literal nightmare and drags out the process for two years just to torture you. (Some of her premature aging was stress related.) Remember that transformation is just around the corner.
Remember that transformation is just around the corner.
Five months ago, if you had told me that there would be a pandemic that resulted in my being able to reduce my monthly expenses by $540 that I would use to pay down debt and increase my credit score by 105 points, and that Trump would give me 1200 more dollars and I’d find myself with an upcoming decision to move when my lease was up and go to an even more amazing building in DC and that I would also feel amazingly motivated to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks, I would have said NOT WORTH IT if it’s going to result in 35 million Americans unemployed. But it did happen. It happened TO me. And I took the opportunities that subsequently presented themselves and did everything I could to create more joy in my life. And if you had told me THREE years ago, in May of 2017, that my life would be amazing just one year later, I would have said, you are fucking kidding me. I prayed and prayed for a long loooooong time (over twelve years, constantly). I also took action to answer my own prayer. I did what it took to get what I want. You can too.
And a little apple cider vinegar and yoga and dandelion tea go a loooooooooong way.