Things were going so well. I was feeling on top of my game. My muscles were tired and sore, but I felt like getting to day 75 would be no problem.
Then I hit a wall. I was feeling off. In the mornings, it was hard to get out of bed because my body was so sore and stiff. I’d been having some stomach issues since I started the program. Nothing major, just feeling gassy and bloated, but last weekend it started getting worse. The only thing I was doing differently in my diet since I started the challenge was taking out the junk and alcohol and complying with the gallon of water a day. Maybe it’s all of the water I’m drinking, I thought. Maybe it’s messing with my digestive system. So I decided on Monday that I would cut back on the water, but do the rest of the tasks. By Tuesday I was feeling a bit better, but mentally and physically I was exhausted. On Wednesday morning, I decided that I was done.
When you hit a wall, you’re at a crossroads. You can decide to quit and end the discomfort, or you can push through, embrace the suck, and get to the end. I’ve hit walls before when I was training for and running half-marathons and marathons. Your body is tired and you just want to quit; your legs feel like jello and your lungs are burning. This is when the mental toughness part kicks in and you tell yourself that you’re not quitting and you dig deep and muster up enough energy to finish the run.
I hit this same type of wall this week. Only this time, my mental toughness did not kick in. Instead, I asked myself why it was so important to finish this program; to push through, and possibly feel miserable for the next 31 days, just so I’d be able to say that I finished the 75 Hard program. How important was this to me? Was it worth it?
On day 45, I decided no. No. My body was telling me it was tired, it needed rest, it didn’t feel well. So instead of pushing through, I listened to what my body was saying and I said okay. We’re done.
Then I spent the rest of day 45 beating myself up, shedding a few tears, and already regretting that I was quitting, that so many other people have sucked it up and finished. I gave up too soon. I was weak.
By day 46, I was done beating myself up and instead I thought about everything I had accomplished and what I had learned in the last 44 days. Here are the lessons that I learned:
- For me, personally, a gallon of water is too much. Maybe I was drinking at the wrong time before/after meals, maybe I was losing too many electrolytes. Who knows? But now I drink 80-90 ounces a day and it’s so much easier and it’s still WAY more than what I was drinking before I started the challenge. The first thing I think about now when I wake up in the morning is to drink some water. So hydrating my body first thing in the morning has become a habit. That’s a win.
- I have realized the importance and NECESSITY of rest days. And by rest days, I mean doing nothing for at least one day a week or after a really hard workout. During 75 Hard, I went 44 days without a single rest day. And I’ve been doing some really tough workout programs with scheduled rest days! My “rest” days from my workout programs were yoga for my first workout and walking outside for my second workout. Often that walk was in frigid temperatures. It was a lot for my body. I know that now. Yesterday I rested for the first time in 44 days and today I woke up and felt so refreshed. 75 Hard taught me that I need to rest 1-2 days a week, especially when I’m doing really challenging, strenuous workouts. That’s a win.
- I learned that I can easily cut back on junk food and alcohol. I didn’t have any for 44 days and did fine. I thought I would have stronger cravings, but I didn’t. I thought I would cave and cheat and eat something that I wasn’t on my diet, but I didn’t. Have I had some alcohol and french fries since quitting 75 Hard? Hell yeah, I have, but I know that this is only temporary and I can get back on track with nutrition and there is no guilt or regrets. My mindset about food has improved. That’s another win.
- While this was my journey, I inspired some people along the way to drink more water, eat more healthy and to look into doing their own 75 Hard program. I love this so much. However, knowing that people were watching my journey, I was worried about having to confess that I quit. I was a bit embarrassed to admit that I failed. Ultimately, though, everyone has been really supportive and proud of me, which means a lot. Our worst critic is that harsh voice inside of our head. Luckily, it didn’t take long for me to silence that voice. WIN!
- Over the years, I’ve put my body through some stupid shit because I refused to pay attention to the warning signs. I can’t tell you how many times I ran through pain and ended up with a stress fracture. At one point, I herniated a disc in my neck and I remember the precise moment of injury; I was in the gym doing overhead throws with a weighted ball and I felt a terrible pain, but did I stop working out? No. Did I keep working out several days after that? Yes. Over the last week, my body was telling me that I was doing too much. And guess what? I listened. My stubborn ass decided to listen and honor my tired, sore body. I had two choices: I could rest for a few days, take some time off of 75 Hard, and then start up again. Or I could just quit and move on with my life. Gah! The thought of having to start over at Day 1 and put my body through all of that for 44 extra days just wasn’t an option for me. Is that a win? I didn’t follow through and complete the program, but I’m really proud of myself for listening to my body and acknowledging my limitations. So yes, I’m taking it as a win.
I have so much admiration for the people who are able to finish this program. It not only takes a lot of time management skills, but you also have to master your mental toughness through days when you’re out of your normal routine, when your body is saying it can’t do anymore, and the voice in your head is telling you to quit. You are warriors and I congratulate you! Much respect!
I learned so much about myself during this 44-day journey. I have no regrets attempting it. I know now what the experience is like, and who knows, maybe at some point I’ll try it again, only as a modified version. Yes, I know, the 75 Hard police are reading this and saying, “But that won’t be 75 Hard!” and they will be right. But 75 Hard gave me some important tools and lessons that I can utilize throughout the rest of my life. For that, I’m grateful for the experience and (short-lived) journey.
Thanks to the daily progress pics that were required, I was able to see that physically I was changing. I lost about 5 pounds and my stomach area has trimmed down. My clothes are baggy, so if I can maintain where I’m at now, I’ll have to buy some smaller clothes. Here is my progress from Day 1 to Day 43 (my 2nd to last day):
My wellness journey hasn’t ended and I can’t wait to see how things continue to progress! Growth and progress isn’t just about successes and wins; it’s also about failures and struggles! Just keep going!
May your glass always be full,