Some of you have been asking about where I’ve been with Kayla Itsines’ SWEAT 12-Week BBG Challenge, so I thought I’d share a recap today. It’s a bit of a life update too, as you’ll see! To be completely honest, the physical changes after week 10 are not drastic from my last update at the one-month mark. I say that in a positive way though. Going into it, I knew that with my body type and low body fat percentage to start, the external changes wouldn’t be huge in such a short amount of time. I’m okay with that because I’ve decided this is a part of my lifestyle, so I’m not looking to necessarily reach a certain point by a certain time. As long as I’m making progress over time and my body is healthy, I’m happy! Overall, I’m proud of the small, yet significant changes I’ve been noticing – more muscle tone and improved strength.
Health is the greatest wealth.
I am going to get deeper into this, in a bit. Rather than your typical fitness progress update, I want to focus this recap on my body’s internal changes and some of the tough hurdles I had to overcome to get to week 11.
Half way through the program at around week 6, I started to feel unwell. Specifically, I had an unusual amount of bloating, even if I didn’t eat a whole lot. Often, I would look 20 weeks pregnant – no joke! I was really good about eating healthy, whole foods, but made some adjustments in efforts to alleviate the issue. For example, I heard that brown rice can make digestion hard on the body, so I went back to white rice. Still to no avail, I would experience discomfort in my stomach, and occasional nausea at random times. One night, I felt a lump on the lower left side of my abdomen – almost adjacent to my hip bone. An odd place to have a lump, I thought. It wasn’t noticeable to the eye, but you could feel it if you knew where to look. It was a little sore and I felt pressure in that area. A week later, it didn’t get better so I decided to make an appointment to see my doctor.
Doctor visits are no fun and I get pretty bad anxiety over it each time. But, this journey has been all about taking care of my body so I knew I had to make sure this was nothing serious. Little did I know that I would walk out of the doctor’s office wanting to literally DIE. She told me that it was most likely a hernia from heavy lifting. I wasn’t even doing any heavy lifting so I was totally flabbergasted. There was no way two 8-pound weights and a 10-pound kettlebell could do this to me?! She proceeded to inform me that it could also be genetic and if I was born with a defect that would make me prone to hernias, that I’d get one eventually in my lifetime. My parents told me there is no history of hernias in the family, so I felt pretty shit-out-of-luck on this one. Being the first time ever hearing about hernias, I asked my doctor what I could do to heal this. With much hesitation because she is very familiar with my fear of invasive procedures (remember, I JUST barely braved through my first ever successful Pap Smear back in December), she explained that it could only be fixed with surgery. GULP.
Whoa there. A little extreme, don’t you think?
To be extra sure, she had me schedule an appointment to get an ultrasound done to determine what this mystery lump really was.
For me, surgery, no matter how minor, is a big deal. I cannot bear the traumatizing thought of my body being cut open. Talk about major tomophobia. AHHHH. I felt like I was getting more sick every waking moment constantly thinking about this. Even the sight of knives in the kitchen was enough to send shivers down my spine. David tried to lift my spirits and would keep telling me “maybe it’s your V line growing!” LOL… in the past I had mentioned my upper abs being much more prominent than my lower abs/obliques. It wasn’t totally far-fetched but after hearing the doctor tell me what it might be, I was still nervous. I tried my best to stay positive, but would still find myself in the same dark hole feeling worried sick. I had a hard time sleeping at night. To make matters worse, the healthcare system out here in the desert is completely whack. It took me 2 weeks to get the ultrasound done, and then another few days to receive the results.
That was 2+ hellish weeks of me having to cease all jumping exercises and completely modify my workouts in order to continue the BBG challenge while keeping my body safe. I was scared to use weights, despite feeling very capable. That wasn’t the worst part though. The worst part was the unknown… and just constantly thinking about the day I would have to go under the knife to get this damn hernia out of my poor body. It ate at me. For days I felt numb and petrified at the same time. I would not stop researching natural ways to cure this “hernia.” In the midst of my research, I learned that once you get a hernia, you’re prone to getting them over and over. You could even get one from the surgery itself, and have to go in for surgery again. GREAT. I was more than discouraged because I felt like I was diligent about changing my lifestyle for the better, being healthier, building a stronger relationship with my body… and what I get is this?
Despite feeling like the most depressed person in the world during this time, I still managed to push through and keep up with the SWEAT Challenge. Surprisingly, it was one thing that kept me going. I would get happy endorphins out of being consistent with my workouts – even if it meant doing them with modifications.
I’ll never forget the day the ultrasound results came back showing I was hernia-free. OMG – easily the BEST news I got in my life! My doctor then concluded it might have been a muscle strain or my body adjusting to my workout routine or diet modifications. Looking back at it, it might have had something to do with PMS symptoms too. Either way, I was beyond relieved and ELATED. David was like, “told you so!” It’s interesting to see how different bodies react differently to new environments, habits, and routines. After receiving this news, it felt like I was being given a second chance. I apologized to my body for ever being neglectful in this lifetime, and promised I would NEVER ever take perfect health for granted again. I will continue, to the best of my abilities, to proactively make health-conscious choices for life. I know this is going to sound silly, but it’s one of my goals to make it through life without surgery (minus the wisdom teeth removal I had in my teens).
This experience reminded me that without good health, you have absolutely nothing.
I mean, I knew that, but going through these painful 2+ weeks was realizing this on a whole new level. Not to sound dramatic, but I felt like I was going to lose my body over this said hernia. It was an insane mental & emotional battle I had to deal with!
Fast forward… 8 weeks into the challenge, it felt AWESOME getting my body back and not being scared to use weights. In a way, this hernia scare could be a blessing in disguise. I’ll be moving onto BBG Stronger after I finish 12 weeks of BBG, to incorporate more gym equipment & weightlifting! Understanding what a hernia is now, I know to be extra careful when lifting anything, use correct form, and listen to my body when “enough is enough.”
Recently, with the help of my mom, I discovered that hibiscus tea works WONDERS in helping my body digest foods. It’s nice knowing the bloating isn’t becoming an underlying issue to something more severe, and to be able to see my ab progress (lol!). I wish I started drinking this sooner because the alleviation is instant and better than any medicine I could take! The best part is, it’s all natural and also comes with many other health benefits. It has been quite the journey figuring out what makes my body happy and not so happy. I’ve noticed that these days, I don’t feel well if I eat anything remotely unhealthy – it’s like my body got spoiled with having only nourishing foods haha.
What I initially thought would be a straight-forward fitness challenge has become a rewarding learning experience for me beyond just mastering the workouts! It’s all about consistency and not giving up even when times are tough, getting enough recovery time, eating nutritious meals, and most importantly, listening to my body. As I embark on finishing up the SWEAT Challenge, I’ve come to realize that I’m nowhere near perfect, but everyday I’m working towards being better than yesterday. That’s what counts because there’s always room for growth and improvement 😉
Those of you who have done BBG before or are currently taking part in the SWEAT 12-Week Challenge – what are some personal challenges you encountered, and how did you overcome them?