BY AMANDA MOSES
For the August 14th issue of the Spring Creek Sun, I documented my three-week journey participating in Jackie Vargas’ 21-day Warrior Challenge, which provided dietary guidance, exercise regiments, and overall moral support to lead a healthier lifestyle. The day the paper came out was also the very same day of the final weigh in.
I stood nervously on line to be weighed. This was it. Twenty-one days had come and gone in a flash, and here I was ready to see the fruits of my labor. I feared that I had not lost any weight. A deep pit of anger boiled within me, I busted my butt dieting and exercising, what if it was for nothing?
As I fought through my inner turmoil, I began to chastise myself. Of course, it was not for nothing. This experience truly changed my perspective on not only weight loss, but my life. Prior to the weigh-in, the warriors were asked to create a vision board, which begged the question, “Where do you want your life to lead?” I’ve always wanted to pursue a journalism career, and I am one of the lucky few who have been able to work in my field of passion. But what was my deepest desire beyond that?
I’ve come to the realization that I want to somehow, someway utilize my skills in journalism to help people; to make a positive change, even if it is in one person’s life. I found myself creating a motto for my vision board, “Being a reporter means digging deep into a community and unearthing humanity. Use the truth and facts to provide people news that matters.” But that is not all I want to do, I want lead a healthier life, so that I can pursue this dream without fear of it being hindered by ailments caused by obesity.
I stepped onto the scale, and to my surprise, I lost 6.7 pounds! In addition, I lost a total of 10.5 inches on my body. The amount of pride and feeling of accomplishment is indescribable. The weight loss is only a portion of the program, in the grand scheme of things I have gained a network of friends and a plethora of knowledge on what to eat and how to exercise properly.
Although 21 days have passed, I still try to maintain my diet. Every day for breakfast I have a smoothie filled with nutrients and vitamins. I eat healthy snacks throughout the day and drink over 80 ounces of water. I also understand how to portion my food.
This challenge opened my eyes to a whole new world of exercising (also, the amazing staff and classes at the Brooklyn Sports Club were excel-lent motivators to visit the gym). I now put myself out there to take part in classes. Sure, I have no hand-eye coordination for Zumba, and I’m too broke to afford proper exercise gear such as weightlifting gloves. But my fellow warriors have told me none of that matters, it’s about how you feel about yourself after exercising. As long as I don’t give up, no matter how far I fall, it’s the fact that I get up and continue is what counts.
I now visit the Brooklyn Sports Club at least 4-5 times a week. I no longer feel self-conscious about jogging on the treadmill or trying to lift weights with the guys. I feel more alive and willing to push myself. No matter how tired I am, I know that the end result is worth it.
At the moment, my dilemma lies with purchasing the right food for my diet. It’s not that I don’t know what’s good for me; it’s a matter of affording it. Perhaps this is another lesson I need to learn for the second half of the Warrior Challenge in October. For now, I’m counting my pennies and nickels (along with the calories I consume) because buying fresh produce, sprouted bread, quinoa, non-fat Greek yogurt and other nutritious food is expensive. I am sure if vegetables were as cheap as McDonalds, more people would be eating better and obesity would not be affecting 22 percent of adult New Yorkers (according to the NYC Department of Health).
I know that no success story is written without its challenges, and despite my budgetary issues I am trying my hardest to maintain my diet and exercise regime. My only advice to anyone out there pondering weight loss, those who feel like they lack the motivation, it’s hard at first, but worth it. Find someone, anyone who you trust to push you to do it. Losing weight is not a solitary task; it’s a battle you go through with your fellow warriors. If I can do it, so can you.
For more information about the Warrior Challenge visit www.21daywarrior.com
Photos courtesy of Jackie Vargas’s Warrior Challenge Facebook page.
Recipe Adriana Garcia, a warrior approved chef who taught several cooking classes during the challenge, creates various recipes that are delicious, nutritious and easy to make. Since the Warrior Challenge teaches individuals to pay attention to portions, ingredients and the overall nutritional value of foods, Garcia decided to share her favorite, healthy summer treat that is quick and easy to make. Dieting is hard, but that doesn’t mean you should deny yourself treats.
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 helping tbs of chia seeds*
- 2 dates
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Dash of cinnamon
- Put all these ingredients into the blender and refrigerate. In the meantime prepare and cut up fruit of your choice. Berries are always nice but you can also include peaches, melons and oranges. After you have blended the mix, just add fruit and you’re read to enjoy! However, if dessert isn’t your thing, then try this for breakfast.
*Despite their small size, chia seeds are packed full of important nutrients. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants and full of fiber, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium.
Recipe by Adriana Garcia, Lifestyle Chef & Author of La Tunca.