Friday, October 7, 2016

My Experience with the Denise Austin 360 Program

This is the first post on this blog that is not homeschooling related, and I am so excited to be sharing this part of my heart with you. I love homeschool and education and writing about it, as they truly are a passion of mine, but I've also got so many feelings regarding weight loss and health, as it has been a heavy part of my life (no pun intended) for about eight years now. 

I could write a novel about my weight and why I spent approximately nine years of my adult life overweight. But for now I will simply share a small part of my journey and how that journey has led me to Denise Austin's 360 Program. 

I lost 50 pounds about 8 years ago, had two babies--one which was born as a micropreemie and had difficulties due to that, had to go on extensive bedrest and was prompted to eat eat eat due to my baby's small size in utero, and I gained the weight back. Again, I lost the weight, plus more, leading to a total 65 pound loss. It was grueling and it took about two years. I ate less and worked out and cooked nutritious meals. I was able to maintain that for quite a while, even through tube-feeding my daughter all day and then later her feeding tube wean at 5 years-old. Then unfortunately May was a very stressful month for me and I lost my mojo. I wasn't able to continue my cooking and my weekly routines and it set some very, very bad feelings and habits into motion. I began not prioritizing myself and my health. My daughter had surgery to close her feeding tube hole. I was too busy. Then my precious dog of almost 12 years got cancer and we had to say goodbye. I dove straight into a bucket of chocolate and didn't come up for air until I realized that my clothes did not fit and that I had to put a stop to it, because if I continued, I could easily be back to where I was within 6 months. 

After losing a significant amount of weight, and putting some of it back on...It feels nearly impossible to get back in the game. But it was absolutely necessary.

In the past I had used workout programs that were very difficult and I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I barely had the energy to get up in the morning. I started by going to my friend's pool with my kids and just moving around in the pool. My only goal was to move my body a little bit. I began trying to come up with a strategy to get this 19 pounds off again, and I just couldn't find something that felt right. The program in which I had lost all of my previous weight had changed and it didn't suit me and I felt lost. Then I remembered something which I had been eyeing for a while, which was Denise Austin's program.

Denise and I go way back to the days of my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I used her "Hips, Thighs, and Buttocks" VCR tape to exercise every day. When I was a sophomore I had a boyfriend who was attending college far away, and so I was lonely and I dedicated myself to Denise's tapes. I adored her! She was upbeat and so happy, and just had a feeling of "lightness" to her. I held onto those VCR tapes for years and eventually gave them away when VCR's became a thing of the past. 

It wasn't until I was 40 and suffering from a 19 pound weight gain and depression that I was to meet her again. 

I will go into more detail in my later posts, but for now, I'll give you a brief overview of what the program is and why it has been crucial in gaining my life back. 

It is a ten week program that tells gives you a complete menu to cook, daily workouts that Denise has chosen for you, and motivational videos.

Every day I open up the homepage and I see the workout that she has chosen for me. It alternates with cardio and strength. The absolute best part about the workouts are that you are able to choose if you want level 1, 2, or 3 when you set up your program. I had initially chosen level 2. My thought was that I had been in the best shape of my life 5 months ago! I could do it! Luckily my husband came in right when I was setting it up and asked me what in the world I was doing. Why did I want to make this hard on myself? Why did I want to set myself up for failure?? So I selected level 1, and 6 weeks later I am still on level one and I absolutely swear that that is the reason why I am working out 6 days a week and enjoying myself so much. 

Throughout her workouts, Denise smiles and talks about being healthy and happy. The two are connected. She often asks me to "smile" and I sincerely believe that this attitude is what is leading me back to health. I have found that it is an absolute necessity for me to work out. The endorphins that are produced are an absolute must to leading a happy life, for me, as well as giving me the desire to eat healthfully.

In the program, she tells you the calorie levels that you need to follow and she provides a complete menu with instructions. I have chosen not to follow the exact menu because I am so so so busy with homeschooling and church and activities and my young children. I am strictly following the calorie recommendations and the meal ideas. I use a few of the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and read the ingredients in each so that I can integrate the food part as much as possible into my life. This is where the main weight loss comes from, of course, as we've been learning in the last years. However, when I do not work out, I find it very difficult to stick to the calories necessary for weight loss. It gives me that extra push.

This week her motivational video was on gratitude. The videos are short but pack a powerful punch, and I try to watch the same one more than once, especially if I am having an especially trying day.

There is also an area to record your weight and measurements on a graph. I will get into that in my next post about this program.

I really wanted to make sure that I loved it before I did a glowing blog post on it. I always strive to be honest and I wanted to make sure that I absolutely loved it. Denise Austin's program has been absolutely critical in helping me climb this mountain and gain my health and happiness back.

**I have written a second post on this program. Please read it here. 
**My third post on this program has been written here
**My fourth post on this program has been written here. 

I was compensated for this blog post but it in no way affected how I viewed the program or wrote about it. It is my honest opinion.

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