seventy five hard

This past Saturday, September 10th, our family set out to accomplish a seventy five day challenge together.

A few months ago, Lukas first mentioned the 75 Hard Challenge. 75 days doing seven things:

  • Drink a gallon of water
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Complete two 45 minute workouts in a day, one of which needs to be outdoors
  • Do some form of intentional eating (your choice)
  • Read 10 pages in a nonfiction book (digital reading/listening doesn’t count)
  • Track your progress daily through a photo

Oh and if you don’t do any of the above any day, you start from day one.

Insanity, right?

“Hmm, sounds right up your alley, babe, a great thing to talk about at our year end planning for next year.” Aka thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that right now, let’s punt THAT to later.

And we didn’t talk about it again until running into a friend in Chicago in August. After holding up our wrists to show off all three of us are Whoop band wearers, and the casual “how’s the fam?” questions were accomplished, I became a fly on the wall as I witnessed two CrossFit loving men talk about the 75 Hard Challenge. Trey accomplished the task right before his third kid was born. You can read about his 75 Hard journey, and see his progress result pictures, here.

Hearing what happened in Trey’s head and heart during the experience, and seeing his excitement in having completed it, we walked away and I told Lukas “you have to do it.”

With the first year of newborn life behind us and his fortieth birthday approaching, Lukas had been looking for a way to jump start his health journey. Having lost almost 50 pounds the first year Tabby was born he hadn’t gain too much back but shoulder surgery back in 2021 took a toll on him both him mentally and physically and he was looking for a way to get back to prioritizing himself. Sound familiar?

He signed up for a half marathon on Thanksgiving day, something he’d done in years past and I signed up for a 5K alongside him. Simultaneously, in our own “lanes”, we’d been pursuing individual health. He has his own issues, I have mine.

We asked over and over, can we do this? HOW can we do this? We’re really going to do this?

After we decided we’d cheer our patriarch on to accomplish 75 Hard, I realized quickly, in order for him to succeed, me and the kids would need to be backing him. It’s just too hard and too time consuming for us to not be affected.

I wasn’t about to cook TWO meals at dinnertime.

So Tabby and I discussed it one afternoon. Were we joining Nigh Nigh on his quest? She’s in a “go team” stage right now and is motivated most when we all have a role/job and we are working towards the goal together. The idea of us driving towards a goal together — sign her up! I felt the same. With five months behind me of focusing on my own physical health, I was excited for a pep in my step and partners to do it with.

We need a way to track the days as a family.

My normal MO is scroll through Amazon or rush off to the craft store to see what they have but with the new house purchase, we’ve also tightened our belts on our finances (which Tabby is very much a part of!) and said “let’s find something around here, instead, mommy!”

Smart girl she is…and constantly making me a better human!!

We found two glass jars but were stuck on 75 of something small enough to fit.

Tabby’s ideas were numerous and we talked through all the reasons they wouldn’t quite work for our most recent project. This is where mommy’s creativity took over and remembered a box full of beads, hidden at the top of the playroom closet, far away from a “I put everything in my mouth” one year old. I pulled out tiny paper cups and had Tabby count 5 beads into each cup. This took only two tries for her to get the concept and pretty soon we were pouring 15 groups of 5 into our glass jar. Add two labels and ta da! A visual motivation to stay the course.

We sent the picture to Lukas, “we’re in!!”

Doing this as a family is not as clean cut as it might be as a bachelor living on his own. It’s been messy as we worked through the “rules” and guidelines we were all going to follow. Lukas is doing a purest version, I’m doing a modified, more conducive to my mental health needs, plan. And the kids, well they are doing just the nutrition part, making small tweaks to what they put in their bodies with a lot of flexibility! We have perfected plans that work best for each of us with the main goal — do something together!

Last night, night one, we were all kind of fussy.

For a myriad of reasons, part of which was no refined sugar had been eaten (look up what that stuff does to your brain if you’re curious — it’s nuts!), and we were all tired from the day.

The hard was a little less hard as we lamented together. We are all making sacrifices in our lives to help us make better choices. Some look small, others large, but we were together…which makes us better…better together.

This photo from family vacation taken back in May, was hard for me to look at.

But I did it anyway. I looked and stared and sat in all the feelings. I told myself all the AMAZING things that body had done. I told myself how perfect I am, exactly the way I am. I told myself how strong and capable I am. I looked at the trauma that body had experienced, the visible and invisible scars that body was marked with. I sat, I felt, I spoke life and I started to believe.

In February, I turn 35. Starting out in April, my goal was to hit “135 by 35” (just because it was fun to say and easy to remember). It took three months to lose ONE pound, that’s how slow, methodical and intentional I have been about my weight loss. In focusing on my heart more than my body, my body has reaped the rewards.

At this point, I’ve lost 7ish (I say -ish because I use the scale as a tool to track progress NOT as something that gives me an identity). Am I where I want to be? Not yet. But I’m doing an AMAZING job. I’m not giving up and I’m letting the push towards “WHOLE self health” drive me.

75 Hard was the start of something but not the start of the whole thing. Me focusing on my health has been an on going, decades in the making, adventure, one that will continue on for (hopefully!) decades to come.

I share these progress pictures as a part of the journey to mark this milestone and to celebrate the amazing body God created me to live in on this side of heaven. One I ask He will continue to give me the grace to care for so I can be around, healthy, for all the many people I love.

xoxo, va