Posted on March 04 2019
Written by: Shiloh Ryker
By all outward appearances, 2018 was a fantastic year for me. My husband and I enjoyed a whirlwind, child-free weekend trip to Las Vegas together. I finished a degree. I established new hobbies. My children were healthy. Our business was growing. I was meeting all of society’s typical markers for success.
Appearances can be deceiving. Internally, I was a hot mess by late October. My mental clutter was growing bigger every day. Change and growth are not energizing for me. I thrive on routine, organization, and stability. Despite all the positive things coming my way, all the uncertainty shook me. I was unfaithful to my daily to-do lists, which help me maintain my sanity. I wasn’t following my meal plans. I waited to exercise until my children’s bedtime, which meant I seldom completed a workout. The further I fell off my routine wagon, the harder it was to get back on track. Unsurprisingly, I was feeling very negative about myself because I wasn’t doing the things that make me feel like myself.
So when Nicole Mejia (of Get Fit and Thick fame)* announced that her team was doing a 28-day fitness challenge called JUMP in January, my only question was, “How high?”
I first found Nicole Mejia’s Instagram in 2013, when a friend suggested I follow more “personally realistic” fitness role models. The first account they suggested was Nicole’s. I have drawn inspiration from Nicole’s message of empowerment and self-love (and her later passion for a plant-based lifestyle) ever since. If anyone could help me get it together, it would be Nicole’s team.
I knew the challenge consisted of plant-based meals, journaling exercises, and 30 minutes of daily movement. I knew there would be a Facebook group for all the ladies doing JUMP. I went into the program hoping to establish the routines I needed to find mental clarity and resilience, as well as commit to plant-based eating and sustainable exercise habits. I had been a vegetarian for a year, eyeing a switch to veganism, so this also seemed like the perfect opportunity to end my cheese addiction. I assumed I’d lose a little bit of weight, and hoped I would recommit to sustainable healthy habits. I did not expect to experience a massive change in my life.
By the end of the 28 days, I succeeded in losing 6 pounds and 2.5 inches from my hips. While the quantifiable results were encouraging, I am more excited about my internal transformation. I am in a completely different mental place than I was in December. JUMP’s daily journaling exercises were paired with an article, podcast, or video. Each day, the material provided encouraged us to be open with ourselves, exploring barriers, resentments, and habits. All the mental work I did during this challenge is what ultimately changed my life, although my new diet and exercise habits have certainly contributed to an improved sense of well-being.
Here are the five biggest ways my life has changed after 28 days of daily movement, journaling, and a plant-based diet.