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60 Days of Insanity Caused Clarity. Designing your “New Year”

By Denise Spatafora
January 8, 2009
File under: exercise, Food, Health, holidays


In October, a few days before my birthday, I was evaluating what I really wanted for myself in this new year, my “personal new years” celebration, the day of my birth.

I declared that I was going to make sure this was the best year of my life so far. As I began to design this, I looked at everything I wanted and all that was having me suffer; all the places in my life where I was not proud of myself. Not based on what anyone else thought, but where I was being sloppy, resigned and not creating what I wanted. One area of suffering that was the loudest was my health and weight.

We all like to look good but just as important for me was feeling good, feeling strong, feeling vital. I was a trained competitive ice skater, ran the NYC marathon, gave birth to my children at home and was always very physical. I am best when my body, mind and heart are aligned. I knew bringing discipline to this suffering would make a big difference for me. The more I have become self aware and conscious, I realize the power and beauty of discipline.  I was using my rebellion of not wanting to follow the rules, not wanting to be told what to do or how to do it, against myself.

The beauty of my rebellion is my tenacity, my creativity, my willingness to figure out unique different ways to cause solutions. It was time again to let go of my destructive rebellion and to embrace discipline. It was time to create a kind of “bootcamp”. As I was thinking about this, one of the contributors to my upcoming book called “Better Birth” was doing an infomercial of his health methodology and program.  It was too late to be a part of his program because it had already started, but he recommended I auditioned for the next one. Audition—what was I thinking, audition for a fitness “info-mercial”, a version of the biggest loser, putting my weaknesses on display to be judged??

The day before my birthday, I went to the audition. When I arrived, I looked at all the signage and to my surprise, the program I was auditioning for was called “Insanity”. I thought shoot, I am already insane, I wonder what they mean by this. They asked me questions about what I wanted out of the program, they layed out the rules which was 60 days of a very intense fitness program where we would work out 6 days a week, eat the food they provided daily-no cheating, no alcohol, take all the before and after photos, take all the health tests: weight, blood tests measuring many dimensions of cholesterol, and body fat.

The conditions were clear: follow all the rules, work very hard or you will be thrown out. The rewards were great—be in the best shape of your life—endurance, strength and vitality. They expressed that this program would be marketed to athletes and some of the most “insane”, intense workouts of our lives.  The day after the audition was my birthday, October 7th and the day I was accepted into the program. This was all a part of me “making sure” that this would be the best year of my life. Two days later I was taking photos in a large photo studio in NYC in my bathing suit. The day before the photo shoot, I cried as I was gathering my bathing suit, a workout outfit, and a pair of jeans I could barely fit in to. We can be so mean to ourselves.

I had to deal with and let go of my upset with myself for letting myself get sloppy with my nutrition and gaining weight, for not taking care of myself, for putting myself last, for wasting time suffering. To reveal myself, accept myself, love myself and my body for all it has provided up to this point in my life was part of what I had to deal with to put myself in front of those cameras. This was the action I was taking consistent with my commitment and I had to quiet my mind filled with brutal personal judgments and upset. This kind of “vulnerability” and sharing was powerful. This alone was transformational and I had not even begun the workouts.

For the next 60 days, I made sure I followed all the rules.  It actually felt great that I thought about a bootcamp, was ready to take on my health and the opportunity arrived—truly manifesting.

I was in “it” with my body, mind and heart.  The workouts were the most intense ever: football drills, suicide jumps, ski abs, mountain climbers, moving pushups, plank pushups, the infamous “cardio blast” (created just for this program)—we were dripping wet and used up by the end of every work out. We started the program with 54 of us but every week there were eliminations. There were weekly weigh ins, videoing of our workouts and camera interviews.

I carried my food everywhere, including business meetings and events, even a family wedding. It was wild; I did not make an issue of it because there was such personal freedom is following the rules I created and chose to follow; therefore no one around me created an issue of it. It actually inspired many friends and clients; they began looking at what they wanted for themselves and what habits were no longer consistent with that. After a few weeks of this, cravings for food and my love and/or addiction of red wine subsided and eventually left. I just had to stay with it long enough, not listening to all my tempting thoughts, irritations, annoyances, rebellion, resignation and thoughts of no real results yet. My mantra was “Action is the key to my success and positive thoughts fuel my actions best.”

This kind of mental discipline was causing my thoughts to become clear and my intent solid. The more I took care of myself, the clearer I was for all the people around me. My work was more effective; I was more loving not only to myself but my partner, family, friends, strangers—my heart opening. There was a calmness because I was powerfully “taking down” my bad habits, leaving room for believing, possibilities, creativity, abundance and love. I made it all the way through, there were 43 of us left in the end….18 pounds down and overall 20 and a half inches, back in my jeans. It was not just about the weight, it was about the clarity, vitality and ease that aligning brings me. Looking back to a few months ago, I could say that how I was suffering was “insane”. I am forever grateful for my body at any stage.

I highly recommend that you choose 60 days of “insanity” for the area in your life that is causing you the most amount of suffering—create your own rules that you will meticulously follow—enjoy the discipline, the personal power and clarity; truly “exercising” designing your life.  Happy New Year!!

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