I’m a 42-year-old mom of two kids (5 and 8 years old), and I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. I was hospitalized during Christmas 2009 because the anti-depressant a psychiatrist prescribed made me suicidal. Thankfully, while in the hospital, I was put on a different anti-depressant, which works much better for me. It doesn’t make me feel happy, but it helps me think clearly enough to use the coping strategies I learned during 16 months of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
I’m 5’2” and Chinese, which means I have low bone density. Before I got pregnant with my son in 2006, I weighed 113 lbs. After he was born, I got down to 109 lbs. Due to the stress of my daughter’s pregnancy in 2009, and then eating at Starbucks every day (sometimes two or even three times per day), I weighed 130 lbs. by the end of 2015. Diabetes runs in my family and eating poorly gives me bad mood swings, so I was very excited to discover the My Peak Challenge.
My Peak Challenge (MPC) was created by Scottish actor Sam Heughan, one of the lead actors of the Starz TV show Outlander. He created the MPC with his trainer John Valbonesi of Fight Camp, The Box Magazine, and Bear Strength Clothing Co. He wanted to encourage his fans to get in shape, eat healthy, and to support his favorite charity Bloodwise, the U.K.’s largest blood cancer charity.
People can donate directly or buy items from the sponsors. Fifty percent of the profits goes to Bloodwise.
- Bear Clothing offers an MPC Supporter Pack (a T-shirt, signed photo of Sam, wristband, sticker, and badge)
- There’s an MPC Prep Program that includes a 60-day training program with more than three hours of video footage of Sam demonstrating proper exercise techniques, a 60-day meal plan, access to a private Facebook group where participants share their challenges, successes, encouragement, and much more.
Here’s a great video of Sam explaining the My Peak Challenge.
While many people choose to eat healthfully and exercise, MPC 2016 is adaptable. Each person chooses what they would like to accomplish, whether it’s writing a book, meditating every day, or anything else that helps them get out of their comfort zone and see things in a new way.
I have a crazy long list of things I’d like to do for MPC 2016. I’m what my therapist called an “achievement junkie.” I’m just excited about pushing myself and seeing what I’m capable of.
Eating vegetarian plus eggs and fish
I’ve been vegetarian plus seafood before, but I stopped for about eight years. Since December 29th, I’ve been mostly vegetarian plus eggs and fish (salmon and canned sardines). I’ve decided to have meat for a few days before I donate blood (every eight weeks) and before my period. I really want to make sure I maintain a high enough iron level to donate blood.
Exercise every day
I get bored easily so I’m trying to have a lot of variety in my workouts: running on a treadmill, running on the road, hiking many different trails, weight lifting, and doing core exercises.
Run the Bay to Breakers
May is the official month of the challenge, so I will run the Bay to Breakers, a 12k from downtown San Francisco to the beach. I’m also thinking of running the San Jose Rock ’n’ Roll half-marathon in October.
Overcome my dermatillomania
Dermatillomania is a disorder where a person compulsively picks at their skin. I’ve had it for years, basically as an unhealthy coping mechanism for my anxiety. Cutting out sugar (my vice is soy mochas, which apparently have 27g of sugar) should help considerably. I’ll also practice being mindful, noticing my emotions and my urge to pick at my skin. Observe the urge, then let it go.
Drive for Uber
I want to have many new experiences this year, so I signed up to be an Uber Partner. I’ve only driven for a couple of weeks. For me, it’s really more about providing a service than making money. I’m planning to drive on Super Bowl Sunday though, which should be pretty interesting. Uber will pay for cleaning your car should riders soil the interior.
Learn to ride a motorcycle
I’m going to take the CHP (California Highway Patrol) motorcyclist training class in February. I’m slowly trying to learn all the skills to become an action hero. Being 5’2”, you could call it “Little Woman Syndrome.”
Attend Comic-Con this year
My friend goes every year, and I’ve always wanted to join her, so this year, I’m going to leave my poor husband with our two kids for about three days. Who knows, maybe I’ll catch a glance of Sam from very, very far away. If I ever get the chance to, I’d love to shake his hand, look him in the eye, and say, “Thank you for inspiring me to do what I’ve always wanted to and now believe I really can. Fancy a pint?”
The best coincidence is that I recently turned 42. Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.”
Whether you join MPC or not, what challenges will you tackle this year?