27 February 2015 Last updated

Life Challenge Week 4: Inga Stevens

Inga learns about control and is faced with some pasta temptation during the fourth week

Aquarius magazine
28 Mar 2012 | 04:55 pm
  • Trainers

    Inga is going to treat herself to new trainers.

    Source:Supplied picture Image 1 of 2
  • Pasta spinach and meat sauce

    Inga has a talented chef as a brother, which can be a good or bad thing.

    Source:Supplied Image 2 of 2

Week four, day one

Less is more

I realised this morning that I feel more in control of my life, despite my ultimate goal to control it less. Control does not need to mean that every little detail needs to go exactly to plan. Control just means that you are sure of what you want, and what you need from your life, and that you are on the right path to achieve it. When you are going at a million miles an hour, charging through your day trying to get everything done, all your frenzied attempts to control it can seem pretty futile. Taking some time out to really prioritize what you need to accomplish from your day (and life) is a much more balanced way to get things done and feel good in the process. Take time out to get more done. 

Week four, day two


A friend has kindly offered to give me her freebie pass to drive a super-speedy Audi around the Autodrome race track at Motorcity. She read my previous blog and thought the chance to put my foot down might help me tackle ‘the fear’. For those of you who know me as a bit of a petrol-head, you might be surprised to learn that I am actually a scaredy-cat when it comes to driving fast. Put me in front of the telly with the F1 grand prix on and I’m happy as Larry, but put me in the passenger’s seat (in a taxi, a friend’s car, or even my own) and I am all white knuckles, phantom breaking, sweaty palms etc. I know it’s irrational but if I’m not in the driver’s seat, I turn into a nervous wreck. I’m more worried about the practice-round when I have to sit next to the instructor than I am actually taking the wheel at the racing track! This Life Challenge is all about pushing my boundaries so, bring it on, I say! 

Week four, day three

Molto buona!

It’s Saturday and I am about to commit a sin. A nutritional sin that is, not the carnal kind. My brother is a very talented chef and luckily for me (or unluckily, depending on how you want to view it), he has very kindly offered to cook for me. The problem, in relation to my Life Challenge meal plan, is that deliciously creamy home-made pasta is not really part of the diet plan. Does it help that he used spinach lasagna and low-fat milk for the cheese sauce? Probably not much, but it made me feel better psychologically when I helped myself to a second portion. The way I see it is that the changes made during this Life Challenge need to be sustainable and must fit in with my life. I can’t rightly turn down my brothers delicious cooking every time he offers up his skills. Let’s face it, if helping yourself to your favourite meal once in a while is a big ‘no no’ than maybe I am looking at this all wrong. Whether it was wrong or right, it was so delicious that I just can’t bring myself to feel guilty for this slip up. I’ll just work out extra hard at the gym this week instead. Tit for tat, and all that.

Week four, day four

I miss my friend

One thing this Life Challenge has taught me is that I have a lot of habits. Some are good (like paying my bills on time, or spending time with my friends) and some, not so good (like the ciggies, or my love of ketchup). What has become evident is that one of my most compulsive habits is to take things very seriously, to go into a project full steam ahead, sometimes at the expense of other important things in my life. 

Did you know it has been four weeks since I have seen my best friend?? And she only lives down the road from me. To be fair I have been living and breathing this Life Challenge, enjoying the commitment it demands and relishing the prospect of a brand new body and clearer mind. But I am not sure it needs to be so ‘all or nothing’. If this is going to be a sustainable shift in lifestyle for me, I need to learn how to balance my priorities. Rather than heading straight home from my workout for a full 8 hours sleep, why not drop in on a friend for a quick catch up over a cup of herbal tea. Or, why not fit in a shopping trip to the mall before my life coaching session with Patricia. No need to prepare for it all day, after all it is Patricia who kindly does all the preparation, not me. 

I might sound like a complete loony to anyone reading this blog, but in simple terms, I can – and I should – combine all the things in life that are important to me. No need to give up one thing to be able to enjoy another. 

Week four, day five

Trainer head

Yesterday’s workout was epic! A personal best of one hour and 30 minutes spent in the gym. I had to do a double-take at the clock when I finally got back into the changing rooms. I thought ‘So this is what it feels like to actually enjoy getting fit!’ 

I know we are only a month into the Life Challenge but what I have enjoyed the most is that I finally understand that working out in the gym (the actual gym with weights and machines and loud music) can be fun. I was always more of a group exercise-class type of gal – love a good Body Pump or yoga session, me – but working out in the gym gives you a chance to really push yourself. 

What I need now is a brand new set of workout clothes. I promised that I would reward myself with a new pair of trainers to rock out in and a snazzy gym-kit bag if I showed that I can be committed to my health; I think now is a good time to take myself up on the offer. I’ve seen these awesome trainers (see above), what do you think... 

Week four, day six


Time for a rant I’m afraid. I’m once again left confused by the results of my Body Composition Analysis (BCA). It is half way through the two month challenge and I was looking forward to my ‘weigh in’. I’ve been good with my food (minus the pasta and ‘banger & mash’ incidents) and I’ve been working out five to six times a week, so I was expecting ‘You’re light as a feather’ to come flashing up on the scales. Ok, so not quite but I was certainly hoping for a confidence boost going into week five. 

The good news is that I have actually lost 2.5 kg since my weigh in last week BUT, get this; most of that weight loss was due to loss in muscle mass. How can this be? I have been pumping iron in the gym for 10 days since my last weigh in. How can my muscles have got weaker? Another baffling fact is that my fitness score has actually gone down. So, this time two weeks ago, I was actually fitter than I am now?? Again, I can’t get my head around that. This really doesn’t bode well for my 10K run this evening! 

Hand on heart I haven’t been cheating. I have witnesses who can give an affidavit that I go to the gym after work every day and my colleagues can testify that my meals consist of healthy stuff. I am not going on those scales again till the very end of the challenge. I’m going to judge my progress in how I feel in my clothes, how my skin looks and what my energy levels are like. It’s the only way to do it if I am going to keep my sanity intact. 

Week four, day seven

It’s all in the head

I’m hobbling around the office like a granny this morning but I have a big smile on my face. I took on the 10km Run for Hunger last night and came out alive! Running on a racing track was an awesome experience; the hairpin bends kept you from getting bored and the grandstands helped me imagine thousands of spectators cheering me on. I estimated it would take me an 90mins to make it to the finish line but I was pleased that I pushed myself to a (semi) respectable one hour and 16 minutes. 

A month ago I would have never imagined signing myself up for an endurance race like this. I mean, I hate running. Always have, always will. Or will I? I think at some point last night I actually felt a moment of enjoyment. Between the pouring sweat and the aching hamstrings, I remember thinking ‘This is not that bad, I think I can actually do this’. The next 10 km is on April the 24th. Wish me luck; I now have a personal best to beat! 

Aquarius magazine

Aquarius magazine

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  • Lauren, Manchester, United Kingdom

    Well done on the 10km run Inga, I have been following your weekly articles and have been truly inspired. The personal insights have really make me feel that it's really okay to always not be 100% on it, but still pat myself on the back at my achievements regardless. Keep up the good work and good luck. PS. Think the trainers could do with being a bit more sturdy and supportive :-)

  • Suzannah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    I can testify that Inga certainly has been taking this seriously, I'm always fascinated to see what she brings to work in her endless tuperware boxes! She's actually inspired me to be a little more focused in my own life and not to keep putting things off. Keep it up Inga, you're nearly there!