When I started this blog and my weight loss journey, I was following what I considered a fairly strict diet that myÂ trainer provided me.Â Well, strict compared to the no-holds-barred takeout and fried-food diet I was following before.
I followed this diet? lifestyle? probably about 90-95% of the time for that first year or so that I was losing weight. Iâ€™d say from reaching my goal in March 2010 until about late 2012, I followed it about 80% of the time. I was even so vigilant that I managed to lose some weight starting a new job in late 2011 and not exercising much as I settled into a new routine.
Until I met my nemesis, the Calexico Taco Truck. Located squarely between my office and my apartment, the truck was easy to place an order at on my way home to walk my dog at lunch and then pick it up on my way back to the office without ever skipping a beat or waiting in a line.
I donâ€™t blame the tacos for everything, but what had gone from â€œthis isnâ€™t too bad for meâ€ at Chipotle every once in a while to a regular thing turned into rationalizing other less-than-healthy food choices. I think I still eat better than theÂ Standard American Diet, but thereâ€™s a lot of room for improvement.
So, when some colleagues proposed aÂ nutrition challenge, I was all for it. About a year ago, when we were developing one of ourÂ programsÂ at work, we were looking for people to beta test the nutrition element. And, hell no. I wasnâ€™t ready for it. (And truth be told, it was rather strict.)
But now, I’ve been feeling soft and feeling like I need some sort of kickstart.
And the Whole Life Challenge is really cool. It focuses on seven daily habits over the course of 56 days. It technically started on Saturday, but, Bahamas.
Nutrition:Â You get a total ofÂ fiveÂ points each day and lose 1 point for every non-compliant food you eat. There’s three different levels you can follow, and I chose to go for the basic one (Kickstarter), just because it allows you one drink a day. I plan on trying to follow the middle level (Lifestyle) as closely as possible though, other than the wine. (That level only allows you one drink a week, and, no.)
Exercise:Â You get two points a day for at least 10 minutes of exercising. I wish you could get points for every 10 minutes you exercise, but! alas.
Stretching:Â Two points a day for 10 minutes of stretching. As I am training again, I DEFINITELY need this. And let’s be real, you always need this.
Water:Â One point per day for drinking 1/3 of your bodyweight in water (in ounces, if that wasn’t clear initially.) One of my coworkers recently commented how good I was at drinking lots of water recently, so I’m all over this one.
Supplement:Â You get one point a day for a supplement that, if taken every day, will have a positive affect on your life. I’m using this as an excuse to get consistent again with my Omega-3s and probiotics.
Lifestyle:Â Each week has a different lifestyle habit. This week is mindfulness, which I am ALL ABOUT.
Reflection:Â You’re supposed to write a short reflection each day of how the day went for you. I’m used to writing about my health habits on the Internet, so no bigs.
The creators of the challenge stress that indulgence points are included because foodÂ shouldÂ be enjoyed â€” just not recklessly and to the point of making you feel ill. I don’tÂ feelÂ ill,Â but I certainly don’t feel like my best self right now.
“Foods that cost you points during the Challenge generally cause inflammation, irritation, hormonal imbalance, unwanted weight gain, and other undesirable physical results to some degree for most people.”Â
This includes gluten, dairy and sugar, primarily, as well as foods that are genetically modified or may have hormonal impacts, like soy. (RIP Starbucks soy lattes.) Personally, I know I’m really sensitive to dairy and slightly sensitive to gluten, so I welcome this push to be more vigilant about reducing them in my diet.
At the end of the day, I’m doing this for several reasons:
1. Yes, I would like to lose a little weight.
2. I would like to return to being more mindful about what I eat instead of eating something just because it’s there or looks good to me at the time. I want to eat something because it will make meÂ feelÂ good.
3. I just want to feel better. I remember the boundless, exuberant energy I had when I first started losing weight (oh wait, I was also six years younger) and I want to get back to that.
What about you? Have you ever done a challenge like this?