Alright! I am all signed up for the fall edition of the Whole Life Challenge! I’m psyched. Now for those of you wondering why I would sign up to do it again, when I already eat mostly compliant, it’s simple: I still have areas I can improve on. While my diet is pretty much compliant to the challenge, I’ve allowed myself a little more wiggle room during the summer. Some of it was testing (tried some cheese here, had some rice there), in small amounts of course, and some of it was fun (allowing myself a cocktail or gluten-free beer or wine during the week). This was an important step for me, because it solidified in my head, that I have the power to make choices, smart choices, and that I am in control. From the spring challenge, I’ve learned:
- I should not consume dairy, ever, it’s not worth the discomfort, and hell it wrecks on my body. The only thing I’ve ever consumed dairy wise, that seems to not totally kill me, is very occasional clotted cream from the tea place in the area (because it’s delicious), and maybe small amounts of whipped cream. It doesn’t totally wreck me. Other cream/milk based things give me digestive issues that last a few days, and cheese causes stomach spasms….no thank you. Oh and you know what, at first, anytime I went to the tea place I HAD to taste a small bite of the clotted cream…OK this only happened twice this summer….but yesterday, it was in the house, since the boyfriend had left overs….and I didn’t touch it. You know why….because, I HAD CONTROL.
- Grains are weird and so I continue to cut them out. I definitely stay away from Gluten, I attribute my headaches to it. I used to have terrible headaches, and sometimes migraines consistently several days a week – like 5-7 days a week. Since the challenge I have not had one. Actually, I did have one, but it was a day I was “Testing” and it came within 10 minutes of eating something I shouldn’t have. In the past, beer has always given me terrible headaches, but I liked beer, so sometimes I would suffer. Since the challenge, I’ve tried some “Gluten Free” beers, and have not gotten a single headache from them. Hence….I blame gluten. I’m apparently pretty sensitive too, because even distilled spirits can have an effect on me. I’ve noticed grain based vodkas make me feel pretty crappy, while non grain based liquors (like rum) are fine. Occasionally, I’ll eat some white rice with sushi, or Thai food, with minimal effect, but I’ve noticed I’ve been a little too frequent with it (recently, I had it twice in one week) and noticed when I over consume rice, it makes me bloated and gassy. Not terribly….but I need to continue to make smart choices, and really limit when I allow myself the treat of eating rice. Gluten on the other hand is not cool, and I have absolutely no desire to shove bread into my mouth.
- Raw honey is awesome (NOT allowed on the challenge) and Medjool dates are seriously natures candy (Totally allowed on the challenge)….but seriously folks…one date, or one teaspoon, should be enough…and not every day. I hardly ever make treats, and even now I almost never sweeten anything. My food tastes good on its own, I use good ingredients, there’s no reason to add sugar to hide bland recipes or sub par ingredients. Even when I make a treat, it’s usually something like raw unsweetened cocoa powder, mixed with some cashew butter, maybe some chopped pecans, and raw unsweetened cocoa nibs, and I roll it into a ball and call it “cookie dough”. I don’t over do it, but it feels a little indulgent, so it’s good for a treat. You learn to control yourself, and make choices. I used to always eat the cookies and cakes that ended up in the break room at work, now, I don’t even notice them. I physically see them, but they aren’t special, and they aren’t worth it, so my brain doesn’t even acknowledge them.
So again, why am I doing this again. Well, I’m not perfect. I am looking forward to getting back on track with things like “doing 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of mobility/stretching everyday” and making sure I drink half my bodyweight in ounces of water. All the lifestyle areas of the challenge are important (drinking enough water, sleeping enough, being mindful), and definitely where I need to “dial it in”. I’m looking forward to the accountability and the community, and really seeing improvements not so much in myself, but in my friends and challengers doing it with me. ]
I also think it will be a nice way to detox. I am going away to Colorado with my family, spending a week on a ranch horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and general fun and adventuring….as well as eating and drinking. I have control over my choices and how much I choose to eat and drink (which I’m told includes a lot of grilled meats and veggies…score!), but there are always things I have less control over (unknown additives/sugars/food quality). Having the challenge, and the 8 weeks of abstinence from drinking will be a welcome time to get everything running smoothly again.
In terms of physical improvements, I am looking forward to having better recovery from my workouts, and maybe leaning out a little faster. Since my diet is still pretty much on par with the challenge, I’m still consistently losing fat, even with the more lenient summer, so I don’t know how drastic it will be, but I expect some.
Anyway, It’s truly an amazing, life altering experience. I am a walking testimonial to its success. I feel better, and am a healthier person, because of it. It’s only 8 weeks, it really isn’t a long time. I think everyone owes it to themselves to try it….once….just to see. I don’t care how skeptical you are, the first time around, I was too. It’s going to be tough for some of you, the first two weeks are going to SUCK if you are addicted to your food. Some of you WILL go through withdrawals. I was lucky, because I had already started to cut back the grains and sugar, I wasn’t a food addict. Stick with it, use the website and community, and become a stronger person with me – and I think most of you who try it, will find yourselves unable, or unwilling to go back. [Also, While you will get benefits from doing it, regardless of level, I highly recomend going into it and doing the “perscribed” or RX’d – in the end, it will really show you what your body is made of, and what your food is doing to it]
Now most of my recipes are compliant, I’m going to say 99% of them are. Through the challenge, since I am going to be doing it too, they all will be. I’m hoping in the next few weeks and into the start of the challenge, to put up a few more “Not Recipe” challenge related posts, so keep an eye out.