When is the Next Challenge?
Folks have been asking me WHEN the next “Challenge” will be. Well, I’m sure glad they have been asking!! I’m in the preparation stage right now! I’m in the process of getting the resources edited and up in a way that will make sense and be easy to access and follow. While I’m doing that, I am preparing for my own challenge! Yep, eight months of being house bound while caring for my bed-bound mother took a toll on me, my health, my weight, my exercise routines, my sleep and my nutrition. The result is that right now I’m heavier than I’ve been in more than a decade. That’s “bad news”, right? Well, the “good news” is that I know what to do, and I’ve decided it is time! So I’m going to be on this challenge with everyone, and you’ll get to see my results and share my challenges as you participate with me!
It took a while after my mother’s passing for me to regroup and be ready to take on a commitment to myself, much less make it public and make a commitment to other folks to support them in a Health Challenge. I wanted to be confident that I had the right mindset to stick to a program, be 100% committed for myself and to show up consistently, every day for the participants. Mindset is so important! That’s why in the next challenge I’m going to ask every single participant to take 1-2 weeks to prepare before their start date. Why that long? Well I’ll tell you by sharing what I’m committing to and what I’ve been doing to prepare for my challenge, which is starting next week. This means I’ll be just a little bit ahead of you in the 90 Day Challenge, but that is Okay. Just by reading this you will be beginning your preparation phase.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”—Benjamin Franklin
Getting clear on your whys is a very important part of preparation in making any significant lifestyle change.
I already mentioned how important it is to have the right mindset in order to be successful on this (or any) program. So what does that mean? Well first of all it means you need to know your whys, meaning you have to get crystal clear about your goals and why they are important to you. You can create a vision of what you will look like, what things you will be able to do, clothes you’ll be able to wear and how you will feel when you reach the healthiest version of you. You might write down your vision and make a list of what it will be like and why it is important to you. Once you know your whys you’ll be prepared to make a commitment to yourself and to the action steps you will need to take, for at least the next 30 days. (You don’t have to commit to 90 Days if you don’t want to—you can start with 30). I had to think long and hard about my whys and be sure I was ready to make a definite decision to commit to consistently follow through on the action steps that I know will get me the results I want in the healthiest and quickest amount of time.
I’ll share some of my whys here with you. First of all, carrying this amount of weight just doesn’t work for me for a number of reasons. I’m not happy with the way I look, the way my clothes fit, and I’ve noticed changes in my health because I’ve gotten slack on both what I eat and how I eat. The result has not only been weight gain, but my blood pressure was sky high for a while. My nutrition got sloppy and I began to eat bread and pasta and other foods with gluten for the first time in years, and my joints started aching again. The lack of exercise, interruption in my sleep cycles, and the amount of stress I was experiencing were largely out of my control for while I was caring for my mother, but that is not the case anymore. Watching my mother’s illnesses over the last 20 years really drove home the importance our lifestyle choices in the quality of life we have, how long and how much we can be of service and contribution to those around us, and how those choices affect not just us (or me) but everyone around us. My choice is to be the healthiest version of me, which also means having vibrant energy, feeling good about how I look, and feeling self-confident, and staying both as active and attractive as I can. Please notice … I have evaluated “Where I am” but I am focusing on “Where I want to be”.
In addition, I had to evaluate what I’ve been doing that got me here, and what I will give up in order to reach my goals. You may laugh at my questions to myself, but I honestly asked myself, “Am I really ready to commit to giving up that teaspoon of honey and the half & half in my morning coffee, and my wine in the evening?” Those were important to me, but I have to give them up at least for a while to reach my goals. Those were the hard things for me—and really they aren’t that hard. I just had to commit to them. I’m also committing to giving up sugar and all sweeteners of any kind and any foods or condiments containing them, all grains, including corn and any corn by-products, legumes including soybeans and peanuts and any products made from them, and all dairy for AT LEAST the first 30 days of the program. So you may be asking … “Well, what’s left to eat?” Stick with me—you’ll be surprised at how good I’ll be eating! I’ll have a very diverse diet of delicious food. I won’t be starving, and within the first week, I won’t be craving any sugars. You may ask why I’m cutting out ALL of those foods. Here’s the answer: These are foods that cause people problems because they have unidentified food sensitivities or intolerance. For example, I know I’m somewhat gluten intolerant, and I feel a lot better when I don’t eat food with gluten containing grains. How did I figure that out? By eating a diet that eliminated these food from my diet several years ago. After 30 days, I may add some of these foods back and see how I feel when I do. And you’ll have the same choice on this plan.
Don’t worry, I have some resources and exercises I’ll share with you to help you with your mindset and your whys and your commitments—and I’ll provide the action steps.
Once I had the right Mindset I moved on to the next phase of my preparations:
My Kitchen, My Pantry & My Refrigerator
I identified the foods that I won’t be eating for AT LEAST the next 30 days and either moved them to a separate, less visible shelf, making space for the foods I will be eating, or I’m finishing up the last of them before my challenge starts.
- I moved all the rice, beans, pasta (even gluten free), quinoa, oatmeal, etc. to a separate cabinet or shelf.
- I read every single label on every condiment, sauce, spice combination, dressing and anything that had sugar or any sweetener of any kind was moved out. Read my post on SNEAKY SUGARS. This was a good exercise for me, as I had forgotten how often sugar is added to practically everything! Even my healthy and organic choices had sugars and/or other additives that I won’t be consuming.
- I added took inventory of my kitchen equipment and made a couple of additional purchases. I’ll make a list and post that later.
- I’m in the process of stocking my pantry and refrigerator with delicious and nutritious foods that I will be eating. The closest Trader Joe’s is about 40 miles away so I only shop there once a month and stock up. Here’s what I got:
- When I use up the last of my half & half in my coffee on Sunday, it will be the last day I have dairy, or honey, in my coffee—for at least the next 30 days. I picked up some coconut cream to try in my coffee instead of half & half and honey.
- I picked up some local eggs and veggies from a local farm.
- I’m headed to the Mathews Farmer’s Market & to the Seafood Truck tomorrow, which is a Saturday, to pick up fresh & local veggies and seafood for the coming week.
- Sunday will be the day that I make certain that I have some fast and easy meals prepared for the week by cooking in bulk. Generally I’ll make a Breakfast Frittata, cook or grill some meat in bulk, and have some vegetables prepared in advance. This time, I made my own mayo and I’ll also be making some dressings since most of the ones from the store have sugar or soybean oil in them.
- I’ve ordered some food choices on-line that will be here next week.
- I’ve put together some things to keep on hand as an “EFK”: Emergency Food Kit that I can take with me or grab in a hurry. More on those and where to get them later …
To Your Health!