Given this isn’t my first WLC “rodeo” I’ll spend my last mandated journal entry providing what I think are “hacks” to make the WLC a little more do-able. Some of these may fall into the category of obvious. If so, I blame the 10 minute writing minimum. I’d also like to note that this lifestyle challenge, journaling, the first of eight in the challenge ended up being a pleasant surprise to me. I enjoy spending a few minutes each day writing in non-email form. Make this an email for work and it will sit half-written and open in my Microsoft Outlook for what seems like days before it gets sent. But I digress…
Today I thought I’d list some of the things I like doing to make the WLC a bit more hospitable. For you to benefit from or ignore, either way I get a check in the box for journaling.
- Plan meals in advance – this takes work. Best part of having Cindy do the WLC is that she’s amazing at this.
- Plan snacks in advance. Nuts, raisins, Larabars, dried fruit (unsweetened), real fruit, hard boiled eggs are always on hand.
- Fruit in water – gives some variety to the endless H2O battle.
- Set a timer to get up every hour at work and do a minute or two of stretching. Before sitting back down go refill that water bottle.
- Fresh almond butter, peanut butter are a great add to many, many things.
- Ready-now brown rice and/or quinoa in a rice cooker.
- Park further away or take the long walk into the office. On tough days 5 minutes of walking into work and 5 minutes out of work can count as your exercise.
Week #1 is always the hardest. Weeks 2 and 3 are where you start to feel/see some early benefits. Plus, the WLC gives you some breaks and free cheats to help keep you interested. You can find me at Brewster’s on my first indulgence token.
What are your favorite hacks? Tricks to stay ahead of the WLC? Please share.
Four days into the WLC and my biggest challenge in the challenge continues to be eating. Specifically eating enough protein. Cindy is convincing me that this is behind my spate of calf injuries over the past 2-4 years. I think she’s right.
Here’s the math: 6 foot man of average weight/build needs somewhere between 80-100 grams of protein per day or so the Internet tells me. I get 25-28 from my morning shake but on some days that can be my peak for the day. Yesterday I had a shoddy lunch (read: I missed a full lunch) and ate nuts at a couple of different windows in the afternoon. Then the bean surprise and an apple with real peanut butter for dessert and I may have ended up with 50-60 grams of protein total for the day. Not. Even. Close.
So, the presenter theory from Cindy is to make a simple dietary adjustment: eat meat. While a sure fix then that puts me back in the mode of not feeling efficient and as good as I do without the meat. Plus the return to regular stomach issues isn’t something I want to return to anytime soon.
This leaves me at an interesting point and with the same general conclusion: I love to run. I REALLY LOVE to run. I like not eating meat. Therefore I need to find protein in more places than I currently am. Simple, right? Maybe not as much as I thought.
More fish? More beans? More shakes? Any more ideas? I’d love to hear them.
This is round of three of the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) for me and by far the most frequent question I get asked is: “Why do you do it?” Contrary to Cindy’s belief that I truly enjoy removing things from my world regardless of the pain created, the simplest answer is I like how I feel when I’m in the Challenge. It holds me accountable to do the things I aspire to do on most days anyways. Exercise, stretch, drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier. I’m confident when I don’t do one or more of these things I feel notably worse than if I had done them.
My reasons for participating in the WLC have shifted since my first round. Initially my reason was to dump my ridiculous sugar habit. Once and for all. A habit that I know I came into through only the best intended genetics. Generations of chocolate pies, scratch-made chocolate chip cookies, coconut cakes and even Publix-baked sweets left me a mere hapless victim. Unleash me into the freedoms of college and where found I could buy and consume frosting by the tubs as reward for a completed paper or exam. Then see me through marriage and early child-raising where homemade cookies and sweets were reward for running mileage goals met and less sleep than I ever thought imaginable. While still a side-benefit, detoxing from sugar is no longer my sole focus. I found after about 2-3 weeks into the first round that I felt really good. Alert during the slow part of the day. More rested when I woke up. More efficient when I worked out. I can tell whether I had a good day of food or a bad day of food when I wake up each morning. The difference is stark.
Why do I WLC? For the feeling. Sure the challenge is what I like too and truth-be-told, I do like the simplicity that a life with less offerings. It is probably a big part of the reason why I stopped eating meat. Being a veggie vastly simplifies eating out in the days of multi-page menus. The challenge of the WLC is worth exploring a bit more in a different journal entry. For now, just trust me. If you work to eat better, drink more water, exercise a little and sleep with higher quality the benefits on how you feel are right around the corner, just past the sugar detox shakes and sweats.
Just Do It. Challenge. Top that. Help me. All words that make me want to do something, better, more. Two 56-day challenges ago a good friend of mine inspired me to act. He may not know it but his introduction to me of the Whole Life Challenge (WLC) hit two words near and dear to my action sensors: Challenge and Accountability. Both words inspire me want to do something but for differing reasons.
One word hits my inner ego. The part of my mind that says “don’t lose.” The part of my mind that says you can’t do anything unless you try it. This is the part of my mind that competes wildly with self doubt and doesn’t always win. Such a loss means I stay dormant on the thought, inactive. Almost hiding from the very thing that inspires me to act.
The other word hits the part of me that gets me moving. Not exactly peer pressure but maybe a cousin of it. When I think of always striving to do good I find I sometimes do good. When I SAY I want to always do good I find it is harder to veer from that goal. That’s the power of another set of eyes. I find nothing inspires action in me more. I’ll admit, there’s probably some first-childism surfacing here that only a therapist could explain.
As I embark on another 56-day journey I find myself more excited about this challenge than the previous two. Maybe a part of the excitement is a lack of fear. This time, I know I can do it. Maybe not the challenge it once was but still a long ways from being a lay-up. Some of the excitement is in the accountability. It is the difference between eating 1/2 pound of M&Ms in the nights before the WLC started and eating raisins and cashews for “dessert” the night after the WLC started. But primarily my excitement stems from the camaraderie with the other folks on the team. It is fun to see the struggles, surprises and frankly learn more about people you thought you already knew everything (or at least a lot) from simple daily statements shared across the team. From the challenge I know Alex has an odd affection for the cracker product. My brother has a wit in writing I never knew existed. Cindy fears meditating. Tracy finds sneaky good meals that are compliant. I look forward to learning what I’ll learn about others this round.
Lastly, a few parting thoughts for those on their first round of the WLC. The first week is the hardest. Getting food right takes time, effort and discovery. Pinterest is your friend (yep, said it publicly). If you need ideas on compliant meals, snacks, etc. let those who have done this help. If you find things you like to eat, share it as most of us are still looking for the elusive joy in eating known as variety. It is alright to fall off the wagon. In fact, it is inevitable. Wagons by nature move slow. Just get back up and jump back on it.