Back in July, I challenged my friend Ireatha Warren to complete a whole30 challenge with me. It is not an easy challenge so naturally, it took her some time to warm up to the idea. At first, she questioned her ability to do it. Then, she realized that it was a matter of mindset. “I stopped doubting myself and just started saying I can do this.”
Once she made her mind up, she was all in. For 30 days Ireatha made significant changes to what she ate and drank and she found it to be a powerful experience. She switched out her normal breakfast (oatmeal, cereal or a ham and egg biscuit) with 2 boiled eggs and 2 pieces of bacon. She swapped out starchy snacks like popcorn and granola bars for things like nuts and fruit. One of the hardest parts for Ireatha? She said it was giving up the fried chicken but she enjoyed baked chicken as long as it was seasoned well.
I am so proud of my friend for completing the challenge with me. She lost weight, has more energy, and receives a ton of compliments now. She is another great example that believing in ourselves can play a major role in our success.
Keeping a positive mindset and getting started is one thing. Making a smooth transition and navigating back to more liberal ways can be a whole different struggle. Once the challenge is over you don’t want to just fall back into all your old ways, yet you desire a little more freedom after being so strict. How do you do it? I loved Ireatha’s thoughts: “I asked myself what are three things that I can take away from this experience and apply to my life after the challenge.” She went on to explain which changes seemed to make the biggest impact and therefore made the most sense to keep doing.
- Breakfast: She realized how important eating a good breakfast was for her. She feels her best when she eats protein-rich foods in the morning like eggs and chicken. She found that it decreased her need to snack in the afternoon and that she was able to eat a smaller dinner.
- Reading labels: She learned to pay attention to ALL parts of the food label and not just how many grams of sugar a food contains.
- Fruits and vegetables: “When you eat enough fruits and vegetables you really do feel better, and you don’t need extra snacks.” she said.
I think we can also learn from her insight on how to proceed after you finish a challenge: stick with 3 things that made a big impact.
Food For Thought and a little homework:
The whole30 challenge is eye opening, but you don’t always need to go to such extremes to learn things about yourself or improve your eating habits.
What areas in your life would benefit from a positive mindset?
List three things that you’ve learned about your body and the nutrition it needs through previous experiences. Perhaps you can start by completing this sentence. I feel my best when…