Hi everyone! Today’s post is going to get pretty real. See, I have a secret that I don’t usually like to talk about: I’m a hot mess when it comes to being healthy. Sure, I work out almost every day and can run long distances. But that’s not really what makes a person healthy. If you take a look at what I’m eating you would find this:
Breakfast: Cereal and milk, with some coffee (cream and sugar)
Lunch: Soup, salad, or yogurt – and I eat out once per week
Mid-afternoon snack: Candy, a sugary coffee drink, or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
Dinner: Pizza, pasta, or tacos
Dessert: Ice cream and/or cookies. Yes, and.
No veggies, barely any fruit, no homemade meals, and a whole lot of carbs, cheese, and sugar. I sometimes wonder why anyone would give up carbs and sugar because they are the best tasting foods on earth and I need them in my life on a daily basis. But what if I actually don’t? What if they’re actually what is making me sluggish, tired, and a bit larger than usual?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my diet is hurting me. It’s not only hurting my body and my waistline, it’s hurting my running performance and my everyday life. And I need to do something about it. So after asking some of my fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors for ideas, I got a lot of advice – most of which was confusing, contradictory, and not very helpful. The main reason that I’ve just stuck to my current diet for so long is that there are so many different “diets” and ways to eat, and it’s hard to figure out which way is the best. What does my body really need, especially as a runner? How can I fuel my body enough to run for hours at a time while staying healthy? All I know is that I need to do a total reset to get my body out of the sugar and carb addiction that it’s currently in, and move towards a long-term healthy lifestyle.
And that’s when I got the most helpful suggestion of all: Jess from Jess Runs Happy told me about the Whole Life Challenge, an 8 week challenge that incorporates 7 healthy living aspects to get participants to make healthy, long-term changes. The challenge runs from September 19th through November 13th, and each day you have to eat WLC compliant foods, exercise for at least 10 minutes, work on mobility, take a supplement (such as Vitamin D), drink 1/3 of your body weight in ounces of water, and reflect on your experience with the challenge. You also have a new lifestyle challenge to work on each week, such as getting more sleep, doing meditation, etc. When you do each of these things you get points for completion. If you choose to eat something that is not WLC compliant, you lose a food point. This means that if necessary, you can step away from the nutrition guidelines for certain meals if you think it’s worth it. I will be doing the Lifestyle level of the challenge, which is the middle level. You can see all of the foods I can and can’t eat here. It’s meant to be a challenge but one that is sustainable for the rest of my life, not just for 8 weeks. And I love that it’s not a “diet” and it’s not just about the food – it’s about making healthier choices in every aspect of your life. I honestly need to work on all 7 of those aspects!
Now just to be clear, I’m not usually a food challenge type of girl. You will never see me do a Whole30 challenge or give up carbs forever. I don’t believe in cutting out whole food groups and believe that with moderation you can eat anything. But the problem with me is that I never really got an idea of what a healthy diet should look like. Growing up, my family always like to make quick meals that were not always the healthiest, and I was an extremely picky eater. I’ve never really pushed myself to try new healthy foods, and always stuck to the same unhealthy meals once it was my turn to cook. I don’t have an understanding of what is truly healthy and how healthy foods can make my body feel. And without a challenge aspect, I’ll have really good intentions to change my eating behaviors…until a pizza comes along.
So I’ve decided to give it a try to see how my body feels without my usual unhealthy food choices. I am officially signed up for the Whole Life Challenge! This is a huge deal for me because I am obsessed with food, so I’m both excited and nervous to see what happens. I’m fully aware I’m going to go through some withdrawal from giving up sugar, and I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this will be in week one. But my husband and I have been thinking about this for a while now, and we’re already starting to prepare for the challenge. As we eat the remaining junk food in our house, we don’t buy replacements. And each time we go to the store we buy only foods that are WLC compliant. Yesterday we came home from the store with only one item that has sugar in it, and I’m starting to realize that I can still eat some really yummy stuff – including oatmeal as pre-run fuel! I’m going to be on the hunt for some healthy recipes that are WLC compliant, and I’ll make sure to share my favorites with everyone on here.
And if you think this sounds like a great idea, please join me! I’m currently the captain of a one-person team (my husband is doing it too but isn’t officially signing up on the website). My team name is WLC Runners and I’d love to have some other awesome runners/bloggers join my team!
Have you ever done a healthy living challenge before? Do you have any tips or recipes for someone who is going sugar free and cutting out lots of dairy and carbs?