The 30 Day Nutrition Challenge: Reset Your Body and Mind
After a lifetime on the dieting and restriction merry-go-round, partaking in almost every fad diet available over the past 20 years, I decided some time ago now, that enough was enough.
From Jenny Craig to meal replacement shakes, blood type diets to soup slims. All were entered into with the promise of weight loss, and although they delivered in that aspect, it was only for whatever short period I stuck to them, until I binged! Of course, the weight soon returned (usually with some extra for good measure) and all I really got of each experience was further damage to my hormones, metabolism and confidence – but that’s another blog for another day!
When I realised that diets were doing me more harm than good, I began to actually learn more about nutrition – how food fuels our body and why we need some things and can do without others. I started to tune into my own body and realise there was no one size fits all approach to health, or weight loss for that matter.
I came to realise that freedom and thriving health was what I craved, not necessarily a size 4 dress! Once I started to listen to the feedback my body was giving me, I noticed just how clever it was at telling me what it did and didn’t need, what it did and didn’t like! One thing it doesn’t like is restriction. In fact, it hates restriction. Calorie deficits, forced fasting, low fat foods, certain foods off limits indefinitely, chemical concoctions instead of real food, etc – they are all forms of restriction!
These days I primarily choose real, whole foods that make me feel good and allow my body to thrive. Some foods have adverse reactions (thank you IBS) so I avoid them more than others, but nothing is ‘off limits’ as such.
Although I don’t binge like I once did, some days I make better food choices than other days. Certain foods are still very tempting when I front of me and I definitely still emotionally eat – even if it is ‘healthy’ food!
Dieting is most definitely something of the past, so when my local gym recently advertised that they were kicking off a 30 day nutrition challenge, my first thought was that I wasn’t interested. At all. Although it wasn’t called a diet, I still suspected that it was, until I found out more!
It turns out that the challenge was to promote mindful healthy eating habits, encourage consumption of high quality foods, and to give people a chance to reset their body from processed foods. It was not a weight loss program and they claimed it was not restrictive. Hmm, maybe it would be okay. Maybe it would align with my values and food philosophy. I shot a message off to one of our trainers with some more questions.
Is it calorie controlled?
Are (good) fats eliminated?
Does a meal plan have to be followed?
The answers were no, no and no and this self-proclaimed diet-free Mama was now considering joining the challenge!
There was a prize up for grabs after all! But there was also a small matter of me being away on holidays for a third of the challenge. Yes, 10 days away, 7 on a cruise ship, would probably not be the best time to embark on a nutrition challenge – or would it? I thought long and hard and decided it would probably be the perfect time to join in!
I knew that when on our cruise I would be faced with unlimited temptations, and if nothing else, this challenge would make me more mindful and aware of how I was fueling my body, as well as encourage me to make better choices, particularly while away on holidays. So, I’ve done it. I’ve signed up to the nutrition challenge and have committed to 30 days of mindful choices – even while cruising the Pacific Ocean! It won’t be strict, and it won’t be perfect, but it will be great!
Starting August 1st I am going to keep a diary of my month to share my experience, feelings (physically and emotionally) and any juicy healthy tips I discover along the way.
The truth is, although I eat a lot of beautiful, healthy food, I have also found myself eating more of that stuff that makes me not feel so great over the past few months, and I am looking forward to tuning back into my body more attentively to improve its function again.
Stay posted for my nutrition challenge blog series over the next month and consider which positive actions you can take to make your body thrive in August. Maybe you want to drink more water? Move your body regularly? Introduce fermented foods? Get more sleep? Eat more veggies?