For most people, diet and lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight. If you have spent decades engraining certain habits and rituals, those things don’t simply flip off like a desk lamp. Despite your strongest intent, the actions sometimes just don’t kick in. Day after day, month after month, the changes you want to make are staring at you in the mirror, on the scale, in the gym, and even on your dinner plate.
If this sounds familiar, it was for people like you that the paleo challenges, popular among crossfit boxes, were created. Sort of like the good version of rehab, the challenges are a way to hold you accountable to healthy eating and living for 4-8 weeks. But unlike a stay at Passages, you get to use your own toothbrush and have full visitation rights.
This information is probably old news to most of you, so why am I writing this article? Inevitably, after every challenge I’ve run, there are always a few people that return to their old pre-paleo habits. Despite SEEING and FEELING drastic changes in their physical, mental, and social well-being, they just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stick with it. Why is that?
Usually it’s because they are treating the challenge like a literal competitive challenge. Something temporary. They accomplished the goal - or even better, they won a podium spot - and now the challenge is over. Time to kick the heels up until next year’s paleo challenge. After all, who cares if they put on some weight or feel a little worse, since they can fix it next time? Well, it doesn’t take a behavioral psychology Ph.D to see the drastic flaws in this approach.
With the Whole Life Challenge now underway, I wanted to nip this thing in the bud. As a nutrition and metabolism coach, it’s my job and my passion to get you folks healthy. Forever. And this means clearing up a few things about the WLC and paleo challenges.
Yes, these events are based on points. Yes, you can win. Yes, I encourage you try to win. But if you had to choose between winning a 55-day challenge and adding 10 years to your life, which do you pick? (Hint: Those extra 10 years are pain-free and disease-free.)
The goal of these events is to CREATE NEW HABITS. Lifelong sustainable habits. These 4-8 weeks pull back the curtain on how easily attainable this lifestyle is. And if you’re not ready to take the plunge and go cold turkey, we’re here to be your support group. Myself, the other coaches, the other members, and hopefully your own friends and family. You have a chance to undue decades of damage in just a matter of months. However…
- If you view this as a competition for points, and not a way to change your life, you will not receive all its benefits.
- If you think you’re going to create new habits by initially following the “80/20” rule, they will not stick.
- If you don’t give your body a legitimate chance to heal and run efficiently, you will never fully know what “healthy” feels like.
In order to break the rules, you have to learn them. I am completely supportive of splurging and having cheat meals. However, the Challenge is not the time for them. If you’ve been eating a standard American diet, or even what Whole Foods tells you is healthy, chances are your gut, metabolism, and hormones are all out of whack. You’ve been living with a constant exposure to toxicity that you don’t even recognize anymore. Use this time to go clean slate and find a new baseline of health. THEN allow yourself the freedom of splurging.
Almost every client I run a 4-week diet reset with, reports back after his/her first cheat meal: “I felt awful, hungover, and tired. I was completely out of commission the next day.” Welcome to exposing a clean system to bad food. Now you can make an educated decision whether or not splurge. But you have to get yourself to that point first.
Signing up for the WLC or a paleo challenge is a great first step. I commend anyone who has done it, for at least taking action. Now, let me help you do it right. I have been doing this a while and have guided hundreds of clients through them. I guarantee I have heard all the excuses and complaints before. Lay ‘em on me, and I can help.
If you have signed up (or will) for the WLC, there’s no need to register for anything other than Performance Level. Even that advanced level allows for foods that, in my opinion, should be eliminated during an initial reset. Scaled levels allow for way too many variables that could be hindering your progress. In order to maximize results, and sometimes to see any results at all, you have to go in 100%. Like, stand up from the table and pace around until the cards are revealed - all in. It takes that kind of dedication.
“Only those that truly desire something, with all of their being, will seek ways to attain it.”
As always, reach out to us if you need to. We’re here to help you live longer and healthier lives.
If you have never given much thought to your diet, or are unsure if you’re doing things right, a paleo challenge is extremely useful and can be life-changing.
Use the Whole Life Challenge (or any paleo challenge) as a way to create new habits, not as a temporary competition.
Utilize your support system to stick with it and get you through sticking points.