Last week we celebrated the end of the January push-up challenge. Congratulations to those who made it to the end. You have now formed yourself a good habit!! This challenge was sparked on a national level to benefit the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. If you’re interested in making a donation to the Children’s Cancer Research Fun, you can go to: http://www.childrenscancer.org/main/ways_to_donate/. I wasn’t a fan of a 3-party site, so it’s much safer to donate directly on the site.
Before you read the next Challenge . . . don’t forget about the Chocolate Run on Saturday, February 19. Also, Lonnie Poland is leading a Yoga/Meditation Retreat on February 19.
Speaking of Challenges, the next 100 Day Challenge has been officially scheduled to start on Monday, March 5. If you have friends or family interested, please lead them to http://www.100dayvtchallenge.wordpress.com. This Challenge focuses on shifting into a healthy lifestyle through movement & nutrition with real food. People can also call 849-6621.
Many of you like my custom jump rope. I’ve been trading voice mail messages with the owner of a popular jump rope company. However, I want to negotiate a volume discount and was wondering how many of you are interested. Please fill out this poll.
Now on to this month’s Challenge …
They say you can turn a new behavior into a habitual one by repeating it for 21 days. What do you think?
I know some of you tested this theory with push-ups and I’ll tell you what, I’m doing at least 200 a day now without effort. I just do some in the morning, when I get home from work and before I go to bed. It takes a total of maybe 5 minutes out of my day. Since this push-up challenge, it’s great to see other movement challenges posted and followed. As a result of everyone’s enthusiasm and hunger for challenges, I thought a nutrition challenge would be a perfect compliment.
Read on and tell me if you’re in!!!
No Simple Carbs for 21 Days
I know what you’re thinking, “What about Valentines Day?” Yes, the 21 days excludes February 14. This challenge starts on February 6 and ends on February 27.
Give Up the Following for 21 Days–100% of it:
- Refined grains like white bread, white rice and enriched pasta
- Processed foods such as cake, candy cookies and chips
- White potatoes
- Soft drinks & Juice
- Have Kids? Going “cold turkey” with your kids will be hard, so challenge them by asking them to select one or two simple carbs that they want to eliminate.
WARNING! People who suddenly attempt sugar withdrawal are likely to have a few weeks of poor energy, cravings for sugar loaded foods, and depression. Some also have flu-like symptoms when undergoing sugar withdrawal. Sugar withdrawal is often challenging because so many prepared foods contain sugar, or sugar based substances. This includes high fructose corn syrup. As well, many simple carbohydrates convert to sugar in the body. Alcohol is a “hidden sugar” too. So if people merely cut out table sugar, but continue to drink alcohol or eat packaged foods they may not experience sugar withdrawal.
DON’T GIVE UP! Most people find that physical cravings for sugar will end within three to four weeks after complete sugar withdrawal.
Your body uses carbohydrates (carbs) to make glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going.
Your body can use glucose immediately or store it in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.
Healthier foods higher in carbohydrates include ones that provide dietary fiber and whole grains as well as those without added sugars.
What about foods higher in carbohydrates such as sodas and candies that also contain added sugars? Those are the ones that add extra calories but not many nutrients to your diet. Your body quickly breaks down simple carbs, giving your blood sugar a spike and sending you running back to the kitchen or snack machine within hours of your last fix. Unless you’re an athlete or need a sudden rush of energy for some reason, it’s usually best to avoid these carbs in your daily diet.
Bottom line, nothing white, no soda, no sugar. Fill that void with complex carbs (here’s a good list)
Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything run on autopilot? Chores, exercise, eating healthy and getting your work done just happening automatically. Unless they manage to invent robot servants, all your work isn’t going to disappear overnight. But if you program behaviors as new habits you can take out the struggle.
With a small amount of initial discipline, you can create a new habit that requires little effort to maintain. Here are some tips for creating new habits and making them stick:
1. Commit to Thirty Days – Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain. A month is a good block of time to commit to a change since it easily fits in your calendar.
2. Make it Daily – Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick. If you want to start exercising, go to the gym every day for your first thirty days. Going a couple times a week will make it harder to form the habit. Activities you do once every few days are trickier to lock in as habits.
3. Start Simple – Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. It is easy to get over-motivated and take on too much. If you wanted to study two hours a day, first make the habit to go for thirty minutes and build on that.
4. Remind Yourself – Around two weeks into your commitment it can be easy to forget. Place reminders to execute your habit each day or you might miss a few days. If you miss time it defeats the purpose of setting a habit to begin with.
5. Stay Consistent – The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick. If you want to start exercising, try going at the same time, to the same place for your thirty days. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to stick.
6. Get a Buddy – Find someone who will go along with you and keep you motivated if you feel like quitting.
7. Form a Trigger – A trigger is a ritual you use right before executing your habit. If you wanted to wake up earlier, this could mean waking up in exactly the same way each morning. If you wanted to quit smoking you could practice snapping your fingers each time you felt the urge to pick up a cigarette.
8. Replace Lost Needs – If you are giving up something in your habit, make sure you are adequately replacing any needs you’ve lost. If watching television gave you a way to relax, you could take up meditation or reading as a way to replace that same need.
9. Be Imperfect – Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. It took me four independent tries before I started exercising regularly. Now I love it. Try your best, but expect a few bumps along the way.
10. Use “But” – A prominent habit changing therapist once told me this great technique for changing bad thought patterns. When you start to think negative thoughts, use the word “but” to interrupt it. “I’m no good at this, but, if I work at it I might get better later.”
11. Remove Temptation – Restructure your environment so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days. Remove junk food from your house, cancel your cable subscription, throw out the cigarettes so you won’t need to struggle with willpower later.
12. Associate With Role Models – Spend more time with people who model the habits you want to mirror. A recent study found that having an obese friend indicated you were more likely to become fat. You become what you spend time around.
13. Run it as an Experiment – Withhold judgment until after a month has past and use it as an experiment in behavior. Experiments can’t fail, they just have different results so it will give you a different perspective on changing your habit.
14. Swish – A technique from NLP. Visualize yourself performing the bad habit. Next visualize yourself pushing aside the bad habit and performing an alternative. Finally, end that sequence with an image of yourself in a highly positive state. See yourself picking up the cigarette, see yourself putting it down and snapping your fingers, finally visualize yourself running and breathing free. Do it a few times until you automatically go through the pattern before executing the old habit.
15. Write it Down – A piece of paper with a resolution on it isn’t that important. Writing that resolution is. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result.
16. Know the Benefits – Familiarize yourself with the benefits of making a change. Get books that show the benefits of regular exercise. Notice any changes in energy levels after you take on a new diet. Imagine getting better grades after improving your study habits.
17. Know the Pain – You should also be aware of the consequences. Exposing yourself to realistic information about the downsides of not making a change will give you added motivation.
18. Do it For Yourself – Don’t worry about all the things you “should” have as habits. Instead tool your habits towards your goals and the things that motivate you. Weak guilt and empty resolutions aren’t enough.