Have you ever wanted to change something in your life – a habit, a trend, an outlook – but a nasty mix of momentum + lack of willpower kept you from giving it a try?
I know I’m in that boat. Whether it’s scrolling through social media before getting out of bed, staying up too late on the computer, or finding myself 10 feet deep in a salty-sweet snack attack death spiral…I have a few things I’d like to sweep away in exchange for healthier habits. We all do, I think.
One of the things I have always wanted to try is a healthy eating challenge. Not a diet. A challenge. Why? Because there are a few things about my current eating habits that I’d like the opportunity to analyze and step away from. Despite having a sensitive stomach, I tend to find comfort in a heaping plate of burrata or an endless bag of salty popcorn. I’ll pick pizza over paleo any day, and I’ve justified banana bread as a fruit product for way longer than an any adult ever should. The result? My stomach has unfriended me.
I will spare you the details, but after too many days (and weeks, and years) of feeling not good and shrugging it off, I’ve decided to do something about it. I also have my other half to thank – he’s the one that suggested finally committing to it, and is doing the challenge right along with me.
So what is this challenge? It’s not Whole 30, although it’s definitely inspired by it. It’s not strictly Paleo, not really vegan, and definitely not a weight loss pursuit of any kind. It’s a mix of healthy eating ideas and habits that I’ve picked up through being in the wellness space long enough to see what has + hasn’t worked for people.
All I know is that this is my challenge, and by naming it as such I feel much more ownership and investment in making it work. For the next 30 days, here are my simple rules.
Things I will steer clear from
- refined grains
- processed sweets
- anything with added sugar
Things I will eat more of
- chicken + turkey
- beans, legumes, quinoa
Things that are okay in moderation
- dark chocolate
- coffee (okay, not so much in moderation, but I’m going to give it an honest try)
I’m currently on day three and genuinely excited about what the next 27 days will bring. It’s definitely not easy – I miss my overnight oats for breakfast and late-afternoon pretzel binge – but I’m committed to trying my darndest to make it all the way through.
What do I hope will happen? I’m hoping that somewhere along the line my stomach demeanor improves, my sweet-salty cravings subside, my energy levels stabilize, and I generally feel more awesome. That may be a lot to ask from 30 days without carbs or sugar, but I’m putting it out there anyway.
Finally, know that this is a challenge I am doing for myself. I am not a registered dietitian, I am not a food + wellness expert with years of study under my belt, and I am not a nutritionist. I am not asking you to join me in this journey, but I know many of you have tried challenges like this before or are committed to this lifestyle all the time. If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any tips + tricks + recipes you might have to share.