So far we have got over 30 people committed to losing atleast a couple of kilos or cm’s off their waist by the end of November. I think this is a great challenge and it should get a few people in better shape to take on the festive season and Summer.
The downside to my challenge has been the NOsugarVEMBER. I know that food is an issue with a lot of people. Too much focus can cause anxiety and can trigger eating disorders. A challenge to some people can have problems associated with it that others simply wouldn’t understand. So, if this is you and you are feeling some sort of pressure, please don’t and please focus on the positive aspects. I will outline my solution which should still help you to shed a kilo/cm or two
When I set up these no sugar challenges, I do it for a few of reasons.
Some people have no idea how much sugar they actually consume and setting yourself 30 days to go without really drives that point home. On this point, once you have done that once, you pretty much know how much you used to eat and how much better/lighter you feel without it.
Another reason is that some people gradually go off track and before they know it, they are smashing the sugar at levels rivalling how they did it pre no sugar. This is where a 30 challenge can come in handy to snap them out of it.
Yet another reason is that people love to do things as a team. So if you are thinking about cutting back because you’re ready to drop some weight and feel better, then what better way to do it than with a group of like minded people! How many of you have put on facebook about your 30 day challenge. It can be exciting to challenge yourself!
There are a couple of reasons that are not why I set the challenge.
First reason that is not applicable is the air of superiority that can accompany some people when they do something different and possibly better than other people. This is rampant in Crossfitters who believe they exercise better than anyone else. Yes, they push themselves and do good exercises, but get a grip, it’s fitness, not brain surgery. Unfortunately some people also think that because they eat “Paleo” that they are superior to others. Once again, it’s a diet. Yes, it’s a good one, but it’s a diet and that’s it. If you want to eat that way, thats great, but keep it to yourself and keep your ego under control. BTW if you eat paleo 80% of the time, you don’t eat paleo, you eat a fairly clean diet. If I drove 80% of the way to work, I’d be on a freeway, 20% of the way away from work and I could hardly claim I was at work now could I.
Secondly, I don’t do it to make people feel bad. Sugar is an addictive substance and we should be minimising it in our diets, but some people feel pressured in these challenges and start to fall apart if they screw up. This can trigger a follow on effect that will see them go further off the rails and get down on themselves and eat worse food. This can never be mine or any other health professionals intent.
So how do we get around it?
Well before I answer that, I want to point out to you my post challenge guidelines. It is never to be 100% sugar free. It is always to give you guidelines that are manageable that will see you living with way less sugar in your diet. Now if you live like this, you don’t really need a challenge to set you straight, because you’re already living the dream. Bear in mind if you’ve gone off the rails, the challenge will probably set you straight again. Following my post challenge guidelines is easily doable and will keep you level headed about it all for the long term, no yo yo sugar, no sugar, sugar, no sugar etc. I believe a very small amount of sugar in manageable amounts will keep you healthier than the extreme actions of yo yo-ing. If you can’t remember my post challenge guidelines scroll down to the 30 day challenge post and have a read.
Note, that if you live sugar free and love it and don’t have an issue. I commend you, but don’t pour your self righteousness onto others who don’t share your constitution.
So, about these ideas for people who struggle with food.
Set yourself some manageable guidelines. My post challenge guidelines are a good place to start, but that may not work for you. If you need something more specific, you have to look at your current diet. How many days a week do you have alochol? Can we half or quarter that? How many days do you eat sweets? Can we cut that down to 1 or 2? How many meals do you eat that involve a starchy carb? Could that be reduced to 1 specific night of the week? Setting certain foods/drinks for certain days is good, because it takes the thought out of it, but you can also look forward to it.
I think you can see what I am getting at. Cutting down can be a lot more manageable than cutting out and it will still get results but it will keep you focussed. It is much easier to say to someone, “you can’t have a drink until the weekend” rather than “you can’t drink for 30 days”. For some people that may be an improvement of 3 days a week!
The main thing with this system is that you must be making improvements. You can’t say “I will only drink on the weekend” if you only drink on the weekends now! What change is that? Don’t limit sweets to twice a week if you already have them twice a week. If it is a massive task to go to once a week, a stepping stone can be once this week and twice next week. Remember, I am trying to make the transition as easy as possible for the many people who have food issues.
I am going to finish on one big point. Try not to focus on it all too much, just do what you can do to make yourself healthier and keep your sanity. Setting guidelines takes the thought out if it! You just stick to the manageable plan you set!