About a month ago, I was reading Stephanie Howell’s blog and I saw her mention The Whole Life Challenge. I hadn’t heard of this site or concept at all and I was looking for an excuse to get myself back into track from all the Nutella and Starbucks I’d gotten in the habit of overdoing.
I emailed Steph to ask more questions and she very kindly and enthusiastically encouraged me to do it.
Sometimes, the universe comes together at the right time and this was one of those cases. I saw it, I decided I wanted to do it, and I signed up. All within a matter of hours.
I knew it was starting the day after I turned 40 so I thought that, too, was maybe a sign. But it also meant that I wasn’t prepared at all. At all. And if you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that I definitely lean on the organized side, so this was quite unusual. I think maybe I just didn’t want to think about it until I had to. Instead I had more lattes and more Nutella.
So Saturday came and I immediately went into panic mode. The only food I’d bought was oatmeal that was 100% oats to ensure I had some breakfast. I ate my breakfast and then went shopping for food. I also went through the house and threw away everything I knew I could no longer eat. (There wasn’t much left at this point because I hadn’t been buying much and I’d been eating whatever I bought.)
The way this challenge works is that there are 7 aspects: nutrition, 10min workout, 10min stretching, supplement, water, lifestyle(changes each week), reflections (journaling). I spent some time deciding what all these mean for me and how they will manifest in my life.
Last night, I finally decided it was time to get organized. So I sat down to list all the different parts of this process:
- Water – Drink 3 containers full of water – this is sized to work for me
- Supplement – I’ve decided to take Omega-3 for now but seeing the doctor tomorrow so we’ll see
- Stretch – The WLC site has different daily stretches they recommend and for now I am just doing those each day for 10 mins.
- Exercise – Exercise component is a bit involved for me partly because I wanted to do different things:
- Walk 10,000 steps each day
- Walk up 10 floors of stairs each day
- Do the NYTimes Scientific 7-min workout daily (I use this YouTube video)
- Nutrition – There are three different levels you can choose in the game, I’ve decided to go with LifeStyle which is the medium level. (PDF of Levels)
- LifeStyle – This week this is about no technology during Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Reflection – This is just a small amount of journaling I have to do each night. Not hard
And to ensure I don’t forget about some part, I’ve made a printable I glue to my notebook each week:
This way I can track it all day long and feel good about my progress. (you can ignore the sketching bit, that’s a different daily goal.)
So far, the biggest challenge has been the 7-minute exercise which apparently is working out muscles I didn’t even know I had. So I am sore everywhere. And, I mean: everywhere.
But, other than that, I have been doing fine with no bread or lattes or nutella. At least for three days.
My hope is that this 56-day challenge will fundamentally shift the way I eat food so that I can move my diet to a more plant and protein based one. Here’s to giving it an honest try.