I began a 45 day challenge with some other women who also wanted to make some lifestyle changes for their health, physical appearance, or overall well-being. We are using Zen Body products along with a reimagining of how we eat in order to achieve whatever goals we had set for ourselves. This is what I’ve learned (personally) since beginning this challenge:
- Cheese. I never thought it was something I could give up. I know it sounds juvenile or a little dramatic, but I’m serious. I have a love for cheese that is binding, I love cheese like Dobby loves socks or Hermione loves books, or how Harry loves to hate anything Slytherin..okay enough of the Potter references. I’ve gone the better part of 5 weeks without cheese or any dairy at all. I really did not think I could do it, but here I am, five weeks without and I’m feeling great! I don’t have any plans to go permanently without but cutting back is a legitimate goal for me and something I plan to carry with me after the challenge is complete.
- Sugar and Sodium is in everything. I’ve learned to read labels, my grocery shopping time doubled when I first began the challenge, because I was forced to read all the labels of everything I would usually just toss into my basket. Did you know they add sugar and salt to nearly everything in a can, a box, or container? Read those labels and educate yourself about what you are actually putting into your bodies. Also, just because something says, “fat free” or “organic” doesn’t automatically make it “good for you”.
- Eat on a schedule. I’ve never been a big breakfast person. But part of this program is teaching yourself to eat a healthy balanced daily diet of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, late night snack (if needed). Thats a lot of meals, right? I’ve always been a no-breakfast, lunch, and a big dinner eater. So teaching myself to eat every three hours has been one of the biggest hurdles during this challenge. I noticed the benefits of this way of eating though, I am never “starving” and when I do eat, I don’t over-eat like I would tend to do before, because I would skip meals and be really hungry late in the day.
- Coffee. There are some things I wasn’t willing to give up. Everyone has their vice. I am a caffeine addict and I will not give it up. I was supposed to cut coffee/caffeine out of my diet as well. In the name of transparency, I went one day without, and was miserably. So I haven’t given up my morning joe, but I did cut back. 🙂
- Protein is important! Okay, no surprise there. But I really never paid much attention to how I got my protein, or how much protein I ate with every meal. Now I know how much protein I should have, and that it should be incorporated in every meal you eat! It’s a really important component to have in your diet especially if you are also working out and trying to build muscle.
- I feel better! So maybe that’s not something I’ve learned but its a desired outcome of this lifestyle change I’ve committed to. I wake up feeling more refreshed, I sleep better, and also am feeling happier! I’ve also noticed a change in my skin, I think cutting out a lot of excess sugars (from alcohol and other foods) and greasy foods, has helped a lot with that. Overall this challenge has had a positive effect on my life, I would encourage anyone to do it, if you have similar health/wellness goals for yourself!
Alright here’s a before and after shot (about 10 months of progress here)
I have about 10 days left of the actual challenge, but plan to keep the good habits with me in the future (except with a little cheese love)