Hey y’all, I made it through the four week challenge. And when I say “I made it”, I mean that the Earth rotated on its axis 28 full times, while I continued to be aware that I was on some sort of plan. If any of that had failed to happen, I would have considered this month a failure. So, success!! Yeah, I know. Low bar.
The simple way to look at this is that I experienced two separate phases. The first two weeks were great. I felt strong and my digestive system was thanking me for the break from the ordinary American diet. The last two weeks have been a bit of a struggle. I feel a little like a marathon runner who trained super hard for a half marathon. Cruising along for the first half and dragging myself across the finish line.
I do have to report a success, though. Overall, even with my coasting to the finish, I lost almost 8 lbs! So, what have I learned from this?
- Two weeks is the longest I should change my eating habits this drastically. I can do it for that period of time. Any longer is just asking for trouble, and a potential yo-yo effect.
- Weekdays are much easier to stay committed than the weekends. I guess this is obvious, but we’re more likely to hang out with friends and attend social events on the weekends. This makes it harder to resist the opportunity for indulgences.
- Temptation is everywhere. Lauren found it difficult just to go to work, where they often have food brought in or put out for the staff to eat.
- Traveling is tough because of the convenience of fast food and being out of one’s routine. It’s easy for the mind to convince the body that travel=vacation, which means vacation from healthy living.
- My body appreciates it when I avoid dairy. Look, I live in Wisconsin. It’s extremely hard to avoid this particular temptation – especially cheese and ice cream (or frozen custard). Now, the only time I ever use milk is on my cereal, but that is still a big deal for me. I’ve tried to use nut milks but they’re not the same. But, then my body reminds me how poorly I digest real milk, and I swear it off until the next time that the cereal box beckons me.
- The easiest part of this whole plan was making shakes in the morning. They were delicious and a simple way to start the day. Sneaking spinach or kale into the shake gives me a boost of greens without me even noticing. I’ll continue to have these most mornings.
- I need to get more consistent with my exercise routine. I’ve said this for years, but my goals are going to remain just out of reach unless I stick to consistent exercise. I did this for a couple of weeks but then it tailed off in the last week and a half.
As I move into the summer months (June starts on Thursday!), I’m not going to be doing any kind of plan like this. I’m glad I did it, and it has taught me a lot about my abilities and tendencies. I will try to save dairy for special occasions. And I’ll continue to drink the shakes as many mornings as I can. I expect that an active summer with some mindfulness about my food intake will yield the result I’m looking for.