Hi everyone! So you may remember my post 8 weeks ago when I talked about starting the Whole Life Challenge. It’s an 8 week lifestyle change where you commit to eating healthier, working out 10 minutes a day, drinking lots of water, taking daily supplements (Vitamin D for the win!), doing 10 minutes of daily stretching/yoga, and trying a new “challenge” each week. On day one I was nervous and had a headache from sugar withdrawal. On day 56, I was a lot different! I felt great, had tons of energy, and was eating completely different meals than before!
In the past 8 weeks I’ve had to make lots of changes to my lifestyle. I’m beyond excited about what I’ve accomplished – especially that I learned how to cook, and that my taste buds changed so much. Sugar tastes so sweet now and I feel really weird and nauseous when I eat it. Overall, I lost 8 pounds and 2 pant sizes – and my husband lost 17 pounds! I also built up more speed and stamina with running (before the injury happened). The best part is that I love how I feel when I don’t eat added sugar. In fact, we’ve decided that we’re going to continue eating this way from now on with the occasional pizza or burger thrown in there. And by occasional I mean once or twice a month if possible. I know I’ll be eating lots of fun things while I’m home at the end of December, but I’m going to try to tone it down a bit. You know, like only visiting Chipotle twice or something 🙂 I just feel better when I’m not eating tons of sugar, carbs, and cheese!
I know it can be intimidating to make a giant lifestyle change like this, especially during this time of year. I honestly felt like the most unlikely person to ever complete the WLC, but I did it! If you’re interested in trying the WLC or another clean eating plan, here are some of my tips for success:
1. Get someone to keep you accountable. Part of the WLC comes from participating in online “teams” with other people who are doing the challenge. I was also very lucky to have my husband join me, so we were both able to hold each other accountable and avoid non-compliant foods together.
2. Keep foods you want to stop eating out of the house. This was key to our success! If I knew something sweet or cheesy was in the house I wouldn’t have been able to resist it at all. We’re actually going to keep up with this now that the challenge is over so that we don’t have any reason to start eating things that make us feel sick.
3. Have a plan! We started planning out our meals for the whole week and did lots of food prepping. We also started making lots of food at once so that we’d have leftovers to last us for another meal or two. When I knew I was going out for a meal, I made sure to check out the menu beforehand so that I could make a healthy choice and not get swept up in ordering all the stuff I usually would.
4. Know that sometimes you’ll want to eat non-compliant foods, and that it’s okay. During half marathon training I ate Jelly Belly Sport Beans as fuel, and after the race I ate chocolate milk and tortilla chips. And when I was in Portland, I absolutely had to have a donut at Voodoo Donut! The key to this is knowing how your body reacts to the food and listening to that. The jelly beans and chocolate milk made me feel great, while the donut did not. It’s a process learning how to listen to your body, but it makes a huge difference in how you feel after a meal!
5. Stop thinking of foods as either “good” or “bad”. Donuts aren’t bad – they just make my body feel awful. Knowing the difference between eating things that fuel your body and eating things that make your body feel awful is pretty important. This might look different for everyone, and that’s okay! For now, eating bread and pizza doesn’t make me feel as bad as eating cheesy pasta and ice cream, so I know what I need to avoid – and I know that I need to eat less bread and pizza so that I’m fueling with whole foods instead.
6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s hard to try new stuff, but if the things you’re doing now aren’t working, why not give something else a shot? I would have never thought that spaghetti squash would replace pasta for me, or that black coffee could taste so good. And I’ve always thought that meditation was weird, but I discovered that it actually makes me feel so calm and stress-free when I make it part of a daily routine!
Remember that making big changes takes time, and that you won’t see results overnight. But if something makes you feel better and run stronger then it’s definitely worth it!
If you could change one eating habit, what would it be? What’s your favorite sugar-free food?
12 thoughts on “Whole Life Challenge Recap + Healthy Tips”
Congratulations on completing the challenge and building healthy habits! It totally didn’t work out well for me. I find that trying to completely eliminate things from my diet just makes me focus on them even more. I’m just trying to focus on an “everything in moderation” mentality, especially as we head into the holidays.
That’s definitely true about the elimination thing. I literally had to get stuff out of my house in order to get through my initial cravings. And it’s so cold here that I had zero motivation to go out and buy it. I’m so glad I stuck with it, and I’m hoping I can keep it up during the holidays!
So true about the food in the house. My hubs keeps bringing in candy & I’m like KEEP IT HIDDEN!
Haha I would find it though! Now the thought of candy makes me feel sick. I’m kind of mad that sugar makes my body go crazy now because it really does taste delicious!
I’ve done a few whole30’s and 21dsd’s. They are challenging, but that’s where the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.
My tip, don’t bring it into the house, if you don’t buy it you wont eat it. Therefore shop the perimeter of the supermarket.
Also herbs and spices are your best friend. Don’t be afraid to embrace them.
Yes! I had to ban everything with sugar from my house. Now I don’t think I’ll have a problem with it at all because sugar makes me feel horrible and that alone is motivation to never buy anything with sugar on the label! I hope to be able to do a Whole30 someday, but that’s hard for me to keep up when I’m running.
Wow sounds like this worked really well for you both! I do try to eat a pretty clean diet and cut sugar where ever I can. Being a vegetarian most of these plans don’t work for me. I do find cutting sugar all together is so tough but like you, I feel better when I do. Small changes make big differences!
It’s so hard to cut it altogether! It’s in almost everything out there. I’ve been eating a bit now that I’m off the challenge and I can’t believe how awful it makes me feel, even when I’m eating something most people would think of as “non-sugary” like a burger. You’re definitely doing it right by cutting sugar where you can. Anything helps!
Oh my goodness – congratulations – what incredible results!! I hadn’t heard of this plan before I read your blog but I love the sound of it!! And these are fantastic tips for anyone!! 🙂
Thanks! I’m so excited that I was able to see big changes and feel so good. I’m hoping to keep up with it for a while!
Congrats on completing the challenge! I agree, there’s no “good” or “bad” foods. Moderation is so important.
I’m so glad to hear you had such a great experience with the WLC!! It’s a big challenge but it sounds like you nailed it and walked away with some excellent new outlooks, congrats! 🙂