The Whole Life Challenge is a scored pseudo-competition designed to make people look at their daily decisions and how it impacts their health and wellness. The 2013 version kicked off last Saturday and lasts for two months. Every day you log in and record if you complied with the nutrition requirements of the challenge, exercising 10 minutes every day, the stretching/mobility component, supplement component (fish oil or multivitamin type supplements), and this week drinking 80 ounces of water every day. We also got measured (waist and hips) on Saturday along with doing a “baseline” fitness workout for which we’ll measure improvement at the end and get scored accordingly. Weigh in/weight loss was not part of this program since they want to promote fat loss and muscle gain instead of what the scale says.
The nutrition component is probably the hardest and worth the most on a daily basis (half your total). No grains or starchy carbs (wheat, rice, corn, white potatoes along with breads, cereal, etc). No sugar or sweetener. No dairy (except butter). No alcohol, soda or fruit juice. No artificial ingredients or processed foods (like dye or guar gum or other names you can’t pronounce). If you slip up, you lose a point each time (out of 5 each day).
Holly did this same Challenge last fall, and lost 10 pounds and inches off her waist I think which she was able to more or less maintain. The organizers want this “experiment” to stick and to transfer over after this is over. I know when she did it last time, they had other bonus points different weeks for “whole living” like getting 7+hours of sleep every night, meditating, doing 10 minutes of physical “play” every day, etc.
I’ll be honest in that while I’m following the rules, I’m not taking this thing as life changing or to the degree some people who participate do. My wife and I eat probably 80% paleo/primal and kids slightly less than that. Prior to this challenge, we frequently enjoyed wine or tequila, candy or ice cream (as part of our 20%) and for me, whole milk and yogurt along with a lot of whey protein shakes. Cutting out this stuff I think will leave me in a coloric deficit compared to previously as since it is really hard to eat too much eggs, meat, veggies and fruit since they fill you up so much.
Right now, I’m not sure how my body is reacting. It’s sort of having a hard time telling whether or not it’s hungry, which was something that occurred when I cut out eating the standard american diet of bread and processed foods. Not eating dairy is somewhat hard for me, as it was an easy snack and I used it as an easy protein and fat source post workouts. My midnight snacks are weirder too, instead of granola/nut bars or yogurt, I eat pickled herring and fruit. I hope to cut out midnight snacking and hope to sleep better, but still wake up hungry and needing to eat, sort of a bad habit at this point.
My goals for this are to see if I can stick with perfect scores most days, see if I can lose a little stomach fat and lean up before spring/summer, and to not compromise my ability to maintain or put on strength/muscle. I think the first two should be fairly easy (exceptions will be work functions/conferences where it’s difficult to eat/drink cleanly), but the last one I’m thinking is going to be hard. I used to hammer 30+ grams of protein shake right after my daily Outlaw workouts, maybe another one during the day. Much harder to eat a big hunk of meat or tuna or eggs immediately after. I am still trying to eat a metric ton of meat to varying degrees of success, but I think getting adequate quantitites of protein may be challenging. If I start to have issues recovering, I may reconsider the protein shake and may start taking a penalty for that.
We’re only a few days in, and things are going ok so far, here’s an example of meals so far:
Breakfast: eggs, bacon, banana/almond-butter/egg pancakes, , leftover steak fajitas (no tortilla with avacado)
Lunch: roast beef and veggies (restaurant), leftover dinner.
Dinner: pork roast with salad and sweet potatoes, beef and sausage “spaghetti” (with tomato sauce, no noodles), salad, steak fajitas
Snack: pickled herring, fruits, lara bars (made with dates, nuts and other “real” ingredients), nuts, avocado with spices, hard boiled eggs
I’m not in it to win it, just to see if I can tighten things up a little more. Yeah, we’re vain, I admit it, we want to look good naked and look sexy for each other, that’s really the driving force here. I realize I’ve got a little extra fat (not too bad and balanced by my increased muscle mass in all honesty), and Holly pointed it out that she’d think I’d look better without it. What was interesting was that she said I had more of a pooch when I was doing lots of endurance stuff (like 10+ hours a week) than I do now (doing probably half that of mostly weights with short high-intensity crossfitty type workouts).
I plan to share some photos when this is all done that should chronical my body change over the last couple of years. Good luck to everyone else as they work towards improving their own health and wellness in advance of spring/summer. It’s never too early to start!