We just ran a Nutrition Challenge at the gym Gabe manages and I coach at for NCFIT. It lasted for the entire month of November, and it included three major rules: No Sugar, No Booze, and No Processed Foods. I know what you're thinking- "then what CAN I eat?!" The answer is simple, and yet it stops so many people in their tracks. Eat real food. Eat whole foods, mostly veggies, and lean proteins, and nuts & seeds, and fruit. To set our members up for success, I sent out weekly emails, and I've decided to share some of the info I included in those emails for you in the off chance you, too, might want to challenge yourself this season to prioritize YOU.
Here are some tips if you find yourself wanting to cut the crap, and don't know where to start:
Drink plenty of water- the daily recommended amount is half your bodyweight in ounces. If you have trouble drinking water by itself, try adding some fruit to it (lemon, blueberries, or orange slices are really great).
Eat your veggies- Green leafy vegetables will help your body detox, and they aren’t as calorically dense, so you can keep yourself busy eating them. Snacks like carrots, cucumbers, and snap peas are great to keep your mouth busy especially when you’re craving something sweet.
Check ALL labels- you would be surprised by the things that have added sugar, or even ingredients you cannot pronounce. I suggest playing it safe, and avoiding all processed foods (anything that wouldn’t be considered an “ingredient”), but I do understand that might be too much to handle right off the bat. Check the labels of everything you are putting into your body- if there is added sugar, put it down and walk away.
Focus on what you CAN have- instead of listing all of the things you are cutting out to participate in this challenge, focus on all of the delicious fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds you can enjoy! There will be a lot more of a hands-on approach to your nutrition during this challenge, and you will have the opportunity to learn and discover new dishes that you may have never tried if you didn’t sign up to eat only whole foods!
On the weekend, your initial inclination may be to order a glass of wine, or maybe that beer. Instead, try ordering a “mocktail” like seltzer with lemon or lime. If you go to a social gathering, this is a great drink to walk around with, and you will feel 10x better in the morning than your alcohol guzzling counterparts. If anyone asks you why you aren’t drinking, you have a couple of options: 1) Say you are a superhero and you’ve decided that it isn’t worth it to impair your judgement in case you need to catch some bad guys, or 2) Simply say that you are prioritizing your health, and you are challenging yourself to a month of no alcohol. Either of those will probably be fine :P
This holiday season, prioritize yourself and your health. This is the time of year when we let our health fall by the wayside because we are so wrapped up in making sure everyone else is taken care of. If you are firing on all cylinders, but are running on empty, eventually you're going to combust. Then what good can you really do? Taking care of yourself IS taking care of everyone else!
Part 2 of CUT THE CRAP is coming soon!