Late December 2014, I received a random and unexpected text from a friend. My friend was taking on a self-imposed 30 day challenge. His decision inspired a few others in our circle of friends to do the same.
The challenge was to merely live healthier for 30 days. The goal was to avoid alcohol for the whole month of January and to eat healthier foods.
I don’t know what sparked his interest, but I was pumped and excited for my friend. When someone makes a mindful choice to aim at living healthier (for whatever reason), I become overwhelmed with happiness. Why? Because I know the benefits that await them. 🙂
Although working out was not part of the equation, I knew that if he remained committed for the entire month, he would certainly feel better, but also lose weight and inches.
My friend does not work out, but is active and rarely stays home. He is active year around with sports and loves to travel. We also share an appreciation for good food.
He wanted to make better food choices, but he did not know how to do so, and that’s where I came into the picture.
I figure a big part of the obesity and unhealthy lifestyle culture in this country, is that people are unaware of the long-term effects that food has on the body and overall health.
Education should be ongoing and is vital to living in good health.
“When you know better, you do better.”
At least that’s the premise from Dr. Maya Angelo and Oprah Winfrey. I agree.
Year after year, I learn new facts about the food I consume, which I previously thought were good for me, and am forced to cut them from my diet. And really, this is what the process is all about. Continue to educate yourself so that you can take a proactive approach to making smarter choices for you and your family.
While considering what kind of advice I would give him, I knew that I had to be realistic. I needed to give him suggestions that he could manage and incorporate as part of his daily nutrition plan. The last thing he needed was to be overwhelmed by a long and complicated list of foods to eat and to avoid.
Lifestyle adjustments begin with small and subtle changes. Studies show that taking on too much too soon can lead to failure, and failure was the last thing I wanted for him.
In addition to eliminating alcohol, my advice to him was to:
- replace soda and juice with lots water
- Avoid anything white (bread, flour sugar potatoes, sugar, etc…)
- reduce his sugar intake, i.e. sugar in coffee
- don’t skip meals
- eat breakfast (oats)
- plan meals
- When dining out, substitute cream sauces with tomato based sauces & replace fatty sides with extra vegetables.
He was open to trying new foods, which is half the battle of learning to eat better. With the help of his girlfriend, he was delightfully overwhelmed with all kinds of new foods. Here’s a list of some of the new food he incorporated into his diet. It’s freaking amazing!
- Brown rice
- turkey burgers
- turmeric milk tea
- smoothies with kale, avocado, and almond milk
- zucchini spaghetti
- 1-2 gallons of water daily (he’s BIG guy)
He went in HARD and I love it!
Superbowl Sunday, the first of February was the official weigh in but, as soon as he took his coat off, I could see results. He lost inches in his midsection and his pants were unintentionally sagging. Wow!
Without even incorporating an exercise program, he lost 14 pounds in January and 9 pounds the first week of February!
Most important to me is that my friend noticed his energy levels improved and ongoing joint issues improved. He was flabbergasted by how changes in his diet improved how he felt.
Honestly, it’s no surprise to me but I am ecstatic that he has made the important connection between diet, nutrition, and overall wellness. I’m doing cartwheels! His attitude toward food is evolving…
from eating to feel full…
to eating to nourish the body…
Throughout the month, our group randomly checked in, via texts, to encourage, post meal pictures, and for daily and weekly progress reports.
Several friends in our group added exercise to the mix and experienced weight and/or inches loss. Their journey to starting better lifestyle habits have begun. Yay!! I am so proud of all of them! 🙂
Developing new habits take time and “is not an all or nothing process.”
On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. 
Contrary to popular brief, it takes more than 21 days to form a habit. The 21 day habit myth evolved from study done by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. Anyways, my friend is on his way to adopting new habits of improving his lifestyle. How do I know this?
Well, he decided to extended the practice of making better food choices in to February AND…. drum roll…… he is considering….
A gym membership!!! I’m screaming this!!!!!!
It’s never too late…
You’re never too old…
You’re never too fat…
You’re never too far gone…
To take control and responsibility for your health. Start small, don’t quit, and go big!
You have what it takes! 🙂
Make it a great day!