Posts Tagged ‘the next 30 days’

The Next 30 Days: Part 2

Posted: October 10, 2013 in Advice, Nutrition

In the first installment, we delved into how Option 2 would look.  Basically it illustrated how, as humans, we are generally very bad at sticking with something long term, especially if it requires us to make a significant life change.  Actually, the more I thought about it the more depressing it became.  Think about it.  The overwhelming majority of people cannot make the dietary commitment needed to make a permanent change, even when this change is vital to long term health and wellness.  What makes this even worse is that fact that they have already stuck to a nutritional strategy that has produced the results they wanted and they still make the choice to regress back to their old habits.  To me it is mind-boggling.

History has taught us many things.  For starters, humans as a species are pretty damn dumb.  From “Jersey Shore” to “Dancing with the Stars”, we consistently celebrate the most mindless and insignificant parts of our culture.  So dumb, in fact, that we will eventually end up as a part of one of History’s second lessons: We will go through an extinction event.  The dinosaurs were eliminated by a meteor that hit off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and one day we will be gone too.  Of course the dinos couldn’t control their event but I will fathom a guess they we will be the cause of our own extinction.  The pieces are coming together.  With almost daily reports of genetic testing, viral mutations and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the end is inevitable.

Friends of yours, Jen Eby?

Our eating habits are also in the running for the catalyst that propels us toward oblivion.  Bad dietary choices lead to a plethora of life-threatening health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc.  Over many life cycles, these conditions can start to become genetic (through mutations) and will begin to effect future generations from birth.  Take Type-2 Diabetes for example.  According to the World Health Organization, “Rates of diabetes in 1985 were estimated at 30 million, increasing to 135 million in 1995 and 217 million in 2005.  This increase is believed to be primarily due to the global population aging, a decrease in exercise, and increasing rates of obesity.”

I can hear Scott Boggs and Erin Vroman (The Paleo Police) now, “PROCESSED FOODS ARE OUR EXTINCTION EVENT!”  Well, maybe that is taking it a little too far but you can see my point.  The cycle has started and, as those stats show, it is only getting worse.  This may not be the actual end of Homo Sapiens Sapiens (shout out to Maria!) but it could be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.  Man, I really got off on a tangent didn’t I?  Lets get back on track.

Boggs saves another CrossFitter from the dreaded insulin spike!

So that is the bad news.  The good news for you is that you can choose Option 1. The good news for me is that you already know how to succeed at Option 1.  But 30 days is a small snippet in time.  How do you ensure success for the long term?

Here are some time-tested strategies you can use:

  1. Set a weekly date with the grocery store:  This should be a no-brainer.  The only true way to control what you are eating is to buy and make it yourself.  Since most of you are following Paleo, you already know the foods that will fit that plan so the list shouldn’t change much.  Don’t give yourself the excuse to eat poorly because there is no food in your fridge.
  2.  Cook your food ahead of time:  Again, this should be another no-brainer. With Paleo being a pretty protein-heavy nutrition strategy, most of your meals will need to a cooked element to them because there are not many natural proteins that can be eaten raw safely.  Set aside one day a week where you will prepare your meals you can take with you to work, vacation, etc.  Weekends tend to be most convenient and Sundays work best for me because I make enough food to last me until then.  My favorite is the big package of boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Cut them in to 6 oz portions and place them in a baking dish.  Then, fill the dish halfway with lemon juice and cover the tops of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Bake for 23 min. at 400 degrees and you have a week’s worth of chicken at 2 breasts (insert bad joke here) per day. (more…)

“The Next 30 Days” is a 3 or 4 part series I am doing in order to help us all continue to succeed with the positive lifestyle changes we have made while participating in the Better Body Challenge.  Hopefully, it will assist those who took part and maybe even inspire those who didn’t to make their own positive change.

Congrats! You did it!

So you have finished the “30 Day Better Body Challenge”.  Congrats! I am sure all your hard work and perseverance has paid off, probably even more than you expected when you first started.  Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it and I am sure you are feeling a real sense of accomplishment.  Everyone I have personally seen shows a marked physical improvement and I don’t know how your performance has been effected but I would be willing to bet it is better than a month ago.  My hat goes off to all of you, especially since I didn’t participate!

But as Dan asked on the main site, where do you go from here?  In my opinion, you only have two options:

  1. You stick to a consistent diet plan and continue to work hard at whatever your goals are with regards to your fitness


        2.   You don’t

Choose wisely…

Here is how the story usually goes: You feel great after surviving a month of mental and physical torture and decide that you deserve a reward for doing so well.  This reward is directly related to what you have deprived yourself of for the past 30 days: sugary, fattening food and drink.  So off you go to Chipotle, Dairy Queen, Cold Stone, etc. to find your special treat, the one you have been craving since day 1 of the BB Challenge.  You then exchange currency for goods and services and ravage that meal like never before.  A state of euphoria sets in, the same euphoric feeling  experienced by drug users getting their next fix.  You are feeling oh so good for the next 30 minutes and then, if you have stuck to your new diet consistently for the past 30 days, the sugar rush wears off and the stomach cramps begin.  But you knew this feeling was coming and in your opinion it is the price of doing business.  You go to bed a happy camper, 30 days under your belt and a just reward in your stomach.  The next day you get up with a slight “food hangover” but nothing major.  You jump in the shower, get dressed and go to the kitchen to make breakfast.  This is the point where you choose where you go from here, Option 1 or Option 2.

Let’s take a look at Option 2 because statistically, it is the most probable outcome for the majority of Americans.  Since you are a little tired, you are running late in the morning and need a quick breakfast (or even worse, none at all).  You rifle through the cupboard and grab one of the relics of your former dietary regimen.  Maybe it’s a cereal or maybe it’s an instant flavored oatmeal, feel free to insert anything you used to eat before the BB Challenge.  You wolf it down as you bolt out the door.  You know it is not the best choice but at least it is food.  No big deal, right? It’s only one meal.

Then lunch comes around.  You realize that the weekend came and went and you didn’t have a chance to get to the grocery store or prepare the food you usually take to work with you each day.  Lucky for you, Subway is right around the corner.  Lunch problem solved.  You get a “healthy” six inch Italian sub with just a small amount of mayonnaise (or whatever people put on those).  A sub and some apple slices later, you settle back into the work day; swearing that is the last time you will be eating out and that you will get back on the wagon.  You have put in too much hard work in and out of the box to throw it all away.

On the way home from work, you begin to ponder what you will do for dinner.  You remember that you have some extra broccoli in the fridge but nothing to eat with it.  Giant provides the answer in the form of a rotisserie chicken, $5 for about 3 meals worth of meat.  You get home, steam your veggies and plate a nice portion of chicken.  On the way back to the kitchen to clean up your dishes, you grab a dark chocolate because “hey, why not? I just had a really healthy meal and one little chocolate can’t hurt”.  As you jump into bed, you reflect on the day you’ve had compared to the 30 that you just completed for the BB Challenge.  Not near as disciplined as you were but certainly not the worst day you’ve ever had, especially compared to how you were eating before the BB Challenge started.  And so it begins…