Just one week left everyone! Not that I am eager for the 50 day challenge to be over, but it will be nice to go back to a regular one treat meal a week kind of situation. Besides missing regular treat meals I have really quite enjoyed this challenge, it has been tough at some points, but it has mostly been super encouraging for me.
I found the challenge to be motivational. I was able to notice myself making new habits, like actually going for a piece of fruit when I wanted something sweet, to getting into the regular habit of preparing my food for the week on Sundays. Or instead of sitting on a patio with a drink I would lace up and go on a run, head out for a walk or get on my bike and enjoy the nice weather in a different way. The challenge simply encouraged me to make more of a commitment to myself and my goals over the past 50 days.
I have suggested that we all take this time to go over how we felt the 50 day challenge went for each of us and create two things 1) an inspiration board and 2) a list of goals or guidelines we would like to continue after the challenge. So I figured seeing how I am asking you to do these things I would share what I have put together for myself.
Personally I find it helpful to reflect back on challenges like this so that you can receive maximum long term benefits. I also find that by writing something down will help to remind you of all of the things you wanted to continue.
So here it is *drum roll* my inspiration board.
I have tried to capture images of how I have been feeling over the past what 43 days(?) I also plan on making this my computer background so it is somewhere highly visible to keep me on track and motivated once the challenge is over. Creating something like this extremely fun and it gives you a chance to reflect on how the experience made you feel and to focus in on some key words that will continue to motivate you in the longer term. The words I chose for my inspiration board were the following: Power, Strength, Pride, Health, Happiness, Accomplishment, Possibilities, and Perseverance. Where will your inspiration come from?
The second thing I recommended we all do is to write down some guidelines or goals that you would want to incorporate into your life once the challenge is completed. Once I sat down and put pen to paper I couldn’t stop writing! I had to go back and pick out the ones I figured would be the most beneficial to me and to my health and fitness journey that would also respect and encourage a happy and positive mindstate. So as awesome as it is that I had a page long list it is important that you go through your long list and choose the items that are most important. It is better to focus on a few key things than attempt to do everything all at once.
I was able to narrow down my page long list to 6 key things.
1. Only eat out as a treat. I often struggle with this one. If I don’t prepare my meals properly for the week, or I don’t have the fish thawed for supper time I am a serial pizza orderer. What this challenge has taught me is that it really isn’t so hard to motivate myself to put the extra effort into planning regularly and when I haven’t planned as long as the house is properly stocked with healthy food it isn’t that hard to figure out how to throw together something simple. So eating out should be used only to treat myself not as a tool of convenience.
2. Continue to find time to be active. I have noticed that I have been putting much more effort into finding time and being more amenable to later evening workouts than I had been prior to the challenge. There is no reason not to keep making time for activities in my day to day life, so I want to keep this up.
3.Food is just Food. Alright, I feel like this one might have upset some people. So I just want to clear up that it isn’t that I don’t believe that food isn’t meant to be pleasurable because it should be; food should be social, fun and it of course should be tasty. What I am saying here is that food is only food, it shouldn’t be used as a tool to satisfy an emotional response. We have all had a bad day where it feels like the only thing that will make us feel better is a plate of greasy food, followed by a chocolate bar and a bottle of wine, but you know what is probably more effective? the healthy meal you had planned for yourself and maybe a little physical activity. Food won’t make you feel better so it is better to deal with what you are feeling instead of trying to fix it with food.
4. Stop calling them “cheats” they are treats name them appropriately. This might seems silly, but about halfway through the challenge I became annoyed that I had called the three breaks “cheats”. I didn’t put them in the challenge to make anyone feel like they were being a rebel or that they were cheating themselves. I put them there to remind us all that we all need our treats now and then, just probably not as frequently as we would like to give them to ourselves. Basically I don’t think you should feel like you are “cheating” you are making lifestyle changes not adhering to a diet and in life you should treat yourself. So just call them treats and stop associating a negative connotation with your slice of cake, glass of wine, or fancy dinner out.
5. Don’t dwell. It is life and in life there are ups and there are downs, so do your best. Sometimes that might mean “slip ups” but just acknowledge that it happened and get right back on that horse. Don’t wait until “next Monday” to start again, and don’t let one slip up completely derail your day, weekend or week and most importantly don’t beat yourself up for it. It happened there is no undoing it so just move on.
6. Learn! The only way to stop making the same mistakes over and over are to learn from them. When you have slip ups do three things; 1) write down what you were feeling at the time, 2) write down how you felt after your slip up, 3) if you were given the opportunity again would you do anything differently? I find that by answering these three questions you give yourself the opportunity to explore the situation without being judgemental and it allows you to learn from the situation instead of just putting yourself down.
I hope me sharing this helps you to develope your own inspiration board and your own goals or guidelines for once the challenge ends. Remember to send them my way if you want to share them. I would love to hear from all of you.
Happy Wednesday everyone!