Challenges – Part 3: 30 Day Challenge

If you’re human, food forms a part of every aspect of your life. We eat to live, to celebrate, to commiserate, to soothe. We use food to fuel not only our bodies, but our emotions as well. We basically live to eat.

Then you wake up one day and you have two asses, three chins, creaky knees, and a bakery on your back…and a very shitty body image, in addition to the other emotional baggage life forces you to carry. And as nice as that ice-cream or chocolate cake tasted every time you took a bite, thinking that it would distract you from or take away whatever pain you were feeling, all you ended up doing was causing yourself more pain.

Food was very much an emotional panacea for me. Till this day, it is ridiculously easy for me to drown myself in a vat of mint choc-chip ice-cream. But a huge contributor to the changes I’ve made in my life has been to realise the following:

When it comes to food, your heart and mind are the devil, and you actually have to train yourself to listen to your body – which is an amazing piece of engineering because it tells you what you need and when you need it.
Slowly, over the past four years, I started to test changes to my diet. I went gluten-free for two years. Then did a month without coffee. Introduced green tea. Increased my water consumption. Cut out sugar. Et cetera, et cetera. And found that everything works – but only for a short while when you do it as a diet. I’d lose weight, and then as soon as I go back to my old ways, yep, it comes right back.

I felt so great after completing my 100 day fitness challenge I wanted to do something more, and came across this on Facebook.

I realised two things during the month I did this:
1. I spent wayyy too much time eating. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you cut down on the amount you consume and the time you spend consuming it.
2. Cravings are 100% mental. The only time your body will ‘crave’ anything is when it is lacking in something essential to its equilibrium.

Unfortunately, the most convenient foods are always the ones with the poorest nutritional value, and highest sugar and salt content (read the label before you buy). This challenge not only forced me to become more disciplined, it also forced me to get creative in the kitchen (not necessarily a bad thing).

Even though it was only for a month, completing this challenge was more satisfying to me than the previous one, as it was almost 100% mental. Surprisingly, I didn’t struggle as much as I thought I would.
All of the things I had to give up for those 30 days I had already drastically reduced for almost two years. And I took what was beneficial from all those different diets I tried before, and combined them into a sustainable lifestyle change.

I’ve also learnt to not be too severe with myself. I’m human, I will make mistakes and fall off the wagon now and again. Nothing stops me from getting up and getting back on that wagon.

But, same as every challenge I’ve faced and overcome, the biggest force that pushed me through it was me telling myself, “I can and I will. Watch me.”

Losing 3 kilos in the process didn’t suck either.

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