Looking back on the last 30 days I feel different this time around – less deprived and more content. Actually, I feel full. Full of gratitude for the support I have received, full of love with reconnections and friendships and full of knowledge with what I have learned from these remarkable ladies in the challenge.
I am so appreciative that we live in a beautiful, safe place where we have the opportunity to incorporate fitness in our daily lives and I am also grateful that I am able to feed myself and my family with healthy food choices. Every time I go to the grocery store I am shocked and frightened by the rising prices of fresh fruits and vegetables.
My best advice when it comes to health is don’t let the “health gurus” or “nay sayers” get you down – we can all be healthier no matter where we are at in our lives. It doesn’t have to be a drastic investment to create great habits in your life and you shouldn’t feel pressured into one type of fitness or one type of food. It is all about your health balance and what you enjoy to fit into your lifestyle. I still get comments about not being healthy like, “You were the biggest diet coke and cheesie eater – how can you be healthy?” or “You allow your kids so much sugar – how are you not eating it?”
I may never live up to some people’s health expectations but I work hard to live up to mine. I try to be more mindful of what I eat, work hard to get daily fitness in my life and also work on making food for myself and my family that I am proud of. This is what my challenge is about, it is not a diet or a workout gimmick but a way to help develop healthy habits with accountability that will hopefully turn into a healthful life.
I am so proud of this group as everyone who finished the challenge seems healthier and happier!!! WOOT – goal accomplished! I think committing to the challenge is the hardest part but once you do, it is hard to give up the healthy habits created and that is why I love it.
I had all of the women do a little blurb about what the challenge meant to them and all of them made me overjoyed for their achievements. I loved the support, sharing, commitment and accountability from this group – I am inspired and so full of gratitude.
Well it’s Day 31 and you will find me guzzling diet coke and eating cheesies for at least one day;-)
The 30 Day Health Challengers
The 30 day challenge has gone fast! I have to say my 2 biggest challenges were no wine or beer and preparing various salads daily as my kids and husband did not enjoy most of my creations! I on the other hand, would put greens on top of anything so it has reminded me to add them in. I have found doing it daily for 30 days has made it a healthy habit which I hope to keep.
For me, this challenge has been a reminder to make healthier choices daily by planning ahead and being more mindful before snacking and at the grocery store! It has been fun watching other people’s creations and getting new ideas for healthier salads and snack options. Being more mindful of sugar in foods is important as most of us consume way too much.
As a mom of 3, planning is important and my kids get a kick out of the ” strange” mystery salads and snacks I’ve come up with ie. “Why does this yogurt taste so horrible? “(plain yogurt). As a dietitian it has been a reminder that changing habits for people takes time and is not always easy.
As for the exercise component I am lucky that this comes easier for me as it has been a positive part of my life for a very long time. Mostly I enjoyed the challenge because I felt more connected to my good friend Jody. I also connected with new women and reconnected with those I have met before. Being accountable everyday with pictures was a little hectic some days but it also became easier once the challenge was underway …Great job everyone ! I would definitely do it again!
Having completed the challenge of 30 days without refined sugar, 30 min. of daily exercise, and salad every-flippin-day — I have to say the daily salad was the biggest ‘challenge’ for me. Now, I like salad, just not every single day. That said, by the end, my bod felt more fit, energized, and frankly, younger; And I learned to drink my greens (juicing is great). During the challenge, I was also reading a fab book called “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg, which distills how habits–good and bad–are formed, and how to kick the bad ones and hang on to the good.
So, here’s the Golden Rule of Habit Change: Keep the cue (e.g. to relax), provide the same reward, but insert a new routine. In other words, if the your cue to relax leads to a routine of drinking wine to “feel good” (the reward), find another routine–like a walk by the ocean–that gives the same reward, i.e. “feel good.” In essence, that’s what I did for the 30-day challenge…just replaced new routines —-exercise by the sea, trying new restaurants and salads, and dropping the refined sugar–and wine!–for natural sugar like fruits, dates, etc., all which gave me the same reward–to feel good! Actually, by the end I felt rather amazing. I lost a few pounds, changed my body composition, discovered the daily beauty and magic of the ocean and my neighbourhood, and really didn’t miss the poison–I mean, sugar. So the challenge really affirmed this: change your habits, not the rewards, and change your life. Thanks a million Jody for creating this “sweet” challenge. You and your lifestyle are an inspiration…and I’m going to keep up my new groovy health routines.
I just wanted to thank you for including me in this challenge. Despite being in another city from most the ladies participating I felt very supported. I feel as though I even know you now and hope to see you and thank you in person in the near future Jody. You’re a great inspiration and I throughly enjoyed this experience.
Now for my 2 cents on the challenge. I loved being held accountable and you’re going to find it strange when I continue to send you pictures of my shoes in various places in 5 years – just kidding. In all seriousness, I found so much inspiration from the women in the group – everyone had their set of challenges and everyone shared and overcame them – talk about inspiration. I loved learning about new recipes and challenging myself to try new things (who new medjool dates were so amazing). I also have to say that I felt so much better eliminating refined sugar from my diet and loved that I ate so much fruit and veg! I also noticed a big difference in my skin – yay! I am going to continue my limited intake of refined sugar (aside from the odd glass of vino and piece of dark chocolate) and continue my New Years resolution of making 2016 the year of health. Many thanks for everything. 💕
It’s hard to believe the 30 day challenge is complete. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to kick start 2016 and finally make some changes that have been eluding me for years. As a busy single woman, I found myself reaching for quick and easy packaged meals and it wasn’t unheard of for me to dine on them breakfast, lunch and dinner! After all, who was going to call me on it. But the challenge forced me to read the labels and it truly is shocking to find hidden sugar in the most peculiar places – like pizza for instance. Why? I started planning my meals in advance, keeping the fridge stocked with fruits and vegetables and I’m now even drinking my coffee with honey. Wow! That one definitely amazes me. And the accountability piece is what really made it all possible. Of course, I missed the occasional glass of wine, but really the rest of the challenge has just become a way of life for me. I have no intention of stopping any of it now that it’s over. I’ve realized that I don’t actually have a sweet tooth – I guess the occasional jujube might be nice, but I’m so happy with the results, some things just won’t seem worth it now I suspect. Jody Hollis is amazing – so supportive and inspirational! We have been friends for years but it has been very special re-igniting our friendship again this past month. I recommend Living Hollis Style to anyone truly committed to raising their bar – healthy living rocks!
So the question is, what did this 30 day health challenge mean to me? In one word, discipline. I was excited to participate in the challenge as I always like a good challenge and have never committed to something Iike this before. So, why not. Naively, I didn’t think it would be too difficult for me as I eat relatively healthy and exercise regularly as I am continuously training for marathons. However life can get in the way. The normal conveniences I would use to fuel my body during the day and put supper on the table when I got home from a 12 hr workday did not align with my goal. Plus there was temptation everywhere. The first two weeks were the toughest. I was constantly tired, cranky and my skin started to break out. I was also missing wine. After consulting with my friend, who is also a sports nutritionist, I quickly realized that I was not eating the right things or enough. In my attempt to cut out sugar and eat more greens, I also deprived myself. After some research and advanced preparation, I had a week meal plans that would ensure that I was getting what I needed to stay on track. I learned that I consumed more refined sugar than I thought but can also live without it. By week three I was in the groove and started to feel energetic and was sleeping better. Eating healthy was now becoming an easier habit. In fact since the challenge ended I am still eating the way I have been all month. I celebrated my success over a glass of wine, the one indulgence I missed the most. In conclusion, what I took away from this experience is that you do have the time to make your health a priority, you just need the discipline to do it!
Thank you Jody for the 30 day challenge and including me in a group of fabulous women who all were coming together to achieve a similar goal. I look forward to the next challenge. Xo
Before I started the 30 day challenge, I thought I ate MOSTLY okay, and I exercised SOMETIMES and I ate green stuff USUALLY everyday. This challenge really jump- started my health in 2016, and made me realize I could do all these things a little better. It wasn’t really about weight loss for me (that would be nice!) but it made me think twice about reaching for the sugary grocery-store cookies at work, exercise on my “off” days and become more creative in my salad (and salad-dressing!) making.
One of my favourite things about this challenge was my family totally supporting me in my goals (30-day family challenge next anyone?). My kids reading product labels for me and exercising with me at night so I could fit it in. I love that it was showing them how to be healthier too. I wouldn’t say I was sad to give up any of the foods I couldn’t have or felt hungry ever. Thank you Jody, for inspiring us all to do this, I am hoping to keep up the healthy eating without the challenge and be accountable to myself…except for the wine, I really missed the wine!
I started the 30 day challenge curious about life without refined sugar but was totally unprepared for the impact that this challenge would have on me. I was really unaware of how much sugar is in prepared foods (even foods that are not meant to be sweet). I was even more unaware of how sugar wreaks havoc with our entire body. I live with chronic back and neck pain and had no idea that refined sugar could play such a role in it. It is proven that sugar leads to insulin spikes…which creates inflammation…which creates pain. After living in my sugar free body for the past 30 days, I am a total believer! My pain is better and I have been able to be more active again. I am in jeans I have not worn in ages and I have so much energy and so much less pain. My world has literally done a 180 and I am loving it!!!! I will be sticking with it. Who knew that life without refined sugar could be so much sweeter?
The 30 Days Of Health Challenge worked as an elixir to help me work out a new philosphy I can apply to my life. The accountability piece was paramount as I focused on the teeny steps I can easily take towards my big health goal. I thought sugar would be my nemesis, but it turned out to be making my salad look ‘cool’ and edible. 😉 Thanks Jody for a great 30 days!
Janelle Simpson Finnegan
At the close of this second challenge I’ve confirmed that I really do feel better when I reduce the refined sugar in my life. Within reason I plan to continue to keep refined sugars at a minimum. Daily salads are getting easier to make. Exercise is a no brainer as I would be locked up without it. No wine was a big challenge, as I prefer a crisp glass of white over a vodka soda anyday, but that’s what makes it a challenge I guess! I love the camaraderie amongst the participants, especially when I only have met three! ( the Jody/Jodi/Lori) Heck, I’m now buying skin care products through one of the challengers. Wondering what is in the next challenge ….
Thankful for my 30 days of health- I learned that most of my sugary treats were out of habit – having a glass of wine after work (or 2!) reaching for a sweet or chocolate late in the evenings. After a week or two I found I wasn’t missing them! Lesson learned, to really stop and ask myself if I need that !?I am thankful for my running friends (Jason Ball/BDHQ Run Clinic) and my always eager to work out girl Jen Carefoot! One of the best things out of this was that my girls got to see their mom making healthy choices daily and it wasn’t to loose weight or change my body – just because it made me feel better!
Thank you Jody for inspiring us all! I loved this (most of the time) 😉
I’m not much of a ‘joiner’ and was skeptical about joining the 30 day health challenge. However, like a newly baptized atheist, I AM A BELIEVER! The no sugar was not a problem which really surprised me as I firmly believed in a dairy milk fruit and nut bar a day. I had no sugar cravings and swapped out my after dinner fruit and nut for knitting. I have always served my family every night for dinner so really I just continued with this. Now the exercise (insert gulp here). Up until 2 years ago I was a runner. Not a graceful runner, nor a fast runner or a long distance runner, but a runner. After 2 years of battling lord knows what, but including chronic fatigue, I thought this component would KILL me. Not even close. I was determined to do my half an hour a day and for the most part this was accomplished. I’m no where near to running but slowly am making progress. I truly believe in this challenge, so much so that I am not stopping although this one is finished tonight. I still suffer from chronic fatigue and migraines but my good days far outweigh my bad and I know this is because of the support, motivation and love that I received not only by joining this group but because Jody held me accountable, celebrated my wins and motivated me through my losses.
This was my second health challenge led by my amazing friend Jody through Living Hollis Style. Because it was round 2… It was really easy to start up again and the learning curve was definitely not as big. Having said that I am still constantly surprised by how many products contain sugar. I have become a bit of a label browser, but I don’t mind that because it’s information that keeps me in check for the good of my and my family’s health.
By day 30, I was ready to have a treat! I’m ready to have something that I have passed over for the last 30 days; however, as I said after the first challenge I will probably never go back to the way I was, eating all of the sugar laden products that I used to eat. But today …. I am glad I’m done! I’m glad I don’t have to take more pictures of my food and remember to send them before I eat the food. Jody your enthusiasm and your amazingly real attitude towards life and life’s obstacles helped keep us going every day. I’m so glad I did it!
Thank you friend. Xo
30 days of Health has taught me to be mindful & accountable for what I put in my body. Before the challenge I considered myself to be “healthy” with daily exercise and clean eating but I was constantly rewarding myself with treats. I justified this indulgence with exercise. Breaking the cycle of eating refined sugar was probably one of the toughest challenges I have ever done. It amazes me how the body would not forget or give up the cravings of sugar. The wonderful support of our group helped me push through. Going forward I want to maintain (as much as possible) a sugar free lifestyle.
My “Journey to Health” as I like to call it started last May when I joined weight watchers once again! I gained more weight after the birth of my son, as well as pregnancy related blood pressure and pre- diabetic concerns. Losing 20 plus lbs on Weight Watcher’s gave me a great start and when I heard about the Living Hollis Style-30 day Health Challenge I just knew it was the kick I needed to take this all the way to healthy! I had been finding it very challenging to fit exercise in. That was my biggest concern of the three challenge rules, the 30 min/day of exercise, the others I figured were OK. I had already cut down on sugar and was eating more salad. As I found out the no refined sugar was harder than I anticipated! Cutting down on sugar and cutting OUT sugar is a big difference. A salad a day was pretty much already a go in my diet. The first two weeks were difficult with cravings, made some unhealthy sugar alternate choices, and exercise made me hungry so weight loss did not go as anticipated. Staying true to the challenge paid off in the end allowing me to stop taking Ibuprofen, which I had been taking EVERY night to decrease pain in order to get some sleep. As well, the weight loss started to show again. My four yr old took great interest telling many strangers, friends etc. that “Mommy isn’t eating sugar!” Seeing me exercise and take care of my health is so important. As the 47 yr old mom of an energetic 4 yr old boy, being healthy and being around to see him grow as long as possible, to role model a healthy lifestyle, benefits us all in the end. It was so wonderful to have the support of our fearless leader Jody Hollis, and the other wonderful ladies I shared the journey with. It was such a help staying accountable and hearing of their trials, triumphs and tips/recipes along the way. So inspiring! Thanks to you all! Kanetta Shaw
When I heard about this challenge I immediately jumped on board. What a great idea!! I quite often start things and never finish, while disappointing only myself. This challenge gave me motivation, self control and most of all…. inspiration from other women. In 30 days I have put in about 1000 minutes of exercise or physical activity and I have eaten about 2808 grams or 44oz of just greens. This has created some new habits for me in my daily life. So for that, I thank you 30 day challenge and my amazing running friend Jody for all her dedicated and hard work that she puts in to create and continue this group of amazing ladies!!!
Thank you! From a much healthier Michelle
30 Day Challenge Round 2
Coming off a Christmas full of sugar and laziness, I was very much ready for round two of the 30 Day Challenge. I had really come to realize that sugar just doesn’t work well with my body. Immediately upon starting the second challenge I felt my body realigning again and feeling healthy. Just a couple small changes really does make a big difference. The other change of course is the 30 minutes of exercise. And while I would love to be one of those people who automatically exercises every day without fail, I am not. But put a challenge in front of me with accountability included, and then you have me. The simple act of texting a picture to our fearless leader every day makes such a big difference. Even if it meant late night workouts, I was not going to be the one to not to complete my obligation. I really think it is the most important element of this whole challenge. Those pictures!! Thank you once again for taking on such a huge task Jody. You are a warrior changing lives!! Hugs tt
LHS 30 days of Fitness 2
I did not set any personal goals for this challenge. I did sweat everyday, but I kind of lost the impetus to do arms everyday. I only made it to one work out at BDHQ. I only made it to one class at VI. I did run on the treadmill and outside. I rode a stationary bike and even tried the funky “bouncy” elliptical. I think I swam once. Yuck.
No sugar was less of a challenge this time. I like that. I didn’t try substituting honey or maple syrup or agave or coconut sugar – just no added sweeteners. Like the flavour of the foods you eat. That said, having to cut out wheat and oats (generally) really narrowed the diet to not eat sugar. I ate too many nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers etc.) and too many nuts which both make my joints swell a bit and my skin get a bit rashy. And I felt hungry a lot. So I ate – a lot. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, meat, rice, corn… maybe a bit too much. I didn’t really lose any weight – not that it was part of the plan, because I didn’t really make one. Since I do have a goal weight in mind, I think I will work toward that a little more next time.
I feel healthy and pretty fit, not as fit as I’d like to feel, but I need to set that goal up next time, too. I rarely did only 30 minutes of exercise, but I didn’t really burn every work out. I did do ONE, yes one and only one – pull up, and not quite from hanging, but it is about an 18” pull up. I’d like to be able to do 10! I say I didn’t lose any weight, but I did sort of… so I gained 35 -1 pounds. What, you ask? Well, Stella runs with me. But she’s not awesome at it and I have to drag 35 extra pounds up Beach Drive by the golf course. So it’s like I gained 35 pounds. But since she’s been running, she went from 35 pounds to 34 pounds. So together we lost one pound.
The photos held me accountable. But I actually feel guilty when Jody applauds my efforts. They don’t seem very momentous anymore. Jody, you inspire and make everyone feel confident about the ability to accomplish their goals. You are always positive and your energy is infectious! I think with you leading this pack of amazing women through a 30 day challenge, you should recognize your leadership skills and the gift of health that you given to us. When a person is passionate about something, it shows – and to be able to share that passion in a way that makes everyone better, is an exceptional gift.
With love and gratitude,
This was Challenge #2 for me..and what it has made me realize is that I can choose to take care of my body and my body will respond positively and in turn take care of me. I realize after almost three months..that I can go for a long time without refined sugar and not feel deprived. This challenge has solidified my resolve to continuing my pursuit of ideal health and fitness, I feel energized and proud of myself – and I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful women who are on the same path, Thank you Jody Hollis for leading the way!
Carrie Smith Kendall
My 30 day thoughts:
Initially, committing to this challenge did not seem too overwhelming to me. On a daily basis I eat a lot of greens and vegetables, get on my yoga mat almost every day, and try to not only avoid sugar, but gluten and dairy as well. But over the holidays all the rules were broken and this challenge was perfect timing. I have to be honest, when I declared ‘I’m in’, I didn’t realize that I had to send three photos in daily and be so accountable! I found myself forgetting to take photos of my exercise or food and scrambling some evenings. But I think being accountable helped me to be more mindful of my snacking and cravings, particularly in the evenings. I also love to cook and found I was planning our meals around ‘the big salad’.
Unfortunately during the challenge I struggled with joint and back pain, to the point where I was unable to do my regular yoga practice. Instead I went for walks and gentle yin classes for a while. This may have been the result of inflammation from my overindulgent holidays! After some supplements, physio and acupuncture, I’m back at my regular practice. All in all I feel great!
Jody, the women you have surrounded yourself with are a reflection of you… strong, inspiring, motivated and supportive. You amazed me that even when you were sick you managed to send a heartfelt ‘good job!’. Thank you for making this happen, and for your inspiration to live a healthier lifestyle!
In the weeks leading up to Christmas I started my usual holiday diet of fizzy champagne drinks and a handful of chocolates. There wasn’t a bake sale I could resist or a sample I didn’t try. Fast forward to January and holiday hangover is taking its toll. Jody is prepping for her 30 Days of Health Challenge and it peeks my interest. She tells me the rules: a salad a day -.”check, I can do that”, 30 minutes of exercise everyday “sweet I love exercise”, no refined sugar “shit, that is gonna hurt”. After binging on Baileys, Jagerbombs and sugary treats how was I going to fulfill this part of the challenge? To add to the challenge, you had to make a public commitment by announcing to the social media world that you are going to achieve these goals. Now everyone knows what you are up to and you are accountable to people other then yourself. My husband who is all too familiar with my love for chocolate predicted that I couldn’t last beyond day two. Well that just spurred on my desire to be fully committed to this challenge. The biggest and most pleasant part of this challenge was how I found the 30 Days of Health group to be such a great source of motivation. All the members were very encouraging and pushed each other to succeed. There was also good recipe sharing for real food with sustenance. The daily pictures and posts help me stave off any urge to quit. I plan to use these new eating habits as a starting point for better health. Thanks to Jody and the other challengers for making this program fun with your stories and support. See you at the March challenge …. Jody please don’t eliminate caffeine for the next challenge, I have nothing left to give 🙂
After participating in 2 consecutive challenges I feel that exercise and dietary awareness has truly become a fabric of my life. Even if days get busy I know fitting in a small workout will help my mind and make me more productive in my work. While my body didn’t really change much during this 2nd challenge, I definitely had a lot more energy and slept better overall. I now know the importance of keeping your body moving and making healthy food choices at least 80% of the time, so it is sustainable long term without feeling really deprived. Thanks Jody for all your support and for helping me change my life habits.
You’re an inspiration Jody! This 30 days of health has given my body a chance to reset and given me a chance to think more clearly about how I exercise and what food I choose to eat. It was a wonderfully supportive group of women that shared ideas and common experience. Your positive and uplifting spirit was a real gift.
I didn’t take signing up for Jody’d 30 Days of Health Challenge lightly. I had gone sugar-free for 6 weeks previously and it was hard, SO VERY hard. I wasn’t certain I was up to the challenge. Why did I want to do it? Previously it would have been to lose weight but that wasn’t what I wanted this to be about. Did I want to lose a few pounds, sure, but I always seem to feel that way and I knew I didn’t WANT to lose those few pounds enough to commit to no chocolate. I LOVE chocolate, more than almost any other human I know. I did the challenge as I wasn’t feeling great eating sugar. I was diabetic in pregnancy and I know my body doesn’t handle sugar as well as others, like my husband who could eat a bag of candy and then not crash and feel miserable. I felt tired, well I’m a mom so that isn’t 100% sugar’s fault. I craved sweets and then salty and then sweets again. I also started feeling achy and wondered if this was arthritis or just my new 40 yo plus body dealing with the exercise I subjected it to 3x/week? Maybe this group of ladies could motivate me to stick to it I thought, I like being accountable.
Part 1 of the challenge- daily exercise…no problem. I love my gym BDHQ2. I will go every day! Turns out I was wrong. I had been going to the gym three times a week as that is all I had time for. This challenge didn’t create more hours in the day so I didn’t make it to the gym more. Fortunately I also started an online 30 day Yoga with Adrienne Challenge. 30 minutes of daily yoga I could fit in at 10:00 pm, because I often needed to get it in then. Turns out it was exactly what I needed and more gym time wasn’t. Bonus lesson from the challenge! Yoga rocks when you find a teacher that you like and it is convenient.
Part 2- a salad a day-no problem I eat loads of veggies daily already. Wrong again. Post-stomach flu mid way through the challenge, turns out leafy greens are the last thing you want. My solution, the most minisculle boring salads you have ever seen until I recovered almost 7 days later. Kudos to Jody for never giving me heck for the microscopic salads or making me feel like I was failing.
Part 3-no sugar-Problem! Insurmountable hurdle!! Once again I was wrong. After day 3 where I had my first rough day, surprisingly I was now on a roll…for the most part. What changed from my last 6 week challenge where sugar- less was torture? How was it that I was surviving this without complaining non-stop? The key-I wasn’t otherwise depriving myself as my goal wasn’t weight loss. Friends eating cake at a party- fine I will have some cheese. Comfort food, ok pass the pasta instead of those M&Ms. I need chocolate- ok an artificially sweetened protein bar is a better choice than the box of Purdys I sit next to at work almost every day! True story, my work has quite possibly the most decadent snack counter ever. I loved our snack counter until Jan 4th. I told my coworkers about the challenge so I would be accountable. It worked. I like to win and that snack counter would lose! (Artificial sweeteners aren’t ideal but sometimes they helped me cope.) Fruit helped me cope more often than not.
Today I know I can do no sugar! Will I always, no but it will be easier to come back to a sugarless diet knowing how good I feel off of sugar. Along the way I also noticed my joints weren’t achy anymore even after intense spin and weight classes. I never felt gross after eating anymore. My skin looked better- a friend told me I looked like I had reverse-aged! Best comment EVER! Well maybe except the one where my 7 year old daughter told me I looked young for my age-about the same age as Taylor Swift! tee-hee I think I need to get her eyes checked but thanks love! I wonder how old she will be before she realized she has an older mom??
Were these changes due the lack of processed sugars, the yoga, the increased nutrients in my salads? The positive energy of all the other women rooting each other on? Who knows and who cares. I feel good. I will be back for round 3 with this motivational group of women plus I’m certain many more who will be motivated by some of these stories. Another month of the challenge is my birthday gift to myself. Join me in March no matter where you live. It won’t be easy but you can do it, this sugar addict did. Tomorrow I’m off challenge and I don’t even think I will stray too far off of my current food choices. I will save that for the Valentines Death By Chocolate at the Empress we have booked! I’m an all or nothing kind of girl! 😉
ps- It is 900 pm and I still need to get in my activity for the day. My yoga mat is calling.
Sugar is in everything! I had always read labels before but never really paid attention to the sugar (was more concerned with the chemical additives). My biggest challenge was giving up dark chocolate and baked goods. I suffered with a headache and sugar withdrawal for the first 4 days before it got better. I still missed my treats but no longer craved them.
About 1.5 years ago I committed to eating a salad every day so this part of the challenge was easy for me. I also belong to an amazing gym, BDHQ, and usually workout everyday at lunch. Weekends I hike and run so the exercise component was not a problem for me.
This challenge has made me more aware of what I was eating and really helped me stay focused for the entire 30 days. I managed to lose about 8lbs and feel much healthier than I did a month ago. I loved being part of a group of like minded committed woman and I want to continue on this journey of mindful eating.
This was the first challenge if it’s kind that I have taken part in. I am glad I accepted it; even though early wet, winter mornings in Spoke can be an intimidating time to walk. I persevered. I remember a line from Warrior Training that said “Suck it up, Princess!” As I donned my gear and headed out the door. I can’t say I didn’t have a little cheat once or twice, but I was true to the no wine mandate and set up an automatic bank transfer of the average amount I would have spent on wine to be deposited into my savings account. Some thing I should have considered when I quit smoking 15 years ago. I already walk my dog twice a day and paint homes for at least 7 hours per day, so I am pretty worked out by end of day, but the commitment of 30 minutes of walking daily was different. It was determined and focused and time spent with me. My reward was a little more cash on hand and a loss of 9 lbs. that I have no plans to find. Thank you Jody for presenting the challenge and keeping us on task!
I’m happy to say I completed my second 30 day challenge!! This time it was more difficult but also more rewarding. I feel like the second challenge really helped cement some of the good habits I formed in the first round. All along the way I can’t say enough about the support and encouragement I received from Jody and the whole crew – such fun to see the pics, progress and get some fantastic new recipes. Thank you Jody!!!
Janelle Breese Biagioni
How I Slayed the Dragon of Refined Sugar and an Even Greater Giant
I am long past the need to set New Year’s Resolutions. I have always felt they become restrictive and set me up for failure of some sort. In the past few years, I have focussed on a theme or a phrase or a word that I felt would move my life forward. My word for 2016 is EXPANSION.
Nearing the end of last year, I realized that to really move my life towards some big and bold future dreams I needed to gain clarity and focus. And, it was abundantly clear that in order for me to gain clarity and focus I would need to turn the attention to myself. So when my friend, Jody Hollis announced she was hosting her second 30 Day Health Challenge (no refined sugar, no wine, a salad every day, 30 minutes of daily exercise and submit 3 photos daily to her) I saw it as a simple enough plan with built-in accountability and a complex enough plan that it would turn the attention on myself and generate the focus and clarity I was seeking.
Now it may seem that beginning a 30 Day Health Challenge that included eliminating sugar and wine, which ultimately could lead to a reduction in weight, was working against my theme of ‘expansion’. The expansion came in by joining 30 plus women, of which I only personally knew three, to support one another on a journey of personal growth and achievement. I instantly expanded my circle of friends and support.
After signing up for the challenge with a start date of January 4th, I added one more element to Jody’s existing guidelines. I weighed myself on January 1st and vowed to NOT weigh myself again until after the challenge was complete. I had important reasons for making that decision:
1) I didn’t want the focus to be on numbers
2) I know my pattern of weighing myself and then giving my power to the scale, which then determines if I am going to have a day filled with confidence and joy or one of frustration and self-recrimination and,
3) I knew that no matter how ticked I would be if I didn’t lose anything at the end of the 30 days that it wouldn’t matter because the challenge would be complete and I couldn’t sabotage it!
So how did the 30 days go? Far better than I could have anticipated! By eliminating refined sugar, I was eliminating a whack of foods by default. Surprisingly, I didn’t miss or crave any of it. I soon noticed that I no longer reached for snippets of foods that my grandsons had left on their plates and nighttime snacking stopped. It made sense… if I wasn’t having any wine, I wasn’t munching on anything either. The salad a day was a little harder for me, but I found if it was for lunch rather than dinner, I was more likely to eat it. The exercise was not so time consuming that I could talk myself out of it, but still I found it hard to get it in with my crazy schedule. My day begins at 5:30 am and isn’t finished until 7 or 8 pm. There were several times that the treadmill was fired up later in the evening. As a bonus, I feel better and people have been commenting on how well I look. My clothes are looser and I feel lighter.
Yesterday marked the end of the 30 day journey. This morning was my day to weigh in. Hmmm … I only lost 3.5 pounds! As expected, I quickly went to that place of judgement.
That’s it? That was hardly worth it! Geez?!
I retreated to the kitchen and got my coffee and then returned to the solitude of my bathroom to do my hair and makeup and to reconcile the feeling of “pffftt” that was bubbling up. Here is what happened:
· I shook my head and chuckled at my behaviour – “Yup, I just gave my power to the scale. Take it back and take it back now!”
· An image of 3.5 pounds of butter popped into my head and I quickly realized how much weight that really was. Moreover, I knew this was a true weight loss and not just water. This is more likely to stay off.
· I recognized that this would be where I normally begin to self-sabotage.
Interestingly enough, as I thought about the self-sabotaging, an ‘aha’ washed over me. Self-sabotage has never really been the problem. Self-sabotage has actually been Step 2 of the unravelling of my efforts. So what has been Step 1 that led to the self-sabotage?
The answer could not have been any clearer or profound… if I continue to live in judgement of every effort I make the journey always begins at a starting place of defeat. The path then goes on to self-sabotage and the finish line always waves the banner of “I told you so!”
So I knew this morning that while the dragon to slay was refined sugar, the real giant to take down is self-defeat. And as Oprah says, “Once you become aware, you can’t become unaware.” By acknowledging where self-defeat lurks in my life and the true power it has had over me has actually cut the giant down at the knees. It’s not so big anymore and my mission for this month is to keep chopping it down.
How will I celebrate today? I have committed to myself to take Jody’s third challenge beginning in March. This month, I plan to continue with abstaining from refined sugar. I don’t miss it so I don’t need to invite it back in. I will enjoy some wine but take the approach of it being no different than ice cream. I would not have ice cream every day and when I do have it, I would never consider having 2 or 3 bowls of it. Exercise … yes… it needs to be a part of my daily rituals so it is here to stay too.
Thank you, Jody and thank you to all the wonderful ladies on this journey of self-discovery. It’s been amazing and it was the perfect way to begin the year.