Today is the last day of another 30 day challenge. It is time to get the tape measure and the camera out and get your after measurements. It is also time to reflect on the experience as a whole. Did it work for you? Did it not? Did you do the challenge, or was it some crazy hybrid that you thought up on the fly? Either way, the experience should be looked at as a learning one and there is a lot that you can glean from it if you take the time to reflect.
For some, the challenge was a welcomed reset. It sets them up on a healthy start to their new year and is a very positive experience. For others, the challenge can be a bitter reminder of another attempt at weight loss that ends in failure. Both groups have an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience and in that sense I would say the ones who did not have the success they had envisioned have even more to gain.
I use a teaching tactic in the classroom occasionally called the 5 whys. It helps students dig deeper into an issue. Whenever they provide an answer I reply with why 5 times in a row or as many times as it takes to get them thinking deeper on a given topic. Try this with yourself as a way to reflect on the challenge. It may look something like this.
How did the challenge go for you? " Not so well, I only lost 5 pounds and I don't feel any different"
Why? "I don't know, I guess it didn't help that I had that cake at my cousins birthday party or the beer watching the Ravens game."
Why? "These were special occasions that only come up every now and then"
Why? " I felt confined in the challenge and I am a grown person I can eat and drink whatever I want, when I want."
Why? "I guess I never really committed to the whole challenge"
Why? "I fear failure and if I give anything my all and it still does not work then what is left?"
Now we are getting somewhere. This is a very common feeling and once acknowledged something can be done about it and there is a good chance this is affecting other areas of your life as well. This is a purely hypothetical situation, but we have seen versions of it play out almost every challenge we have done. The answers to the 5 whys might lead you in different directions, but the point is there is great insight in reflection, but only if you take the time to focus in and do it.
As for the end of the challenge we are going to send you to this past post on how to reintroduce foods back into your diet in a systematic way so that you can tell if those foods have a negative effect on your health. This is good and bad in a couple of ways. The good news is that if you have an issue with a given food, you will know right away. The bad news is you will probably need to be close to a bathroom. The other good/bad part deals with the acceptance that you just can't eat some foods. It has taken Dawn the better part of 5 years to accept that she cannot eat cheese. Every time she does, her sinuses fill up and she sneezes for the next few hours. Even this does not stop her from enjoying the random pizza night, but she now knows what is going to happen.
As always we really enjoyed the experience and hope you did as well. We will continue with at least weekly posts and shift our focus back and forth from lifestyle issues and training. Looking forward to a nice glass of wine tomorrow night.