As most of you already know, the November Nutrition Challenge is in full swing, and participants are fully in the throes of sugar and gluten withdrawals. As one of the nutrition coaches for this challenge, I have been super impressed by the commitment everyone has shown to changing how they eat, sleep, and hydrate.
At the beginning of the challenge, each participant was asked for some goals that they would like to achieve through the challenge. But in talking with Paul Rumberger (6:30PM class) about the challenge, he asked me a very thoughtful question: What do I, as a coach, want you all to get out of the nutrition challenge? And while I hope you all achieve, or at least start down the road to achieving, the goals you have set out for yourself, I want to add a few more goals that you might not have considered.
I want you to learn what the paleo diet is, and by that I mean a framework or lens through which you view the food you eat and the food choices that you make. I want you to understand the evolutionary reasons why we are eliminating sugar, grains, legumes, etc. during the challenge. And I want you to ask questions of your nutrition coaches to gain a better understanding of what foods you should and should not be eating and why. Become an informed consumer.
- Learn to Listen to Your Body:
Pay attention to how you feel as you eliminate foods, drink more/less water, get more sleep, etc. How do each of these things make you feel both when you are working out in the gym and as you go through your day-to-day routine? Some of you might function better on 7 hours sleep versus 8 hours versus 9 hours. Some of you may need to snack often throughout the day to manage hunger and energy levels. Just remember that while everyone is following the same nutrition challenge rules, you are an INDIVIDUAL. Learn how specific things affect YOU and tailor your choices to maximize the benefits for your body and lifestyle.
- Change Your Lifestyle:
Look, I am not crazy. I am very realistic. Not all of you are going to come out of this nutrition challenge with some sort of existential awakening that leads you to stop eating grains, sugar, and legumes forever. Most of you probably will not. A few of you might, and that is great if you do. But that really is not the point of what we are doing. I want each of you to make healthier, better choices to become the best version of YOU. What that looks like after the challenge is over will be different for each of you. Some will cut out gluten, or sugar (really all of us need to cut out sugar; seriously, cut out sugar), or legumes. Or some of you might cut them all out with an occasional meal or even a weekly meal with less rigor. Regardless, I want you to carry the lessons you learn forward in some fashion. If you need help in figuring out how to carry your new knowledge forward in a manageable way, talk to your coaches in the final week of the challenge and come up with a plan.
Best of luck in the coming weeks, and I cannot wait to see who wins the challenge…but it’s probably going to be someone from my team. #teamtaylor4lyfe #noragrets
Stay the Course,