Many of our clan have set New Year's resolutions and fitness goals for 2018. If any of those goals include changes to nutrition, exercise, mobility...you may want to consider joining our next Whole Life Challenge. Maxmead has a team doing the Whole Life Challenge for the 4th session in a row! Why do we keep doing this? Simply because it works. There are other nutrition challenges out there, many diet plans and workout schedules as we have all seen. Many of us have tried them at one point but found they weren't sustainable. To truly see results in fitness, nutrition, overall wellness we have to incorporate those changes into our lifestyle. Consider your New Year's resolutions. If you want to lose weight, will that diet you found online help you achieve that goal? Possibly. But do you plan to eat like that for the rest of your life? Unlikely. So if you aren't changing your eating habits permanently, you may lose the weight but as soon as your diet is over, that weight is likely to come right back.
The Whole Life Challenge is focused on implementing 7 healthy habits - incorporating them into your lifestyle to achieve permanent change. The focus is on mindfulness in areas of our lives where we may not be paying enough attention for optimum health. The best part about the WLC though is the accountability and support. You aren't making these changes alone. You have a team of people experiencing the same thing supporting you and encouraging you to succeed! Let's look at each of the 7 habits and I'll share what I've learned from past challenges.
1. Nutrition - this is the one people are most worried about. No sugar?! What?! There are 3 different levels to this challenge. Pick the one that is right for you! Remember baby steps and sustainable change are the goal. From the first challenge (I chose Kickstart level) I found that I had not been eating in a purposeful way. I was surprised at how often I grabbed a handful of cereal while cooking breakfast for my family. Or how often I relied on a protein bar to get me through the work day. The WLC opened my eyes to the unhealthy habits I had adopted and helped me focus on proper nutrition without feeling deprived! I lost inches and kept them off. It wasn't as hard as I expected it to be! And our community has been great at sharing excellent compliant recipes!
2. Exercise - another one many of us worry about. We all have busy lives and the idea of getting to the gym to workout every day is overwhelming and for many, just won't work. That's ok! For the WLC, the challenge is to exercise for 10 minutes each day. This can be as simple as taking a walk. You don't have to schedule 1.5 hrs to get a workout in. Everyone can find 10 minutes in their busy day to prioritize moving their body! For me, this meant putting in earbuds and joining conference calls from my phone rather than my desk. If I didn't need to be in front of my computer, why sit for an hour? I could participate on the call while walking the halls of my building. (Yes, multitasking is my life.)
3. Mobilize - hands down the one that people find the most challenging, yet also the most beneficial! How many of us even think about mobility on a daily basis? If you have a good coach/trainer they get you to mobilize before and after a workout, but are you doing it on your own as well? The challenge is to stretch 10 minutes a day. That's it. I found it so easy to stretch while checking my email on my phone in the morning or while watching TV in the evening. Once you make it a priority, it isn't hard to incorporate in your daily life. And the benefits are profound! Not everyone feels the benefits of daily mobility right away, but you will definitely feel them down the road as your body ages.
4. Sleep - no you don't have to commit to 8+ hours every night. You choose the duration of sleep that you know is best for you and works with your lifestyle. I've never needed a lot of sleep so I wasn't worried about this aspect of the challenge. However I learned that what time I went to bed and what I did right before sleep was important to my overall feeling of restfulness.
5. Hydrate - the WLC says "there is no simpler way to improve your health than to increase your water intake". So very true! Water is life. But many people start their day with coffee, switch to soda, and finish with wine; completely forgetting the water. Those other beverages don't count! Your body needs water throughout the day. Since water is easily accessible, this should be an easy one.
6. Well-Being - each week a new action is announced. Some are easy, like encouraging your teammates in their journey each day. Some are more challenging like meditating for 10 minutes each day. The focus is to get you thinking about and practicing activities that can improve your overall well-being. They may take you out of your comfort zone and you may discover something that has a profound impact that you want to continue long-term. I have kept up with the brain-dump technique and journaling each day. Both of these practices help me stay focused and keep the feelings of overwhelm and stress at bay.
7. Reflect - as part of the handy app you use during the challenge, you score yourself on each habit and reflect on the day. The reflection isn't contributing to your memoirs, its simply a couple of notes on how the day went. What habits were hard to follow that day. Or what successes you experienced. This is also where that accountability and support come in. Your teammates see your reflection and can comment. This is where we offer words of encouragement and support. This is where you know you aren't doing this challenge alone - your Maxmead clan has your back and wants you to succeed!
A final note about how this WLC session is different from past sessions. It's only 6 weeks long instead of 8! I'm so encouraged by this because it's always those last 2 weeks that I start dragging. After 6 weeks I feel like I've accomplished a lot and can end on a high note! Below is a link to the WLC Team explaining why they changed the challenge to 6 weeks as well as a link to the Maxmead Team sign up. I hope you will join me on this journey!
Sign up here: http://www.whole.lc/wlc1801/pt/maxmeadfitness