I gave up lattes for 6 weeks…
At the beginning of 2019, I joined Limitless Performance, one of my sponsors in their New Year, Best You challenge. I will be honest – I have never done a challenge like this before and I had my reasons.
One – if it feels like a cliche, I am uninterested and what is MORE cliche than new year’s resolutions?
Two – anything that involves a weigh in and body fat analysis feels like a diet to me and I don’t do diets and never intend to.
But what compelled me to join this particular one was the pillars of health that this challenge was focused on. My challenge had NOTHING to do with fitness, weight, nutrition or all of the other normal themes that accompany a new year’s challenge and everything to do with rest, silence and recovery.
I love operating one step below overwhelm so this was hard AF.
With the challenge, we needed to pick a main pillar of health to focus on and I chose Optimal Health, then Nutrition then Fitness. I am a COMPETITIVE person and although I will never be able to change that about myself, I can adjust where I focus that competition. The best person to compete with is me so the mantra for the challenge that I chose was “the only person who can beat me, is me.”
I chose a number of things to focus on:
I incorporated gratefulness journaling or meditation every day, alongside a end of day review where I would identify areas I could improve on.
I had two therapy sessions a week – meaning either a 20+ minute foam roll/stretch session, a massage, or anything that could qualify as restful self care. I even went to the Polar Retreat a handful of times during the challenge.
I committed to sleeping 7 or more hours a night, 5 days a week which is easier than it sounds when your wake up time is 4:30 AM.
I added meal prep to my routine. I cooked up a batch of healthy food on Sunday and had my lunch prepared the night before weekdays.
And HERE is the big one – outside of training, I gave up stimulants like coffee, sugar and my dirtiest of habits, Coke Zero. I had a goal of 5 days without each and I accomplished the whole challenge without pop, but I do require sugar and caffeine to optimize my nutrition training so I did do that.
It was easier than I thought to give up coffee. I refused to try before because I drink it black and felt like it was basically water that tasted like heaven, but I wanted to give it a shot. I had fogginess and headaches for a few days but it was completely fine after that.
I needed to incorporate a set time to do meditation or journaling or I knew it wouldn’t stick. For me, it was right after my morning workout and before I headed into work for the day.
I would fill out a sheet and drop it off at the gym every week. I did NOT have a perfect score every time, but the point of the challenge is to start new habits, not perfection.
I tend to default to the thinking that unless something is intense or hard, it won’t work. I am sure this will be met by an eye roll or two, but removing stress and replacing it with rest made huge improvements for me. I did find that I needed to sleep more when I cut out caffeine and I was surprised to see how much fatigue I was masking with stimulants. I was even more surprised that I could give up coffee, although now I only do it to ensure that I am drinking the best coffee at all times. I don’t drink it because I need to, I have coffee when there is an awesome cup of it available!
It was my first stint with lifting for any period of time and I added 2 pounds of muscle, lowered my body fat by 2% and stayed exactly the same weight.
The reality is, I will never stop giving myself challenges or trying to become just a little bit better than I was before, but this was a really unique way to kick off the year surrounded by a supportive community.