Wednesday, February 02, 2011

5 Day Challenge

If you want to begin a new habit, or break a bad habit, one of the best ways to do it is to start with just FIVE days. We've all heard that it takes 21 days to make a new habit, but 21 days is a long time and might seem overwhelming. So focusing on just FIVE days might be the better way to start. Then after the five days are conquered, you can work on the next five days and continue forward...

I and several people in my support group just worked our way through a 5 Day Challenge to eliminate simple carbs from our eating plan. Simple carbs include white flour, pasta, rice, potatoes and any refined sugar-added foods like sweets or candy. Instead we focused on complex carbs to go along side our protein choices - fruit, veggies, dairy, legumes/beans and whole grains. The concept with this challenge is that when we are in a cycle of excess simple carbs our bodies actually crave more carbs and we are in a continue cycle of insulin and blood glucose spikes and drops. Once we clear our body of simple carbs for 5 days the physical cravings go away and you're faced with mere psychological challenges to make the right choices.

Sounds easy, right?

Not so fast! I took this 5 Day Challenge along with about 20 other of my group members and it took us about 2.5 weeks to complete a full five days in a row of good eating. When you screw up, you go back and start over at Day 1. It doesn't matter how many times you have to start over at Day 1, you just do it because you're committed to making this a permanent change. It's harder than it sounds but SO worth the effort.

What other 5 Day Challenge could we do?

  • Exercise
  • Taking Vitamins
  • Drinking enough water
  • Getting all your protein
  • Spending less money
  • Watching less TV
  • Cleaning the house 15 minutes at a time (the FlyLady way!)
No matter what habit you want to establish, it's always better to set small, manageable goals rather than big lofty goals. Then as you achieve those small goals, you build upon them little by little until eventually you look around and realize you've just accomplished something huge!


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