As I mentioned in my year in review post, I participated in a challenge with my crossfit gym called the Whole Life Challenge. As the name suggests, it is a challenge that encourages healthy choices in all parts of your life – not just food and/or exercising. This challenge came at the perfect time for me, it started in mid September and ended in November (right when we were going on a beach vacation to Mexico). It was 8 weeks long. Within the Whole Life Challenge there are 7 categories where you could earn points, each day you could earn up to 5 nutrition points for eating compliant foods according to your nutrition level (3 different levels), 2 points a day were earned for 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of stretching, 1 point a day for drinking the proper amount of water, 1 point a day for taking your supplement, 1 point for posting a reflection on your team page and then 1 point for the healthy habit of the week (this varied from sleeping a proper amount to having meals without screens).
One thing I liked about the challenge is that you had the ability to earn “cheat points” and free days! So I didn’t feel too guilty if I used some cheat points. With the nutrition level I picked, I was also able to have 1 glass of wine per week without losing a point!
As I mentioned, this challenge came at the perfect time, I was 3 months post baby and just feeling large and unhealthy. I was still carrying 7 pounds of extra weight and didn’t feel like it was going to come off unless I made some changes. As anyone who has had a baby can understand, with sleep deprivation I was eating way too much sugar and way too many carbs and it was easy to come up with excuses on why I should have ice cream and wine every night.
The Actual Challenge
The day before the challenge began, I did a benchmark workout that I repeated at the end of the challenge – this helps you see improvements in fitness over the 8 weeks as well.
The first week was ROUGH when it came to the “diet.” While there were many great choices but I just couldn’t feel full! It took a couple weeks to really start feeling full and actually to start losing weight. I would say the majority of my weight loss occurred between weeks 3 to 6. I slept SO well during this challenge and just felt great. I felt stronger in the gym and running. This is definitely a lifestyle my husband and I hope to continue (especially after all the indulging we did over the holidays).
The challenge encouraged us to find new ways to cook and to do some major food prep on the weekends! We started spiralizing vegetables, making egg muffins, oatmeal, and chopping veggies and fruit up to snack on.
I didn’t find the exercising, water drinking and supplement taking part of the challenge too tough however, I did find myself doing my 10 minutes of stretching before bed almost every night.
Date nights and dinners with friends were definitely tough but we found some delicious meals to cook for our friends and learned to slowly sip on that wine and lose points when necessary! The challenge encourages you to celebrate when necessary and don’t panic if you have a couple rough days, get back into it.
By the last week, I was definitely over logging my scores and staying 100% compliant but I would HIGHLY recommend this challenge to anyone looking to feel better about themselves. Another challenge actually starts in January! I was lucky enough to have my mom, husband, sister and brother-in-law doing the challenge with me – if you are interested in starting this, I would highly recommend finding a partner in crime and someone to hold you accountable.
I ended up losing 10 pounds during the challenge and actually lost a couple more after the challenge ended. I took over 2 minutes off of the benchmark workout and felt like myself again at the end of it. I definitely still have a ways to go to get to my “former self.” I still have areas to tone up and am still not sure if my stomach will ever look the same again but overall, thanks to the challenge I am feeling wonderful. I also am hoping to get some of my running speed back again too! I have my first post baby half marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I am not brave enough to post my before pictures and never took an after photo!
If you are interested – sign up at http://www.wholelifechallenge.com
Have you ever done a health challenge before?
Do you have any questions about the Whole Life Challenge?