I might as well dive right in, so let’s do this. Hi, by the way.
The past eight weeks have flown by so fast. At my gym, Crossfit Valley of the Moon, around twenty of us participated in the Whole Life Challenge. I don’t want to go into some long informational tangent as to what the Whole Life Challenge fully entails and requires, but I will quickly break it down. We had 7 Daily Habits to improve upon or to spend extra time on that maybe we normally wouldn’t have. The 7 daily habits are exercise, mobility, sleep, hydration, nutrition, lifestyle practices & reflection. Essentially you have to work out everyday for at least thirty minutes, spend ten minutes on your mobility and stretching, drink your suggested ounces of water each day and eat REAL food. Those are the five major habits. The last two consisted of weekly lifestyle practices to challenge you and get you out of comfort zone and reflecting each day about your progress. So when you look at it, the name of the challenge is incredibly literal.
I eat fairly clean, to an extent, so having the opportunity to hone in on my food and cut sugar and bread out was really cool for me. I’m a total nutritional nerd and love all that shit. Seeing how my body reacts to food and how much better I feel over all once I cut something out is so cool. Now, some of the foods we were allowed to eat or not consume I was already practicing in my everyday diet. I don’t consume mass amounts of dairy and rarely eat it. In social situations I’ll make the exception, but at home I don’t mess with it. I primarily eat a lot of protein, vegetables and some fruit. Toss in the occasional flour tortilla, slice of pizza or bun on a burger and that’s my gluten intake. Once I cut food I find that my body rarely craves it anymore. I was pretty in tune with my body before but the challenge allowed me to become incredibly understanding of what my body wants and actually needs. I know when my body is lacking specific nutrients and what it needs to get me through the day. If I eat something I don’t normally eat I know immediately, and it is immediate, how it’ll react or how I will feel the next day. Our bodies are amazing, that is all I will say.
My sleeping improved vastly, this is the most sleep I have gotten consistently in a very long time. I usually sleep from anywhere between 5 and 7 hours, so adjusting to 8 was refreshing. I try to exercise consistently at my gym. Some weeks I am really on it and will be there 5 times a week, other weeks I’m lucky if I get to go three times. On days I wasn’t able to be in a physical gym I had to really be on it to get outside and go for a walk or a run. At home I have really been nudging for Aurora to get active as well. Not like we watch a lot of tv, she mostly plays games and with her dolls, inside. My siblings and I were outside any chance we had so I want her to be better about that. So we went on a lot of walks where she brought a long her scooter or bike. The mobility aspect was a really interesting part of the challenge. I am at the top of the list when it comes to people who are the worst at stretching after a workout or before, absolutely the worst. Setting aside time in the first few weeks was crucial, otherwise I’d just say fuck it and just not do it. But, I noticed a difference when I was consistently stretching each day and I realized how much I miss yoga.
My favorite part of the challenge though was the weekly practices which forced a lot of people out of their comfort zones. The practices were…
Week 1: Write in a journal for 10 minutes
Week 2: Support Your Teammates
Week 3: The Big 4 (No Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram)
Week 4: Intentional Acts of Kindness
Week 5: Brain Toss (Write down things that come to mind)
Week 6: Do Something You Love
Week 7: Get Rid of It (Stuff you don’t need)
Week 8: People Who Matter (Pick a person each day and write why they matter to you. Keep that little piece of paper to yourself or share it with the person that you appreciate)
These were either really easy or incredibly challenging, especially week 3. You never realize how often you reach for your phone to check social media until you’re told not to. So that one I failed, we were giving the opportunity to check once a day. Old habits are hard to break, lets just say that. Since then I have made a conscious effort to not be on my phone as much, as far as social media goes. I still check those apps multiple times a day, don’t get me wrong, but I try not to. But some days are easier than others.
I know it’s hard to believe, but I am a wee bit shy and am still pretty shy at my gym. So reaching out and supporting my teammates through our feed on the app and physically in the gym was something that for sure pushed me out of my comfort zone. But it knocked down walls and barriers that I had. I interact with more people at the gym because of it and don’t feel uncomfortable starting up a conversation.
My favorite practices were the ones where we really had to think. The journaling I loved for obvious reasons. The intentional acts of kindness throughout our group were really neat. People were doing things I didn’t think to do, simple things such as picking up garbage when you see it on the ground or buying coffee for the person behind you. We always hear about paying it forward, but how often do any of us actually do that? The last practice is where I really poured my heart and soul the most. I have so many people I am appreciative of and never exactly get to tell. I wrote quite lengthy letters, address to seven specific people. Will some of those beautiful souls see those letters? Yes. Others I think we’re just very therapeutic and those are the ones I’m not sure about handing off letters to. I can’t show all my cards, where’s the fun in that?
Overall, I loved this challenge and would totally do it again in a heart beat. I’m looking forward to the weeks following the challenge and how I can intertwine all 7 habits into my daily life and continue on this path. To be more open about my love and appreciation to everyone in my life. To really take care of my body and listen to it. And to just be appreciative of life overall.