(You can EITHER play video to listen or read-same thing!)
With the announcement of our latest nutrition challenge, it is easy to think "I know I'll rack up at least a point a day because of [insert reason here] so I'm just not going to do it." For example, "I eat breakfast in my car on my way to work every day so, there's a point each workday." "I have kids and dinner time is more like a game of tag so, sitting at a table isn't an option." "During my lunch break, I watch Netflix while I eat at my desk to escape the day for a little bit."
Let me be clear. This challenge will be the HARDEST CHALLENGE BY FAR for Coach Robert. He begins his day with one eye on his breakfast and the other on his phone screen. His lunch is interrupted multiple times by answering emails, texts, and laughing at the latest meme. Dinner is in front of the TV on the couch. It would be easier for him to eat ONLY vegetables for 21 days. Take his screen away and make him sit at a table during meal time and he, like Ricky Bobby, doesn't know what to do with his hands.
It's called a CHALLENGE for a reason. It's supposed to confront the way you are currently living, which gets uncomfortable. Going into it already doing the math of how you'll screw up is in no way productive. You are either avoiding change, shying away from something difficult (also known as avoiding change), or afraid to fail. If you enjoy your life and your meals as is, you don't need a change. You can stop reading (or listening) now. However, if you feel disconnected in life, from your food or other people, or if you think your eating is on point and you just don't know where these extra pounds are coming from, get on this and get uncomfortable. Open your mind up to a few ideas and whatever challenge you're facing might not seem so daunting...
1. Flip the script.
Instead of "I already see how I'll rack up points, screw this" think "I already see where I'll have trouble, so what can I definitely avoid points on to make up for it?" For example: "Crap, I usually eat breakfast in the car...I wonder if there's a way to eat at home at our dining table before I leave..." "Man, I eat at my desk because I don't think we have any tables at my office...I'll just focus on eating my other meals at a table and shut my computer off during lunchtime." "We have a break room at work, but it looks freakin' depressing and gross...I wonder if there's a way to improve it or if there are picnic tables outside." "Dinner with the kids will be impossible to sit down...unless maybe I can bribe them with TV if they eat their dinner. Then they can have screen time while I eat dinner at the table in peace!" And on and on. Will all of these flipped scripts work out? Probably not. Just wait, we'll get to that. But, by flipping your thoughts, you are accomplishing two things: first, you are shifting from a negative to a positive mindset. Second, you are taking control over your environment. By becoming aware of possibly problematic stimulus, you could transform yourself from a slave of your environment to a master of it.
2. You will, and you should, fail.
First of all, we'll all be failing. Every point is a tiny failure. This is like when the teacher says "In my class, you all start with an A." There's like two students who thought "and I'll be keeping that A by working my butt off!" (Ahem, that was me.) The rest of the class logically went "ok, so I can fail a few assignments and still be walking out of here with a C or better," taking off the pressure of studying to death. Get on that level here. I guarantee NO ONE ends on a perfect score for this challenge and IF SOMEONE HONESTLY DOES, Robert will run a mile at 5 am shirtless. The 6 am athletes can tell you about his snow jacket and gloves he usually coaches in in the mornings this time of year, so you know that's a big deal.
Secondly, failing is how we learn! Yes, prizes go to the top performers, but the goal of EVERY challenge we put up is to LEARN WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND WHAT DOESN'T. Maybe you THINK you're getting a mental break by watching Netflix on your lunch break, but in reality it just makes the time go by too fast and you always end up not finishing your food or rushing back to work. Maybe you think you can't get your kids to sit down to dinner, but there's a way that you can and you just haven't figured it out yet. Maybe it's possible to go to bed half an hour earlier so you can eat your breakfast at a table before you head out for work. How else will you ever find out?
Possibly, after these three weeks, you have a new dinnertime routine, start sleeping better because you watch less TV, and feel rejuvenated in the mornings. Maybe just by journaling your consumption, you realize you're drinking way too many calories in sweet tea, soda, or alcohol. Or maybe you tried getting your kids to give you a peaceful, screen free dinner but never got to put the TV trays away. Let's say you score more points than anyone else doing this challenge by a long shot. There's NO WAY you don't walk away from this without learning SOMETHING.
Things you could learn from this challenge:
1. You spend more time looking at a screen than engaging with actual human beings. This is bad because your health relates directly to connecting with other human beings. Start putting down the phone and make some eye contact.
2. You consume WAY too many calories because you're mindlessly eating in front of the TV or on the go. This is bad because you clearly care about your health (or you wouldn't be in this gym) and mindless consumption of calories is a pointless habit that just racked you up a bunch of points...and pounds. Start taking notice of how much you consume.
3. You're ashamed to write down what you actually ate. This is good because it makes you evaluate the foods you buy, keep in your home, and consume. If you're ashamed of a food you keep around the house, get rid of it.
4. You stop at a lot of drive thrus. Gross. Stop what you're doing right now. That's. Not. Food.
5. You are drinking a lot of calories, which is easy to do while watching a football game or carrying around a Big Gulp cup. This is bad because it's so easy to rack up liquid calories. Start cutting these back and replace these drinks with water.
The lessons from a challenge dedicated to bringing awareness to your actions are endless and certainly not limited to what I've addressed above. Even if this rant didn't entice you to join our latest gym challenge, I hope it instilled a little more confidence in you as you face challenges in the future. Remember that how you think influences how you live and feel. You can't think if you're unaware and disconnected.