Halloween 🍭 Thanksgiving 🥧 Christmas 🍪 oh my… As the great Lady Gaga once said, “you’re givin’ me a million reasons” to fall off the healthy train for a full 90 days!?
How can we combat that common holiday downward spiral? With a hyper-focused reset that’s the complete opposite of all or nothing.
If you caught my post on the 21 Day Challenge overview, you know the general synopsis of what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, and most important – WHY we’re going it. You can sign up at ANY time right here and do your own 21 Day Reset during a time that works best for you. During the 21 days between Halloween & Thanksgiving this year, I’ll be checking in, motivation and encouraging those who join with tips, reminders and challenges via email, text or our Facebook Group.
And with that, let’s dive into Week 1!
The 3 main health topics we’ll be focusing on during this 21 Day Challenge are Nutrition, Fitness, and Mindset. Below is a breakdown for what we’ll be focusing on during Week 1 specifically:
NUTRITION: Nixing Added Sugar & Processed Foods
FITNESS: Adding Morning Movement
MINDSET: Adding Mindful Moments
Your helpful explanations for each of these tactics is below …
WEEK 1 NUTRITION FOCUS:
NIX ADDED SUGAR & PRE-PACKAGED FOODS.
End your sugar addiction this week. Add years to your life for decades to come.
What Is Added Sugar:
- Essentially any sugar that’s not from a fruit. Fruit sugar & sugar from lactose is naturally occurring. Added sugar is not. Added sugar is EVERYWHERE! Obvious places like candy, ice cream, cakes, cookies, muffins, breads, cereals, juices, energy drinks, coffee beverages, protein bars (soooo much sugar in Perfect Bars y’all) and other baked goods & sweet treats. It’s also in sneaky places like crackers, yogurt, and even tomato sauce! Other forms of sugar include white flour, natural & artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, MSG and pre-packaged foods.
- Moral here: READ YOUR LABLES! If there are grams of “added sugar” on the label, NIX IT. If the ingredients include cane syrup, cane juice, cane anything, honey, agave – those my dear are all added sugar.
- Sugar is super inflammatory. It’s addictive – legit cocaine & heroine addictive. It’s not nutritious or health promoting. It’s known to cause wrinkles. It irritates & disrupts our digestive system, breaking down our gut barrier and allowing toxins to enter our system, leading to chronic inflammation.
- Cutting sugar out of your diet can also reduce the following: acid reflux, irritable bowel, fatigue, migraines, brain fog, joint pain, anxiety & rashes, stress, mood swings.
- The #1 rule of thumb for this tactic is to read your labels. There are literally thousands of other foods to select instead of foods with added sugar. Be deliberate about what you consumer during this 21 Day Challenge.
- Be frank with yourself. You will not die if you don’t have that piece of dark chocolate after dinner this week, or those 3 spoonfuls of your creamy treat of choice before bed.
- Fruits are ok, but pair with a fat like nuts or nut butter to stabilize any spikes in blood sugar, and limit to 2 to 3 servings of fruit MAX a day.
- Alcohol is ok, but no juice mixers, and during these 21 days keep to 1 to 2 drinks 1 to 2 times a week. You’ll have plenty of opportunities for more adult beverages at Thanksgiving & holiday parties, though by then you’ll likely want to stick with this reco.
- You can go your own way:
- Goal: Nix all added sugar & pre-packaged foods all week. All 7 days of Week 1.
- Flexibility: Make it at least the MAJORITY of days this week with no added sugar or pre-packaged foods. That means 4 days.
WEEK 1 FITNESS FOCUS:
ADD MORNING MOVEMENT.
When your body wakes up, it doesn’t want coffee. It wants oxygen.
What Exactly Is Movement:
- First thing in the morning during this reset, right when you wake up, spend just a few minutes warming up the body. This does not need to be a workout or even real exercise! Just get some steps in around your room, walk a few flights of stairs, stretch for a few minutes every morning this week.
Why Are We Adding It:
- You’ve been pretty motionless for 6 to 8 hours, right? Your body doesn’t want a jolt of caffeine. It wants oxygen! Treat your muscles & joints to some light movement first thing to gently wake your body up & get your blood pumping.
- Flexibility gets more & more critical as we age.
- Science tells us that when we sleep, our muscles lose tone, and fluid tends to pool along our backs. Stretching helps to massage fluid gently back into the normal position.
How To Add In Morning Movements:
- Walk around your room. Do some light stretches, even in bed, even a brief yoga flow. Walk down & up your stairs a few times. Get some Morning Movement in for 5 to 10 minutes. If you normally workout first thing in the morning, you’re set!
- You can go your own way:
- Goal: Get your Morning Movement in every day this week.
- Flexibility: Move in the morning at least the MAJORITY of days this week. That means 4.
WEEK 1 MINDSET FOCUS:
ADD MINDFUL MOMENTS.
Buckets of research show that mindfulness can decrease mood swings, stress and self-doubt; treat anxiety, depression and chronic pain; and legitimately lengthen our life span.
What Is Mindfulness:
- Being mindful is quite simply being calm & aware. You don’t have to “meditate.” You can simply just be. Be present. Listen to your breath, the sounds of the outdoors, the scents around you. You can either sit in silence, or with calming music, or with a guide.
- This does not need to be for 20 to 40 minutes a day. You can sit in peace for just a few minutes 1 to 3 times a day.
- Practicing focus and becoming more in tune with and aware of our life has groundbreaking benefits. More and more studies have shown that not only can mindfulness sharpen your brain, it can also slow your aging. More proof on that this week!
- Consistent mindfulness practices have proven to fight inflammation, reduce feelings of anxiety & depression, and enhance our ability to clearly focus on and assess any situation we’re in.
- You hands down DO NOT need to call this “meditating.” Just consider getting some mindful minutes in a few times a day during your 21 Day Challenge and see if you can continue on! Maybe add mindful breathing right when you wake up, when you go to the bathroom, before you start your car in the morning, before you get out of your car after work, right when you change into your pj’s, or right before you go to bed.
- You can even practice mindfulness while walking, painting, cooking, knitting, gardening, and many other calming activities.
- Wherever you are, just be. Sit, close your eyes, count your breath. Yes, thoughts will come & go, but don’t stress over them. Let them pass, and go back to acknowledging your breath.
- A quick list of mindful tactics include: Mindful Breathing, Meditation, Body Scan, Progressive Relaxation, and Visualization. A simple Google search will tell you more about these tactics, but we’ll be digging deeper into each this week.
- You can go your own way:
- Goal: Get 1 to 3 Mindful Moments in every day this week.
- Flexibility: Practice mindfulness 1 to 3 times a day for the MAJORITY of days this week (that’s 4 days) OR perform 1 Mindful Moment practice each day this week.
And now, it’s your turn!
- Where have you found unexpected added sugar?
- How does too much sugar or processed foods make you look / feel / perform?
- Can you spare 5 minutes in the morning to stretch before you get ready?
- Can you designate a few moments of your day for some short & sweet mindful breathing?
I’d LOVE to hear your responses! Comment below, email me via the Contact page, or hit me up on any social platform (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) @WholeHardy! If you join the 21 Day Challenge, you’ll get daily tips, reminders, motivation and challenges from me via email, text or our Facebook Group.
We’re all in this TOGETHER.
Lots of Love,
PS: Want to be first to know about upcoming challenges, what’s hot in health news, and fresh new recipes? Sign up for my weekly WholeHardy Health Hacks!
PPS: Want some yummy & healthy fall recipes? Click here to try my stew, chili, butternut squash, stir fry, oh yeah!