My September 30-Day Challenge

September

30-Day Challenge

Unbelievably, it is already September.  And, being the first day of September, it is time to declare another 30-day Challenge. But before I go there, I need to give an update on the August challenge which was: to record everything I ate in the Lose It app.  I explain my thinking behind that “strange” challenge in My NEW 30-Day Challenge.  I regret that I cannot claim 100% completion of that goal.  I was very faithful for the first 20 days of the month, but on the 20th, Steve and I boarded a plane and flew to Zambia, Africa.  I never realized how difficult it would be to record my eating in a foreign country.  Many times, I had no idea what I was eating, much less how many calories it contained.  So I pretty much had to disregard the challenge for the 10 days that I was out of the country.

Nevertheless, I still consider the challenge a success.  For the 20 days that I was able to stick with the plan, I was very mindful of what I was putting in my mouth.  Furthermore, even though I did not actually record what I was eating, I did remain mindful of how much I was eating.  And the proof is in the pudding—the scales have gone down 3 or 4 pounds!  So my non-diet had the desired effect. Smile

As we enter September, I think it is important to continue building upon the habits established in the previous challenges.  For me, that means regular posting to My Pleasant Places; I had to slack up a bit while I was out of the country.  Also, though I don’t intend to do this the rest of my life, I do plan to continue recording what I eat in the Lose It app for at least the first 10 days of this month.  That habit will nicely compliment my September challenge.

My September Challenge

I do not take these challenges lightly.  When I got up this morning, I was still not sure what my challenge for this month was going to be.  It’s not that I couldn’t think of something; it was a matter of choosing which challenge I wanted to undertake this month.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading about healthy eating and the effects that different foods—good and bad—have on our bodies, brains, moods, future, etc.  I wrote a little about this subject in Eating for a Healthy Brain.  I get inspired by reading of research that showed that the blood antioxidant capacity surged after test subjects ate 10 ounces of fresh spinach or 8 ounces of strawberries (I like that there were near-instant results), or that in a group of older people, eating three servings of vegetables a day slowed the rate of memory decline by 40%, compared to eating less than 1 serving of vegetables a day (I like that “little improvements” made such an impact).  Clearly from these two examples, there are “little steps” that we can take that will make big differences if practiced them consistently.

I confess that my eating habits are not the most healthy.  I, like most Americans, take the easy way far too often, snacking on junk food or dining on fast food for the sake of convenience.  I have decided to leverage the inspiration from my recent reading and make a serious effort at improving my eating (and my health).  I can’t think of a better way to do that than to make it a 30-day challenge.  And so, after much deliberation, I have come up with a plan that I consider to be realistic (feasible) and yet will stretch me, too.

My 30-day challenge for the month of September will be to eat at least three servings of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables a day.  I will focus on colorful veggies and fruits that are high in antioxidants.  White potatoes will not count, nor will corn.  My goal is to raise the standard of my regular cuisine (aka, nutrient-dense).  This challenge will require me to think ahead, plan, purchase, and prepare so that I am not tempted to do “drive through dinners” for convenience sake.  This challenge will stretch me in more ways than one!

I’ll share more about what I am learning about food throughout the coming month (such as why white potatoes are not considered nutrient-dense, even though they are a vegetable) and the effect this rise in standard has on me (mood, energy, cravings, etc.).  Maybe I will be an inspiration to some of you as I share my experiences.  I hope so.  And I hope that you will be an inspiration to me, too.  So please leave me a comment and tell me how you fared with your challenge last month, and then state what your challenge this month will be.  And you might want to review An Analysis of the 30-Day Challenge to prepare and strategize for your success in the coming month.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Photo compliments of  Noah via Compfight

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4 Responses to My September 30-Day Challenge

  1. Kristie Spielmaker says:

    I never commented about my August 30 day challenge, but I did have one! My challenge was to floss everyday and I think I only missed it twice. I know there are benefits to flossing and I know it is important, but my biggest excitement about this challenge is that I have ALWAYS wanted to be a faithful flosser but I never seemed to be able to be consistent. Well, now it is a part of my routine in the morning just like getting dressed and fixing my hair.

    This month my challenge is to be up by 5am Monday through Friday. This goal is multifaceted. Not only do I want to get to work by 7a, but there are things I want to do in the mornings before going to work. Examples: read my Bible, spend a few minutes talking to my husband, make my lunch so I can have healthy meals during the day, MAKE COFFEE!!! This past week I was up most mornings by 4:45 and that seems to give me time for these things ( if I pick out my outfit for work the night before!). However, I noticed that on Thursday and Friday I was getting up later…that is why I am making this my 30 day challenge for September. I want to be consistent ALL WEEK!

    All of this is in preparation for my October 30 day challenge. I know that these things need to be set in place before I start adding activities to my routine.

    I will keep you posted!

    • Diane says:

      Great challenges, Kristie (August AND September)! Aren’t you pleased that flossing is no longer a “challenge,” but has become a habit. I love it when I can actually see and feel that. I think you will find that declaring your 30-day challenge “publicly” (on this blog site) will help you press through to Friday on getting up early. I know this goes without saying, but be sure to get to bed a little earlier to compensate for the earlier getting-up time. You can’t burn the candle at both ends. Or if you have the time and place to take a power nap on your lunch hour, that would accomplish the same thing. Also, do you have a coffee pot that you can put on a timer? That makes a huge difference in your morning. I try to make my coffee on weeknights and put it on a timer set to go off at my getting up time. Just hearing it making actually incentivizes me a little. I get up, get dressed, brush my teeth and splash water in my face, and the coffee is usually done by the time I am through with all that.
      Good luck with the challenge! And keep me posted. I really am interested.

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