Update on the 30-Day Challenge

Colorful Vegetables Unofficially, I consider Monday the day of the week to check in with you, my readers, and let you know how my current 30-day challenge is going.  I hope you will reciprocate and share with me, as well.  I like to share with you what I am seeing and learning as I progress through the month in hopes that I might encourage you in your challenges. 

This month, my challenge is to eat at least three servings of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables a day.  As I stated on Day 1 of the challenge, I am trying to raise my standard of eating.  I have been doing some rich reading of late on the subject of brain and body health, and I have realized that there is a way to “eat to live” rather than living to eat.  The most obvious way is stated in my challenge: go for nutrient-rich foods.  The easiest way to identify nutrient-rich is by the deep colors, such as spinach, strawberries, oranges, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, etc.  There are some foods that are not so colorful, but still are high in antioxidants like cauliflower and green cabbage and pinto beans.  These are the kinds of foods I am focusing on inserting into my diet.

Another thing that I have learned in this process of trying to identify “nutrient-rich” is that olive oil isn’t just better for you than the other oils, it is actually very good for you, and it is also rich in antioxidants.  The plan is to wean myself off butter and to use olive oil (extra virgin) instead.

So how am I doing with this challenge?  Well, I regret to say that I am not batting 100% this month.  Maybe 95%, though.  Why?  Because it takes a lot of forethought and preparation to eat mindfully (as opposed to mindlessly).  I ran out of groceries after the first week (ran out of the good stuff) and had to scavenge around to find something fairly healthy.  However, I was only in this state for a day or two before I made a trip to the grocery store to stock back up on “colorful food.”

That’s the downside report; now let me tell you the upside.  I have eaten a lot less red meat this month (which was a by-product I was hoping for).  Also, even though I have broken the chain a day or two, I have still eaten more vegetables than I normally do.  So there’s serious improvement.

The most exciting change I have noticed thus far is the other night when I attended a party where ribs and smoked pork were the featured entree.  I had not had my three servings of fruits and veggies that day, so I scanned the table full of food quickly and noted that there was a beautiful green salad, some broccoli, coleslaw and a veggie tray.  I normally skip all that kind of stuff and go straight for the meat.  However, staying faithful to my challenge, I first loaded up on the good stuff and added a couple of small slices of meat to my full plate.  I was pleasantly surprised at how satisfying “the good stuff” was to me.  I did not pig out on the meat—or anything else, for that matter.

Also, I realize how I enhanced my probability for success by stating my challenge in a positive rather than negative light.  Instead of stating something like, “I will not eat sugar” or “I will not eat red meat,” and instead stating what I would eat, it changed the whole dynamics of the way I approached the table at that party.  Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t or shouldn’t eat, I focused on what I had to eat (to meet my challenge for that day).  Thus, I pretty much filled up on the wholesome stuff and just dabbled in the not-so-wholesome.  I highly recommend this positive approach to those of you are considering a 30-day challenge.  Figure out a way to state your challenge in positive terms—what you will do rather than what you won’t do.

Again, I am impressed with the effectiveness of a public 30-day challenge.  Had it not been for the challenge, I would not have made the choices I made at the party.  But after making them, I realized that they were gratifying—which will help me make the same kinds of choices later on when this particular challenge is past.  And that’s what the challenge is all about—to develop a habit that will stick with me after the challenge is completed.

How are you doing on your challenge?

Photo compliments of Marco Bernardini via Compfight

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4 Responses to Update on the 30-Day Challenge

  1. Cindy Lofton says:

    I liked so many things about this post, Diane! “Eat to live”, your deliberate choice to eat the good stuff first at that party & not default to what you would have in the past, wording your challenge positively instead of negatively (I almost made mine “Not drink coffee first for 30 days” but instead opted to say “Drink water first in the morning.”) Also, just hearing about other people talk about eating the ‘real’ foods is enough to whet my appetite for more of them. (not to mention just seeing a pretty picture like you had at the top of all the vibrant colors) If you discover new ways of cooking these foods that you are excited about, I would love to hear them.

    • Diane says:

      Cindy, Your comments are always so encouraging. If I’m not blogging for any other person, I’m blogging for you! 🙂
      As for cooking, I like to roast veggies. My sister turned me on to this method. Baby carrots are wonderful roasted. Add a little olive oil and roast at about 425 (or maybe even 450). Some of the carrots will char a little, but they’re good like that. I also tried something really strange (at least to me) the other night. Since the oven was on anyway, I cut up some cabbage and tried roasting it (I usually steam it). I cut up a bowl-full and added some chopped red bell pepper and olive oil and seasoning (Mrs Dash and black pepper), put it in a glass dish and cooked it about 20 minutes or so. It was really tasty that way. Please share any of your cooking ideas with me, too. I’m trying to branch out a little.

  2. Christine Kamau says:

    Thanks for the update Diane on your challenge.

    I have completed my 30-day challenge of exercising every morning! Whereas i did not score 100%, i certainly made a good 95%! Paul & I had to travel out of town last week for a Pastors meeting. The weather was so cold in that town especially in the mornings & evenings and getting out of bed was quite a ‘tall order’ to say the least…. whilst there i also developed some health discomfort that prevented me from following up on my challenge for 3 days. But when all is said and done, i am so pleased with my progress!! 😀 I am also glad to report that alongside this challenge i was drinking a lot of warm water, which has now become part of my life!

    “Little by little, step by step, day by day…..and we will surely get there!”

    I am ready to kick off my next challenge, which is to reduce my sugar intake for the next 30 days! – especially ‘uncooked’ sugar. This side of the world, we like taking hot beverages (any time of the day), like tea,coffee,drinking chocolate etc and we usually add sugar to taste. I want to take my tea without any sugar for the next 30 days! Alongside this, i want to reduce my starch/carbohydrate intake too!

    I know this will stretch me….. (especially the sugar bit!) ….i am sure, however that i may not be the only one with a ‘sweet tooth’!!

    Anyhow, i am so set to go…….

    Will keep you posted!

I love to read your comments!