I’m so proud of you, kid.Your Future Self
I took the 10-day challenge, now what?
I took the 10 Day Real Food Challenge. I went full throttle and did three real food meals a day, and really stuck with the program – the “whole enchilada,” as they say. I appreciated having the inspiration to bump up my efforts to eat better, and to really focus on real food.
I won’t lie and say it was easy. There were some foods I liked, that weren’t all that bad in relative terms – like store bought hummus, and vegetarian “meat” products, that had no added sugar, but were, essentially, processed foods…like my old favorite “Tofurky”. Yes, it is all plant based, but try making Tofurkey in your home kitchen – you need a chemist to figure out how to make soy beans look like meat.
One of my colleagues noticed I was eating store bought hummus and asked whether I had ever made my own. Being over a half-century old, I felt a little self-conscious when I replied “no”. I bumped it up and got a recipe for hummus and made my first batch. It was so much better than store-bought, that I really felt silly for not ever trying. There is no going back now!
I also got a recipe for home-made crackers, made from almond flour and a variety of seeds and spices. My baking experiments have always been small disasters, so I didn’t have my hopes up, but wow – they tasted great. Smearing some of my home-made cashew cheese on these, I felt rather proud of myself.
Taking the challenge turned out to be fun, and during this time I made some new friends who are also into the whole “real food” thing. Sustaining this regimen really invites you to find your “Real Food Tribe.” It is not easy to do this alone. Processed foods are everywhere!
I’ve decided to take the 1000 Day Real Food Challenge…basically, I’m making this a lifestyle. I feel so much better, and despite the challenges, it is fun. I have become hyper-aware of all the processed food people are eating…and they want me to eat it too. I just reply, no-thanks with a nice smile – I’m on the real food diet.
Take it to the next level
You have 10 days of positive momentum behind you. Why not continue for, say, another 10 days? A month? The rest of your life?
Or, repeat the Challenge at a higher level of commitment. What will you need to succeed? Reflect on the previous 10 days. What were the biggest obstacles? Can you set up a contingency plan for each?
Remember: Change is hard. You will have setbacks. Accept the setbacks and continue on.
Enlist a friend this time. Help them through the Challenge with all your infinite real food wisdom.
Continue educating yourself on the benefits of real food, expanding your real food recipe collection, and enhancing your cooking skills. Maybe even learn to grow or process food yourself, like by making your own hummus, yogurt, or nut butters.
Learn to prepare one new real food a week. Buy a bunch and cook it several ways. Experiment. Introduce your friends and family to #WhatRealFoodLooksLike.
Build your real food tribe, as Wolfram mentioned above.
Lower the activation energy for your new real food behaviors. Prep food in advance. Keep real food handy. Keep a shopping list of your real food weekly essentials on your phone so you are prepared any time.
Prepare an in-case-of-emergency meal plan for those wild weeks in which you don’t have time to do even the most normal household duties. Add your quickest, easiest real food meals to the plan. Make a shopping list specific for that week too. Again, in case of emergency.
Make eating processed food more difficult. Raise the activation energy for your old processed food behaviors, like store processed food in another room or up high where you require a step stool to reach.
Permit yourself to have processed food, but add a condition to it, like you must walk to the store if you’re going to buy it.
Practice delaying gratification. Again, permit yourself to have a processed food if you have a craving you can’t ignore, but deliberately delay when you will have it. By granting yourself permission, you can stop obsessing over the craving, and any guilt or anxiety you are feeling will lessen immediately. And, when the time comes to eat the food, there’s a chance your craving will have subsided or, at least, weakened to the point where you will eat less of it.
Be realistic. No one is perfect. Just keep improving.
Answer a 5 question Survey about the Challenge.
Help others. Visit the Challenge forum. Share the one thing that kept you motivated or the single best benefit of eating more real food for 10