Matt & Niki talk to Niki and Gillian about the Take Charge 10 nutrition challenge, which begins as a community on March 22 but you can complete anytime you want after March 22.
Take Charge 10 is a 10 day challenge, and each day adds another habit. Each day, therefore, builds on the other, so on day 10 you should be trying your hardest to follow all 10 guidelines. ANYONE can do it at ANYTIME, though if you begin on March 22, you'll be doing it along with the BLOC community and many coaches and staff. If you're participating, you can let us and your followers know by adding #takecharge10 to your social media posts.
It's a way to fast charge your nutrition and work on healthy nutrition habits with an online community and--hopefully--those close to you as well. It's a reset, where you spend 10 days spending more time and energy and focus on nutrition. It's a way to see how different habits and behavior changes affect your health and reflect on how you might incorporate or sustain some or all of these changes.
What is it NOT? It's not 10 days to 6 pack abs. It's not 10 days of extreme dieting or restricting huge types of food. It's not a 10-day suffer fest.
Below are the steps:
- Drink More Water (half your bodyweight in pounds in ounces of water)
- Reduce Added Sugars (50g max)
- Stop Mindless Snacking (eat purposely)
- Keep a Food Journal of Everything that Goes Into Your Mouth
- Eliminate Alcohol Consumption
- Eat Your Veggies (eat more, try more)
- Fill Up on Fiber (30g of fiber from food)
- Cut off Caffeine (6 hours before bed)
- Balance Your Snacks (don't eat a snack with just one macro, especially carbohydrates)
- Prepare all Meals at Home (know exactly what you eat)
Gillian designed this nutrition challenge to be inclusive, not exclusive. It was also designed to be done to be something you can do with your family and friends.
The 10 habits really form the foundation of any healthy nutrition approach - this doesn't require a specific diet and allows for many different types of diet. These really are the fundamentals and basics, and building this strong base can lead to a sustainable, healthy diet.
A strong foundation leads to success, though you can certainly improve on these areas and take them further, based on your goals. Some habits are definitely things that are worth doing all the time, and others you might decide to only do occasionally.
Many of the arguments and discussions on programming and nutrition too often focus on the least important aspects of diet. Most dietitians agree with most of these basics.
Also, some of these you may already be doing or find extremely easy to do (if you don't drink, eliminating alcohol won't be a problem). Others may be a real challenge. If you're doing something well, you can always aim to push that area a bit further during a challenge. If you struggle with something, it's worth reflecting on why you struggle with it and how big of an impact changing that behavior could contribute to your health goals.
Food isn't moral, it's ultimately functional. Are you eating in a way to move toward your goals? If you enjoy a food like chocolate or ice cream, there are ways to allow these foods with planning and adjusting your diet in other areas.
The first day you add, not take away, something: you add water. This not only will help many people feel better, but it also helps--as a side effect--reduce caloric drinks.
Be weary, however, of "gateway foods." These are foods that tend to cause a chain or more calorically dense foods. For Matt, for example, he struggles to eat tortilla chips without adding things to them and then drinking as well.
Reducing added sugars helps you look at labels more closely, especially if you enjoy sweet foods regularly. You may find yourself finding ways to reduce added sugars during the day to enable a dessert in the evening, and that's completely fine! You will likely be surprised where sugar is hidden and in the amounts it is hidden.
Stop mindless snacking is a way to prevent intaking calories that you're not eating mindfully. Too often, someone might pick at a food while preparing dinner or eat left over food off of a kid's plate. You can eat a snack, but it should be a deliberate snack.
Keeping a food journal helps you track what you eat and can help you track total calories and macros. You can also include how you feel. You can see what you were eating when you felt good and what foods didn't make you feel good. You can also pre-load food into the App to see the calories and macros in those foods. So, for example, if you plan to go out with friends on Saturday evening, you can either look at the restaurant menu and pick some foods. You can also plan to have some lighter meals earlier in the day to offset the increase calories in the evening.
Eliminating alcohol for many people helps you better understand and evaluate your relationship for alcohol. For some people, this will be incredibly easy. For others, it may be the most challenging step. Alcohol, however, has a trifecta of issues: calories, inhibition limitation, and worse sleep.
Veggies are considered healthy by just about every diet, and they provide lots of vitamins and minerals, contain lots of water, and have plenty of fiber. If you already eat vegetables, maybe increase the amount or try some new vegetables.
If you struggle with vegetables, frozen vegetables are often more nutritious than fresh vegetables and can often be easily steamed in the microwave. Add some salt and maybe some spices--maybe a little fat depending on your goals and calories and macros--and eat some vegetables. You can also hide vegetables in recipes: add some spinach or onions or bell peppers to some ground beef. Fiber helps fill you up and do some other things that you do regularly. Adding the vegetables will go a long way toward this goal. Chia seeds and legumes have lots of vegetables, so do vegetables and fruit. Aim for 30g for the remainder of the challenge.
Cutting off caffeine 6 hours before bed provides a couple benefits. First, it reduces pop (or soda, or soda pop, or coke, or whatever you call it). It also helps improve sleep quality if you regularly consume caffeine in the evening or late afternoon.
Balancing your meals and snacks helps prevent a crash, especially after high carbohydrates snacks (and for some, high carbohydrate & protein with very little fat). You'll often feel hungry and grumpy soon after these all carbohydrate snacks, such as pretzels.
Finally, day 10, understand everything you consume and prepare all your food at home. If you can, use this as an opportunity to try a new meal. Maybe make it a family or couple activity. Either way, prepare your food at home so you know EXACTLY what's in it. Restaurant meals have hidden calories, often in the forms of fats and oils that they add to meals.
Good luck, and #takecharge10
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