We had run a 30 Day Nutrition Challenge in October, and it’s back by popular demand for the month of December. The number of people who participated was high and results were very positive for those who stuck to the program. The Holidays are marked by parties, celebrations and all that goes along with them. Too much food, poor quality food, too much drink and a reduced amount of exercise during this season leads to weight gain and other negative consquences.
Take control of your life this month. Don’t allow the Holidays to be an excuse for poor nutritional habits and don’t allow peer pressure to get the best of you.
Be strong this month and come out of the Holidays lean, fit and ready to begin the New Year with 1 Less Resolution you’ll have to make. Here we go!!
Very simply, the challenge is to strictly follow the guidelines laid out below for 30 days. Period. That’s all. Benefits include: loss of body fat, improved performance and increased feeling of well-being.
30 Day Goals:
- Eliminate “junk” from diet
- Replace the “junk” with healthier, quality alternatives.
- Experience first-hand the benefits of improved nutrition
- Loss of body fat
I am not a Registered Dietician or a Certified Nutritionist. Rather, I use real-world experience, coupled with extensive reading and discussion as my foundation. My system is a compilation from 3 main sources: primarily Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body. In addition, I rely on Dax Moy’s Elimination Diet and Loren Cordain/Joe Friel’s Paleo Diet for Athletes.
Key Point: 6 days per week we strictly adhere to our nutrition plan. The 7th day is a “free” day, or a “cheat” day (or a “reward” day to be positive about it). Anything goes on this day. Eat and drink as much as you want of anything that you want. No holds barred, no restrictions. Period. I suggest using Saturday or Sunday as your “cheat” day.
Step 1 — REMOVE the “junk” from our diet, beginning immediately on Day 1:
- Eliminate ALL caffeine.
- Eliminate ALL processed foods (processed sugars and wheat products)
- Eliminate wheat-based products, including ALL bread, pies, cookies, cake,
ready-made soups and sauces that use wheat as a thickening agent Eliminate ALL sugars, sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners
- Eliminate rice, bread, anything that is “white” or than “can be” white.
- Eliminate potatoes
- Eliminate all grains
- Eliminate ALL Dairy products (milk and cheese)
- Eliminate ALL starches such as corn (rice and potatoes noted above)
- LIMIT your fruit intake. We don’t need fruits 6 days per week. I suggest you remove these until your “cheat” day. But if you love fruit, eat it during the week, but as little as necessary.
- Eliminate (or at least reduce) alcohol intake. Eliminating will provide best results and will reduce unnecessary calories, but Tim Ferris especially swears by 1-2 glasses of red wine per day (red wind has a lower sugar content than does white).
Will this be tough? Maybe. Especially the caffeine part. If necessary, you may take 3 days to phase out of caffeine intake. But if at all possible, just get it over with and eliminate it immediately. And sticking to the plan will be a challenge at this time of the year.
What You Can Expect:
In this initial phase of detoxification you may likely feel some, most or all of the following symptoms:
- flu-like symptoms
- bad breath
- aches and pains
- lack of energy
- weight loss of 3-5 pounds (primarily water weight)
Step 2: Replenish….or What we CAN eat
NOTE: Make this simple. Most of us eat a handful of foods, so while variety is good, hone in on those few things that you like and eat them over and over.
NOTE 2: EAT AS MUCH as you like for each meal. NO CALORIE COUNTING!
Your plate includes the following for EACH meal:
- Eggs (or egg whites, though the yolk contains the most nutrients)
- Chicken breast or thigh
- Beef (ideally grass-fed)
- Pork (less desirable)
- Black Beans (my personal favorite, spiced with hot sauce)
- Pinto Beans
- Red Beans
- Spinach (My personal favorite. I eat this every meal, including breakfast)
- Broccoli (another personal favorite)
- Mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower or other cruciferous veggies)
- Green beans
THAT’S IT! Simple, nutritious and VERY easy.
Eat as much as you like of these foods. Remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
My typical meal includes the following:
- Scrambled eggs (2-3).
- Black beans; nearly a full can.
- A HUGE spinach salad, including broccoli, carrots and pea
- Possibly a handful of nuts, such as raw cashews or almonds.
I don’t stray far from this. The main change will be to substitute a chicken breast for the scrambled eggs. But I love black beans and love the salad,
and don’t tire of either.
So the key for you will be to find those things that you like and stick with them.
Many people who go on “low carb” diets complain of low energy. That’s primarily because of insufficient calories. The foods you’ll eat are all nutrition, nutrient-rich foods and your body craves them. EAT ENOUGH! Salad doesn’t include many calories, so your calorie count must come from protein and more calorie dense legumes.
If you eat enough calories during your meals, which you should, you may not need a snack. If you do, however, eat a protein-rich snack (chicken, eggs, beef, etc) or protein powder.
Special considerations for endurance athletes:
- If you must, you may drink a sports drink or eat high carb snacks during your workout. But ONLY if you’re doing a long and/or hard workouts that truly depletes
your glycogen stores. An easy 1 hour run or spin doesn’t qualify. Sorry.
- Be sure to refuel following your workout. Primarily with quality carbs, but also with some protein. A recovery drink is fine (within 15 minutes). Otherwise a
post-workout meal of salad/veggies and protein or protein powder.
Don’t over think things. Eat as much as you want of the proper foods. You won’t go hungry. You’ll have energy. You’ll lose weight. You’ll be healthy.
- Avoid “white” carbs – or anything that “can” be white.
- Eat the same few meals over and over
- Don’t drink calories
- Don’t eat fruit (unless you must)
- Take one day off per week, and go nuts!
Good luck! Post your progress on Facebook – the December Nutrition Challenge page – and use the support we’ll be providing. Have a great 30 days, then continue it forward!