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April 23rd, 2014

Think You Can’t Do the Whole Life Challenge? You Can! I Did!

This guest post is from FLPT patient extraordinaire Lauren Ellsworth, who is the reason why we’re doing the Whole Life Challenge! Lauren did the challenge with friends in the fall, had a positive experience, decided to do it again this spring and convinced us to do it as well. How could we say no? If you’re having doubts about whether or not you can make the commitment, READ THIS POST! Then register. (And if you’re wondering, “What’s the Whole Life Challenge?” – check this out first.)

I had a hard time getting started with the Whole Life Challenge because I was worried about perfection. Cutting dairy, bread and sugar all at once was hard, and out the gate I didn’t get it right. Fortunately, that’s not what the challenge is actually about! My takeaway from the Whole Life Challenge is that it’s just that – a whole life engagement. This is not about perfection – it’s about progress.

For a girl who loves grilled cheese and quesadillas for dinner, saying no to bread and dairy is tough. But there’s other things I found I was quite good at – taking a supplement every day, for instance. And stretching for 10 minutes came naturally to me. It took self control not to grab an afternoon cookie as a snack, but if I had a rough day, I ate the cookie and lost a point. And with the Whole Life Challenge, that’s totally okay.

The people on my team and I all started out striving for 11 points every day – the top daily score. It’s a big goal and a super admirable one. But even those of us who averaged 7-8 points every day were making changes in our lives, changes that counted just as much for us as for the 11-pointers. I learned that of my two favorite salsas, one has a bunch of preservatives. I also learned that I’m just as happy with brown rice as with white, and I ate my first apple since I lost a tooth in one as a kid and discovered it was amazing.

Two months after the challenge has ended, I eat differently than I did before, I stretch more, I take the stairs more, and I’m in better shape. Though not explicitly a diet program, changing my consciousness about food and my diet also caused me to lose weight. Because there was no calorie reduction and starvation to it, I maintained that weight after the challenge ended too.

The Whole Life Challenge is definitely a commitment, but it’s a commitment that’s easier when shared among friends, and it’s one that carries forward even when the challenge is over. Doing the program is about learning about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to health and fitness, and tweaking those permanently. If you can’t subscribe to zero bread, then don’t! Have a slice, lose a point, and redouble your efforts to get your 2 points for your workout that day.

Do what’s right for you, but do it in a conscious way that makes health and fitness part of your life instead of an afterthought. And then challenge yourself to go further.

Now that you’re convinced that YOU TOO CAN DO IT… register to be a part of Team Finish Line… then invite a friend to join you! The challenge starts on Saturday, May 3. Let’s do it.

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