You know what’s not easy? Sitting at your favorite restaurant when the waiter places a steaming bowl of truffle fries in front of you and saying, “No, thanks. I don’t want any.” That is a lie. You do want some. Or you would if you were me.
Hi, I’m Abby, and I just signed a contract that says I can’t eat truffle fries.
Well, not truffle fries in particular, but we’ll get to the details in a minute. For the next six weeks, I’ll be hijacking this little corner of Be Well Philly to talk about a health challenge I’m part of that will hopefully end in a healthier, happier, way-less-likely-to-eat-her-emotions version of me.
Let me set the stage a bit: My sister is a personal trainer launching her own health-and-lifestyle-consultation business. One of her products is a lifestyle transformation program called the revAMp. It’s a customized plan aimed at permanently changing bad habits and creating new healthy ones. Before she markets this program to the masses, however, she asked a few friends and family to sign on as guinea pigs. At first, I said no—I thought there was no way I could commit to a strict plan given my busy work travel schedule (I spend a week or two on the road per month) and my use of baking (and eating) as a stress reliever.
After I turned her down, though, I realized that this is exactly what I need if I want to change my perspective on food and fitness. I’m pretty consistent about exercising, and sometimes even really dedicated, but there are times when I fall off that wagon into the loving arms of my old friends: bread, cheese, cake. I do really well with rules, and I knew signing a contract would keep me honest, so my knee-jerk reaction to say no to the whole thing was really just a cop-out, a lame excuse when I know this is just the thing to jumpstart a truly healthier life.
After thinking about all of this, I agreed to sign on the dotted line and give this a shot. We talked about my goals for the program—which, by the way, aren’t really about losing weight at all; I want to change how I think about food, viewing it as a fuel source instead of something to put in my mouth just because it’s there—and what would be realistic parameters for me. Then we came up with a contract. So, for the next 42 days, I’ll be keeping you all updated on how I’m doing as I follow these guidelines:
• Work out at least four times per week, including two strength training workouts.
• Eat NO dairy, sugar, grains, processed or fried foods.
• Eat LOTS of fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean meat.
• No alcohol. At all (at least for the first three weeks). This should be fun.
Of course, we’re launching this during BBQ season, when nothing sounds as refreshing as some tortilla chips and guacamole and an icy Corona. (Ugh, my mouth is watering right now. Not even kidding.) Already this week, I’ve had to say no to a surprise pizza party and birthday cupcakes at the office, and it is not easy. I’m heading out to dinner with friends tonight and already mentally prepping myself to find the least offensive thing on the menu.
If I haven’t lost you so far, hopefully you’ll stick with me through a summer full of work events, bachelorette parties, and international travel as I battle my inner fat kid. Challenge #1: a going-away party for a friend on Saturday. I’ll let you know next week if sober me thinks I’m as good a dancer as tipsy me does.
>> Have you ever to develop new health or fitness habits? How’d you make ‘em stick? Share in the comments!
Abby McKenna, a management-training consultant living in Bryn Mawr, loves to bake and travels a lot for work. For the next six weeks she’ll blog every Thursday about her progress—and all the ups, downs, and in-betweens—right here on Be Well Philly.