Congratulations! You’ve just completed 30 days of eating healthy, whole foods. I’m sure you’ve gotten positive results from doing it. Now here’s the sneaky part that I didn’t let on when I proposed this challenge...
Stick to it. I dare you.
That’s right, I want to see you keep eating clean so that you continue to make your body as healthy as it can possibly be.
Quick story, the first time I did a 30 day Paleo challenge, was when a couple of people I knew that owned gym’s (Melissa Hartwig and Colin McGarty) issued the challenge to their clients, so I figured I’d jump on board and give it a shot. I planned my 30 days and it so happened that at the end of the 30 days I was going to be at a friends beach house the first day after the challenge was over. So my plan was to be really strict for the whole 30 day challenge and then on the day after just chow down on everything in my path, particularly non-paleo foods. It also happened that I was going to take CrossFit Kettlebell Certification again during that time, and Melissa Urban was going to be there as well. I told her that I was doing the 30 day challenge and that I was doing really well thing were working the way they were supposed to. When I told her that I planned to totally go crazy at the end of the 30 days, Melissa looked at me with a look that said “Are you !@#$% serious”, then only asked me a simple question that I really didn’t have a good answer for.
I though to myself, “good question, I don’t really know”!
What was the point of learning to shop and eat healthy, feel better, perform better and look better, to simply go back to doing the things that made me feel worse, perform worse and look worse? Was I doing this as an exercise in discipline, to see if I could last for 30 whole days, what was the point? I’ve always hated “quick weightloss” schemes, so that wasn’t the reason. Now I’m the kind of person that doesn’t necessarily like to take correction or have my plans questioned once my mind is made up, but that question nagged at me all the way up until I went to my friends beach house where TONS of non-paleo, rubbish food was available at my fingertips. Then as I was looking at everything there was to eat, I asked myself, “Why?” and I made up my mind right then that paleo eating was going to be the way I eat all the time. I did have a beer and a handful of potato chips at my friends house that day, but the rest of my eating day was spent hovering around the grill for the chicken and steak that was brought out and the lone veggie tray that only a couple of folks indulged in.
So what does this have to do with you? If you’re planning to go back to eating lots of bad food and plan to burn it down then I’m going to ask you the question Melissa asked me. Why? Is looking, feeling or performing worse, throwing away the gains you've made worth going back to eating poorly? If you’ve successfully made it through 30 days eating Paleo food and have had good results, does it make any sense to change from that?
Now, the idealist in me wants to say, it’s all happy, and easy to stay away from bad food choices after the 30 days is up, and we’ll all eat perfectly clean all the time. While it’s much easier, the realist in me knows there are still lots of temptations lurking out there. I don’t expect you to be perfect every day all the time, but remember, eating Paleo has brought you good results, so if you eat clean 90% of the time you’ll still get a majority of the good results. Try to eat clean ALL the time, know that a cheat is a cheat (there is no way to make a cheat healthy) and keep them to a minimum and you’ll do well.