My gym is doing a two month paleo challenge. It’s different from the kind of challenges we’ve run in the past. The goal of this one is much more about getting people through a challenge rather than exposing folks to an alternative style of eating and asking them to consider it as a permanent life change. I’m not criticizing–just recognizing that this is very different.
One of the major differences is that we get a cheat day every week. I don’t know if it’s the guaranteed cheat day, the mere length of the challenge, or the fact that I’m too busy to worry about anything but the absolute necessities, but I realized today (the start of week 4), that I haven’t been counting the days like I normally would in a Whole 30 challenge. Instead, I live from cheat day to cheat day. Gluten-free waffles Sunday morning means I pass on the nachos with friends on Wednesday. Knowing there’s a party next Saturday means that if I cheat today, I’ll essentially have to wait two full weeks before another indulgence.
This approach to the challenge is interesting to me. From a lifestyle point of view, I don’t mind it because I know my body already has good insulin sensitivity and I no longer have the sugar addiction that I think many (unknowingly) suffer from. While it would be “easier” and I “want” to relax on my diet more often than one day a week, this model helps me reign in a few bad habits I picked. I’m also reminds just how good I feel when I follow what I know to be true about diet and nutrition. It also happens to nicely coincide with our journey into trying to get pregnant, so I know I’m by and large making the best food choices for me and potential little me.