Todays kicks off the 30 Days CLEAN Challenge with Flow Athletic. Sadly, my last coffee for the next 30 days was yesterday.
It seems everywhere you turn people are talking about clean eating; that is loading up on whole, unprocessed foods. Clean eating has seen the rise of green smoothies and has been the justification for adding cacao nibs to muesli as if chocolate for breakfast is a healthy option. But, living “clean” has more to it then simply the food you put into your mouth. It’s also about moving more, improving body composition, enjoying good quality sleep, reducing distractions, boosting energy levels, employing a positive attitude and living in the moment. For many of us however, this lifestyle seems so far out of reach as we struggle to find the time to exercise, make healthy food choices or jump into bed at a reasonable hour. Many of us have lost the ability to achieve great health and wellbeing because we are unable to resist the appeal of instant gratification and end up succumbing to the very things we know we should do without. But, what if you gave yourself 30 days? 30 days to develop not just “clean” eating habits, but a “clean” lifestyle? Do you think you could change your health and life for the better? I thought I would give it a go and signed up to Flow Athletic’s 30 Days CLEAN Challenge.
What’s the 30 days CLEAN Challenge?
30 Days CLEAN is all about making small sacrifices to achieve optimal health, fitness and wellbeing. It’s a program that gets you to focus on the process needed to achieve better health and wellness so that you can achieve more, as well as give more to the important people in your life. There are four main areas:
- Exercise with the ‘Flow Philosophy’: a minimum of five exercise sessions per week with equal parts strength, cardio and yoga. In other words, you need to stick to a 1:1:1 ratio of these physical fitness elements. This is something that I’ve always recommended to clients and something I already love about 30 Days CLEAN. Generally, too much focus is given to a cardio workout when trying to achieve loss weight or increase tone, but strength and stretching are just as important for overall health and wellbeing.
- Eliminating all alcohol consumption: We all know Aussies drink too much alcohol, but I’m not sure going without for 30 days is the answer. I’ve seen clients taking part in Dry July stay sober for the month only to end up drinking more when their 30 days is up.
- Eliminating all caffeine consumption: This means no tea, no coffee, no cola, no energy drinks and no chocolate. It’s water, herbal teas and coconut water all round.
- Eliminating all processed food: A long list of acceptable whole foods are included in the “clean” eating plan, along with four supplements – a protein supplement, a super green powder, fish oil and magnesium. I love the inclusion of what you can eat (usually “diets” focus on what you can’t have), but I’m not much of a supplement person as I believe you can get everything you need from whole food. My other concern for supplements is the interactions they have with medications and the reliance people have on them rather than focusing on the food they should be eating to nourish their body.
30 Days CLEAN does end with these four commitment points either. You’re also encouraged to:
- Switch off technology (that’s phone, email, internet, computer, tablet and TV) for at least one continuous eight-hour block per week during awaking hours. It’s all about reconnecting with the people and environment around you.
- Read two inspirational books during the 30 days.
- Give back by helping to raise funds for people suffering the effects of poor mental and physical wellness. The money raised goes to Beyond Blue.
- Support the rest of the participants as they take the same journey through their 30 Days CLEAN and attend the scheduled CLEAN events which include a mindset session by Kylie Ryan, an inspirational talk by Turia Pitt, a cooking demonstration by Lola Berry and a yoga/DJ event called Flow after Dark. It’s then all wrapped up with a session on how to maintain your habits after 30 days (I love this as maintaining optimal health and wellness is about long-term lifestyle changes, not just a 30-day challenge).
30 Days CLEAN kicks off today, so that means it’s all whole foods, herbal teas, fitness and strength sessions, yoga classes, plenty of reading and time spend with family and friends without technology to distract us. So far so good, I have eaten my homemade muesli with strawberries and yoghurt for breakfast, replaced my morning coffee with a peppermint tea (no coffee is going to be my hardest challenge as I love the smell, taste and whole ritual of having a cup of coffee) and booked in for my three exercise sessions this week at Flow Athletic. The exercise sessions are going to be the challenge as I live in Leichhardt and Flow Athletic is in Paddington, I also work full-time hours and take my nearly 9 month old son with me everywhere I go as I’m still feeding. So, this 30 days is going to take plenty of planning and commitment. The food and alcohol side of things I’m confident with – I mainly eat whole foods and I haven’t had a drink of alcohol since February 2013 – but attending the exercise at Flow Athletic will be a challenge (I am able however to complete the workouts at another venue so I’ll head to my local gym and yoga studio and also workout at home). Reading two books in 30 days will also take some commitment, but I have at least started one, while breaking the habit of absent-mindedly checking emails or social media will take some concentration. All up though, the process will be rewarding one, reminding me about whats really important. I’ll keep you posted on how I go.