leaner + sexier by 2015. the 30 Day Challenge.

how many times has "lose 10#", "eat healthier" or "go to the gym" been at the top of your New Years resolution list? and just how well has that worked out for you so far? if it's been a resolution for more than a few years running, chances are it's too lofty of a goal and will never happen. #sorrysweetheart #coldhardtruth. so what are you going to do about it? well, first, I'd suggest tossing New Years resolutions out the window. don't get me wrong, I'm all for self-improvement, but waiting for a new calendar year to start all the tens of things we want to change about ourselves, our lives, our careers, etc. is just…well, foolish. why not adopt a resolution right now? if we gave ourselves one resolution each month (instead of trying to tackle all 12 on January 1st), we'd see quite a few more of our goals become actualities. but the New Year just seems like the perfect fresh start, a new beginning…I'm a very linear person, blah blah blah. well, New Years Day is a Thursday this year and tomorrow's a Monday, so ha! there's no better time to start than the present.

but more to the point. I'm embarking on a 30 Day Challenge, inspired by Molly Galbraith from Girls Gone Strong, and I'm inviting you to join me.

the purpose: to start 2015 healthier and happier!

the proposal: each week you adopt a SINGLE healthy habit and commit to mastering it for 7 days. by December 31st, we'll be lean, sexy, and confident people who have adopted sustainable diet and mindset techniques.

but here's the thing…we're not all starting at the same place. there are those of us who struggle with eating fast food, and those of us who don't. there are those of us who have already adopted healthy diet strategies, and those of us who haven't. there are those of us who know what cruciferous vegetables are and those of us who don't…you get the point. your starting point might be different from mine, or the person reading this after you. so, in an effort to meet everyone where they are, I'm introducing levels to the 30 Day Challenge.

Level No. 1: you are new to nutrition. you don't regularly practice healthy eating behaviours and may or may not know when the last time you ate a vegetable was. but you're willing to work for change!

Level No. 2: you have mastered the basics. you try to eat vegetables, you know that spinach trumps iceberg lettuce, but you still have a lot of room to grow when it comes to lasting lifestyle change.

Level No. 3: you practice good nutrition. you eat well, preparing most of your own food, and try hard to make whole foods a priority. but let's face it, there's always room to grow. nobody eats kale all the time.

What level are you? Which category can you best relate to? As we race through December, your job is to choose the nutrition goal that will most successfully impact your dietary behaviour in a positive way. if something is too difficult, the challenge won't be successful. conversely,  if something doesn't present you with a challenge, it won't present you with any change.

The 30 Day Challenge 

Week 1. 

Level No. 1. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full

Level No. 2. Eat when you're hungry and stop at 90% fullness (you're satisfied).

Level No. 3. Eat when you're hungry, stop at 90% fullness, and take at least 20 minutes to consume every meal/snack.

When was the last time you ate something simply because it was put in front of you? or because it looked good? Learn to listen to your bodies hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly, savour every bite and stop when satisfied.

Week 2. 

Level No. 1. Eat a fist-size of vegetables with every meal.

Level No. 2. Eat 4-6 fists of vegetables every day.

Level No. 3. Eat 1 fist (1 cup) of each colour vegetables daily (green red, white and purple)

Raw, roasted, steamed…as long as it's not breaded or covered in butter,  you can eat it! Make taking your vitamins fun and easy. Add spinach and broccoli to your eggs in the morning, toss something new in your salad at lunch (radishes, cabbage, etc.) and swap a starch for a veggie (e.g. cauliflower-rice, spaghetti squash).

Week 3. 

Level No. 1. Eat a palm-size of protein with every meal.

Level No. 2. Eat a palm of protein with every meal AND snack.

Level No. 3. Eat 1g of protein per lb. of body weight daily (e.g. 150# person consumes 150 grams/day).

Poultry, fish, red meat, eggs, protein powder, Greek yogurt, whatever! Protein keeps you satiated and helps fuel your lean, sexy muscle, which, in turn burns fat! The palm of your hand is roughly the size of 4-8oz of protein…the bigger the person, the bigger the palm, the bigger your protein needs!

Week 4. 

Level No. 1. Eat healthy fats daily.

Level No. 2. Eat 3 servings (1-2 thumb-sizes) of healthy fats per day.

Level No. 3. Eat 1-2 thumbs of healthy fats with each meal and snack.

Flaxseed, beef, fatty fish (e.g. salmon), coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, avocado, etc. Fat is filling and helps your body absorb vitamins and reduce sugar cravings. You have to eat fat to lose fat!

By the end of the month you will be:

- eating 3-5 cups of fibrous, leafy vegetables per day

- eating quality sources of protein with each meal and snack

- choosing healthy fats to pair with each meal

- listening to your bodies hunger and fullness cues, and no longer falling prey to overeating or emotional eating

- eating fewer, high-calorie, processed foods

So who's with me? Do you want to be healthier, leaner, feeling stronger and more confident by January 1st? Don't be a victim of holiday malaise and weight gain. That's so cliche. Let's be advocates for our health and start 2015 healthier (and sexier) than ever.

Make sure you check in with the Big Hips Little Hips Facebook page. I'll also be posting 30 Reasons to Love Your Body - one each day - for the month of December. Because if you don't love your body, why would you expect to value fuelling it and feeding it appropriately?

Email me at nnmarie@gmail.com if you want weekly updates/accountability throughout the 30 Day Challenge. accountability is everything. if no one knows how you feel, if no one sees what you do, if no one hears what you think…why change?

tell someone. find a coach. be accountable.

Eat well. Live well. Be well.