I would like to say that I am hitting my stride in Week 3 of the Whole Life Challenge, but I am not. This week has been filled with the joy of a birthday in the midst of tragedies in San Juan and Las Vegas and the continued chaos in our world. My heart has been heavy and I have found it hard to focus on healthy behavior and points and planning. On Monday, I asked my team a question. I asked if I was the only one feeling the effects of the state of our world on the capacity to live the Challenge. I truly believe healing our world starts with healing ourselves, and because of that the Challenge is critical, but this week I have just wanted to cry, not care, drink bottles of wine, and eat bowls of pasta. My team captain offered sage advice about the value of controlling what we can in these times (which means focusing on health and wellness), and being strong in body and mind to thrive no matter what is happening in our lives and in our world. That is a summary of Week 3. Find success in chaos.
What have I learned in Week 3 of the Whole Life Challenge?
Eating at home helps.
I went to the grocery on Monday morning after returning from my birthday weekend in Key West. I bought food that was on plan for the week. We stuck to the plan. We earned our nutrition points. It was pretty simple. Now, we head into a weekend and we get to eat out and stay on plan. We have to not lose our minds, and all our points, while still being able to enjoy life. I am beginning to understand that points are a way to quantify, know, and live a balanced.
My exercise schedule has not worked.
I have really struggled to accomplish my workout schedule this week. My thought going forward is to change things up. I love to walk/run outdoors in the morning. I will change my schedule from 4 times a week to every day for the next two weeks. After two weeks, I will assess how I am feeling. My hope is that doing something active I love every single day will help me truly develop a fitness habit.
It will take more than simply following the rules to succeed in the Challenge.
After three weeks on the Challenge: I have lost no weight. I am doing the bare minimum to get my points. I am completely ok when I have to sacrifice a point because I am tired, or hungry, or sad. Maybe this is when I realize the Challenge is not a mindfulness boot camp, but really a new way to approach life in which my decisions become healthy decisions and balance, moderation, and happiness are achieved. Easy to say. Hard to do. Maybe that is why the Challenge is 8 weeks and you can do it again and again and again. That makes sense to my hard head.
I loved participating in group commentary this week.
I loved receiving happy birthday wishes this week. I loved contributing to the community. There is strength in hearing other people’s Challenge stories: struggles, victories, tips and tricks, strategies, and random thoughts. In reading and posting, I know I am not alone. In reading and posting, I can support and be supported. In reading and posting, the Challenge becomes a community pursuit, rather than an individual exercise.
Mindfulness does not allow for escapism.
I am an escapist. I love to get away. I love to binge watch Netflix. I love to sit in a bar in Key West and listen to live music. I love to watch a baseball or football game and disconnect. I love to find any reason not to stay home and do laundry and clean the bathrooms. (Even when staying home and doing the laundry and cleaning the bathrooms desperately needs to be done.) The Challenge has challenged me to be aware of my escapist tendencies (not that I did not know about them before) and to strategize ways to mindfully and intentionally consider my escapes, and perhaps think about a life where escaping is not a routine fix for everyday stress.