I have been doing the Whole Life Challenge since 2012, which means that I have had a lot of time to become familiar with the rules, the benefits, and most importantly, why I have chosen to do the challenge (once again). Explaining what it is and why I’m doing it to others, however, can be challenging. Sometimes it can be downright frustrating because the questions/comments aren’t always positive or constructive. Below is a a list of the most common questions/comments I’ve had over the past few years along with my responses.

What is the Whole Life Challenge?

I’ve caught myself going into too much detail when I get asked this question. I’ve found it to be much better to have a more concise response. If they want to know more specifics, then they can ask.

My response: The WLC is a lifestyle challenge. It’s a time period during which I will be focusing on improving certain components of my life by being more mindful of my choices.

Whole Life Challenge – looking at multiple aspects of living a healthier life

Is that like Paleo or something? 

With so many eating styles out there – Paleo, keto, Whole 30 and so forth – it can get easy to get caught up in labels. Moreover, it can get easily be categorized as yet another temporary trend.

My response: Not really. Although I will be paying attention to the choices I make in relation to food, it’s not like paleo because the nutrition component of the challenge is only a fraction of what it’s about. The food guidelines, however, are quite similar to paleo, but the overall focus of the challenge is quite different as it has you monitor your sleep, hydration, exercise, as well as other lifestyle practices, such as meditation, journaling, and connecting with your community.

How long will you be doing this diet? 

Boy does this question challenge my patience and tact!

My response: Since it’s not a diet, I don’t really have a response to that. The challenge, however, is 6 weeks long. I think it’s a great amount of time to dedicate for myself to pay attention to my choices on a daily basis.

What do you eat if you’ve given everything up?

I have to admit, that was my first reaction when I heard about the challenge – what am I going to eat? Protein and vegetables is the answer. There are so many different types of vegetables out there – changing up the preparation and creating different combinations keeps it interesting.

My response: I’m actually going to try to only avoid 3 main things for the next 6 weeks: sugar, dairy, and grains. So I still have a lot of choices. It may be a bit tough in the beginning, but I guess that’s why they call it a challenge! There are still tons of things I can eat, so I’m focusing on being creative with those and enjoying clean flavors.

you can still eat SO. MUCH. food

I couldn’t do what you’re doing.

In the beginning, I didn’t think I could have made it past a few days without dairy, sugars, grains, or starches. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to show enough discipline or figure out what to eat.

I’m glad I proved myself wrong.

My response: You can do it if you want to and if you put your mind to it. It definitely takes discipline and organization, but this is something I’ve committed to doing for myself so I’ve got to give it a go, especially since it’s about living a healthy lifestyle. You never know what you can do until you try!

It sounds like punishment to me. 

In the beginning, I was very apprehensive. I didn’t view it as punishment, but I did think that I was making a big switch overnight. I think it boils down to what is important to you. Changes won’t happen without some hard work. I was going to also write ‘and with some sacrifices,’ but it really hasn’t been a sacrifice. It’s just been a change. Plus the rewards for sticking to the program are unbeatable. It may be difficult in the beginning, but it’s worth it in the end!
My response: Punishment? Not at all, it’s a challenge and that’s exciting! It’s a conscious change that I’ve made to better my life. Anything that will help me improve my health can’t be/isn’t seen as punishment. I’ve decided to treat this as an adventure and just see how it goes.
mindset is everything
“You’re crazy.” 
This is one of the comments that annoys me most. Why am I crazy? What is crazy about making a decision and sticking to it? I’ve found it a bit hard not to get annoyed or snap at those who have reacted this way. Would you tell someone who has given up smoking or doing drugs or some other addictive, not-good-for-them behavior (such as constantly eating unhealthily!) that they were crazy for making a lifestyle change? Why is trying to be more disciplined and aware of my choices seen as crazy?
My response: I wish people had told me I was crazy when I was stuffing my face with burgers and fries on a regular basis! I find the label crazy to be hurtful, especially when I’m trying to do something that is quite difficult but means a lot to me. Making a change is tough, but I know it’s something that I want to do and that it’s going to need focus and discipline. That’s all I’m doing. I don’t think that’s crazy at all.
“One bite won’t kill you.”
It’s never about just one bite. When I politely declined to taste a piece of cake, the response was one that looked at me as if I was paranoid that 1 bite would make me put on weight. It wasn’t that at all; it’s not even that having cake would have cost me a point in the challenge; it’s not even that I feared one bite would lead to several more bites. I just didn’t want any. Full-stop!
My response: No, it won’t kill me, but I don’t want any, thank you. I have made the conscious decision to eat what I want to eat – and yes, sometimes that includes desserts. I’m not depriving myself or being paranoid about what I eat. I’m just being deliberate with my choices and making sure that when I have something, it is something that I truly want.
“You must have a lot of time on your hands.”
I do have some time on my hands, but more importantly, I make the time. It’s worth it to wake up a bit earlier and make sure that I have a healthy and filling breakfast. It’s worth buying fresh vegetables each week to make sure that my meals taste good (that also helps it not feel like a punishment).
My response: You’ve got to make time for what’s important to you. Usually preparing healthy foods takes a lot less time than you realize. Preparing a salad at home will take less time than driving to a drive-thru, ordering, and collecting your meal. Plus, think of all the time saved at the gym for not having to work off thousands of empty, unhealthy calories!
“If nobody is actually checking up on you, then you can cheat, right?”

This is not a question I asked myself, but something I’ve been asked by a few people. As soon as I hear this question I realize that they are coming at it from a completely different perspective than I am.

If you’re already thinking about cheating the point system, then the challenge is useless. You’ve got to understand that by cheating the system you’re really cheating yourself. Want to have pizza and still give yourself full points? It doesn’t hurt the challenge any – but is that really what you want for yourself?

The truth is that we’re accountable for all our actions – skipping a workout but saying you did it, eating something off-plan but not recording it … what’s the point? Who are you really cheating?

My response: Only if I want to cheat myself! I don’t have to be honest with my score, but my body will know and keep record. Besides, it’s not about the points. It’s about challenging yourself, building awareness, and learning about your habits.

if you want it, work for it

“Exercising daily seems like a lot even if it’s just for ten minutes. Why not just exercise 4 times a week for 1 hour. That’s more than 70 total minutes. Isn’t that better?”

This is another thing that I wondered about. I know that exercise is fixed in my routine. I know that if there is a day when I am just too busy to get in a proper workout, that it’s ok because I will go to the gym the next day and exercise. It’s not about slacking. It’s just about circumstance.

What the 10 minutes of mobilization & 10 minutes of active recovery/exercise have taught me is that you can make the time for 20 minutes of activity in your day. It’s about being aware of planning your day and taking a moment to think about yourself and your health. At the very least it’s 20 minutes just for yourself – to pull away from the chaos of life and just be on your own and do something that’s good for you. I’ll admit that there have been 2-3 days when I’ve haphazardly thrown in a 10 minute workout just so that I can get the point for the day — but in general, like all things about the challenge – I am more aware of what I’m doing and my time management throughout the day.

My response: Good question! The overall goal of the challenge is to make movement part of your regular routine. If you already exercise regularly and don’t need to/want to exercise every single day, you don’t have to — all the challenge asks you to do is record what you did on your scoreboard so you can keep track of your regular habits. It’s all about awareness and encouraging you to live the best, healthiest life possible.

create a positive energy cycle for yourself 
The Whole Life Challenge is a challenge. It’s also an opportunity to try something new, learn about yourself, and make your health a priority. When you focus on all the elements of the challenge you will be amazed at just how much you can accomplish.
There is no quick-fix; there is no magic pill. You’ve got to make the changes and believe that they will work and that it’s worth the effort. I think shifting the perspective from looking at these changes as a ‘sacrifice’ to that of an ‘investment’ in health is a good first step. The bottom line is – you’ve got to be dedicated and disciplined. Remember, don’t worry about what other people are saying or thinking about your choices. This is your life. Do what’s important to you. Make yourself a priority.
To learn more about the Whole Life Challenge and join my team, Worldwide Warriors, for enthusiastic support and encouragement, click on the banner or link below.