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.
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.