30-Day LifestyleHealth12 Challenge
Get Started Now - LH12 Challenge
PERFECTION is NOT necessary, in fact it's impossible so don't beat yourself up.
Let's clear some things up...
Because a lot of people seem to be preaching you have to be "crazy/extreme healthy" in order to be healthy...but that's simply not true.
In order to be healthy, you DON'T have to:
Well you get the picture. You don't have to do any of those things. You can do them, and some may help, some won't, and some may even make it harder.
Cause healthy doesn't have to be extreme. :)
Nothing against anyone who wants to be really...really healthy and never eats candy ever again, works out every day for over an hour... Genuinely, our hat is off to them.
Here's where we're at, life is busy with work and kids, and hobbies...and we're okay not being that person and still achieving good...even great health...not perfect health. Perfect health is hard to do...shoot, perfect anything is hard to do. But good or great health is still, well great. And the research shows a pretty clear path to great health...not by being perfectly healthy...but by being mostly healthy, or healthyish as we like to say.
About Me: I've got a decent amount of experience, degrees, and background in health, but I definitely don't profess to be the know-it-all expert. I'm just a normal guy (husband/dad) finding the non-extreme path to health. I try to make the complex...simple. I focus on Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, & Happiness. Additionally, my knowledge of health topics is constantly refining as better research and understanding comes out. So my opinion on matters may change as new research emerges. But I work real hard to stick with the collective research...not one-off studies or popular trends.
The LH12 Challenge
Time is precious and hard to come by with work, family, friends, hobbies, etc. This 30-Day challenge is meant to maximize your return with as little time needed. Start with what's below (baby steps) and with time if you want to add more in, please do.
The 30-Day LH12 Challenge acts as a launching point to get you where you need and want to be. It also helps you mentally “reset” and start fresh.
After the 30-Day Challenge is over, reflect on lessons learned, make new goals, invite a friend to join you, decide what changes you need to make for your body/lifestyle/goals and then start again. Remember, this isn't a quick fix but a lifestyle you’re building.
The goal is to continually move your daily habits, your everyday lifestyle to an overall consistent healthier lifestyle.
Perfection Is Not The Goal
Let me say one more thing...you will not be perfect and will likely slip up along the 30-Day challenge...but know right now that it's okay. Don't throw in the towel if you have a bad meal or day, or two....that's life. And don't think, "well I already blew it today so I'll go crazy and give in to all temptation!" Don't beat yourself up, just pick up where you left off and keep pushing forward (you don't have to start over). We've all been there and it's natural. You've got this. :)
Alright, let’s get going!
LifestyleHealth12 Challenge - The NITTY GRITTY
STEP #1. Sleep 7+ hrs
Good restful sleep is the foundation of every healthy lifestyle but we don't talk about it or prioritize it enough. Everyone's exact needs are different so find what amount YOU need to be fully rested (7-9 is normal for most adults).
Make quality sleep a priority starting now and every other part or your health journey gets easier/better (nutrition, exercise, happiness).
A lot of your hormones are regulated by sleep, meaning if you’re not sleeping well they are likely a little out of balance. Poor sleep makes it harder to lose weight, easier to lose muscle and makes you feel hungry when you’re really not.
Quick Tip: In order to get restful sleep, the quality of your sleep matters. Your sleep environment should be dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature. Additionally, figure out when you actually need to wake up, not when you need to start hitting your snooze button. As you wake up consistently at the same time each morning, pay attention to when your body gets tired and wants to go to sleep. Your body is smart, and once in sync it and will tell you when you need to go to sleep, knowing you need to be up at a certain time. So pay attention and don’t ignore the signs, turn off the TV or electronic devices and go to bed.
STEP #2. Read your CREED out loud
Your goals often live and die because of what's going through your head. We don't talk about it enough, or train our minds enough.
Take 5 minutes and write down a personal creed. There's no right or wrong way to do this...as long as it DEEPLY MOTIVATES you to see your full potential and motivates you take action towards it. Also don't be afraid to speak to yourself in terms of who you WANT to be, but may not necessarily be there yet. Be positive and optimistic about yourself and your future. Don't stress over making it perfect...it will change with time (I rewrite mine all the time). So take 5 minutes now, and run with what you have, then modify as you go.
Use language that speaks directly to YOU and be specific. Some examples could be:
Quick Tip: Choose Your Identity & Visualize Success: If you can’t imagine yourself accomplishing your goal and being successful, chances are you won’t succeed. Each of us views ourselves in a certain way, this is your identity. In the depths of your mind where no one else can hear you, what do you tell yourself? “I will never be beautiful.” “I just don’t have the willpower like other people do.” “I will always be fat.” “I’m not good at setting and accomplishing health goals.”
Often times these thoughts come from others, outside influences. But we then allow ourselves to believe them and in turn repeat them to ourselves over and over like a script for our life until they become our reality. This is our identity—who we see ourselves as.
Whatever your thoughts are, they will ultimately determine who you are and who you become. If you think your thoughts don’t matter or that people won’t eventually discover what you’ve been thinking, think again. It’s simply impossible to hide your thoughts, for they are your life script that you then act out through your daily actions which eventually turn into your habits. If you have always viewed yourself as lazy, ugly, fat or unmotivated, choose today to be someone different.
Choose today to be proactive, beautiful, healthy and motivated. You and only you hold the power to become whoever you want to be. And it starts with your thoughts and the way you view yourself or your identity. If you don’t mentally believe first, you will never physically become. Choose to write a new script, choose a new identity and write it out in your CREED and then begin to read it to yourself daily.
STEP #3. Exercise 3 days/wk
We have a tendency to overcomplicate exercise, but there's a million different ways you could do it. The key is to find what fits and works for you...meaning, find something that you'll actually consistently do.
Starting is always the hardest so just commit to doing just that...start. It can be literally anything that gets your body moving and heart rate and breathing up. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it’s whatever you like to do. Whether it’s going for a walk, playing a sport, dancing, doing pushups or yoga in your room, riding a bike, or chasing your kids, etc. Gyms are great if you want, but you don’t need one to be active. Please note: Before you start it’s always smart to ask your doctor.
For Best Results
No matter your health goals, everyone can benefit from strengthening their muscles. For best results and health, on at least 2 of the days do strength or “weight-bearing” exercises (using your body weight) using as many muscle groups as possible. There are thousands of different workout programs that would work, so don't stress about getting the perfect one. You don't need complex workout programs to get results. Here's a free 10-Minute Body Weight Only Workout you can do at home.
Note: If weight loss is your goal, doing strength training (lifting weights) or "weight-bearing" exercises is so vital and your best friend. As you build muscle, you boost your metabolism and burn fat faster (even when you're sitting or sleeping). Also, pay attention more to your body composition, the way you fit in your clothes and the way you look in the mirror more than the number on the scale.
Quick Tip: If you’re having trouble getting started. Tell yourself you’ll do at least 5 minutes and after that you can stop. More often than not, you’ll want to keep going for longer once you get going.
STEP #4. Don't overeat
Nutrition is hard to master, but one rule applies to everyone...no matter what you're eating, you shouldn't overeat (it's hurting your health). We've all fallen into the trap of picking the "healthier menu item" but then eating too much healthy food.
Here's the great part, weight loss and improved health can be achieved even eating "un-healthy food" as long as you eat less calories than you need. And even small weight loss can improve your health (improved blood lipid levels, cholesterol, etc.).
Don't get us wrong, you should try to eat healthier foods too (we'll get to that). But let's be honest, junk food tastes good and we like to eat it...AND it's okay to eat it and still be healthy (if you don't eat too much). If you're like us an like junk food, but still want to be healthy, then you're in the right place.
Tips to Not Overeat (with more info for each below)
Eat your treats after a workout
This little trick helps to minimize the negative effects that could come from eating less-healthy food (which we all love and still want to have). When you’re active and working your muscles, you use up glycogen (sugar) stores in your muscles and liver, and you break down muscle fiber. Your body then needs to replenish these stores and repair and build tissue…making THIS the best time to put those calories to good use with the least likelihood they will be turned to fat. This isn’t absolutely necessary to get results, but it's a great trick that allows you to enjoy the treats you want, while minimizing the negative effects.
Cut out one or two meals a day based on preference
Have you ever heard the phrase, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day?" Well turns out it's not true. Breakfast can be important if that's what works well for you, but not everyone likes or needs to eat breakfast. For some they don't get hungry till mid-morning or even lunch, and you know what...that's okay. So throw out any ideas in your head that you "have to" eat this meal or that meal, or you can't eat after 7pm "cause it all turns to fat" (also a myth). And figure out what works for you.
Cutting out a meal or two a day can be an effective strategy to prevent overeating and control calories. There's no right or wrong way, besides finding what works for you. It could be as simple as skipping breakfast, or you could try intermittent fasting (we have a program for that if you're interested. For me this is the program I personally follow daily. I find it simplifies my life and helps me manage my calories. I don't have to worry about 2 meals a day, and can eat more during the other meal and snack times. But again, the key is to find something that works for you.
Minimize drinking your calories
Liquid calories go down fast, can carry a lot of calories, but fail to fill you up. So it can really help you meet your goals and manage calories better if you can avoid liquid calories. Of course you can drink whatever you want and still be healthy and reach your health goals. Just be aware of what you're drinking. Juice for example, is considered "really healthy" but should really be treated as a treat. When it comes to juices, if you really don’t want to eat the food, try blending instead of juicing. There are of course exceptions, if you like to drink protein shakes and that works for you and you like it, then great. Not all protein shakes are created equal, we'd recommend one like this protein that has <3 grams of each carbs/fat for every 20+ grams of protein.
Tips for not drinking your calories
Some common questions that come up on this topic include:
Find a low calorie snack you like
Let's first reiterate that you don't have to eat low-calories snacks to reach your goals. You can eat whatever you want and what works for you. So don't feel as if you have to do this, and feel free to skip this section. We all get the munchies, and if you're like me you get them at night. We already touched on drinks above (a diet soda at night really helps me curb my hunger), but finding some lower calorie snacks that you actually like to eat can really help you not overeat.
As previously mentioned, this is one of the best ways to prevent overeating. Why? Because muscle boosts your metabolism and is a fat-burning machine (even when you're sitting or sleeping). So the more muscle you build, the more calories your body needs, even at a rested state. You'll begin to notice, after doing strength training exercises that your body will need and crave more food.
Get enough quality sleep!
It's awesome how all these things work in tandem. When you sleep well, you control your hunger better, your body doesn't hold onto fat as easily, and you're less stressed. Consistent exercise leads to better sleep, allows for better nutrition, and helps reduce stress, which leads to better eating...and the cyclical nature continues. Isn't that awesome!
Choose more protein and fat (instead of sugar)
Your body breaks down sugar much faster and easier than protein and fat. So if you are choosing between the three and trying not to overconsume, add more protein or fat which will sit in your stomach longer. It will make you feel full longer and slow down the digestion and absorption process allowing for more stable insulin and hormone levels. Additionally, if you are trying to lose weight, this will help you maintain your muscle mass (a vital component to proper weight-loss).
If you do overeat, eat less the next meal or day (average over 2 days)
We like to think of life in 24-hour periods, which is fine, but it doesn’t necessarily work this way with food. Just because the last day ended and it’s now 12:01 AM the next day, doesn’t mean your body stopped using the food you already ate and has turned everything else into fat. Your body doesn’t view food the same way we do. In fact, while you’re sleeping your digestive system is working through the night. Imperfect meals or days or celebrations happen, and it’s not the end of the world. As a general rule, average your food over two day periods and adjust as needed.
Change your view of hunger and learn to control it
Feeling some hunger isn't always a bad thing. Learning to control hunger is an important life skill for your long-term success. Not because you always need to be hungry or go hungry, but because hunger is going to periodically be a reality of life unless you are eating 24/7. Learn to be the master of your body, not the other way around.
Focus on body composition over the number on the scale
Weight can often times be deceiving, especially if you are building muscle. One week you may lose fat, but build muscle, but the scale stays the same so you get discouraged. Weight can also fluctuate based on a lot of factors (especially for women). So being obsessed with whether to scale went up or down can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions.
Instead, focus on your body composition and how you feel. Meaning, are you getting stronger? Are your clothes fitting better? Do you have more energy and confidence? Etc. Focus on the 4 goals of the challenge which are centered around the 4 key components of health (sleep, happiness, exercise, nutrition) and on changing your lifestyle for the better. If you do so, you will likely more naturally become your healthiest weight for your body type without having to focus on the scale.
All of us have felt insecure when we compare ourselves to others. But we were all born with different body types, bone structures and genetics. This makes it literally impossible for us to have identical bodies. Our goal should not be to all look the same, but to be the healthiest possible for our own particular body type.
It’s important to recognize that being healthy isn’t about becoming the next pro athlete or model; it’s about becoming your best self and the healthiest you. Real beauty comes from being the healthiest, happiest, and most confident you. So don’t try to be someone you’re not, just be the healthiest YOU!
Having said that, if you do need to lose weight and weight-loss is your goal, try weighing yourself once a week (no more than twice a week) as a measuring stick in order to make adjustments as needed. For consistency, it’s best to always weigh yourself in the morning right after waking up and going to the bathroom. But remember, a constant fixation on weight can be unhealthy, especially when there are normal daily fluctuations of weight.
Work to add more healthy food options
It doesn't matter if you're eating healthier or less healthy foods, if you're overeating, you're negatively impacting your health.
But it should come as no surprise that you’re better off eating whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats, and drinking water as much as possible. Doing so promotes faster and better weight loss and management, and improved health across the board. These foods also help tremendously with overeating as they fill you faster (with fewer calories) and sit in your stomach longer (which results in less hunger). Avoiding overconsumption, regardless of the food, is the most important rule to follow
If you have any questions about the challenge, rules, or anything else, please reach out HERE and we'll get back to you ASAP.
If you'd like to join others participating in the #LH12 Challenge, we've created a free Facebook group. Just go HERE.
YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST, SO LISTEN TO IT
You may have a food allergy, sensitivity or other medical condition that makes your situation unique. Luckily our bodies are amazing and were built with internal controls. We need to start listening to them. So above all else pay attention to your body because it knows best. If you suspect a food allergy or sensitivity, keep a food diary and track foods that may be negatively affecting you. Then consult with your physician with what you’ve found and for any specific questions you may have. One such example is gluten. Gluten is a protein found in certain foods and a healthy part of a diet for most people. Some are either allergic or have a sensitivity to gluten in which case they should avoid gluten. Current research shows that many who think they have a gluten sensitivity, after testing, in fact do not. So there may be something else causing the distress. This is a good example of why it's important to identify what's really causing you problems and to not just assume.
Many people who struggle with indigestion experience incredible improvements by simply cutting back on junk/highly processed food, drinking more water, exercising regularly, and getting quality sleep.
AVOID INJURY, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND CONSULTING WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN
It’s important to track your progress, but it’s equally as important to find a method that works best for you. We don’t care how you track, as long as you do it. So whether it’s a pad of paper and pencil, your planner, a note on your smartphone or app/website, it doesn’t matter. To help you do so we are providing a couple of templates for your convenience. They can be found below.
Give me 30 Days and you could change your life forever.
While the LH12 challenge is literally a "lifestyle" program, meaning not a 30-day quick-fix, we are asking you to give it a try for at least 30 days. It's free, so you've got nothing to lose, and I will give you everything you need. Take the 30-Day LH12 Challenge.
Join me on Social Media
If you'd like to join others participating in the #LH12 Challenge, we've created a free Facebook group. Just go HERE.
Want more help? Try one of our programs below.
Our 2 Cents: There is no "perfect" program. The best program is the one that works best for you and your lifestyle.
"The Simple Fast"
Being healthy is challenging these days. For that reason, we've made it as simple and easy as we know how.
Click HERE to find out more.
LifestyleHealth12 program is a 12-week comprehensive step-by-step health program and includes over 140 pages with:
Click HERE to find out more.
'Yoga Strong' eBook - Building strength through yoga and meditation.
Includes yoga with weights, cardio yoga, and a silent, self-guided meditation.
Written by Jessica Millar @Mommy.Yoga
Click HERE to find out more.