Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whole 30 Challenge (Day 9) - Knowing Your Environment

One week into the Whole 30 and I’m hearing a number of interesting things from other folks in the midst of it… about the successes and their struggles... and the sources of them.  Some feel like they are surrounded by naysayers and bad influences making it difficult to succeed and maintain the course of the Whole 30 challenge.
Paleolithic man was probably more successful when hunting on land he was familiar with.  The Boston Red Sox left fielder will likely play fly balls off the Green Monster better than the visiting left fielder.  The Fighting Texas Aggie football team responds better to the cheers of their fans at Kyle Field than they do to the taunts of an opposing fan base.  Most teams and athletes perform better when they have the home field advantage.  This concept transcends sports and enters everyday life in so many ways we may not immediately recognize.  In terms of eating well and living a healthy lifestyle, knowing your environment can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.  In order to give yourself a home field advantage...
Know the snares and pitfalls that you will encounter… and how to avoid them.  We are all going to face a different set of hazards.  Some people have to dodge box upon box of free donuts and kolaches that set upon office file cabinets.  Some folks are weak to resist passing the candy dish on a desk without taking “just one” mint.  Others are beckoned by the soft hum of a vending machine in the early afternoon hours.  “Preparedness” is often the answer I resort to on avoiding unhealthy traps.  Preparedness can come in the form of a lunch bag with ice packs, a stash of healthy snacks in a desk drawer… or quick wit.  Skillful wordplay is sometimes necessary with the co-worker who is offering you the homemade fudge they slaved in the kitchen to make.  You don't want to offend your co-worker, but you don’t want a dramatic insulin response, either.
Know where to go for safe haven.  Even those who diligently plan their menus and pack their lunches find themselves scavenging for food.  Sometimes I forget my lunch.  Sometimes my airtight container leaks out my lunch.  And, sometimes my ice packs don’t safely hold up until lunch.  I’ve taken my usual surroundings into consideration and found safe alternatives.  Chipotle.  Freebirds.  There are always options in the prepared food section at Whole Foods.  And, if you have to (business lunch?), many restaurants can feed you Primally… or pretty darn close.  Heck, In-N-Out Burger will serve up their burgers “Protein Style” if you ask them.  Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions.  Don’t be afraid to pay a little extra.
Know who is on your team.  Not everybody is supportive of a lifestyle that doesn’t mirror their own.  There will always be people who try to thrust their beliefs, donuts and homemade fudge upon you.  This can lead to tension and be especially difficult when the opponent is a family member… even more difficult when it is a spouse.  Thankfully, my lovely wife is on board with me.  If you find yourself facing stiff resistance, seek out allies.  It can be a like-minded co-worker, somebody from your gym, or even an online forum.  But don’t try to take it all on by yourself.  You are not the first person to face these challenges.  You won’t be the last to overcome them.

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