I’ve never done any 30 Day Challenge in my life. The thought of committing to something for thirty days really scared me because I’m afraid I might fail. So talking about doing it with my roomie Nikki last year literally got my hands cold & my palms sweaty. Haha!
I honestly didn’t prepare for this challenge. What I did though was eat and eat and eat all the sweets that I want from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve! Then come January 2, I just didn’t eat any kind of sweets. I did it cold turkey because I don’t know how else to do it especially since I’m a sweet tooth and have been eating chocolates, cakes, ice cream and the like for three decades.
WHY I DID IT
At first I just wanted to do it simply because I wanna practice discipline since this year’s goal is all about harnessing traits & values that will lead me to become a better person. But as I go from week after week I realize, I also want to do this because I have PCOS. I talked a little bit about it on a blog post (read it HERE). I need to cut off refined sugar & other unnatural sweeteners because PCOS symptoms specifically cystic acne has been really affecting me.
First week was tough but it’s not what I expected it to be. Despite quitting cold turkey, I was pretty excited to start this challenge. If you know me, you know that I’m very competitive but only to myself. I’m the type of person who finds it fulfilling to prove myself wrong–often times I doubt myself if I can do certain things and when an opportunity comes, I try to grab it. So week 1 wasn’t as bad as I thought. I went about my days without getting my sugar fix. Whew.
The second week presented more of a challenge than the first. There were days I was craving for chocolates, so much so I almost gave in and ate a Choco Honeydip Munchkin huhuhu. Also there were times my kids were literally eating sweets in front of me. I tell ya, the temptation was real yet I didn’t give in. My body was craving for it yet my mind was determined to do this challenge and so I survived (with a bit of a broken heart hahaha) week two.
This is probably the easiest week for me. I know it’s weird. And to think this was the same week I was on a detox! Read about it HERE. Maybe because I was focusing my thoughts on getting through my detox? Or maybe because I’ve gotten rid of my addiction to sweets? They do say that it takes 21 days to form a habit so maybe this is also the reason? Whatever it was I’m just really glad week three went by with a breeze.
Ah the final week! It went sloooooooow and I was counting the hours & days ’til January 31. The final stretch was challenging because I was becoming very impatient. I wanted the week to be over so I can get back into eating my lovely sweets which are sitting pretty in our pantry. And 7 days went by and I’m very, very proud of myself for finishing the challenge! Week four done! Done!
SOME TIPS & LEARNINGS
Don’t overthink. Just do.
I know this is such a cliche but it holds true. I’ve attempted to do challenges for years but never got around to actually do it simply because I overthink. I was worried even before I started and having this kind of mindset won’t really do you any good. So if you want to do a 30 Day Challenge, just do!
In my case I’ve been talking about it for months now, toying at the idea as early as September of last year. But it wasn’t until December when I really felt so bad, so bloated & so stressed about my PCOS that I gave myself an ultimatum which was January 2 of this year.
It pays to be prepared
If there’s a particular challenge you want to take but have no idea how you’ll go about it, go ahead and do your research first. There might a be a few factors on how you can effectively do it (you know if this challenge is bigger than cutting out a food group heehee) like say, saving up a x amount of money for 30 days. Sometimes, you gotta sit down & plan what your strategy is gonna be like. So once you commit, next thing you should do is be prepared by figuring out how you’ll actually do it.
I gotta admit I did not prepare for this simply because it was a simple challenge– just don’t eat sweets for 30 days. Easy right? Well it wasn’t as easy as I thought. But despite me not being prepared, I did however managed to figure out my strategy:
- Water is the key. Instead of having sweets for dessert, I reward myself with a glass of water after every meal. Yep, water. I don’t drink as much so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to drink another glass.
- Out of sight out of mind. If I can’t see the sweets, I won’t be tempted to eat it.
- Choose your social gatherings. I limited my meetings & events during my 30 Day Challenge. Well at least during the first week so as to kickstart the habit of not wanting sweets. It was pretty effective. When you prepare your own meals or eat at home, there’s a higher chance of thriving through your 30 Day No Sweets challenge. While it’s okay to go out and see people, it can be more challenging but if you think you can manage, then go for it.
- Fruits are your friends. Like I said, I turned to fruits to satisfy my craving for sweets. They’re natural & is recommended to be part of one’s daily diet. I love snacking on apple, mango, banana, orange, melon, watermelon & grapes. When I got used to eating them, I barely craved for any chocolates & the like.
- Remember your why. There will be days when temptation is (literally) right in front of you. I had events where I was served desserts & all I could ever do was politely decline & smile–it was one of those moments in my life when I feel so strong! Whenever I feel like giving in, I catch myself asking “why are you doing this again?” then I go back to the reason–to practice discipline and to really lessen my sugar intake to help alleviate my PCOS symptoms. Once I am reminded, I end another day closer to finishing my 30 Day Challenge.
Enjoy the journey
Most of the time we’re in a hurry to get to the destination that we don’t fully enjoy the journey. But the truth is, the journey is where you learn all sorts of things. Not just about what you’re doing but also about yourself. Don’t get impatient, relax and take the time to learn.
Don’t be afraid of your weakness
Sweetness is my weakness and for the longest time I used this as an excuse whenever I want to indulge sometimes even overindulge. I was somewhat afraid that this weakness has taken over my ability to self-control. Eventually I learned that my facing my weakness & doing something about it will lead me to my strength.
Overall I’ve noticed a huge difference with the way I look and with how I feel. I was less bloated, my cystic acne lessened, I was less sleepy in the day & my mind was less foggy than it usually is. Overall I feel so much better.
Would you believe on February 1, the first day after my 30 Day No Sweets Challenge, I opted to eat these healthy sweet treats instead of my usual chocolate bar & cupcake? Yes! Kinda proud of myself! I had these vegan date balls & carrot cupcake both of which are refined sugar free. Up until today almost two weeks after the challenge, I only had about four servings of sweets (a small slice of chocolate cake during my mom’s birthday, a pretzel one weekend with the kids, two forkful of cake at an event, and two fried bananas aka turon during a wedding). I’m not gonna say that I’ll give up on sweets altogether, I guess from hereon out I’m more mindful of my sugar intake but I’ll give in to it every now and then. ☺️
Now I’m thinking of doing another 30 day No Dairy Challenge, but I’m still figuring out how to actually do it! Have you ever done a 30 Day Challenge? If so what was it and what were the challenges you face along the way?