Tomorrow is going to be a big day for me! Okay, perhaps that’s a little dramatic but I have decided to make some changes in my life and, starting tomorrow, I’m going to do a 40 day healthy living challenge. The plan is to document this challenge on my blog, my Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to encourage me to keep it up. If everyone knows I’m doing this, I will have no excuse to back out!!
This isn’t for Lent, although I appreciate it falls at a similar time. It’s just that I’ve been on a million diets in the past, and I’ve been trying to keep to one that I started in January – without much success. And, on reflection, it’s not just the amount of food I’m consuming that I need to address, it’s the type of food I’m eating. I’ve fallen into some really bad habits. Takeaways once or twice a week, wine every weekend (and when I’m stressed during the week) and ready meals instead of cooking from fresh. I can’t remember the last time I had a vegetable.
I can feel the effect this is having on my body. I’m knackered, I’m struggling to shift the weight I put on over Christmas (and I know you shouldn’t attempt to lose weight for a wedding, but I do want to look good and be happy in myself!).
So for 40 days I am going to make some major changes in my diet and, hopefully, once I’ve completed the challenge I can keep these changes up. I’m 26. It’s time to start looking after myself!
My 40 Day Healthy Living Challenge
Some of the changes I’m planning to make might seem predictable, but there’s a good reason for that – they’re healthy changes! And while it will be difficult to make all these changes at once, I’m determined. It’s not called a challenge for nothing!
Cutting out alcohol
Is it terrible that I think this will be the hardest one?! I love a glass of wine on a Friday evening when I get in from work. However, I’ve been really stressed out recently and I’ve started having a few glasses during the week – using stress as the excuse. I know this is a bad (and kind of dangerous) habit to get into. Giving up booze for 40 days will do me the world of good and my liver (and bank balance) will probably thank me.
Stop ordering takeaways
Another of my favourite things to do at the weekend! I love pizza and I love Indian food. But I don’t just order a little and have it as a treat, I order loads and properly gorge! Using food as a reward to myself for getting through a tough week isn’t good, and I always feel guilty (and ill!) the next day. These takeaways also make a big dent in my bank balance, which is money that should be going towards my wedding in June. I’ve got no doubt I’ll be fantasising about takeaways for the next 40 days, but I’m also quite excited to try and make my own healthy versions of my favourite dishes.
Bye bye convenience food
Chris and I are so busy (and regularly working at very different times of the day) that, for the last two years, our dinners have mainly consisted of ready meals and things I can throw in the oven or the microwave for ten minutes without having to stress. What’s terrible about this is that I really do enjoy cooking, especially when Chris helps and keeps me company in the kitchen. I know there are lots of quick and easy (and healthy!) recipes out there and I’m determined to work them into our weekly shop. I’ll feel better knowing exactly what I’m eating and we’ll get to experiment and try new dishes. I’m actually kind of intimidated by this part of the challenge, because I think I might stress myself out, but hopefully by Day 40 I will be an expert at whipping up quick dishes!
Take it easy on the carbs
I eat HUGE amounts of carbs. I could (and have) had meals that were almost entirely carb based. I’m like an eight-year-old. And while I have no plans to completely cut out carbs (your body does need them after all!), I am planning to switch up the white bread and white pasta for wholemeal and wholegrain and back away from the chips.
This part of the challenge I’m not particularly worried about. I only ever drink fizzy drinks as mixer with a gin, and it’s very rare that I will have a tea or coffee. Since I’m giving up alcohol for 40 days there will be no need for me to go near a soft drink! Easy. I hope.
Drink more water
I’m hoping the no caffeine part of the challenge will make this part a breeze. But I have been known to forget to drink any liquids at all. Messed up, I know.
Replace the unhealthy snacks
Unless it’s Christmas, my birthday or Chris has brought something in, there is never chocolate in our flat. I don’t buy it because I don’t want to tempt myself. However I am terrible with crisps. I love them and have no stop mechanism when I’m eating them. There are plenty of healthy alternatives out there if I’m feeling peckish midday and I’m going to find them!
If I’m honest, I’m pretty good when it comes to exercise and probably don’t need to exercise more, I just need to mix up what I do. I’m a huge fan of exercise DVDs and will do one a few times a week, and I’ve been in this habit for about four years now. But your body gets used to doing the same work out and while I can’t promise I’ll hit the gym instead of working out in the living room, I will mix up the exercise routine.
Can I do it?
Well I hope so! I wouldn’t be setting myself the challenge if I didn’t think there was a chance of me achieving my goal. I really do think it will be good for me! I plan to do a weekly post on it for the 40 days to try and motivate myself (and hopefully it will be interesting/helpful for you!). I’ll also be posting on my Instagram and keeping a wee record of recipes and exercises etc I want to try on Pinterest.
And if anyone wants to join me on this challenge that would be amazing! 🙂
Wish me luck!