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Stress Less, Lose Weight, & Take Your Life Back - The 45 Day Challenge and Guide

Reduce Stress and Weight with the 45-Day Challenge

 

 

INTRO

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far! Accepting the challenge of addressing your stress is tough. It forces you to slow down in a world that is always moving and asking you to over-schedule and over-commit. From this, we need to slow way down and take a serious look at what changes we need to make and refocus on what is most important to us.

Stress was designed to be a good thing. You may know it as fight or flight. It is available to us to use as a protective mechanism. When a stimulus (losing our job, an overly-scheduled appointment calendar, driving in traffic, gut inflammation, food intolerances, etc.) takes us off our internal “baseline of operation,” our adrenal glands secrete stress hormones. This develops into a problem when our stress becomes chronic and our adrenal begin to produce cortisol.

Chronic stress begins to produce cortisol throughout the day taking it out of its normal rhythm of secretion (high in the morning, lower in the evening). This initiates the “all-health-issues-breaks loose” syndrome where body fat is stored, hormone imbalances occur, depression sets in, sugar is craved, and the disease process is in full bloom. Since the chronic stress response creates this inflammation, which is the key ingredient to chronic illness, it is essential to address the stress in your life. We are all well aware of the ability of stress to pack on the pounds and here we go!

It is well known that stress causes us to crave unhealthy comfort foods. Fear not, by addressing your stress in a healthy way you can reverse your current course of action. There will come a time when you will lose a desire to consume these foods and drinks once you have eliminated them from your diet. This could take days, weeks or even months, but it will come. When this day arrives, not only will you have conquered your sugar/carb cravings and addictions, but also the slightest sweet tasting food may become too much for you to eat.

Combining stress management techniques and dietary changes will reduce the effects of your daily stress AND curb its ugly inflammatory response. Reduce Stress and Weight with the 45-Day Challenge (RSW-45) aims to do just that!

 

The Challenge

Welcome to the kick-off to your health revolution, RSW-45 is designed to jump-start the elimination of stress and its harmful effects. Because it is a challenge and only 45 days long, it will be tough and will push you at times. The higher your stress levels, the more difficult and necessary RSW-45 will be. All ages are encouraged to participate in this 45-day health and weight loss challenge, especially family members who can inspire one another throughout the process. Eating healthy meals together is a comfortable ritual that can hold each participating family member accountable to RSW-45. If you end up flying solo, invite a friend or create a group that can travel this journey with you to increase your adherence to this new lifestyle.

Apply the following tips for success.

1.     Join the Facebook chat room to talk about your challenges.

2.     Avoid situations that you know are stressful to you, such as watching the news, spending time with people that you know stress you out, and overscheduling with events/activities that others could do.

3.     Learn to say “no” so that you do not over-commit yourself.

4.     If you are currently involved in a regular exercise routine of more than 4 days/week and/or longer than 30-45 minutes in duration, feel free to continue your program.

5.     If you feel as though creating the time to participate is causing stress and anxiety itself, set it aside and come back to it when you are ready to take the RSW-45 head on.

6.     Log your experience in a journal, diary, or on a printable one month calendar page each day. This will help you stay organized and motivated throughout the RSW-45.

7.     Reward yourself once a week for each successful (100%) week completed (list of ideas below).

8.     If you have any questions regarding the RSW-45 (foods, activities, etc.), see the lists below.

9.     The Suggested Stress Management Techniques and Anti-inflammatory Recommendations sections below are essential to the success of your 45-Day challenge.

 

THE PROGRAM:

Each day of the RSW-45 will have a daily to-do list. Remember, the goal is to reduce stress, not create it. Many of the “daily actions” are only reminders, not more things to do. This should keep the overwhelmed meter down a bit. The lists of suggested foods and spices, stress management techniques, and reward ideas (below) are to assist in your decision making process. Consult these lists when you begin replacing the inflammation and disease-producing foods you have been eating with healthy, nutrient-dense, delicious real food. These lists are by no means exhaustive, but they serve as helpful tools to help you locate the food you should be eating. It is recommended that you choose grass-fed meats, organic produce, pasture-raised chicken and eggs and wild caught fish, when possible.

Every other day up until Day 21, a group of foods is eliminated. With each food elimination, a replacement option has been provided to make your dietary transformation easier. These are only suggestions, so if you do not like the option that is offered, look back at the Snack Recommendations, Food Substitutions, and Resources: Low-Carb Snacks (all of which are listed below), for additional ideas. If you have other go-to healthy foods that fit the RSW-45’s requirements, feel free to use your foods instead. For the purposed of the RSW-45, white, wheat and whole wheat flour will be included as sugar/carbohydrates. Also, it is important that every day of the RSW-45 you obey your thirst and drink water accordingly.

If a day encourages you to eliminate a food or drink that you do not consume at least once a month, then CONGRATULATIONS, you get a day off from eliminating a food or drink. Each food elimination is cumulative, so you will not be eating that food for the remainder of the RSW-45, and hopefully, for the future.

With the food eliminations, each day also has you add an anti-inflammatory food and spice, a probiotic or fermented food, exercise (30-45 minutes, 4 days/week), 1-2 stress management techniques, a daily centering activity (optional), and a journal (optional) question/thought for the day to help you center your thoughts and feelings. Water and sleep reminders are also provided.

It is important to be prepared for the first day of the RSW-45. Here is a daily checklist:

1.     Purchase supplement(s) – if approved by your healthcare professional, anti-inflammatory food and spice that you will begin with prior to day 1.

2.     Have a stainless steel water bottle (no plastic bottles) available for each day.

3.     Set aside a notebook for journaling.

4.     Choose your stress management techniques before each day arrives.

5.     Choose a form of exercise that you will perform.

6.     Weigh yourself and measure the circumference of your hip and waist for a baseline so that you can observe the fruits of your labor.

 

IMPORTANT: Eat ONLY when you’re hungry and drink pure filtered-water (amount varies from person to person, i.e. age, gender, activity level, body size, humidity, temperature. Let thirst be your guide. Consult with your healthcare professional if you have a health condition that may affect water consumption amount). Aim for sufficient sleep quantity and quality (individual needs may vary). Choose your mode of exercise. Floss daily (reduces gum bacteria and inflammation). Do not drink alcohol, use illegal substances, or smoke for the duration of the RSW-45. Limit caffeine if you are sensitive to its affects. You may use stevia, raw honey (3-5 tbsp per day) and/or sugar alcohols (erythritol, xylitol, or sorbitol – consume in small amounts due to possible GI stress – be cautious if you have gut health issues) as sweeteners but eliminate all other artificial sweeteners (Sweetn’ Low, Equal, NutraSweet, Canderel, and Splenda).

Consuming whole foods to meet your nutrient needs is preferential to supplementation. However, when you are deficient in certain nutrients supplements may be necessary. In this case, supplementation is essential for optimal health and should NOT be taken lightly. Consult your healthcare provider for your individual supplement needs. I am a proponent of supplements and, therefore, strongly recommend you ask your healthcare professional what supplementation would benefit you, individually, the most. If you are not taking a probiotic, it is important to eat fermented foods in order to get the bacteria needed for optimal gut health.

 

Disclaimer: The purpose of the RSW-45 is to assist people in reducing their stress and mitigating the harmful inflammatory response to stress through suggested stress management techniques and dietary and supplement changes. It is not intended to prescribe a diet, but to eliminate known unhealthy foods and habits and offer healthy alternatives. Consult with your nutritionist, licensed physician or healthcare professional before beginning this program for his or her professional advice regarding this program and your involvement in it.

 

 *Optional:

Journal - Thoughts, quotes, and questions are provided to inspire your daily journaling. Feel free to write about what you did for the day and what you are feeling.

Daily Centering Activity – A 10-15 minute daily centering activity to help set the tone for the rest of the day.

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Rusty Gregory, MS, CSCS is the coauthor of Living Wheat-Free for Dummies (Wiley Publishing). He received his B.S. (Commercial and Industrial Fitness, Minor in Health Education) in 1989 from Texas Tech University and his M.S. (Kinesiology) in 1991 from the University of Michigan. In 1991, he began his personal training business in Austin, Texas, and became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). In 1995, he opened Forte Personal Fitness, a private personal fitness studio where he trains athletes from a multitude of sports and people of all ages, health backgrounds, and physical limitations.

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