What I’ve Learned in Week One of a Nutrition Challenge

nutrition challenge

I finally did it: I sucked it up and signed up for a nutrition challenge.

Now, like nearly the rest of the world population I love my food. Fried, covered in chocolate or just generally delicious, I’m there with a fork and knife in hand. I chat with owners, nutrition coaches and dietitians all the time for my job, but I’ve never quite crossed over into the personal research part of nutrition challenges.

But now I have. And one week in, I don’t hate it.

The nutrition challenge I’m doing is held by my Affiliate. It’s six weeks long and run by one of my Box’s co-owners who has a degree in nutrition. She is big on teaching us how to simply eat balanced meals complete with protein, healthy fat and veggies. The big goal is to educate and create long-term habits in the way we eat and view food.

I’ve learned that my success so far has been due to meal prep. By mapping out what I’m going to eat at every meal and snack time, as well has having extra healthy snacks on hand, I haven’t had any serious struggles yet. I even went out to eat with my friends and conquered it.

There has been a little confusion, however. For instance, I didn’t realize we have to take a cheat day every week. I powered through last week in the hopes of gaining extra points — and not wanting to break the streak I had going. I came to find out though that can’t be the case. But my Coach explained by adding a cheat day, the challenge more adequately reflects life, and she wants us to build habits that will continue. She was right. I can’t eat perfect every day for the rest of my life — I think I would become a very sad, grumpy person — so why should a challenge require me to do that?

But I suppose the takeaway I have for you after my first week is to make sure your nutrition challenge rules are clear. We got a rule sheet about the good and bad foods, and how the points work. However, after my hiccup, next time a part about the cheat day will be added. Sometimes, you have to just dive in to find the kinks and work them out. And really, I came out on top because I proved to myself I can eat like a champ for seven days straight, even when one of those consists of a night out.

So, make sure your rules and regulations are clear in your nutrition challenge. Type them out, present them to your athletes and then moved forward. Oh, and be ready for the questions that will ensue. I know it’s helped my Coach to have someone in the challenge who has done it before. The athlete has been able to help address many of the questions.

But most of all, do a nutrition challenge at your Box. Whether it’s two or 20 members that sign up, I can personally say they will thank you for it. And that’s with only a week under my belt!

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.