Another October, another successful NBC! For some the letters N,B, and C may have taken on a new meaning. But, many of you took to the task and have been on a mission to challenge yourself in the name of better health. For others, the timing may not have been right or the commitment not quite there, but hopefully it will be for this next “challenge”.
Being deprived of something for too long is bound to drive anyone nuts. This is why going “cold turkey” often does not work because it’s such a drastic change. So here is my new challenge to you: From this November 1st until April 1st (the DLG Challenge), as a gym, we will be following the 90/10 lifestyle. This means that roughly 90% of your meals will be eaten under the NBC rules, and 10% of them will not. We did the same structure last year, and this 90/10 is what most of you try to follow as it is.
Like a workout, in order to do this challenge RX’ed you will eat cleanly exactly 6 days per week. This means a perfect score of 100 on Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat. On Sunday (or any day of your choosing) you may eat ANYTHING YOU WANT! This means you can literally get a minus 50 point score on Sunday and still be well within the parameters of the challenge. If you want to eat a whole cheesecake and drink a keg of Budweiser by yourself that’s totally cool. But, come Monday you need to be back on track and eating clean again.
The philosophy of the cheat day is a beautiful thing. It will give you something to look forward to each and every week. Think of it as a reward for your meticulous eating all week. This is a no-guilt plan; you are encouraged to enjoy those cheat foods as much as possible. During the week, you can even write down the cheat foods you have been craving and make preparations to get them on your big day. Post them on Facebook and be proud that you earned them. Some studies have shown that the sudden spike in calories on cheat days can actually speed up overall metabolism. Imagine a plan where you are losing weight by eating donuts for a whole day! After eating like a madman for a day and probably feeling like hell, you will then be fired up to be back on your clean diet for the next 6 days.
There is definitely some wiggle room on this diet. At first, I recommend following the plan above, the 6 on 1 off method. Once you have adjusted to that, and have the routine down, you can make some tweaks that will improve your health even more. A few examples would be to have one cheat day every two weeks. This plan could be implemented if you have reached a plateau or are trying to trim down before a wedding or want to see better workout performances leading up to a competition. Another scenario could be you just have one cheat meal on your cheat day. This way you still get to have that one big craving food, without going too nuts the entire day.
The most important factor in this plan is adherence. The 6 on 1 off rule will work wonders, but only if it is followed strictly. If all of a sudden you are cheating 3 times per week and having a cheat day, you’ll start to go backwards. My recommendation is to only switch to the stricter examples in the last paragraph if you have the original plan down airtight.
This is a plan that is sustainable forever. It’s not a diet, it’s a long term way of eating that will promote health. You will be eating about 18 clean meals and 2 or 3 cheat meals per week, which means 90% of your diet will include good, health-promoting foods.
In this last month, you guys have learned a ton. You now know there are certain foods you just don’t need in your diet. Many of you have found creative ways to substitute for the old comfort foods. You have the confidence that you can survive a month without bread and refined products. I challenge you to keep the momentum gained from October and continue on the path to optimal health. As a community, let’s continue to support each other. Sharing new recipes, educating each other on health topics and getting loved ones to buy-in will continue to spread the message of lifelong health and fitness we are all trying to achieve. Good luck!
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