Ok Ladies, It’s Time for our August Challenge! This month we will do 2 things:
- Eating Challenge: We are cutting out the junk in our diets. What does that mean? This month, I challenge you to abandon Fast Food, Refined/Processed Sugar, White Bleached Flour and Junk Food for 31 Days! It’s ultimately up to you whether you let go of these things all together or if you commit to reducing the amount that you eat. BE REALISTIC. Not everyone can go cold turkey and leave the junk alone 100% in 31 days. Just cutting out some of the junk foods in your diet can make a big difference. Your Goal is to Eat Clean and avoid the junk!
- Workout Challenge: This month, I’ve put together a Squat Challenge for you. One of the things that I’ve been surprised about while running the BWLW community is that some Sistas are afraid to lose their booties while losing weight. Whether that is your issue or not, squats are a great exercise for your lower body and definitely for firming your glutes. You will find the Squat Challenge Calendar below (scroll down).
What should you focus on eating this month?
- Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of chemistry
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Healthy dairy products like skim milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese (buy organic when you can)
- 100% whole-wheat and whole-grain products – Check the label. Some products say they are whole wheat, but are bleached.
- Lean Meats (look for organic or locally raised meats if you can)
- Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural, fresh juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea and wine in moderation.
- Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn.
- All natural sweeteners including honey, are acceptable in moderation
Here is an example of what your meals may look like. You can also check out my clean eating book for recipes and quick meal suggestions.
Note: If you have blood sugar issues, diabetes or chronic disease, it may not be a good idea for you to cut your sugars. I would suggest that you focus on cutting out fast food and the junk foods that your doctor has already advised you to cut.
Avoid Junk Food and Fast Food for 31 days:
You know what junk food and fast food is! I should not have to explain it, right? It’s the food that you know that you should avoid because it’s full of chemicals, fats, processed sugar, white flour and sodium. The addictive foods that you can’t seem to let go of. Yes, I’m talking about your favorites! Under junk food, you may also want include convenience foods like frozen meals, microwavable meals and diet foods if they are full of chemicals and preservatives. Food labels are key to knowing how processed your foods are.
- Read FOOD Labels for trans-fats, hidden sugars, huge calorie counts and sodium.
- Focus on clean, real fresh foods. Examples: Lean meats, eggs, fish, vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, whole grain carbs and good dairy (like cottage cheese and greek yogurt).
- Consider cooking more this month, if you can. We have some great recipes pinned on the BWLW Pinterest board.
- Go online and research the nutrition information for the restaurants you like or plan to go to. When in doubt, get a salad with light dressing and omit things like bacon on it.
- Go online and do research on your favorite foods and the foods you need to consider giving up this month. When you see how bad these foods are in terms of nutrition, it will be easier to let them go.
Avoid Refined Sugars for 31 days:
Here is the list of sugars we want to avoid during our August 2013 Challenge. Now, I understand that there are sugars other than just the processed ones. Our goal is not to avoid all sugar, but to eliminate the sugars that are in a lot of junk food and are chemicalized.
Sugars to avoid:
|Brown Rice Syrup|
Fruit Juice Concentrate
Evaporated Cane Juice
Raw Cane Sugar
Rice (Bran) Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Un-organic Maple Syrup
Natural sugars you can replace these sugars with:
- Fruits – Yes, they are high in sugar but they contain fiber, vitamins and nutrients. Focus on fruits with a low glycemic index. Here is a list for more info. Even if a fruit is high GI, there are still other factors to consider and it should not be considered “bad”.
- Regular and Raw Honey – Use sparingly
- Organic Agave Nectar – Yes, this stuff is full of sugar but it also has a low glycemic index so your blood sugar doesn’t spike like high GI sugars. However, you still want to use it sparingly and not over do it.
- Organic Maple Syrup – Use sparingly
- Coconut Sugar
These natural sugars are still SUGAR, so you don’t want to trade evils and over do it. Use them in small amounts. On fruit, some people can’t digest fruit sugar (fructose) very well or may have an intolerance. You have to keep in mind that we are all different. Try to keep your overall sugar intake low in terms of any sugars this month, natural or otherwise.
Fake Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners: I suggest that you use sweeteners like sugars like Equal, Truvia and Splenda in moderation or not at all. However, I understand that many people use diet sugars to replace real sugars, especially in things like diet soda and Crystal Light. I really encourage you to do your research on the side effects and issues with faux sugars like these. There are generally mixed opinions out there, so you have to make your own educated decisions. I suggest you keep it to a minimum. Some sweeteners are known to cause bloating and can make you crave sugar even more.
3 Things You Should do to fight Sugar Cravings
- Eat More Protein – Lean protein is your friend. Even if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can increase your protein intake to fight cravings with things like seitan or roasted soy nuts.
- Drink More Water – You actually may be dehydrated and craving water, not sugar
- Can’t shake it and you need something sweet. Eat a piece of fiber rich fruit (citrus, apples or grapes for example)! You will get the benefit of macronutrients and vitamins.
“Cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates are often a result of low blood sugar or neurotransmitter imbalances. In either case, the problem can usually be resolved by simply adding more protein to your diet. Since you should be eating whole foods, the additional protein should come from high quality meats. This will help to balance your blood sugar by reducing the amount of sugar you eat and slowing down the digestion of the carbohydrates you eat. It will also help balance your brain chemistry by providing the amino acids needed to produce essential neurotransmitters.” – source: NaturalBias
Avoid White Flour/Bleached, Refined Flour for 31 Days:
How can you avoid white flour? “It’s in everything!”, is what I hear people say when I suggest that they avoid it. Keep this in mind, “Even [foods] that are labelled as being “whole wheat” or “whole grain” can contain a significant portion of white flour. Read the ingredient list and look for breads containing only “whole wheat” flour to decrease the amount of refined carbohydrates in your diet.” – source You will need to check the labels and avoid some breakfast cereals, baked goods, pasta, pizza, sweets, etc. There are a lot of gluten-free options out there for those who want to avoid wheat products, so take advantage of those options this month.
Suggested Reading for the Eating Goals for the Aug Challenge
- List of No White Flour Foods – LiveStrong.com
- How to Eliminate Sugar from Your Diet – Natural Bias
- FREE Clean Eating Meal Plans with Shopping lists from Clean Eating Magazine
- 12 tips for kicking the refined sugar habit – MNN.com
- Sugar Busters Approved Food List
- Understanding Grains – 100 Days of Real Food
31 Day Squat Challenge: August 2013 Squat Calendar (download the printable PDF)
Video: How to do a proper squat:
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a registered nutritionist (although I’ve had nutrition training/certification). If you seek expert advice, please seek out a doctor or registered nutritionist. Do not accept this challenge if it will cause any of your health issues to worsen. WE don’t advise that you do anything that would negatively affect your health or well being (that means eating, exercise, etc). If you have food allergies, are currently pregnant, are nursing, have past injuries, have a chronic disease, etc you need to speak with a medical professional before drastically changing your diet. If you are diabetic, you may not be able to participate in this challenge in terms of reducing sugar. You could also have unknown medical issues that could worsen with diet and exercise changes. Talk to your doctor, Ladies.