A 30 day strategy could be a great first step when you’d like to make changes in your life, but aren’t ready for a full-bore commitment to weight loss.
Be sure to weigh yourself before you begin. It would be a good idea to keep a diary during this time (you can download one here), and you may want to take physical measurements of your arms, thighs, waist, etc. before you start.
Just a Short-Term Experiment
A 30 day strategy is just a short-term commitment. It’s an experiment, not a promise to change your life forever. When you are a little resistant to change, knowing that you’re only testing out a change for 30 days can reduce your resistance dramatically. That lets you experiment, and find out whether or not this change will be as challenging as you think.
Here’s Matt Cutts from Google doing a TED Talk about his experience with a 30 day challenge:
He talks jokingly about what happened on the 31st day after giving up sugar for 30 days, and of course it’s always your option to decide that this lifestyle change isn’t for you. After all, you’re only committed to a 30 day strategy.
The 30 Day Strategy and Weight Loss
When you’re trying to make lifestyle changes to help you lose weight permanently, a 30 day strategy can be the ideal, non-threatening way to test out how challenging certain lifestyle changes will be. You could create 30 day strategies around eating, exercise, or stress reduction. Any of those could help contribute to weight loss.
Examples of 30 Day Challenges
- Take a healthy lunch to work for 30 days
- Don’t eat anything after 7 PM for 30 days
- Eat protein for breakfast for 30 days
- Drink a green smoothie everyday for 30 days
- No junk food for 30 days
- Eat clean for 30 days
- No sugar for 30 days
- Eat vegetarian for 30 days
- Meditate every day for 30 days
- Go for a walk every day for 30 days
- Walk, swim, bicycle, or go to the gym every day for 30 days
Obviously, some of these are more challenging than others. You may be able to think of some that would suit you better. The whole point though, is that it’s up to you to choose. If you have been thinking for some time that you “should” make a certain change, but you’re not sure you really want to, this is a limited-time way to test it out. You’re not obligated to continue after 30 days.
Make One Change at a Time
It’s not a good idea to take on several 30 day challenges at once. You’ll typically be more successful if you limit yourself to one at a time. It’s important to be successful – because successfully completing your 30 day strategy helps you build your self-esteem as well. You can always start another thirty-day challenge once the first is complete.
It’s also a great way to find out whether certain foods could be more of a problem for you than you realize.
Test for Food Allergies and Intolerances
A 30 day strategy is a great way to test how your body would react if you removed certain potential irritants from your diet. You might not have an outright allergy, but you may find that issues such as headaches and indigestion vanish after a few weeks with no consumption of certain things. For example, some people have been plateaued in weight loss for an extended period, and then discovered that eliminating dairy gets their weight dropping again. Here are some 30 day strategies in this area:
- Eliminate dairy for 30 days (milk, whey, cheese, yogurt)
- Eliminate gluten for 30 days (wheat, barley, rye)
- Eliminate all grains for 30 days
- Eliminate all packaged foods with artificial ingredients for 30 days
It’s Up To You Whether You Continue After 30 Days
Of course, it’s entirely your choice whether to continue. They say that a habit takes 30 days to develop, so if you choose to continue it should be relatively easy. If you found a 30 day strategy extremely uncomfortable or difficult, or you felt the change wasn’t worth it, you’re under no obligation to maintain the change.