A lot can happen in 100 days. I don’t want to leave it to chance that everything will fall into place and I’ll just stick to my 100 Day Diet Challenge with willpower alone; something is bound to kick off which’ll at least tempt me to be led astray.
I’ve therefore created The Rules.
These remind me about what I need to be doing and how I should deal with various scenarios in an attempt to plan for potential pitfalls, thus limiting the risk of deviation.
I came up with the initial list prior to commencing the Challenge on January 1st 2017. Since then, I’ve added and amended Rules to reflect the reality of the Challenge, as opposed to the vision. I’ll continue to do so until the end.
- I want to lose weight during my 100 Day Diet Challenge. This may push me out of my comfort zone but at no point should the diet become extreme. If it is getting too hard or I feel ill, I must reassess my diet plan immediately.
- I will eat healthy, tasty food and cook every day. The Challenge isn’t about limiting flavour but, rather, planning ahead so that healthy dishes are delicious. Cooking should be relaxing and meditative, rather than a chore. Simplicity is the key; don’t overcomplicate things.
- If the process stops being enjoyable, I should reassess my diet plan.
- My 100 Day Diet Challenge will be broken down into ten 10 day ‘sprints’. The relevant dates are:
|1||Sunday 1st January||Tuesday 10th January|
|2||Wednesday 11th January||Friday 20th January|
|3||Saturday 21st January||Monday 30th January|
|4||Tuesday 31st January||Thursday 9th February|
|5||Friday 10th February||Sunday 19th February|
|6||Monday 20th February||Wednesday 1st March|
|7||Thursday 2nd March||Saturday 11th March|
|8||Sunday 12th March||Tuesday 21st March|
|9||Wednesday 22nd March||Friday 31st March|
|10||Sunday 1st April||Monday 10th April|
- Before each sprint begins, I will have a planning session where I create a meal plan, a shopping list and deal with practicalities such as when food preparation will take place. I will also review the current sprint. Have I lost weight, was the food tasty and am I enjoying it? If I deem it a success, I can broadly keep to the same plan unless I want to mix it up. Alternatively, if weight loss is starting to plateau or I am not happy with something, I should make changes. I have produced a checklist for each sprint review which I must work through before the sprint is complete.*
- I should reward myself at the end of each sprint. I need to list potential rewards at the beginning of the sprint as part of the planning process. To be rewarded, I must:
- stick to the diet plan and weight loss should be achieved; and
- record the lessons learned and plan the next sprint.*
- Chew and savour every mouthful. If I’m still hungry after eating, make a note of this for going forward. If I’m full before finishing, do the same.
- Adding Tabasco to a meal is fine, in moderation; it shouldn’t swim in it, obviously.*
- I can drink as much water as I like, including sparkling water. Black coffee and tea (without milk) are also OK. Occasionally, and within reason, a diet fizzy drink (such as Diet Coke or Red Bull Sugarfree) is alright, too. Hopefully these won’t be necessary too often and, if I find I’m craving diet drinks or am generally low in energy, I should reassess my diet plan.*
- I currently take supplements most mornings: probiotics, vitamin D and cod liver oil. I don’t need to cry if I miss a day but I should keep taking these as normal.
- Chewing gum is OK. Mints, less so.
- I must weigh myself every morning before I consume anything.
- Photograph every meal and post daily pictures on Instagram.
- I must exercise for my general health, rather than specifically as part of the Challenge. I should aim to complete at least 10,000 steps on most days and undertake one physical workout per week. If I find I don’t have the energy even for this, I should reassess my diet plan.*
- I can socialise and should do if I want. Drinking alcohol, save for potentially on an exceptional occasion or during a planned cheat meal, is not allowed but coffee, tea, sparkling water and/or diet drinks (within reason) are fine.
- Exceptional occasions may arise where I need to deviate from my diet plan. These could include, for example, a major life event or an important work occasion; use my judgement. These should only occur, if at all, once or twice during the Challenge. If they occur frequently, I need to reassess my commitment to the Challenge. Should such an event occur, I can eat and drink what I like (holding back if it is polite to do so and within reason). I shouldn’t rely on willpower alone to ensure I stick to my diet plan and should go with the flow. I can drink wine or spirits but steer clear of beer, if possible. Count the occasion as a cheat and resume the Challenge as normal for the next meal. Try, if possible, to plan and factor in an exceptional occasion in advance but also accept life happens and sometimes things are unpredictable. That being the case, roll with it, enjoy it and move on when it is over.
- There will be times when I’ll need to swap meals around, skip meals, change ingredients or whatever. It is inevitable and I shouldn’t worry when it happens, unless it happens regularly. If all else fails and in emergencies, eggs and/or chicken are fine.
- My approach with cheat meals will be determined as I go. I may allow a small number of cheats over the course of the Challenge and will review during each sprint planning session to determine whether to factor these in.*
- I am a normal person leading a normal working life. I should have a go-to list of activities I enjoy to ensure I switch off from focusing on the Challenge so as not to allow it to take over my life.
- I can add to and amend The Rules as I go.
*5. I’ll publish the Sprint Checklist soon.
*6. My rewards so far have been a Hario V60 dripper coffee maker for Sprint 1, Lush products for Sprint 2 and some New Balance trainers for Sprint 3.
*8. This is a new Rule reflecting the reality of the Challenge; I simply don’t need to record every instance I use Tabasco.
*9. I’ve not currently had any diet fizzy drinks.
*14. This is an amended Rule. I originally planned to walk at least 10,000 steps every day. Most days, I exceed this but occasionally I’m too busy to reach this target. Therefore, if my average per sprint is at least 10,000 steps per day, I’m happy.
*18. My current plan is to not factor in any cheats, save for the occasional unavoidable meal out. I’ll have to play this by ear but, ultimately, I’m feeling good about the food I’m eating and recognise this is only for 100 days. The urge to stick with the Challenge is stronger than the desire to stray. On saying that, let’s see how I feel about it after another 30 days before being too hasty.
Read more about my 100 Day Diet Challenge here:
Do You Want to Lose 48 Pounds in 100 Days? I Did it by Creating my Own 100 Day Diet Challenge. Here’s How.
My 100 Day Diet Challenge: An Introduction
10 Steps to Success
50 Days: A Review of the First Half of My 100 Day Diet Challenge
All Recipes Published on The Writing Struggle
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