Nutrition challenges, like my 21-Day Sugar Detox program or a 30-day meal plan from Practical Paleo, are super popular… but they aren't the magic answer for everyone! In fact, there are folks that should definitely avoid nutrition challenges.
In this post, I'll cover who a nutrition challenge is good for, who should avoid nutrition challenges, and when enough is enough!
Who are nutrition challenges for?
- Someone who is completely unaware of what real, healthy food actually is, or how to choose or make or even buy it. If someone has no awareness about making healthy choices, a nutrition challenge is a great way to build a healthy foundation and have a comprehensive place to start.
- Someone who is not feeling physically well. A challenge is a great opportunity to detox or reboot the body's system to discover what foods may be causing the problem.
- Someone with an experimental spirit and a healthy mindset can approach a nutrition challenge with a “What can I learn?” positive attitude.
Who should avoid nutrition challenges?
- Someone who knows what healthy food is, how to balance a plate, and understands what food works for them. Unfortunately, we aren't always honest with ourselves about what we are actually eating and we think we need someone else's rules to tell us what's right or wrong, but this person does actually know what to do… but simply needs to do it.
- Someone who feels emotionally unwell and sees food as a reward or punishment would not benefit from a rule-based, strict nutrition challenge.
When is enough enough?
Doing a reset or a challenge 1-2 times per year, possibly jumping in with a community and others who are excited to do the same challenge, can be healthy and educational. Keeping that positive, open mindset can lead to many benefits.
However, completing the same challenge over 3 times in a year and eating either “on the plan” or “off the plan” and not applying the lessons learned to an overall lifestyle can start to become dangerous and unhealthy.
Additionally, if someone is trying the same challenge over and over and “failing,” it' s a good indicator that it's not about the food! It may be a lack of commitment, or self-respect or follow-through and discipline, but it's not the food on the plate.
I do have one exception to the above: coaches! If you are a health coach and you want to do the challenge with your participants out of solidarity, then go for it! As long as it's not every single month 😉
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