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Take Charge 10 Together

The Take Charge 10 Series

Join us for Take Charge with 10, the nutrition challenge designed to be SUSTAINABLE and DONE TOGETHER – with your family, friends, and the whole BLOC community.

Struggling with diet and nutrition? Needing a better way to fuel your training? Not quite reaching your health goals? Take Charge with 10 is right for you.

Build a healthy foundation, participate along side the BLOC community, and reset your nutrition habits.

Ep 1: Take Charge with 10 – Preparation & Overview

Matt & Niki talk to Niki and Gillian about the Take Charge with 10 Nutrition Challenge, which begins as a community on March 22 but you can complete anytime you want after March 22.

Take Charge with 10 is a 10 day challenge, and each day adds another habit. Each day, therefore, builds on the other, so on day 10 you should be trying your hardest to follow all 10 guidelines. ANYONE can do it at ANYTIME, though if you begin on March 22, you’ll be doing it along with the BLOC community and many coaches and staff. If you’re participating, you can let us and your followers know by adding #takecharge10 to your social media posts.

It’s a way to fast charge your nutrition and work on healthy nutrition habits with an online community and–hopefully–those close to you as well. It’s a reset, where you spend 10 days spending more time and energy and focus on nutrition. It’s a way to see how different habits and behavior changes affect your health and reflect on how you might incorporate or sustain some or all of these changes.

What is it NOT? It’s not 10 days to 6 pack abs. It’s not 10 days of extreme dieting or restricting huge types of food. It’s not a 10-day suffer fest.

Below are the steps:

  1. Drink More Water (half your bodyweight in pounds in ounces of water)
  2. Reduce Added Sugars (50g max)
  3. Stop Mindless Snacking (eat purposely)
  4. Keep a Food Journal of Everything that Goes Into Your Mouth
  5. Eliminate Alcohol Consumption
  6. Eat Your Veggies (eat more, try more)
  7. Fill Up on Fiber (30g of fiber from food)
  8. Cut off Caffeine (6 hours before bed)
  9. Balance Your Snacks (don’t eat a snack with just one macro, especially carbohydrates)
  10. Prepare all Meals at Home (know exactly what you eat)

Gillian designed this nutrition challenge to be inclusive, not exclusive. It was also designed to be done to be something you can do with your family and friends.

The 10 habits really form the foundation of any healthy nutrition approach – this doesn’t require a specific diet and allows for many different types of diet. These really are the fundamentals and basics, and building this strong base can lead to a sustainable, healthy diet.

A strong foundation leads to success, though you can certainly improve on these areas and take them further, based on your goals. Some habits are definitely things that are worth doing all the time, and others you might decide to only do occasionally.

Many of the arguments and discussions on programming and nutrition too often focus on the least important aspects of diet. Most dietitians agree with most of these basics.

Also, some of these you may already be doing or find extremely easy to do (if you don’t drink, eliminating alcohol won’t be a problem). Others may be a real challenge. If you’re doing something well, you can always aim to push that area a bit further during a challenge. If you struggle with something, it’s worth reflecting on why you struggle with it and how big of an impact changing that behavior could contribute to your health goals.

Food isn’t moral, it’s ultimately functional. Are you eating in a way to move toward your goals? If you enjoy a food like chocolate or ice cream, there are ways to allow these foods with planning and adjusting your diet in other areas.

The first day you add, not take away, something: you add water. This not only will help many people feel better, but it also helps–as a side effect–reduce caloric drinks.

Be weary, however, of “gateway foods.” These are foods that tend to cause a chain or more calorically dense foods. For Matt, for example, he struggles to eat tortilla chips without adding things to them and then drinking as well.

Reducing added sugars helps you look at labels more closely, especially if you enjoy sweet foods regularly. You may find yourself finding ways to reduce added sugars during the day to enable a dessert in the evening, and that’s completely fine! You will likely be surprised where sugar is hidden and in the amounts it is hidden.

Stop mindless snacking is a way to prevent intaking calories that you’re not eating mindfully. Too often, someone might pick at a food while preparing dinner or eat left over food off of a kid’s plate. You can eat a snack, but it should be a deliberate snack.

Keeping a food journal helps you track what you eat and can help you track total calories and macros. You can also include how you feel. You can see what you were eating when you felt good and what foods didn’t make you feel good. You can also pre-load food into the App to see the calories and macros in those foods. So, for example, if you plan to go out with friends on Saturday evening, you can either look at the restaurant menu and pick some foods. You can also plan to have some lighter meals earlier in the day to offset the increase calories in the evening.

Eliminating alcohol for many people helps you better understand and evaluate your relationship for alcohol. For some people, this will be incredibly easy. For others, it may be the most challenging step. Alcohol, however, has a trifecta of issues: calories, inhibition limitation, and worse sleep.

Veggies are considered healthy by just about every diet, and they provide lots of vitamins and minerals, contain lots of water, and have plenty of fiber. If you already eat vegetables, maybe increase the amount or try some new vegetables.If you struggle with vegetables, frozen vegetables are often more nutritious than fresh vegetables and can often be easily steamed in the microwave. Add some salt and maybe some spices–maybe a little fat depending on your goals and calories and macros–and eat some vegetables. You can also hide vegetables in recipes: add some spinach or onions or bell peppers to some ground beef.

Fiber helps fill you up and do some other things that you do regularly. Adding the vegetables will go a long way toward this goal. Chia seeds and legumes have lots of vegetables, so do vegetables and fruit. Aim for 30g for the remainder of the challenge.

Cutting off caffeine 6 hours before bed provides a couple benefits. First, it reduces pop (or soda, or soda pop, or coke, or whatever you call it). It also helps improve sleep quality if you regularly consume caffeine in the evening or late afternoon.

Balancing your meals and snacks helps prevent a crash, especially after high carbohydrates snacks (and for some, high carbohydrate & protein with very little fat). You’ll often feel hungry and grumpy soon after these all carbohydrate snacks, such as pretzels.

Finally, day 10, understand everything you consume and prepare all your food at home. If you can, use this as an opportunity to try a new meal. Maybe make it a family or couple activity. Either way, prepare your food at home so you know EXACTLY what’s in it. Restaurant meals have hidden calories, often in the forms of fats and oils that they add to meals.Good luck, and #takecharge10

Ep 2: Take Charge 10 as a Family – Days 1-4

The Reynolds family shares their experience–struggles, victories, stumbles–through the first 4 days of the Take Charge 10 nutrition challenge.

Day 1 is drinking more water, and they crushed day 1! They also found that the increase in water intake naturally reduced calories, as they reduced caloric beverages. It also seemed to reduce hunger, which helped reduce calories, because they drank so much water.

The second day presented a bigger challenge, largely because of a 16th birthday party. Dan 2 involves keeping added sugar at or below 50g. This really shows, beyond attempting to complete day 2’s habit, that life happens, and we can STILL be intentional about eating healthy and reaching our goals.

Part of the key for day 2 was to avoid added sugar for the rest of the day to enable them to eat cake for the party and still remain below 50g of added sugar.

On day 3, you need to stop mindless snacking. This doesn’t mean no snacks, it means increasing your mindfulness and intentionality about what you put in your mouth. It can be easy to take a bite of something here, munch on something while you’re waiting for dinner, or try something. These calories count, and you need to be intentional about what you put in your mouth.

You keep a food journal on day 4. It can be photographic, hand written, typed, on an app, or some combination thereof. Track what you’re eating. If you already do this, try to improve what you do here–track calories or macros. Calorie counter apps can help.

Ep 3: Take Charge 10 as a Family – Days 5-7

Take Charge 10 continues, with booze, veggies, and fiber.

On day 5, you eliminate alcohol.

For some people, this will be the easiest step of them all. For others, this may cause some anxiety and may be difficult, especially as this falls on Friday if you begin on a Monday. The first day didn’t give Matt or the Reynolds family too much trouble.

On day 6, you add more veggies. This was easy for the Reynolds, as they regularly eat vegetables. They worked to increase them.

An approach Rachel has learned from homeschooling is “easy + 1,” meaning that easy doesn’t work – then you don’t improve, but too hard doesn’t work easy. It’s really another way to say minimum effective dose–what’s the least you can do to move toward your goals and be healthier?

Day 7 you have at least 30g of fiber. This one will stump a lot of people. Planning for this day will help.

First, increasing the veggies helps get you there. You may find that certain highly fibrous foods can really help here. Grape nuts & chia seeds can be added to yogurt or overnight oats. Legumes also provide large amounts of fiber. Fight for that fiber!

Finally, the Reynolds really begin to notice the benefits from the challenge. People have commented on their appearance, they feel good, and skin looks better. They also feel like there’s been cascading benefits in other areas–improving one aspect of your life seems to spill into others.

Ep 4: Take Charge 10 – Finishing Up, Lasting Habits, & Reflections

Join the Reynolds family to see how they finished the Take Charge 10 challenge, how they feel about it, and what changes they plan to keep.

Day 8 you don’t drink caffeine 6 hours before bed. This, again, helps reduce caloric beverages in the afternoon & dinner, but it also helps improve your sleep. Good sleep helps bolster healthy living.

One way the Reynolds family was able to prepare for a gathering that normally might involve alcohol & food was they prepared the food and ensured it was healthy–but still tasty. They simply didn’t drink alcohol for the gathering, and though it would have been nice they continued to feel good and it wasn’t as big of a deal as they had expected.

One thing Matt identified was that gamifying things–working to achieve macros & calories & sticking with goals using MyFitnessPal–really helped motivate him to stay on track.

On day 9, you heed to balance your meals, so no all carbohydrate meals especially. For many, an all carbohydrate meal will lead to a big spike in insulin and they’ll ultimately feel hangry soon thereafter and look for more food. Trying get a little bit of everything–fruit & nuts or cheese, for example–really helps.

For the Reynolds, this wasn’t a hard day but a day to really solidify those habits they had already developed.

For the final day, you have to know everything you’re eating and not eat outside the home. The Reynolds family partook in some Cox wings & BBQ sauce–Cox Sauce, get you some–and really enjoyed it.

Overall, everyone was feeling better and though there were certain things they looked forward to, they largely wanted to continue the habits and success they created with the challenge. They also didn’t feel deprived, so they didn’t go and have a 3000 calorie meal, like they might have after a typical “diet” in the past, but rather went out to a diner and eat reasonably but some foods that they hadn’t had over the past 10 days.

Ultimately, this is about sustainable nutrition habits to achieve your health goals. If you follow a diet that you couldn’t keep up with long-term, you need to think about why you’re following that diet. While there are certain circumstances where this may make sense, most people can just follow the basics of nutrition, not feel so deprived, and reach their goals.

For Rachel and their daughters, they mostly missed sugar. For Matt, he craved a bit more fat.

They’re glad they did it, and glad they did it together. They felt more conscious, more intentional about food, but without neuroticism or morality.

Join us for the Take Charge 10 nutrition challenge. If you missed the kick off on March 22, no problem, you can do this anytime you want.

Bonus: Reflecting on Take Charge 10

Niki & Gillian review Take Charge 10, Barbell Logic’s first ever nutrition challenge. What worked, what did people struggle with, and what did we learn from the process?

First, Niki & Gillian would LOVE for you to fill out the survey that you should have received via email. This provides feedback on the challenge. If you started but didn’t complete the challenge, WE STILL WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! We’d love to know what caused you to struggle, what worked, and what you might like to see in a future challenge.

Many commented on the benefits of water in reducing inflammation and bloat, and also helping them realize that apparent feelings of hunger in the past were actually thirst. Water really provided unforeseen benefits to many people.

Logging really challenged many people. This is why Gillian deliberately did not specify that people should hit calorie or macro goals. This may have caused some discouragement and ending the challenge early.

The purpose of logging is to really hold yourself accountable and give yourself an honest account of the food and calories you consume. Many people consume foods & drinks that push them over what otherwise would be a healthy amount of calories.

Journaling can be taking pictures, writing down what you eat, or it can be intensely tracking macros & calories.

Relatedly, some found that tracking made cooking more difficult: it became easier to cook simple meals or use packaged items, where one can easily track macros and calories, as opposed to, for example, a complicated dish like a stew or casserole.

Gillian acknowledges the difficultly, and ultimately discusses adding levels of difficulty and complexity with journaling as needed. If you just take pictures of everything you eat, you don’t need to track every calorie and macro that goes into a recipe.

Many people commented that reducing sugar and drinking water made food taste better by the end of the challenge. Eating better changed their palate, just as more sugar and flavored drinks that caused them to become desensitized to low amounts of sugar. Things like fruit will taste better.

Finally, people expressed a huge amount of interest in recipes, and we heard you. Barbell Logic will begin to assemble and share more recipes to help you make cooking and eating healthy easier.

We will take these lessons learned for future content and challenges. We’re excited about things to come with nutrition, recipes, and nutrition coaching!

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