I made it through the first 3 days. I’ve cut out processed foods again and dropped the weight I had put on by eating whatever, whenever. My body feels a lot better and I’m not all bloated anymore. I’m glad I’ve had success with this before, because I was able to remind myself that.
In my opinion, the first 3 days are the hardest when trying to break a bad habit or begin a new good habit. There’s quite a bit of habit going on already and probably a bit of withdrawals to experience. Withdrawals from processed food? You betcha.
Day 1: For my personal experience, the first day has always been the worst day. If I’m gonna crack, it’s probably going to be now. This is the test of motivation or will against the logical comment, “I’ll just start tomorrow.” I probably go through 2-3 of these before I’m actually able to stick to it. Typically it’ll be because the day I decide to make this change is the day someone brings cake to work and leaves it by my workstation for an hour. When you’re telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow, remember that if you’d started a month ago you’d already be seeing progress. Don’t postpone joy.
Day 2: On the second day, you’ve got a full day of being good under your belt, but there’s still plenty of temptation to go back to your old ways. Whether you’re starting a new workout and your sore, or you’re cutting out fake foods and your body is craving them because they’ve been eating them so long, your body is going to tell you to give up today. Your mind has to be stronger. Remember, without Day 2, there can be no Day 3. Positive self-talk will be helpful, as well as staying away from temptation to break your goal. If you’re trying to work out more, do it early in the morning so you aren’t out of energy and making excuses. If you’re trying to eat better, stay away from fake foods. If you haven’t already, toss out or lock away any fake food in your house so you’re not tempted.
Day 3: You’re starting to get used to the changes and you think you’ve won, but that isn’t the case. This is the day of false bravado where you start telling yourself you’ve earned a reward. You start telling yourself you’ve earned a day off, or you’ve earned a tasty meal. You haven’t earned any of that. These things are not going to help your progress, yet. If you need a reward, find something else. Get your hair done, or a mani/pedi, or spend a day at the pool. Anything but your old ways. You deserve better.
It takes 3 weeks to make or break a habit. In the same respect, it takes 3 weeks to completely detox your body from fake food. Until those 21 days are up, you should not consider yourself cured and you should not attempt to reward yourself with ‘a break’. Don’t take a day off (even if you walk a mile, stay active), don’t eat that fake food (everyone’s going out to eat, you’ll just have to pick the grilled chicken and broccoli), and don’t tell yourself you’ll start again tomorrow.
Cheating for progress is a real thing. your body needs you to shake things up a bit to continue to see progress. But until those first 3 weeks are up, you won’t need to cheat for progress because you’ve just shaken things up and there isn’t yet a new norm. Once exercising regularly or eating only real food is a normal, then you can start shaking things up by dipping into your old ways, like taking a day off or eating out.
Good luck on your quest and thank you for being there for me on mine.