Each week during the 10 Pound Challenge, I will be outlining 5 different mini-challenges. Your job is to choose 1-2 of them to fully commit to for the week, and you may choose to continue that practice for the remainder of the challenge. You may wish to do more than 2 of the challenges, and you are welcome to do so, but be sure to fully commit to 1 or 2 so that you don’t get overwhelmed too quickly. You’ll select your challenge in the weekly check in, but I want to provide a bit more explanation for each of them here.

Now, let’s dive in!

1. Overhaul your kitchen, pantry, or truck by throwing out or donating all unhealthy food. Out of sight, out of mind is the idea here. If you struggle with self-control and temptation, this is the challenge for you! Start by removing all obvious “junk food,” such as chips, cookies, chocolate, and soda. Then, move on to packaged meals, like frozen dinners, boxed macaroni and cheese, etc. You may wish to remove high carbohydrate, low nutrient foods like bread, muffins, pasta, cereal, crackers, etc, especially if you tend to rely on this to fill you up, as many people do. They don’t deserve much, if any, pantry space as they offer very little nutritional value compared to other forms of starch like potatoes, which are actually very healthy. Finally, get rid of unhealthy condiments like packaged salad dressings, bottles of sauce, mayo, etc. These have long ingredient lists, with many of those ingredients being artificial and far from being “real food.” Don’t forget to toss anything expired that you come across, healthy or not! After you’re done, head to the grocery store to stock up on healthy food!

2. Cut out all alcohol. If you regularly consume alcohol, you may not realize the negative effect it is having on your liver, immune system, weight, and more. All of these areas of our health can be improved by taking a break from drinking, whether you have one drink a week or several per day. If you tend to indulge in a beer after a long day of work or a glass of wine with dinner each night, now is the time to challenge yourself to remove it completely for a week, or even longer! Your liver is one of your hardest working organs, but is heavily burdened each time you have even just one glass of alcohol. It will love the break, and you’ll realize your nightly habit wasn’t as necessary as you may have thought. In addition, it’s incredibly high in calories, low in nutrients, and increases appetite, making you want to eat more (unhealthy) food. Instead of relying on alcohol to help you relax, look for other, healthier habits you can implement instead; reading, exercise (even just a walk), meditation, and spending time outdoors are all great ways to improve your stress levels and stay away from alcohol. Need something tasty to take it’s place? Try soda water with a splash of 100% juice or frozen fruit.

3. Cut sugar from your coffee or tea. If you already drink your coffee black, this obviously won’t apply to you. But if you are known to order a double-double each morning or keep sugar packets in your desk, this mini challenge might be a good idea. You could start by cutting your sugar by half, but that’s not what we’re here for. This is meant to be a challenge, so step up to the plate and skip the sugar completely!

4. No sweets or desserts. It’s simple. Have a sweet tooth? Indulge in a few too many chocolates over Easter? You may still be enjoying some treats regularly, but if you want to get results, you have to break the habit and say no! This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have chocolate or cookies again; it means you’re going to commit to not eating any this week, that’s it. You can do that. Now prove it to yourself! 

5. Workout at least 3 times. Starting to exercise is hard, I get it.  The thing is, nobody is going to do your workouts for you, and your body will never become more fit if you don’t start. If you’re struggling to get moving, commit to 3 workouts this week. By the end of the week, you’ll already feel less sluggish and out of shape, and you’ll be able to keep the habit up. I recommend at least 20 minutes of activity if you’re a beginner, but you can adjust that based on your workout intensity (more intense = less time, easier pace = more time). From walking to weight lifting, or kickboxing to yoga, the options are endless. If you’re on the road, take a set of dumbbells with you so you can do a quick strength training workout beside or inside the truck, or just use your own body weight to do squats, push ups, jumping jacks, and more. Drop the excuses, pick a workout you enjoy, listen to some music, and just get it done.