By Michael Stelzer Jocks, History Faculty.
Well, my 21 day challenge is in the books. I am happy to report I did survive, and I was successful. I am pleased that I did it and I think I have emerged from the experience wiser concerning how to eat.
One thing I noticed during my three weeks is that the sugar cravings never subsided. I expected to hit a point around Day 8 or 9 when I would stop obsessing over the thought of bread, treats and snacks. That didn’t happen. Up until day 21, the image of cinnamon rolls and cupcakes danced through my head on an hourly basis. So not surprisingly, one of the first things I did when I completed the challenge was head for The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor in Forest Park (the best of the best). I ordered a couple big scoops of pralines and cream. Honestly though, it wasn’t all I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious. But I couldn’t help but notice it was just too sweet. The sugar was so intense.
This is the biggest thing to take from my challenge. Sweets still taste good, but I now tire of them quickly. I no longer crave a hundred cookies, or a big ice cream cone. It is just too much. One month ago, I wouldn’t have ever written such a thing; so I guess the 21 day challenge did help.
But, that will be last challenge/fast/cleanse for a long time. As my wife points out, there is a much better way to eat. It is the 80/20 method. 80% good, and 20% bad. 80% lean meats, greens, complex carbs, whole grains; 20% sugary treats, baked goods, and simple snacks.
100% percent bad is obviously not the way to go. I like having my teeth, and being able to fit into my jeans. But, 100% good is not realistic either. For me personally, and my wife as well, eating 100% good creates food obsessions. We constantly think about decadent eats. Though physically healthy, 100% good is not psychologically healthy.
And so I am shouting from the rooftops: 80/20 from now on! I am sure some days will be closer to 60/40. Some days 95/5. An even keel over the long haul is the goal, and I think the waters look pretty smooth from here on out.