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A 40 Day Challenge: Paleo, Yoga or Whatever You Want

Posted Oct 06 2013 8:36am

Zak’s been talking about doing a “40 Day Paleo Challenge” for a couple of weeks now and he’s invited all of his (Facebook) friends to join him.  He asked me to write up a brief guide to Paleo  for anyone who wants to play along, and when I was putting it together I decided to extend the invite here to you too.  It’s not a contest or competition, just an opportunity to try the Paleo lifestyle for 40 days, to give it a fair shot and to see if it might make a difference for you.

If you’re interested, I’ve got a couple of thoughts.  (Take’em or leave’em or tell me to shove it – your choice.)

1.  If you already eat, move and live pretty well OR if you love a good challenge and the idea of giving up bread for 40 days* doesn’t make you want to run screaming into the night, then by all means – go Paleo!**

Obligatory disclaimer: talk to your trusted health care professional before making changes concerning your health.

2.  If your diet, fitness level or health isn’t where you want it to be right now, my advice is to go slowly.  Commit to spending the next 40 days simply learning more about what means to be Paleo and trying out some of the principles behind the Paleo lifestyle.  (There are lots of links and resources in the little guide above.)  You can try it without completely overhauling your entire life – too much change at once often leads to burn out!  If you want to make changes that are sustainable, give yourself lots of time and space to ease into it.  Be gentle and forgiving with yourself – focus on progress, not perfection.

This picture is my segue into my own little 40 day challenge, and maybe to your own personal challenge if you don’t give a rats ass about going Paleo.

Rochester Wall Therapy River Path

(You can click the image to enlarge it to get a better look, it’s one of many paintings around Rochester that are a part of the Rochester Wall Therapy project, more on that  here .)

I saw this last week while riding my bike to yoga, and given I’ve already done 11 weeks of fairly strict Paleo , I’m going to practice yoga every single day for the next 40 days.  I actually started last week (today is Day 8!) and have noticed a difference in my practice already.  I’ll write more about my own little yoga challenge soon.

So what if you’re not interested in going Paleo?  (Or doing yoga?)  Then how about 40 days of doing whatever challenges you?  40 days straight of .  40 days of drinking .  Commit to going for a walk every day for the next 40 days, even if some days all you have time for is 10 minutes.   40 days of flossing your teeth.  40 days with no soda.  40 days of mediation.  40 days tracing your hand and coloring it like a turkey.  (40 days from now puts us right before Thanksgiving in the U.S. – think of all the decorations you’ll have!)  Maybe 40 days using 40 exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Or 40 days of using no exclamation marks.

40 days could be just what you need to form a new habit.  (Or maybe 21 days is all you need!)  Now please scroll back up and read my disclaimer one more time.

Zak’s Paleo challenge starts today!  (Uhh, sorry for short notice.)  If you’ve already had toast/oatmeal/Pop Tarts for breakfast today, no problem, you can start tomorrow!  Or start next week if you need more time to prepare yourself.  Pick a day to start and just start!

* – by request of one Zak’s friends, the rules of Zak’s 40 Day Paleo Challenge say you get one “cheat meal” per week

** – also by request, you could also go Primal for the next 40 days.  Primal is basically Paleo, but is a little more lenient with dairy.

Think about it.  If you decide on something and want to make a formal declaration of your intentions (big or small!) for the next 40 days, slap it into the comment box below.  Or paint it on a wall and call it “therapy”.  Whatever floats your boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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