Saturday, September 13, 2014

Everything I Have Left To Say (Almost) About The Whole Life Challenge

I realize this should go without saying, but all this stuff I’ve been writing—they’re my stupid opinions, based on my personal experience. I say things about fat and butter — you need to read up on it and figure it out for yourself. This is all what I have done. You’ll do the challenge YOUR way.

That said, here’s a few things I want to leave you with as the challenge begins:

1. Your antidepressant is NOT a supplement. One person asked me that (as a joke, obviously) but a lot of people don’t know what to take. If that’s you too, take Vitamin D. We are all deficient in Vitamin D, unless you’re laying nude in the noonday sun for hours every day. If that’s you, take acidophilus.

2. If you are doing the middle or highest level, you may be freaking out about what to put in your coffee. I was a decaf drinker and only liked coffee with half-and-half; almond milk was not a viable option for me. So for my first challenge, I just gave it up. I realize that’s not an option for most people. Since then, I’ve discovered Bullet Proof Coffee, which is coffee blended (in a blender) with unsalted butter and coconut oil. I really like it and have started drinking caffeinated coffee again after 20 years because I like it so much. The guy who trademarked it uses  fancy ingredients. I make it with regular old coffee, regular old (organic, virgin) coconut oil and Kerry Gold Unsalted Butter. Read about it. Make it. Enjoy it. Or go black.

3. When I make someone a Bullet Proof Coffee and they see how much butter I put in, they plotz. I did too. “How many calories in that much butter???!!”  I’m sure a lot. But here is a new paradigm we all need to wrap our heads around: Fat burns fat. Here’a a piece on NPR about fat. I don’t know how to convince you that eating more fat is going to be good for you except to say this: Fat will fill you up and you won’t feel hungry. I have eaten more avocados, nuts and butter in the past six months than in the previous 25 years combined, and for the first time in my adult life, I weigh what I did in college. Here’s the skinny on the butter: yes it’s a saturated fat, and you should do your own research on it, but from what I’ve read, this PARTICULAR BUTTER — grass-fed from Ireland — has less of the stuff that’s really bad for you in butter than any other butter anywhere (and that Bad Stuff is apparently some toxic something or other that ends up in the cows’ milk glands from eating grain). Grass fed butter provides important micronutrients that you cannot get elsewhere (namely Vitamin K2). The whole thing is debatable -- whether net/net it's "good for you" or "bad for you," and I’m not actually interested in debating it. I’m fairly sure organic, Irish, grass-fed butter won’t kill you over 8-week's time, but I’m not positive. And if I’m wrong, I apologize in advance. 

Asana House on Valley Road in Montclair (across from Tierney’s) is selling WLC compliant coffee. If you go there, tell him you’re doing the WLC. I urged him to get it up and running by today for us, and he has!

4. Don’t forget to record your scores each day. The website prompts you as soon as you log on and during one challenge I think they even sent a reminder email each day. Your scores represent your behavior for the PRIOR day. So what I do today will be scored tomorrow. Last time I set an alarm on my phone to remind me each day.

5. If weeks go by and you are not losing weight and you’re really concerned, change stuff up. Eat fewer grains, fewer nuts, less alcohol for a few days. See what works for you. As I lost weight my sex drive increased and I started having more sex and started dropping more weight. (It was with my husband, so I feel as if it’s ok to share that.) So you can try that and see if it works. Not with my husband, necessarily. Maybe find your own person to have sex with.

6. It was really, really helpful for me to have prepared food around ALL THE TIME. I would cook up a storm one day a week and have big containers of chana masala, ratatouille, quinoa salad, hard boiled eggs, chicken sausage, lentil soup.  I was able to get through cravings and habitual eating much more easily when I had something filling right there for me when I was hungry. This might have been the single best strategy I developed on this challenge.

7. Do take your measurements, weigh yourself, and, even if you don’t post it (which I never have) take a full body BEFORE picture. This is your only BEFORE opportunity. I did not take a picture of myself when I started this in January and I really regret it.

8. Sharon, our team leader, owns Halcyon (Walnut Street, Montclair) and I’m pretty sure is offering one fully compliant special on the menu every day of the challenge. If you’re freaking out about going out to eat, go there.

Ok, here goes nothing. God, I hope this is fun. :-)



  1. Thank you for your posts, I find them helpful. While I am a plant-based, no oil-added, whole foods eater, as I think the research data shows that is the healthiest way to eat, I very much appreciate all of your great and inspiring tips!!!

  2. I am finding your posts helpful, too. Thanks so much for all the time you have put into this, Jessica.

    I will say, however, that their website is a mess. Very difficult to set up stats; I'm still not fully completed. Oh well.