So we’re getting to the end of the first-ever 30-Day Clean Eating and Living Challenge. And first, I want to say BRAVO to those of you who participated, who stuck it out, who contributed, and who learned with us! Because of our learning, we’ll be able to evolve the 30-Day Challenge to be even better, and based on different types of objectives!
During this 30 days, we have seen some amazing results, and have heard some exciting feedback and stories of your successes - more energy, clearer skin, better athletic performance, weight-loss objectives have been met…
I had the opportunity to chat with one of our participants yesterday, and wanted to share his experience a bit with everyone, in effort to encourage more people to take charge of their choices and ‘Become the CEO of Your Body’!
Meet Devon Scott:
Devon is a 22-year old living in Philadelphia, PA. He is a student (who has been attending the Art Institute of Philadelphia), a graphics artist, a NY Giants fan (this is how we met - through my other passion - or addiction as some may say), and he’ll soon be also pursuing a career in information systems.
While Devon is still very young, he told me just how sedentary and “fat”, and “sluggish” he had become in the last few years. While he used to play many different high school sports (football, basketball, lacrosse), he found himself spending most of his time in front of the computer, video games… and mindlessly eating.
Devon, why did you get involved with the 30 Day Clean Eating and Living Challenge? What REALLY peeked your interest? What made it urgent? Devon got involved with the Ali n Marn 30 Day Clean Eating and Living Challenge through me, Ali - but a certain communication exchange between Devon and a friend of mine who is a fitness professional, got Devon emotionally connected. And that is when he was REALLY committed.
In this exchange, my friend shared a way to calculate your risk for cardiovascular disease and other critical health issues: Waist to Height Ratio. You can easily calculate yours, HERE. After calculating his waist to height ratio, Devon learned that he was in really bad shape (both literally, and figuratively), and he had really never thought about it before. His results showed that he was in the next to last category for being ‘extremely overweight/obese’ - 276 pounds at 6’1” - and therefore, was at significant health risk if he didn’t start to care about how he was treating his body. Devon said, “Enough is enough. I have to be accountable. I have to take the necessary steps to change. I want to live a long life for my future grandkids. No more excuses. No more waiting. Get it done!” So he decided to take the challenge seriously and he wasn’t wasting anymore time.
About his prior physical activity and eating habits: “Nothing.” As I mentioned, Devon played a lot of sports in high school, but had become sedentary in the last couple of years. He told me that the only activity he was doing involved a walk to the restroom, or “going to get something to eat”. Devon also explained that while he was in The Art Institute, he always said to himself that he would make time to exercise - but he just let it get away from him, and never did - until the point that he surrendered, and just stopped caring, or even thinking about it. It became okay for him to excuse himself to “just gain the Freshman 15”, and yet, “before (he) knew it, it became 20, 30, 50 extra pounds” he had packed on.
As far as eating habits, Devon explained, “before the Challenge, I ate like a pig. My diet consisted of various fast food stores… I hardly ever drank any water… My diet consisted of meats, sugars… hamburgers, apple pies, milkshakes… out of 4 years, I probably (accumulated) a total of 1 month of random healthy eating days.” Devon explained that his eating was quite mindless, and that had essentially given up on eating healthy, thinking, “I’ll worry about that when I’m dead”.
What are some of the biggest changes Devon has seen in his choices now that he has done the 30-Day Challenge? Wait until you hear this! Devon explained to me that he has, “stopped eating just to eat. (He) wasn’t always hungry, but he used to eat just because it was there”. Now he is really cognizant of what he is putting into his mouth. Instead of craving junk food, after basketball, he “can’t wait for some carrot juice (with his new juicer), or some arugula (which he loves), or to make a new salad”. He has also stopped eating late night before bed. Unlike before when he would eat ‘whatever’ and go to sleep, he calls it quits at 8pm and if he starts to be hungry, he tells himself, “food will be there in the morning. Just stick to the water for now.” He’s eating lots of different veggies and has found it to be easy - he loves making a fresh veggie juice and taking it to go, or “grabbing some grapes.”
A great tip Devon has for getting started on newer, healthier (organic) foods: “I started by eating the vegetables that I knew I liked”. He added some new fruits and vegetables along the way - that he never knew he liked. Devon learned he likes pears (“the best thing I ever tasted!”) He also decided to drink a lot of water before a meal to help him feel more full. By the way - I should mentioned that Devon is now drinking a ton of filtered water throughout the day to flush his body of unwanted toxins, and to help energize his body.
Another comment on new foods: Devon has eliminated dairy from animal sources, and much to his surprise, he not only LOVES unsweetened almond milk, but he has no interest in going back. He has noticed a significant change in the way his stomach feels after drinking almond milk instead of how he felt with cow’s milk.
Tell me about some of the changes you have seen in yourself as a result of the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge: Lets be upfront. Devon lost 18 unwanted pounds in the last 30 days by following this new path - and he has a goal for 10 in September. But there are some more significant changes that he has seen - that will help carry him forward in LIFE. He said that he is breathing more easily now. He has much more energy. “I no longer feel sluggish. I have tons of energy. I can do tons of things without feeling winded or exhausted. Overall, physically, I just feel great!”
Most importantly, Devon’s mental toughness and believing in himself has grown “beyond words”. “The 30 Day Challenge allowed me to become more mentally tough and to be able to adapt to changes. After the 1st week, eating right became more natural and the temptations (for the wrong things) went away.”
Devon took on a HUGE mental challenge this month in the area of fitness. He had convinced himself that it would take a year to be able to run 1K (not even a mile)! He seriously had a mental block that he couldn’t do it! By mid-month, he achieved 2 laps on the track (1/2 mile), and he was still counting himself out for the full mile. In fact, there’s a video somewhere with Devon saying, “Next year at this time, I will run 1K”. I knew this would not take a year - but Devon wasn’t quite sure. The last week of the month, I challenged Devon to run 4 laps on his track before the month was out. He didn’t believe this was possible, but decided to take on the challenge.
He told me that as he started his run, and as he got to 2 laps, he started to feel a little breathless, and he said to himself, “this is where you normally quit”. Just then he thought about something he learned through the Ali n Marn Facebook page: ‘only YOU can stop YOU’. So he kept going, and he intentionally focused his mind on the purpose, and that he really COULD do it if he set his mind to it. He was so surprised that the second part of the mile was, in fact, not much more physically challenging than the first part! And before he knew it, he had toughed it out, he ran the mile (1.6K) that he never thought he could run, and he called me so excited (at 6:30am my time) that he had successfully acheived this huge goal! And he noticed that all along it was much more mental, than it was a physical challenge! In September, he’s going to run 1.5 miles without stopping (what Devon doesn’t realize is that he might find himself passing that 1.5 mark!) :)
I asked Devon to help explain to me what helped support his efforts the most in the last 30 days. He explained to me that having a social network of other encouraging people who were also taking part in the challenge, and being able to gain more and more knowledge from the Ali n Marn Facebook page and blog was super helpful to his being able to continue to focus on his goals, and reaching the 30 days.
And from my perspective, I am so happy to hear Devon say that, because one thing I have learned through feedback over the course of the month is that people want to feel like other’s have their backs, and are paying attention to what they are sharing. People don’t always have support around them, so Marni and I want to provide a place where they can go to get that empowerment and motivation, as well as education. We’re not always perfect at it - be we certainly are trying to address that need through this effort. The goal for us to see more and more people gain knowledge, and understand the choices they are making when caring for their body - the one we hope will carry them through a very long and energetic life!
I asked Devon if he had anything more he wanted to make sure to share with people who are considering jumping into this 30 Day Clean Eating and Living Challenge. It’s funny - as one of the creators of the 30-Day Challenge, I find it almost difficult to write down his words in a blog post because it was really very touching to hear him explain it, and I have to be honest that it made me feel so proud! I’m not a Mom, but it made me feel like one. Devon had this to say - verbatim:
“Everything that I have learned… it’s hard for me to express how much I will take that with me for the rest of my life. These 30 days have been one of the proudest moments of my life… It’s hard to take everything that I am feeling, and everything I’ve experienced, and sum it up into a couple of sentences. You know, it’s just hard to explain how much it’ll translate into all of my future decisions.”
He added this for anyone who is considering the 30-Day Clean Eating and Living Challenge: “I would definitely want the new people to know, that it’s okay if you feel like you can’t do it. And if you really do feel like you can’t do it, I really urge you to put your best foot forward, and ask anybody in the group for words of encouragement, advice… because I struggled my first week adapting to the new changes. I understand everyone is different, but I would love to encourage everyone to just stick with it, and JUST DON’T GIVE UP.”
Devon’s entire lifestyle has evolved because of the challenge. Here he is playing basketball again:
If you are interested in joining us, or asking us about the 30-Day Clean Eating and Living Challenge, please join us, ask questions, follow along, or download the guidelines on Facebook at Ali n Marn Living, or follow us Twitter @AlinMarnLiving.
Congratulations to Devon for a HUGE accomplishment! You are a superstar! Keep it up - Only YOU can stop YOU from being the CEO of your own body!