We Failed Spectacularly

Failed Challenge

So, embarrassing admission coming up…. we failed, hard, at our 28 day health challenge. Sad face. I wish I didn’t have to tell you this although, I’m sure I care a lot more than you do. But when Bridget and I started Crop Tops & Kale we made a commitment to ourselves to be transparent and give our readers a wellness site that didn’t pretend to be perfect all the time so… I guess I’m just staying on brand here?

Anyway, here’s what happened:

Joel and I were going along okay for about two weeks on our little 28-day health challenge. And then we decided things were going a bit too well in our relationship so we might as well go to IKEA one night after work. We mildly argued over kitchen cabinets and then really challenged ourselves by trying to fit an entire kitchen complete with gas range, into our pickup truck, on an empty stomach, around 10 pm. Good call you guys, good call. We did get 15% back in the form of a gift card though so, I guess financially we came out on top.

However, we humans only have so much willpower to go around and when we’re exhausted or hungry or distracted, it tends to plummet. Plus, there was a Shake Shack in dangerously close proximity to the IKEA so needless to say, we both had cheeseburgers… and french fries… and milkshakes.

I told you, we failed spectacularly!


Anyway, we could have called it our ‘cheat meal’ which might have worked but, really, the following morning we were both basically like “This sucks. And more than anything, it’s annoying. And we don’t want to do it any more.” And so we made the decision together to quit.

And here’s the thing, I’m a little annoyed with myself. Not because we quit, but because I tried once again to stick to some super strict way of eating, like I did with Whole30 last year. When will I realize that these types of challenges rarely work? That radical overhauls are not the surest path to lasting change? That it’s our daily habits that determine our outcomes, so our focus should be there, little by little vs. unsustainable and drastic change?

Like if you’re worried about eating too much sugar, Dana, why don’t you just cut back on the Ben & Jerry’s instead of making you husband forgo toast for a month? I can get a little carried away, I know this.

Perhaps this time around I will learn my lesson? We shall see but, probably not.

It’s tough though, isn’t it?

We see these types of challenges and think that if can just stick with them, things will be awesome! And I personally always get so excited. I’m a very excitable person in general though, I’m aware of this. I got so pumped when I found a food co-op in Albany last week that I started filling out an application to work there within like five minutes. Found myself hanging out near the raw cheese counter, trying to throw out the vibe and make some friends. Friends who I was picturing myself petting grass-fed cows with on our monthly outing to the local farms.

I need to calm down.

And in the case of these health challenges, I need to cool it there too.

But it’s tough not to see these types of overhauls as a magic bullet to being the younger, female version of Mark Sisson. But they’re not and I know it. Sure sometimes we can do a challenge like that and succeed and it will be life-changing and that’s awesome. There is a lot to be said of going all in. Especially if you’re dangerously overweight or ill or need a huge uplifting streak in your life. I mean, Integrative Nutrition was life-changing for me right when I needed it to be.

But when I look back at the transformation in my life for the better, most of the real change has come when I’ve been committed to slow, simple changes over the long run. When simple shifts and daily focus cumulate into big results. And I think that’s true for the vast majority of us.

So if I want to support my husband being healthy and fit, I should just make him a salad for dinner. He will eat it. And if I want to see if cutting out sugar will sky rocket my energy and clear up my skin, I should just start eating less sugar and calm down about it.

I realize that generally speaking, radical changes can lead to radical results but, most of the time we should just make simple shifts and have a milkshake once in a while.

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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  1. This article is amazing… Failure is one of life’s greatest gifts, but spectacular failure is even better! I mean…Shake Shack.

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