"Mental Toughness Challenge with Littles" (Blog #79)

A few weeks back I wrote a blog called "Challenges" and it was one of our highest viewed blogs to date. Some of the challenges included a 20 Mile Bike ride, a 10 Mile Hike, read a book within 30 days and the "3 Apple Challenge". The 3 apple challenge was simple (on paper), you were alloted 3 apples and as much water as you wanted for a day, nothing else was allowed. I try and practice what I preach, even the training programs I write at No Bull, I always do them to see what they're really like before I give them to my team.

The 3 apple challenge was one of the few times I offered up a challenge before I actually completed it myself, so I knew what I had to do. This challenge is not a cleanse, it's not to lose weight (although ironically enough I dropped 6 pounds over the 36 hours), it's not a quick fix to weight issues, it's not a magic pill...This challenge is to show yourself that 1: many of us are addicted to food and we just mindlessly eat without appreciating any of it / 2: many of us are addicted to caffeine (i've had a 12 hour headache) and we just mindlessly drink it all day long / 3: this challenge is to show yourself that you do have total control over what you put into your body...

It was actually awesome to see how my brain & body worked with only about 300 calories and no caffeine in it, I usually consume 5,000 to 6,000 calories a day (I'm serious / I'm 6'5 257 pounds). It felt like I was in a daze slightly all day long and I could feel my body trying to adapt without it's regular "fuel". Half way through the day my brain was trying to persuade me to just give in and cheat by sneaking a banana or a coffee, but I stayed strong. I felt surprisingly good most of the day up until after my second shift at work. I wasn't actually hungry, my body was craving caffeine! I ate my 1st piece of fruit at 12 Noon, my second at 430pm and my last piece at 830pm. I drank about a gallon of water and I peed a lot more than normal.

This morning as I blog and sip on my small 6 ounces of coffee, I can feel the caffeine in my blood stream, I feel very alert and my brain is firing quickly. I usually drink 3 or 4 eight ounce cups of coffee per day, but after this challenge I will keep it to two 6 ounce cups all day. And of course, I am appreciating my coffee again. It's easy to take things for granted, even something as small as a cup of coffee. I pride myself on being thankful and appreciating everything in my life, even the smallest things, and that's really why I did this challenge. I myself got caught up in just mindless eating and drinking coffee to the point where it was becoming unhealthy. This challenge is a great reminder to slow down, take control and enjoy things to a greater degree.

Now that the challenge is over It's important to make a plan of attack to try and be more mindful of what we're eating and how much much we're eating. So many people simply over indulge and are either in denial or just naive to the fact that they eat way too much. This 3 apple challenge (assuming you're not diabetic and/or talk to your doctor first) is a great idea for everyone - It will enlighten you, challenge you and make you stronger. I can't even fully put into words my exact experiences, this is something everyone should try and I hope you all do...

I think my friend, head trainer and all around kick ass human, Erica Wenitsky does a phenomenal job here in her email below explaining her experiences of the 3 apple challenge. It took a lot of courage for her to open up and talk about such a sensitive subject, but hopefully this helps others out there who also struggle....Enjoy:

Littles Email:

"4:30am - Wake Up. No hunger yet, but I never eat this early.

7:00am - Nap

10:00am - The time I typically eat, starting to feel a little hungry. Still in good spirits.

11:00am - Definitely hungry, going to try and wait as long as possible to eat.

11:30am - First apple eaten. Never have savored an apple more in my life. Was very sad when it was over.

4:15pm - Starting to think this isn't as bad as I thought. Still not too hungry.

6:00pm - Apple number 2. Ate it very quickly. Didn't appreciate it that much. I only ate this apple because I was in a bad mood I couldn't go to group class. ***PRIME EXAMPLE OF PEOPLE USING FOOD TO COPE WITH FEELINGS**** Aka the wrong way to eat.

6:34 - reflecting on the day. Only 3 more hours at most i'll be awake and I still have one more whole apple to eat.


When I first read "Eat only 3 apples for a day" in Karl's "Challenges" blog, I literally thought to myself, "Yeah right dude." When I walked into work on Tuesday, he said "Tomorrows the day... I'm only eating 3 apples." I still thought he was crazy, because this is something I thought I couldn't do. After we talked about it more, he convinced me to try the challenge with him. That way, we both had a support system and more importantly, we had another person to bitch at when we were hangry or in Karls case, experiencing extreme caffeine withdrawal headaches. Thats right ladies and gentleman, this challenge only allows for 3 apples... nothing else except as much water as you want. I can already hear the things people are going to say about this challenge, and I'll address every single one of them.

"You're going to put your body into starvation mode."

"You're not even fat, why are you doing this?"

"You're going to lose all your gains."

"You're going to put your body into starvation mode."

- Yes... for a few hours. Not a big deal. This isn't a LIFESTYLE change. This is a 24 hour CHALLENGE. Tomorrow, we will eat. A lot actually.

"You're not even fat, why are you doing this?"

- Number one, Thank you. But this isn't about "weight loss or fat loss" this is about mental toughness. I never signed up for this challenge because i wanted to look better. As a matter a fact, yesterday I ate cereal, cookies & my last meal of the day included a cupcake that 10+ people at No Bull turned down. I'm doing this because i wanted to prove to myself that I can. As a female, I am my own toughest critic. Anything negative you could ever say to me could NEVER be worse then something that I've already told myself. In fact, I've told myself so many horrible things that I created an eating disorder out of it. How did I beat my Binge Eating disorder? Mental toughness. No, it's not easy. And Yes i still struggle to this day with binge eating. But when I had an opportunity to prove to myself that I am mentally strong, I jumped at the chance. So no, this isn't about looking a certain way.

"You're going to lose all your gains."

Just like one healthy meal won't make you fit, one bad meal won't make you fat. Body composition change takes time people. One day of eating 3 apples isn't going to make me lose my strength. It might even help if my body was asking me for a rest day !"

This is why we call her Littles....^^^^

"A coaches job is to get people to do things they never thought they could do"

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