Commit to a “Clean Month” to lose weight and improve discipline

Every 6-12 months, I like to take 30 days and make some aggressive promises to myself.  I call it a “clean month” since I will be making sacrifices I don’t usually make.  Unless I am on a strict meal plan, like a ketogenic diet, I am fairly lax with how I eat.  ”Lax” for me is “healthy” for most people – so don’t think I’m slamming McDoubles every day – but I will often enjoy a beer with dinner or occasionally gorge myself on nachos.  When I feel like I am getting a bit “toxic”, when my body starts to feel weak or upset, I pull the lever and go clean.

The clean month is about discipline above all.  As you know, I believe fitness starts between the ears – with a fabulous haircut and the right mindset – so taking 30 days to prove to yourself you can do something is a powerful force.  30 days is long enough to be difficult, but short enough to allow you to look forward to day 31.  It’s a way of doing honor to your body.  Cut out a few vices and be honest about what you should cut out.

I know people who are daily drinkers.  A beer with dinner, or maybe a couple Gin & Tonics after a hard day’s work.  30 days.  No alcohol.  I know others who are daily marijuana users*.  No smoking.  If you’re a cigarette smoker, 30 days without a cigarette might be hell on earth but give it a try.  If you love soda (even diet soda, which is just as bad) then cut it out of your life entirely.  If you love carbs, put yourself on a ketogenic diet to prove that you are capable of doing things that are difficult.  You’ll be shocked at how quickly your body converts itself into a fat-burning furnace.  Whatever your vices, cut a few of them out for 30 days.  You’re allowed to have them after the 30 are up, but you may find you are happier without.  However, if you want to go back to your lunchtime glass of wine, go right ahead.

I recently finished a clean month without alcohol or soda.  Losing weight wasn’t a goal of mine, but proving my discipline was.  The only time I broke compliance was at a wine-tasting event.  There were 7 wines on offer and I genuinely wanted to sample them, so I made the decision that I was going to allow myself a tiny amount of each.  It wasn’t an impulse decision either; it was a conversation I had with myself before I left the house.  I consider it a reasonable exception to a rule, just like when I had to take a big sip of beer at a baseball game while I was choking on a peanut husk.  It was literally the only liquid on-hand.

*Drugs of all sorts, including alcohol, THC and caffeine, are a personal choice.  I neither endorse nor condemn the use of any but they are a reality of our world and being honest with ourselves – if not others – is crucial to managing overall health and wellness.  Do your research, be smart, and remember that anything that changes your body or brain chemistry is a drug.  

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2012 and is filed under Accountability, Discipline, Mind. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.