I know, I know — I said I’d never do anything like this again.  It perpetuates a binge/restrict cycle.  It nudges me towards disordered thinking about food.  It even can make me a little cranky. Yes. I know. Not good.

But – but! – I’m hoping that I’ve developed the skills and coping mechanisms to recognize if I drift into those sorts of things and put me back on course. Older and wiser and all that stuff, right?

So let me back up — for those who are new here, the Whole Life Challenge is an 8-week challenge where you follow specific nutrition rules, exercise rules, and other guidelines. You check in every day, reporting how much you followed (or didn’t follow) the rules and you earn points for all the good stuff you do. A “perfect” day is worth 13 points (seems rather unlucky, doesn’t it?).

The creators of this challenge bill this as a way to learn a new lifestyle — that nothing that they ask of people is beyond the realm of completely doable — and I agree.  There are three levels of nutritional rules you can follow, from OMG strict to what they call the “Kickstarter” level (which is what I’m doing).  Here’s what I’m up against: the no-no list contains bread, pasta, cheese (sob!), sweets and processed foods — but other than that, not too nit-picky. For example, I don’t have to worry about things like spaghetti sauce having added sugar, and I can have corn tortillas and sweet potato chips.  Not so bad, right?

And really, while I miss bread and pasta (and will happily enjoy them again once this challenge is over), my main goal is to get rid of all the sweets for awhile. I’m not going to say I’m addicted (because I think that demeans anyone who has an actual addiction), but I’ve been finding it really difficult to go a day without candy, cookies or, let’s be honest, Pop-Tarts (love me some Pop-Tarts!). Sometimes I feel like I’m channeling the Cookie Monster and go around shoving goodies in my mouth mumbling “nom nom nom nom nom” (that Cookie Monster, he’s one eloquent dude).

My second day opinion of how things are going? I’m HUNGRY. I like fruits and vegetables and lean meat and all that — it’s quite tasty! — but it doesn’t satiate me like the bread and pastas of the world do. I eat, I enjoy and then 10 minutes later, I’m ready to chew my arm off (which would be perfectly within the rules, by the way).

So, for the time being, I wait, exercising my patience muscle as much as possible (it’s pretty under-developed, for sure). I know this gets easier. I just need to be compliant until such time that I can stop worrying that my stomach might digest itself due to hunger. With any luck, that time will be tomorrow.

Other than the insatiable hunger, I’m excited about this challenge. The last one relieved me of needing my daily Diet Pepsi fix (don’t get me wrong — I still love it, just don’t need it to function anymore), so even if I come away from this with just one small change, it’ll be a victory. Of course, my goal is to win the healthy eating and be cured of my sweet tooth. Likely? Maybe not.  Possible? Sure – even the Cookie Monster gets what he wants occasionally.

My current favorite — Confetti Cake. Well, not my CURRENT favorite… my favorite as of two days ago. And my future favorite in 8 weeks.