Why The 30-Day Nutrition Challenge Is Going Extinct
Written by Calvin Sun
If you’ve followed the trends over the last few years in the health and fitness industry, the “30-day challenge” has become a ubiquitous mainstay in the world of nutrition advice. It’s often framed as a month-long reset or kickstart to get yourself on track. Often you’ll see challenges like this start right after the holidays, when swimsuit weather is on the horizon, and when wedding season is approaching.
While the 30-day challenge has gained quite a bit a traction over the years, popularity alone doesn’t inherently mean it’s a successful approach. In fact, many fitness professionals I’ve spoken with over the past year have become increasingly frustrated with the poor results they’ve experienced with the nutrition challenges they have run with their clients. They complain about not enough members participating, a lack of ability to support their clients throughout the challenges, high dropout rates, and clients gaining the weight back and failing to get results that stick.
Some of the Problems With 30-Day Challenges…
- They Are Based On Restriction and Inherently Difficult
Most 30-day challenges are based on restriction. Usually, this means eating strictly Paleo (or some other diet guideline) for 30 days and placing yourself in a mindset of deprivation. The challenge ends up being more about relying on mental toughness to endure the 30 days rather than changing the underlying habits, behaviors, and beliefs that drive you to make poor nutritional choices. You end up focusing on counting down the days to the end of the challenge and all the junk food you plan on binge eating once it’s over. If it’s this difficult to eat healthy for 30 days, how do you ever expect to sustain it for life?
- They Rely On Creating Feelings of Guilt and Shame To Motivate You
Read this pre-challenge “pep talk” from a popular 30-day Paleo challenge website: “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written.”
Many clients tell me that they interpret this message as “This challenge is easy and a cake walk compared to real hardships in your life. If you fail, you’re a bad person because you’re mentally weak and should be ashamed of yourself for your lack of discipline. You should feel guilty and shameful for not being able to stick to a 30-day nutrition program.”
Does that sound like a supportive coach? Personally, I don’t think so. And it explains why so many people drop out of nutrition challenges at the halfway point, they aren’t ever interested in doing another one again, and/or aren’t able to incorporate better eating habits into their lifestyle.
- Maybe You Lose Some Weight, But Then What?
Let me be clear, I’m not saying that the nutritional guidelines of what’s preached in most 30-day challenges is wrong. Eating real food, eliminating refined sugars, drinking more water, and reducing your intake of processed foods is sound advice that just about anyone can agree with. The problem lies in the approach taken to get people to change their eating behaviors. Most 30-day challenges are too restrictive and don’t address how the client will return back to “normal life” after the challenge. This is the same flawed model that’s used on shows like “The Biggest Loser” where the majority of participants ultimately gain all the weight back and then some.
Restriction is not a long-term strategy. This isn’t like a drug addiction where you can avoid the substance forever. What if you could eliminate the desire to eat unhealthy foods and reprogram your behaviors so that healthy eating came naturally and easily to you?
A New Approach To Nutrition Coaching
Food intake is only one, small part of what determines a person’s success with a nutrition plan. That’s why we won’t give you a macro template to follow right off the bat – or even at all depending on YOUR needs. This is NOT a template-based program! At Invictus Nutrition, we are way more personalized than that!
Our expert coaches utilize a multi-faceted approach to locate and refine habit change opportunities unique to you and your life. We accomplish this by helping you improve your life in the short-term AND the long-term utilizing our 4 Pillars of Health.
Current participants are already seeing significant progress with our approach to nutrition coaching! Don’t expect the process to be easy. It won’t. You will have to put in the work. But your coach will be by your side the whole way to support and guide you with personalized weekly check-ins and educational material throughout your time with us.
Check out these case studies of some of our participants…