In March of last year, The Sanctuary Byron Bay held a 30 Day Challenge for its staff. For one month, everyone was invited to live as healthily as possible, eating only organic, unprocessed foods, abstaining from coffee, sugar, alcohol and refined flour, and engaging in daily exercise, yoga and meditation.
We wanted to encourage staff to enjoy a period of peak fitness and health and to do so, the 30 Day Challenge was presented as a light-hearted competition based on a points system. To help inspire staff, The Sanctuary provided free exercise sessions every weekday throughout the entire 30 days. A list of acceptable unprocessed foods (with organic preferred) was posted along with a list of unacceptable processed foods including white flour, white sugar, white rice and coffee.
In the spirit of it all, quite a few Sanctuary staff participated, digging out running shoes from their closets, throwing away tempting forbidden foods from their pantries and stocking up from local farmers’ markets and bulk food stores. Tallying up points each day and feeling brighter eyed and bushier tailed as the month progressed, the 30 Day Challenge ended with a clear winner: Rachel Emmett, a Client Services Consultant, who threw herself into the challenge with gusto. These are her reflections on the challenge
“Before the challenge I was rarely getting any exercise and my diet consisted of lots of carbs, dairy, sugar and other processed foods. I had never done Yoga or Pilates and had not meditated for over a year and to top it all off, I was a smoker! Over the 30 day Challenge I completely stuck to the non-processed foods rule 100%. At first I found this time consuming and very hard to adjust to, but over the last 30 days it has become easier and easier, and now it just feels natural and like a “normal” healthy diet. My skin and eyes are brighter and I have lost some weight. The challenge has given me a massive kick start in exercising which is exactly what I needed! I now exercise in the morning, I go for a 30 min power walk at lunch and most days where possible I go for a swim or the gym or at least a run/walk with the dog. I have attended all of the Yoga and Pilates classes made available to us, which I am very grateful for! I am amazed with the transformation and strength gained in my body already! I have been taking 15 mins out morning & night to meditate which has which has been wonderful. I have smoked since I was 15 really, so the fact that I have managed to not smoke throughout this whole challenge is a massive thing for me and has made me wonder why I didn’t do it sooner! I have quit! I feel inspired, energetic, healthier, happier, fitter and grateful for the kick up the backside I needed to make positive changes in my life. Thank you everyone!”
Thank you Rachel, for showing us what a determined spirit and willingness to participate can achieve in such a short time!