Are you looking to challenge yourself this year? We got the motivation you need to turn that dream into a reality. And the best part is that we make sure you have fun doing it.
Full Belly Laughs Podcast Episode 105 Show Notes
Host Brian Durkin interviews challenge expert Lauren Daniels. She’s completed a bunch of random health challenges and provides sage advice on how to challenge yourself.
Same shenanigans you can always count on from the FBL crew. Sandwiched around that interview is some hilarious hanging out with comedians. They talk about their goals and New Year’s resolutions. After hearing what Lauren has to say, they play some board games.
At the end of the episode Brian does shout outs. His friend Josh Wann writes in about wanting to shoot more film. Brian mentions how they worked on a short film together. You can see their short Frayed on Vimeo.
Want to learn how to challenge yourself? Do you set out to complete a challenge only to waver part of the way through? Below is the interview from the podcast. It includes a ton of advice on how to succeed at your next challenge.
[Brian]: What do you think is the best way to succeed at a challenge? What do you think you need?
[Lauren]: I think you have to have goals. You have to know what you want to get out of it.
[Brian]: Okay. How so?
[Lauren]: If you are trying to lose weight. You’re trying to control your eating. You have to know specifically what you want. Like I want to lose “X” amount of pounds or something like that.
[Brian]: Was that why you did your challenges? You always wanted to lose weight?
[Lauren]: No. Actually I’ve always kind of struggled with acne, on the bottom half of my face. Usually when I was doing something it was trying to get rid of the acne. That’s the main reason why I did the apple detox or the apple cleanse. Where all I ate for a week was apples. They’re supposed to have the most nutrients. And it’s the cheapest juice cleanse that you could do. There’s something in the apples but I forget exactly what. But it was supposed to help with acne.
[Brian]: Did it help?
[Brian]: Did you get sick?
[Brian]: Well that’s good. Well that makes sense.
[Lauren]: Together an apple a day.
[Brian]: Keeps the doctor away. You had multiple a day for days.
[Lauren]: I averaged ten apples a day.
[Brian]: That’s insane. I feel like you just starved yourself.
[Lauren]: Yeah. That’s what you do when you’re on a juice cleanse.
[Brian]: I don’t understand the value of starving one’s self.
Have you heard of fasting?
[Lauren]: It’s similar to fasting. It’s really good for the body. It gives your digestive system a chance to … I don’t know if regenerate is the right word. But it kind of gives you a fresh start.
[Brian]: Let’s your stomach go on vacation.
[Lauren]: Yeah something like that.
[Brian]: Let’s the party tubes take a night off.
[Lauren]: It gives them a chance to catch up.
[Lauren]: Especially if you eat really heavily. Eat more than three times a day.
[Brian]: Do you recommend that people go on the apple diet.
[Brian]: Okay good.
[Lauren]: I mean. If you’re trying to clear up something then maybe it’s worth looking into. I’ve seen three day apple detox. I’ve seen seven day. I wouldn’t go any longer than seven. That’s just torture.
[Brian]: Seven seems pretty crazy to begin with.
[Lauren]: Yeah probably. Looking back at it I probably would have done just three days. I probably would have eaten more per day.
[Brian]: That makes sense. What do you think is the best challenge you’ve completed?
Which challenge are you happiest about for completing?
[Lauren]: The 28 day sugar detox was probably the most successful.
[Brian]: Why do you say successful?
[Lauren]: Well for one it changed the way that I viewed food. I definitely think about food differently after doing that challenge. I’m more conscious about what I’m putting into my body. And it taught me how to read the nutritional facts and the ingredients and stuff. Which I usually … I didn’t care about that kind of stuff, but it just made me more conscious.
[Brian]: Break down what’s involved. It’s not as simple as the apple diet where you only eat apples. What’s allowed and not allowed in the no sugar diet.
[Lauren]: Like if you Google it you can probably find some kind of chart that will give you a better breakdown. Typically you just don’t eat anything with sugar in it. And that’s simple sugar and complex sugar, so there are some fruits that you can’t even eat. Carrots. Apples. I think you’re allowed —
[Brian]: — I remember you were only allowed to eat one Granny Smith apple a day. That was the max.
[Lauren]: Yeah one apple a day.
[Brian]: Gotta keep that doctor away.
[Lauren]: Gotta do it. Yeah.
[Brian]: Carrots have too much sugar?
[Lauren]: Carrots. Sweet Potatoes. Stuff like that.
[Brian]: Sweet potatoes make sense once you say it out loud. It has sweet in the name.
[Lauren]: (giggles) Yeah
[Brian]: But carrots I found surprising. I didn’t realize that carrots had so much sugar that they were no good for this challenge.
[Brian]: What were you go-to’s? Obviously it’s hard to memorize the chart of do’s and don’ts.
What could you always depend on when you were doing this?
[Lauren]: All meat, fish, all that stuff is fine. For the most part vegetables were good. If they didn’t have sweet in the name they were usually good.
[Brian]: No carrots? No corn?
[Lauren]: No carrots. No corn. Stuff like that. I don’t know about rice. The startchy things were kind of iffy.
[Brian]: Could feel safe if you got a burger for lunch but opt for the salad because the fries could push you over the edge?
[Lauren]: Yeah and watch your dressings. It’s funny. Things you wouldn’t think have sugar in them … they’re pretty sneaky now. They put sugar and high fructose corn syrup in everything. I would just opt not to have stuff I wasn’t sure about. So no dressing. I would just do oil and vinegar or something like that.
[Brian]: Would you eat out anywhere? Or was it just too challenging to roll the dice? Did you make every meal?
[Lauren]: I tried to be as clean as possible, so I did not eat out. But if you’re asking the right questions I’m sure you could do it.
[Brian]: To me that’s the real challenge. So for four weeks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner you made every meal.
[Lauren]: That’s usually how I eat anyway, so it wasn’t that hard for me. But if you’re the kind of person that eats out a lot, it’s probably a little more difficult.
[Brian]: For a lot of people, myself included, it’s tough to even get into that routine. How do you even get into the habit. Let’s say you don’t even care about cutting out sugar now.
How do you get into the habit of preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner all the time?
[Lauren]: It’s helpful to plan. So for me it’s knowing I’m okay with eating oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. That’s if you’re not doing the sugar detox obviously. So meal prepping is helpful. So I would just go food shopping for the entire week. And buy everything that I will need. And I will make it in batches. I will make all my breakfasts at one time. And make all my lunches and all my dinners.
[Brian]: What are some go-to meals, on and off the challenge, that you could prep on a Sunday that would do you for the whole week?
[Lauren]: Overnight oats is kind of an easy one.
[Brian]: That’s safe for the sugar detox too?
[Lauren]: If you’re using your apple. That’s an easy one.
[Brian]: What do you mean use your apple?
[Lauren]: Like you know how you’re allowed to have one apple a day. If you just use that for the overnight oats you could do that.
[Brian]: Put the apple in the oats?
[Lauren]: Yeah. It helps to have something sweet in there. I wouldn’t put vegetables in your overnight oats. It’s weird.
[Brian]: You could just have oats and whatever it’s sitting in. Can you have cinnamon?
[Lauren]: Yeah. Usually spices and everything are fine. Unless it’s sugar.
[Brian]: Yeah that’s no good. Sugar and spice, no. Just spice.
[Lauren]: Just spice.
[Brian]: No sugar. Everything spice and nice.
[Brian]: Okay cool.
What about lunch?
[Lauren]: Lunch I’m pretty boring. I would just do a chicken or fish fillet and a side of vegetables, like steamed broccoli. You could do beans. Beans and rice is an easy one.
[Brian]: You cooked a bunch of chicken fillets on Sunday and they were still good on Friday?
[Lauren]: (giggles) I don’t have an issue with that, but if you’re a little bit more cautious you could always just make it and freeze it. And then halfway through the week stick it in the fridge to thaw and it’s good to go.
What about dinner?
[Lauren]: Dinner I was a little bit more adventurous. I would find recipes on Pinterest that were safe. If you just search “28 sugar recipes” Pinterest is the way to go. It’s easy to find stuff. I made a cauliflower crust pizza.
[Brian]: That’s right. I remember that. It was good. You couldn’t really eat it as a pizza. It was more like a flatbread because it didn’t have the integrity. Pizza feels like a good meal in the sense that it shouldn’t be loaded with sugar.
[Lauren]: Yeah unless you do a Hawaiian pizza or something adventurous.
[Brian]: But yeah no donuts.
[Lauren]: No donuts.
[Brian]: No chocolate.
[Lauren]: Or like that cinnamon, sugar, swirl bread with raisins. Don’t do that.
[Brian]: you can’t have raisins either?
[Lauren]: No. You can’t have grapes either.
[Brian]: That’s nature’s candy.
[Brian]: So you just have to be responsible to carve out time at the beginning of the week to do these chores. What if I’m someone to that’s like, “it’s too depressing to eat the same thing every day.”
Are there ways to mix it up and still meal prep?
[Lauren]: Yeah. You can always pick more than one recipe for each course. One dinner isn’t going to cut it, then do two. You can always switch up your lunch and dinner if that makes any kind of difference.
[Brian]: Instead of making seven chickens you make chicken and something else and mix it up.
[Lauren]: Yeah. Get some salmon in there. Some shrimp.
[Brian]: That would be good.
[Lauren]: I did a deconstructed sushi recipe that was really good.
[Brian]: You had the rice and the seaweed by itself?
[Brian]: Isn’t that the wrap? The sushi wrap?
[Lauren]: I don’t know if I did that. It was in a mold. I did the rice, and the avocado, and the cucumber, and shrimp. It was pretty good.
[Brian]: There are plenty of people that are interested in challenges because they like the idea of not being dependent on sugar, or losing weight, or not breaking out. Something like that.
But what’s that extra ummph to get started and stay committed?
[Lauren]: I don’t know. Maybe that’s just easier for me personally. But you have to have a goal in mind. If you know you want to lose “X” amount of pounds, then maybe you have some event at the end of the challenge that you want to look extra good for. Something like that. Something that motivates you and helps you stay on target. Maybe you have a bestie that can do the challenge with you. That’s always helpful. Someone you can check in with. Someone that can hold you accountable.
[Brian]: That’s true. What keeps you going? You’re two weeks in to no sugar. You’re grumpy. It feels like crap. I remember you saying you felt like crap.
[Brian]: — and you still have two weeks to go! You’re in the middle of it. What keeps you from being like, “eh two weeks was a good run. I’ll stop now.” What for you finish the whole thing?
[Lauren]: I don’t know about you, but if I tell someone I’m going to do something I don’t want to be a loser and not do it. Just knowing that I told people kind of helps me hold me accountable. To the point where I’m not going to bail on my goal.
[Brian]: That’s totally true. Creating your own peer pressure helps.
[Lauren]: If it means that much to you then why quit? Obviously what you have been doing hasn’t helped, so why not try something new? And see if that makes a difference.
[Brian]: Yeah there really is no badge of honor in doing something easy.
[Brian]: That’s why it’s a challenge. It’s supposed to be a challenge.
How to Succeed at a Challenge Recap
Be sure to set goals. Prepare your routine. If that means meal prepping, then get used to it. Maybe before doing a diet challenge, the goal should be just packing your lunch for a month. Try to lead up to an event or something that will showcase your succeed. Create some peer pressure by telling your friends and family about your challenge. Do all this to challenge yourself and succeed.
Need encouragement for a challenge you’re facing? Drop us a line by using the contact form.