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Keep Going: Beyond The 30-Day Challenge


Update from Amy Jan 11, 2017: I wrote this post and this entire challenge when I was in an unhealthy place with my eating. While some of this information might serve you, please know that there is triggering language and philosophies I no longer stand by within. xo Amy

Click here to read We’re Still Here: This Is The Year You Keep Going if you don’t know what 30-day challenge we’re talking about…

You made it!

30 days later and you’re healthier for having stuck to your guns. Sure, it was hard sometimes. It was frustrating and different than anything you’ve done before.

But how are you feeling now? How much more energized, clear-headed and strong do you feel now that you’ve accomplished that feat?

Today, I want to urge you to keep going, even though you just went for 30 days.

This 30 days can be your kickstarter for the next year, decade, lifetime of a healthier you. It’s all about what you choose to do NOW.

What I want to talk about today are the choices that lead to living a healthy life. We’re going to get down and dirty about the truths of the matter when it comes to health and fitness.

The 30-Day Challenge Is Not Permanent


Many people come to me to learn how to be healthier. It’s my job. It’s my passion. It’s also the way I live my own life… now.

Until a couple years ago, I was a yo-yo dieter. I’d diet like crazy for weeks until I couldn’t go another day without a cookie and I’d binge for a week straight so that all my “hard work” went down the toilet. The sad thing is, this is not at all uncommon, and it verges on eating disorder territory. That’s no joke.

I urged you to take the 30-Day Challenge because I believe that it is an excellent springboard into a healthier life. Once you realize that you can do something that makes you healthier for a full 30 days, you’ll feel more confident that you can keep it going, and even adopt new healthy habits from then on.

If you were planning on dropping your 30-day challenge on the 1st of February, let me simply suggest that you take a long hard look at what you expect to happen.

Do you expect those changes in your energy, body and mind to stick once you go back to old, unhealthy patterns?

30 days is not very long in the grand scheme of things, but it is long enough to start ingraining these habits that will help you stay here longer and experience everything in your world more fully.

Take this work that you’ve just done, and let it feed into how you choose to live the rest of your life.

Life Is Full of “Opportunities”

If you’ve been reading Strong Inside Out for a while, you know that I refer to that 10% of the time when I don’t eat clean as “opportunities.”

Here’s the gist: 90% of the time, I eat clean, every time. (Anchorman joke? No? Ok, moving on…) 10% of the time (which works out to about 3-4 meals a week), I eat whatever the hell I want.

I’ve found that abiding by the 90% Principle is the best way I’ve found to stay healthy and fit, while not going give-me-that-whole-box-of-girl-scout-cookies crazy.

Today, I’m going to talk about the interesting relationship between how we view opportunities as opposed to how we view “opportunities.”

Bear with me here…

When you’re trying to adopt a healthier habit like sticking to the 90% principle, limiting “opportunity meals” can be a wonderful thing. In fact, after you do it for a while, it’s not so tough.

This is the point you’re at right now. You’re just now getting used to the habits you’ve been building over the last month.

…But you said at the beginning that it would only be for 30 days. You were looking forward to giving this up right about now!

Consider this:

THIS is your opportunity to accept this healthier you as the permanent you for the rest of your life.

In life, there are always going to be “opportunities” everywhere. People bring cupcakes into work. There are free samples in the grocery store. It’s someone’s birthday this weekend and they’re having 3 parties to celebrate…

Not every single one of these occasions is worth throwing your hard work out the window for.

What would you give up to feel like this for the rest of your life?

Your defeatist is gonna chime in right about now: Well I can’t maintain this all the time…

Why? Why not, my little negative nancy? Who’s to say that this is not just how you live now?

Who’s to say that this health, this life you’ve fought so hard for, can’t be yours for years to come?

You. You’re the only one who can say that and choose that for yourself.

This–right here, right now–is your opportunity to choose which “opportunities” are worth giving your healthy self up for.

Now, I mean beyond those 10% opportunities. I’m not saying, “Never eat ice cream again!” I’d be a horrible hypocrite if I said that…

I think you should enjoy and savor those 10% meals when you have them, because that’s part of what life’s about!

I’m saying that moderation is easier than you think if you choose it, and that you don’t need to indulge every single time someone offers you something that might be tasty. You always have a choice.

What Are You Really Giving Up?

Alejandra thinking II

So now that we’re talking about giving up things, I’m gonna try to shift the way you think about health and fitness.

People always view healthy eating patterns, a regular exercise routine, and refusal to feed into the negativity that runs rampant in society as “giving up too much.”

  1. If you’re a healthy eater, you give up all those tasty–though unhealthy–spontaneities of life. You can’t be a foodie, and you’re always saying, “I can’t eat that”…
  2. If you prioritize working out regularly, you can’t go out for happy hours, hang out after work, take vacations, or take weeks off at a time…
  3. If you don’t feed into the complainy-naysayers in life, you don’t get to have fun gossipping with the girls, talking smack with the guys, and you have no sense of humor…

You know what I say to all of the above?


What are you really giving up by committing to a healthier life, inside and out?

You’re committing to yourself, and the way you feel. You’re committing to the people who love you and want you around for a long time. You’re committing to your children, who look up to you and say, “I want to be like him/her when I grow up.”

Here’s what I’d say to the arguments above:

  1. I’m a foodie! I just pick and choose my battles. I don’t need to eat meals that make me feel horrible every single day in order to enjoy food. Since I practice moderation, I choose the “opportunities” I really want, so I’m able to be spontaneous if it’s worth it to me. And I always say, “I don’t eat that,” because I know it’s my choice; not something that was thrust upon me against my will.
  2. Even if your workouts are a priority, it doesn’t mean you can’t go out after work! You just switch up the timing or days of your workouts! You don’t have to do a 2-hour routine every time you hit the gym. Break your workouts up into 10-minute bursts of intense activity. Do 2-3 and you’re set! Bodyweight exercises, sprints and location-dependent activities are great for vacations.
  3. Choosing your words carefully does not mean you have to be a super-serious-Simon. You just don’t want to play in to the complaints and woe-is-me sentiment that takes over lives and makes us feel helpless. If you choose to empower your life instead of blaming the lack of action on others, some people will take that personally because they haven’t made that choice for themselves yet. That’s their own issue, not yours.

And here’s what you’re really “giving up” if you choose to continue down this healthy path:

  1. You’re giving up diabetes, heart disease, obesity, low energy and low self-confidence.
  2. You’re giving up feeling weak, not being able to climb stairs without huffing and puffing, a host of medical conditions, and never hearing, “Show us the gun show!”
  3. You’re giving up anxiety, guilt, and negativity that will bleed into the rest of your life.

Ok, so it’s a heated subject for me. But if I can convince just one of you to see it this way, it’ll be worth it.

The little choices you make every day add up to the biggest choice you have in life:

Will you try?

So what about you? Are you going to try?

In the comments below:

Tell us if you’re going to keep going. Write: “I will try.”

30×30 Update…


Welcome, Greatist Tumblrs, Nerve-Rushers and aMINDmedia mavens! I hope you find hope and inspiration to take action in your life while you’re here. Please do take a sec to introduce yourself in the comments!

If you missed it, SIO-ers, I was featured on Greatist’s Tumblr, Nerve Rush and aMINDmedia’s podcast this week.

Also, my beautiful friend, Heather Arlt, has set up a 30×30 Trunk Show on Stella & Dot! You can now shop for something cute while helping the hope movement. Go grab yourself something sparkly, knowing that 20% of that price will go to The 30×30 Project.

Locations are booking up and will be released very soon! I really hope to meet a lot of you in person at my bootcamps… and maybe make you sweat a little. ;)

If you’re waiting for any reason to help with the campaign, please don’t hesitate any longer. We’re going into the last week and this movement needs your help. Any kind of sharing or donation is greatly appreciated. I’ve switched up the perks a little to make it more exciting, so head on over and check them out! I’m singing for you and everything…

Please click here to visit the IndieGoGo page.

That’s it for today, folks. Hope you have a powerful weekend!

Stay strong, guys,


pics: confetti, 30, opportunities, thinking

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6 responses to “Keep Going: Beyond The 30-Day Challenge”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi Amy – LOVE your blog! I accepted your challenge, and so far I’m down 15 1/2 lbs. I weaned myself off my anti-depressants, and have been exercising daily. I can’t believe how much better I feel, and how my life is turning around! I’m a former dancer, fitness instructor, and personal trainer who hit menopause like a brick wall. I gained 30 lbs above my already too heavy weight and went into a deep depression after a series of deaths in my family. I am happily accepting your challenge to continue another 30 days!

    • Amy says:

      Oh. My. GOSH! JENNIFER!!! That’s amazing!!!

      You are such an inspiration for all those people out there who don’t think they can do it. Thank you so much for being that source of hope and such a strong part of this community!

      Can’t wait to hear more! Gah, I’m gonna go share this! :)

  2. Ryan L says:

    Hi Amy,

    First off- way to go Jennifer!


    Just like Jennifer said and you stated so well in this post, what are you really giving up when you give up poor eating habits? Depression, diabetes, lack of sleep, lack of energy and all the expense and trips to the pharmacy to remedy your ailments.

    If you don’t look at it from a point of view of a health benefit, look at it as a money saving benefit. I have smashed the myth in my house that to eat right cost more. When you aren’t spending money on medicine you’ll be surprised!

    (At this point I am resisting the urge to get on my food chemical/big pharma soapbox)

    Take it from me – you won’t believe the positive difference after a while. No lie, you WILL go through phases of withdrawal and that’s where you have to commit to yourself and not rationalize giving up. This is the basic building block of the 30 day challenge!

    • Amy says:

      Hehe. But I love your food chemical/big pharma soapbox, Ryan! :)

      You hit a couple really good points right there:

      •It doesn’t cost extra to be healthy. What costs more are the tons of medical bills that come from NOT stepping up to the plate (hehe, pun intended).

      •Phases of withdrawal are normal, but it’s because the mind and body resist change. They only know where they are at the moment; anything else is not guaranteed. Knowing that your mind/body will react that way to any attempt to change habits will make working against it that much easier. No more rationalizing; just take action and tell your defeatist to shut it!

      Ryan is a 30-Day Challenge victor as well, having lost what, 14 sizes now Ryan? Take it from him: he knows what he’s talking about!

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