In June 2017, after having suffered one of the worst phases, health-wise, in my life, I started the #21Weeks21Habits #HealthyLiving journey on Facebook as a way to get a semblance of health back into my lifestyle. They say that announcing to the world that you are taking up a challenge improves adherence – I thought Facebook would be the best medium to make such an announcement.
Those 21 weeks changed several things for me for the better and reignited my passion for health and fitness in a way I had not imagined. Egged on by a dear friend, I launched another challenge on Facebook in August 2018, with the small difference that I opened it up to my friends and their friends.
I called it the #84DaysToDiwaliChallenge #HealthierVersionOfMe. Why 84 days? Because it is 12 weeks, just enough time to feel, see and show significant improvement in lifestyle and health. Also, it is the reverse of ’21’, but easier to stick with. Why Diwali 2018? Because it provided a neat marker that led us to the holiday season that one would, hopefully, be well prepared to handle and enjoy. The Challenge ran on a weekly basis – I posted a challenge each week, adding a new challenge each week. All participants tracked their own adherence and progress on each challenge cumulatively, twelve challenges in all. I announced the movements on the leader board each week.
This post is about the journey of the Winner of the Challenge, Shraddha Sinkar, through the 84 days, (almost) in her own words. But before I get to that, some quick statistics:
- Number of people who signed up to the Challenge: 21
- Number of people who did not begin the Challenge: 6
- Number of people who dropped out by Week 6: 5
- Number of people who completed the 12-week Challenge: 7
- The toughest Challenges for the group: ‘Drinking enough water’ and ‘getting out in the sun’
- The easiest Challenges for the group: ‘Rewarding themselves’ and ‘taking their vitamins’
For many of those who completed the Challenge, it was a reminder of how easily one can adopt a healthy lifestyle. For others, it was a turnaround of sorts to discover what they were capable of accomplishing. For everybody, though, it was exciting to be doing this together with a bunch of strangers and feeding off their enthusiasm and successes.
Now for the interview (from mid-November 2018)…
Maithilee (MSJ): Could you please introduce yourself to my readers?
Shraddha (SS): I am a software engineer, ex-Deloitte, now running my own agency. Being self-employed gives me a lot more flexibility in my day-to-day schedule, which works well for our family of three, including my 9-year old son.
MSJ: What made you sign up to the #84DaysToDiwaliChallenge?
SS: I had already been thinking about doing something specific and effective for my health for some time. I felt that there was a lack of schedule in my lifestyle and I needed some reinforcement to bring it back to order. The Challenge was the perfect opportunity to do that.
MSJ: Which weekly challenge(s) was/ were new or unexpected for you?
SS: The ‘getting out in the sun’ challenge was the most curious for me. But a few others, such as ‘sleeping 6-8 hours a night’, ‘rewarding yourself’, and ‘catching up with friends/ family’ were also intriguing – things that I had not given enough thought to.
MSJ: Which weekly challenge was the hardest for you to keep up?
SS: The ‘sun’ challenge! (Laughs)
MSJ: Which one was the easiest to follow?
SS: ‘Avoiding data on all devices an hour before bedtime’. I had often thought of implementing a rule like this. Participating in this Challenge made it happen. Now, even my husband tries to keep up with it. (Smiles)
MSJ: Talking of your husband supporting and accompanying you on this, how has your family been involved in this Challenge?
SS: Apart from the ‘no data’ challenge, they are automatically involved in the ‘planned meals’ programme since I prepare the meal plan for the entire family, so that they get all their macronutrients, especially protein. In addition, ‘drinking enough water’ is something they have also taken to heart, especially my son!
MSJ: You were on the leader board consistently through these twelve weeks and finally won this Challenge. Are there any aspects that you believe you still need to do better on?
SS: Yes, on ‘getting enough sun exposure’, ‘exercise’ and ‘drinking enough water’. There is room for improvement…
MSJ: Have you felt any palpable changes in yourself since beginning this Challenge 12 weeks ago?
SS: Yes, absolutely. Firstly, there was that ‘feel-good’ sense of doing something good for my health. Secondly, I needed lifestyle changes to help support the thyroid problem that I have had – I believe I have those things in place now. Finally, I lost about 9 inches overall in these 12 weeks!
Thank you, Shraddha, for taking the time to share your story with my readers and me. Wish you greater success on your health journey!
P.S. The interview above is an abridged version of the conversation with Shraddha, since we spoke in both, English and our vernacular language.