Are you ready to reset and prioritize your recovery journey? In this episode of Holistic Health Radio, Sarah Liz King introduces the “Recovery Reset” challenge as a modified version of the popular 75 Hard challenge. But here’s the question: What if there was a way to achieve discipline and mental toughness without compromising your well-being?
The Recovery Reset challenge focuses on nourishing your body, practicing mindful movement, rest, and self-care habits. Sarah explains that while the original 75 Hard challenge may not be suitable for everyone, especially those recovering from eating disorders or hypothalamic amenorrhea, the Recovery Reset challenge offers a more sustainable approach.
So, what does the Recovery Reset challenge entail? It starts with nourishing your body by having a nourishing breakfast within one hour of waking up. This sets the tone for the day, stabilises blood sugar levels, and provides consistent energy signals to your body. Sarah also emphasises the importance of incorporating all macronutrients in your main meals and choosing nourishing snacks that aid in recovery.
But it doesn’t stop there. The challenge also includes engaging in mindful movement for up to 30 minutes a day, focusing on activities that align with your recovery goals. And let’s not forget about self-care. Taking one day per week to proactively do less and prioritise relaxation and joy is an essential component of the Recovery Reset challenge.
Remember, this challenge is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it may not be enough to fully recover from certain conditions. However, by personalising the challenge and starting with a month, you can develop consistency and hold yourself accountable. So, are you ready to reset and prioritise your recovery journey?
Sarah Liz King (00:00:04) – Hi everyone, and welcome back to Holistic Health Radio. I’m your host, Sarah Liz King. I’m an exercise physiologist and health coach, empowering you to find your healthy balance with food, fitness and your body Through my 1 to 1 and group coaching programs, both myself and my team help women regain their periods, find food freedom, and have a healthier relationship with exercise, all while gaining body confidence. Now, today I’ve got a bit of an exciting and a slightly different episode for you. We’re going to dive deep into a topic that has gained a lot of popularity recently, but give it a little bit of a fresh perspective, which is a recovery focused challenge of the infamous 75 hard challenge now. If you have never heard of the 75 hard challenge before, it’s a rigorous program that combines elements of fitness, nutrition and self discipline. And it’s captured so much attention from people seeking motivation and a little bit of an edge to strive for success, whatever that looks like. But it’s important to recognize that this challenge probably is not going to be the right fit for everyone, especially those recovering from an eating disorder, disordered eating or hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Sarah Liz King (00:01:31) – So today we are going to introduce a recovery focused alternative, a challenge that prioritizes more nourishing your body, embracing some mindful movement rest, and also cultivating more self-care habits. And I’m going to call it the recovery Reset. So it’s a 75 hard challenge, but redefined. Now in this episode where we talk about the recovery reset and all that it entails, we are going to still give you or I’m going to still give you some things that you can focus on actionable steps, mindset shifts, everything that’s going to help you recovery wise. But it’s important to take these with a pinch of salt. Like if you only do these things, are you going to be perfectly recovered afterwards? No, but it’s going to give you something to kind of focus on to get the ball rolling. So before I dive into what the recovery reset challenge is, I want to talk about what the 75 hard challenge is before we begin. So you have a little bit of a context of where I’m coming from and why it’s probably not the best challenge for some people that have a history of an eating disorder.
Sarah Liz King (00:02:48) – Disordered eating hypothalamic amenorrhea. So. The original 75 Hyde Challenge was created by a guy called Andy Frizzell. Hopefully I said his name right, and it gained immense popularity with people that were kind of seeking a transformational experience, you could say. And it combined, like I said before, elements of fitness, nutrition and a little bit of self discipline. So what were all of the components of the original 75 hard challenge? The first one was it required you to stick to a strict kind of set of rules, and they were that you had to every single day do two 45 minute workouts. They didn’t specify what the workouts had to be except for the fact that one had to be outdoors. So one of the 45 minute workouts had to be outdoors, rain, hail or shine. You had to do it. You had to follow a diet, a specific diet. It didn’t give you like what specific diet that you had to follow. It just said follow a diet. And that meant kind of abstaining from alcohol and also not having any, quote unquote, cheat meals.
Sarah Liz King (00:04:05) – And I hate that wording. And you also had to consume one gallon of water a day. Obviously, you can tell this was an American guy, some gallons, not liters. You were also required to read ten pages of a self development or self-help book. And if all of that wasn’t enough, you had to take a progress photo every single day for 75 days. And here’s the catch. If you missed any of those components on any one day, you had to restart the 75 days the next day. So it’s really strict and really, really rigid. But some of the benefits that this challenge promise, I guess we’re quite appealing to people because it claimed to instill discipline and build mental toughness, obviously improve physical fitness from the point of view that you were just simply doing more exercise. So it was like seeing as a wellbeing challenge, but it also had this really strict, structured, very like outcome focused approach to it, which is why it’s not really helpful for anyone that has that history of disordered eating or an eating disorder or hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Sarah Liz King (00:05:19) – It’s definitely not sustainable as well. Like doing all of this might be achievable for 75 days, but beyond that, are you going to be continuing with a lot of these habits? Probably not. And I think that’s what’s the most whenever you’re deciding to make lifestyle changes, I think that’s the most important thing, like, will this be sustainable? Could I see myself doing this for my entire life? And if the answer is no, maybe if you just adjust your expectations a little bit more, you’ll be more successful. And not only that, like enjoy the process more like there’s one thing to be said for. Doing something to build a little bit of mental toughness. But you shouldn’t have to grit your grit your teeth through this entire experience, especially when the premise of it is improving your wellbeing and mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. Which is why today we are focusing on a more recovery aligned version of the 75 hard right. This challenge is there to help you nourish your body.
Sarah Liz King (00:06:26) – Like I said, practice mindful movement and rest and foster an approach to your recovery that will be sustainable. The most important part. And before I dive into this, I kind of wanted to give you a little bit of an insight of where this idea came from initially, because I think we have a love hate relationship with any form of challenges. And in the world of challenges and self improvement, it’s common to see people kind of go like, Oh, well, that’s the magic solution. And then they jump from like one challenge or program to the other, and they’re kind of constantly looking for the thing that’s going to make everything better. And within that, I kind of noticed that a lot of these challenges that people were, I guess, putting themselves into, none of them were sustainable, and a lot of them were asking people to do so much. Whether it was like a fitness challenge or like maybe even a recovery challenge, that nobody could sustain it for long enough to actually see positive changes.
Sarah Liz King (00:07:33) – So that’s where I wanted to kind of create a recovery reset challenge. I want it to provide a little bit of a framework that would encourage an individual to partake and be consistent with recovery aligned behaviors. But it wasn’t so rigid and so controlling that it felt like you couldn’t step outside of those bounds and make it work for yourself. So I want you to think about this as something to foster positive change. But if at any point you feel like, Oh, this isn’t working or it doesn’t sound like it’s the right approach for me. Don’t do it. But for those who want to kind of like sink their teeth into something and help themselves kick start the recovery journey, this could be a really useful way to go. So it’s not A11 size fits all solution. There is no such thing. It’s not the be all and end all. Doing this may not be doing enough to recover your menstrual cycle, but I think it’s a really good starting place. So there are two nutrition aspects to this. There are two like movement rest components to this and there is one reflective practice to this.
Sarah Liz King (00:08:48) – So I’m going to dive into all of them a little bit more specifically. So component one is we’re not going to be following any diets. Nope, not like the 75 hard step one or like component. One of the recovery reset is to eat a nourishing breakfast within one hour of waking up. Right. You’re going to begin fueling your day from the moment you open your eyes. And this is really important for a couple of reasons, specifically within recovery. So it helps set the tone for the rest of the day. Basically, your digestion, if you’ve ever suffered from like a restrictive eating disorder, it gets stronger the more that we feed it. Secondly, we want to give our body energy to stabilize our blood sugars. This can help if you are stuck in a cycle of like binging and restricting as well. So we want to break that pattern as soon as we wake up and kind of set the tone that we’re not going to like restrict calories and save them for the end of the day, which can lead to binge eating and all of those kinds of things.
Sarah Liz King (00:09:50) – Also, for hypothalamic amenorrhea or recovery, we know that we need to send our brain consistent signals that it’s going to get energy at a consistent rate throughout the day. And that is what helps provide our body with the evidence that it’s safe for reproduction to occur. So when you’re thinking about, okay, like I get up and maybe I have like a slice of toast and a piece of coffee, that’s not enough breakfast. That’s not enough to eat. We want a well-balanced, nourishing and energy dense breakfast. So this could be things like overnight oats or cooked oats. And you make it with, like, full cream milk or soy milk that gives you more protein, more calcium. Topping that with some fruit, some nut butter, some nuts and seeds you could use like flax or chia to get those like omega threes in for yourself. Adding honey or maple syrup. Things are going to make it really, really tasty. And having that as a breakfast option or if you’re like, I’m a more savory person, I’m a savory girl.
Sarah Liz King (00:10:57) – You want to have like 2 or 3 eggs and you can cook them whatever way you want. Have them with a couple of pieces of toast, butter, butter, that toast or put some avocado on it. You want it to be again, sustainable, nourishing, energy. Dense coffee is not a meal. That’s not how we’re starting the day. Okay. If you’re like I’m an on the go, girly, I got to be at work at 7 or 8 a.m. and I have no time to sit and cook during the week. Make yourself a smoothie. Right. Put all the good ingredients in fruit, yogurt, milk, full cream, everything, please. Not butter. Add some oats in and then just put it in a cup. SIP it as you go. You can take, you know, if you’re like just making a simple smoothie. So maybe you just have, like, fruit nut butter, some kind of milk or yogurt, maybe add some protein powder, pair that with like a muesli bar.
Sarah Liz King (00:11:55) – You’re good to go, right? Come up with a solution that is going to work for you, but eat a breakfast within one hour of waking up. That is your first component of the recovery reset. Now the second component is also a nutrition component, which is you’re going to stay consistent with eating throughout the day by following the threes formula. I’m calling it a formula because it’s not a rule, right? We don’t do rules here, but the threes formula is essentially three meals, three snacks roughly every three hours. Okay. Your body might need more than this, but this is like the bare minimum. Okay, so we’ve had our nourishing breakfast within an hour of waking, and then we’re going to have meals and snacks throughout the day afterwards. If you’re awake for more hours in the day, then you might need more food. So adjust accordingly knowing that every single person is going to be different. Now, within that whole span of, I guess, your meals and snacks, you’re going to try and incorporate all of your macronutrients into your main meals.
Sarah Liz King (00:13:01) – So I kind of painted that picture for what breakfast look like for you. So we had like, let’s use the. Eggs on toast example. So you’ve got your eggs as your protein, you’ve got your toast as your like sustainable carbohydrate. You’ve got your avocado or your butter as your like healthy fat sauce and that’s going to balance your meal out. So all your main meals, you want to attempt to do that. Now, I have general principles that I give all my clients about, like how your plate should look and the balance of different macronutrients that you should have. And you need to be working with the health professional that can tell you what that looks like for you because it will be different based on your needs and whether you work, what kind of recovery you are working on, or whether you’re just working on intuitive eating or what whatever it is. So all macronutrients at all your main meals and then your snacks, you’re going to aim for two macronutrients as a minimum. You can have more.
Sarah Liz King (00:13:58) – So that’s protein or carbs. Protein or fat. Uh, fat and carbs, right? Any mix of those. And that is going to give you enough energy to make sure that you’re most likely meeting your energy requirements throughout the day. Now, most people fall down on their snacks because they’re like, Oh, I’m going to have like ten almonds. That’s not enough. Not enough. Okay. If you’re counting your almonds or your pretzels or your crackers or picking the smallest piece of fruit, you’re probably not doing yourself any favors. You want snacks that are going to be nourishing your body that is going to help you recover your period, balance those blood sugars, give your brain and your body the energy that it needs. Some of my favorite things that I’m often recommending to clients are things like classically something from a cafe, like a bakery item and a full cream coffee coffee and a croissant. Easy as that, right? It might be that you’re tackling some of your fear foods while you’re kind of also including these snacks in if you’re doing something at home, it might be like a piece of fruit with some yogurt and some granola.
Sarah Liz King (00:15:08) – Yes, that can be a snack. It’s probably more around what you need as a snack compared to the ten almonds I was talking about before. It could also be fun foods. It could be like a bar of chocolate or an ice cream or, I don’t know, the birthday cake someone brings into the office. All of those are opportunities for you to not only get the energy in that your body needs, but to also break free from some of those food rules and food fears that you might be having. So that is component two of the recovery reset challenge. Follow the formula of threes. Now Component three moves into the exercise side of things. So Component three is engaging in mindful movement for up to 30 minutes a day, but only if your exercise intentions are aligned with your recovery goals. So we know that exercise has so many, so many benefits for both our body and our minds. But if it’s coming from a place that’s driven from our eating disorder or kind of a fear of some kind, whether that be a fear of weight gain or a fear of like what’s going to happen if I skip the gym today, I like my muscles going to fall off, You know, the catastrophizing thoughts that happen in your head.
Sarah Liz King (00:16:29) – They exist, right? If it’s coming from that place, it’s really important to go. The only way that I’m going to get to a place where exercise can be healthful, it can be fun, it can be engaging. It can help boost my mood. But that’s not the only reason that I’m doing it. And it’s because I get to not I have to, is to challenge those moments. Where, you know, hey, I’m forcing myself to go on a walk because I feel like I need to hit 10,000 steps. That’s where you’re like, I’m going to treat that voice in my head like a two year old throwing a tantrum, and I’m going to sit my ass down on the couch and not go right. It’s going to be uncomfortable. You’re not going to want to do it. Your voice is the voice. That negative voice in your head is going to get really loud. But if you never give yourself the opportunity to challenge those thoughts, you are going to consistently go back to exercise for the wrong reasons.
Sarah Liz King (00:17:26) – So really be mindful of what your intentions are before you go. Now, if your intentions are all well and good, you’re like, Actually, I’m feeling really good. I’m just going to go for like a gentle walk. I’m going to listen to my favorite playlist or podcast or whatever it is. If I get tired, I’m going to turn back and come home even before the 30 minutes is up. You’re good to go. So those are the moments where you want to be engaging with mindful movements and that can be anything kind of like low to moderate intensity. I am not talking about heavy weight lifting or hit classes or. You know, sprints or running or any of those kinds of things. You want to put those on the back burner just for now. You will be able to do them again, I promise. But for now, your body just needs a rest. It needs to focus on re optimizing all of those body systems that have been shut down from not getting enough food in because you have been doing too much of the movement side of things.
Sarah Liz King (00:18:24) – So like I said, a mindful walk can be great gentle yoga or mat based Pilates or even mat sorry, even Pilates reformer. As long as it’s kind of like a more gentle, slow class. Those are all really good forms of exercise. If you do want to lift weights, I would say as long as your weight session kind of feels more like moving meditation, it’s not going to feel like a heavy weight state, then you should be okay. But it can be really easy to push too far on the weight side of things. So get support. Get someone to write a modified program for you, i.e. us if you want to make sure that you’re doing the right amount and the right kind of weight training during your recovery journey. So that is what is the first component of the recovery resets. In terms of the exercise side of things. Now, this is kind of like exercise related. Component four is setting aside 30 minutes each day, plus one full day each week where you take intentional rest.
Sarah Liz King (00:19:34) – Now, I know a lot of people watching this that maybe have struggled or are currently struggling with disordered eating disordered exercise hypothalamic amenorrhea. You all are probably like overprotective perfectionists, right? Sitting down is not in your vocabulary. You are human doings. You do all the things and bless your cotton socks, you do them well. But if you are wanting to actually create more space in your life to do other things that you’re passionate about, to let your body rest and recuperate, you need to learn the power of sitting still. And this is really hard because often we use being busy as a distraction from the emotional pain that we’re experiencing of being in an eating disorder or going through the recovery process. But you need time to process those emotions. And you also need time to just chill out, to let your nervous system just like down regulate. If you’re always rushing around doing all of the things, you’re actually not letting your body use the energy that you’re getting through the extra nutrition to go towards resetting your body, whether that be your menstrual cycle up, regulating how your thyroid works or your metabolism or improving your digestion.
Sarah Liz King (00:20:52) – You’re basically just using all of those resources by doing all of the things, whether that is thinking tasks or like pouring yourself into more work. We’re doing tasks so always feeling like you need to like constantly like clean the house and do something like all of the time. These are the moments in this recovery reset challenge. You need to learn to sit just for 30 minutes and do something mindful just for you. I kind of call it just like block out some white space in your calendar. And that can be for anything that feels good. It could be watching your favorite TV show. It could be taking a bath, it could be writing in your journal. You could do some meditation, you could play with your dog or whatever pet you have. You could call a friend, you could do your nails, or you could just like literally sit and do nothing. You could sit outside and the beautiful sunshine and just like be at peace. It is a practice. You probably feel uncomfortable at first, but over time you’ll start to appreciate how great it is to just give yourself time just to be.
Sarah Liz King (00:21:58) – And the same goes for that whole one day per week where you’re not going to do any intentional exercise. That doesn’t mean you’re going to like melt into the couch of laziness forever. I promise. You’re allowed to still like get up, move around, live your life, but you’re not going to say to yourself, Oh, on this day I’m doing X amount of exercise, or I must achieve X, Y, and Z in terms of. I don’t know, additional life admin or housework or whatever it is. That stuff, even though in our mind we classify it as like urgent, the self self-care aspect and the rest is important and we need to start putting the important things above all of the things that we’re classifying as urgent but really aren’t like our own bodily needs are going to be the most important thing right now. So that is component four setting aside 30 minutes every single day, plus one day a week where you proactively do less. Okay. And the last component of the recovery reset challenge is you are going to practice five minutes of mindfulness or self reflection every single day.
Sarah Liz King (00:23:07) – So this is taking, I guess, that component of the progress picture, which we hate. We’re not about right. So this element is about cultivating moments of present awareness to process thoughts, to process feelings in a healthy way, and to also celebrate your progress. On your recovery journey. So five minutes is absolutely nothing. It will take zero time. The most important thing is to kind of sandwich it or attach it to another habit that you’ve already got that is rock solid. So if you’re like, I have a cup of tea every single morning and it’s how I kind of like finish off my breakfast or my morning routine, then you’re going to sandwich your five minutes of mindfulness or your journaling activity against or with that thing that, you know, you always, always, always do. And my favorite kind of forms of reflection, although you could do whatever you please if you’re going to go for mindfulness, start out with something like a guided meditation. It helps you kind of focus on something. Now the point of meditation is to obviously just notice your thoughts without kind of like attaching to them and just letting them be and coming back to the present moment.
Sarah Liz King (00:24:27) – But having someone to talk you through that can be really helpful when you first start. Or journaling. If you’re starting a journaling practice and you have no idea what to begin with, you can get journals that are already made that have preset kind of like prompts every single day. I also give my clients like over 300 different prompts that they can choose from, and it’s just a really good way to get the ball rolling. If you want to simplify it even further. I do a really simple reflection. Whenever I have a client session and they check in with me and I go, What went well? And what’s something that you’ve learned? What something that you’re struggling with that you want to improve on? So three things, and that can be a really good reflection for the end of the day. If you’re choosing to do this for kind of the tail end of the day. So five minutes of mindfulness, maybe some deep breathing, some meditation, or you can use the five minutes for some self reflection journaling.
Sarah Liz King (00:25:24) – I would highly recommend anyone in recovery, anyone on a recovery journey by themselves a journal because you will use that in so many different ways, whether that’s. Reframing negative thoughts or, you know, tracking your progress or visualizing what you want for yourself in the future. It’s just such a healthy way to get your thoughts out of your mind and onto a piece of paper and to process things in a really healthy way. So that is the recovery reset challenge. Taking the 75 hard, which is definitely not something that’s sustainable or healthy for people that are in a recovery in recovery journey. And we’ve redefined it into something that will be helpful for you to get started now. I don’t want anyone to feel like they need to do this for 75 days. My thinking is you should do this challenge for the number of days that feels right to you. I would say a month could be a really positive place to start because you develop that consistency and also you make a promise to yourself that you start to hold yourself accountable for.
Sarah Liz King (00:26:33) – And I think that’s a really important thing on your recovery journey is this element of radical responsibility that nobody is going to come and save you. You are the one that has to put into place these changes in order to move to that place of freedom and overcome whatever journey or whatever challenge you’re facing, whether it be needing disorder, disordered eating or hypothalamic amenorrhea. You need to keep that promise to yourself and you need to show up consistently for yourself. And I think that’s what challenges can be really good for. But like I said before, they’re not the be all and end all. It’s a great place to start to kick off your motivation. So if you do decide to take on this challenge, feel free to tag me in any of your posts that you create. Use the hashtag the Recovery reset. You can tag me at Sarah Liz King on social media and I’ll be sure to reshare those. And if you have any questions, you can always slide into my DMS. But I’m going to leave this episode here today.
Sarah Liz King (00:27:30) – Hopefully you feel inspired to try it out and get started and see how it feels to make some of these changes for yourself. And I will be back next week with a fresh new episode that you can wrap your ears around.
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