Five Lessons Learned from the 21 Day Reset Challenge for Runners

On January 11th, I started a 21 Day Reset Challenge for Runners with Laura Peifer from Mommy Run Fast. Since we are finishing up the challenge this weekend, I thought I would share my thoughts as part of Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney‘s #FridayFive Link-Up.

I have to say that the 21 Day Challenge has been an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. The past few years, really since we moved to West Point, my eating habits have become less than stellar. I mean, let’s be honest. I have always had a sweet tooth… there is a reason this blog is called Lisa Runs for Cupcakes. Yet, this challenge taught me a lot about myself, especially when it comes to my nutrition.

21 Day Challenge

Here are a few of the things I learned about myself through my participation in the 21 Day Challenge for Runners:

  1. I eat sweets out of habit. In my day, there are two times when I habitually reach for sweets, 2:00pm and 9:00p.m. Before the challenge, I would find myself at Dunkin Donuts every day around 1-2:00pm because I wanted to force myself to get out of the office. While the notion of getting out of the office is great and does wonders for my mental health, grabbing a large iced coffee with caramel does nothing for me. Currently, I take my half hour lunch and go home, let my dog out for a little walk, get a few puppy kisses, and head back to the office. Now, I have the same mental health benefit of stepping away from the office without the added sweets. So, then comes my next trouble spot. The first week of the challenge I found myself trolling the cabinets around 9:00pm. Was I particularly hungry? Maybe a little. Yet, I often found myself looking for dessert and/or a glass of wine right around the time of night when I plopped down in front of the television. Gosh, I never realized what a habitual behavior this became over the course of the past few years. Yet, after a few days of struggling with not eating sweets at night, I now find that I’m not hungry and I really don’t miss it.
  2. This leads me right into my next point. I participated in this challenge to make a lifestyle change, a way of eating that I could maintain over the long run. So, I decided that I would still allow myself a treat on the weekends. Let’s face it. I still want to be able to enjoy a glass of wine while watching a movie with the hubby or have dessert when we go out to dinner. But, I don’t want these things to be an every night occurrence. So, over the course of the challenge, I did just that. I allowed myself to have treats on the weekend. I never felt guilty and I think that this is a way that I can allow myself to succeed with this change into the future.
  3. I have to prepare for success. Meal planning and packing breakfast, lunch, and snacks are two huge reasons that I felt successful during this challenge. Working outside of the house, I often found myself struggling with finding something quick, easy, and fast food-like for lunches.  And, often times, I would just not really eat anything substantial throughout the work day. This led to late night snacking because I wasn’t fueling myself properly throughout the day.   By taking the steps to prep my meals and snacks for work, I have been able to say no to the Krispy Kreme donuts at our weekly staff meeting and walk right on by the bowl of Lindt chocolates sitting on the office kitchen counter. To some, this may sound silly or easy but a few weeks ago, I probably would have had at least one or two chocolates a day and definitely munched on a donut during staff call.
  4. Heading into this process, I thought that the nutrition piece would be the most difficult part of this challenge. Oddly enough, the hardest part has been trying to find more time for strength training. There are just not enough hours in the day and I still find myself opting for a run over strength training. Granted, I am still building back my running base after taking some time off in November and December. So, maybe once I feel more confident in my running again, I will be able to commit to a good 12 weeks of really focusing on strength training.
  5. Change doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s hard to stay committed to a program when you do not see immediate progress when it comes to numbers on the scale.  Yet, I will say that I feel as though I have a ton more energy, I am less irritable, and just feel better.  With that, I am planning to continue on this path and focus on those positive changes in my energy levels and hopefully, I will continue to see those other changes as well.  With continuing to focus on nutrition and strength training, I really want to tone up and get myself down the few pounds that I have gained over the past few years.

All in all, I’m really happy that I decided to take a leap and join Laura for her 21 Day Runner’s Reset Challenge for Runners.  From the initial teleconference to daily e-mails and the private Facebook page for participants, Laura really did a fantastic job of holding us accountable while guiding us with information and support.  For more information on Laura’s Challenges, be sure to visit her Health Coaching Services Page or her 21 Day Reset Challenge Page!

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Have you ever participated in a challenge?  Have you noticed certain patterns in your nutrition?  What are your struggles?  Also, I would love to hear how you prepare yourself for success!



  1. Sounds like this really worked out well for you – I'm so glad you found some changes that you can stick with! Have a great weekend 🙂
    My recent post Favorite DC Area Races

  2. Happy to hear how this worked for you. Sometimes it's the educational piece that opens our eyes for longer lasting change. 🙂
    My recent post Friday Five: 5 Ways to Practice Self-Care

  3. You did awesome, Lisa! I love reading what you learned about yourself- that is key, even more than making those changes, is to start by recognizing what habits we have and thinking about how we can tweak them for the long term to have better balance. I love your treats on the weekend plan… that's my plan, too!

  4. I liked hearing your thoughts! I totally agree that prepping and having lunches and snacks packed helps me a lot during the day-I just need to do it more!
    My recent post My 4 Favorite Portable Protein-Packed Snacks

  5. You did so well! Treats on the weekend is a smart plan – once I reintroduce wine after my dry January (so excited for February 1, ha ha!) I will be having wine along with my popcorn treat and chocolate on the weekends. If you like the taste of licorice, you should try Yogi tea’s Egyptian licorice flavor!! It’s super sweet and might help you during those habitual snack times.

    • So, as a wine lover, I have to say when I introduced wine back last weekend, it was pretty tough. I didn't drink that much but I felt like I drank a whole bottle the next morning. Be careful when you reintroduce!! LOL I will have to try that tea. Sounds like a winner!

  6. Christine says:

    Ive been really curious to hear how this went for you. Very interesting results and I have a feeling I would find myself in the same boat on item 1. Since I've been home, I've been working really hard to grab an apple or even popcorn instead something sweet in the afternoon. And usually I don't miss it but I know I definitely still have work to do. Thanks for sharing this!!
    My recent post Friday Five: Five Memorable Races

    • It's so hard. The days that I am at home, I have to work even harder. I attribute that to Cora! For example, last night, we made peanut butter cookies. I treated myself to one and called it quits. Normally, I would have had quite a bit more. Trying to find balance in the coming weeks (without the accountability of the group and Laura) will be tough but I do feel so much better that I plan to stick with it.

  7. Sounds like this was a great eye opening experience for you. I like your idea of eating sweets only on weekends. No one can be expected to never eat them! Small changes make a big difference in the long run!
    My recent post 5 Races To Run In 2016

  8. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    I really enjoyed the reset too and realized how addictive sugar can really be! Glad that you had a good experience. I know I should have done better with my meal planning, but we definitely ate healthier overall!
    My recent post Runfessions – January 2016

  9. You go, girl! I need to be better about limited my snacking. I'm decent about sweets, but salty stuff gets me every time. I should look into some resets!
    My recent post Friday Favorites: Maddux Edition

  10. Debbie @ Deb Runs says:

    It sounds like you did great and are on your way toward successfully meeting your goals. Hopefully, your strength training will come easier once you get back into your running routine, and you don't have to think about both. I have a huge sweet tooth, too, and find that after those first few days the cravings do go away. It's just so easy to fall back into old habits though… I wish it were as easy to break bad habits as it is to fall back into them!
    My recent post Winter Runfessions

  11. I agree with so many of your points. Planning and preparation were key for me, and making myself suck it up and plan/prepare for the next day even if I am tired is something I need to be better at!

  12. Uggh,I totally failed at the reset. I threw in the towel within the first few days. It just was NOT the right time and clearly I wasn't committed. I plan on taking all of the tips and starting on my own this week though! Great job and it sounds like it was very successful for you!

    • I'm still surprisingly doing well with the reset…. I mean, I guess it was a reset for me since the ball is still rolling. I really, really needed to reign in my sweets though.


  1. Oh I am the same way about eating out of Habit. Every day at 3:00 pm I need that snack. I ate a half a sleeve of cookies this afternoon and have been regretting ever since…lol.

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