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7 Days Without Dairy: Weekly Habit Practice

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The Weekly Habit Practices are mini-challenges intended to help you fine-tune different aspects of your health and wellness. Offered between Challenges, these practices address fitness, nutrition, stress reduction, productivity, and personal connection — because health is about far more than food and the gym (and we could all use a little practice).

Try a Week Without Dairy Products

Simple Instructions:

  1. For the next seven days, you’ll avoid dairy products completely — a small experiment to see how it makes you feel, both mentally and physically.
  2. Think less about the fact we’re omitting dairy, and more about the idea of creating a practice of quasi-scientific curiosity about your health. What happens if you change one small thing about your health habits for a short period of time? What do you learn?
  3. We’re not differentiating between dairy products this week. Although the Challenge’s food rules allow some (like butter, yogurt, whey protein, and kefir) on some Nutrition Levels, we’re experimenting with a blanket “no-no” this week. This means you’ll omit everything dairy — milk, butter, ice cream, sour cream, yogurt, etc.

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Why Is This Skill Important?

Success at lifelong habit change begins one habit at a time, and it stands on the willingness to change small things about your life. Often, it requires us to disrupt the automatic patterns we’ve adopted, dietary and otherwise.

We believe the greatest success often comes through “baby steps” — picking a single thing to change (for a limited duration) and paying careful attention to how you’re affected. Once you understand the effect, you can make the personal choice to continue with that change or go back to the way things were.

We picked dairy for this Habit Practice due to several factors:

  • While omitting it from your life may be difficult, it likely doesn’t feel impossible, making it a great first step with self-experimentation.
  • In many of its forms, dairy can provoke an inflammatory effect in the body, and omitting it may result in feeling less achy and stuffy in a very short period of time.
  • While conventional wisdom holds that dairy intake is necessary for skeletal health, we dispute that conclusion. Instead, we hold that dairy products should be evaluated on their propensity to be inflammatory, acid-forming, and indigestible for some people.

This week, you can join us in this small-scale experiment. It’s a great way to see how dairy affects you, as well as solid practice for the upcoming Challenge. Best of all, it’s a bona fide “baby step” — the precise move you’ll want to master if you’re committed to changing your life.

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Jon Gilson
Jon Gilson is a coach and writer, and the former CEO of the Whole Life Challenge.

Previously, he founded Again Faster Equipment, a functional fitness equipment company created to serve the CrossFit community. Established in 2006, Jon took the Company global in 2012, twice landing on the Inc. 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies.

From 2007 to 2013, he served as a Senior Lecturer for CrossFit, Inc., training aspiring CrossFit trainers at over 100 seminars, including engagements in Iceland, Afghanistan, Moscow, Holland, the United States, and Canada. Jon also served on the CrossFit L1 Advisory Board, helping establish policy for the organization’s training efforts from 2011 to 2013.

He’s also done stints in state government, gym management, and consulting — and currently teaches classes at CrossFit City Line.

Jon graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in Psychology. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Finance and Control from the Harvard Extension School, 2006, and has completed coursework in data analytics.

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