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A Note To Mom

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The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

My mom didn’t participate in the Whole Life Challenge for the first three years. Last year, she and I happened to be chatting the day the new Challenge was starting, and she said, “I almost signed up this time.”

To put this into perspective, my mom is … well, my mom. I love her, and she has devoted much of her life to me, my brothers, and my sisters. She doesn’t get a lot of what she wants.

It’s always been hard for me to watch this. She was always getting by, but I wanted more than that for her. She declined my invitation to participate in six Challenges, so it seemed there must be a reason she was avoiding it.

During that conversation, I asked her why she hadn’t signed up.

She said, “I’m not like you. I can’t do the kinds of workouts you do.”

Knowing what the Whole Life Challenge is, I was kind of aghast.

“That’s why you haven’t done it? Mom, nobody wants you to be like me. You couldn’t be like me, just like I couldn’t be like you. This isn’t about doing what I do. It’s about doing what you do.”

My mom used to walk every day. She walked the neighborhood in the morning. She walked on the beach whenever she could. But she hadn’t done that for two years, and it really bummed her out. She just couldn’t force herself to find the time.

I said, “If you just walked every day, would that make a huge difference in your life?”

It would, she told me.

“That’s all you have to do.”

This conversation was happening on a Saturday, and she still had a chance to do the first day’s workout. So I invited her for a 10-minute walk. Then we signed her up, and she scored herself for the first day.

That was it. What seemed overwhelming and impossible to her was, in fact, a simple change.

On Saturday, she will start her third Challenge. She has lost 25 pounds, does Pilates three times a week, and has more energy than ever. Prior to signing up for that first Challenge, she already was conscious about her food choices, so she hasn’t changed much about what she eats. She turns bread away at meals and has stopped buying cookies to snack on, but the majority of the change has occurred in how she knows herself and what she is capable of.

She was never doing anything wrong. She was already making it. She decided to make a small change to her life, and now she feels great and is loving it. Inviting her to the challenge wasn’t a chance to fix her. It was a chance to give her something she always wanted.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.