From nearly the beginning, we’ve known that our athletes can’t really succeed in a high intensity exercise program without an appropriate nutrition strategy and skills. Over the years, we expanded nutrition to include both physical and mental recovery (including improving sleep and/or the appropriate amount of rest days). While we attempted to use contests and “challenges” to help people “eat clean” for 30 days, they never really felt right to us and, more importantly, they never had the impact we hoped for. The largest road block we saw was that changing nutrition habits was really about learning, or re-learning, many hard skills including the science of nutrition, how to read labels, how to shop, how to cook, how to change habits. Of these, I think how to change habits is probably the most “meta,” but also the most necessary; however, without the hard skills of being able to cook, shop, read labels, etc. it is hard to make the habits “stick” over time.
One day not too long ago, we were listening to Paul Farmer’s book, To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation and in it he talks about something called ‘accompaniment’. When we first heard it, we thought “Genius, yes, exactly! Accompaniment: To accompany someone is to go somewhere with him or her, to break bread together, to be present on a journey with a beginning and an end.” Then he goes on to say something like: “I’ll keep you company and share your fate for a while. And by ‘a while,’ I don’t mean a little while. Accompaniment is much more often about sticking with a task until it’s deemed completed by the person or people being accompanied, rather than by the accompagnateur. Whoa, hold on, let’s take a few minutes (actually, it turned into a few weeks) to get our heads around this accompaniment thing. Here’s what we came up with for the ‘Reset’ (you’ll notice it is a conglomeration of several of the things we have already done):
- Hands on coaching of important skills like label-reading, food shopping, and cooking
- Coaching on building new habits
- Building a support network of people who can help you
- Recipe and cooking exchanges
- Nutritional science
The MDSoF Reset isn’t a weight loss challenge or a competition. The MDSoF Reset doesn’t require a specific Diet. MDSoF Reset is setting an appropriate goal (or goals) and using a curriculum that will help you focus on the implementation details of how to get healthier. While you might lose weight doing the Reset, our intention is that athletes who participate build healthy habits they can practice for a lifetime. Each athlete will choose their own goals and their own area(s) to work on, which will help them move forward in their journey towards better health. We’re looking forward to the first ever MDSoF Reset curriculum. We have over 30 athletes participating but we still have room for a few more. Here are a few details:
- The Reset starts Saturday, Jan. 10th and ends Sunday, Feb. 8
- A mandatory class is being held Wed, Jan. 7th explaining all the details. Classes will be held at the gym every Wednesday at 7 PM to help you along your journey to better health.
- There will be daily emails to help you stay focused and also to get all the info to you.
- Sign up now
If you are interested in a full explanation of accompaniment, check out Accompaniment as Policy, commencement speech to the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (25 May 2011).