What Is the 75 Hard Program? - Wylde Grey

What Is the 75 Hard Program?

Here’s a brief overview of the 75 Hard program:

For 75 days (yes, every single day), you must:

  • Stick to the diet or nutrition plan of your choice.
    • No “cheat” days or meals
    • No alcohol
  • Complete two 45-minute workouts, one of which must be done outside.
  • Drink a gallon of water.
  • Read at least 10 pages of a nonfiction book about personal development.
  • Take a progress picture.

If you fail to do any of these areas, you have to start over from Day One.

Side note: Does anyone else feel like we just time-traveled back at least 10 years? Because this sounds an awful lot like early 2010s super strict fad diets, with the addition of other things to make it more intense.

Below, therapist Erica Basso, who helps high-achieving women overcome anxiety, perfectionism, and relationship challenges, answers our q’s about the 75 Hard program and whether it helps or hinders our mental health and goals.


Does the 75 Hard program have any benefits?

“The creator of 75 Hard lists general benefits of the challenge that will improve one’s life, but none of these have proven evidence from research studies. It appears that the creator simply made up a list of things he believes a person would need to do to change, but the vagueness may have been intentional. 

“The claims he makes are ‘more confidence, independence, and getting into shape’. 

“He may know what that means for him, but we don’t know what that means for an individual or if the challenge would work for a large group of people. Rigidly sticking to a diet for a whopping 75 consecutive days, along with the “cheat meals” language, were major red flags when I first heard of it on social media.” 

What kind of people should give it a try, and are there any people who should steer clear of it?

“I work with women who have perfectionistic tendencies and can easily fall into orthorexia. When they commit to something like this, they already tend to think in black-and-white terms. 75 Hard is extreme, and there’s no room for failure. This could validate their thinking because a bunch of other people are doing it. 

“Furthermore, anyone with a history of an eating disorder or disordered eating should steer clear. As a therapist, I believe anyone with body image issues, or disordered eating would most benefit from working with a non-diet dietician and learn the philosophy of intuitive eating. Focusing on a rigid diet for 75 days can become all-consuming in a very negative way. You’re punished if you mess up on one meal and have to start all over, which reinforces patterns of perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking. 

“Real food freedom is being able to make the right choice most of the time and trusting that your body will be able to handle the rest of the time when you may indulge. As a therapist and not a trainer or dietician, by any means, I can’t imagine anyone who should give 75 Hard a try. 75 Soft appears to be more realistic.” 

What are the risks of 75 Hard (physically, psychologically, etc.)?

“The psychological risks are many. The challenge seems to me like a glorified way to engage in controlling and punishing behaviors—characteristics of disordered eating and harmful thinking around food and exercise. I’d caution those who may be recovering from an eating disorder and doing well. They could be triggered by this challenge to relapse into old behaviors. 

“I’d also caution against daily body progress photos for anyone who has struggled with body image issues or body dysmorphia. This encourages hyperfixation on any perceived flaws or ‘problem’ areas. Progress can take weeks or months to notice through side-by-side photos, so the daily photos rule seems unnecessary. Hard pass if you ask me!

“Physical risks appear to be there as well. Rigidly following one diet does nothing to teach an individual about their nutrient needs. It’s more beneficial for an individual to be able to learn what their nutrient needs are in relation to their physical goals. 

“Additionally, going from no exercise to exercising twice a day, seven days a week, with no rest days, is simply not feasible or smart. I think committing to some kind of exercise plan most days of the week is probably healthy for most people, but this extreme approach (again) does nothing to teach someone about listening to their body’s needs and what feels good. 

“Bypassing our emotions and our body’s symptoms is not wise. I’d much rather see my clients learn an exercise that feels good and is challenging that they look forward to doing, rather than view exercise as a grueling punishment

“It’s a privilege to be able to move our body through exercise. Labeling this extreme approach as a ‘challenge’ seems to make it harder for an individual to achieve the mind-body connection that is crucial for mental health and wellbeing.” 

What are some things to keep in mind for those who want to try it/plan to try it?

“Missing a workout or a diet meal does not take away the gains or progress you may have made up to that point. Starting over until you do it perfectly is unsustainable and promotes the wrong mindset. Life happens, and we want to be able to redirect and get back on track quickly without feeling like we failed.” 

What alternatives or modifications would you recommend for someone who wants to try it but doesn't want to risk affecting their mental health?

“The 75 Soft sounds like a healthier approach overall and one that I would recommend to my clients. It’s hard to imagine many people carving out 90 minutes a day for 75 consecutive days in a row to exercise. 

“If you can exercise consistently and find time for an evening walk, I am very impressed. I think it would most definitely support mental health by helping you sleep at night, but it’s not mandatory for vague reasons like ‘increasing confidence’ or getting into ‘shape’.”

Anything else?

“Let’s all be more mindful of the ‘experts’ or wellness influencers giving health advice on social media. These plans are not one-size-fits-all, and they can be incredibly harmful when blindly followed.” 

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