One of the most common mistakes that many people make before attempting a food challenge is that they select a challenge to attempt that they cannot even win. Two star eaters try to attempt three and four star challenges all the time, and usually they end up not being able to complete the challenge. Then they wonder what they did wrong and why they could not win, and really the only thing that he or she did wrong was deciding to attempt the challenge in the first place. You can try as hard as you can, but you will not fit 5 lbs (2.28 kg) into a 4 lb (1.82 kg) bag, and a person isn’t going to fit 5 lbs of food into his or her 4 lb capacity stomach either. The only exception to that rule is really easy to eat quickly items such as burritos, ice cream, and milkshakes. This rule also applies to team challenges too. A person may have a 6 lb (2.73 kg) capacity, but if the partner only has a 4 lb capacity on a great day, the team more than likely will not be able to finish an 11 lb (5 kg) pizza in just 30 minutes. The math just doesn’t work, and you can’t do anything about it, so in the beginning of your eating career, until you gain experience, you need to select challenges that you at least have a chance of beating.

Finding eating challenges around you is now easier than ever. There are certain criteria though that you need to consider when you are selecting which food challenges you want to attempt. As you gain experience and also develop a better understanding of your body and stomach capacity, you can begin venturing out and trying riskier challenges. In the beginning though, you need to select challenges that you have the ability to win so that you can build your confidence which you will definitely need when you go to attempt riskier challenges later on. Here are the initial steps that you need to take to select the food challenge that is right for you:

1. How much can you eat? – All food challenges in our database are rated on a 5 star system, and the same system can be used to rate eaters too. If you are not already part of the community with your own profile, you need to figure out where you stand in the rating system. If you cannot eat more than 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg), you would have a 1 star rating. If you can eat more than 3.5 lbs but you know you cannot eat 5 lbs (2.28 kg), you would have a 2 star rating. If you think you can eat 5 lbs but you know you cannot eat 6.25 lbs (2.75 kg), then you would have a 3 star rating. If you think you can eat over 6.25 lbs but not 8 lbs (3.5 kg), you would have a 4 star rating. Anyone that can eat over 8 lbs gets a 5 star rating, but know that their are currently less than ten actual 5 star eaters in the world right now. How much can you eat? Please be honest with yourself because this rating you give yourself decides what challenges you can attempt. If you overestimate your capabilities, you will more than likely pick an eating challenge that is larger than you can handle, and therefore you will fail your challenge.

2. Set your limit – Whatever you selected as your rating, make that rating your cut-off point for the food challenges that you are checking out in step 3. If you are a 2 star eater that has never tried a food challenge before, you should NOT consider attempting a 3 star challenge. Just like stomach capacity, you need to start small and build gradually. It always blows my mind when a 2 star eater attempts a 4 star food challenge.

3. Search for challenges around you – Use the Map Search or List Search features to search for all of the food challenges around you. If you are a 2 star eater, only consider the 1 and 2 star challenges that around you. Be aware that some of the 1 star challenges are spicy challenges, so be careful to avoid adding those to your list of options, unless of course you are wanting to take a spicy challenge. Spend some time examining the available challenges that are within your driving limits. Eliminate the challenges you know you definitely won’t like.

4. Build your list of options – This may require a pen and paper, but make a list of the challenges that you are interested in attempting. Some cities have many challenges and many do not, so your list may not be that long if you are in a smaller city. Also, if you are a 2 star eater, your list may be a little smaller since you eliminated all 3, 4, and 5 star challenges. That is okay though, because it is better to have a list of three to five solid challenge options than to have to weed through a list of 20 options that you aren’t confident that you can handle.

5. Compare and decide – Now that you have your list of options, it’s time to compare and decide which challenge you want to attempt first. It doesn’t have to be the smallest. It just has to be the one that feel comfortable attempting. Check out the time limit, rules, and components of each challenge. Make sure you feel comfortable with the rules and time limit of each challenge. If the challenge has a low time limit, make sure that you are confident eating that amount of food in that amount of time. Know that you can just attempt it later if you are not fully confident you can do it. Then consider the prizes, and check to see whether the challenge is free, discounted, or if you have to pay whether you win or not. If it is your first challenge, paying for the challenge should not be a big deal. You may be paying for the meal, but you are getting the experience and confidence which money cannot buy. If you bypass an easier challenge that you would have to pay, and decide to attempt a larger challenge that is free if you win, you may lose and still have to pay for the meal anyway. Then you paid for a meal and got the experience, but you killed your confidence, which is what you have to have to win your future challenges. After choosing which one you want to attempt first, save that list because then you already have the list of challenges that you want to attempt next, avoiding having to do this process all over again later!!

You can train everyday for a month to increase your stomach capacity (which you should not do), but your body has certain limitations that are above your control. Don’t set yourself up to fail by selecting a challenge that you cannot win. You can hope and pray all you want, but your body can only do so much, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. Once you have a challenge selected and you Fully Understand The Challenge Details, you’re ready to Set The Challenge Time And Date when you call ahead to Confirm The Details With The Restaurant.

Thanks for reading about selecting the food challenge right for you and  using!!

To go back and view other Before The Challenge articles, click here.