Hi everyone! This post will be my fifteenth on my new blog! I am so excited to have gotten this started and I am constantly thinking of new recipes to make and posts to write. Thank you all so much for reading!
As promised, I have put together a little Healthy New Year Challenge for you all. In addition to challenging you guys, both Dave and I will be keeping up with the Challenge and updating you along the way.
I can’t tell you how many pounds you need to lose, how long you should exercise or how many calories per day you should consume. What I can do is challenge you to start 2012 off with a healthier lifestyle than what you are accustomed to.
The first step you should take is to create your own goals and a plan. You can google-search for some help online, or you can do what I did: I took this survey on WebMD. It took about five minutes, but they give you a few custom calculations, many suggestions, and a lot of explanation of what is best for YOU.
My personal goal is to lose 10-12 poundsin 90 days (even though I’m only holding YOU to the Challenge in January). Here are my goals I from WebMD:
In order for you to meet your three-month weight loss goal, you will need a daily deficit of 777 calories. You say that you want to lose weight both by cutting calories and burning calories. That means you will need to reduce your calorie intake by 388 calories and increase your physical activity enough to burn 389 calories. This is a very good approach for most people and tends to be the best approach for maximum health benefit.
Once you make your own goals, it’s time for THE CHALLENGE! I challenge all of you to a healthy-lifestyle January to kick off 2012. Do you think you can do it? Here are the seven parts:
1. Track your diet- and I mean everything that goes into your mouth! When I did Weight Watchers, I found this tip to be the most helpful for me personally. Knowing that I had to look up the nutritional facts and write down EVERYTHING I ate or drank made me second guess the “just a bites” or snitches I took of some unhealthy foods.
I recommend one of two things: If you are the type of person who is well aware of what are “good” foods and what are “bad” foods, you might just need to simply keep a food diary. Buy yourself a cute notebook and keep track of each day on a separate page. If you are the type of person who would like to see their calorie, fat, sodium intake, etc. I have a few website suggestions for you. My favorite food diary website is My Plate at Livestrong. Their accounts are completely free and they have EVERYTHING you could possibly eat cataloged. All you do is create the account, search for a food, and add it into your “My Plate”. You can also plug in your weight and weight loss goals to help you keep track of where you should be. This is what I’ll be using. There are also plenty of other websites but if you’re not at the computer as much as me (you lucky dog) a mobile Food Diary App might be best for you. Here are two websites which review the best Food Tracker Apps out there.
2. Drop at LEAST one guilty pleasure food- Do you have a bad sweet tooth? Do you
rarely sometimes always have to treat yourself to a side of fries? If you’re anything like me, there are plenty of foods I feel guilty after eating. Part of this challenge is to pick at LEAST one of these foods and avoid them for the entire month.
I will be quitting cheese. All cheeses. This is an awful idea right? I will hold the cheese on any sandwich I order, hold the blue on my favorite make-at-home salad, stick with plain popcorn instead of topping it off with some cajun seasoning and parm’. Quitting cheese will be tough, but the reward will be well worth it.
3. Don’t eat after 9pm. I have heard this a million times but have never really followed through with it. This month, don’t eat after 9. If you’d like a dessert after dinner (a healthy one!!), eat it before then. If you eat late and are too full after dinner to get one in before9pm, well then I guess that’s a sign that you don’t need dessert! The other type of after9pm eating usually occurs after a night of drinking (my FAVORITE type of food), when your healthy-eating guard is down. The food you eat during this time is most likely pizza or something fried and VERY unhealthy. This rule HAS to apply!! No exceptions!
4. Exercise- Do It. I truly believe that exercise is just as important as healthy eating in a diet, or just a healthy lifestyle. Not only will you start to notice results faster, but you will feel better too. Stop making excuses and putting it off. Get to the gym. Walk the dog. Run in the cold. Take that spin class. Just do it. Even if you can only go for 20 or 30 minutes, it is better than nothing. If you are busy and can’t take the time to go somewhere to work out, make it happen during your daily routine. Walk on the treadmill at home or google-search at-home ab workouts to do while you’re watching TV. Park far away at the grocery store or mall.
My workout goal for January is to get a good workout in 5 times a week. I know this is a lot, but I think I can do it. I would say I average about 3 times a week at the gym, so if I don’t make the typical excuses for not going and go the extra mile with an at-home workout… I can totally do it! – And so can YOU!
5. Try something new. Keeping your workout routine new and fresh isn’t only good for your body to avoid the plateau, but it will keep you excited. Wanting to work out and enjoying your workout is just as important as getting the time in. It should make you feel good and even happier when you’re finished. If you are on the elliptical for 30 min every day, it will start to become monotonous and boring. You will start to dislike it and avoid going to the gym. If you always do the elliptical, try the treadmill or the stepper for half your time. Try a lifting routine. If you belong to a gym, try a new class.
This summer, I started taking spin classes. I had never tried it before, and I will divulge a great secret to you- that I don’t even know how to RIDE A BIKE! I decided it was time to give it a try and took up spinning. Within two classes, I was addicted and bought my own spinning shoes. I love it!
Since spinning is in my routine now, I’ll have to choose something else for my “Try Something New”! I think I’m going to try Yoga. I have taken a few Pilates classes and done a few private sessions on the Reformer (I am so bad at it!) but I have actually NEVER tried Yoga! I have always been intimidated by the people in the class, and just what I’ll have to do. I am very inflexible so it will be hard to start up, but from what I hear, Yoga will be so helpful with my flexibility and also my strength.
6. Just say NO!! You all know who they are, your enablers. They are trying to be nice, spend time with you, share with you, whatever the reason, they are the ones who you are sacrificing your healthy lifestyle for. Learn to say no. If someone asks you to make plans with them, make sure you do it after you work out. Don’t cancel your workout for others. If your coworkers are bringing in their leftover cakes and cookies from Christmas… just say NO! Even though it might be free or delicious or polite, you need to control yourself. This can be very hard at times, so you need to let these people know that you’re “trying to be good” – what I say… or that they aren’t helping you. However, if you do happen to be tempted to one piece or a bite of something naughty, make sure you write it down! Every bite counts.
For me, living at home is a huge roadblock in my healthy lifestyle, mostly with dieting. My Dad likes to keep a lot of junkfood in the house, leaving it out to the point where I’m sometimes SURE that his shiny gold bag of Herr’s BBQ chips is actually daring me to come eat them. He buys us soft pretzels, yummy fancy cheeses, and lots and lots of Tastycakes! Of course my Dad only means well, but for my dieting, it’s torturous! This rule will be very tough for me to keep!
7. Kings – make your own rule! If you want to see changes, you have to make changes. What is something that is difficult for you? I want you to challenge yourself. Make this rule feasible enough for you to follow through with it, but difficult enough for it to make a difference in your lifestyle. It might not make or break your healthy January, but when you accomplish it, you will feel great! Should you include something green in every meal you eat? Should you work to run 2 miles in a new record time? Or should you just make a promise to yourself to walk your dog once a week? As big or as little of a commitment as this is one step in the right direction.
My own rule is going to be No Chinese Food. To others, this might not seem like something that’s very hard to do- which is exactly why it’s MY rule!! I LOVE Chinese food and would eat it every day of the week if I could. Unfortunately for me, so does Dave! We used to eat it at least once a week but have recently cut back a bit. I used to be better, not eating the rice or asking for no egg roll… but lately it’s just a pig-out and I go for everything! It’s just so good! I know that Chinese food is not good for me and what you will learn if you eat it while you are tracking… is that it’s impossible to track Chinese! When I used to track my food, my entire week would be put off and avoided because I didn’t know what to do about Chinese Food. I refuse to let this happen this month so I am all-out quitting Chinese Food! I can do it!!!
I hope some of you are interested in putting yourselves to the test and working to become a healthier person in 2012. Who is with me? Someone? Anyone? Bueller? Come on- you can do it! My man and I are going to do it, so should you! I will keep you posted with updates on how we’re doing and suggestions we come up with.
If you’re up for It’s Good To Be The Cook’s Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, please post your goal and your rule as a comment! Who knows, you may help inspire someone else!
In the meantime, I hope you all have a Happy New Year!