Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 4

How was indulgence week? I NAILED IT…not. You guys, I couldn’t make it 3 whole days without sugar. I might have overstepped by restricting bread, pretzels, basically all baked goods and sweet sauces. It was misery. And I went overboard and ate candy corn. It felt terrible, not only because of the sugar and insulin spikes and crashes, but the disappointment.

However, failures are the way to success, right? And I learned a valuable lesson: moderation is key, even when talking about restricting something. So I took the cheat day easy, and allowed myself a couple of sugar-sweetened items each day. It staved off the crazy crackhead bingefest, and I actually came out of the week feeling pretty good.

But hold onto your hats, kids, because this week is a mother effer.

This week’s challenge: No more than TEN DRINKS for the whole WEEK!

Hang back from alcohol this week.

Cheers, you fellow lushes!

(Mark how many you have in a day). 1 drink = 1 beer, 6 oz wine, or 1 oz liquor. Martinis are 3 drinks, y’all!

KILLJOY! WET BLANKET! PARTY POOPER! No, I’m your guardian angel. You’ll thank me when you second-guess that glass of homemade egg nog. Which, by the way, can have 850 calories! EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY! Wouldn’t you rather get a hamburger and small fries? Or you know, a full nutritious meal and then some? No? Well, that’s one drink you need to mark off this week.

A reason for this week’s challenge is I realized several years ago that boy, do I love my tasty adult beverages. I mean LOVE them. And when it comes to the holidays, I tend to enjoy them much much more. And it’s not the calories in the alcohol that are necessarily the problem, it’s the lowered inhibitions that come along with excessive drinking. I’m not talking spring-break-style-flashing-the-family-and-the-neighbors-style-inhibitions, I’m talking about scarfing down on extra food you don’t necessarily want or need.

This challenge is tough. I’m not gonna lie. Especially with the stress of the holidays, standing on your feet all day, cooking all day, snacking all day. But that’s why it’s a challenge. You can take it a step further and pour yourself a glass of water every time you think of reaching for the bubbly (or mulled wine, or spiked hot chocolate…).

I hope you’ll join me this week and try to have a healthier holiday.

So, if you haven’t already, Print out your pdf and keep track of your bevvies for the week.

Feel free to comment here, tweet, or pin your progress!

Cheers!

Please note: I am not a health professional. I am not a trainer or dietician. I am a fitness enthusiast. If you embark on a new fitness or diet regimen, please consult your doctor and pay attention to your body and health. This is a social challenge to encourage health and fitness through the holidays. Your choice to participate is not the responsibility of Committed LLC. 

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a Projectaholic.

I was trying to think of new names for my stuff…you know, the social media stuff. Committedgifts is indeed a terrible name, but the only one I could come up with that contained my business name, Committed, and no ridiculous Committed1357xxysz.com. Committed makes a lot of sense for who I am and what I do, but that name as a URL was snatched up some time in the early 90’s. So I’m kind of stuck with “committedgifts”…except.

Twitter and Instagram allow you to change your username. It took the usual brainstorming tricks & techniques to narrow down what my posts are all about. I realize I’m all over the place: fitness, gardening, DIY, kid activities, crafts, thrifting, food, travel. That much diversity is kinda bad in BlogLand, but it’s who I am. I’m addicted to projects.

I kind of suspected this, but it was confirmed when I overheard the cleaning ladies (yes, we have them come twice/month, which is the BEST investment for a marriage) saying, “She’s always working on SOMETHING.” The ‘She’ being ME. I start a TON of projects. You know how it goes–you get an idea to solve a problem. You get excited that the problem can go away. You shop, prep, maybe even start, then…another problem pops up requiring your attention.

For example, in addition to my freelance work, I have about 4 personal projects going at the same time (which I agree is cuckoo):

1) Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge (I know you’ve been following along!)

2) Advent activities for the kiddo (a post to come when we’re done):

Free Advent Calendar

Use leftover poster board, Post-Its, stickers, and Sharpies.

3) 10-Minute Post-It
    I take 10 minutes, and a Post-It to sketch out whatever’s on my mind. I post to Instagram and collect those sketches (and friends’ sketches) on a Pinterest board. This is more of a side project I started to get the cobwebs out. A whole large page seems to be a little intimidating, but limiting the size and amount of time seems to make me loosen up. #10MinutePostIt

I can stop procrastinating tomorrow

I feel like this every day.

4) And of course, yesterday, I decided to paint the dining room and the socket covers so we look like we have a big girl house.

Fresh paint

Nothing looks sweeter than a fresh coat of paint.

Oh yes, and there are still Christmas gifts for friends, our annual holiday card, and probably another organizing project lurking in the darkness…So. I had to admit it. As someone addicted to projects. I am Jen. And I’m a Projectaholic.

Now you can follow me on Instagram (@projectaholic) and Twitter (@projectaholic). And you can still like Committed on Facebook. 🙂

Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 3

How was fruit and veggie week? In the spirit of keepin’ it real, I did it, but not as successfully as I’d hoped. I did manage to get all my servings, but I also went above and beyond when it came to eating junk. I’m not even talking about the candy at this year’s gingerbread party, I mean the cheese, the puffs, the crackers, you name it, I craved it. And I caved. At least I’d alternate carrot sticks with coffee cake, but feeling out of control of what’s going in my mouth is a little frustrating! I can only imagine what would have happened to my health if I hadn’t had the onus to load up on nutrition too! I felt a little bit of a cold coming on, but I think I nipped it in the bud with some wonderful essential oils (Thieves, to be exact) and a new resolve to treat myself well.

Moving along and looking forward…

This week’s challenge: Abstain from eating your favorite indulgent fatty food for 6 days this week.

I’m not gonna lie. This one’s a toughie.

Maintain Don't Gain Challenge week 3

This week’s challenge: give up your favorite indulgent fatty food for 6 days

Here’s how it works: check your calendar for the week. Are you going to a big party? Do you want to indulge on a certain day? (Do you have a performance review and would love to hit up a happy hour after for some nachos?) Then pick that day to be your “cheat” day. This is kind of a “giving up for Lent” exercise, but is more about examining what drives you to overconsume a certain food and face your—ahem—addiction to it.

(To be fair, the photo is of some delicious vegan cupcakes by the talented Claudina in West Seattle. They’re a healthier alternative to the usual, but they look really naughty, right?)

I’ll say, I’m addicted to chocolate. And not in the “OMG! I’m SOOO addicted to chocolate! I eat like, 3 brownies in one sitting!” I mean, the crackhead, gets the scratchies, eat-it-til-I-get-sick-or-there’s-none-left type of addiction. It’s lifelong, and gets worse during the holidays.

HOWEVER. I’ve noticed that lately, I’m craving sugar. Any craptastic crap that has sugar. And all the research is pointing to processed food and added sugar being a major factor in the obesity crisis in our country. I’m not soapboxing, I’m realizing it. I need to give up all foods with added sugar or sweetener for the week. You heard me. No added sugar for 6 of 7 days this week. And yes, I’m making vegan cookies (probably these) on Wednesday, with a class party for the kiddo on Friday. So, no cookie dough or licking the beaters, but Friday is my “cheat” day. And you’d better believe I’ll be cheating my face off. What I’m hoping to achieve is to know I can do this. I got it beat. And it’s only 6 days. So maybe it won’t be so bad, and when I get the chance to go back to it, I may not crave it as much.

So, if you haven’t already, Print out your pdf and write down what you’re giving up this week, and which day will be your “cheat” day. Is it chocolate? Cheese? Cookies? Pie? Beer? Do tell!

What is your favorite indulgent fatty food?

Feel free to comment here, tweet, or pin your progress!

Cheers!

Please note: I am not a health professional. I am not a trainer or dietician. I am a fitness enthusiast. If you embark on a new fitness or diet regimen, please consult your doctor and pay attention to your body and health. This is a social challenge to encourage health and fitness through the holidays. Your choice to participate is not the responsibility of Committed LLC. 

Are You Orna-Mental?!?

I don’t know if you get a little freaked out by figuring out appropriate gifts for everyone, but I do. The big question on my mind this week was what to do for my daughter’s daycare class.
I tend to get a little OCD and go overboard for acquaintances, which I’ve learned can come off as overbearing or even overwhelming. Trying to come up with something that’s kind, thoughtful, dietary-friendly, not too difficult to make, but not boring is tough!

DIY ornament gift

PROS: cheap, easy, non-allergenic, kid-helpable, non-denominational. CONS: None! Especially if you love glitter on everything!

It hit me in a flash: initial ornaments! At JoAnn fabrics, they have cute balsa wood letters for $1.35. I picked up some sparkle paint, purple glitter, and gold cord for hanging. The only real work was drilling the holes, which I did while kiddo was at school. The backs splintered a little around the holes, but filled in nicely with glitter! So we painted, glued, and glittered for about 10 minutes, and were DONE! After it dried, I tied on the gold cord with a simple gift tag (left over from my business card project). Voila! Glitter bombed, but a simple gift for any denomination.
What are your favorite mass gifts you like to give (or have received)?

Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 2

How was fitness week? I’ll say, the thought of embarrassing myself by NOT completing the challenge kept me on track (at least in terms of exercise). 3 fitness classes, 2 walks around the lake (~3 miles) and a 3.2 mile run this week. HOWEVER, I kind of ate my face off for no good reason. I wish I could blame it on holiday stress, but really, I don’t have any excuse! Hormones? Boredom? Who knows?

Luckily, this week’s focus is on making sure we get good nutrition & maybe skip that extra cookie because….

This week’s challenge: be sure to get EIGHT servings of fruit or veggies every day!

Maintain Don't Gain Challenge Week 2

Can you eat 8 servings of fruit and veggies EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?

One serving size is defined as: fruit (1 med pc or ½ c cut), veggies (½ c cut), leafy greens (1 c ~ 4 leaves), cooked leafy greens (½ c), dried fruit (¼ c), dry beans or peas (½ c cooked).

I know, you’re gonna say, “GIRRRRL? Am I just going to cram my face with celery all day? That’s no fun!” Not at all, my friend! It’s actually not so crazy, and it’s not DENYING you anything either. If you want cake, eat cake. Just know that you are still staring down the barrel of 3 more servings of goodness and might want to reach for an apple instead.

A reason for this week’s challenge is it’s so easy to eat crap, which leaves you at a deficit for vital nutrients. And guess what happens when you’re stressed out, eating junk, and trudging through the cold? You get SICK! Ever gone through the holidays with a cold or flu? Now THAT is no fun.

I admit, I did not buy into this challenge the first time we did it, but over the years I found myself craving fresh fruit at the end of the week, instead of grabbing a slice of coffee cake. And not to sound like some hippie-dippy, wheatgrass-snorting veg-head, but your body really does feel so much better when it gets what it needs.

So, if you haven’t already, Print out your pdf and write down what you’re going to eat for the week.

And, if you need ideas of how work THAT MANY fruit and vegetables into your diet, here’s a sample day:
BREAKFAST: egg white scramble with spinach and fresh pico de gallo and an orange (3 servings right there!)
SNACK: bell pepper slices with hummus (1 serving)
LUNCH: mixed green salad with chicken and an apple (2-3 servings)
SNACK: celery slices with peanut butter (1 serving)
DINNER: Side salad with whatever you’re eating. Plus maybe some roasted broccoli on the side?
DESSERT: Go for it, if you have room! Maybe some Greek yogurt with fresh berries? Or ice cream if you’re really dying for it. I won’t tell.

SEE? Wasn’t that easy? (I mean, if you have time to make that breakfast, of course).

What is your favorite go-to fresh snack?

Feel free to comment here, tweet, or pin your progress!

Cheers!

Please note: I am not a health professional. I am not a trainer or dietician. I am a fitness enthusiast. If you embark on a new fitness or diet regimen, please consult your doctor and pay attention to your body and health. This is a social challenge to encourage health and fitness through the holidays. Your choice to participate is not the responsibility of Committed LLC. 

Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 1

Hopefully you’ve recuperated from too much stuffing, daily turkey/cranberry sandwiches, and Black Friday shopping.

Time to think about your health for a moment.

Work out during the holidays

First healthy habit in the Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge: Get Exercise!

The challenge this week: be sure to get five 30-minute sessions of sustained activity.

This can be walking, running (inside or outside), dancing, heavy-duty house work, snow shoveling, anything that gets your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes. Take a break from Cyber Monday and plan out your workouts. I mean NOW! Do it now! Can you take a longer lunch to get a good walk in? Can you take an early yoga class? Print out your pdf and write down what days you’re going to get exercise, and what exercise you’ll be doing. Oh, and don’t forget to weigh in today too!

What activities are you going to do this week to stay healthy?

Feel free to comment here, tweet, or pin your progress!

Cheers!

Please note: I am not a health professional. I am not a trainer or dietician. I am a fitness enthusiast. If you embark on a new fitness or diet regimen, please consult your doctor and pay attention to your body and health. This is a social challenge to encourage health and fitness through the holidays. Your choice to participate is not the responsibility of Committed LLC. 

Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge 2013

I’m noticing a bunch of traffic to last year’s challenge, which mean’s it’s that time again!

Yes, it’s the Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge, 2013 Edition!
Beginning December 2nd, I’m giving you weekly challenges to conquer the holiday temptations and to maintain your health and weight through the season. Final weigh-in is on JANUARY 6, 2014.

Melting Snowmen Cookies

You might feel like this after a hectic holiday season. Melting Snowmen Cookies via http://www.jeannebenedict.com/

BACKGROUND:
Every year, I gained weight during the holidays. Some years, it was ridiculous (yes, 14 pounds in 12 days. I did that.) I became so sick of it because DAMNIT, I worked so hard all year long, then totally blew it in the span of a few weeks. My friend and I started a challenge about 5 years ago: to maintain our weight throughout the holiday season. I think trying to LOSE weight over the holidays is unrealistic, so this challenge is designed to force you to embrace a healthy habit every week despite being surrounded by indulgences. Every year I’ve done it, I’ve actually lost weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It’s pretty simple, but not necessarily easy.

You can do this alone, or with friends, family, and coworkers. We’re getting a later start this year, but I’m carrying the challenge through the week after New Year’s to give you a chance to keep those good habits beyond the holidays! Continue reading