Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge 2015

I’m noticing a bunch of traffic to my 2013 Challenge, which means it’s that time again!

Yes, it’s the Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge, 2015 Edition!

Beginning November 30th, 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 11, 2016.

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 7 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 ONE 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. Now that I have 2 kids, I’ve put myself on the back burner. Until now. Though we use weight as a measurement tool, this challenge is about HEALTH. Focus on one HEALTHY HABIT just for YOU each week. Yes, you’ll have major obligations, family demands, cookie swaps, and late-night gift wrapping sessions. So it will be easy to say, “I’ll get to myself in the New Year.” Please don’t wait, mamas. Keep your energy, your vitality, and your spirits up by doing this for yourself this year!

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 you’ve established beyond the holidays! Continue reading

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Maintain, Don’t Gain: Wrap-Up (a Guest Post!)

Hey everyone, I’m excited to have my very first guest post. And I’m even more excited that it’s by my very own sister!

Since she was a more diligent MDG-er than me, I asked her to write about her experience with the Challenge. Her account is inspiring me to continue on!

jump for joy

Challenge COMPLETE!

As for my experience, I’m proud to say that it worked for me–with some pitfalls in the middle. I was up SIX pounds right after Christmas, but thanks to her encouragement, and my new FitBit, I was able to turn things around and get active and healthy again. Sidenote: while the measure for success was weight, I realize there are so many other factors to good health. I’ll probably be talking more about those in another post.

Here’s my favorite quote form her account: “Any time I’d tried to change my habits I tried to go all out all at once and would feel better, but would give up after a week. Taking things one week at a time and changing everything each week appealed to my need for variety.” You can read her whole experience below.

From Heather:

It has been so much fun to join the challenge this year. This was my first year joining the Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge and the payoff was far greater than I expected. I had plans to spend two weeks in Seattle with my sister so I thought it would be fun to be on track with her when I arrive. Plus my weight was higher than I’m really comfortable with and the holiday treats were already arriving at work, adding temptation to already bad habits. Maintaining sounded realistic. I had no idea how much I would learn along the way.

Continue reading

Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 6—This is the End?!?

Week #5 of the Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge was total redemption for all my shortcomings to this point. I’d like to thank my sister for taking the challenge seriously (more so than me) and being my partner this week. I was lucky enough to get a fitbit one for Christmas, and it’s already had an impact on how I spend my day. While I’d often take my exercise class and household chores/errands as “enough activity” — aka — “I really need to catch up on the DVR, so let’s count this as good,” I’m seeing that I’m not active enough throughout the day. So it was our guide. We also ate tons of fruits and veggies, picked up juicing, watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (free on hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix: WATCH IT! SERIOUSLY.), ran and walked more than I ever would, took functional fitness classes, and even did this:

Aerial silks class

Aerial silks: much tougher and less graceful than I thought.

The warmup and conditioning were tough, and I thought I wouldn’t have the strength to actually learn tricks! This picture is how I’d like to remember the class, but I felt more like a sweaty belly-flopper who hadn’t stretched her hammies for 20 years.

So even though it was just an exercise and water challenge for the week, we took it to the next level and made it an exercise-10,000 steps-strength-water-juice-veg-clean-eating challenge week. It wasn’t super strict, after all, there are some delightful goodies in our neighborhood. But, being focused and feeling good about our choices made it easier to stay the course. For the most part.

Goodies are ok in moderation

To be fair, our yoga-long walk day included chocolate and beer tasting. Chocolate photo via Eli Duke on flickr.

I’ll admit, the detoxing of it all made me pretty tired and headache-y for a couple of days, but I definitely feel BETTER, if that makes any sense. My mood is improved, I have more energy during the day, and it’s feeling easier to make better food choices. Hell, we actually skipped a trip to the French bakery in favor of making some juice, so that says something. Which brings me to…

This week’s challenge: You pick TWO challenges you’d like to complete this week.

Maintain, Don't Gain Challenge 6

What challenges made you feel the BEST?

By now, trying each challenge one at a time should have given you some idea of what works best for you. I’ll admit, I didn’t make the full challenge any week except for fruit and veggies and exercise/water. I didn’t feel like it was a battle royale to stay on track, and I felt better at the end of each of those weeks. Where I struggled was when I needed to restrict something. Funny thing was, when nothing was restricted, I did it naturally. The minute it was verboten, I blew it.

So this week, my challenges are:

  • 3 days of fitness classes and 3 runs
  • 8-10 servings of veggies and fruits (especially juice)
  • Get my 10,000 steps every day

Since it’s the final stretch and there may be some holiday damage to undo, pick what works best for YOU. What will make you feel great this week?

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

So, if you haven’t already, Print out your pdf and keep track of your challenges 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. 

Maintain, Don’t Gain: Week 5—Happy New Year!

A little late on this week’s post, but hopefully y’all are already playing along. I’m guessing the lazing around, stuffing your faces with leftovers, and running around doing all your return shopping has left you as puffy and dehydrated as me! Let me tell you, last week I was a beached whale, full of extra cookies and stuffing. I did manage to stick to the 10 drinks rule–almost. I lost track at our Christmas Eve party, but I’m guessing I was in the neighborhood of 7-8 glasses of wine. A couple of beers after snowshoeing on Friday, and a beer at the Christmas Panto show at the local brewery might have put me over the top. But what really did the damage was not enough heavy-duty sweat. Though we did get some good walks and movement in, I realize that I’m a bit of a workout junkie. I’m feeling tired, a little cranky (sorry, everyone around me!), and did I mention bloated?

So here we are, on the eve of the biggest night of regret of the year. The day we feel so guilty about all the bad habits we’ve accumulated over the year, and the night we vow to erase all of them in one night. If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of resolutions. Mostly because I don’t think they have the staying power needed to see a real change. Did you know that 84.3% of Americans buy gym memberships in the first week of January? I didn’t either. Also, I made that up. But I do observe a huge uptick in gym activity come January, which makes me feel like a badass, since, “I’ve been doing this all year long! Let’s see how long you keep this up, you Resolution-Makers!” But really, it’s all good. Whatever sparks your inner desire to take up yoga-cycling, or trapeze paddleboarding, embrace it. If you can stick with it through a month that doesn’t end with “-ary, even better.

This week’s challenge: Drink 64 oz of water EVERY DAY & get 5 x 30-minute exercise sessions.

Maintain, Don't Gain Challenge #5

Drink up, and get sweaty!

This is a little dejavu-ey, since we did the exercise before. But since I know you readers LOVE to party, and are hoping to be up to your eyeballs in bubbly by 10pm, you’re going to be dehydrated. And let me tell you, this water thing is the real deal. Flush all the crap out, and get started on that resolution. Even if it’s just for this week.

Again, my apologies for posting this late, but you know you’ve started this one, right?

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

Also, here are the resolutions I make every year. Enjoy:

Committed resolutions

Can you do this all year too?

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. 

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.