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

I Flubber You: Valentine for Kids (& a Printable!)

***Originally posted February 12, 2014***

It’s a last-minute post, but I *just* figured out how to package this up. You’ve probably seen “Flubber recipes” all over Pinterest. The basic idea is to mix Elmer’s glue, warm water, and food coloring in one bowl, and water and Borax in another bowl. When you combine the two, you get Flubber! We made some over the summer, and the kiddo LOVED it. We had it in a tupperware container, and it lasted for months.

As you’ve seen before, I’m a fan of simple gifts that aren’t necessarily food when giving gifts to classmates. I’m just wary of dietary issues, and creating the expectation that all celebrations have to involve sugary treats! (What a party pooper!) But really, I want to give things that kiddo can help make, and that are an alternative to the inevitable influx of candy. (Trust me, I LOVE the candy…) So I thought giving out homemade flubber would be a great gift for 2-3 (or 4 or 5 or 6) year-olds.

Kids love flubber

Who doesn’t love playing with goop?

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Makeover Monday: DIY Greeting Cards a Toddler Can Make

I’ve been meaning to post these a while back, but I figure since Mother’s Day is coming up (hint…hint), I figured this would be a timely post!

I figured out an easy way for your young’n to help make a legible greeting card for any occasion, and it’s quick! You don’t need any artistic skill whatsoever, just a little patience to let the paint dry. The pictures are from a farewell gift for one of my daughter’s teachers. She was wonderful, and was leaving daycare to pursue her advanced degree.

Tutorial: DIY Greeting Cards

Even very young children can make a legible card!

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St. Patrick’s Day with a Toddler

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Mommy loves theme days. A lot. It means cute clothes, fun food ideas, and possibly crafts.

This is what I’d envisioned for our St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick's Day crafts, food, and fashion

Thanks a lot, Pinterest, for filling my head with THESE gorgeous ideas. via: Stretching a Buck Blog, LushHome, whatdoiwear, momtastic, and Etsy

Roll eyes, snort, guffaw…that didn’t happen.

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Free DIY Advent Calendar for Kids

Now that the holidays are over and we’re deep into January gloom, I can reflect on our first Advent-ure with an advent calendar. (See how I did that?) I wish I could tell you that I had a deep understanding of the advent tradition. In my family, it was just a countdown to Christmas. Some years my great aunt would send us a calendar with a little chocolate behind each day, and most years, we’d move a small teddy bear around an advent quilt. Since I didn’t want to get the kiddo all sugared up every night before bedtime, and I don’t have the skills to make an advent quilt, I decided to go with what I know: Post-Its and doodles.

DIY Advent Calendar

All you need is some poster board, Post-It notes, and markers (maybe stickers too, if you’re feeling crafty)

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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.

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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.