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 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. 

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. 

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.