Week 1: Details.
We’re 21 days, or 3 weeks from spring break. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit or break a bad one. Now, with spring just 3 weeks away, is the perfect time to create new, healthy habits!
This is a FREE challenge with a HUGE reward, a healthier YOU! Research shows that healthy lifestyle changes are more successful with social support. Take the challenge with your team, family or friends; motivate each other and keep everyone accountable.
Healthy lifestyle change is a process, you don’t have to be perfect every day to be a success!
Water: 8-10 8oz glasses a day, or take your body weight in pounds and divide by 2, and that’s your specific goal in oz. If you work out or take medication that may cause dehydration, add 12-16 more oz. Does it HAVE to be just water? Nope, sparkling water, decaf iced tea are good alternatives. No sugar, artificial sweeteners or caffeine. Adding a “splash” of juice or a few slices of fruit to flavor the water are ok, but a glass of fruit juice has a LOT of sugar.
Walk: 10,000 + steps a day. Use a pedometer or smart phone app, most phones come with one preinstalled. Aim for at least 10,000 steps throughout the day. If you take an hour-long fitness class that counts for 6,000 steps.
Watch: Practice mindful eating and drinking. What does that mean? Eat only when you’re truly hungry, not when it’s “time for a snack,” or you’re bored. Eat sitting down at a table, not standing at the counter, sitting on the couch or watching a screen or other distraction. Choose whole foods and minimize processed foods, sugar, snacking, and sweetened drinks.
Does your job limit your access to the restroom? A teacher or doctor, for example, can’t leave their class or patients any time they need a quick potty-break.
Here are some suggestions for hydration timing that can make proper hydration work for you during your day.
WoW – Water on Waking. Drinking 12-16 oz FIRST THING in the morning will hydrate you after 8 hours of sleep and helps cleanse and detoxify your organs and glands that have been doing their job cleaning house overnight. Plus proper hydration first think in the morning has been shown to help you with mindful eating and drinking by reducing cravings and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Sip on 24 oz throughout the day. For teachers aim for 3 rest rooms breaks, one before lunch, one during and one after lunch. Work with other teachers to cover your class for a couple of minutes if needed.
After school before heading home drink another 12-16 oz and then 16 – 24 oz over the course of the evening.
Sipping throughout the day with the majority of your hydration in the afternoon and evening will enable you to manage the day time restroom breaks while still getting your 8-10 glasses in.
Getting up to 10,000 steps a day can seem like a daunting task. At first you may think, “oh, it’s no big deal. I’ll just take a lap at lunch.” Then you realize how long it actually takes to get in 10,000 steps.
How far is 10,000 steps? An average person has a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet. That means that it takes over 2,000 steps to walk one mile; and 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles. A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. If you have a job that keeps you on your feet, you’re lucky! Those steps add up and will help get to your total.
A few tips to help reach your goal:
- Park farther away at work, running errands, and the gym. I just love watching people circle for a closer parking spot at the gym just to head in and hop on the treadmill!
- Get up 10 minutes earlier and take a lap around the block before leaving home or get to work early and lap the lot or building. Same at lunch.
- If you’re eating out – chose a restaurant you can walk to.
- Walk the kids to school instead of driving and w.a.i.t.i.n.g in the carline.
- The clocks have sprung forward meaning more light in the evening. Go for walk after dinner.
Remember, an hour-long fitness class counts for 6,000 steps.
If you are stuck in meetings and fall short one day, try making it up with extra steps the next day. Lasting and effective lifestyle change is about progress, not perfection.
What, When and Why are you eating?
This third week we focus on the 3rd W, “Watch”, for practicing mindful eating and drinking. That can and does mean a number of things.
- Avoiding sweetened beverages and minimizing juices. It’s easy to consume extra calories and sugar – even natural sugars, through drinking. Juices lack the fiber in whole fruits so they don’t fill us up, while they have the same, or more, calories and sugar.
- Drink more water to stay hydrated and in tune with true hunger. Often in our busy lives we don’t drink enough water (ahem, week 1) and will feel hungry between meals and reach for a snack, when we’re not really hungry. We’re thirsty. So, try this: if you find you’re hungry between meals, drink 8-12 oz water and wait 20 minutes. Still hungry, then maybe a small snack.
- Minimizing alcohol – try cutting back to only on weekends or avoiding all together. Besides the obvious effects of alcohol such as excess calories, impaired judgement and motor skills – it effects our sleep and organs. You don’t sleep as well and your body processes the alcohol instead of sugars so that actually increases blood sugar and fat storage.
- Mindful Eating: eat sitting down at a table. Cut your food. Chew, one bite at a time, before taking another. Aim for appropriate portion sizes, making ½ your plate fruits/veggies at every meal, avoid second helpings. Eating in front of screens or other distractions can lead to over eating.
- Focus on whole foods, those with out packaging or labels. When you do eat packaged foods look for the fewest ingredients particularly added sugar, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.