No Foolin’ April Fitness Challenge – Week 3 and 4

by The Glowing Gazelle on April 30, 2014

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As some of you might have noticed, I missed some postings on this challenge. My family had been hit with a terrible virus going around our area that took us out for almost two weeks. It was the worst one I’ve ever had to deal with. I’ve been putting my focus on just trying to keep up with the daily things going on so I apologize for the delay in this posting. But with that said, here’s my latest update:

Week 2 I gave you a few more new tasks and here’s my progress for each:

1) Make one new change this week to your normal meals/snacks, focusing on a healthier change. (Make sure you check with your Dr. before making any new changes!) – Even though we were sick, I did pay attention to the snacks that we were eating and did what I could to make mine healthier choices, especially any that were eaten later in the day! My main change was trying to cut back on any excess sugar.

2) Watch your habits when you cook in the kitchen. – I put a lot of focus on what I was eating while I was preparing our meals. If for some reason I couldn’t stop nibbling on things as I was chopping them up, I made sure to cut back on what I dished out on my plate at mealtime to counteract it.

3) Start a Food Journal. – I get a big fail on this one but to be honest, our meals were so bland that I didn’t even want to log them. We ate a lot of chicken noodle soup, crackers, applesauce, etc. I know for a fact that our meals weren’t nutritionally the best BUT they did keep us from feeling ill so to get off track for a few weeks is OK with me in this situation!

And now moving on to Week 3-4 as I’m combining them. Oddly enough when I planned this series I had only designated one new thing for the last 3 weeks.

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A) Add in 1 day of 1 new exercise. Try to keep it simple at first, especially if you aren’t very active right now. Maybe try some yoga, Tai Chi, walking, etc.

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B) Set aside one day each week for a “fun food day.” This can be whatever you want to make of it. Some ideas: themed meals, “letter day” (where your meal all starts with the same letter), “try something new day” where you eat a food you’ve never had before, etc. It can even be as simple as “Taco Tuesday.”

I’m hoping that these will add a little more fun and energy to your week. Remember, you still need to keep up with the tasks from the first 2 weeks, too, which are:

~Drink More Water
~Start a Journal (for goals, dreams, daily shares, etc.)
~Keep track of weekly weight/measurements
~Make one new change each week to your normal meals/snacks, focusing on a healthier change.
~Watch your habits when you cook in the kitchen
~Start/Log a Food Journal

I’ll check in with you soon with an update and with next week’s new set of baby steps!

Disclaimer: Never start a new exercise/diet regimen without consulting your Dr. first. Tips are to be taken as suggestions and not promises of guaranteed results.

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No Foolin’ April Fitness Challenge – Week 2

by The Glowing Gazelle on April 10, 2014

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Hard to believe a whole week has flown by since the last posting. For those of you just tuning in, you’ll want to read the First Week post before you proceed.

Before I move on to Week 2, I wanted to share what I did last week:

1) Drink more water. – Boy did I ever drink more water! We have a water cooler and I added so much water intake that we went through our supply that is normally more than than a enough for the month…3 days earlier than normal!

2) Start a journal. – The journal I ordered online took a few days longer than I expected to get here but it was worth the wait as it’s perfect for logging little daily notes. I’m just getting started on my entries but I’d rather be a few behind and have a nice journal that will encourage me to continue.

3) Log your weight and measurements; such as arms, legs, waist and hips. – Got these done. I’ll be adding them to the journal now that it’s arrived. I am notorious for losing small slips of paper so it’s nice that it will all be in one place!

And…moving on to Week 2. Now keep in mind what I said last week: this is a slow progression and just a month of focusing on small changes that will hopefully lead us to focusing more on our health. With that said, here are the challenges for Week 2:

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1) Make one new change this week to your normal meals, focusing on a healthier change. (Make sure you check with your Dr. before making any new changes!) Some things to consider:
~Adding a meatless day to your weekly meal plan and getting protein elsewhere, such as beans.
~Switching one lunch (or two) a week to a healthy salad with toppings that you like, such as berries, nuts, fruit, chopped veggies, etc.
~Adding no extra sugar/salt to your meals, if this is a current habit of yours.
~Cutting out all refined sweeteners. (This is a hard one as sugar/sweeteners are in everything these days!)
~Swapping out one beverage (such as pop/soda, sugary drinks, etc.) for a glass of water.
~Adding more fruit/veggies to your daily intake.

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2) Watch your habits when you cook in the kitchen. Are you constantly nibbling while you cook? Work on changing this habit as it can lead to a lot of extra calories without you even noticing.

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3) Start a Food Journal. Now this can be combined with the journal you are already keeping or you can keep it separate, either in a book or via an App/online such as MyFitnessPal. I started using that App a few months ago, randomly but not consistently, and on the days I logged my food I was shocked quite often at what was actually in foods I thought were healthy and/or what vitamins/nutrients I was lacking or what things I was over on at the end of the day. This is also a great way to notice a pattern of any foods that might trigger a negative reaction to your body.

So those are your 3 new challenges for Week 2. Don’t forget…you still need to keep up with the 3 you started for week one.

I’m hoping that these little baby steps will help you focus on a little bit of a healthier lifestyle.

Disclaimer: Never start a new exercise/diet regimen without consulting your Dr. first. Tips are to be taken as suggestions and not promises of guaranteed results.

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No Foolin’ April Fitness Challenge – Week 1

by The Glowing Gazelle on April 2, 2014

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It seems like, for most of us, when we set out to live a healthier lifestyle and/or get a bit more fit that we start off trying to tackle it with full-force as we are overcome with so much excitement at what we expect the future outcome to be. And then a few weeks later, the excitement for this new adventure may dwindle because the results didn’t compare to the gusto that was originally put into it.

I’ve found myself re-living this many times since I’ve had my kids. Until last year, that is. That’s when I decided that baby steps were the way to go. I’d make small changes and stick with them and slowly add a few more things as I went along. Before I tried this way, I didn’t see the scale budge. But over the course of time with this new way I saw the scale show a loss of nearly 10 lbs. That may not sound like much but it’s huge when you finally see results happening. I’ve also found little changes can make a big difference when it comes to what we put into our bodies, as far as food. And I’m finally ready to put even more focus on all-around health.

This is Week 1 of the No Foolin’ Fitness Challenge. And like I promised in the intro–the baby steps each week will be fairly simple. Just small things to get us in the swing of seeing a few changes and building up some confidence.

So here are the things I’m going to give you as “challenges” for the first week. I’ll explain each further down in the article.

1) Drink more water.

2) Start a journal.

3) Log your weight and measurements; such as arms, legs, waist and hips.

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DRINK MORE WATER
If you haven’t read it already, read my post on The Importance of Water. This might help you get a little understanding of why it plays such an important role in our fit lives. Drinking water doesn’t have to be a boring task. Check your stores to see if you can find a Water Infuser Bottle as they are a great way to be able to add things such as lemons, berries, cucumbers, etc. to add a little natural flavor to your daily water consumption. If you do pick one up, I highly recommend the ones with the infuser on the bottom as they continuously add the flavoring.

Try to set little daily goals for finishing up a glass(es) of water such as making sure you have one gone by each meal/snack time.

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START A JOURNAL
I think one of the biggest reasons that we fail to stick to our healthier paths is because we often lose sight of why the journey was so important to us to begin with. So when you begin your journal what I want you to do is to keep the entire first page to nothing but the reasons why you are on this journey. Perhaps add a few ideas of little goals that you’d like to achieve.

Don’t forget to take a few times during the week to write down how you are feeling and the things you are having success with and the things that you need a little more work on.  If something good happened to you during the week, make sure you write it down. You could even keep these good things in a separate part of the journal so you’ll have things to read that will make you smile on the bad days.

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LOG YOUR WEIGHT AND MEASUREMENTS

One of the biggest fails people make when starting their fitness journeys is to become obsessed with their scales. I remember back when I was doing Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred. Had I not taken my measurements before I started on that workout I would have been increasing frustrated with the outcome. Throughout that month, I didn’t lose much weight but I lost several inches all over and I gained so much strength. The important thing to remember is that muscle weighs more than fat and that there are other factors when determining your success such as increased strength and energy. So while your scale may not be going in the direction you want fast enough, remember to have patience. You’ll get there.

I’m hoping you’ll take some time this week to focus on these little baby steps. These few things are going to play big roles in keeping you healthier and on a positive path.

I’ll check in with you soon with an update and with next week’s new set of baby steps!

Disclaimer: Never start a new exercise/diet regimen without consulting your Dr. first. Tips are to be taken as suggestions and not promises of guaranteed results.

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New Series: No Foolin’ – April Fitness Challenge

by The Glowing Gazelle on March 31, 2014

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In the past I’ve usually done a “Marching into Fitness” Challenge either here or on Coupon Geek. For some reason, March seems to have gotten away from me and tomorrow will already be April. So this year, I’ll be doing a “No Foolin – April Fitness Challenge.”

The purpose of the challenge isn’t to shed excessive pounds over the course of the month but to merely help us all bring a little more focus on our fitness and health.

Each Wednesday in the month of April I’ll be sharing some new goals for that week. They will be fairly small goals and here’s why – we must continue to do the ones we achieved in the weeks prior, as well. By the end of the month, we should have 7 or so new things that we have incorporated into our lives.

This challenge is merely meant to be fun as I am by no means a doctor or a nutritionist. So I must throw out to you this word of caution – never start a new diet/fitness routine without consulting a professional doctor first. I know we read that a lot but it truly is important as we want everyone to stay safe while having some fun.

I’m hoping you’ll join me in this latest adventure!

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Brainstorming Solutions to Stresses: Time to Myself to Recharge!

by The Glowing Gazelle on January 10, 2014

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In case you missed it, you can read this post to see what this series is all about.

One of the hardest things for me is to try to find time for myself. This was even difficult back before I became a parent and had even more available hours in the day. While I think it is definitely important to help others I think it is also incredibly important to take time out for ourselves. I often find that when I do take a time-out and even find 15 minutes during the day to do something I enjoy that it gives me a renewed sense of energy to keep up with the kids or to conquer something on my to-do list. I whole-heartedly believe that I am often an even better mother when I give myself a little time to unwind.

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Here are a few of the ways I’ve come up with to try to help me make sure I make time to recharge:

1) Swap “free time” with my spouse. Make sure that each month each of us gets a day or even a few hours to do something that we love. The other person also gets a reward as they’ll get some quality one-on-one time with the kids.

2) Set aside at least 15 minutes a day just for myself. This time can be used however I please – perhaps flipping through a new magazine, reading my favorite blog, squeezing in a quick game on my phone, etc.

3) Get in the habit of arriving early at school when I need to pick up the kids and sneak in a chapter or two of a book. I kept a book in the car last school semester and looked forward to that time daily to see what happened next in the book. Even though it was difficult, I didn’t allow myself to bring the book inside at all until I was done.

4) Walk! Walking is such a great way to get in a little exercise and clear the mind of worries and stresses. Make it fun by bringing a camera and snapping some great nature pictures.

5) Keep pen & paper handy near my computer and in my car so I can have them handy when I feel inspired to write. Make it a goal to write weekly.

6) Pick up my favorite snack and allow myself even 5-10 minutes a week to sit and enjoy it alone—without sharing for once! (My favorite? Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate Bars!)

7) Plan something special each quarter – a movie outing with my Mom, a nice dinner with friends, a little getaway such as a blog conference or visiting a friend out-of-state, etc.

8) Work on getting more organized – This will help reduce the amount of stress I have and hopefully open up more free time for myself!

9) Set-up a random at-home pampering day each month. Something as simple as a quiet bubble bath, starting a new book, getting time to work on my favorite hobbies, finding ways online for at-home pedicures/facials, etc.

Basically, it all comes down to one thing – Make time!

I’m hoping that these ideas I’ve come up with might help you find ways to recharge, as well.

This is the last in the Brainstorming Solutions to Stresses series. I’m hoping that you’ve enjoyed it! You can check out the Recap to see what you may have missed. Here’s hoping that you can work on reducing the amount of stress in your life so that you can just enjoy life. Time is short—make the most of it!

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