Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Health Journey

What make The Health Challenge work?

Probably the biggest driving force behind my success in finally losing weight, and a lot of it,  was that there was an opportunity to win some money. 

Really, that’s it?  For me that was most certainly the first contributor.   The next reason was that it was a simple plan to follow and only cost me twenty-five dollars.  Following that was the fact that I would be on the journey with others and accountable to them.

When I started my first Health Challenge I was easily sixty pounds overweight.  I was healthy but unfit.  I was not as mobile as I would have liked to be when it came to playing with my kids.  My feet and my back also always hurt.

When people ask me what it is about the Health Challenge that makes many people who take part in it be successful I like to point out the following:

1) Drinking 8 cups of water- easy once you get used to it and certainly helped my joints.  I bought a water-bottle that I liked to drink from.  I also drank a full 3 cups 1st thing in the am and always had a full water-bottle with me.  I easily got into the habit of drinking up to 12 cups daily.  And I was a serious non-water drinker prior to the challenges.

2) Staying away from all ‘treats’ except for 1 day per week.  Was very challenging for me because I love my treats.  But I simply saved all my favorite things for my 1 treat day.  It helped me mentally get through the next week, knowing I just had to wait ‘6 sleeps’.  I only purchased snacks for my family that I didn’t love.  This helped to keep the temptations away from home.

3) Exercise- making the time was a challenge at times.  But I did find that I started to enjoy exercising with my kids.  Biking, walking and hiking.  It also got my kids off the couch. The trick was to pre-plan the ‘when’, or it wouldn’t happen.

4) Getting all my fruits and veggies was also a slight challenge in the beginning.  I had always thought I ate enough of these until I had to track them.  I was quickly informed that I was lucky to get in 2 servings prior to the challenge.  I made sure to set myself up for success by preparing all my veggies and fruits in the am.  I kept it simple by including an apple which is always easy to grab.  Also I would chop fresh veggies up and make a simple salad.  If I didn’t quite get enough in, I would drink a glass of V8 Low Sodium Tomato juice.

5) Tracking my food and exercise via ‘My Fitness Pal’ app was fantastic.  It kept track of my calories for me and how much protein, fats and carbs I was consuming.  This helped keep me dialed in to the right foods to eat.

6) The last very positive thing to contribute to my health loss was the tool of Facebook.  Just being encouraged by what others were going through and writing about was very motivating.  The tips were also very helpful.

My hope that everyone gives the Health Challenge a real effort.  Not every week will be as good as the last, but keeping the eye on the end goal is always key.  If the end goal takes longer, it OK.  Just as long as each foot steps in front of the other, week by week, that goal can always be reached.

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