New You Challenge: Week 7

It’s week 7….let’s kick it up a notch!

It’s time to bump up the intensity level. It’s time to push ourselves a little more.

I don’t mean go crazy. Going from walking a mile to running a marathon is not what I mean by increasing the intensity. That’s too much. That’s like jumping from level 3 to level 400. What I mean is if you are currently walking a mile in 18 minutes, this week let’s work towards doing it in 17 minutes.

Or maybe you are looking to increase stamina. Maybe this week bump up your workout lengths by 25-50%. If you are putting in 30 minutes a session now aim for 40-45 minutes this week.

Maybe you are looking to increase both stamina and endurance. If so, then alternate. One day go for the longer sustainable workout and the next time go for a shorter time at a faster pace. This is where I am at right now in my journey; trying to increase both strength and stamina.

Don’t forget to keep switching it up. Try new things. Have fun with it. Seriously! HAVE FUN! That is key to making these changes stick. This is a lifestyle change people, make changes you want to keep forever. This is permanent. This is your health. Make the most of it!

Ok, so to recap the challenge for this week is to push ourselves a little bit harder on the fitness front. Personalize this challenge to make it fit your existing routine and decide how you want to change it up. The only focus questions for this week are; did it feel good (don’t push to the point of pain- no injuries please) and was it fun?

Don’t forget to keep drinking that agua, keep practicing mindful eating, get your butt moving and have some fun!

I hope you are enjoying this challenge. Week 8, next week, is the last week and hopefully you have found some new habits or ideas that work for you. Once the New You challenge is over I am going to start up another challenge but this one is a competition. I haven’t decided on all the details yet but the premise is to help reinforce the healthy habits we created over the past two months and keep us focused and motivated on our path to a healthy lifestyle. I’m pretty excited for this one and I hope you are too!

Thanks for reading!


February 11, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . New You Challenge. Leave a comment.

New You Challenge: Week Six

Welcome back New You challengers! I hope you are still here, practicing some of the ideas laid out over the past few weeks. This week’s challenge seems easy at first glance but may be the most challenging to date. For me, this is currently what I am struggling with and have discussed it on this blog before- finding balance. This week is all about focusing on the other aspects of our life not just our diet and exercise. I know this is where I am challenged. I know what I need to eat and how I should be working out but I am just now learning how to find the balance in my life between being a machine who’s only focus is getting healthy and a mindlessly eating couch potato. Trying to find that happy medium between the old Dacia and the new Dacia. This is a lifestyle change, right? So it is just as important that we still make time for hobbies, friends, relaxing, goofing off, as it is eating good foods and incorporating fitness into our routine.

Another key to finding our balance is making sure we are getting enough sleep. For me, that means 8 hours. To others maybe a little more or a little less. It’s whatever your body dictates. I know there are a few of you reading this right now thinking I am crazy to think anyone can get 8 hours of sleep regularly. We just don’t have the time, do we? I know, I know. I have it easy. I don’t have kids. I know that for my moms reading now you are thinking this will never happen and yes, it might be awhile before you can get a solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep so for you I can only say do your best. Set yourself up to be successful (i.e. go to bed at a time where you could get a good night’s sleep) and if the kiddo does happen to sleep through the night then you can too.

I do realize that this may seem I am asking too much of you. That you just don’t have enough hours in the day to do it all. That’s why it’s important to journal. Write down what you do every day so you can find wasted hours. For me there are things on my schedule that I need to spend time doing; work, exercise, showering, etc. but there are also things I do that are not necessities; watching TV and  Twitter (sorry, it’s not) are two that come to mind. If I want 8 hours of sleep then I need to turn off the TV, put the phone away, and go to bed. If I want to read a book then I should do the same. But if I want to relax and watch the Biggest Loser (even though that show is annoying me to no end and is totally not relaxing to watch anymore) then that’s what I should plan to do.

The key here is to plan for it. Don’t come home from work and waste those precious hours doing anything mindlessly; make a conscious decision to spend those hours doing activities you want to do. Dinner with a loved one filled with laughter and conversation, having family night with your kids, take your dogs out for a nice long walk, and if you are in a relationship make sure you schedule some bedroom time. I know for me that was probably the most neglected hobby of mine (yes, I just called sex a hobby) and that’s not a good thing to neglect. Yes, you need to put yourself first but not at the expense of your other relationships. Make sure you find that balance so that all of your loved ones don’t ever feel neglected.

To recap, this week’s challenge is about finding balance. Focus on adding hobbies and other activities you enjoy, but may have been neglecting, back into your routine and make sure to get a good night’s sleep daily.

Questions for journaling

How did I spend my time?

What unnecessary activities did I participate in that kept me from doing something different?

Did I get enough sleep? Why or why not? (note the why’s because it is important to develop a repeatable routine)

What am I missing out on/what else do I want to be doing?

Think about these questions, reflect on your answers and try to make some changes in your life that allow you to find balance. No, you will not be able to do everything you want every day of the week but if you prioritize, eliminate/reduce time-wasting activities, and focus on what matters to you most you will be able to find balance. You will end up with the life that you want 🙂

Don’t forget though that while you are focusing on finding balance don’t neglect the other parts of this challenge; staying hydrated (week one), mindful eating (week two and week three)and fitness (week four and week five) as these are key players in the lifestyle you are balancing.

Do you struggle with balance? What do you think will be the hardest part of this week’s challenge? Are there any activities you have been neglected you are excited to start incorporating back into your life?

Good luck this week! Thanks for reading!


February 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Life, New You Challenge. 1 comment.

New You Challenge: Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of the New You Challenge. I hope everyone is doing well and using the challenge to help get healthier. I know I am. It is true, I haven’t been perfect these past four weeks but having the guidelines to fall back on makes it easier to transition back into a healthier lifestyle when I do stray from the path.

When I posted the challenge on mindful eating it was a two-week challenge. Well, the same is true for exercise. This week will be an extension of last week’s practice. Last week we monitored how we felt before, during and after our workouts and the reason behind that was I wanted us to learn whether or not our bodies and minds reacted positively to what we were doing. I know I learned a few things last week like if I think about whether or not I am giving 100% while I am working out I will start to recognize when I am not and push myself harder. For example, there have been times were I finished working out and felt like I could turn back around and do it again because I left with so much energy. So this week when I recognized I was half-assing my workouts I would push harder and every time I left the gym or class I felt like I gave it everything I had.

I also learned that I am not a track runner. I am not a big fan of a treadmill either but will use it once in a while to work on my running.  This week I was out at the track with Paul, who was off running laps around me, while I struggled to figure out how to run outside. It’s difficult when you don’t have a machine to set your pace. I found it very frustrating because I would end up running too fast and get winded and fatigued very quickly or walking too slow. I was a mess. I did a 5K walking/running slower than if I walked it. It’s not that big of a deal really but the reason I mentioned it is because having a difficult time out there will cause it to become harder to make it a regular activity. I know I need to improve, via the treadmill, and build endurance before I attempt to make outdoor running a regular activity. For now, I will reserve for federal holidays when all the gyms are closed 🙂

With that being said, I want us this week to evaluate and start tweaking our routines. Are you finding it hard to push harder/stay motivated during workouts or even dreading them before you start? Try something new, try to find things you love doing. Are your workouts getting too easy? Increase resistance, levels, weight amounts, whatever you can to take it to the next level. Are you not seeing the changes you expect (via scale or measurements) although you are pushing yourself during workouts? Switch it up. Don’t continue doing the same routine week in and week out. Muscle memory people. Once our body learns something it’s time to move on to something new or at least tweak it so that same activity starts to work different muscle groups.

Just like last week the questions are the same:

How did you feel beforehand? Were you anxious, miserable, happy, dreadful? Were you looking forward to your workout or dreading it? Was it hard to find motivation to get yourself to the gym, class, on the track, wherever?

Were you actively engaged in your workout or was your body just going through the motions? By this I mean did you give 100% effort or were you just half-assing your way through? I’m not going to lie- I have done this before. It happens.

How did you feel afterwards? Tired, sore, in pain, happy, miserable- what word or words best describe how you feel post workout?

Don’t forget, this is a cumulative challenge so in addition to changing up our fitness routine we should also be; drinking half our body weight (or 64, whichever is larger) in ounces of water daily, practicing mindful eating and adjusting our meals/snacks according to our bodies needs, and also practice being mindful of our bodies before, after and during workouts.

We are now half way through the challenge. How are you doing? Notice any changes?

Thanks for reading!

January 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, New You Challenge. 1 comment.

New You Challenge: Week 4

Sorry for the delay in this post. Last week was rough for me. I had the flu and although my flu symptoms weren’t nearly as severe as some of the other people we know who also came down with the flu (no projectile vomiting for me) it was still a big hit to my system, my routine and my habits. I missed three days of work last week and was completely off schedule. I was drinking plenty of water yet I was still dehydrated and would get dizzy spells. It was awful. In addition to being congested, having a sore throat and all the fun that comes with that I also had serious digestive issues. Since I was battling trying to just eat foods that didn’t make me sick I pretty much ate nothing but carbs for three days. I think one day I ate six pieces of toast. Oh, and I didn’t track because I didn’t care. I just ate what my body wanted and got lots of rest. I was pretty weak and run down so I skipped exercising until I felt healthy enough to do so without serious repercussions. Last week was a mess but it happens. Getting sick is just part of life. Now that I am (mostly) better I am getting back on track, back into my routine and back to my healthy habits that keep me going.

So on top of drinking lots of water (week 1), practicing mindful eating (week 2) and adapting my meals to fit my body’s needs (week 3) I will also be incorporating fitness into my routine. Exercise is the basis of the week 4 challenge. In the same manner we have worked to finding foods our body loves we will be doing the same with fitness. If you saw the article in Edmonton Journal that featured my blog post on motivation then you already know that my belief is that you need to do what you love in order to successfully change your lifestyle. It is the way I feel about food and exercise. If you don’t like what you are eating or you don’t like your workouts then you will not be able to sustain that lifestyle long term. It’s why most diets and severe exercise regimes don’t work in the long term.

For this week’s challenge I want us to focus on exercise. Regardless of where you are on this journey it is always good to evaluate your routine. For me, I find that my body responds well to variety and so I like to switch up my workouts. Maybe you are the same way, maybe not. Maybe your body responds well to doing one type of exercise and progressing at it, continuing to challenge yourself and grow. So, this week let’s take some time and focus on our exercise.

Questions for this week focus on the before, during and after of your workout. It is up to you to decide when, what, and for how long you workout. My only recommendation is this: if you are new to exercise start slow (like 2-3 times a week) and build from there. Give your body time to adjust to this change. If you have a workout routine already in place and you have been at it for some time then for this week don’t change it. This week follow your workout routine as planned and focus your attention on the following questions.

How did you feel afterwards? Tired, sore, in pain, happy, miserable- what word or words best describe how you feel post workout?

How did you feel beforehand? Were you anxious, miserable, happy, dreadful? Were you looking forward to your workout or dreading it? Was it hard to find motivation to get yourself to the gym, class, on the track, wherever?

Were you actively engaged in your workout or was your body just going through the motions? By this I mean did you give 100% effort or were you just half-assing your way through? I’m not going to lie- I have done this before. It happens.

As in the previous weeks make sure to journal your responses. Continue to drink plenty of water, practice mindful eating and make necessary dietary changes based off of how your body reacts to the food you are eating. This is an ongoing process and it is important to continue to tweak and modify as needed. Throughout these 8 weeks we are trying to find the best foods and fitness for our body that will help us becoming healthier in 2012.

Good luck!

Thanks for reading!

January 23, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, New You Challenge. 3 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week 3

Welcome to week three of the New You Challenge. This week we will be building on the foundation we began to set last week with mindful eating. How did last week go? I know I struggled with my journaling and although most days I still practiced mindful eating and paid close attention to my hunger scale there was one day, my anniversary, where I ate too much. By too much I mean I kept eating even after I was full. It wasn’t too bad, it was probably only 4 or 5 bites past full. Yes, that is a big improvement from how I used to eat a year ago but knowing I am full and still continuing to eat is a sign that I must continue to work on how I am eating. I’m a work in progress and I am okay with that.

Last week I had said we would start to practice mindful eating with the foods we would typically eat. I didn’t want for us to start changing up our diet without first finding out which foods were good for us and which weren’t. Everyone is different so I expect that this past week we all had different experiences with our food. For week three I want for us to start tweaking out meal plans. Let’s start incorporating more of the foods our body loved and less of the ones it didn’t. Let’s start planning meals that help us accomplish other goals we set for ourselves. Planning to workout at night? Plan a dinner based around foods that will give you the energy you need to get you moving and sustain you throughout instead of a heavy meal that will make you feel sluggish and lethargic. The foods that didn’t work for you last week should be limited or removed entirely from this week’s meal

Don’t forget that we are still drinking half our weight (or 64, whichever is more) in ounces of water daily as well as continuing to practice mindful eating. Remember to try to journal your responses to last week’s questions: who, what, where, when, why and how, the hunger scale, portions/moderation, and mindfulness every time you eat. Take note of the foods that not only taste good but are good for you, too. Those are the ones we should be eating almost all of the time.

I hope you are doing well in the challenge and that you are learning more about yourself and your body as we progress. I know we are only two weeks in but have you noticed and changes or learned anything new since you’ve started? Any surprises in foods you found to be bad for your body or any patterns in your eating habits you hadn’t realized? I would love to hear feedback if you don’t mind sharing!

Good luck this week and thanks for reading!

January 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Health, New You Challenge. 2 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week Two

Before I get into Week 2’s challenge I want to quickly discuss how week one went for me. As you know, the challenge was to drink half your body weight in ounces (or 64 ounces, whichever is greater) of water and then journal daily about how you felt. I mentioned in my previous post that weekends were always the hardest for me because I am just so busy (opposed to sitting at a desk for nine hours chugging water) and sometimes I forget to drink anything at all for hours at a time.  New Year’s weekend was the exception. Because of this challenge and journaling, I made sure to get in my ounces daily and it really helped especially when January 3rd rolled around and I got my period. I, like most women, hate my period. I get awful cramps and bloat like crazy but I noticed that this time my symptoms were slightly better. I wondered if the water helped reduce the bloating. Maybe it helped flush out any excess sodium making the symptoms worse, who knows. I’m not a doctor so I can only go off of how my body felt. Also, a thought occurred to me yesterday- should I be counting the water I drink at and immediately after the gym? Does rehydration water count? I have always counted it but I am not sure whether or not I should be. Any ideas?

Ok, so that was week 1. I hope you are all having a positive experience so far. Remember, these challenges are cumulative so keep it up with the water this week. It’s a habit I hope you adopt permanently. Please feel free to share any feedback in the comments or with me directly. I would love to hear how week one went for you! J

Now onto week 2’s challenge. I am so excited for this week. This is an introduction into what I find to be the key to healthy eating habits and that is what I like to call mindful eating. This is a big change, or at least it was for me, so we are doing this in two phases. This week we will learn about mindful eating (without changing our diet) and next week we will start making small changes based off of what we learned this week. Let me explain.

The Basic Six

Who: you obviously but is anyone else eating with you; family, friends, co-workers. These people, or lack thereof, play a big role in our eating habits.

What: full meals, snacks, junk food, treats, splurges, whatever you call it what you are eating is a big part of mindful eating. We eat for nutrients, fuel (energy, sustenance, we eat to live. What we eat will determine our health, our immunity, our energy, and our overall feeling of wellbeing but do we recognize that? I know I didn’t.

Where: at your desk, the dining room table, in front of the TV, in your car. Where we eat can easily take us from mindful eating to mindless eating.  Set yourself up for success and recognize the impact where has on your eating habits.

When: I eat ever 2-3 hours. I eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily, sometimes more if I need it. That’s me. We are all different so listen to your body to determine when you need to eat. Follow the hunger scale as guidance (more on that in a bit) and let that dictate when you eat.

Why: did you eat because you were hungry or did you eat out of boredom? Did you eat because your body wanted food or did you eat because you had scheduled this time to eat? Basically, why are you eating?

How: when I think about how I eat I think about speed. Did I eat slowly and think about how my body was feeling or did I eat like a ravenous, food crazed maniac? That was me just the other night, it happens.

For learning purposes it will be easier if we journal our answers after each time we eat but I understand that might not be possible. What if you didn’t bring your journal with you? What if you are under time constraints? It will be an adjustment for all of us, including me. Here are some tips. Text, email, or store your notes on your phone as an alternative method for journaling. Write it on a post-it. Take a picture of your food to help trigger memories later. If you can’t do any of them make sure you at least take 1-2 minutes to think of these answers. Your body will remember if you make a conscious effort.

So, those are the six base questions but there is a little more to my method of mindful eating.

The Hunger Scale

I learned this concept from my friend Simply Sidney. It is from Bob Greene (the Oprah guy) and it just makes sense.

Imagine a scale from one to five—one being full, and five being ravenous. If you’re hitting a three—your stomach’s grumbling, you’re physically dragging—it’s time to eat. Any lower than that, and you’re eating to fill an emotional need, not a physical one.

An unfortunately all too common statement in this house- ‘I’m at a five; I should have had a snack’. This usually happens when I am preparing a meal that takes much longer than anticipated and next thing you know I am sitting down to dinner hours later, ravenous and I gorge myself. I eat too much, too quickly, and I feel it. Gauging your hunger is the foundation of mindful eating and this tool is very helpful when battling food issues.

For me, my obesity stemmed from leading a sedentary lifestyle and overeating.  I wasn’t as much of an emotional eater as I was an all- around eater. I was a grazer. I ate out of boredom. I ate in celebration. I ate because the food tasted so good and I had no control. I ate when I was sad; I ate when I was happy. I had a very dysfunctional relationship with food. Now, I try to stick to eating when my body needs it (at stage three) and do my best to avoid eating at stage 1, 2, 4, and 5. But again, I must reiterate, I am a human and I slip up. But now I have the knowledge to do my best to survive through the ravenous feelings and the emotional eating because  I better understand food and its relationship with my body. Bottom line: my body needs food, not my mind.

Portion Control and Moderation

I say these are the basis of Weight Watchers but these should be the base of any program, diet, health plan. This would be the ‘how much’ question we need to know in order to practice mindful eating. Example: I just finished eating dinner, I feel stuffed. I feel I ate past full and am uncomfortable. I am feeling lethargic, my stomach hurts, and I am going into full on food coma mode. I need to ask myself what (of course) and how much did I just eat. I ate French fries but was that one serving of fries or was it four. Is my body reacting this way to one serving (maybe I should dramatically decrease my French fry consumption) or is it reacting this way to four servings (maybe next time I should eat a smaller portion and see how my body reacts). Do you see the difference? We need to know portion size to really learn how our body is reacting to food and then make changes as necessary.

Moderation is pretty much the same thing although I think moderation also includes emotional eating (eating when we are not hungry) or ravenous eating where we lose control of our ability to recognize fullness because we eat too quickly. With moderation I say start with one serving, eat slowly, enjoy your food and then wait. Don’t jump right up for seconds. Wait and see if you are still hungry. Maybe go grab your journal and write about your meal or snack. Think about how you feel after what you ate; how is your body reacting. Then, if you are still hungry (which is ok-EAT if you are hungry) go for seconds. Make sure you are portioning your food so you know.


Mindfulness is the act of recognizing the affects food has on your body. For me, my biggest problem with eating was that I ate purely for taste without recognizing any negative consequences food was having on my body. Example: I loved cheeseburgers. I would eat them pretty frequently. The after effects of cheeseburgers was indigestion, constipation, laziness (meaning I had no energy to do anything) and fatigue. But yet I still ate cheeseburgers. Why? Because they tasted so damn good. Don’t get me wrong- taste is important. To this day I will not eat foods that I don’t love how they taste. It’s just now I also factor in how food makes me feel. Recognizing the negative effects of cheeseburgers on my body made it so when it came time to decide on what to eat I would think about how that food made me feel and then decide whether or not that was ok. Cheeseburgers went from a multiple times a week for to a once in a blue moon food.

I want more from my food; my body deserves it. Taste is important but it is not the only thing. I want food that tastes good AND is good for me. I want to feel energetic after I eat, not lethargic. I want to have a strong immune system (built through nutrient dense foods) and not be sick all the time. I also want to have a healthy digestion and not feel so sluggish all the time. These are not unrealistic things; when it comes to food you can have it all. You just have to eat mindfully in order to find what foods work for your body.

The Challenge

For this week’s challenge I want you to eat what you normally eat. Do not change up your foods just yet. This week we learn mindful eating and then next week we will incorporate some small changes into our weekly meal planning.

This week will be a huge change as far as the amount of journaling required but I know you can do it. Just give it your best, that’s all I ask. It will get easier as we progress.

The Questions

Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. You can use one word answers for most of these. It doesn’t have to be super elaborate.

Hunger Scale: Stage 1 through 5

Portions/Moderation: how many servings and at what point did you stop eating

Mindfulness: how did you feel after? Lazy, energetic, crappy, blah, whatever words you feel just jot them down. Feel free to add on too at a later time in case you have some after effects from the food.

Let’s get started on our journey to mindful eating and hopefully in a week from now you don’t hate me 😉 As always, please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or concerns; or @dacialee33

Good luck and thanks for reading!

January 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Health, New You Challenge. 2 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week 1

I’ve been told twice this week in regards to my weight loss; New Year, New You. I like it. It’s catchy. It also makes a great theme for my New You challenge. I call it a challenge because I don’t have a better word for it. It is not, however, a competition. It is a personal challenge that I am starting up, and of course will be participating in as well, in order to help get me to the ‘new you’ I am hoping to find in 2012.

When I first started my journey it was focused solely around weight loss. I needed to lose weight because the excess I carried with me was impeding me from living my life. Not too long after though I realized that I needed to be taking actions that would work towards improving my health and I had to make my health my number one priority. Yes, getting to a healthy weight will reduce your risk for illnesses (diabetes, heart disease) but it doesn’t necessarily make you healthy. It just makes you less of a risk for a weight –related disease. I like to say that weight loss (if needed) is a byproduct of living a healthy life but a healthy life isn’t necessarily the byproduct of weight loss.

Gauging health is difficult, not all of us have access to frequent diagnostic medical exams, so I base my daily/weekly progress on my weight loss (knowing I am lowering my risk levels) as well as how I feel physically. The scale is an easy indication of progress but it’s not the only one and not always the best one either. I like to monitor my energy levels, amount of uninterrupted sleep, regularity (yes, I will talk about poop during this challenge) and my overall wellbeing.

The premise of this challenge is to supply myself, and my readers, with guidelines that will help transition us into living a healthy lifestyle over the next two months. Each week I will present a new challenge and it is up to you whether or not you choose to accept and incorporate it into your routine. The only thing I ask of you is that you start to journal daily. You can write it down or do an online journal- whatever works best for you- because I want you to be able to reflect day to day and through the weeks on your progress and how you feel physically. It doesn’t have to be lengthy either- just enough to answer the few questions I pose with each challenge.

You do not need to check in weekly, although I would love it if you did, but I do hope you come by every week and check out the new challenges. Maybe you don’t want to participate but please come back- you might find some useful tips or advice that can help you on your path to healthiness.

This first week’s challenge is one that requires no special equipment and one that everyone should be able to do. When people ask me what they should do to get started or what changes I have made that got me to where I am today I always tell them to drink water. Lots and lots of water. I told my mom just the other day when she asked what she should do I said work your way up drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day. I am not sure where I heard that you should drink half your body weight (or the minimum 64 oz, whichever is larger) idea but I like it and so I adopted it months ago. So, for me, I would want to drink 91 oz of water a day. I weigh 182 pounds, 91 is half that so that is my goal every day. I’ve been doing this for ten months now so I am pretty good at getting the water in but I will tell you on the days where I am struggling (usually the weekends) I feel it. There are days when dinner time rolls around and I can tell I haven’t gotten in enough water. At that point I try to amp it up but I am not always able to. Recently though I have gotten better and am so used to drinking lots of water every day that it has become second nature. Just like any new habit, it takes time for that to happen so please be patient.

For this challenge, the only thing that counts as water is water. Coffee, tea, soda, juice do not count. If you are not a current water drinker take this next week and work up to the goal amount if needed. Don’t feel like you need to be perfect every day. Don’t stress, just try your best. You need to make these changes work for you so they stick, become habits, and you are able to continue doing them long after these two months are over. This might be an adjustment for you so let your bodies adjust.

This is why I want us to journal. Journaling will give us the time daily to reflect on how we feel physically. I know that this was something I did not do when I first started out. Now I try to be more cognizant of body every day and it has helped tremendously. Our bodies want to heal themselves we just have to let them. So everyday write down how you feel. Did you notice any differences from the previous day? How does drinking water make you feel? How were your energy levels? Were you drinking consistently throughout the day or did you find yourself drinking more at certain times? What else did you drink? Were you annoyed that you had to pee every hour? 😉 Ok, you don’t have to answer that last one.

The journals are private, for your own introspection, but please feel to share any changes or anything you learn along the way and I will too. I have a new journal that I am going to use. I actually got three journals for Christmas (my friends know me so well) so I am so excited to start this challenge.

One thing I will try not to do is preach to you. As the weekly challenges come up you will see that not only are they not restrictive (especially when it comes to food) but they are going to be totally on your terms- not mine. I do eat a vegan diet but that is a choice I came to on my own. You will never be told to do something you don’t want to do (aside from drinking water) because the basis of this challenge is learning about YOUR body and what it wants. I cannot tell you what to eat or how to work out; those are decisions you will have to come to on your own. I can, and will, tell you how I got there and what I am doing now to continue learning and share that with you for each weekly challenge.

With that being said I do want to say one hypocritical thing. Please try to cut out soda. It is so bad for you. I gave up soda early on in my WLJ and it was rough. I had a strong addiction to diet colas but now I don’t touch the stuff. It’s just sugar (or artificial sweeteners) and chemicals. Try unsweetened tea instead. Or water J I drink green tea every morning during the week and on the weekends I allow myself a cup of coffee. I will drink herbal teas or even regular unsweetened tea once in awhile too but for the most part I drink water. 95% if not more of what I drink is water. I look at it this way: water helps to cleanse the body and remove toxins. Why counteract that by adding more in? That’s just my opinion. Do with it what you will.

So there you have it; our first challenge. Let’s spend the next week, through Saturday the 7th, getting in our H2O. Oh, and one more thing before I go. These challenges are cumulative. Meaning week 2 I will post a new challenge for week two that will be done along with the water challenge from week 1. Week 3 we will be doing a new challenge and week 1 & 2’s challenges. Make sense?

Normally I will post new challenges on Saturday but being that it is a holiday I thought I should put this one out there early so that you can read about it and start on Sunday, or sooner if you like. The water challenge is also a great way to undo some of the New Year’s Eve damage you may have done J Good luck and I hope to see you back here next week. If you want to you can comment, tweet, message me on FB or email me ( if you would like to let me know you are participating.

Thanks for reading!

*Disclaimer * These ideas are my own, based off of what has worked for me so far, just presented in a new format. I am not a medical doctor and I do advise you consult with your doctor before making any changes in your diet/exercise routine.

December 30, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Fitness, New You Challenge. 23 comments.