Join My Happy Holidays 60 Day Wellness Challenge (It’s FREE!)

Happy Holidays

 

Would you like to have more energy, more fun, and more happiness this Holiday Season? Join me in a free 60-day challenge to make “Happy Holidays” more meaningful. It’s free. It’s online 24/7. There will be surprise prizes throughout. There will be one GRAND prize – three months of nutrition coaching with me over Skype*.

All you need to do is sign up.

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What Will We Do?

Once you sign up, you’ll start getting weekly e-mails with the self-care goals for the week. You will also get tips, recipes, and freebies. Some e-mails will have a contest, a quiz question to answer or other challenge to enter to win. (Winners will be chosen at random.)

This is not a holiday diet. Heck, it’s barely a plan. I won’t tell you “5 foods you must avoid” or any other negative rule like that. If you can’t do it for life, why bother at all?

Our focus will be finding happiness in the holidays by setting realistic goals for my three pillars or wellness: Food, Fitness, and Fun. Tips will be positive, empowering, and actionable. I’ll help you overcome the typical wellness barriers we all struggle with over the holidays. If you aren’t familiar with my non-diet approach to healthy living, read more about my philosophy. Check out what others say testimonials from real clients.

You can ask me anything during the challenge through my Facebook page or send me a private e-mail.

If you’re up for it, you can play an important role in motivating others in the challenge.  If you have advice to share, do it. We can all inspire each other and be there for each other.

If you will be using social media to chronicle your experience, use the hashtag #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Let’s make these holidays truly happy (and healthy) by taking care of ourselves and each other.

Why a “Happy Holidays” Challenge?

“The Holidays” are always an interesting time of year for me. I love the seasons, celebrations, enjoying good food, spending time with wonderful people, hot chocolate, a warm fire, crisp air, and even the seasonal music.

As much as the holidays are about pleasure and enjoyment, I’ll admit that other holiday traditions of mine have included stress, anxiety, fatigue, guilt over what I’m eating, guilt over what I’m spending, guilt over the exercise I’m not doing, and overall bah-humbug kind of feelings.

A few years ago, I secretly decided that this was no way to spend the holidays, especially as a food and nutrition expert. (I’m supposed to be the one to help people, right?!) So I decided to help myself first. I committed myself to squashing the urge to be so judgmental or perfect, trying to live up to some unrealistic ideal of what I should be doing (or not doing). I set some boundaries. I respected myself. I was nicer to myself. I was happier. And most interesting to me, my habits were healthier!

It was the best holiday ever.

I want to do this challenge to help more people enjoy the good that comes with the holidays and let go of the bad. My goal is to educate and inspire you, but really I just hope I offer you tools and solutions to help you achieve the way you want to feel.

Are You Ready to Get Happy?

Sign up below.

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Enlist a Crew

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sending them this blog post and sharing on social media. Social shareables below:

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

* Prizes will be announced on the e-mail list. Nutrition coaching winner chosen at random at the end of the challenge from e-mail list subscribers participating in the challenge.

Time for Happy Hour! (No, it’s not what you think)

A few weeks ago, I taped some interview segments for The OWN Show – web exclusives for the Oprah Winfrey Network (that’s right, Oprah!!). The host of the show and I talked about a variety of health and nutrition issues, but the one theme we kept landing on was the influence of happiness on your health. You can watch the full clips below and comment on the OWN Facebook page!

There’s More to Health than Diet and Exercise

Watch these videos to find out how setting your own “happy hour,” “me time,” and editing your to-do list can improve your health and happiness, without an ounce of guilt.

Happiness & Healthy Choices

Take a Break from the To-Do List

What makes you happy?

I have a busy nutrition and health counseling practice here in Washington, D.C., and one of the things I work on with my clients is identifying things that are more important than weight when it comes to good health.  We talk about bloodwork, cholesterol, exercise, sleep, time management, stress, eating enough protein, fruits, and vegetables, getting some down time, and many other things … but the one thing we always end up talking the most about are the things that make us happy.  Why?

Well, when you’re happy you’re more likely to stick to your healthy habits like getting good exercise and eating well, which in turn engage the hormones and neurotransmitters that influence your happiness.  When your mood is down, you’re more likely to skip workouts, do some heavy-duty emotional overeating, and have difficulty sleeping.

Schedule a ‘Happy Hour’!

happy-47083_640So, one thing I ask my clients to do is schedule a once-a-week “Happy Hour.”  And, no, I’m not suggesting they scope out 5 o’clock drink specials (though, I’m not opposed to that every now and then)!   What I mean by Happy Hour is, I ask them to schedule one hour a week — just one hour a week — to do something that makes them happy.

You can’t cancel it, you have to protect it on their calendar, and I kinda prefer you not make it family-related.

I can just hear some of you now:  but, I’m already overscheduled!  I don’t have an hour!  I have too many commitments!  My family needs me!  My kids need to be driven places!

I understand.  I really do.  I work full-time (and have to travel a lot), I’m a mom, I have a husband I adore and another baby on the way.  I like to see friends, and I like to go do things with the people I love.  I have family far away that I worry about and want to see more.  And, I have a hard time balancing everything my life.  I do.  I’m not gonna lie.

But, I found that if I actually, physically scheduled that one hour a week, I really used it and it made a difference in how the rest of my week went.  Otherwise, I might’ve just hung around on Facebook a little longer, or done some housework, or just paid attention to everyone else but myself.

Practicing What I Preach

I make sure I schedule a Happy Hour every week, just like I tell my clients to do.  I make sure that hour is mine, all mine, and I do different things each week, depending on my mood:quote

  • Sometimes, I go for a walk outside because it helps me feel energetic, and I crave the Vitamin D from the sun.
  • Other times, I’ll watch TV alone in bed.
  • I’ll call a friend and just gab and laugh for an hour.  Laughter supports the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces pain, and promotes organ health.
  • Every now and then, I’ll go out for a coffee with a girlfriend and have a doughnut (or two).  What!  It makes me happy.  Even nutritionists eat doughnuts sometimes!
  • I’ll make a playlist and just sit and listen to songs I love and sometimes dance around.
  • Sometimes, I just take a nap.
  • One time, I spent an hour going through my HUGE to-do list and just crossed stuff off I knew I was *never* gonna do.  That felt amazing and lifted my spirits.

Scheduling a Happy Hour once a week is a great first step toward creating healthy habits that last a lifetime.  The world won’t end if you say “no” to them and “yes” to yourself. This is your Happy Hour and you need it. You deserve it.

Tell me what YOU are going to do with your very own Happy Hour!

Leave a comment below and tell me what you’re going to do during your own “Happy Hour”! Don’t forget to tweet your #HappyHour ideas to @ScritchfieldRD and #OWNshow!

Exercise for the Health of It

Spring is in the air which means its time to come out of hibernation and start movin’! During April I will be promoting the Exercise Attitude Adjustment Challenge! This challenge encourages you to focus on exercising for the health of it, rather than trying to be the next olympic gold medalist! Remember-progress, not perfection-every little bit of effort counts!

We all know that the recommendation is to do 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week for optimal health. In reality, Americans only exercise for an average of 17 minutes per day. So what is slowing us down?

I believe that the key problem is exercise attitudes. Maybe you don’t have time in your busy schedule to set aside an hour for exercise. Or is it that you just can’t get yourself motivated to run on the treadmill? Many of us have unrealistic expectations about the changes we want to see to our bodies. The first step towards being physically active is an exercise attitude adjustment. Get rid of that negative thinking and turn your stroll into a skip!

Staying active is all about making it work for you and your lifestyle. Keep these three tips in mind as you race to meet your exercise goals.

1. Choose activities you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to go on a 10-mile run if that’s not your thing! It may be hard to believe, but some of the activities you probably already enjoy doing actually count as exercise. For instance, daily activities such as vacuuming, gardening, raking leaves, walking the dog, or even just picking up kids toys force us to get up and move. Personalize your exercise by discovering what makes you happy, whether that is dancing, yoga, biking, playing a sport or going for a walk with a friend. One exercise routine does not fill all!

2. Tailor your exercise to fit with your schedule. Making time for physical activity does not have to be stressful. Simple changes can make a world of difference:

  •       Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  •       Park at the far end of the parking lot or get off a stop early on the subway.
  •       Break up your exercise with a quick 15-minute morning yoga session, a 30-minute lunchtime brisk walk, and a 15-minute evening workout video- the combination is just as good as exercising for an hour straight!
  •       Multitask. Walk on the treadmill while returning phone calls in the evening or catch up on reading while on the stationary bike.
  •       On the weekends plan activities with family or friends that gets everyone moving. Organize a family bike ride, embark on a morning hike, sign up for a yoga class with a friend, or go for a swim.

3. Discover what motivates you. Whether you find a workout buddy, sign up for a group exercise class, or invest in a device to track your activity, everyone needs some sort of encouragement. Allot time for exercise on your daily calendar and make it a routine!

Your Turn to Share

Now that I’ve shared the secrets to achieving an exercise attitude adjustment I want to hear your ideas. How do you get motivated? What activities do you do to get moving? Tweet, Post, Instagram or Pin your favorite exercise tips, quotes, or activities to help others get on board!

  • Use the primary hashtag #SelfCareChallenge in your messages
  • Be sure to “follow” me on Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest. I’ll be posting motivations, tips, and responding to your questions EVERY SINGLE DAY.
  • If you have a blog, write about your experience and share those links.

Carrot Cake Recipe from Green Mountain At Fox Run

GMFR_final_logo1-e1364240612911For many people trying to reach a healthy natural weight, a retreat can be a great way to step outside of your environment, so you can learn new behaviors without the distraction of everyday life. While there are a number of weight loss-focused retreat options out there (and some are certainly better than others), I’ve personally been to Green Mountain At Fox Run and can tell you it’s different.

First, and foremost, it’s not focused on weight loss — it’s focused on self care. It’s definitely a place worth checking out, if you haven’t already. For more information about their programs and services you can visit their website at www.fitwoman.com. They help you to learn more about yourself in order to improve your self care, and to help you achieve real wellness (not just in terms of your scale weight).

I encourage anyone to  subscribe to their newsletter or check out their blog — both are worthwhile reads. One of their latest newsletters featured this carrot cake recipe that sounded too delicious not to share. The recipe can be found below, or you can visit their website — enjoy!

Carrot Cake Recipe (Serves 18)

Dry Ingredients:Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  •  2 ½  teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cups canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups grated carrots

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Prepare an 8 by 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. In separate bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar, and oil well.  Slowly mix in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Blend wet and dry ingredients together, being careful to not over mix.
  6. Once blended, fold in the carrots.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan
  8. Bake in oven at 375° F for 30 to 35 minutes.
  9. Let the cake cool completely before cutting.

Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share?

Leave a comment below and tell me what recipe you love to make when you’re craving something sweet. Maybe I will feature it in my next e-newsletter…coming soon!

Enter To Win Free Choice Organic Tea

Share Your Inspiration and You Could Win Tea

I announced this contest in my February newsletter. If you aren’t subscribed, you’re missing out on my recipes, exercise and food tips, and promotions. It’s a quick read. I know you got lots to do, but I think you’ll love it! Subscribe at my website.

Several lucky blog readers will take home boxes of Choice Organic Tea which comes in dozens of delicious flavors and varieties. To enter just leave a comment below sharing your favorite motivational quote. I’ll draw winners at random on March 1st. Be sure to include your blog or e-mail when completing your comment. Good luck! Inspire me with a fabulous quote and you may see me tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it or use it in an upcoming newsletter!

Tea for Relaxation and Energy
teaIf you’re someone who tends to reach for food when you’re stressed, you might consider trying a cup of tea instead. Nothing relaxes or unwinds me quite like a warm, soothing cup of tea. Whether it’s an energizing green tea to start my day or a soothing herbal tea before bed, I’ve never met a tea I didn’t love.

Tea for Health

The health benefits of tea come from the polyphenols they contain which are antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage to the cells in our bodies. Green tea in particular may help prevent atherosclerosis and is also thought to help raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower total cholesterol.

Win It

I love the samples of Choice Organic Tea I tried. I think the chai teas are my favorite. I have to admit, I made delicious chai tea lattes with my fun milk frother from Nespresso. You can win some tea of your own. Leave your positive motivation or favorite quote in the comments section below for a chance to win.

Like, if You Like…

If you are interested in articles, recipes, exercise and stress management tips all free and all for your self-care, then don’t forget to “Like” my page on Facebook

Disclaimer: I was provided with samples of Choice Organic Tea but was not compensated for this blog post or for admininstering this giveaway. You do not need to “Like” my Facebook page in order to enter the contest.