#HappyHolidaysChallenge: The “F” Word We All Love…FUN!

Happy Holidays

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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The “F” Word We All Need A Little More Of…FUN!

Fun can reduce stress, improve quality of life, and ultimately make you happier. Having fun is especially critical during those high stress times like the holidays. And the holidays are supposed to be, well, fun…right?

But how much fun are you really having, through the holidays and all year? Most people admit that they don’t have time for fun. If either of these two pictures look like you, maaayyyybe we should work on having more fun.

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When “Fun” Is Up, Stress is Down

We get a lot of questions about why we put such a focus on fun in our nutrition counseling practice. We live in such a fast-paced, demanding world where stress is commonplace. All of us deal with stress, and a certain amount of stress is normal. But the problem arises when stress becomes overwhelming and constant. High levels of chronic stress are associated with negative health problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, emotional overeating, headaches, and more.

The holiday season has become one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. Whether it’s the commercialism (and the debt aftermath) or it’s the schedule of all the demanding “shoulds.” I should really go to every person’s holiday party. AND I “should” make my famous carrot cake that takes me 6 hours. Uggghhhh. Hey, if you’re dreading it, it’s NOT fun for you.

You Can Do It Challenge:  Schedule at least one hour of “fun” each week to help keep the stress at bay.

So how can you lower your stress during the holidays? If you’re like me, if it’s not scheduled, it won’t happen. Throughout the 60-Day Challenge, I encourage you to be proactive about actually scheduling time for fun. Your calendar should have plenty of “white space” in it. If not, that’s something to work on. (More about that later in the challenge). Even if your day is packed, scheduling some time for fun – even if it’s 15 minutes – will make your day more enjoyable and often times will also help put things into better perspective.

Finding Your Fun

You really can’t mess this up. Do anything you enjoy. But if you’re out of practice and need some ideas, I’ve got you covered.

  • Do something for yourself. If you take the time to take care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to enjoy the holidays. So take a break, go for a walk, get a massage, buy something new (even under $10 feels like a treat), or take the time to make a lovely meal – and sit and enjoy it with awareness.
  • Try something new. Opening yourself up to new ideas and activities can be a great way to have fun. Try a new cooking or fitness class, see a movie, or schedule a low-key game night. Check out these “fun holiday ideas” on Pinterest.
  • Take a nap! The holidays can be exhausting, and it’s important to recharge your body and mind when you need it most. If you get the rest you need, you’ll be more patient, more productive, and happier.

Enter to Win

VF_MVPlus_HSN Gummy Vite 190ct

Leave a comment below on ways you plan to have more fun this holiday and you could win a prize pack from vitafusion (the #1 adult gummy vitamins) and L’il Critters (gummy vitamins for kids). vitafusion and L’il Critters believe healthy habits should be enjoyable so you will do them consistently. I agree!

I love the taste of these gummies. They are easy to take (especially compared to swallowing a pill) and my family doesn’t complain about taking their vitamins anymore! The vitafusion Plus Hair Skin and Nails (with biotin and leutin) has been great with the season change. My hair and skin is standing up to the dry air! And with L’il Critters Gummy Vites, I know that my daughter has all of her nutrient bases covered.

If you aren’t signed up for the challenge, please do so to be eligible to win. I will draw one winner at random and notify you by next week.

(Disclosure: vitafusion and L’il Critters donated the prize pack and will mail to the winner directly. I did not receive compensation to include them in the challenge.)

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

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

#HappyHolidaysChallenge – Declutter Your Life

Happy Holidays

 

 

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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De-clutter Your Life

Welcome to the first ‘fun’ post of the challenge!  Now, I know de-cluttering may not sound like a blast, BUT an organized space can make a huge impact on your general well being so that you can ultimately have more fun.

When our living/working space is cluttered, our minds tend to feel cluttered as well. This prevents us from being fully present in the moment, feeling happy, and having fun – see the connection now?!

While the act of de-cluttering might seem like work, a tidy space feels great once you’re done!  Plus, it’s been shown that a messy space can increase secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, so cleaning up will also reduce your stress levels.

You can do it challenge: Pick at least one space: home, office, life -wherever- and declutter it. Once you start, you can’t stop.

4 Easy Steps to a Clutter-Free Space

  1. Schedule Time – Whether it’s your office or your living room that needs to be de-cluttered, you are going to need some time to do it.  Set aside a few hours over the weekend or designate a few 20-30 minute blocks of time over the span of a few days. Whatever your schedule is, stick to it.
  2. Gather Supplies – You’ll need trash bags, boxes, and maybe some storage bins to sort all your belongings.  Have these on hand before you start.
  3. Sort, Sort, Sort! – Make 3 piles:  keep, give away, and maybe.  Reserve the maybe for items you are really unsure about.
    • Keep Pile –   Neatly return the items you are keeping to their appropriate spots, or use your storage bins to organize and store them.
    • Give Away Pile – You can donate clothes, appliances, books, and many other items to local charities.  Throw away anything that is broken or no longer working.
    • Maybe Pile – Make final decisions about the items in this pile within a few days – don’t let it sit around for too long!  If you’re having a really hard time deciding, ask yourself what it is that makes you so unsure and what you think the benefits are of keeping it.
  4. Bask in your Newly Organized Space – Once you’re finished, enjoy the feeling of an organized, clutter-free space!  You’ll feel relieved and happier once everything is in its place and you aren’t surrounded by too much stuff.

Get My “Healthy Kitchen” Refresh

Would you like to “refresh” your kitchen? Get my guide for clean and organized refrigerators, counters, and cupboards. It’s a $99 value and absolutely free of charge to you when you sign up for the challenge. If you’re already in the challenge, the link is in your email for 11/10.  If you can’t find it, e-mail me.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.  You’ll get weekly emails, along with my free guide to making over your kitchen with healthy food staples.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

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

 

 

 

 

 

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: Fitting in Fitness

Happy Holidays

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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Deck…the… Halls with Planks and Burp-ees

Fa la-la-la-la

Is it too early for the seasonal music?

Like it or not, holiday season is approaching, and with all the cooking, shopping, cross-country road trips to visit the in-laws, and hosting the family celebrations, where exactly is exercise supposed to fit in?

Usually, it doesn’t. On average, Americans get 17 minutes of physical activity daily when we should be shooting for 30-60.

It All Counts

A common mistake we’ve all made, is to think that because we don’t have the time to put in our “usual hour” at the gym, anything less would be a waste of time. In reality, it’s the opposite. During the holidays when stress can be high, those 15 minutes of movement can make a big difference in maintaining physical and mental health.

One of the beautiful things about fitness, is that it’s flexible. Any time, any place, with just about any piece of equipment, you can find a way to fit in a workout.

Busy holiday schedules are the perfect time to test that flexibility. So how do you fit an effective workout into 30, 15, or even fewer minutes?

The moment you realize your plan to exercise has been derailed, revise that plan.

You Can Do It Challenge:  If you can’t do a full workout, use WHATEVER time you have, even if it’s 10 minutes. 

Constructing Your Workout is Easy

An easy way to maximize your workout time, is to use whatever you have available as your time limit. Just pick three (or however many you want) movements, decide on a set of reps, and try to complete as many rounds as you can in the time you have.

For example, you have 20 minutes to workout. Assuming you take 5 minutes to get in a few jumping jacks and stretching for a warm up, your workout will take 15 minutes.

Using burpees, squats, and mountain climbers, your reps are 6, 12, and 18 (keeping those sides even!), respectively. You have 15 minutes to cycle through the 6 burpees, 12 squats, and 18 mountain climbers as many times as you can. You can do this anywhere!

If you read “burpee” and thought “excuse me, did you just burp?” No, that’s a real exercise and it looks like this. It’s intense. You can modify it down by doing one leg at a time and don’t do the jump. Or ask a fit friend or trainer to show you!

And if that doesn’t float your boat, how about a walk? Why not? It’s movement and it counts. Bringing activity to your errands can be effective when the clock is not on your side.

Get My 5 Moves Full Body Workout

Want my complete anytime, anywhere workout? Join the Happy Holidays Challenge. If you’re already in, check your inbox! It was in this week’s email. Once you join the challenge, you can contact me directly from the welcome email and I’ll send you what you’ve missed.

Tools to Help You Out

If you’re looking for some variety, check out the 7 Minute Workout App and have a workout ready to go whenever and wherever you are. The app provides movement instructions, a timer, and announced and visual cues for easy use during workouts. After taking a look at this app, I’ll definitely be using it for those days I just can’t make it to the gym.

You can get even more out of these body weight movements using a tabata timer. Pick up any free tabata app like Tabata-Timer, and choose just one or two of the movements listed. You can get a workout in as little as 4 minutes, or do multiple tabatas for more volume. Never heard of tabata? It’s easy…a timed period of work followed by a period of rest, repeated as many times as you want. Set the timer and it will do the thinking for you!

Take care of YOU!

Remember, if you’re doing SOME kind of movement, you can’t get it wrong. Making the choice to find time for yourself in a seemingly impossibly busy schedule is an important self-care choice. Taking this time to recharge and refresh will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle your day, and make for an even more enjoyable holiday season.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

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

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!