Sunday, November 9, 2014

Challenge Yourself

The 50 Day Challenge starts on Wednesday November 12th.

The basic challenge is simple -- you can read the details here. If you're interested, please join the Facebook page via this link:

In addition to these basic guidelines, I've decided to add another layer ...

When it comes to making lifestyle changes, there are many different ways you can go about it – go in headfirst and give it 100% from the very beginning, make 2-3 major changes and stick with just those, make small changes over a long period of time … it varies and it all depends on you.

The main thing is you need to find out what works for you – in terms of what you like, what your schedule allows, what you can sustain long-term, what works best for your body … Figuring this out isn’t always easy. It takes time and, as I’ve discovered for myself, a lot of trial and error.

To accompany the 50 day challenge, I’ve come up with 50 mini challenges – which are more like things to consider/try over the next 50 days. I know that sounds like a lot, but these are 50 simple things that you can do – without too much extra time, working within whatever budget you have, and without any extra equipment or materials necessary. It’s really important to focus on the small changes you CAN do instead of focusing on things you can’t.

Of course this is entirely optional. I just thought I’d share a list of some things that have worked for me in the past as well as some things that I definitely want to try to incorporate into my daily routine. Sometimes, unless you try something new, you’ll never know whether or not it’ll work for you …

To help you track your progress through the challenges, should you choose to do them, I’ve made a checklist. It’s available on the group’s Facebook. 

Here's the list: 

50 Mini Challenges

Try Daily

1)        Drink your minimum requirement of water
2)        Be smart about your food choices – don’t eat what you’ll regret; don’t refrain from what you enjoy – find the balance
3)        Track and reflect on your day
4)        Stretch for 5 minutes a day

Try Once each Week

5)        Move for a minimum of 200 minutes
6)        When sitting at your desk/the table, check your posture – shoulders rounded and back, back straight, tummy in
7)        Meditate/sit in silence for 10 minutes at least 1 day a week
8)        Drink an extra glass of water today
9)        Cut your soda/caffeinated drink intake by half. If you only have 1 of these types of beverages, then try to eliminate it one day a week
10)      Up the intensity with your workout – whether it is adding a 20 second jog, increasing the weight you lift by 1 kg, going a bit lower on your push-ups or squats, holding your plank for 10 seconds longer – whatever it is you’re doing, try to take it one step further
11)      Do 1 thing a week that is just for you – a bit of ‘me’ time – whether having a long chat with your best friend, taking a bubble bath, or just sleeping in for another 30 minutes – making yourself a priority is important
12)      Set aside 2 hours on a Sunday (or one day that works for you) to plan and organize your week
13)      Eat 1 meal a week at the table and be TV/gadget-free
14)      Eat only 1 starch per meal (e.g. either bread or potato or rice – not more than 1 per meal)

Try Twice each Week

15)      Eat something raw with dinner at least 2x a week
16)      Wake up 15 minutes earlier
17)      Get your workout gear/bag ready the day before at least 2x a week
18)      Skip having anything sweet 2 days a week

Try at least once during this challenge

19)      Set a specific, realistic, achievable health/fitness-related goal for yourself (at least 1; it doesn’t have to be a goal you want to achieve by December 31st – just something that you want to work towards)
20)      Write down your biggest obstacles and 1-2 realistic ways you can overcome them
21)      Have a plan B – if you can’t do the outdoor run you wanted to, for whatever reason, have a backup plan that you can implement
22)      Cut your dinner portion in half – if you’re hungry later, then have the rest of it later, otherwise have it the next day for lunch
23)      Hold your spoon or fork in your non-dominant hand to slow down your eating for at least 1 meal
24)      Don’t buy one of your usual ‘treats’ – go without for 1 week
25)      Eat a homemade 1 more time this week than you usual – whether it’s a packed lunch or dinner at home
26)      Try 1 thing you’ve never done before – it can be an activity, a recipe, a new route to work … 
27)      Eat with a 4 ½ hour interval between each meal
28)      Try 1 vegetable you’ve never had before

Try at least twice during this challenge

29)      Make vegan meals (total 2 vegan meals)
30)      Try new healthy recipes (total 2 new recipes)

General challenges

31)      Eat at set times each day
32)      Eat on smaller plates
33)      Half of each meal should be veggies – eat the veggies first
34)      On long busy days, carry a healthy snack and a bottle of water in your bag
35)      Plan your menu and grocery shop accordingly
36)      Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry
37)      At the grocery store, keep your cart at one end of the aisle and then walk up and down to select the items you want
38)      Learn to read the ingredients of the foods you frequently purchase and eat – try to choose the ones with the least number of ingredients and preservatives/artificial flavors – you’ll be surprised at how many natural, unaltered foods there are out there
39)      At restaurants, skip the bread
40)      At restaurants, first drink a glass of water and then alternate between water and whatever other beverage you’re having throughout the meal – sip all beverages slowly
41)      At restaurants, box away half your main meal before starting – or just ask for a half portion to begin with
42)      At restaurants, avoid creamy, white sauces and foods that are fried or covered in cheese
43)      Wash your hands after coming in from outside and before/after you eat
44)      If you sit for a long time, set your timer to go off after 75 minutes, stand up, stretch, take a short walk or do some movement
45)      Think and write down when’s a good time for you to exercise and start working towards it
46)      Find a fitness buddy to support you – someone you can text or call or email when you’re feeling lazy, unmotivated, tempted by something unhealthy – if you don’t have one, drop me a line J
47)      Take the stairs when you can
48)      Park further/get off 1-2 stops earlier and walk
49)      See how long you can hold a plank position
50)      See if you can increase your plank hold by 5 seconds each week

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