Monday, December 31, 2012

Set a Small Resolution

It's December 31, and the New Year is upon us!  What big plans do you have for 2013?

I've got some big plans and SMART goals, but I'll be tackling those on a monthly basis, so my focus is honed and strong.  But are you setting year-long resolutions?  If so, I dare you to make them small

Cookies for tonight!
First of all, keep up your existing goals!  The new year is an arbitrary day to begin, but it does feel like a fresh start, so we like to put all this weight on the new day and the new year.  There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't ever not set or fulfill a goal just because it isn't a new year or a Monday.  

For year-long resolutions, I think small is the way to go.  Keep it simple!  I think of resolutions less as a big goal to be "attained" and more of a vow to improve something about yourself or your habits.

Last year, I resolved to make my bed every morning. Done.

This year, I'm setting some similarly small resolutions.  One is to quit chewing gum.  I'll get into the why and how of it in a later post, but I think it's a smart, simple resolution that, given a year, I should be able to achieve.  I'm not quitting cold turkey, but I'll limit the amount I can have each week until I no longer need it at all. (This also isn't to say I'll never ever chew it again, but I'd like to kick the habit; I really have too much.)

Another small resolution I'm making is to do a pull-up.  That's it--just one.  If I end up doing more, great! If it's just the one, that's fine, too. It was at CrossFit in November that I discovered I couldn't do one without a band for assistance, so I hope to work my way up to pulling up my body weight and lowering it back down.  (I may also need gloves, because bar days always destroyed my hands!)  I admit, this is more of a "goal", but I resolve to actively work toward it.

What small resolutions are you making for the new year?

As I've mentioned, I also have several goals for 2013, but I'll tackle those with you each month.  Setting monthly goals keeps me focused and facilitates my success, and I've got a friend who is doing the same, so we'll keep each other on target, one focus at a time!  I don't know about you, but I can't take on too much at once, or nothing will get done!  Pick a few goals/resolutions and give them your full attention. 

 Do you agree? What works best for you?

 All the best to you and yours for a Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Look Back on 2012

Just as important as setting goals is tracking progress.

My 2012 Resolutions were...
  • Make my bed each morning: CHECK! Easy.
  • Stretch each night before bed: CHECK! I like this. It's one step that tells me, "Okay, it's time to relax and sleep."
  • Eat 6-8 servings of fruits & vegetables daily: .... Half credit?  This started out pretty well, probably through about August or so.  But then life got busy and crazy, and some weeks I got PLENTY of vegetables, but other weeks I did not.  It simply wasn't my focus of attention. 

  • Sleep 7-9 hours each night: CHECK! 
  • Drink water: CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!
  • Run 3 times per week: I'll give myself a CHECK here.  This was going strong up until the past month or so.  Between work and finals and the holidays and the cold, rainy weather, I've not been running 3x/week, although I have gotten at least once a week.
    • Run 600 miles in 2012  DailyMile Challenge: NOT accomplished.  Note, I'm not saying I failed, because I did my best and can still honestly say that I'm proud of myself.  I ran a lot last winter, but, early on, realized that 600 miles--50 miles per month--was unattainable for me based on my fitness goals (which go beyond just running) and my schedule.  So I didn't reach the arbitrary goal (a challenge extended by someone else) of 600 miles, but I did run more than half of that.  I ran 350 miles!  For me, a girl who, not so long ago, could hardly run a mile, 350 miles (including two 5ks and a nonstop 3-miles) is a victory to be celebrated. 

  • Reduce added sugar intake, dairy consumption: CHECK.  This isn't a perfect 100% removed, but that wasn't the goal.  I've definitely reduced consumption of these two.  Although I didn't know it when I set this goal, I'd be overhauling my entire diet in 2012.  It began with my month-long paleo experiment and continued onward and upward, as I incorporated paleo principles into my everyday life.  For more information on paleo, click here.  
    • I certainly reduced my dairy consumption.  I was already rarely having milk, but I used to have cheese every day. Now, cheese is a treat that I have on occasion.  My only regular intake of dairy consists of Greek yogurt and grass-fed butter.  That sounds A-okay to me! 
    • As for added sugar, I know I reduced it based on the (mostly) elimination of processed/packaged foods from my diet.  The sugars that were hidden in snacks, breads, etc.,--those are all gone.  My main battle with added sugar still remains in the form of chocolates and sweets. My sweet tooth has taken over in the past couple months, as my "I deserve it!" after a stressful day. This still leaves room for improvement in the coming year.

  • Eat meals sitting at a table: 95% Check.  I do this most of the time.  Even breakfast, which I used to grab and go or eat while getting ready, I've taken the time to sit down and enjoy in the morning.  I say 95%, though, because there have been times where I ate standing up or while on the move.  Just bein' honest! 
  • Clean, organize, scrapbook: CHECK!  I've cleaned, tossed, donated, organized, MOVED, and so on.  However, that's always a work in progress, and is ALWAYS on my list of things to do.  Things pile up, and require a clean-out again. As for organizing and compiling my photos, I have made progress on this, and am happy :)  It's always good to include something on your list that you ENJOY, not just that you think you should do. 

I set a LOT of goals, and not all were fully accomplished. Some were consciously abandoned (by the summer, I knew that 600 miles in this one year would be unreachable for me), while others were simply forgotten (vegetable servings).  Am I thrilled about this?  No.  But will I dwell on it or feel like a failure? Absolutely not!  I had plenty of accomplishments this year, tried SO MANY NEW THINGS, and so I can look back on these with satisfaction.  I'm glad I set high goals for myself, but I recognize that sometimes changes are necessary, and I'm okay with that. I'll simply do even better in 2013!

This year, I'm going to set a monthly focus rather than a year-long vow.  I may still make a couple year-long resolutions, but I'd like to work on my self-improvement on a monthly basis, so it's more tangible and doable.  Overall, the aim will be to be my greatist self!

So what will these new resolutions be?  Come back in the new year to find out!

How did you do on your 2012 Resolutions?  What goals or achievements have you accomplished in the past year?  Go ahead and BRAG! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have a Happy Holiday!

Just writing to wish you and your family a warm and happy holiday season.  Whatever you celebrate, make the most of it and spend it with those you love, doing things you enjoy.

I don't have much else to say, so I'll share a few happy holiday posts from others:

     Follow these Christmas Care Instructions from Melissa Joulwan.

     Get your holiday giggles from Courtney.

     Jenn shares a scene from the best holiday movie.  SMILE!

So relax! Enjoy! Keep calm and...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dance!

Jabbawockeez is a hip-hop dance crew that made it big after winning America's Best Dance Crew's first season.  They're an international sensation, celebrated for their innovative choreography and engaging performances.  Now, not only do they showcase their own talents on video, but they use their knowledge to help get you on your feet, dancing just like them:



Well, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the idea.  So if you're ready to work on your hip-hop skills, Jabbawockeez is coming to a living room near you!


In their "School of Dance" instructional dance and fitness DVD program, the dance team members give step-by-step lessons that create some really impressive dance combinations.  Through learning the moves, you also get lessons in...
(1) Coordination & Balance
(2) Syncopation & Timing
(3) Musicality & Rhythm
(4) Groove
(5) Flow

... all while working up a sweat, of course!



The First DVD, "Top Rocks," really eases you in.  If you're a beginner, no need to fear!  The pace was almost too slow for my taste, but, then again, I'm no hip hop dancer and certainly benefited from the instructional pace.  From there, you learn and improve, working your way up through the lessons as you grow as a dancer!

Each DVD not only has the hour-long Dance Breakdown itself (instruction), but also other 10-minute lesson features, plus a video of the entire Jabbawockeez crew performing the dance to music.  Seeing them do it is pretty amazing; there's a reason they won America's Best Dance Crew!!

The one thing I wish the instructional portions had was music.  Back when I took dance classes, I could always learn the combinations by matching each move to a lyric or portion of the song.  Learning the dance moves without music to start was a bit frustrating for me, but the incorporation of a steady beat later on helped a bit.

If you're looking to learn to dance, to impress your friends at a party, to get your body moving, or to improve your coordination, posture, and balance, this is a great program to follow!  With five DVDs, there's plenty of variety and you're sure not to get bored.  Who doesn't love to dance?  (If your answer is no, then you know what I'm saying next -- TRY IT!  I dare you.)

Click here to learn more about Jabbawockeez!

Whether you follow along with the DVD, hit up a dance club with your friends, or blast the music in your bedroom for a solo dance party, I dare you to DANCE! 

Do you enjoy dancing? Have you ever tried hip-hop?
What types of at-home DVDs do you like the most?

Disclaimer: I was sent the Jabbawockeez DVDs free of charge, but the opinions expressed above are all my own.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bulu Box

Whether you're looking to sleep better, energize, lose weight, gain endurance, or build muscle, there are supplements out there that claim they can help.  Maybe you're interested, but don't want to purchase a whole package without knowing whether the product is actually effective.  This is where Bulu Box comes in.

Bulu Box is a subscription service that provides you with a box filled with 4 to 5 nutritional supplements from top brands.  Each month, a new box is delivered with a new variety of vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition, meal replacements, digestion aids, natural remedies, herbs, and beyond.  When the company offered to share a sample box with me, I agreed, always ready to try something (or in this case, many things!) new.  


When the box arrived, it was basically I expected in terms of the sample sizes.  There were a number of items inside, all in a trial size or containing single-package. Just enough to try out the item to see if it meets your needs and helps you achieve your goals.  The mix was a nice combination; seemed like there would be something for everyone, although a single person might not necessarily want to use them all.  I suppose that's how these boxes work! 


These Neuro Edge powders sounded interesting.  They're meant for mental focus, so I tucked them away for when I do work.  However, I've forgotten about them and have yet to actually try it out. Whoops! I was never one for this type of supplement, but we'll see.


There's also Raspberry Ketones, which are very popular for weight loss; they flew off the shelves when Dr. Oz recommended them for fat burning.  From my little research, they seem harmless (unless you're diabetic or have high blood pressure--consult your doctor!), even if not helpful, so I added them to my vitamin regimen but haven't noticed changes in my appetite, though I didn't take them routinely, twice a day as prescribed.


I have noticed changes in my body, but I think that's more due to CrossFit and cleaning up my daily eats. My guess: These (like many other supplements) could be a useful aid for fat loss, in the presence of changes in diet composition and exercise routine.

Next up, a few fitness aids.


Hawaiian Coconut Energy: These instant drink packets basically turn water into coconut water... like magic!  Tasted like regular coconut water, and did, in fact, wake me up for the workout I was off to do.  This could have been from the coconut part, or could have simply been the hefty glass of water. Either way, it tasted alright.  Instant coconut water.

There was also an Octane endurance drink supplement that I didn't use, because I don't really participate in endurance athletic events. 

This ShowerPill Athletic Body Wipe was interesting and kind of useful.  I always prefer to go to the gym at a time when I can come home and shower after, but every so often my schedule is tight, and if there's a scheduled class I really want to go to before another appointment, the shower may have to wait.  


This happened this week, when I went to a CrossFit class immediately before going to class.  The wipe worked better than I thought it would. The damp towel inside didn't smell funny, and didn't leave me sticky, which I was worried about. If you like to squeeze in a run or workout in the middle of your day, the Athletic Body Wipe can wipe you down and tide you over until you're able to shower later on.  

Lastly, there were plenty of discount and freebie card and coupons in the box, as well, to purchase more of any of these products if you decided you liked one of them.  That's a nice way to continue trying out the product without paying full price. 

So, if you're interested to see what's out there and get a monthly box of wellness samples, go on over to BuluBox.com and sign up!

Do you use any of these items? Which would you want to try the most?

Dislaimer: The box of supplements was sent to me free of charge, but the opinions expressed above are all my own.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Read critically

I'm a little late on this, but I recently stumbled upon the March 2012 edition of TIME FOR KIDS.  Intrigued by the cover story ("Sugar Overload!"), I took a look inside.

Source: Time for Kids

I was pleased to see health issues taking center stage in an educational children's publication.  The article starts off like this, explaining how sugar is hidden in a lot of foods we might not expect (like sauces and crackers), in addition to those we already know (like candy and soda).  TIME encourages kids to search labels for the many aliases of sugar, consider the amount of sugar in various food products, and maybe think about cutting back.

All good, right?

While I do applaud TIME's effort at helping young people identify added sugar and think about its unhealthy effects in their body, I was sorely disappointed with the article's lack of attention to what IS healthy.  The well-intentioned writer warns students all about the unwanted "Sugar Overload" and displays the shocking amounts of sugar in some of their favorite packaged foods, but...

  Not once does the word "vegetable" 
appear in the article.  

All it would have taken was a simple line at the end, saying "To be sure you're not getting dangerous amounts of added sugar, choose real foods over packaged meals and snacks."  That's it!  Give them something to replace the sugary snacks with.  TIME FOR KIDS completely dropped the ball, in my opinion.  This would have been the perfect chance!  They instill a fear in readers, ("Ahh! Added sugars are in everything!"), but fail to help children learn that whole foods may be the better choice overall. After all, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, etc. that come as they are in nature would make safe choices, if added sugar is the fear.  Instead, the article focused on packaged foods, processed consumables that, more likely than not, do have some kind of added sugar.

I hope that TIME FOR KIDS and other children's publications continue the recent trend in educating adults and children alike about health issues, food choices, and physical activity, but I also hope they focus on what young people can do to become healthy young adults, rather than instill fear without offering proper solutions.