Welcome to New Year Better You Boot Camp!
Each week, we're going to focus on 3 challenges. Some may seem big and some may seem small but they'll all add up to make you an even better version of yourself. This week, we're focusing on getting moving by adding 3 NEW activities each day, resetting our sugar cravings and controlling our portions with 'Hara Hachi Bu'. An in-depth explanation of all of these goals are below.
Don't forget to set your own goal too! I'm going to give you 3 goals each week but we all have things that we want to work on in life. What is 1 change that you've been wanting to make? Create 1 - 2 goals that are specific, realistic and easily measured. A few examples are "I will skip dessert six nights per week.", "I will read one book per month" or "I will have coffee with a friend once per week." Notice how each goal is very specific so you'll know when you've hit your goal. Remember, this goal is all yours and can be anything that makes you happy.
Don't forget to write your goals on your tracker or on your calendar.
Let me know if you have any questions. Have a a great day!
Boost Your N.E.A.T.!
Challenge #1: Boost your N.E.A.T. daily by adding at least 3 extra movements in your day.
Have you ever heard of N.E.A.T? This is something called Non-Exercise activity thermogensis. Huh? I know. It sounds complicated but it's not really. NEAT describes "the energy we expend for everything that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise". Essentially, the boost in our metabolisms that come from doing all those little activities in our days like sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, going shopping, or even making our dinner.
We may or may not be good about getting our workouts in each day. But, where so many of us get tripped up is when we get home and start working at the computer, scrolling through our phones or watching tv. We may not move for a while.
This week, I'm challenging you to find areas in your day to boost your metabolism, engage your muscles, move your body, boost your brain power and get your heart pumping in ways that may not seem like much but can really add up for our bodies. Commit to 3 ways you can do this each day and then look any other additional opportunities as bonuses.
Want some ideas?
- When you sit down to your computer or watch tv, put a timer on your phone for 50 minutes so that you're sure to get up. Stand up. Walk around. Maybe walk in place for 5 minutes.
- Pick a household chore. Look around your house and pick a chore to do. Maybe it's one you hate to do and this gives you extra incentive? Maybe it's a floor you've been meaning to clean or take out the recycling when it's not really full.
- When you're waiting for something from the microwave or the coffee maker to finish, try doing heel raises, lunges, or squats. Or, simply do arm circles for 30 seconds.
- Commit to taking the stairs each day when you can take the elevator.
- Commit to parking at least 10 spots away from every door.
Again, these may all seem trivial but they add up and can keep your metabolism humming!
Challenge #1: Commit to 3 new activities each day but look for opportunities throughout the day!
Sugar Detox and Reset!
Challenge #2: Reduce Added Sugar Intake to Less Than 24 g of Added Sugar*
After the sugar filled holiday season, this is a great time to reset our sugar cravings. Have you ever noticed that the more sugar you have, the more you want? This week we're going to reset our sugar cravings.
Why? We all know that if we consume too much sugar, we can gain weight. But, too much sugar has other effects on our body as well. Sugar has has been shown to cause inflammation in our bodies and tax our immune system. Studies have also linked too much added sugar to:
- Heart disease
- Worsening of conditions such as depression and anxiety
- Memory and learning difficulties
- Increase in triglycerides
- Lower levels of HDL
- Disrupted sleep
Sugar also tends to put us on a blood sugar roller coaster which causes our energy levels to go up and down. When we're in the low energy phase, we want more sugar. And, as if this isn't enough, sugar has even been shown to accelerate the aging process! Yikes!
In fact, a recent study in JAMA views overconsumption of added sugar as an independent risk factor not only for cardiovascular disease but also for diabetes, dementia and liver cirrhosis. Added sugar does not include naturally occurring sugars that we find in foods like fruit and milk. Rather, the study looked at added sugar in items like soda, candy and other added-sugar foods like bread and pasta sauce.
Why are we concentrating on added sugar? Naturally occurring sugar like the kind we find in an orange isn't as concerning because the orange is also packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. All the good stuff in life!
Tips to reduce added sugar this week?
- One of the big questions I get is, "what do I do if I have a birthday party?" If you have a special occasion like a birthday and want to have a piece of cake, go for it and enjoy it. You can also reduce your portion size, not finish the whole thing or even skip it. I promise you'll still have fun at the party.
- Be on the lookout for sugar's code words on food labels. If it ends in an -ose, say adios. It's probably sugar. Here are a few other code names for sugar:
- Glucose Solids
- Maple Syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Invert Sugar
- Cane Sugar
- Cane Juice
- Corn Syrup
- Add some flavor to your water by tossing some fruit or cucumber in your water. If you like gadgets, there's a product called a Zinger to help you flavor your water on the go.
- Choose unsweetened cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, etc and add your own sweetener. You'll use much less than the food manufacturers will put in the item.
- Use spices like cinnamon, vanilla extract and cardamom to add flavor so you'll need less sweetener
- Craving dessert? Try some berries. If you really need something sweet, top your berries with some 70% or more dark chocolate which has less sugar.
- Are you using sugar as a reward? Notice if you're using a sugary treat as a reward for getting through a tough day or something else that you didn't want to do. If you do notice you're doing this, think of an alternate reward.
- Don't buy it. A great way to make sure you don't eat sugary items is to simply not bring them into your house. Then, you won't be tempted by that Klondike bar staring at you in the freezer.
Here's your challenge for the week. Since we all want to look and feel our best, our challenge is to consume less than 24 g of added sugar/day (1 tsp- 4 g.)*
*The latest proposed sugar guidelines from the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization.
Challenge 3: Practice the rule "Hara Hachi Bu".
Challenge 3: Practice the rule "Hara Hachi Bu".
Dieting does not work. Establishing new habits that you choose without even thinking about it does work. Hara hachi bu is one of those habits.
What is 'Hara hachi bu'?
The island of Okinawa in Southern Japan has been extensively studied because of the longevity and health of the population. In fact, more people live into their 100s there than anywhere else on earth. The Okinawans eat a diet high in sweet potatoes, sea vegetables, mushrooms, soy and fish. Their meals are also time for social interaction with family and friends. All of these factors are thought to play into their longevity.(Willcox, D.C., et. al. 2014. Healthy Ageing diets other than the Mediterranean: A focus on the Okinawan Diet, Mechanisma of Ageing and Development)
The Okinawans also tend to live by the rule, 'hara hachi bu', which means that they eat until they are 80% full. This rule is thought to be another part of their key to longevity and health.
Don't worry, you won't go hungry. Our brains are about 15 - 20 minutes behind our stomachs when we eat, so when we eat until we think we're 80% full, we're probably full. Our brains just haven't registered it yet. The result is we are mindful of our calories, reduce our portions effortlessly and keep our waistlines trimmer.(Culinary Culture Club, Idea Fitness Journal, June, 2014)
Want to learn more about the Okinawan diet? Check out Vegging Out
Challenge #3 is to practice 'hara hachi bu' each time you eat a meal or a snack. Catchy, right?
Good luck with your 3 Challenges! Don't forget to check them off on your tracker.
I'll see you on Tuesday with your first exercise of the day!
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