Category Archives: Healthy Lifestyle Challenge

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #23 – Save Yourself Some Time!

Sunday. For me, it’s a love/hate kind of day – I love the fact that it’s still the weekend and we get to spend time doing fun stuff as a family, but I hate the fact that tomorrow is the beginning of another busy work week…Ugh!

So, I CHALLENGE you to:

Do 1 thing today that will help you get ready for tomorrow.

Why?

Studies have shown that when things run smoothly in your morning it lifts your mood for the rest of the day, while stress and anxiety can not only ruin your mood, but your immune system as well. By taking a few minutes to ready something for tomorrow, you’ll have one less thing to have to decide on and make time for in the morning.

How?

Choose one thing that will help  make your tomorrow easier, and do it before you go to bed tonight. Here are some ideas:

  • lay out your clothes and the kids too!
  • plan tomorrow’s dinner
  • make lunches
  • pack your bag
  • put gas in the car

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Enjoy your day! And here’s to a great start to the week!

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Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #22 – Cut Down on Screen Time

This WEEK’S CHALLENGE is to cut down on screen time.

Why?

It’s hard to live a healthy lifestyle sitting in front of a screen!

According to Stats Canada, the average Canadian watches 2 hours and 52 minutes of TV a day. Add to that the hour and 24 minutes they spend in front of the computer and the 2 hours and 20 minutes playing online or video games, and you’re spending about 6 hours and 45 minutes in front the a screen each day.

And let’s not forget about all of the snacking and mindless eating that happens in front of a screen!

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How?

Linit screen time to 2 hours per day.

Establish family rules for TV watching and computer use.

Set clear limits.

Plan TV time – turn on the TV when there is a specific show you would like to watch and turn it off when the show is over.

Plan alternate activities – go for a walk or a bike ride, read a book or play a board game as a family.

Remember, this challenge will last the whole week, so, step away from the computer/iPad/iPhone, turn off the TV, and do something productive!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #21 – Loosen Up!

WooHoo! It’s Friday!

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As we approach the end of yet another busy week, I encourage you to take full advantage of TODAY’S CHALLENGE and….

stretch!

Why?

According to the Mayo Clinic (via About.com Physical Therapy) the top five benefits of stretching include:

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY AND JOINT RANGE OF MOTION
Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes, or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.

IMPROVED CIRCULATION
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste by-products in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you’ve had any muscle injuries.

BETTER POSTURE
Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain a proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.

STRESS RELIEF
Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.

ENHANCED COORDINATION
Maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.

How?

It is essential to practice proper stretching techniques. Doing so will allow you to avoid any unnecessary injury. Tips to proper stretching technique include the following:

WARM UP FIRST
Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise (jogging, cycling) at low intensity for five minutes.

HOLD EACH STRETCH FOR AT LEAST 30 SECONDS
It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. That can seem like a long time, so wear a watch or keep an eye on the clock to make sure you’re holding your stretches long enough. For most of your muscle groups, if you hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds, you’ll need to do each stretch only once.

DON’T BOUNCE
Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible — and more prone to pain.

FOCUS ON A PAIN-FREE STRETCH
If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve gone too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.

RELAX AND BREATHE EASY
Don’t hold your breath while you’re stretching

STRETCH BOTH SIDES
Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body

STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER ACTIVITY
Light stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is your best bet

Here are some great stretches you can do everyday to help increase your flexibility for a healthier lifestyle:

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Happy Stretching!
Have a great weekend!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #20 – Put an End to Late Night Snacking

Hey everyone! How’s it going?

How are you making out with these daily challenges?

Are you drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water?

Are you getting 30 minutes if physical activity each day?

What about breakfast – are you eating it daily?

Establishing healthy lifestyle habits takes time and CONSISTENCY. Stick with these healthy behaviours for 3 to 4 weeks and they will (hopefully) become part of your lifestyle!

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TODAY’S CHALLENGE is to:

Stop eating 3 hours before you go to bed.

Why?

Although there are differing opinions on eating before bed – most often it’s what you eat as opposed to when you eat that is the problem.

But…Eating too close to bedtime can:

Cause sleep disturbances – high fat or spicy foods can lead to heartburn when you lie down, drinking too much can cause you to wake to go pee and the general too-full feeling just causes discomfort and can make falling asleep difficult.

Increase your body fat stores – Eating too much food, especially carbohydrates, late at night can cause your body to store fat because your body is not moving to burn them off

Increase your insulin levels – eating high glycemic carbs (pasta, white rice, sugar) can cause your insulin levels to spike which stops fat loss and causes weight gain

Stop the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – eating high glycemic index foods also causes your body to stop producing HGH – the fat burning and muscle building super-hormone released in your sleep

How?

  • eat breakfast within one hour of waking up 
  • eat every 3 hours during the day
  • eat a healthy and nutritious dinner including protein, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables
  • drink water with your dinner
  • clean up right after dinner and put leftovers away  
  • wipe down the counters and turn off the kitchen lights – close down the kitchen
  • brush your teeth after dinner
  • if you feel the urge to eat – have a glass of water, go for a walk or go to bed and read a book

eatb4bed

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #18 – Lather Up!

Hopefully the sun is shining and you are getting outside for some fun and fresh air today!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE is to:

Wear sunscreen.

Why?

Most of us know that our skin is venerable to sun damage and skin cancer. However, many of us put on too little (or no) sunscreen, leaving us only partially (or not at all) protected from the suns harmful rays.

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How?

Here are some quick tips to help you properly apply your sunscreen:

1. Shake the bottle well before you squirt any sunscreen out. This mixes up all the particles and distributes them evenly in the container.

2. Most adults should use about 35 ml or 1 oz. of sunscreen to cover their whole body and an additional 5ml just for your face. That’s the same amount that would fit into a shot glass. It’s also about the same as an adult handful. Remember, most people don’t apply enough sunscreen. It’s OK to use more than you think you should.

3.Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun. This gives the ingredients time to attach to the skin.

4. Cover all of your skin that’s exposed to the sun. This includes your back, ears, behind your knees and your legs.

5. Some studies say it’s a good idea to reapply your sunscreen after you’ve been in the sun for 30 minutes. This makes it more likely you’ll get the places you might have missed.

6. Reapply sunscreen as soon as you get done swimming, toweling off, or sweating heavily. Yep, the whole 1 oz.

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So lather up and get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Have a great day!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #17 – Go Meatless!

I hope you are having a great weekend – I’ve managed to get a ton of stuff done around the house and I even did a bit of marking – crazy, I know!!

I’m giving you TOMORROW’S CHALLENGE today because it might need a bit of thought and planning – here it is…

Go meatless today.

Why?

Going meatless just once a week can decrease your risk many chronic preventable diseases like:

  • CANCERstudies suggest that people who eat diets low in meat are less likely to develop cancer and daily meat eaters are about 3 times more likely to develop colon cancer.
  • CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASEstudies done at Harvard University have found that eating both red meat and processed meats (sausage, bacon, and deli meats) increases your risk of developing heart disease and atherosclerosis as well as having a stroke.
  • DIABETESresearch suggests that eating greater amounts of red and processed meats increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes

How?

It’s easy – just eat meat-free meals and snacks today!

Here are some great ideas:

Breakfast:

  1. Greek yogurt and berries
  2. fruit smoothie
  3. vegetarian omelet
  4. oatmeal

Snacks:

  1. hard boiled egg
  2. mixed nuts
  3. crackers and cheese
  4. veggies and hummus
  5. apple slices with almond butter
  6. click here for more ideas

Lunch:

  1. tossed salad
  2. egg salad sandwich
  3. veggie burger
  4. click here for more ideas

Dinner:

  1. vegetable stir-fry
  2. stuffed peppers
  3. pasta with fresh veggies
  4. click here for more ideas

meatless monday

Share your favourite meatless monday meal in the comments section below!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #15 – Start Your Day the Right Way!

Good morning and welcome to Week 3 of the the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!

Are you ready to add another healthy habit to your daily routine? I sure hope so!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE, which is also our WEEKLY CHALLENGE is to:

Eat breakfast everyday within one hour of waking up.

Why?

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast gets your metabolism revving and can help you make healthier choices all day long.

According to The Huffington Post, when compared to non-breakfast eaters, people who eat a healthy breakfast:

– are 4.5 times less likely to become obese

– are more likely to have good blood sugar levels

– have a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

– are less likely to be hungry later in the day

– feel more energized throughout the day

– have better cholesterol levels

– eat approximately 100 fewer calories each day than breakfast skippers

– have improved short term memory

consume less fat and more nutrients

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How?

Healthy breakfasts – like healthy lunches and dinners – consist of four things:
1. Protein – an egg, Greek yogurt, protein powder
2. Whole Grains – oatmeal, who,e grain cereal or toast
3. Fruits and/or Vegetables – berries, avocado, spinach, grapefruit
4. Healthy Fats – nut butters

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Here are links to some of my favourite healthy breakfast choices

Eat Clean Hash Brown, Sausage and Egg Muffins

Oatmeal Pancake

Eat Clean Cottage Cheese Pancakes (scroll down)

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Overnight Oats

There are also a TON of smoothie ideas and recipes on my blog – just click on the green smoothie challenge tag on the left.

Let me know how you make out this week. And please share your favourite healthy breakfast ideas in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to continue to drink your water and get 30 minutes of exercise each day!