-This Wellness 101 shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
The kids went back to school today, which means I am enrolling in Wellness 101. With all four of the kids safely on the bus, my health goals come out from where they've been hiding all summer... the bottom of my list of priorities. I know what you may be thinking; why would you ever put your health on the back burner? It's not that I stopped caring, or "let myself go", I just don't put as much time, effort, or discipline into my body. During the summer I can't go to the gym (the gym on base doesn't have childcare), I eat s'mores and waffle cone camping treats (with no guilt), and honestly, sometimes I don't get out of my yoga pants unless I have to leave the house. Life with four kids at home is pretty full, so any rules that aren't essential to keeping us alive, kind of go out the window; and I am okay with that. Summer doesn't last long, and we stay pretty active, so I don't worry too much about weight gain, my bigger concern is usually muscle loss (which stinks, but I'll get it back).
I am going to miss my kiddos, but I am super excited to shape up, and if you're summer was anything like mine, you may enjoy enrolling in Wellness 101 right along with me. 😉 So grab your composition book, cell phone, and gym clothes, cause you're about to get schooled!
There are only 5 rules in this class, and if you follow these rules you'll be rockin' those skinny jeans in no time.
Rule # 1 : Set Realistic Goals
You are never too old to set a new goal, or dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis
Would you ever shoot an arrow without aiming for a target? Then, why would you start working out and eating right, without knowing where you want these changes to take you? Before you go grocery shopping, sign up for a gym membership, or start pinning those 30 day challenges, you need to sit down and figure out what health goals you want to achieve.
I don't ever set a specific number for my weight or measurements. I know that for my body type I like to stay within the 118-122 weight range, and that will fluctuate as I gain muscle and lose fat. My goals for my body are usually general goals. The goals I have set in stone are things like: going to the gym every day (working out for at least 1 hour), eating six small healthy meals a day, sleeping at least 8 hours every night, and drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Please make sure your goals are realistic! I can't stress this enough. If you set goals that you know you can't meet, you are failing before you start. I know for a fact that I will not stick to a healthy eating plan if I don't give myself one cheat day a week... so that's what I do. If you know that there are two days a week you simply can't work out, set a goal to work out 5 days a week, not 7.
Rule #2 : Make A Plan
A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there. -H. Stanely Judd
This is what I call giving your goals a backbone. You're goals are beautiful, but without a backbone they are useless. If I say I'm going to workout at the gym every day for at least an hour, I need to know which gym I'm going to, and at what time. I also know that I have an hour to fill, so I need to know what I'm going to do when I get there. When I make my plan, I plan one month at a time. I plan my meals, I plan my workouts, I plan when I will drink all that water, and I plan when I will rest.
For every single goal you make, there should be a plan to go with that goal. The goal is what you want to do, the plan is how you're going to do it. It may seem a little crazy, but when I say I'm going to drink 8 glasses of water a day, I plan out 8 specific times during the day to drink that water because if I don't plan it, it doesn't happen.
Rule #3: Put Your Plan In Action
Just Do It - Nike 😉
You've given your goals a backbone, now give your plan legs! Do what you planned to do so you can reach your goals. Go to the gym, eat small healthy meals, drink water, exercise, start an accountability group, learn more about healthy meal planning and get cookin', research exercises that will help you reach your goals, and do them.
Just. Do. It. Every. Single. Day!
Rule #4: Track Your Results
Don't see the purpose in tracking your daily results?
Think of it like this: Your child goes to school every day and you don't hear from the teacher, see any tests come home, or get one report card until the last day of school, how would you feel about that? How can you help your child if you don't know what they are struggling with? How can you praise them, if you don't know what they are succeeding at? You can't!
The same applies to you and me. If I'm tracking my meals daily and at the end of the week I notice that every day at around 3pm, one of my snacks turns into a full fledged meal, I can make changes. By tracking your food, exercise, sleep, and mood you can easily see where you need to make adjustments, what's working for you, and what isn't.
We live in a world where everything we need is just an app away. If you are looking for some easy ways to track your food and exercises check out these apps (I use these daily):
MyFitness Pal: This is THE place to track your meals! You can find pretty much every brand and type of food in this app, and everything you need is already entered into the system. Simply set your calorie goals and enter your food and you can see how your daily meals add up.
BodySpace (by Bodybuilding.com): This is the only app I use for planning my workouts and tracking them. Signing up for BodySpace is worth it (it's free) because you will never find a better app for tracking your workouts. This app even shows you how to do each exercise.
#BalanceRewards for healthy choices (Walgreens): This app is great for tracking your weight, measurements, daily exercise, blood sugar, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. I highly recommend this app for anyone who has health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure, and for anyone who likes to save money at Walgreens (more about this below (see rule #5). The coolest thing about this app is that you can actually connect it to the fitness trackers you already use (Fitbit, iHealth, Jawbone) and it automatically adds your information to the app.
Rule #5 : Reward Yourself
This is my all-time favorite rule! Do NOT underestimate the power of rewarding yourself weekly! Like I mentioned before, I know that I have to allow myself a cheat day, and this is one of my rewards, but it doesn't end there. When I workout every day for a week, I reward myself with fun things like make-up, nail polish, or a new pair of jeans.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not made of money, so I had to find a plan that works for me and my tight budget. That's why I use the Balance Rewards program from Walgreens as my reward system. I have been using Walgreens rewards since they were printed out on receipt paper. My husband and I have always had an agreement that I could use the rewards as my "fun money", and I could use it for anything I want to buy for myself.
If you're not already a Walgreens Balance Rewards member, you can sign up and learn more about it here. If you are a member, you may be excited to learn that Walgreens has added even more ways to earn points for customers who make healthy choices every day. Check out these awesome ways to earn:
This is one of those apps that kills two birds with one er...app. You can track your fitness and health-related info (as mentioned in Rule #4) while earning points to reward yourself using the Walgreens healthy choices program!
Yesterday, I took a trip to Walgreens to reward myself for starting Wellness 101. I've set my goals, I've written out a plan, I've out my plan in action, started tracking, and I'm rewarding myself!
As long as I put my plan in action every single day, I get to reward myself, every week!
Wanna know what my favorite rewards aisle is in Walgreens?
That's right! The Walgreens beauty section (usually CoverGirl) is my favorite place to reward myself! I had already earned $10 in rewards for buying items that had bonus points, adding my goals to the app, and tracking my morning walks, so I scored some "pretty" sweet deals yesterday (and of course you can use coupons to save even more).
So there ya have it! This class isn't rocket science, but it does take dedication and willpower. I know you can meet your goals, and if you ever need a friend to help you, I'm only an email away!