Hey everyone! I’m so happy to see May today, aren’t you? And you know what the first of the month means around these parts? Time for a new challenge!
I try to participate in challenges every month because I find that they give me the extra push and motivation I need to stay on track with my goals. This month, I’ve teamed up with DailyFeats to bring you a new challenge that we have designed specifically for my readers and DailyFeats users.
What is DailyFeats, you ask? I’ve written about DailyFeats in the past but it’s been a while so allow me to refresh your memory and introduce my new readers to this awesome website.
The concept behind DailyFeats is quite simple. At DailyFeats, it is understood that progress tracking, ongoing motivation, and
rewards can really help people create healthy habits and meet goals,
especially when it comes to weight loss, nutrition and health.
Once you’ve registered with DailyFeats (which is completely free, by the way), whenever you’ve done a meaningful, positive action — like examining a nutritional label, working out, or taking a brisk walk after a stressful day — simply check-in that “feat” on the DailyFeats website. You’ll earn points you can redeem for discounts and deals at neighborhood businesses or savings from national brands, in the form of free giftcards (my favorite is Starbucks!). You can even choose to donate your points to several charities that have teamed up with DailyFeats.
Each feat has a different point value depending on its level of difficulty. You can also participate in challenges to increase your points and help you earn rewards that much faster. There are feats in all sorts of categories, from food, fitness and health to balance, family and community. There are hundreds of feats to choose from and the points add up quickly.
This month there is a special “Fat Chick Fed Up” challenge happening that can help us all keep accountable to our healthy living goals. The challenge is called ”Stay Committed”-because that’s what it’s all about right? The challenge consists of the following ten feats that I have chosen because they have been the most effective things I have done to lose weight successfully. I know I am no expert and I have a long way to go, but these habits, which I try very hard to incorporate into my life daily, are important components of any healthy living lifestyle.
1. Food Journal
I’ve shared before about my love affair with My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal is an online tracking tool where you can track calories consumed, calories burned and weight and inches lost. Not only that, but My Fitness Pal has an awesome and supportive online community of like-minded people who are interested in living an active, healthy lifestyle. I’ve met some really great people on there who are always ready with an encouraging word or a kick in the pants should I require it! This is the single, most important and effective tool I have used on my journey thus far. You do not have to use My Fitness Pal to complete this feat, but keeping a food journal can be incredibly helpful to your journey. If you do decide to sign-up with MFP, be sure to friend me on there. My user name is “hsmamato4″.
2. Menu Plan
If you’ve been a reader around here for very long, you know that I love to menu plan. I shared a post last week about how I plan my menu on a budget. I share my menu plan every Monday and find it really helpful in staying on track with my healthy eating habits. Give it a try!
3. Sleep well
Oh my, is this ever a feat I struggle with! Here lately my average bedtime has been between 2 and 3 am. Yeah. My baby gets up anywhere between 6 am and 8:30 am. Yeah. This schedule of late has made for one very tired, emotionally drained mama. So this month I am going to make a very concerted effort to get to bed earlier and get the rest that I need. Studies show that adequate sleep is an important part of any successful weight-loss plan.
I have found this to be SO important. I can tell such a huge difference in the way I feel, the way I function and the results on the scale when I am making sure to stay adequately hydrated. Here’s a great tip that can help you with this feat.
5. Lose a pound
Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory. While not a habit itself, it is definitely a feat that should be celebrated!
6. Fruits and Veggies
Eating lots of fruits and veggies is really important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I am all about eating whole, raw foods and we usually have several servings a day. I would say that our diet is more than 50% plant-based and I can definitely tell a difference in the way I feel the more cleanly I eat. I feel best when I limit carbs-yes, even whole grain ones-and stick to fruits and veggies, lean meats and healthy fats.
Of course, we can’t neglect the healthy habit of exercise as it relates to our weight-loss journeys. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you don’t have an hour or more a day to set aside time for a cardio workout that you can’t exercise. Every little bit counts, even if it is just 5-10 minutes. Research has shown that working out in shorter, intense bursts is more effective at burning calories and building muscle (which in turn increases your metabolism ensuring that your body burns more calories while at rest which makes you lose weight faster), leading to better results than longer cardio sessions. Even if you have to break a 20 minute workout into 2-10 minute sessions, that can be just as effective, and it’s certainly more effective than not doing anything at all!
8. Good Fats
Nothing gets me going more than when fat is vilified in the weight-loss community. Fat is not your mortal enemy. Sugar maybe, but NOT fat! Healthy fats are so important for our bodies in a variety of ways that are too numerous to list here (another post for another day, maybe?). So step away from the margarine and try incorporating some healthy fats into your diet. Obviously, you don’t want to eat a ton of fat because it is still very high calorie, but don’t be afraid of fat. Some of the healthy fats, or foods with healthy fat in them, that I use on a regular basis are avocado, flax meal, butter (yes, REAL butter), and my personal favorite, coconut oil.
9. Cut Sugar
Sugar, on the other hand, deserves every ounce of vilification it receives. There is hardly anything worse that we can have in our diets than sugar in its various forms. This may be the most important part of this challenge. Really work very hard to be sure you aren’t consuming an abundance of processed sugars. Most Americans are and sugar is linked to all sorts of disease and illness. It is no wonder at all that the majority of Americans are overweight, fatigued and that obesity and all its related ills are at an all-time high. Sugar really is the true villain in the American diet. And trust me, I am preaching to myself as much as I am to you. I am a self-confessed sugar addict. Sweets are the bane of my existence. I am going to work really hard this month at limiting sugars in my diet as much as possible.
10. Strength Training
Strength training should be an important part of your workout regimen if you are trying to lose weight. Yes, cardio is important but strength training, dare I say, might even be more important. To be successful at weight-loss you have to include both cardio AND strength-training.
So, there you have it. Ten areas of focus for the month of May. I know it sounds like a lot but to complete the challenge you do not have to do all ten every single day. Just log each feat a few times over the course of the month and you will have successfully completed the “Stay Committed” challenge. Obviously, the goal is to keep getting better and better at these things all the time and if you do more that what is required for the challenge that’s great. You can continue to check in your feats as you accomplish them!
To participate in the challenge, first sign-up for an account at DailyFeats, and then visit my personal challenge page right here. To further sweeten the deal, for those of you signing up for a DailyFeats account for the first time, you can earn 100 points just by signing up using the code fatchickfedup100. This code is good for the entire month of May.
Well? What are you waiting for? Go sign up and see all that DailyFeats has to offer. Leave me a comment telling me that you have joined the challenge!
I am linking up this post today over at Many Little Blessings for Top Ten Tuesday.