Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Perspective

I should be used to this by now, but it still surprises me to see how different one person's perspective can be from another's.  Yesterday a friend took me clothes shopping and encouraged me to try on all kinds of different items - structured jackets, embellished tank tops, floaty skirts, and drapey blouses.  Some of the clothes looked really cool even on the hanger, but some things just turned me off when I first looked at them.  I was amazed when I tried on a dress from the latter category, lost twenty pounds, and a sparkle suddenly appeared in my eyes. Well, I may be joking about the twenty pounds, but I am serious about the sparkle in my eyes.  

I never in my lifetime would have pulled that dress off the rack.  Never.  And now it's hanging in my closet ready for our trip to New York tomorrow.  It took a dear friend to look at me, look at my options, and help me decide what direction to take (or in this case what dress to buy).  

Has a friend ever helped you put something in perspective?  Do you have any tricks to try and see things from someone else's point of view?   My personal favorite way to see things from someone else's point of view is to ask them.  Today I'm really thankful that I did because now I have an adorable addition to my closet... and hopefully with your support I'll soon have more subtractions from my waistline.

Psst -- check out this cool picture showing a skewed perspective.Is there anything in your life looming larger than it should be?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Whoosh Go the Plans

Remember my challenge for this week - you know, prep all your freggies in advance?  Well, those plans just jumped off a cliff.  We're headed to New York City tomorrow afternoon, which means 5 days of travel, hotel rooms, restaurant food, and yup, you guessed it: no fridge or cutting board.

I'm not too worried about getting my minutes in, but I am worried about my freggies.  What's worked well for you when you traveled?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Half Way There

What a wonderful Monday!  I got to meet Carol for a quick walk around the McGrew Nature Preserve this morning. It's so bright and sunny out that we really were Walking on Sunshine.

We're coming up on the half way point of our Walk Kansas Fitness Challenge.  I'd like you to use this week to check your progress and see how you're doing.

How have you done on our challenges so far?
  • Week One:Your challenge for this week was to figure out 2 things you can do to make eating fruits and vegetables easier and two things you can do to make it easier for you to exercise.
  • Week Two: What are you doing to hit your fruit/veggie levels every day? What are you doing to hit your weekly exercise totals?
  • Week Three: This week's food challenge was to try to include 3 different colors per day.  This week's physical activity challenge is to think POSITIVE while exercising!!
This weekend I was visiting Bailey and encountered a beautiful sight in her refrigerator. It inspired me to come up with this week's challenge...

That's right, your food challenge for this week is to prep your freggies for each day in advance. You can do as Bailey did and chop and sort a week's worth of freggies into plastic tubs to take to work, or you can do it on a daily basis, but let's do it.

Your physical activity challenge is to ramp up your intensity. At this point you've been walking for three weeks and you've probably got your favorite route down. Try to beat your time every time you head out, or keep the same route but add lunges or jumping jacks to your walk.

Email me, comment on this post,tweet me, facebook me, meet me for a walk, or come to me in my dreams (ok, I don't really mean that last one) and let me know how you've been doing the last few weeks and how you intend to meet this next challenge.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 3: More tips & info..

Good morning, ladies!

The nutrition goal this week was to eat at least 3 colors per day, requiring you to get a little more creative. I came across this article on MSN Health, "Eating Well by Color." The colors of fruits & veggies provide a clue as to what nutrients are included. For example, red fruits & veggies contain lycopene which protects against breast cancer (2nd most cause of cancer death in women). The article explains each color, except white (mushroom, banana, onion, ginger, etc.). White contains beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG, and lignans that provide powerful immune boosting activity.

The exercise challenge this week required thinking positive. Listening to music helps keep your mind off negative thoughts so you may want to update your iPod or create a playlist, if you haven't already. A 20-minute exercise session is about 4 or 5 songs long. If you're like me, you repeatedly glance at the clock to see how much time is left until you reach 20 minutes! Then you realize you have only been exercising for 1.5 minutes since you last looked at the clock! So a trick to keep in mind is: avoid glancing at the clock while moving, until you have listened to at least 4 songs.

Finally, we have to remember how fortunate we are that we have the ability to exercise. I often think of those who are unable to walk or run - the disabled, elderly, sick, injured - and I run not just for myself, but I run for them. Many Native American cultures tie running with a spiritual energy. For those who do not know, I am Native American so this is stuff I learned as I grew up. Some cultures will pray for the disabled, elderly, sick, and injured while running. Check out this article in the New York Times on the Navajo tradition: "Indians Proudly Revive a Tradition of Running." Not everyone is spiritual or believes in a higher being, but I just wanted to share another variation on this aspect of "positive thinking."

Have a great weekend and keep working toward your goals!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week 3: somewhere over the rainbow..

Hello Walking On Sunshine Team! I'm Julia, your Week 3 motivator. I was out of town Sunday and Monday, so I am just now getting around to writing this week's challenges!

This week's food challenge is to try to include 3 different colors per day. I was watching Dr. Oz one day (yes, I know it is a nerdy show) and he said a phrase that stuck in my head - he said, "Eat the rainbow." Take a conscious effort to look at your plate and see if you can make it more colorful! Stay away from having too much brown, yellow, and white (unless of course it is something like cauliflower, butternut squash, and a banana). Instead, go for colors like green (asparagus, spinach, celery), red (tomato, apple), orange (tangerine, orange, carrot, sweet potato), and even the more exotic colors blue (blueberries) or purple (eggplant, grapes)... maybe even tie-die, a combo of colors? Whatever you choose, have fun with it. I think the key to eating enough fruits and veggies is VARIETY.

This week's physical activity challenge is to think POSITIVE while exercising!! My greatest barrier to exercising is being in the right mindset. I was jogging at the gym today and I heard a woman telling her friend, "I can't do this, it's too hard." It was a major distraction, mainly because I was about 15 minutes into my run and that is the point where I'm usually like, I've had enough! Every time you catch those thoughts creeping in: "This is too hard," or "I'm going to quit early," then simply try to replace it with a positive thought: "I can do this," or "This will get easier with practice," or "My body needs this." In high school, I had a track coach who had one rule - no complaining! He said, if you think negative thoughts while running, it only makes it harder. When you voice a negative thought out loud, it makes that thought become 100 times more powerful. The same goes for positive thoughts, so it's ok to voice the positive ones out loud!

I will be sharing additional ideas on these challenges throughout the remainder of the week. So far, I've eaten orange and green.. now I'm going to go find one more color! Have a good evening!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week 2 Stats Due

It's that time again - your stats are due.  Please let me know via the method of your choice how you did this week.  Was anything easier this week?  Harder than you expected? Personally I had a great week in terms of family time, but it wasn't so hot when it came to freggies and exercise.  Youth soccer practice starts on Monday, and I usually get a good workout in while kiddo is playing ball, so I have high hopes for this coming week.  

Many thanks to Christy for her motivating emails this week, and please give a great big sunshiney welcome to Week 3's Queen Motivator Julia

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

holidays, kind of

Ladies, your chief motivator for week two of Walk Kansas has had a cold since Sunday and has not been especially productive. I am eating plenty of fruits and veggies, and I did see an interesting TV show you might want to check out.

"The Truth About Food" on FitTV goes through a lot of experiments on food's effects on the body. In the latest episode, nine volunteers ate a half-ton of fruits, vegetables (and some seeds) over a 10-day period. Sort of like a return to the ancestral diet.

So eating 10 pounds of fruit a day each led to some drastic effects on health in terms of lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. Also had some other side effects you can imagine that you might not want to hear about, but ... while eating 10 pounds of fruits and veggies sounds unpalatable to me, it did make me think about the effect of putting out all your 5-9 servings of produce on display (as they did in the show) as a visual reminder of what all you're trying to eat each day.

I think if I did that, two things would happen: 1) To be able to set it all out each morning, I'd have to plan ahead and have all the produce purchased, cleaned and ready ahead of time, which is usually where I fall short (running out of something and not getting a chance to return to the store for more), and 2) Focusing more on what I need to eat through the day and filling in the blanks with the rest rather than spending time thinking about what I SHOULDN'T eat. I hope that makes sense; I'm kind of tired.

What are you doing to hit your fruit/veggie levels every day?

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. I foresee a 20-minute walk and early to bed again. Hope your plans are more exciting.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Hi, ladies! I'm Christy, your week two motivator!

So I sent Amerika my stats for week one, but I never got around to sending her goals and rewards. I was really chewing on those rewards, because I can't drop a bunch of money but I do want to celebrate a total reversal of my exercise habits since about Christmas.

So I decided what I need are some Fabulous Pajamas. I have these droopy, big, faded old fuschia yoga pants I've been slogging around in for months, in part because, now that I think about it, the jeans starting getting a little tighter after the holidays, and I ignored that.

No, these would be the kind of PJs that I would be glad to be wearing if I had to jump out of a second-floor window into a fetchingly bulky firefighter's arms. (In such fantasies, I would fall light as a thistle and not actually impact concrete.) I would be photographed extensively and end up in Vogue's best-dressed list. Where do you find those kinds of pajamas, you ask? I'm thinking Target, $20 or so.

Since I probably wouldn't stop the presses in real life, I suppose my point is I would like to gift myself with something I really want but that only I'm going to see and appreciate. At first I thought that I would want my first Walk Kansas reward to be a manicure or haircut. (Both of which may eventually go on the list.) But those feel more like things you do for people to compliment. Like, "I love your haircut -- and by the way, you look like you walked 150 minutes and ate 35 fruits and vegetables this week." Well, I don't really need or want outside support or compliments (although they're nice) to motivate me, because if they stopped, I might fall off the Walk Kansas wagon. I want to do something that only I'm going to see and know about, because this is for me.

So, this time Saturday, I'll be lounging around in Fabulous Pajamas. What do you have planned?

Olly, ollly, oxen free

Data's due - please let me know how many minutes you were Walking on Sunshine this past week, how many fruits and veggies you enjoyed in the last seven days, and the number of days you had whole grains.  As soon as I get everyone's numbers I'll update our progress on the Walk Kansas website.

Enjoy your spring break and be sure to give Christy a warm welcome as she assumes the role of Queen Motivator this next week.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Are you ready for the weekend?

I am so ready for the weekend it isn't even funny!  My husband gets back in town tonight and next week is Spring Break.  For the first time ever we both have the week off.  Hip hip hooray! 

Two brief announcements and one call for volunteers: 
  • I need to get your data either Saturday night or sometime on Sunday so I can enter it on the Walk Kansas website, but you won't be hearing much from me for a while because...
  •  I'm passing the crown of "Queen Motivator" on to @christylit for next week. 
  • Are there any volunteers for the week of March 21-27?  You'll share your food and activity challenges for the week and facilitate our discussion via email, blogpost, twitter, smoke signal, or if we get together.  

I probably should mention that if no one steps forward to volunteer I'm going to start drawing names...Oh yeah, I'm like that.  I'm thankful that you won't make me resort to that, right?

And now I'm off to my last day of bikram yoga.  Enjoy your day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My S.M.A.R.T. Plan for Healthy LIving

I asked for a completed S.M.A.R.T. Plan for Healthy Living from our Walking on Sunshine team before the Walk Kansas team started.  The only problem with holding all the info is I need someone to keep an eye on me.  With that in mind, here is my mostly completed plan (I'm really bad at coming up with good rewards, I do much better with all the other parts):
Healthy Living Contract

I set the following SPECIFIC and MEASURABLE goal(s) for myself:
  • I will improve my cardiovascular health by exercising 5x/week for at least 30 minutes
  • I will improve my diet by making sure that I have 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • I will improve my energy level by staying hydrated and drinking at least 64 oz of water every day.

My goal is ATTAINABLE because
  • I am scheduling exercise for myself on a daily basis.
  • In addition to planning our menus on a weekly basis, I am keeping fruit and vegetables close at hand and ready to eat
  • I am making myself accountable to my Walk Kansas team and blog readers

I will give myself the following REWARDS when I’m successful at reaching this goal (list each reward and
each milestone):
  • (ok, I'm really bad at rewarding myself. I need suggestions here)

The TIMELINE for this goal is: March 7-May 1
I will keep track of my progress in the following way:

What do you think?  I'm open to gentle guidance, so please let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sniff Test

It can be way too easy to put some tasks off and just keep telling ourselves "I'll get to it tomorrow."  Well, this is a sniff test:

  • Are you eating your freggies? (A good step forward is buying them and having them on hand)
  • Are you exercising?  There's just 4 days left in this week, and although it's possible to do all of your exercise this weekend, it's not as sustainable as getting exercise on a daily basis
And last, but not least,

If the answer to any of this is No.... well, I'll keep this family friendly and won't tell you what I smell.  The good news is you still have half the week to take care of these things.

I've also asked you to hold me accountable, so here's my stats so far

1/2 Weekly Goal ... My Stats
Exercise Goal 75 ... Me: 205 
Freggies Goal: 20 ... Me:15
Whole Grains Goal: 1/2 of daily grains...Me:0

How are you doing?   

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rainy Days Can't Keep Me from Walking on Sunshine!

Uh oh.  They say that into every life a little rain must fall. What's your rainy day plan? 

If the rain's not too bad, I actually enjoy walking in the rain.  The streets are usually pretty quiet and it's a very different experience than walking on a bright sunny day.  I also enjoy working out at one of the recreation centers we have here in Lawrence.  Other ideas?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Walking on Sunshine Team Progress

You can see our team progress on the Walk Kansas website at

I'm so excited!  Ok, to be totally honest, I'm always excited about something, but today I'm super excited about our Walking on Sunshine Team!

Ok, I'm off to find some freggies. Have a great day!

Week 1: Make it Easy and You'll Do It

This is the first week of Walk Kansas and we're going to take it easy - no major out-of-my-comfort-zone stretches this week.  I know last week I kept saying get some freggies, get some exercise.  Well, this week it counts.  Your challenge for this week is to figure out 2 things you can do to make eating fruits and vegetables easier and two things you can do to make it easier for you to exercise.

  • In terms of fruits & vegetables, one thing that has really worked for me is to prep anything that is grab and go and place it at an easy to take point.  This means that grapes come home from the store, are washed, and the vines get cut into smaller sections (I'm not to the point where I de-vine the grapes for the whole family).  Apples and pears are washed and are in a bowl on the counter.  Oranges take a little more effort to eat, so they're in a bowl near the stools so you can peel an orange while you are sitting down.    
  • I have a harder time with vegetables, but I try to add vegetables to every dish I make.  Frozen peas and carrots added to the rice cooker are a great addition to steamed rice,  a bag of seasoning vegetables while I'm browning meat makes our main dish taste even better.  Even my meatloaf generally has a serving of extra veggies, generally cut up very small so the youngest eyes at the table don't pick them out.  

When it comes to exercise, the following tips have worked for me:

  • Find a workout buddy.  In 2009 I walked daily and conference called two friends who live in another part of the country.  Sometimes they walked on a treadmill, sometimes it was outside, but we knew that when that phone rang, we needed to be exercising.  Because there were three of us, even if one was sick there were still two of us who could walk together.  It also worked well in our schedules because you just had to call in, you didn't have to meet at a certain place at a certain time.  
  • Exercise during kid's activities (if you're one of my umbrella/froggie/shark friends, shush now-that was in the winter!) As kid activities pick up I end up as taxi mom.  It's hard to run errands or do much productive during the 30-60 minute activities that most kids have... but if the weather is good, it's the perfect amount of time for a good walk.  The key to taking advantage of found time like this is being prepared.  I'm usually wearing good walking shoes, and now that I've gotten to know Lawrence it's fairly easy for me to come up with a decent walking route that fits the open block of time.  
Those are my tips, now it's your turn.  What do you plan to do to make eating fruits and vegetables and exercising a part of your life?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Walk Kansas Day 1

We're starting, we're starting!

deep breath. deep breath.

What should I do first?

  • Get our your calendar and plan to do a Walking Test. 
  • While your calendar is out, plan when and where you're going to exercise this next week.  Walk Kansas team members have committed to 150 minutes of exercise each week.  How and when are you going to get this done?  
  • Share your ideas:  Each week our team, Walking on Sunshine, has a healthy eating challenge and a physical activity challenge.  In the past we've done things like try new fruits/veggies, attempt go carless for a day, and even aimed for a meatless/vegan day.  I'll be sharing with you the challenges that our team does, but I assure you that we'll be looking for ideas as Walk Kansas progresses.  

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The amount of sugar in drinks is amazing--and scary to see laid out like this!!

Edited 7:30 PM
Sarah sent me an email with a link to the following youtube video(Warning: NASTY!)  and these comments: 
Have you ever seen the BBC "You are what you eat?" The host is a dietitian and she breaks people's diets down to the grossest basic level.

Here's a really gross (but effective) YouTube clip from the show. I watched it a lot when I was on maternity leave. Kind of addicting. She's also made a chocolate tombstone, vat of tea with milk and sugar, etc. She tries to shock people by letting them know what they're actually eating.

After watching the video, all I can say is "Gross!" We haven't bought hotdogs in a long time, and it looks like it's going to be an even longer time before we ever do again! Thanks for the link Sarah (I think. I may have to go throw up now)

Where are you starting from?

The Walk Kansas team challenge doesn't start until Sunday, but it's a good idea to take a look at what you're doing now.  I recommend printing out the daily log and filling it in this week, just to see where you're starting from in terms of exercise and diet.  I started keeping my data on SparkPeople again and am realizing just how low on exercise and freggies I've gotten.

A clear vision of what you want to achieve makes it easier to do all the little steps.  Walk Kansas has a S.M.A.R.T. Plan for Healthy Living that each participant should fill out.  I asked my Walking on Sunshine team turn theirs in to me, but you might want to post yours on the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror so it stays foremost in your mind.   

Friday, March 5, 2010

Walk Kansas

I'm going to focus on Walking for the next 8 weeks through the Walk Kansas program, and you're invited to come with me.   Check out their web page at for more information.

Our team's name is Walking on Sunshine and you can read my emails to the team on this blog.  Use the comment section to let me know how you're doing on your personal challenge.