Sunday, July 8, 2012

Welcome to the Healthier You Challenge!

Those of you who already know me, know that I am a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers. While I have reached a healthy weight and am generally fit, I still struggle in my relationship with food and would like to further improve my fitness level. As I believe is true of most people, I function best when I have clear goals, a well-defined plan, and lots of support. That's where this challenge comes in. My intention is to give all of us a chance to identify our own challenges, provide support for each other, keep each other motivated, and celebrate each other's successes. The challenge will officially start Monday, July 16th and will run for 60 days. Each week I will share information on how to formulate your challenges and plans as well as tips to stay motivated. I'll be cheering you on every step of the way.

I'm sure you're raring to go and want to start the challenge immediately, but I want you to take the time to set yourself up for success. The first step in doing so is to clearly define your desired outcome(s). The second is to choose challenges which result in the behaviors that will help you achieve your desired outcome. The third step is to engineer a well-defined and realistic plan. The final steps are to stay motivated throughout the challenge and to celebrate your success!

Before we begin, I'd like you to take this week to think about your desired outcome and what behaviors you'll need to change. I ask you to practice thinking in the following terms throughout the week.

Behavior: The way you act in response to a particular situation or stimulus. Think of behaviors as "desirable" or "undesirable".

Challenge: The process by which you consciously control your environment and alter your behaviors to reach a desirable outcome.

Outcome: The end-goal. What do you hope to accomplish? What will be measurably different at the end of this challenge?

Here's where the fun starts:
Task 1: Brainstorm desirable outcomes. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to increase your fitness indicators? Do you want to have more energy? Do you want to have an organized house? Do you want to get more sleep? Do you want to improve medical indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol?
Try to be very specific about your desired outcomes. Now try to think of them in terms of process, rather than outcome. Instead of the outcome "lose weight", think about what you'd need to DO in order to lose weight. Maybe you need to stop snacking at night. Maybe you need to stop drinking your calories. Maybe you need to come to more Zumba classes ;)

Task 2: Brainstorm behaviors. Write down all of the behaviors you either want to stop or start. Then, copy them into two columns: Desirable or Undesirable. Try to pair up opposite behaviors. To me, tracking my food and eating mindlessly are opposite behaviors. Try to focus on engaging in Desirable behaviors and making them a habit. Instead of stating my weekly challenge as "I'm going to stop eating mindlessly", I'd state that, "I'm going to track everything I eat and drink." Stating challenges positively helps in many ways, including creating a sense of forward movement and optimism.

Next week we'll work on creating a plan for success. For now, use the comments section to introduce yourself, share your behaviors, ask for ideas, refine your list, and practice using our challenge terms.

I'll start:
I'm Brooke. I'm a 37-year old Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. I'm married to a very supportive man, and am "Mom" two young children who are bright, funny, and completely exhausting. I am scatter-brained, very chatty, and a bit of a drama queen. I struggle with finding moderation in any aspect of my behavior. I'd like to improve my body-composition and fitness level in a way that is realistic and sustainable. My brainstorm list is:
  • Drink more water
  • Measure and track food and drink
  • Engage in a consistent and structured Strength Training routine
  • Take vitamins every day
  • Stretch every day
  • Do high intensity interval training
  • Eat only when I'm hungry and only until I'm satisfied
  • Engage in some sort of mindfulness or meditative process every day (this one is soooo hard for me!)
Remember, this is just the brainstorming step. We'll have plenty of time to tweak and refine!

Your turn! (click below where it says #comments to join in the conversation)


  1. I am so excited to join this challenge!

    My name is Samantha, I am a 37 year old single person. I work for a prominent doctor in Beverly Hills who works on many weight loss shows but drug reps bring in garbage lunches and treats for us on a pretty regular basis.
    I am pretty organized, love making lists and keeping routines although change does not throw me too much.
    My goals: I would love to lose the 10-15 lbs that are in excess, I want to maintain my flexibility as I age and continue to eat healthier and have the strength to say no to the endless treats at work.

    1. Welcome to the challenge Sam! I'm sure this will help keep you focused. Congrats for being the first to sign up!

  2. I'm Julie. I met Brooke through Weight Watchers and joined her Zumba class a few months ago.

    I've fallen off the WW wagon and will jump back on this Saturday.

    I am committed to drinking more water, tracking food/drink/activity, and reducing alcohol intake.

    My immediate goal is to look better for my 40th year class reunion in 3 short weeks. That means Zumba, walking (with pedometer), and training weekly.

  3. My name is Desiere. I am currently a stay at home mother to 3 gorgeous girls. While being home is something I've always wanted, I have forgotten to take care of myself during this transition. It seems I got more done in a day when I was working! I have struggled with "gym" time for the last two years. I have the time, I've just made excuses not to go. I struggle daily with being to hard on myself. I feel like if I mess up and eat something bad once, I might as well give up.
    My long term goals are to lose 30lbs, tone up my "mushy/flat" areas, and to take my fitness and nutrition one day at a time. I want to believe falling off the horse doesn't mean to give up, but to get back on!

    My list
    * drink more water
    * less caffeine intake
    * exercise 5 days a week
    * eat healthy, colorful meals
    * feel no guilt about leaving the kids or hubby for an hour to work out

    1. Great brainstorm list Deseire! My second post might help with feeling ready to give up after a bad choice. The feelings of guilt are the hardest to deal with.

  4. The last three weeks have been very challenging for me. I committed to more exercise that included at least 3 Zumba classes per week and a personal training session with Brooke every Friday. I honored that commitment to myself and I am SO proud of what I have accomplished - and what I discovered about myself.

    First, I lost a total of 2.2 lbs. While the body I see in the mirror doesn't look any different, I am visioning a GIANT 2.2 in my head. I have to keep that vision over the next two weeks because I will be traveling and visiting family and friends - which always includes food and dining out.

    Second, I found a WW meeting that I can attend while traveling next week and that will fit into my travel schedule. That will help me stay on track and continue the commitment to myself.

    Third, I discovered my "point of no return". By Friday morning (yesterday) I just wanted to chuck the hectic schedule and daily frustration that result from adding regular exercise into my day. However, I had my training session with Brooke, she talked me through my feelings and offered valuable solutions to incorporating important, simple exercises into my day. In the past I would have quit and never looked back.

    While I did not lose 30 lbs before my 40th class reunion (ha ha!), I did manage to lose a realistic amount. This should keep me working towards my long-term goals long after the reunion is over.

    Thanks, Brooke, for all your help and encouragement.

  5. I've returned from the class reunion with no weight gain. I actually "worked out" twice while on the trip - once with the bands and two walks.

    I've been dealing with an upper respiratory issue (heat, humidity, airplane air), moving my studio, and another business trip squeezed in.

    Needless to say, lots of emotional and mindless eating.

    Each day that I go into the studio, I will do some back strengthening exercises with bands - make that part of the opening process. Will give you a progress report next week.