Brands that Give Back: Treat Yourself and Support Breast Cancer Research in October

Hello, lovelies!  I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate my first post of October to an area of great importance to all women …

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS

The CDC’s website says:

“The best way to find breast cancer early is with a mammogram. If you are a woman age 50 years or older, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years.”

I’m not sure when the recommendation changed from age 40 to age 50. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you should talk to you doctor about getting screen sooner.

A few stats from the CDC’s website, for your information:

How many people get breast cancer each year?
In 2009:

211,731 women and 2,001 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.
40,676 women and 400 men in the United States died from breast cancer

 

The support to find a cure for breast cancer is immense.  I remember doing my first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k back in 1999. Walking along with these people, both survivors as well as friends and family, was such an amazing feeling. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such emotion and support as I did during that event. It was amazing!

Every year, brands give back by developing and selling products from which a portion of the proceeds will go to organizations such as The Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and many others.

Every day in October, I am featuring one of those products on my Instagram feed. Follow me on Instagram & don’t miss a single one of these products.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think of doing this until October 2nd … SO, the first product I posted was on Wednesday, October 2nd.

This awesome PINK pie plate called the Bake For The Cause Pie Plate is made by French company, Emile Henry.  10% of the proceeds from each pie plate sold will be donated to Breast Cancer Research.

Emile Henry Bake For the Cause 9"-Pie Plate

Emile Henry Bake For the Cause 9″-Pie Plate

 

Today’s featured item is an AWESOME pair of PINK skinny jeans from True Religion.  You’ve been doing your squats & leg work religiously, right?  I think you deserve these!  Ten percent of sales will go to Susan G. Komen!

HALLE SUPER SKINNY BREAST CANCER JEAN from True Religion

HALLE SUPER SKINNY BREAST CANCER JEAN from True Religion

Stay tuned to my Instagram feed for a new product that gives back every day during the month of October.

Question: Know of a product that I should feature? Please let me know about it in the comments below!

 

Other posts you might like:

Eat Chocolate, Help Save the World!

How to Be Your Best Self

 

 

 

 

 

The Jawbone UP Activity Tracker: A Review

 

Chances are you’ve seen or possibly own an activity tracker such as the Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex, Nike Fuel Band, or the Jawbone UP.

I did QUITE a bit of research on all of the above before deciding to purchase the Jawbone UP band. So far, I’m delighted with it!

Mint-Green-Jawbone-UP-band

For the past several years, I’ve gone on vacations that tend to involve a lot of walking. Those same trips also involved a lot of eating, but I didn’t gain weight.  I always wondered how much I was actually walking in a day — up and down to take the train, around the same block several times looking for a particular cafe, up & down in museums.

 

So when I started planning my most recent trip to Tokyo, I figured it was a great time to invest in the Jawbone UP.

 

You might have some or all of these questions …

Does it motivate you to move? For me, it did. It was a much as a challenge to reach my 10,000 steps per day as it is for me to get a new Foursquare badge (if you know me, you know how much I like competitive games).  So if achieving a score of 100% motivates you, you will be very happy!

How accurate is it? On those 2 days before I left for my trip, I was pretty sedentary, so I wasn’t surprised to reach only 25-50% of my 10,000 step per day goal.  What DID surprise me was how many steps I was able to log on the days when I spent 9+ hours on a plane. Walking around in the airport is no joke! You can log some serious mileage during check-in, while going through security, immigration, customs, etc. I had NO PROBLEM hitting 10,000 miles on travel days.

How about sleep tracking? This was a nice little bonus for me. I previously installed the Sleep Cycle app on my iPhone, but I didn’t use it for long because you have to sleep with the phone next to you in bed. I charge my phone across the room at night, so that didn’t really work for me. Plus, I wonder how accurate it is with cats jumping on/off the bed, etc.  The UP has a sleep tracking feature that drills down to show how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up during the night, light sleep vs. deep sleep, and more! I always wondered why I felt so tired during the day. The amount of deep sleep I get isn’t so great. I’ll blame the cats again for that 🙂

The band is super comfortable, so you shouldn’t have any problem sleeping in it at night.

Is there an app for that? After you purchase the band, download the handy free Jawbone app, and you are in business! If you use other health & fitness apps such as RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, and others, you can sync your data with these apps too. I read a review where several people mentioned their steps were counted twice when syncing with RunKeeper. I did not find this to be the case, so if this was once an issue it has been fixed! I don’t use any of the other fitness apps that sync up, so I can’t comment on the functionality. If you use them, I’d love it if you would share your experience in the comments below so others can benefit!

The complete list of apps you can connect with your UP band as of September 25, 2013 is:

  • MyFitnessPal
  • IFTTT
  • RunKeeper
  • MapMyFitness
  • GymPack
  • Wello
  • Tictrac
  • Sleepio
  • Withings
  • Lose It!
  • CarePass from Aetna
  • Notch

Jawbone-UP-app-screenshots-sm

You can also add food and drink to keep up with your daily caloric intake.

All in all, I’m super happy with my purchase for its convenience and how effective it has been at motivating me.

The UP comes in a variety of colors. I bought the mint green and love it! There is a special edition Orange UP band that is also a very cool color. Jawbone is donating $20 to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation http://jawbone.com/alliance for every Orange UP band sold.

Question:  Do you have an activity tracker? If so, which do you like best & why?

[widgets_on_pages]

Other posts you might like:

Pin It Party: Best Workouts, Recipes, and Mojo Boosters

Eat Chocolate, Help Save the World!

The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do At Home

 

 

Pin It Party: Best Workouts, Recipes, and Mojo Boosters

Hi friends!

Are you following me on Pinterest? If not, and you want some great healthy living ideas including workouts, recipes, motivational pics and more, CLICK HERE.

Lindsay from the Lean Green Bean is hosting another Pin It Party.  Myself and other bloggers are sharing some of our favorite and MOST PINNABLE posts.

Here are some of my favorites.  These are chock full of good info, so I hope you will pin these to your boards!

Best Recipes on Pinterest – Our 10 Most Pinned Recipes

This Spicy Veggie Frittata is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest.  Find this recipe as well as nine other yummy recipes here.

Meatless Monday Spicy Veggie Frittata | The Wellness Scientist

 

10 Quotes When You Need a Boost of Motivation

No matter your goal, we could all use a motivational boost now and again. This is one of my favorite motivational quotes from my Quotes I Love board on Pinterest from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Find nine other awesome motivational quotes here.

ralph waldo emerson

 

The BEST 10 Workouts You Can Do at Home

Sometimes leaving the house to get your workout on is just not possible, but you don’t have to give up! Try an at-home workout like this one to banish back fat ! To sculpt other body parts and for a couple of total-body workouts, find the other nine home-based workouts here.

the-sexy-back-workout

 

A Chocolate Bar that Saves a Life!

I love chocolate, and I love animals. Show me a chocolate bar that helps save an animals life, and I’ll buy it. 100% of the profits from Rescue Chocolate go to Animal Rescue groups. Look how cute that pup is! That just makes me happy. 🙂

Photo courtesy of rescuechocolate.com

Photo courtesy of rescuechocolate.com

 

Savory Quinoa Cakes

Don’t you just love when you use up leftovers in interesting ways? I love making quinoa in the rice cooker to serve with fish and veggies. Pretty often, I make a little more than I need and I do not like wasting food! I was in the mood for a savory little snack and came up with this recipe for Savory Quinoa Cakes that used up my leftover quinoa as well as some extra carrots. They were so good. I think it’s time to make these again!

Savory Quinoa Cakes

 

Happy pinning! Hey, leave me a comment & let me know which one of these was your favorite.

Thanks and have a great day,

Karen

[widgets_on_pages]

Other posts you might like: 

The 10 Best Quotes to Rev Your Motivation | The Wellness Scientist

The 10 Best Quotes to Rev Your Motivation | The Wellness Scientist

Sweet Corn and Mango Salsa | The Wellness Scientist

Sweet Corn and Mango Salsa | The Wellness Scientist

The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do At Home

Whether you have a gym membership or not, sometimes you just want to get a great workout without having to go somewhere to do it. I hear ya! And with traffic and road construction the way it is now, I swear leaving the house is terribly overrated!

Whether you are looking for ways to tone your arms, lift your butt, or just get some cardio in …

Here are 10 of the BEST Workouts you can do from home (or anywhere!)

1. Your BEST Butt.  This is a great butt workout courtesy of Lita, a dancer who blogs on Tumblr as Back on Pointe. You can do this entire workout from home without a single piece of equipment. Have a pair of dumbells at home? Great! Use them if you want to add intensity.

from #backonpointe

from #backonpointe

If you’ve been doing this butt workout for awhile and you want to switch things up, check out the Beach Babe Booty workout here. You’ll be feeling this when you are done … no doubt!

2. Tank Top Arms. Who cares if summer is almost over? We want tank top arms year-round, and we can get them easily with this AWESOME workout from the lovely Caitlin at fitfabcities.com. Our arms thank you for this, Caitlin! For best results, you will need a pair of dumbbells.  Start off with a weight you can manage (or even two bottles of water if you are a beginner). Increase weight once it becomes too easy (e.g., you aren’t feeling the burn after completing a set)

View on Amazon: 3-lb. dumbbells, 5-lb. dumbbells

from #fitfabcities

from #fitfabcities

 

 3. The 25 for 25 Workout. Whoa! This one looks intense! You will do each one of these 25 moves in about 25 minutes. Do each exercise for 25 seconds, resting 25 seconds before starting the next move. This workout is from Katy at fitinheels.com.  You can see a demo of each move here.

from #fitinheels

from #fitinheels

 

4. Killer Inner Thigh Workout (but in a GOOD way). This is great inner thigh workout from Cassie at blogilates.com.  Here is a link to Cassie’s printable version. All you need is a yoga mat. What are you waiting for?

View on Amazon: yoga mat

Beginner-Inner-Thighs

 

5. Resistance Tube Workout.  Just like it says… this is a great home workout you can do in the comfort of your own living room. Resistance tubes are inexpensive, lightweight, easy-to-use, and travel well.  Check out these Ultimate Resistance Tube Moves from UK trainer Jon Stratford.

view on Amazon: resistance tubes

#jonstratford

#jonstratford

 

6. The All Body Bosu Workout. There is a good chance you have one of these at home already. Maybe in your garage if not in plain sight? I inherited mine from my friend Barbora Silva (thanks Barbora!) a few years ago. It has been resurrected from the garage as I have upped my at-home workouts considerably.  This poster, repinned on Pinterest from loveandprimal is by far the best total body Bosu workout I’ve seen. I love how it is also used for squats & lunges — awesome workout!

View on Amazon: Bosu Balance Trainer

repinned from #loveandprimal

repinned from #loveandprimal

 

7. The 100 Workout.  I have no idea who to credit for this workout. If anyone knows, will you please post it in the comments so I can update this?  Thanks!! I’ve seen it online for at least a couple of years (basically since I discovered Pinterest). It is quick and effective. Everything is done indoors except the last 10 minutes, which is a run. I PROMISE you’ll be warmed up by the time you head outdoors!

the-100-workout

 

8. Kill Those Calves Workout. Want sexy calves? This workout will give ’em to you. This is all calves, baby.  They’ll be screaming by the time you are done. But won’t you look hot in your heels?  I think so! This one is from @workouts_daily. Check out their Instagram feed here.

Don’t forget to stretch when you are done or foam roll to go a little deeper. Check out these 5 foam roller stretches to keep your muscles long and lean!

kill-those-calves

 

9. The “Sexy Back” Workout. Nope, this isn’t what JT does to stay in shape.  This is from our friends at Shape.com. The Sexy Back workout is  banish bra bulge, back pain, and bad posture. Check out the instructional video here to see more.

from Shape.com

from Shape.com

and last but not least …

10. The 5-4-3-2-1 Workout.  Only got 15 minutes? Not a problem! This 15-minute workout hits everything you need for a great at-home fat blaster – no equipment required. Again, I’m not sure who created this workout. If you know, please drop me a comment below!

54321-workout

Hope you enjoyed these! Let me know if I missed any great ones … and don’t forget to STRETCH after your workout 🙂

Live With Intention

When I woke up this morning, as many other mornings, the first thoughts I had were of course my to-do list.  While I was having my cup of coffee, I started thinking about how easy it is to let the day pass by while just living passively.

I decided that I wasn’t going to do that today!  Instead, I was going to make sure I was living with intention.

Live-With-Intention-sm

You’ve probably hear this saying before … it was made famous by Mary Anne Radmacher years ago.  Her entire quote is:

“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”

Did you live with intention today?  If you did, that’s awesome!  If not, think about what living with intention means to you and what you can do differently tomorrow to really make it count

 

The 10 Best Quotes To Rev Your Motivation

 

No matter what your goal is, if you aren’t really motivated to achieve it then you probably won’t.  It’s that simple.

Who are the best motivators?  Great leaders, that’s who!

Here are some quotes guaranteed to get you off the couch and running towards any goal that is really your heart’s desire.

Tony Robbins Quotes

 

Steve Jobs Quotes

 

Thomas Edison Quotes

 

Winston Churchill Quotes

 

Benjamin Franklin Quote

 

Socrates Quotes

 

Abraham Lincoln Quote

 

Eisenhower Quotes

 

Aristotle quote excellence

Harriet Tubman Quote

If you liked these, check these out too:

10 Quotes When You Need a Boost of Motivation

 

 

 

Health and Fitness Tips for Busy People

 

Got questions about health and fitness?  I’ve got answers!  Here are the most common questions and goals that I’ve received from clients and answers that give the results you want.  Here we go!

Health and Fitness Tips

How can I lose weight?  Burn more calories than you consume.

What can I do to get healthy?  Stop eating junk.  Start eating more natural, unprocessed foods.

I want toned abs & arms.  Eat clean and strength train.

I want to see results.  Have specific goals and track them.  If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how will you know when you get there?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exuperys

I don’t have time to work out.  Yes, you do! If you can carve out 5-15 minutes during the day, you can do simple effective moves that will give you results! I’ve even designed a workout you can do in your kitchen while you are waiting for water to boil or coffee to drip. Now THAT is using your time wisely 🙂

I can’t seem to get motivated.  Get a workout buddy or coach to help you.  Oh, and read these!

Got more questions for me?  How can I help?  Leave a comment below & I’ll post an answer for you!

Other posts you should read:

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

How To Be Your Best Self

This post on Oprah.com by the great author Jeffrey Eugenides is amazingly motivating! How to Believe in Yourself—Even If You Sometimes Don’t

 

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

 

Trouble losing weight or keeping it off?  Make sure you aren’t making one of these common dieting mistakes.

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

Setting Goals That Aren’t Realistic

Setting an unrealistic goal will almost guarantee failure.  Instead, set S.M.A.R.T. goals when it comes to weight loss.  Donald Hensrud, M.D., weight loss expert from the Mayo Clinic recommends 1-2 pounds per week.  If you lose weight at this pace, you are more likely to keep it off.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Diet

A diet that doesn’t include any of the foods you like to eat may work in the very short term, but it is unlikely that you’ll achieve you longer-term weight loss goals.  Several studies have found that following a low-fat diet doesn’t make it any easier to lose weight or to keep weight off.   Study participants who followed moderate- or high-fat diets lost just as much weight as those who follow low-fat diets.  Successful weight loss depends largely on one thing — burn more calories than you consume.

Not Planning Ahead

If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be reaching for the first thing you can get your hands on at lunch or dinner time to satisfy your hunger.  Take the time (maybe on a Sunday morning to plan for the coming week) to make a list of your favorite nutritious meals.  Shop for all of the ingredients and plan your meals for the week at one time.  Bring low-calorie snacks like an apple or a small Greek yogurt to the office to make hitting the vending machines less tempting.

Drink More Water

Drinking water aids weight loss and flushes out toxins from the body.  According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese participants in a six-month clinical trial both lost weight and reduced waist circumference by drinking water compared to participants who drank caloric beverages.

Skipping Meals

Meal skipping is not a successful way to lose weight.  Frequent meal skipping actually reduces your metabolic rate, making weight loss more challenging.  Eating regular meals keeps you energized throughout the day and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat at night to compensate.

[widgets_on_pages]

Other posts you might like:

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

5 Things You Can Do To Feel Better Instantly

How To Be Your Best Self

 

How To Be Your Best Self

That particular week seemed more difficult than others.  I felt angrier and my patience was pretty much nonexistent.  I remember sitting in a team meeting and, for no reason, tears started to well up and I discreetly left the room so that no one would notice.

I was leading a very big project at work, and things were running as smoothly as one would expect, but I was literally on 24/7.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a day off.  A year or two maybe, with the exception of Christmas day.  For about two years, I had dreamed of going to a destination spa I’d discovered online.  I could practically feel the tranquility through the photos on the website.  In a minute of desperation, I called the spa & was told they had availability for the next week.

meditation-lake

1) TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

The spa was usually booked weeks in advance, so I took their availability as a sign, booked the trip, and committed to taking the next week off.

The timing wasn’t great from a work perspective…in two week’s time, I was going to be hosting a conference with over 100 guests flying in from around the world.

But some crisis or extremely urgent work matter was always on the horizon…there was never a good time to take a day off, much less an entire week.

Sound familiar?

My colleague swore that she’d get in touch with me if there was any out-of-control emergency that should couldn’t handle herself.  I let out a big exhale, and a few days later I was off!  And you know what?  The office didn’t fall apart, the conference was a huge success, and I did a better job hosting because I was able to relax and recharge.  Anxiety gone.

Take time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Jobs come and go.  Bosses you admire move on to other jobs.  You are with yourself for the long haul … so give yourself the down time you need.

2) NURTURE YOURSELF

We’re all grown-ups with jobs, relationships, and maybe kids of our own, but there is an inner child in all of us that needs nurturing.  Instead of nurturing that inner child, we busy ourselves and/or pick up bad habits to avoid feeling alone, sad, or inadequate.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk.  My diet was awful, I didn’t exercise, I drank coffee or soda all day, and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was even going to therapy, but I wasn’t doing the work I needed to do outside of that hour/week, so it took a really long time to get where I needed to be.  That was my path.  I made it, but I wish I hadn’t suffered as long as I did for no good reason.

Take the time to take care of yourself physically.  Get a physical every year.  Have you blood drawn and check for things like high cholesterol on a regular basis.  Drink water, eat healthy foods, and get the amount of sleep that you need.  No job in the world is worth feeling miserable every single day.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will?  And what about the people you take care of?  If you can’t take care of them, who’s going to do that?

Make self-care a priority. You will never regret it.

3) LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL OBSESSION

When I arrived at the spa, the control freak in me was delighted to find that someone had carefully selected a full day of yoga & exercises classes, short wellness seminars, and body treatments for me based on my “pre-arrival interview,” and I had schedule waiting telling me what I’d be doing the next day.

Desperate for soul-nourishing, I had decided in advance that I was going to become a yoga devotee during my week away.  On my first morning at the spa, I showed up to the first yoga class on the schedule, just before 8 a.m.  I found myself a spot at the front of the class, little overachiever that I was.

Then something happened, instead of the instant bliss-fix that I had planned, all I could feel was the pain and tightness of my hamstrings and my hunched shoulders.  I started to feel defeated, like I had failed before I had started, and I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts spiraling in my mind.

The teacher invited the class to “open our hearts.”  (OK … I’m actually embarrassed to admit the first thought that popped into my mind, but if one person can resonate with this, then it’s worth it!)  The first thought I had when this teacher said “Open Your Heart” was “F-YOU!”  I was actually angered by this complete stranger’s suggestion that I trust her and allow myself to become vulnerable.  Inside I was screaming, “I’m here, aren’t I?  I’m trying!!!  What else do you want from me?”  Somehow I viewed her kindness as an intrusion — a criticism that I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I couldn’t get past it that week.  I wasn’t ready to give up control.  I toughed out that class until the end, but I never went to another yoga class the entire week.

Luckily, there was more than yoga planned to improve my wellness that week.  A couple of days later, I met with Sarah, my assigned personal trainer.  I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like I had the body of an 83-year-old!  Like on The Biggest Loser when they tell the contestants “Your body age is actually 79!”  That was what I felt like.

Sarah was nice, but she was there to prove a point.  She challenged me with “heavy” 10-lb hand weights and encouraged me during the interval training she had designed for my session.

That 1:1 experience was what I needed, along with a little positive reinforcement.  I was able to let go and be vulnerable.  I started running outside after that meeting with Sarah, and it was during those runs that I was able to feel a certain freedom.  Once I let go of the need to control any and every situation (which is impossible, by the way), I finally felt like the universe was on my side.

My advice here?  Just let go.  Sounds easier said than done, but it is incredibly powerful.  If you need to talk to a professional or a friend, coach, or mentor to get there, do it!  Once you stop fighting, it gets so much easier.  And you’ll be so much happier.

4) BE GRATEFUL.

One of the most popular items on the schedule that week was a one-hour wellness seminar called “How To Be Happy.”  I think every single person in attendance that week was packed in to the room for that message!

One of the big takeaways from that session was practicing gratitude.  We were asked to keep a gratitude journal for the rest of our stay.  Before bed each night, we were to write down five things that we were grateful for each day.  In doing so, we were creating a scenario where we were looking for positive things that happened during the day.  It could be something big like, “I’m grateful for the amazing personal trainer I met today and the way she encouraged me” or something as small as, “I’m grateful that we had cheesecake for dessert tonight — I love cheesecake!”

Keep a gratitude journal.  You’ll spend the day looking for things you can write about, making it harder to focus on negativity or problems!

5) TRUST YOURSELF

A few years later, I was rummaging through a closet and found the binder of resources I had taken home with me from the spa to continue working on my goals.  I found a little note that read:

“Great job this week! You can tell you feel refreshed.  Keep this feeling going by exercising daily.  You have to make yourself a priority — you deserve it!”

Wise words!  I made a risky decision and started a whole new career and chapter in my life.  Today I make my living writing about health, wellness, and self-care.  I also coach women who are looking to make healthy changes to their lives and improve their level of happiness.  I eat healthier, I get more rest, and I make exercise and my personal relationships a priority.  I’m happy to say that once I was able to silence my inner-critic, I also came to enjoy yoga and its many benefits!! 🙂

Trust yourself.  We deserve much more care and kindness than we tend to give ourselves.  And really, the only validation we need is our own.

[widgets_on_pages]

Lose Weight in a Week: 4 Easy Ways to Drop Pounds in 7 Days

Lose Weight In A Week

More than likely, if you are reading this post you fall in to one of two categories:

1) You are sick of being overweight, feeling unhealthy, and have no idea where to start

OR

2) You’ve been eating too many desserts lately OR slacked off exercising (or both) and want to lose the 5-10 pounds you gained while you weren’t looking

Whichever of these two buckets you fall into, good news — you’ve come to the right place!  This post will give you 4 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss and Drop Pounds in Just 7 Days.  I’m serious!  Try these tips for just seven days, and comment below and share your results.

I’ve given this same advice to my coaching clients, and they have had success.  Read their Testimonials here and see what they had to say for yourself!

Without further delay, here are 4 Easy Ways to Lose Weight … starting TODAY!

Drink Water

Water has zero calories, zero carbs, and no sodium.  It’s great for revving up your metabolism, and it flushes out toxins (and excess water) from your body.  I’ve complained myself that water is boring & tasteless.  If this is how you feel, add a lemon or lime wedge.  Plain sparkling water is ok too as long as the sodium content is very low (aim for 30mg or less).  Avoid juices, energy drinks, soda (yes – even diet soda), etc. this week.  You can drink one cup of coffee or tea per day, but don’t add sweeteners or creamers.  (C’mon … it’s a 7-day commitment, not forever!  You want to lose weight, don’t you?)

Cut Out White Bread, White Rice, and White Pasta

Cutting out white-grain products or simple carbohydrates and replacing them with whole-grain or complex carbs diet will slim you down quickly.  Simple carbs are high in sugar, low in fiber, and while they taste good and give us comfort they have little to no nutritional value and cause belly bloating.  They are digested very quickly and leave you hungry just a short time after eating.  Replace white grains with whole-wheat bread, rice substitutes like quinoa and barley, and vegetables, which are digested more slowly & keep you feeling fuller longer.

Do Some Kind of Cardio Every Day for 30 Minutes

Wait — don’t close out of this post!  I promise, this isn’t a deal breaker!  If you want to burn calories, you have got to move.  Again, this is a 7-day challenge to kickstart your weight loss goal or slim down for that bikini you’re going to be wearing in two weeks.  If you don’t have a solid thirty minutes, you can break it up into two 15-minutes sessions or three 10-minutes sessions.  You MUST have time for that?!  No casual strolling here either.  After a warmup, get that heart rate up for a good 30 minutes by brisk walking, walking uphill, jogging, get your butt to a Zumba or other dance class, or jump on any piece of aerobic equipment such as elliptical machine.  You can even go old-school, low-tech and do 30 minutes of jumping rope, jumping jacks, or anything that gets your heart rate up for 30 minutes.  I like to use the FREE Nike Training Club app where there are tons of free workouts just waiting for you & many require NO EQUIPMENT.  No excuses … JUST DO IT!

Get More Sleep

This one isn’t so bad, eh?  Who doesn’t long for more zzz’s?  And guess what?  Your body needs it.  A study published in 2012 found that just a few nights of bad sleep can throw your metabolism into a tailspin.  The study showed that getting four hours of sleep a night for four nights made healthy people’s bodies resistant to insulin — a condition that leads to weight gain, diabetes and other serious health problems.

Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep per night.  Some need less, some actually need more to function optimally.  You can find out how many hours you need by reading this post I wrote for MindBodyGreen.  For the next 7 days, though, focus on adding just 30 minutes of sleep each night.  You might have to turn off the television a little earlier or wait until tomorrow for your turn at Words With Friends, but your body will thank you.

After you try this, please come back & leave a comment below & let everyone know about your progress!  

Other posts you might like:

How Do You Know If You Need a Life Coach?

Motivation — Where Are You?

What’s Past The Comfort Zone?