Monday, December 29, 2008

Final Week

This is the Final Week of the Challenge!! We end Jan. 1st, but I hope you don't drop your new healthy habits! Squeeze all of the points in there that you can and give yourself a pat on the back for making it through this long, Holiday Challenge. I really am so happy with all of you who have made the effort and stuck in there until the end. Yes, there were people who originally signed up, paid money, and haven't done a thing since. I hope those people will try again, but I am proud of those who stayed with me even if you don't end up on top of the point list.

Great Job!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Here are totals for weeks 1-4. Get your numbers in...we are now in week 7!

Kim: 369

Ryan: 327

Michelle: 319

LeeAnn: 274

Melissa: 179

Hannah: 174

Ellen: 131

Pam: 120

Jeni: 79

We're in our final weeks! Pour it on and go strong to the end. I think these might be the hardest weeks coming don't let down your guard.

Points for articles:

Melissa and Hannah- Please supply us all an article on FAT...why it's important/how much is good/how much is too much/what the difference is between Saturated, Trans, Unsaturated, etc.

Kim-Please supply us an article on PROTEIN... what are good sources/same stuff as above

Ellen-Please supply us an article on CARBOHYDRATES...same as above


*write in a comment on how this experience has been for you: 2 points total

*write in a comment on how this challenge could be improved: 3 points total

*do 65 walking lunges in a row without stopping: 2 points total

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Extra Motivation

Needing some extra motivation to lose those pounds? Not only can you help yourself feel and look better, but you can feed those who don't have enough. For every pound you lose NBC (I think) will donate a pound of food to Feeding America. What a great program! You can start now and write in between April and March how many pounds you lost. Go HERE for more info.

Friday, December 19, 2008


What are some of the benefits of a good night’s sleep?
Sleep makes You Smarter
Can you remember those college nights when you would stay up cramming for a final exam? Did you know that losing sleep probably hurt you more than if you wouldn't have studied as much. Research shows that individuals who get a full 7-8 hour of sleep after learning a skill retain more information as opposed to those that stay up all night mastering that same skill. When you sleep, your brain gets a chance to digest and process information from the previous day. Missing this processing time can prove to be costly.

Sleep Improves Concentration
Those that don't get enough sleep tend to be more irritable and make more mistakes. Reaction time is also significantly decreased by a lack of sleep. As a matter of fact, a lack of sleep is sometimes compared to alcohol consumption while driving.

Sleep Boosts the Immune System
If you get the right amount of sleep per night (7-8 hours), your body will be able to fight off infections and diseases much easier. Have you ever noticed the times when you are lacking sleep. This is usually when you catch a cold or the flu. It is no coincidence.

Sleep Improves Appearance
Have you ever heard the term "beauty sleep"? As a matter of fact, skin, muscle, blood, and brain regeneration happens during the sleep cycles. If you deprive your body of this necessary regeneration, your skin will begin to age and under your eyes will appear dark circles.
Link to article here.

How much sleep do I need?
Research shows that a healthy amount of sleep varies from person to person. According to, “There's no normal number of hours that quantifies a good sleep, just like there's no normal shoe size. Most adults need seven to nine hours a night; others manage just fine with six. It's even possible to get too much sleep, since spending excess time in bed can be a sign of another health problem, such as depression or chronic fatigue syndrome.

A 2007 British study found that people who slept the same amount of time (seven hours) each night lived longer, on average, than people who adjusted their schedules to either add or subtract hours from their nightly slumber. Finding your own ideal sleep/wake cycle—and staying consistent—is key to healthy sleep, agrees Carol Ash, DO, medical director of the Sleep for Life center in Hillsborough, N.J.”

What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “One thing sleep research certainly has shown is that sleeping too little can not only inhibit your productivity and ability to remember and consolidate information, but lack of sleep can also lead to serious health consequences and jeopardize your safety and the safety of individuals around you.
For example, short sleep duration is linked with:
* Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
* Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
* Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
* Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
* Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information”
How does sleep affect weight loss?
The following information was found at
According to recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet, sleep loss tends to increase hunger and affects the body’s metabolism making it difficult to maintain weight loss or lose weight.
A hormone called cortisol which controls appetite has been shown to be affected by sleep loss. This causes you to still feel hungry despite the fact that you have consumed an adequate amount of food. Other ways that sleep loss affects your ability to lose and maintain weight loss include:
• Interference with carbohydrate metabolism which may cause high blood glucose levels.
• Excess amounts of glucose encourages the overproduction of insulin which leads to the storage of excess body fat, as well as lead to insulin resistance (a significant sign of adult-onset diabetes.)
According to Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, "Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite and may be a contributing factor to obesity. Any American making a resolution to lose weight in the New Year should probably consider a parallel commitment for getting more sleep."

What Can I do to Make Sure I’m getting enough sleep?
Once again from the National Sleep Foundation:
“To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep. Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night's sleep versus a good one. Ask yourself, "How often do I get a good night's sleep?" If the answer is "not often", then you may need to consider changing your sleep habits or consulting a physician or sleep specialist. When Ellen's family members began this process, they realized that often they weren't getting what they would call a "good night's sleep." This led each of them to reevaluate how much sleep they needed and whether their sleep habits were healthy ones.
To pave the way for better sleep, experts recommend that you and your family members follow these sleep tips:
* Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
* Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
* Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
* Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
* Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep "sleep stealers" out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
* Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
* Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
* Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or sleep specialist to determine the underlying cause. You may also try keeping a sleep diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period and bring the results to your physician.
Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your "to-do list" and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.”

Thanks Michelle and Ryan. Get your points....the rest of you read and comment to get yours!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Week 5 OVER

Okay, bonus points for week 5 are now over.


for those of you trying to lose weight: lose 2 healthy pounds (that means no starving yourself) 3 POINTS

for those of you who don't need to lose weight, but are trying to be healthier: be able to do 50 good pushups IN A ROW by the end of the week 3 POINTS

You may only pick one option for the week and earn a max of 3 points total for the week.

I'd also like to ask Michelle and Ryan to supply us with an article/info/pointers on SLEEP and why it's important, how much is good, how much is too much, other effects. Email me the info at and I'll post it. Everyone else, make sure to read it for your points.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Here are the current standings with totals from 3 weeks. Lots of you have all 4 weeks in, but I'm still waiting for a few.

Kim 270

Michelle 234

Ryan 233

LeeAnn 199

Hannah 126

Melissa 125

Ellen 107

Pam 92

Jeni 55

No matter at where you're on the list, be happy that you're ON IT! Good job for making an effort and I only hope that you will double your efforts for the next couple of weeks until the challenge is over. Remember Jan. 1 is going to come whether you've been healthy or not...might as well feel good about it.

Don't forget to read LeeAnn's article on FIBER this week for extra points and check out the extra bonus points only for WEEK 5...which we're now in.

**one clarification, the 1 point for adding PLYOMETRICS to your workout is included in you minutes, not in addition. So if you workout for 50 mins and make the last 10 minutes plyometircs, then you get points for a 60 min. workout PLUS the PLYO point. Just ask if there are other questions!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fiber provided by LeeAnn - 36k
Dietary fiber: An essential part of a healthy diet
Dietary fiber offers many health benefits. Here's how to include more in your diet.
Eat more fiber. You've probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health?

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

If you need to add more fiber to your diet, don't worry. Increasing the amount you eat each day isn't difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need and ways to include more high-fiber foods into your daily meals and snacks.

What is dietary fiber?
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn't digested by your body. Therefore, it passes virtually unchanged through your stomach and small intestine and into your colon.

Fiber is often classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. You can find generous quantities of soluble fiber in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
The amount of each type of fiber varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.

Benefits of a high-fiber diet
A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:

Prevents constipation. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
Lowers your risk of digestive conditions. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of specific disorders, such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and the development of small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels.
Controls blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes, can help improve blood sugar levels. A high-fiber diet may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you're less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
Uncertain effect on colorectal cancer. Evidence that dietary fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed — some studies show benefit, some show nothing and even some show greater risk. If you're concerned about preventing colorectal cancer, adopt or stick with a colon cancer screening regimen. Regular testing for and removal of colon polyps can prevent colon cancer.

Cholesterol: The top 5 foods to lower your numbers
Diabetes diet: Guidelines for healthy eating with diabetes
Colon cancer
Energy density and weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories

How much fiber do you need?
How much fiber do you need each day? The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:

Age 50 and younger Age 51 and older
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

Your best fiber choices
If you aren't getting enough fiber each day, you may need to boost your intake. Good choices include:

Grains and whole-grain products
Beans, peas and other legumes
Nuts and seeds
Refined or processed foods — such as fruit juice, white bread and pasta, and non-whole-grain cereals — are lower in fiber content. The grain-refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, which lowers its fiber content. Similarly, removing the skin from fruits and vegetables decreases their fiber content.

So what foods are your best bets? This list shows the amount of dietary fiber in several types of foods.

Food item Fiber content in grams*
Split peas, cooked, 1 cup 16.3
Red kidney beans, boiled, 1 cup 13.1
Raspberries, raw, 1 cup 8.0
Whole-wheat spaghetti, 1 cup 6.3
Oat bran muffin, medium 5.2
Pear, medium with skin 5.1
Broccoli, boiled, 1 cup 5.1
Apple, medium with skin 4.4
Oatmeal, quick, regular or instant, cooked, 1 cup 4.0
Green beans, cooked, 1 cup 4.0
Brown rice, cooked, 1 cup 3.5
Popcorn, air-popped, 2 cups 2.3
Whole-wheat bread, one slice 1.9 *Fiber content can vary between brands.
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 2007
Whole foods rather than fiber supplements are generally better. Fiber supplements — such as Metamucil, Citrucel and FiberCon — don't provide the vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients that high-fiber foods do. However, some people may still need a fiber supplement if dietary changes aren't sufficient, or if they have certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Check with your doctor if you feel you need to take fiber supplements.

High-fiber foods
Fiber supplements: Are they safe to take every day?
Whole grains: Hearty options for a healthy diet
White whole-wheat bread: Is it good for me?

Tips for fitting in fiber
Need ideas for high-fiber meals and snacks? Try these suggestions:

Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast cereal — 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Opt for cereals with "bran" or "fiber" in the name. Or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
Add crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to baked products such as meatloaf, breads, muffins, casseroles, cakes and cookies. You can also use bran products as a crunchy topping for casseroles, salads or cooked vegetables.
Switch to whole-grain breads. These breads list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label. Look for a brand with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
Substitute whole-grain flour for half or all of the white flour when baking bread. Whole-grain flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer. When using baking powder, increase it by 1 teaspoon for every 3 cups of whole-grain flour.
Eat more whole grains and whole-grain products. Experiment with brown rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta and bulgur.
Take advantage of ready-to-use vegetables. Mix chopped frozen broccoli into prepared spaghetti sauce. Snack on baby carrots.
Eat more beans, peas and lentils. Add kidney beans to canned soup or a green salad. Or make nachos with refried black beans, baked tortilla chips and salsa.
Eat fruit at every meal. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears and berries are good sources of fiber.
Make snacks count. Fresh and dried fruit, raw vegetables, and low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crackers are all good choices.
High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can cause intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Also, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky. Without the added water, you could become constipated.

See what's new at
LeeAnn Robinson
Executive Director I

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I can't wait to post numbers anymore! Everyone (almost) is slacking on getting their numbers in so here is what I have so far.

Week 3

Ryan: 92

Michelle: 87

Kim: 82

Hannah: 51

I think that Jeni and Sarah have copped out of the compi, so I'm going to give the Fiber assignment to LeeAnn and Lisa. Provide an article/info/something worth reading about Fiber via email and get your points!

We are half way through week 4...just to let you know.
These points are only available for the 7 days of week 5...that's Monday the 8th to Sunday the 14th.

*8 hours of sleep at night 1 POINT/DAY

*Encouraging someone you know to exercise and eat healthy (this is not meant to be a quick "Hey, you should exercise" but an actual conversation with someone about the importance and benefits you've derived from living a healthy lifestyle).

*Add 10 mins. of PLYOMETRICS to your workout. Don't know what they are? Educate yourself HERE!