15 in 15 Challenge: Week 4

January 26th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Lifestyles - (1 Comments)

This week: de-clutter 15 items from your home

Ready to cut clutter on the homefront–but not sure where to start? Standing amid the stacks and piles, it can be hard to find a good spot to dive in and begin.

Step 1: A single small success

Focus your vision down from the big picture and zero-in on one small, solvable clutter problem. Clear one counter, de-clutter one shelf, or bring order to a single drawer. If you can begin your de-clutter process with one small success, you will welcome motivation for the larger job ahead.

Step 2: Slow, steady progress

Just as clutter arises gradually, over time, it must also be fought gradually and over time. Beating clutter requires building new habits, applying new organizational methods, and creating new household routines.

Step 3: Schedule de-clutter sessions

Start off with scheduling a time of day to de-clutter—even 15 minutes is a great start. Scheduling de-clutter sessions brings your ultimate de-cluttered life goal down to something that can be accomplished.

Step 4: Remember, change begins with me

Clutter accumulates from newspapers spread about, toys and art materials left throughout the living room, poor housekeeping routines landing clean clothing in piles on the couch, and mail in daily heaps throughout the kitchen. Begin alleviating these issues through your own actions, and whoever lives with you will likely take note and follow suit. If they fail to, you now have the personal experience of what it takes to make a change in life to live without clutter, so you will be better equipped to talk with others about making a change as well.

15 in 15 Challenge: Week 3

January 19th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Fitness | Lifestyles - (2 Comments)

This week…engage in 15 minutes of exercise each day!

“It is too cold outside.”

“There is too much wind.”

“Have you seen those hills?”

“I have never done that before.”

No matter what your excuse has been in the past, now is the time to put those thoughts behind you. We live in the Midwest and so there will be variable weather, winds, and some rolling hills but not one of those are good enough reasons to say no to exercise.

Exercise improves your mood, gives you energy, reduces stress and assists in keeping your body in good health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults participate in moderate-level aerobic activity for 150 minutes per week and engage in muscle strengthening activities two or more days per week. If you choose to participate in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, the CDC recommends 75 minutes while still getting at least two days of muscle-strengthening activity. For children, the CDC recommends at least 60 minutes of exercise or play each day.

Helpful hints to get 15 minutes in 2015:

  1. Check with your doctor to assure it is safe for you to exercise
  2. Start with just 10 minutes of exercise and build your way to 30 minutes each day
  3. Find out what you like to do!
  4. Take breaks at work for a short walk
  5. Join a gym and try some group fitness classes
  6. Find a workout buddy
  7. Plan a time each day specifically for a workout
  8. Utilize the Midwest weather to your advantage…shoveling, raking or gardening
  9. Track or log your daily activities
  10. Take before and after measurements…picture, weight, body fat or waist circumference


Try It Thursday: Strength-Cardio Circuit

January 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Fitness - (0 Comments)

This workout demonstrates a basic strength circuit. This circuit will focus on muscular strength and endurance, and also cardiovascular strength. These types of workouts are great for maintaining overall physical functioning. Have some fun, and get fit!

MAIN BODY PARTS: Legs, Shoulder, Upper Back, Core

TOTAL TIME: ~10 minutes at intensity, ~25 minutes total with warm-up and cool-down

Exercise Time
Warm-up (jump rope, jog, etc) 5-10min.
Crunches 30sec.
Body Weight Squat 30sec.
Cardio (walk, bike, etc) 2min.
Step-ups (bench or stair step, with or without weight) 30sec
Cardio (walk, bike, etc) 2min.
Cool-down (walk) 5min


Medical Clearance: Consult with your healthcare provider(s) before starting any exercise program

15 in 15 Challenge: Week 2

January 12th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Lifestyles | Nutrition - (5 Comments)

Week 2: Take 15 minutes to journal about your food intake.

For this week’s challenge we are looking at the importance of journaling our food intake. Writing down what we eat helps us take a look at our food habits. Often food logs are a wake-up call to improve habits we didn’t even know needed fixing.

CHALLENGE: Write down what you eat on three weekdays and one weekend day.

Benefits of Food Journals:

Better nutrition—by recording what you eat, you will be able to identify any food groups that may be missing in your diet. For more information on nutrition guidelines, please check out www.choosemyplate.gov.

Weight loss—studies have shown that dieters who keep a food diary lose twice as much weight as those who keep no food record.

Accountability—keeping a food diary can reduce or eliminate mindless eating, and they can be a powerful motivator knowing you will have to write down ALL your choices.

Food Intolerance Detection—writing down how you feel physically after you eat can help pinpoint any possible food intolerances.

Types of food journals/tracking systems:

Here are a few guidelines to get you started on your food journaling adventure.

  • Record everything you eat and drink as you consume, along with time of day.
  • Note what you’re doing while you’re eating―driving, watching TV, working, with friends, etc.
  • Describe how you felt while you ate: angry, sad, happy, nervous, hungry or bored?
  • If you wish, record their physical activity as part of their journaling.

Extra Tips

  • The more specific your food diary, the more effective tool it will be when it comes to eating a healthy diet.
  • Include the portion size and calories, especially if you are recording food for weight loss.

A food diary can be an effective tool in our well-being journey.

How about you…do you journal food on a regular basis? If so, please share your favorite tracking system.


15 in 15 Challenge: Week 1

January 5th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Lifestyles - (7 Comments)

This week’s challenge: consume 15 servings of fruits and vegetables


Making space for fruits and vegetables on your plate is not always easy…but it is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. According to the United States Department of Agriculture and Choose My Plate, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

Try these helpful hints as you strive for 15:

  1. Cut up a batch of bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli. Pre-package them to use when time is limited. You can enjoy them on a salad, with hummus, or in a veggie wrap.
  2. Brighten your plate with fruits and vegetables that are red, orange, dark green, blue, and yellow as they are full of vitamins and minerals. Try squash, tomatoes, spinach, oranges, and bananas.
  3. At breakfast, top your cereal, pancakes or yogurt with bananas, peaches, or strawberries.
  4. If dinner is away from home, order an extra side of fruit or vegetables, or a side salad, instead of the typical fried side dish.
  5. Check the freezer aisle! Frozen fruits and vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh varieties.
  6. Keep visible reminders, such as whole fruits, on the counter or in the fridge.
  7. Snack on fruits and vegetables as they are easy to eat and require little to no preparation.
  8. Use this week as an opportunity to role model healthy choices for children.
  9. Keep your fruits and vegetables safe by cleaning the surface with water and a clean towel.
  10. Try something new! Choose a new fruit or vegetable, look up a recipe online, and fix something fun and new for your family or friends.