The 10 Day Health Challenge

Around 9am I deemed today as one of the most spontaneous days of my adult life. This morning, my best girlfriend and I decided to stop letting life pass us by, and took the saying “treat yo’self” to heart. We booked a spontaneous cruise to the Caribbean. At around 9:04am after the excitement wore off, horror took place.
What had I done? I had just given myself 10 days to get into as good a shape as I could possibly (healthily) manage. Thus, my immediate solution: spend my day researching and plotting healthy exercise regimens, food recipes and at-home weight loss myths to try out. With the three combined, I’m hoping I might have a shot of toning up a bit before the trip. At the very least, feeling healthier.
I’m giving myself (and you) a 10-day challenge. Be as disciplined as we possibly can and see how our bodies feel at the end of day 10. Yes, we might not see great changes and yes, it takes 21 days to form a habit. The goal here is that by day 10 we’ll have cleansed our bodies of guilty pleasure foods, and might be so pleased with our progress that we’re inspired to continue along our healthy journey. 

The First Step: Grocery Shopping + Choosing Foods That Are Right For You.
Have any of you seen that article buzzing around social media, “I Drank Warm Honey Lemon Water Every Morning for a Year (Here’s What Happened)? ” 

The author credits a number of different improvements to her life by drinking warm honey lemon water every morning. The one I’m most intrigued by is the healthy glowing affects it has on your skin and as a weight-loss aid (lemon is a digestive aid and liver cleanser). I’m going to definitely be adding lemons to my list to buy at the grocery store, and start this tomorrow morning. 

Lemon Honey Water

I’m going to cut out any liquids aside from water, teas, smoothies or the lemon honey water from my diet. Drinking a lot of water not only clears the toxins from your body and has a number of healthy benefits, but also naturally fills you up so you aren’t so tempted to snack throughout the day and eat less at mealtime. Fruits & veggies are definitely on my list at the grocery store (and a lot of them!) Recommended are:
Broccoli low fat, low calorie and fills you up with high-fiber without the calories. Also is preventative in diseases that come with being overweight- diabetes, hypertension & heart disease.
Cabbage similarly to drinking a large glass of water before a meal, eating cabbage before a meal is also suggested. It’s filled with fiber and satisfies your appetite, making it easier for you to resist the urge of over-eating at meals.
Cauliflower has no fat, is high in vitamin C, and is rich in flavor either raw or cooked. It also provides fiber, folic acid, potassium and as an added bonus is said to help prevent cancer.
Spinach curbs your cravings for sweets and junk food. According to a study that was conducted at Lund University in Sweden, spinach contains thylakoids, which boosts weight loss by almost 43%. Try blending spinach into your smoothies before breakfast and see if it helps to reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods.
Grapefruit helps to keep you full and is chock full of fiber. Apparently, even just smelling the scent of grapefruit works in aiding weight loss. Researchers say this is because of the effect that grapefruit oil has on liver enzymes which help to get rid of cravings and encourage weight loss.
Lettuce­ has a low calorie count and almost zero fat. Lettuce also contains fiber, which improves your digestion. It’s also great at filling you up, which once again helps you to not snack on unhealthy foods when hungry. Try to use an oil-based dressing for max benefits.
are also great for aiding in a healthy lifestyle dietary change. These should definitely be on your grocery list. A legume, according to the ‘Ultimate Paleo Guide,’ is a simple dry fruit contained within a shed or a pod. Well-known legumes are lentils, beans, peanuts and peas. Legumes are ideal for maintaining a healthy body weight, which is exactly what we’re after. 

They have very few calories, and contain natural carbohydrates. This gives your body more energy to be active, which in turn burns body fat.  Legumes however, don’t contain the essential amino acids that are needed for growth and repair. This is an easily solvable problem by mixing grains into your diet. The amino acids missing from legumes are found in foods like rice, oats, barley and quinoa. Coincidentally the amino acids found in legumes are missing from grains. By adding the two together, you end up with the same amount of protein that’s found in meat, fish and soybeans.

Suggested combinations are:
Baked beans on toast
Bean dip + baked corn chips
Beans with rice
Hummus + pita bread
Lentil or bean soup served with bread
Chickpea stew served over couscous
Lentil or bean burger
This is a great (and easy) lentil soup recipe.

Bowls of Healthy Foods

Smoothies are also a fantastic way to help fight off unhealthy food cravings and help curb your appetite. Use plain Greek yogurt and low-fat milk as a base. From there, add fruits and veggies to the blender. I would suggest adding in kale or spinach, and using honey as a natural sweetener. 

Healthy Green Smoothie

This site provides a series of different recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. There are multiple different choices that can work for anyone’s taste preferences. Check it out and mix and match your favorite choices to create the best meals for yourself!

The Hard Part- Working out.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve spent the last two days with sore muscles and back pain from an unexpectedly advanced yoga. Due to my realization that perhaps I can’t jump into any extreme poses right off the bat, I decided to investigate a series of yoga poses that beginners to advanced yogis
 can do, and specifically poses that are geared towards helping you lose weight and tone your butt for the upcoming spring (you’re welcome!)

Woman doing Warrior Pose

These yoga poses have been recommended by various instructors to help aid in weight loss and muscle strength building. Combining these poses with a healthy diet, is a great way to maintain a healthy weight for your body.  

Warrior Pose I & II (Virabhadrasana)
Strengthens your thighs, buttock and tummy. 

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Increases circulation, tones your thighs, belly and buttocks. Also speeds up metabolism. 

Boat Pose (Navasana)
Tones your abs and strengthens back, arms and legs. This is a complete body workout. 

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Increases your metabolism by improving digestion.

Cobbler Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Reduces fat on inner thighs and strengthens your spine, knees and lower back. 

Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Strengthens the muscles in your legs and lower back. Like all back bends, Locust pose boosts your energy. 

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Helps to strengthen your core for a stronger belly. 
Woman doing Chair Pose

These yoga poses are great for obtaining the allusive “yoga derrière.”

-Warrior I, II & III
-Chair Pose
-Diver’s Pose
-Elevated Wide Squat
-Upward Facing Plank Pose
-Locust Pose
-Down Dog Split
-Single-Legged Plank
It’s recommended to practice yoga on an emptier stomach, but if you are going to head to the gym for some cardio try eating a toasted slice of whole wheat bread with sliced bananas and cinnamon. Carbs are great to have in your body before a workout, and you want to try to have a mix of simple and complex so that the release of energy throughout your workout is slow and steady. After your workout try eating some lean proteins like chicken. Start tonight! After finishing this post I’ll be leaving the office and be heading to a grocery store… and hopefully fitting in a yoga class or 10 before that cruise! 

By Sky Andersen