Features + #FridayFitClub

#FitClubFriday: Six Little Tricks for a Healthier Week

Just do something.

All week, I’ve been crippled by insomnia, yet somehow, I managed to still lose 3lbs in 10 days.  So how did I do it?  By just doing something.  Here are the five little tricks I’ve been using to keep this fitness train on the tracks when my life seems to be conspiring against me.

One. More Fruits and Vegetables.  Every time I made a meal this week, I spent a few minutes thinking about how I could add more vegetables to it.

I made a turkey sandwich and piled on cucumbers, sprouts and carrots.  (Kyle was super horrified I ruined a perfectly good sandwich with carrots.  “They do not belong on bread!”)  I made a salad, and searched every vegetable we had that looked like it was on its last legs.  (It wasn’t pretty, but it was healthy.)  We at Burger King for dinner last night (because I had a craving), and instead of ordering fries, I came home and made grilled sweet potatoes and a salad.  And then, every time I wanted a snack, I had a piece of fruit.

The best part of the whole thing was how full I felt after every meal.  I wasn’t hungry even once all week.

Two. Bring the Triscuits. Did you know Triscuits only have three ingredients?  Wheat, canola oil, and salt.  That’s it.  And those crackers are so filling, I eat six crackers (1, 120 calorie serving) and all cravings for bread and chips cease.

Also, you can dress them up for a quick lunch.  My favorite Triscuit recipe is a little ricotta cheese, roasted grapes, and a little bit of fresh thyme.  It’s delicious and totally satisfying.

Three. Lemon Water in the Morning. I was skeptical about this, but after a week of drinking warm water (not hot) with a squeeze of lemon, I feel far less bloated and my skin is brighter.  There are some other health benefits as well.  Plus, I think anytime you can start your day by doing something that’s good for you, it gives you good psychic energy to keep doing good for yourself the rest of the day.

Four. Just Do Something.  We’ve all been there, the moment you realize you’re not going to the gym today. Maybe it’s a choice, maybe it’s forced upon you.  Regardless, in that moment, take five-minutes to do something that looks like exercise.

One day, I took the pups on a short walk.  Another day, I did some leg lifts and push ups in my living room. And today, I did 50 jumping jacks and 40 arm circles while waiting for a conference call to start.  It’s not a lot, but it’s better than nothing.

Five. Stand Up Regularly.  When we sit, our metabolism slows down.  When we stand, it speeds up a bit.  So all week, I was trying to maximize the time I spend standing.

First, I set my AppleWatch to remind me if I’d been sitting for more than 20 minutes.  Second, I started hunting for tasks I could do standing up.  I needed to read a memo, so I did it standing at my kitchen counter instead of sitting down.  I was scrolling through Instastories while waiting for a delivery, so decided to do it while standing.  And when I was watching TV with Kyle, I’d stand up every other commercial break and find a small task to do.

Six. Make Cleaning Your Cardio.  I am a clean person, and years ago, I realized that I could turn cleaning into a workout.  How?  By speeding it up.

It takes about two-hours to clean my house from start to finish.  But if I set the timer on my phone for 1-hour, I break a sweat trying to finish everything in time.  I make the beds, wipe up the counters, vacuum all the rooms and the stairs, dust everything, and on and on.  By the time I’m done, my heart rate is really cooking.  It seems silly at first, but you have to clean anyway, so why not get an added benefit from it?

All of these little tricks combined really helped me out this week.  And more than that, they kept me conscious of the changes I’m trying to make in my life without feeling overwhelmed or guilty that I didn’t hit the gym.  So what little things do you do to help keep you on the road to a healthier you?

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  1. Kirby says:

    Ditto on the Triscuits! In the same vein as lemon water, I drink Apple Cider Vinegar every morning. It helps cut down on belly bloat, can help with cravings and help lower your blood sugar. I don’t recommend it straight unless you like nausea – so mix up 2 tbsp ACV, 1 tbsp honey, a squeeze of lemon and fill the glass the rest of the way with water. A 50/50 mix of ACV & water in a spray bottle also makes a great clarifying rinse for your hair.

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  2. S says:

    I never thought of speeding up my cleaning. Thanks for the tip!

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  3. Crystal says:

    My workout goal this year is to fit in at least 4 workouts a week, and here’s my strategy: Saturdays and Sundays I have all-day, so that’s two. Then I fit in two more before and after my work week — Monday morning (Crossfit) helps me start off my week on the right foot, and Friday evening (Bikram yoga) is a great way to mentally complete my work week and get ready for the weekend (and stretch out my hunched-over spine). Then if I can fit in any more throughout the week, I’m already at 5 or more workouts! Committing to Monday morning and Friday evening workouts has helped relieve the stress of trying to fit them in almost every work week morning, which often doesn’t happen when I don’t get enough sleep.

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  4. Sof says:

    The fruit/veggie tip is so spot-on. They are full of fiber and will keep you full for longer, and there are SO MANY opportunities to add more to your meals! I like to think of it as a challenge or a chance for creativity when I’m cooking: “Cooking Light says 1/2 cup onion, but I’ll just put in the whole thing… I like mushrooms anyway, might as well double them… This recipe calls for 2 cups of spinach – what am I going to do with the rest of the bag?? Might as well dump the whole thing in!”

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  5. Meghan says:

    I deeply appreciate the honesty on this topic especially. All the fitness blogs that tell you to “just do it” and “workout for 20 minutes every day” make me feel like I failed if I don’t make it to the gym or eat salad at every meal. But your approach of just being a little better and trying to be more conscious is so refreshing and motivating! Thank you!

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  6. Jules says:

    Have not thought about cleaning either, such a good tip! I suffer from insomnia too and the only thing I’ve found that really helps is writing out my to-do list for the next day (with really specific actionable items) just before I go to bed and then doing a guided meditation with an app like calm or headspace for 5-15 minutes. I’ve found that writing things out takes it out of my mind so I don’t think about what I need to do the next day when I’m trying to fall asleep and focusing on my breath.

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  7. Shannon says:

    This post reflects so much of my thinking about health this year. Thank you! I have found being mindful of my water intake has been helpful too!

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  8. Leigh says:

    The fact that my pilates studio has a $40 late cancel fee is the only thing that’s gotten me to show up this week. (My arthritis is acting up like whoa.) So, I guess sign up for classes with a ridiculous cancellation fee if you want to make sure you go.

    January 26, 2018/Reply
    • JBindc says:

      the fee at my gym is only $15 and the guilt still works 🙂

      January 26, 2018/Reply
  9. Meg says:

    You just inspired me to have a salad for lunch, thanks girl! Curious about your go-to snack fruits – what are you eating right now?

    January 26, 2018/Reply
    • J says:

      The clementines I’ve been getting in my area this year are awesome. They’re a great snack or add on to a meal. Small and so sweet!

      January 26, 2018/Reply
    • Sof says:

      I second clementines – they travel well and are easy to eat at your desk. Pears are also delicious this time of year, and I’ve had luck packing them in koozies if I bring them into the office. I also like kiwi, which are full of fiber and easy to eat at your desk (you can eat them skin and all!).

      January 26, 2018/Reply
      • j says:

        Koozies for pears?! Genius. When they are ripe, they can be tender. Trademark and market this asap!

        January 26, 2018/Reply
      • Meg says:

        You can eat kiwi whole, fuzz and all? You can pack pears in a koozie?? A thousand thanks!

        January 28, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Some readers have said clementines, those and Tangelos are great because they don’t need packaging or a knife, you can just peel and eat. I also like granny smith apples and pineapple, though that has a lot of sugar. My other go to is cutting up a whole cantaloupe on sunday and packing it in ziploc. It takes forever to eat a serving of cantaloupe, and it’s sweet and tasty.

      January 26, 2018/Reply
  10. Katherine says:

    Another easy tip is just keeping a water bottle around. I take a 24 ounce water bottle with me when I drive to work in the morning and I’m surprised at how often I take a drink

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  11. Susan says:

    Crazy little tip I’ve picked up from some unfortunate stomach issues of late….
    Just step away from the bread. Don’t get obsessive and read labels about gluten but don’t order a sandwich, order something else. Eat an omelet instead of an egg sandwich. Eat a “lettuce wrap” instead of bread (even Jimmy Johns has them!?). It’s amazing how you become less bloated, less poochy and lose a couple pounds when you just say no to bread. Trust me it’s 10 lbs for me and it’s only been two and a half months and I was never overweight to begin with.

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  12. RaChel says:

    Do something has been my motto so far this year. Even something as small as drinking water with lunch instead of a soda – it’s something! And all the little somethings add up. Plus, they help me remember that it’s long journey and every step helps.

    January 26, 2018/Reply
  13. Rose says:

    Hope your sleep routine gets back on track. No #1 tip is my favorite.

    January 28, 2018/Reply
  14. Jess says:

    #4. Just do something. Best advice ever! Sometimes I’m not in the mood to get to the gym, but if I make it there I always work up a sweat. Or if I don’t want to go to the gym at all, I just get outside and go for a walk, skip the metro, go for a bike ride, anything. You’ll never regret “just doing something” and I think it’s realistic and great advice!


    January 28, 2018/Reply
  15. SC says:

    I eat an apple at 10-10:30 every day, and it helps stave off the urge to hit the office snack cabinet before lunch. Portion control is also a big thing for me — smaller bowls and plates, eating purposefully (vs. mindlessly shoveling), etc.

    For exercise, I love anything outdoors but since it’s -2 in rural MN today, I bought an indoor rowing machine for Christmas. It’s a fun, full-body workout, and I found a beginner plan where almost every session is 25 mins or less. I actually look forward to coming home after work to row. 🙂

    January 29, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      One of my girlfriends was trying to lose weight for years with no luck. Her doctor said to her, “How big are your plates? Try buying smaller plates.” So she did, and within two months she’d lost 20lbs. You don’t realize how programmed you are to fill your plate until you see how much bigger American dinner plates have gotten. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2009/11/our-plates-keep-getting-bigger/

      January 29, 2018/Reply