In January this year I joined a group for a weight loss challenge, but had a really hard time fitting exercise in when it was so cold outside. I ended up focusing more on eating healthier. I lost a few pounds, and though I didn’t win the contest, participating in the group motivated me to make some changes. I started running again, and doing some research on nutrition. I’ve lost about 15 pounds since the beginning of the year. But even running 8 miles a week and walking at least 30 minutes a day, I’m not seeing the loss of “spare tire” I was hoping for. Instead of getting discouraged, though, I rallied my troops for some positive reinforcement.
Starting today, and for the month of October, I’m working on establishing habits that will, in the long run, help me reduce visceral (belly) fat and strengthen my core. Since I know it’s something a lot of people struggle with, I enlisted the help of some friends to keep me accountable and encouraged, and we’re ready to jump in to a challenge. In the interest of keeping things simple, so we don’t get discouraged, I chose a few specific points to focus on.
Here are the basics of our Healthy Belly Challenge:
- Eliminate refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. Honey is okay, but use sparingly.
- Eat REAL food, no restaurant or prepared food. Eat at home, food you made – Cook like your great grandma!
- Add at least 1 serving of raw fruit or vegetables every day. Juice doesn’t count, even if you make it yourself.
- Do five plank reps, holding as long as possible; repeat three times a day. Or choose your own plank challenge, but stick to it!
- Drink enough water to equal half your body weight in ounces every day (For example: 200 pounds = 100 ounces daily). It is okay to replace 8 oz. of water with juice, or milk, and any amount of water with green tea, everything else does not count toward total ounces.
That’s it. In the next few days, I’ll explain why these are the five things I chose to focus on. I have lots of additional tips, research, nutrition information, and recipes to share, too. And I plan to post here every day in October.
Please note that I am not a doctor or nutrition professional. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program or drastically changing your diet. The point of this challenge is to establish good lifetime habits, not to lose lots of weight really fast. Feel free to participate in some or all of the challenge, but whatever parts you choose to do, I encourage you to commit to do it for the whole month.