FunSize Blog - FunSize Health
FunSize Blog - FunSize Healthhttp://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:16:38 +0000en-USSite-Server v6.0.0-7184-7184 (http://www.squarespace.com)Why I swim...And why you might want to Christina HannaFri, 11 Mar 2016 14:00:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/3/10/why566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56e23e821d07c0f4f333c842No matter where I go, I always find an opportunity to swim. My friend Cathy and I snorkeling in Zanzibar.
What I Love About SwimmingThere are so many ways to enjoy the water. My favorites are lap swimming and Aqua HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes. I’m fairly new to Aqua HIIT, but I love it. It’s a cardio workout and builds strength. It’s great for anyone with joint pain. I have to modify most land-based workouts that involve jumping because of knee pain, but in the water I jump up and down like I’ve never had joint pain before. I can do exercises that would be way too hard for me to do on land. It’s a really liberating feeling. And that high continues when I’m heading home and there’s no need to ice my knees.Lap swimming is meditation for me. No matter how my week is going, being in the water helps me hit the reset button. It almost feels like a time of renewal. It refreshes my mind and body like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I pull my swim cap over my ears and for 45-60 minutes, the only thing I hear is the sound of the water and my own breathing. The rhythmic breathing of lap swimming forces me to focus on a meditative breathing that wouldn’t be as easy on land. Wearing goggles helps me put up another barrier to the rest of the world. They help signal to the rest of my body that it’s time to meditate. It’s like they’re telling me “Take a deep breath and dive right in!”Sometimes, my mind goes blank when I swim. My body knows what to do and I can totally clear my mind. Other times, I take the time to work through a problem. Either way, I always get out of the pool feeling better - physically, mentally, and emotionally.Why You Might Love It TooI know from personal experience, but science has also convinced me what a great workout swimming can be. It’s a full-body workout that keeps your heart rate up, tones muscles, and builds endurance. It can also help improve coordination and flexibility. Swimming can also help improve mental health and mood. Although I didn’t choose swimming for this benefit, it is the reason I’ve stuck with it.Another reason I like swimming is that even when you can’t walk, you can still swim. It’s one of the few physical activities that you can start early in life and continue through old age. I’m glad my parents started me young (see below at age 6 months) with classes similar to this. I plan to do the same when I have children. Some of favorite childhood memories are tied to being in the water. That''s another reason it holds a special importance for me.
Baby swim class, 1985. Christina and her parents
Swimming can be a great way to be active if you haven’t been active for a while. When people get back into being active, one of the challenges is muscle and joint soreness or aching. Swimming is a much gentler way to get your body moving. People who might have difficulty with land-based exercises, such as people recovering from injuries, pregnant women, people with joint pain, and people who are overweight or obese might find the pool to be the best place for them to get moving. I really enjoy seeing people of all ages and body types enjoying themselves at the pool. So whether it’s lap swimming, Aqua HIIT, traditional water aerobics, water walking/running, or just splashing around -- dive in!]]>Why I swim...And why you might want to Things We LoveThings We LoveAlex TurnerThu, 10 Mar 2016 03:16:49 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/3/6/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56dc5efaf85082e7fcc8802d
Alex - Even though the weather isn''t the best for running, I love using Runkeeper to track my runs. I have it set up so every 5 minutes the app tells me my pace and distance. That way I can adjust if I''m trying to run at a certain speed or mileage. There''s also a social component where you can share your runs, but I''m kind of slow so I''m not inclined to share. It''s a great app because it syncs with my Fitbit. It''s really helping me stay on track as I train for the Nashville Rock ''n'' Roll Half Marathon! Beth - I love my National Geographic. Great writing. Great photos. Stories that matter about almost everything, the planet, all its inhabitants, and the universe. It takes me places I''ve never been and shows me things I might never see any other way. Every issue is an adventure, and an uplifting dose of enlightenment, a reminder that no matter what I know, there''s something new to see or experience, that life is infinitely interesting and exciting. Christina - It almost feels cliché, but I am a woman in her 30’s who loves Pinterest. The reason that I love it is because it allows me a way to organize my creative energy. It’s like filling my creative hope chest. I have boards for sewing, crafting, cooking, travel, health, and planning for a future and future home. These are the things I would love to spend my time on, if I had more of it.]]>The Get Up and Move ChallengeWeekly ChallengesChristina HannaMon, 07 Mar 2016 13:30:42 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/3/7/the-get-up-and-move-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56dd80cc7c65e4d744dccbaaThe challenge: Avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time. Break up your day with short movement breaks. The human body was designed to move regularly. But the average American spends 9-10 hours per day sitting, in cars, at desks, in front of the TV. Even regular exercise doesn’t completely remedy a generally sedentary lifestyle. And research shows that all that sitting can contribute to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Tips to get you moving:Set calendar reminders or use an app.Stand while talking on phone.Stand or move while watching TV. You can use commercials as reminders.Drink more water. The more you drink, the more you need to get up and go.Our starting points: Alex - Exerciser, but sedentary worker and TV watcher. Beth – Spends 10 hours each weekday in car and at desk.Christina - Desk job, commuter, and TV watcher]]>The Get Up and Move ChallengeLearning to relax during a massageAlex TurnerThu, 03 Mar 2016 18:15:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/30/finding-relaxation-during-thai-massage566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56ad470842f5526b4811e632As you can probably tell from my silly face (I''m on the right) relaxation and sitting still is not my strength.
While on vacation this past Christmas, I was fortunate enough to have a traditional Thai body massage after a day of rock climbing in Arizona. I’ve had 2 Thai massages in the past. Trust me, they don’t disappoint. But they are different.Thai massage, unlike traditional massage, has the participant fully clothed in pajamas lying down on a larger massage table that’s closer to the floor. The masseuse or therapist gets up on the table and uses their body to manipulate and stretch you. I equate it to a kind of partner yoga where the masseuse does all of the work.In what I imagine as the signature move in Thai massage, the therapist grabs your arms and pulls you up in to a sort of modified cobra yoga stretch. At this point in the experience my brain and body shouted in protest. Towards the end of the session, the practice involves more moves like this. Manipulations and stretches where the client has to relax and be almost limp so the therapist can move you. I did not excel at this part of the massage. I tensed up and made it difficult for my therapist to move me. At one point, I started laughing at my inability to relax and let someone relieve my back and shoulder pain. My experience really got me thinking. Why was I unable to relax? Shouldn''t a massage be so relaxing and wonderful that you practically fall asleep? I''m able to relax during a normal sports therapy massage (and sometimes even fall asleep). I think what it boils down to is that I am so used to running around and being in control of my own body. But I had difficulty letting go. I couldn''t let someone else move my body in strange positions because I don''t move my own body in strange positions on a regular basis. I was uncomfortable. The experience should have been relaxing and super calming, but my reaction turned it into something that could have been part of a Saturday Night Live sketch. Yes, I was uncomfortable, but it also taught me something. Just like I practice a new boxing combo, I need to practice learning how to relax. I need to let go of the tension I carry in my shoulders and back. This kind of tension impacts so many areas of my life, my posture, my workouts, and probably my sleep. So I''ve decided to really challenge myself. In all of Funsize Health''s mindfulness and relaxation challenges, I''m going to really focus. Because I think learning to relax is a skill I need to practice. And it''s going to pay off at my next Thai massage (and probably in some other more important ways too). What about you? Do you find enough time for rest and relaxation in your life?]]>Things We LoveAlex TurnerTue, 01 Mar 2016 16:15:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/27/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56d22a8e1d07c0d9a874d615
Alex - I love granola and granola bars. They''re not always the healthiest of snacks, but a friend introduced me to a super easy and delicious 5 Minute No-Bake Vegan Granola Bar recipe. (I''m not a vegan, I love cheese.) I make these bars about once a month as a snack or something extra for my breakfast. To make this recipe "un-vegan" I add chocolate chips. The recipe is super quick and easy. Try it out and let me know what you think! Christina - Serial podcast. I know I''m late to party on this one, but I can''t get enough of the Serial podcast. I''ve finished Season One and I''m on to Season Two. It''s produced really well and I can''t wait to listen to the next episode. I love that it keeps my brain engaged and makes me want to learn more. I highly recommend it!Beth - Hot water with local Michigan honey from Sleeping Bear Farms, and Santa Cruz organic lemon juice. No caffeine buzz, but the same nice warm winter-weather pleasure of a nice hot cuppa in my hands. I wind down with this almost every night.]]>Week 7: The Gratitude ChallengeWeekly ChallengesAlex TurnerSun, 28 Feb 2016 16:30:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/27/week-7-the-gratitude-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56d22882356fb009213a66b1The challenge: Keep a gratitude journal. Write down at least 5 unique things you’re grateful for each day.Stress, negative thinking, worries about the future, all of them drive can drive up our blood pressure, cause muscle tension, and just make life kind of miserable. One great antidote is gratitude. There’s nothing like feeling good about what we have to help us relax and enjoy life.Studies show that individuals who kept a gratitude journal for 9 weeks increased optimism, physical activity, a sense of well-being and generally better health. We’re going to start with a week. If you’re feeling cheerier after 7 days, you may just keep right on giving thanks for all the wonderful things in your life.Whatever we give energy to will grow, so let’s give energy to our energy and attention to what we love and value.Tips to support the challenge:Keep a journal or paper by your bed.Set a calendar alert or alarm to remind you.Share your happiness with others - write someone a gratitude letter or read to them from your journal.In a tough moment, think about what you''re grateful for. Our baseline:Alex - I have no experience in gratitude journaling whatsoever. I think the last time I kept a journal it was pink, had a bunch of hearts on it and had a lock and key. Beth - I journal, and I think about what I’m grateful for, but I’ve never really kept a gratitude journal. I think it’s going to be great.Christina - I occasionnally journal and I started off the year journaling daily. But I haven''t been keeping up with it. This is will be a good chance to get back into it.]]>Week 6: The Food Swap Challenge Alex TurnerMon, 22 Feb 2016 04:29:40 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/21/week-6-the-food-swap-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56ca61f2c6fc08941fb43ccc
The challenge: Swap 1 processed food for 1 unprocessed food. Why: Because we could all be eating better. Our bodies were designed to run on pretty clean fuel. That means fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, you know, stuff that wasn’t made in a factory. The more unpronounceable stuff you add to food, the less we need to put it in our bodies. Not that we can’t have the occasional treat, but we need to focus on filling up with nutritional calories in order to keep everything running well. And those kinds of calories come from natural foods, not foods made in a factory.Processing foods largely removes the most nutritious parts of the foods, or adds ingredients we may not need to eat, like dyes, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, extra salt, sugar, or fats, or all of the above.This week, we’re going to focus on skipping foods that come out of cardboard boxes and cellophane bags, and eat stuff that comes more directly from mother earth.Tips to support the challenge:Trade soda or sweetened juice for tea or water.Swap chips for another crunchy snack – nuts, hummus and veggies, popcorn. Ditch the sweet dessert and savor some berries and whipped cream.Have oatmeal for breakfast instead of a pastry or sugary cereal.Our baseline:Alex - Frequent snacker with salty / sweet tendencies. Beth - I get five fruits and veggies a day, and eat a vegetarian diet of mostly whole foods. My weak spot is potato chips, French fries, tater tots, any iteration of fried.Christina - I get a fair amount of fruits and veggies. Sometimes I snack on chips and other salty foods. Hopefully my food prepping skills will help me out this week. ]]>Week 6: The Food Swap Challenge Things We LoveThings We LoveChristina HannaTue, 16 Feb 2016 15:45:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/14/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56c13dc337013b79d3d256bd
Christina - My SodaStream. I''m a former Diet Coke drinker -- at least 1-can-a-day-drinker. Since it has no calories I was under the impression that it was healthier for me. But my current approach is to try to eat/drink items that are more natural. And Diet Coke just doesn''t fall in that category. Living with a roommate who loved La Croix water, I realized it was the carbonation I enjoyed the most. Enter SodaStream into my life. It''s affordable way to make carbonated water at home. Who could ask for more?Alex - Overnight oats. I know I''m a slacker on the food prep but seriously, making overnight oats is super easy. For a quick tutorial check out HurryTheFoodUp''s Tutorial. Basically all you need is a mason jar, oats, milk, a sweetener and anything else you want to add. My concoctions typically include strawberries, peanut butter, and cinnamon. But you don''t have to be boring like me, there are so many variations of overnight oats that you can''t possibly go wrong!Beth - I love my purple West Bend Stir Crazy popcorn popper. Popcorn feels like a splurge, but I make it with a smidge of olive oil, and it''s high in fiber. So, I''m snacking and it''s really healthy. I like to flavor mine - tonight was parmesan cheese, tumeric, chili powder and soy sauce. There are lots of healthy add ins you could play with. It''s so healthy that I can feel great about sitting around in front of a good movie (or two, or three), munching on my favorite treat. ]]>Week 5: The Unplug ChallengeAlex TurnerSun, 14 Feb 2016 15:45:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/13/week-5-the-unplug-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56bfba6f859fd0fa69b454b5The challenge: Unplug from electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.Why: Our gadgets are great. Being connected and in-the-know is great. Being able to find out who wrote the constitution, how to install a kitchen disposal, or where you can buy locally grown oregano is great. What’s not great is sleep deprivation, fatigue, and depression. Electronic devices, like phones, computers, televisions, and tablets emit a blue light that delays the body’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Plus, depending on what you’re doing on your device may be keeping you up too. Even playing games can create muscle tension that can keep you up. And, icing on the cake, the later you’re awake, the more you push your body’s natural rhythm off-cycle, making it hard to sleep even when you’re not stimulated.Sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue are an epidemic in this electronic-addicted age. And they affect every area of our lives: poor concentration at school or work, bad judgment, slow reflexes, depression, relationship difficulties, and auto accidents. Research suggests that approximately 6,000 people die each year in accidents related to drowsy driving.The cat memes just aren’t worth all that. So, let’s try setting some limits and getting our ZZZZZs. Tips to support the challenge: Make a tech curfew for yourself. Working backwards from when you have to get up, figure out when you have to go to sleep and go back 30 more minutes – that’s unplug time.Set an alarm on your phone for 5 -10 min before it’s time to unplug.Get the electronics out of the bedroom. Remove temptation altogether.Plan a pleasant and relaxing bedtime activity (reading, knitting, meditation, etc.)Our baseline: AT- Facebook, Instagram, Netflix night prowlerBR – I’ll admit it. I’m the worst. I’m on my computer or phone all day long. It’s what I do for a living and how I keep in touch with everyone in my universe. That said, I turn everything off and write in a journal before bed. So, I think this one will be a snap for me.CH – Most evenings I’m doing work on my computer or watching TV. My bedtime routine usually gives me that 30 minutes unless I play a game on my phone instead of reading before bed. I can resist for a week.]]>Beth''s Health Journey and PhilosophyBeth RobinsonWed, 10 Feb 2016 14:11:26 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/10/beths-health-journey-and-philosophy566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56bb43ec3c44d84c203de3f0My health journey and philosophy
Health is supposed to feel good. Health is what makes us get out of bed ready to pursue our days and our dreams. So much of what we hear about health is about what we “should” do. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. The question is: What do I want to do? What makes me feel healthy?
I used to do triathlons. I did them because I enjoyed them. I loved running in all weather. I loved biking. I didn’t really love jumping into a cold lake early in the morning. But by the time I swam out to the turn-around, I was smiling like mad. My training diet included A LOT of Chinese food. Sure, I probably could have been healthier. But I couldn’t have been happier. I enjoyed what I was doing. I enjoyed what I was eating. I wasn’t all stressed counting my minutes of physical activity or my servings of fruits and vegetables.
I don’t really endorse copious quantities of Chinese food as a health strategy. But I don’t endorse training for triathlons either. What I do endorse is finding what works for you, which I did, and finding balance, which I also did.
I’ve tried yoga, martial arts, vegetarianism, macrobiotic cooking, and a simple regimen of eating lots of fruits and vegetables and walking. Different times of life, different health strategies. Whatever works. I just say “don’t freak out about it because that’s stressful and that’s not healthy.”
I’m a single working mom now, and a free-lance writer and editor. So, I’m busy. Really busy. When I was single, I had time to do the 8-9 workouts a week I needed to compete in triathlons. Now, walking to the kitchen has to count as a workout some days.
I’ve found that what works for me is to see my health habits in very small pieces, minutes of stretching in the morning or walking, rather than hours at the pool or on the track, adding a handful of spinach to whatever I’m cooking, spending 15 minutes journaling.
My daily health regimen is something like this: get a good night sleep, wake up and do some stretching, get in my 5 a day of fruits and veggies, drink more water than coffee, walk as much as I can, make sure I do one thing that feeds my spirit, and remember to enjoy my life, whatever I’m doing, to take a deep breath and find gratitude even when it seems overwhelming.
Here’s the important thing for each of us, at any stage, what I tell myself, anyways: It’s your body and your life. You know what works for you. You really do.]]>Things We LoveThings We LoveAlex TurnerTue, 09 Feb 2016 15:45:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/6/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56b614d8746fb9421fbd6be1
Christina - My friends and family. This past week, I had a birthday. It was wonderful to spend time with them and be reminded of their love and support. Those relationships and my ability to be there for those people are my main motivation to improve my health. That love and support is also a great boost for my mental and emotional health.Beth - I love my lunch box. This past year is the first time that I ever really took lunch to work regularly. So I never realized how easy it is to pack great lunches. I actually get 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day because I put most of them in my lunch box. I''ve found some great ways to pack them so I get lots of flavors and lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. I''ll write a post about my magic lunch box to share some of them.Alex - My foam roller. I ran twice this week after taking a long break from running and my legs were feeling it. So my foam roller came to the rescue! I do a few simple stretching exercises on it where I "roll" my leg muscles back and forth on it. It''s like a mini massage! I highly recommend using one after a tough workout or a long day at the office. ]]>Things We LoveWeek 4: The 10 minute challengeAlex TurnerSun, 07 Feb 2016 15:02:14 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/2/1/week-4-the-10-minute-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56aff2242b8ddea216727173
The challenge: Add 10 minutes of physical activity to each day.Why?OK, we had our fun last week. Now it’s time to get to work. Just kidding. This should be easy. And it should feel great. The thing about physical activity is that it may take an energy investment, but the benefits are unlimited – fighting disease, improving chronic conditions, boosting mood, reducing stress, helping with weight control, and so on.National guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, plus at least two days of strength training. If you’re a total beginner, 10 minutes a day is a great place to start. And if you’re already exercising, this challenge is an opportunity to increase or improve your fitness routine. How to do it:BeginnersAny activity that gets your heart rate up and makes it a little harder to carry on a conversation will work great.We recommend starting with 10 minutes of walking.If weather, finances, equipment, or personal preference dictate an indoor activity, you might just turn on some music and dance.You might try an exercise video.Do some exercises while you’re watching TV. (squats, lunges, crunches)Before you start any exercise, you may want to check in with your doctor to figure out what’s best for you.Regular exercisers:You could just add 10 minutes to your regular workout, or get more out of your routine by adding something new:Break out of a rut: If you’re bored, rekindle your enthusiasm by trying something new.Fill out your routine: Are you doing cardio, but not strength training? Strength training, but not cardio? Take this week to round out your routine.Stretch: Stay limber and resilient with a few new stretches or some yoga.Ramp up your intensity: Maybe do 2 sets of 5 minute high intensity intervals. Get up and move: If you’re sedentary most of the day, even if you work out regularly, moving around during the day is a great health boost. You can use this challenge to get up and move more during the day.Maybe break up your day with two 5 minute strolls around the block.Take a few trips up and down the stairs. Have a walking meeting.Take a stretch break.Our baselineAlex - Frequent exerciser, on average 45 minutes a day Beth - Frequent sitter. Long commute. Sedentary job. One long walk on weekend, and some stretching in the morning. Used to be very fit, so I''m looking forward to jumping back into some exercise.Christina - Somewhat frequent exerciser. Normally 120 minutes a week, plus walks to break up the work day. I''m planning to use my extra 10 minutes to either take longer walks or fit in some strength training because I don’t do enough of that.]]>Things we loveThings We LoveAlex TurnerTue, 02 Feb 2016 14:00:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/30/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56ad44bc40261d6ca1fb45ff
This week''s edition of "Things we love". Love it too? Let us know!Alex - Reading is one of my "fun" activities this week. One of my favorite ways to discover new books and see what my friends are reading is Goodreads. I like that I can set a challenge for how many books I want to read for the year and see my progress. Plus, the free book giveaways are pretty sweet. Sadly, I haven''t won a free book yet. Beth - My favorite thing this week is the nature trail near my home. It''s a great place to get outside and away from it all in any kind of weather. There are always people and dogs. And I often see deer, eagles, and all kinds of small critters like squirrels, woodpeckers, and rabbits. Plus, in the warm weather, the frog sounds are great. An hour walk there is like a vacation up north (which for you non-Michiganders is what we call all the glorious woods, wetlands, waterfalls, beaches, and ski hills north of wherever we are in the state).Christina - A cup of really good coffee. There''s something about that smell and the first sip that make it worth getting up in the morning. The brand I''m really enjoying these days is the light roast from a Wisconsin-based company called Colectivo. They have great coffee and if you ever go, you have to try their cheesy egg biscuit. ]]>The Fun Challenge!Beth RobinsonSun, 31 Jan 2016 16:30:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/30/the-fun-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56aceb8f89a60aa6dae1c72d
The Fun Challenge:Spend 30 minutes a day doing something purely for enjoyment.Join by commenting “I’m up for some fun!” on Facebook. Share photos of yourself doing your thing.Why:Health is not about putting more lines on your to-do list. It’s about taking care of mind, body, and spirit and finding balance between pleasure and productivity.Research shows that doing something enjoyable provides health benefits.Finding joy and pleasure in our lives isn’t self-indulgent. It helps give us mental, emotional, and, perhaps, spiritual energy that support all of our other activities. It helps us focus on who we are and what’s important to us. It helps us relax and eliminate stress and enjoy all of the mental and physical benefits of reducing stress.How to do the challenge:Put aside at least 30 minutes each day for an enjoyable activity. It could be an art class, book club, walking in the park, visiting with a friend, doing something creative, reading, etc. Or it could be rock climbing or bungee jumping. Just as long as it’s something you enjoy and look forward to.The defining elements are:Active. It’s an activity. You are doing something.Healthy. It’s not unhealthy (while some may find smoking cigarettes for 30 minutes pleasant, it’s not healthy).Pleasant. You find it very pleasant.Tips for having fun (yes, seriously):Make a list. Start by making a list of things that sound like fun. By fun, we mean that when you imagine doing the activity, you look forward to it.Switch it up (or not). You can choose a hobby or project that you do every day or try a different activity each day.Location, location, location. Find surroundings that make the activity even more pleasant. If you like reading, would it be more pleasant out on a lounge chair in the sun? If you want to walk with a friend, is there a beautiful trail nearby?Who is in your crew? You may want to be alone, with a friend or group, or a mix.Skip the guilt. If you never have fun, you may not be much fun to be around. What’s the old saying? “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” If you can’t have fun for yourself (and you should), do it for the people you care about.Schedule it. Put at least a 30 minute block on your calendar for every day this week and stick to it.Our baseline:Beth - Single working mom. Long-suffering martyr. I do go for a weekly walk on our local nature trail and I make time for writing for my own pleasure right before I pass out from exhaustion every night. But this week I’d like to do some creative projects like painting or making jewelry.Alex - Working out is my "me time". So I guess exercise is fun for me. But I''d rather focus on other fun activities I don''t normally make time for. I''m not artistic or crafty, but I do like to bake. Usually, I rush to bake something as a gift or to bring somewhere rather than my own enjoyment. But this week I''d like to tackle a new baking recipe, read by the fireplace, and play cards. Christina - "Doing something just for fun" is often on my to-do list, but I never get to it. I stay busy working to improve myself with projects and business ideas. But I rarely make time for doing something that''s sole purpose is enjoyment. Some ideas I have for this week include pampering (painting my nails, facial, etc.), reading not just to fall asleep, and crafting. ]]>The Hydration Challenge - How did you do?Weekly ChallengesBeth RobinsonSun, 31 Jan 2016 03:25:55 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/30/the-hydration-challenge-how-did-you-do566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56acee151f40397fbfd4f1cf
Here''s how we did - tell us your hydration tale!Beth - This was great. I never drink water. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and I drink a lot of coffee and tea. So, that''s probably why I''m not dead. But drinking a lot of water made me feel energetic in a way I didn''t expect. And the amazing thing was that I started being aware of thirst. I never feel thirsty, but after a couple of days, I started being really aware of when my mouth felt dry. It was harder to do at home than at work. At work I keep a plastic cup with a straw on my desk and it was really easy to remember to drink it and refill it. I need to find a way to do that at home. One other note: I noticed that I drink way more water if I drink through a straw.Christina - I''m often thirsty and drink quite a bit of water normally, so I didn''t feel that meeting ~72 oz was challenging. Like Beth, I have a much easier time sipping water while I''m at work. This challenge helped remind me to take those same habits home and always have a glass of water with me at home. My favorite way to change up the flavor of water is to add a splash of juice (grapefruit juice is the current favorite). One interesting thing I noticed was the day after a really hard workout, I was extra thirsty and drank way more than 72 oz. Alex - This was not so great. I normally drink water during the day, but clearly not enough. Plus, I don''t drink water while I exercise, because I don''t like the sloshing feeling in my tummy. The first two days I felt awful. My stomach felt super heavy and bloated. Christina and another co-worker discovered that my water bottle wasn''t ideal for the challenge. I was actually drinking water and a lot of air. Once that was fixed, the challenge became a lot easier and fun. I do think I''ll invest in a new water bottle to keep close to the recommended amount of water.]]>Christina''s Health JourneyAbout UsChristina HannaWed, 27 Jan 2016 14:00:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/7/christinas-health-journey566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:568f0f262399a3c2fba84a39
In high school, my metabolism was going strong, I was more active, and didn’t worry even think about calories. I was a Type A, overachiever (mostly still am), which meant that I kept myself extremely busy. That included playing sports - tennis, basketball, and soccer.My first semester of college, I was on an intramural soccer team. That was the last time I played organized sports. That was in 2003 (so…it’s been a while). Since that time, I’ve been on a journey to find ways to be healthy in each stage of life. Whether it was undergrad, living in South Korea, moving back home with my parents, graduate school, or really facing adulthood for the first time - each stage has had its own challenges and successes.As I round the corner on turning 31, what works for me is finally starting to come into focus. It probably won’t stay like this, but for now I’ll enjoy that pretty amazing feeling! I’ve tried so many things, but I keep coming back to a few things that always remind me of what healthy feels like. Those are:SwimmingGetting out for a nice walk/jogAt least 8 hours of sleepDrinking minimal alcoholAwareness of my mental healthEating more fruits and vegetablesCooking more often at homeStaying in touch and having the support of close friends, no matter where we''re living By paying attention to what my body and energy are telling me, it’s getting easier to make the healthier choice. It''s also easier when I have others join me. I’ve got the knowledge and expertise to be very healthy, but it’s much easier said than done. And I know that. That’s why I’m here, not only to share what I know as a health professional, but also from own personal health journey. My biggest stumbling blocks have been my feelings about my body and my health. Making small, “fun-size” changes with the support of awesome people is going to help me. And I hope that it helps you too. ]]>Things we love Things We LoveAlex TurnerTue, 26 Jan 2016 12:30:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/20/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56a0475189a60ab913cbb793
Beth: Hot water with lemon and honey. Because it''s that kind of weather.Christina: Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb. I use this lotion on my face once a day, in the morning, and I love it! I have REALLY sensitive skin and my skin doesn''t react, other than feeling moisturized. It can be a little pricey, but lasts a long time. I use one pump each day (smaller than a dime-size amount). And if that wasn''t enough, it has a very light citrus scent that helps perk you up in the morning.Alex: One of my goals for 2016 is to do a better job with food prep. So I''m trying to start my days off right with a healthy breakfast. Enter my latest morning food obsession, breakfast egg muffins. Averie''s 100 calorie cheese, vegetable, and egg muffins are oh so easy to make and delicious. I make a batch on Sunday morning and ta da...breakfast for the week.Cooking intel: when baking these delicious muffins be sure to fully grease your muffin tin with butter or a non-stick spray. Otherwise these bad boys won''t come out and you''ll spend way more time than you''d like cleaning the pan. Happy breakfast! ]]>Week 2: The Hydration ChallengeAlex TurnerSun, 24 Jan 2016 14:22:07 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/20/week-2-the-water-challenge566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:56a0472fb20943ce91881cae
Each day this week, drink the recommended amount of water. That’s 13 cups (8 ounce glasses) for men and 9 cups for women. Join the challenge by liking on Facebook and/or commenting, and posting water selfies.Our baseline:Alex - H20 deficient newbieBeth - Glad that coffee is made with waterChristina - In tune with my thirstWhy:Our bodies are made up of around 50 – 60% water. During normal daily activities, we lose and need to replace 5 – 10% of that water every day. You can stay healthy for a while without food, but dehydration can kill you within a couple of days. In the short term, even mild dehydration can cause:Dry, sticky mouth Sleepiness or tirednessThirst Decreased urine output Darker urine (although this can be caused by dyes in foods, some medications, and dark colored vegetables)Few or no tears when cryingDry skin HeadacheConstipationFatigue Difficulty concentrating Dizziness or lightheadedness Tips to help with this challenge:Set a timer or alarm to remind you to drink.Keep water in the car, on your desk at work, with you at all times. Use a water bottle to measure your water. You can also keep a tally on your phone or a piece of paper. A lot of health tracking apps provide a way to track water intake. Add flavoring to water, like cucumber or citrus fruit slices, or a cinnamon stick. Drink it at the temperature you like it - don''t like ice cold water? Drink it hot or at room temperature. Pay attention to signs of thirst or dehydration during the day.Be aware that thirst sometimes masquerades as hunger. Don''t drink too much too close to bedtime - you don''t want to be running to the bathroom all night! Hydration Myth buster: Coffee does not dehydrate you. Like other caffeinated beverages, it’s not the best source of hydration, as too much caffeine can cause jitters and sleeplessness. But it’s still made of mostly water. And a little caffeine can actually enhance memory. Other sources of water: Fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, strawberries and grapefruit are full of water.And, who knew, meat is a source of water too. Makes sense, since our own bodies are 60% water.Be Aware:Factors that may increase your need for fluids include:Age - As you age, your body doesn''t retain moisture as well as it used to.Altitude - Thinner air can cause you to take additional breaths, which means you''re exhaling more moisture. Heat - Causes sweating and evaporation. Exercise - Causes fluid loss through sweating.]]>Girl Alex''s Health Journey About UsAlex TurnerWed, 20 Jan 2016 12:00:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/6/girl-alexs-health-journey566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:568dc157c21b861ff9fc64d4
I remember my first and last family run. At the time my mom was a runner. My father and I not so much. We struggled, I mean struggled. I don’t remember my exact words, but I think it went something along the lines of “I’m never doing that again!” Boy, was I wrong.Fast forward a few years and I was on my high school volleyball team, club volleyball team, high school fencing team, and club fencing. Somehow I managed to play sports with the least amount of running. A volleyball court is a lot smaller than a football field and a fencing strip is even smaller. Hooray for short, quick bursts of movement! Now, I exercise pretty much every day. Some of my latest workout obsessions are boxing, rock climbing, volleyball, and obstacle course races. Mind you I don’t have kids, or a super demanding job to get in the way of my fitness routine. Even if I did, I hope I’d find ways to be active. Because I don’t feel right if I don’t exercise. It’s hard to explain but that’s just who I am I guess.The hard part of the equation for my journey to better health has and always will be food. Food. Four simple letters that drive me crazy. Because I work out so much, I don’t have the time or energy to cook. Some nights I manage to throw together some veggies. I’m a vegetarian, so veggies are my friends. But most nights dinner involves carbs and dessert. Did I mention I love to bake? I’ve never been a dieter. I just don''t think diets are sustainable. I remember a psych professor’s lecture on willpower. Basically any diet that forces you to eliminate certain foods won’t work. Why? Eventually your willpower will run out. What I’ve tried to do is everything in moderation. I fall off the wagon plenty of times, but I keep at it. I try and cook when I can, bake healthier treats (not enough), and snack less. As I start these wellness challenges, I know the hardest ones for me will be the clean eating and mindfulness challenges. I’m constantly running from one activity to the other, trying to cram everything in. Exercise is my stress reduction so I don’t know how sitting still and meditating is going to go. But I know how to commit. So I’m ready to take this next step and challenge myself to live a happier and healthier life. I hope you join me along the way. In good health,Alex@Funsize Health ]]>Things We LoveThings We LoveChristina HannaTue, 19 Jan 2016 12:00:00 +0000http://www.funsizehealth.com/funsize-blog/2016/1/7/things-we-love566551b1e4b0d248fae93adb:567662584bf118c80a34a234:568f11452399a3c2fba85ef1
This is another feature of the blog that we''re really excited about. Each week we''re going to share health-related things that we love.Christina - One of my 2016 health goals for is to meditate daily. I''ve been using the Calm app (almost daily) and it''s making it much easier to stick with it. It can help you learn the basics of meditation. And with a full subscription you can find meditation for almost any situation - sleep, happiness, gratitude, your commute, confidence, creativity, self-acceptance -- the list goes on. You can start with the basics, their 7 Days of Calm, for free. If you like it, go ahead and purchase on both iTunes and Google Play.Alex - Finding time and motivation to get to the gym, especially during the winter, is really difficult for me. So I''ve been using FitnessBlender for home workouts. One of their latest posts is a 5 Day challenge workout. This workout is great because both trainers, Kelli and Daniel, do the workout and provide tons of modifications. The workout is a combination of cardio and strength training. It''s great for all fitness levels. All you need is a pair of dumbbells. All FitnessBlender workouts are totally free. Score. If you like this workout, try to do the other 4 to complete the challenge. I''m planning on it. Beth - My True Back! I have suffered from back problems since my early 20s. I''ve been through steroids, cortisone shots, physical therapy, the works. Then a couple of years ago, a friend of mine turned me on to this thing. It''s a plastic traction device that aligns my spine, stretches it out and theoretically increases blood flow to the area. All I really know is that I have successfully used it (and a lot of stretching) to alleviate full-blown sciatic pain. And most of the time I just don''t get pain any more. So, it works and it works without drugs, which I love. ]]>