Just before Thanksgiving rolled in, some of my favorite bloggers Lindsay of the Lean Green Bean and Elle of Nutritionella started talking about their holiday season health challenge they were hosting, called Elf For Helath. Essentially, each week they would send out challenges, and every 2 weeks (or round) you would be matched up with another “elf” to help motivate one another and give ideas on how to exceed the challenges expectations.
I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to be like, but I knew that it sounded fun, and that both of these ladies are passionate about health/fitness and super creative! SIGN ME UP. So, that’s exactly what I did.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving the first Elf matches went out along with our challenges for that week! I had the pleasure of being matched up with this lovely gal named Stephanie. Stephanie was truly a wonder to be partnered with! We both are human, and embrace the fact that we aren’t perfect. Some of the challenges were harder than others to meet, and we pushed each other to stay on top of it and do the best we could without beating ourselves up if we couldn’t. She gave me some great tips and insight on how to meet and exceed some of the challenges during the two weeks we had the pleasure of being each other’s elves!! She was such a sweet heart and I can honestly say is a woman I will actively stay in contact with even now that we are no longer partnered together!!
Stephanie, if you see this! Thank you for the last two weeks! It was great getting to know you!!!
The first two weeks of Elf For Health (aka Round 1) was a total blast!!! I wanted to recap it here for y’all!! It still isn’t too late to join the fun. You can sign up to be a part of the challenge for Round 3 by scooting over here!
Monday: Meatless Monday
A huge trend in the health world, and well… Everywhere is to go meatless on Mondays!! This was something I expected to have a little bit of trouble with. I like meat. Especially since I recently started the paleo lifestyle, meat has become even more important (As sad as this makes me) so I was interested and a little nervous to see how I could make this work while still getting all the nutrients I needed. I learned that with a little planning someone could very well be vegetarian AND paleo.
Tuesday: Send a Card or Hand-Written note to a friend!!!
With technology growing so incredibly fast, it has become so much easier to stay in touch with our loved ones around the world.. However, I’ve always said it’s a sign of someone who truly loves you when you receive snail mail from them!! There’s just nothing like coming home from work to a letter in your mailbox from someone you care about!
My best friend in the entire universe, Kyle’s birthday was November 27th. I decided to go on a scavenger hunt for the perfect birthday card. When I saw this, it was instantly the winner. We both have the immature sense of humor of a boy going through puberty, and we actually play the “in bed” game with fortune cookies!!
I also decided to write a few other hand written letters to stick in the mail to my mom and some other friends back home. I even wrote an open letter to my brother who passed away in February. It was so incredibly liberating to write down exactly how I feel about his death 10 months later. Words that I have never been quite comfortable putting on my blog. It felt great, and though he won’t read it, I believe that he knows I did that for him.
Wednesday: Try a new workout!!
This couldn’t have come at a better time. I love running, I love yoga…. But it’s always great to spice up your fitness routine. I decided to go to a boxing class downtown! I ended up LOVING it to pieces and plan on going to more classes…. & yes next time I will wrap my hands better…Thanks for making fun of me BOBBY!
Thursday: Get up 15 Minutes Early to Meditate & Reflect!!
Ahhh, yes. This was beautiful. I actually got up 2 hours early so I could hit the 6am yoga class before work, then headed into work 30 minutes early so that I could hang out in the dark with my coffee and just soak in the peace before a crazy hectic day of running around began. I wish I could say I will do this more often. I want to try… I just love my sleep so much… heh
Friday: How many Colors can you eat today? Challenge yourself!
I made a chicken tortilla soup, minus the tortillas and most non-paleo things. I did include some beans, which aren’t paleo friendly but — It was still super healthy and DELICIOUS!!!!! I also made enough soup to probably feed all 900+ people in the challenge. Thank goodness soup is freezer friendly!! haha whoops.. But, I would say I got a whole heck of a lot of color in my tummy!!
The Weekend: Clean out Your Closet & Donate to Charity
When I moved to Austin at the beginning of November I donated 2 garbage bags full of clothes to Hurricane Sandy victims. So, unfortunately I wasn’t able to participate in that particular challenge. However, I recently did just that so I feel perfectly okay with the fact that I wasn’t able to!!
Monday: Track your fiber intake
ehhhhhhh. Monday bummed me out a tad. I thought I was eating so healthy now that I’ve “gone paleo”.. However I discovered on Monday that I don’t get nearly as much fiber now that I’ve cut out certain foods from my diet. However, I’ll chalk it up as a win because it was a learning experience. I spent a good chunk of Monday night researching paleo friendly fiber packed foods and recipes!!
Tuesday: Have a salad today and make your own dressing
This was fun and not at all difficult. Salad dressing CAN be complicated, but the healthiest ones are a cake walk!! I made a yummy Balsamic Vinagrete of sorts with a kick of lemon.. Perhaps I should call it Lemon Vinagrete? haha. I dunno. I will be posting the recipe for this dressing later this week! A child could make it, and its actually pretty healthy!!
Wednesday: Pack a healthy snack & pack an extra one for a friend
Total fail. I admit it.. My bad! I woke up Wednesday morning absolutely nauseous as all hell and the last thing in the universe I wanted to think about was food of any kind when I left for work. However, a few hours into my shift I started feeling good as new and was starving. My coworker graciously shared a bundle of grapes with me that she brought. I was so thankful!! I even deemed her an honorary Elf for Health and made her an elf hat out of construction paper (this is what we do when it’s slow at work.. don’t judge haha) She was so intrigued by the idea she signed up for round 2 of Elf for Health!!
Thursday: Lets lift weights!
I worked from 6am until 8pm on Thursday and when I got out of work ALL I wanted to do was face plant in my bed and sleep until who knows when the next day. However, I knew that a workout would make me feel better and I knew that I needed to squeeze this challenge in. I didn’t go to the gym to do any heavy lifting like I had planned when I woke up that morning. Instead, I decided to just go home to my little dumbbells and get in some reps!! Hey, better than nothing, right?!
Friday: Go make up Free today!
I don’t typically wear very much make up anyhow, so this wasn’t a huge deal. I always wear eyeliner and sometimes this shimmery skin toned eyeshadow that doesn’t even change the color of my eyelids, just makes them shimmer a bit… So I wasn’t totally stressing out about this the way a lot of people were. (Which, btw NO ONE should have been. You were all absolutely gorgeous!! Loved the pictures of fresh faces!!) However, Thursday night I made date plans for Friday and instantly got the “omg there’s no way I can go make-upless for the date!” I did it though, and felt super confident all day. I really think us women need to embrace our natural beauty more often.
The Weekend: Plan your meals for the week and write your workouts down in your planner
I’ve gone back and forth on the whole meal planning thing. There were a few months I did it religiously, a few months I did it sparingly, and honestly ever since moving to Austin I haven’t been doing it at all… It was nice to do it again and although I’m not sure if it’s something I want or need to do on a weekly basis, it was still a great thing to do for this coming week. ESPECIALLY since it’s the holidays and for me, that means working 23534645 more hours than usual. Having things planned out and some what prepped will make coming home exhausted and starving that much easier. As for my workouts, I made my San Francisco Marathon training plan last week which includes cross training and what not so, that was already taken care of I’m happy to say!
There you have it! Round one of Elf For Health IN THE BOOKS. 2 more to go. It sort of freaks me out that two weeks have already gone by since Thanksgiving. UM WHAT? Where is my life going? Though, It means 2012 is almost over, and I FOR ONE will be so happy to see this stupid year go.