Tag Archives: my healthy journey

Girl Doing the Arm Challenge

My Healthy Journey: Return to Focus

Today, our new websites launched! (Feel free to marvel at their beauty at HealthAlliance.org  and Medicare.HealthAlliance.org, you know, if you’re into awesome health insurance websites.) Which means I will have time to worry about being healthy again!

Despite the craze that has been the last 9 days, (which has felt like one really looonnng week,) I have actually done okay with my goals this week as I return to a focus on my healthy journey.

My teeth have definitely reduced the amount I’m eating, but I have been successfully food-tracking. Eatly, the app I used to help last week, was really not my favorite. You upload a picture of your food, and then other people rank its health to give you a rating of your food. It also tells you how healthy you ate last week in relation to other users. I only uploaded four meals, and it told me that I ate less healthy than 63% of users. To be fair, for three of the things I uploaded, I deserved that. But overall from looking at other people’s photos, it is really a place to upload pictures that say “Look at how healthy I’m being!” Which, who really needs?

So this week I will be trying an app called MyPlate Calorie Tracker, from Livestrong. It helps you keep track of how healthy your diet actually is.

I also danced this week! Not a lot, but twice, which is the weekly goal for the mission. Also, still significantly better than last week. I have discovered two times that I will do this too. The first is when washing dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher, so this is normally a very boring task,) and while in the shower because I’m one of those annoying shower singers when I’m home alone. Now, neither of these are places that I’m really going for it, so it’s probably not exactly a workout, but it is progress!

*Also, caution, do not attempt fancy footwork during either of these water-based activities, because slippery falls are definitely bad for your health.*

I also had thought that I would share some songs that are perfect for this mission, but as I have done it, I have realized that most of the best songs to dance to are ones that I’m ashamed to admit I enjoy. So suggestions are a work-in-progress.

I will note that, if you’re doing something like tracking your food everyday, you should definitely check-in to Rally everyday! I have been struggling to remember to do this, and you get points to put towards rewards every time you do!

Here’s my food tracking, and I would beg you to keep in mind that for a few days last week I couldn’t chew much more than pasta. And as a sidenote, and flimsy excuse, my candy intake changes in direct relation to Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday, and I can’t pass up tiny candy.

Monday (day 1 of dental work):
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer
Cup of tea
Chocolate milkshake
Slice of bread with peanut butter
Mexican tortilla chicken soup

Tuesday (day 2 of dental work):
2 cans Coke
Cup of hot chocolate
2 Reese’s peanut butter cups
Mac and Cheese
Soft Pretzel

Wednesday:
Cup of coffee
Frozen three cheese stuffed rigatoni with vegetables Lean Cuisine
Glass Iced Tea
Cup of tea
Cup of hot chocolate
2 little 3 Musketeer bars
Grilled mac and cheese (Yes, this is what it sounds like. Mac and cheese inside grilled cheese. Thank you Pinterest and the desperate tooth-induced desire for the feeling of solid foods. Also, this is one of the photos I was judged on, so I earned that.)
Glass of red wine (to class-up the sandwich, of course)
Graham cracker s’mores bar

Thursday:
Cup of coffee
Pepe Ham Jimmy John’s sandwich
Small bag of their plain chips
Cup of tea
One beer
Blueberry and hazelnut oatmeal

Friday:
Cup of coffee
Frozen baked chicken and mashed potatoes Lean Cuisine
Can of Coke
Cup of tea
The end of my mac and cheese leftovers
2 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Saturday:
Cup of coffee
2 scrambled eggs
2 pieces of toast
Glass of orange juice
1 Hostess snowball
Bowl of homemade pulled pork chili
2 small pieces of cornbread

Sunday:
Cup of coffee
Glass of orange juice
2 cinnamon rolls
Can of Coke
Bowl of chili
2 small pieces cornbread
1 Hostess snowball

Monday:
Cup of coffee
Turkey and provolone sandwich
Roasted almonds
Cup of tea
Bowl of Ramen (I make Ramen very differently than you did in college. I use the noodles, and then I add whatever delicious I have on hand. This day, I added pulled pork, 1 egg, peas, carrots and feta with a mixture of pad thai and peanut sauce and fresh lime juice.)
Glass of red wine
Cinnamon roll

Tuesday:
Cup of coffee
Frozen sweet and sour chicken Lean Cuisine
Cup of tea
Half a bottle of Coke
Graham cracker s’mores bar
BBQ pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato tortilla chips

As you can see, my diet regularly revolves around eating all my leftovers. And yes, I will be eating pulled pork all week, because that’s what you do when you’re single, 25, and make a whole crockpot of it.

For the 19-Day Arm Challenge followers:

For Days 11 and 12 on the beginner’s track, you will do:

16 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 14 Push-Ups.

For Days 11 and 12 on the advanced track, you will do:

18 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 14 Push-Ups.

For Day 13 on both tracks, you will rest.

Good luck in your own healthy decisions this week!

19-Day Arm Challenge at Home

My Healthy Journey: 19-Day Arm Challenge Days 9 and 10

You’re more than halfway there on the 19-Day Arm Challenge!

For Day 9 on the beginner’s track, you will do:

14 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 12 Push-Ups.

For Day 9 on the advanced track, you will do:

16 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 12 Push-Ups.

For Day 10 on both tracks you rest!

19-Day Arm Challenge Supplies

My Healthy Journey: 19-Day Arm Challenge Days 7 and 8

The 19-Day Arm Challenge continues!

For Day 7 on the beginner’s track, you will do:

12 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 10 Push-Ups.

For Day 8:

14 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 12 Push-Ups.

For Day 7 on the advanced track, you will do:

16 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 12 Push-Ups.

For Day 8:

16 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and 12 Push-Ups.

Avoiding Missteps with the Arm Challenge

My Healthy Journey: Missteps

So far, my healthy journey isn’t going that well. Missteps seem impossible to avoid. Sometimes, life feels so busy that it gets in the way, and that has been the last week for me.

On the web team, this is literally our busiest, craziest time of year. Combine that with simple, but necessary errands, and suddenly I’m not home until 7 o’clock at night once in the last week. By the time I am (sometimes) done with cooking, eating, and catching up on our social media, I am almost falling into bed.

This means, that the arm challenge halted in its tracks, and there was no post-dinner dancing to be had. Yes, I know, measly effort.

But I did track my food! I started with pictures, but by Friday had forgotten entirely, so instead, I will just list them for last week.

Tuesday:
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer
Cherry Nutri-Grain Bar
Plate of green beans and potatoes with ham leftovers
Applesauce cup with cinnamon
Turkey and swiss sandwich on wheat with tortilla chips
Glass of red wine
One deviled-egg half
A Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, a small Laffy Taffy and one of those Halloween caramel-apple suckers
Half a microwave package of kettle corn popcorn

Wednesday:
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer
Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata frozen meal
Drumstick ice cream cone
Can of cherry Coke
Ham and pineapple frozen pizza
One Redd’s apple ale
A Reese’s Peanut Butter cup and a small Laffy Taffy
The other half of the microwave popcorn

Thursday:
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Bowl of Kashi oat flakes and blueberry clusters
Homemade chicken stir-fry with edamame, carrots, red pepper, pineapple and scrambled egg over rice and sesame peanut noodle combo.
Oven-baked pineapple and cream cheese wontons with soy sesame dipping sauce
One Redd’s apple ale

Friday:
Black Dog pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries
Glass of Pepsi
Leftover stir-fry
One Redd’s apple ale

Saturday:
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer
Some candy (I wasn’t keeping track)
A can of Coke
Chips and salsa
S’mores graham cracker bar
One mojito
Bowl of cornflakes

Sunday:
Cup of coffee with vanilla creamer
Glass of orange-mango juice
Two over-easy eggs, two pieces of bacon, two frozen waffles with syrup
Can of cherry Coke
Peanut butter cup, Tootsie pop and two small Laffy Taffy
Chips and salsa and sour cream
Grilled cheese sandwich with one piece of leftover bacon

As you can see, balanced eating is not my strong point. And I swing wildly from eating a lot on Tuesday to eating very little other days.

But it is a new week and I am determined to do better! This next week, I’m going to try an app called Eatly for your iPhone (it does cost $1.99,) that allows you take pictures of your food and get them rated by health. I will also be keeping a list though, because I’m sure there’s no point in taking a picture of a Coke.

I also hope you hadn’t all started and were waiting desperately for more of the arm challenge, since I am just now giving you day 3 and 4, but that means you have had plenty of time to think about it and get on board!

For Day 3 for both tracks, you rest.

For Day 4 on the beginner’s track, you will do:

12 Bicep Curls and Overhead Tricep Extensions, and 10 Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, Shoulder Presses, and Push-Ups.

For Day 4 on the advanced track, you will do:

14 Bicep Curls, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raises, Bent Over Rows, and Shoulder Presses, and 12 Push-Ups.

Good luck! And don’t beat yourself up when you get off to a rough start, there’s always a new week or day. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself at least. Check back on Wednesday for more arm challenge (I promise!)

Starting with New Beginnings

My Healthy Journey: New Beginnings

Hi blogosphere! I’m here for new beginnings!

My name is Allison Shields, and I started working for Health Alliance as the web copywriter in July. That means that I work on our social media, this blog, and our websites.

I turn 25 this month, and I’m probably pretty unhealthy. I worked at Starbucks before coming here, so I have a pretty good caffeine addiction. I don’t eat regular meals, and one of my favorite snacks is still candy. I love to cook, but I don’t do it nearly often enough. I regularly skip meals because of time constraints and to keep from putting on weight instead of changing my eating habits.

I was an athlete ten years ago, but college and adulthood have distracted me from making my health a priority. Before this job, I didn’t have the money for a gym membership, and I never work out.

I envy all the energy I had as a teenager. These days when I get home from work, all I want to do is curl up with a glass of wine in front of my TV or computer. I regularly feel exhausted by 8 p.m.

I used to love reading, crafting, and walking around Chicago during college. Now I feel like I don’t even make the time for little things I used to love. I worry that I’m wasting the years when developing healthy habits and a balanced lifestyle would be easiest.

Luckily for me, Health Alliance is a company that will help me make some changes in the way I live my life. Not only am I off my parents’ health insurance for the first time, but Health Alliance also has regular challenges for our employees, like the 19-Day Arm Challenge that I will be doing and recording here over the next month, so you can work out alongside me.

We also have a brand new tool for our members called Rally, which I’m going to start using here, with you. Rally is an online experience that helps you improve your health in small ways every day and rewards you along the way.

I’m not very far into Rally yet. So far I’ve only completed the first step, which is taking a simple test that tells you your Rally age based on your health.

It has a lot of easy questions, things like your weight and height, how many fruits and vegetables you eat each day, and some simple things about your prescriptions and healthcare use.

I was very happy to learn that my Rally age is 25, which I turn soon. While my bad habits haven’t created a huge deficit yet, I know these things will take a toll on me in the long run, so I’m still determined to start making changes.

After you’ve taken the health assessment, Rally creates recommendations for you for missions and communities. In the next few days, I will be picking out challenges to begin, and I will be back to walk you through some of the great ways you can start making little changes too!

Hurry and take the assessment and join me in my healthy journey today!