10K a Day

If you work in an office setting (like I do), you probably know just how hard it is to get in the number of recommended steps each day. I park in the farthest possible spot, always take the stairs, get up at least once an hour to stretch my legs, bypass the closest bathroom, workout almost daily, and most days I barely hit 6,000 steps. #Annoying.

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of neck pain, restless legs, and a lot of stiffness. I started looking into it and found out I was dying. Kidding. Never -I repeat, NEVER – plug your symptoms into WebMD. But I was shocked to find studies show that sitting for extended periods of time does the body harm EVEN if you workout daily. And now we have something else to worry about.

This is bad news for those of us who work 8-9 hour days with our butts in a chair. So when my company, who is very supportive of healthy initiatives for employees, decided to host a 6-week fall walking challenge, I quickly formed a team and vowed that we would get in over 10K steps a day.

I honestly didn’t realize how hard that would be.

Walktober

The program had a really cool app that allowed you to log your steps, view your team stats, and check out your team rank (which I may have checked too many times a day). Did you guys know that my top strength in the Gallup Strengthsfinder is Competition? It’s true – I love a good challenge.

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Catchy, huh?

Each day there was an opportunity to get one of three leaves – red (for walking at least 6K steps), orange (for walking at least 8K), and gold (for walking at least 10K). The goal was to get at least 30 leaves in any color over 42 days. My goal was to get 42 gold leaves.

My Experience

Yesterday was the last day of the challenge and the sixth week of LIIFT4. With that program, I’ve been doing a lot of lifting and some HIIT for almost two months now. It’s a great program (more on that soon!), but because it involves a lot of weighted moves with my feet planted on the ground, I only get around 1,000 steps a workout if I’m lucky.

Fortunately, my husband and I had a trip to Universal planned for the first weekend of the challenge! We both got in over 20K steps a day that weekend. Hey, where are my platinum leaves??

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Halloween Horror Night had us walking past 1 am. This guy wouldn’t carry me back to the car – do you believe it?!

There were many, many days when I had to supplement my LIIFT4 workouts with extra cardio like Core de Force (MMA) or Country Heat (dance) just to boost my step count. But that also meant I didn’t get a rest day and ended up burning over 900 calories. Mah legs – I couldn’t feel mah legs.

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Dance burns a TON of calories, and it’s fun!

Some days I took three laps around my work campus at lunch (6K steps), while listening to an audiobook and silently cheering myself on. Some nights I’d be walking on the treadmill at 10 pm hating my life and the “stupid” challenge.

But, you know what? It got me up and walking – the goal. It also got me to make decisions around step count. Oh, walk around the mall? Yes, I can do that. That will get me at least 2,500 steps. Let’s go!

The Results

My team did okay – we landed in 3rd place out of 21 teams. Okay, not too shabby, but I can’t say I didn’t want to see us take home the trophy: a sponsored lunch for the entire team. Who doesn’t want to be rewarded with food for successfully completing a fitness challenge?

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It’s okay – I’ll just continue to eat my own tasty lunch that I prepared myself. I’m not bitter, thank you very much!

I tied for first place with a handful of others in the individual competition, getting 42 gold leaves. I ended each night over 10K, even if just by a few steps. There’s only one prize to go around, so I’m not sure how’ll they’ll split it.

My legs feel more toned, albeit shaky. I feel empowered to keep stepping, even though I sometimes walk like a 99 year old granny. But, you guys, I haven’t taken a full rest day in SIX freakin weeks, so I plan to take full advantage of my three LIIFT4 rest days this week.

Bottom Line: Yes, it’s a challenge to get in 10K steps a day if your job involves a desk, a chair, and a timeclock. But, it’s very possible. I encourage all of you to be more active and go for the gold! And maybe just spread the steps out more throughout the day. Trying to get 6,000 or more steps after work was not my idea of a good time.

 

That 9 to 5 Life

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Hello Healthy Box. Links are not affiliate and I will not receive a commission for any items purchased from hellohealthybox.com. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Let me just say this – I never knew what a challenge it would be to work in an office full time and still eat clean, keep fit, and be active. Every time I turn around there is an office party – someone retiring, getting married, having a baby, celebrating a birthday. We also have food for every holiday – even those unofficial ones like National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. And don’t get me started on those vending machines. Twix ice cream bars? Yes, please! Actually, make it two.

All of those little calories we think nothing of – a few pieces of candy here, a slice of cake there – add up. Before you know it, you’ve got that little 9-5 belly.

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That’s where Hello Healthy Box comes in. I can’t say enough positive things about this company and program! It’s solved the “I don’t have time” problem of many a working woman. The box provides you with 4 grab-and-go meals to eat during the workday, taking the guesswork out of meal prep. There’s no tracking or calorie counting. Just add your own dinner, some veggies, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. It’s that simple.

The Program

Each new customer will purchase a starter pack, a 2-week initial supply of food for $198.00 + state tax & ground shipping to your location. Thereafter, you can order in weekly increments. The 2-week supply gets you 56 foods for about $14 per day. Not bad, considering a morning coffee alone will set you back about $5.

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Some of the meals from my first 2 weeks

Each day is pretty simple:

  • Choose 4 packaged foods, spaced throughout the workday
  • Add 2 cups of veggies at lunch
  • Eat a 4 oz serving of protein and 2 cups of veggies for dinner
  • Drink at least 64 oz of water
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Veggies are delish! Who loves my vintage plates??

Helpful Things to Know

  • This IS a diet program. If you follow it as recommended, you can lose 1-3 pounds a week.
  • There are a lot of restrictions for the weight loss phase – no sugar, starchy veggies, grains, wine, processed foods, etc. It’s in line with keto.
  • The program is designed to help you control 80% of your daily food choices.
  • Soups, meals, drinks, etc. come powdered. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting this, but everything is very portable and easy to prepare with just water.
  • You can still eat out and make healthy choices (salad w/ chicken, steak & steamed veggies, etc).
  • Feeling tired and achy at the start is normal because our bodies are so used to being fueled by a sugar rush at all hours of the day.
  • To ensure you’re seeing results, I’d recommend weighing weekly.
  • Always, always consult your doctor to make sure a new diet is safe for you. Meals are high protein, low carb, and low sugar, which could be a shock to your body if you’re not used to them.
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My favorite sloppy joes over spaghetti squash sauteed with bacon. Yum!

This program is for you if you:

  • work in an office setting
  • have a busy schedule
  • don’t have (or don’t care to) meal prep
  • have poor eating habits
  • need something quick to grab on the go
  • want to get healthy but just don’t know where to start
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Most of my meals during the week are eaten right here – at my desk.

Things I Loved

No program is perfect. And I’m sure there will be things I loved that others won’t and vice versa. I’m a pretty picky eater, so I wasn’t a fan of some of the foods. But this is actually built into the plan. The company knows that everyone won’t love everything. In fact, they even mention that customers will usually find 6-10 foods they love and repeat them for the weight loss phase of the program. Fortunately, I was able to find more than 10 things I was happy to eat more than once.

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Cream of chicken soup with a side salad for lunch.

Below are a few other things I really loved:

  • The Welcome Guide is a really helpful blueprint for success with the program. I used it as a quick reference whenever I needed a refresher.
  • I saw a weight reduction right away; I was down 3 lbs in the first 4 days.
  • There’s a great variety. A lot of the food choices were super yummy and easy for me to grab a bar on-the-go or sip soup out of a mug in a meeting.
  • The high-protein / high-fiber foods and eating schedule kept me full between meals.
  • If you’re not crazy about some of the meals, you can swap them.
  • If you’re not satisfied, there’s a 100% Money Back Guarantee (less shipping) within 15 days of purchase.

Things I Wasn’t Crazy About:

Anytime I write a review, it’s important that I share the truth with my readers so you won’t be swayed into trying something without all the facts. One of the toughest things for me was skipping my meal prep. By now you all know that I get a little crazy with Sunday Prep, even going so far as to plan everything out in Excel. It just works for my Type A personality.

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Tomato soup with sauteed veggies.

Below are a few more things that I wasn’t 100% crazy about:

  • Most items don’t have ingredients or nutritional facts on the package, but they are available online.
  • Carrots are not allowed (starchy veggie). They are such an easy and versatile veggie and one of my favorites.
  • I missed adding a mashed banana (fruit not allowed) to my morning oatmeal.
  • I like sweetening my foods with natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and dates, but only artificial sweeteners are allowed.
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Making healthy choices outside of the box – Greek salad from the diner!

My Results

Halfway into week two, I was seeing great results and decided to extend the program another week. It was just too easy to pack my food for the day. During this time, I was “forced” to drink more water, eat more veggies, and resist the urge to grab unhealthy foods during the day. This was definitely helpful because it made me try new spices to flavor veggies, practice more self-control around some of my favorite foods, and gain a new appreciation for healthy dinners. I even bypassed cupcakes and apple cider doughnuts at the office (one of my favorite fall treats!).

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My performance has been on point. I didn’t even need pre-workout!

I was able to pinpoint a few veggies that don’t love me (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower), and I decided to remain decided to eat low carb, and high protein, fat, and veggie after the 21 days.

Overall, I lost 8.2 lbs during the 3 weeks of using Hello Healthy Box and working out 6 days a week. In addition, my energy levels are remaining high throughout the day and I’ve received so many comments about my clear and glowing skin!

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Sometimes I ate these chips for breakfast. Because, yum!

Bottom Line: The program really works if you follow it. It takes the guesswork out of what to eat during the workday and just makes life easier. I would recommend Hello Healthy Box to anyone who has been struggling with their weight and falls into one of the above categories. This may just be the answer you were looking for – it was for me!

Bonus: Use code Snacker25 to get $25 off your first box!!

Finding the Balance: Recap

It’s Friday! Seriously, where did the time go this week? I blinked, and it was over. Let’s do a quick recap of the last few weeks.

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Self-Care

I can go on and on about this topic because it’s so important to take care of yourself. Whether you like to color, read, exercise, get crafty, take a bath – or countless other things – take some time out of each day to show yourself a little love.

You can still take care of others and do things for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish – it makes you a better YOU.

Work

Let’s face it, most of our waking hours are spent at work. There is no such thing as work-life balance. So, if you don’t have a job you’re crazy about – either find a way to get crazy about it or find a way to get out.

Home

Even if you have a stellar job, your home should be a solace – the place you love coming to every day. Many times we get so overwhelmed by chores and *gasp* adult responsibilities. I’m with you on that one. But with little adjustments, we can balance (or even farm out) some of the tasks. Think meal deliveries or a chore chart.

Relationships

All of our relationships are so important – the ones with ourselves, our family, our spouses, and our friends. We need to make time for them, to show them that we care. No one is promised tomorrow.

Zen

The world as we know it is filled with so much stress. It could be bad or good, but it’s still taxing to the body, and so, so important to find time to relax and be happy. It took me a while to find a morning routine that works, but I’ve finally landed on a good mix of prayer and exercise. With a little experimenting, you can find what works for you.

If you have one key takeaway from this balance series, let it be “make time for the people and things that matter.” If you’re interested in reading more, check out each week via the links above.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Finding the Balance: Work

Work. This is one topic I repeatedly struggle with. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve found the right fit yet, and at this point in my life, there have been over 10 jobs, ranging from a nanny of an undiapered toddler (yes, you read that right), to Data Specialist at a swanky drug rehab. Good times, friends, good times.

A little over two years ago I was praying that I’d land a position with one of the top companies in my area. I was so ready to ditch my 90-minute commute to Connecticut that I left without a solid plan and took a job at my old college answering phones for the executive vice president. I was bored out of my freaking mind, just biding my time until I could land something…well, real.

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My go-to interview outfit.

I did all things short of voodoo and offering up my first (un)born child to get my dream job. I can’t stress to you just how much I wanted to work at my current company and become a professional marketer. Then, the most miraculous thing happened – I got the job, and it was seriously one of my happiest moments.

Flash forward two years and I have to constantly remind myself that this is what I wanted so many moons ago. I think, sometimes, we just get stuck in a rut wondering if there’s more to life than sitting behind a computer for 8 hours a day and having a timed lunch break.

Most people have these fleeting thoughts. We spend time with our families on holidays and extended breaks and think how wonderful it would be if we could just do this every day. We’re able to go to the DMV or the doctors or even to a $3 matinee at the local cinema, and it would be amazing if this were everyday life.

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Cooking with my mom and nanny.

How do you balance your want-to-be work life with your actual work life?

Let’s face it – work-life balance doesn’t exist. There’s never going to be a 50-50 split on the time because most of your awake hours are spent at work, getting ready for work, or traveling to and from…you guessed it – WORK! So if you don’t have a job you’re crazy about – either find a way to get crazy about it or find a way to get out.

In the meantime, here are a few of the things you can do to keep your sanity during the work week. It’s by no means a complete list, but it will get your gears moving. It’s time to make work great again!

Make Time for YOU

A coworker once told me that his life begins at 5:00 pm. That statement was so powerful. Work is literally that, work. It doesn’t have to be fun. You go, devote 8 hours to make someone else’s dream come true, you go home, and you work on your dream.

I do cherish every moment I’m away from my cubicle – whether lunch, evening, or weekend. I try to fill my days with wonderful people and things that I love.

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Can’t wait until spring! This girl needs some TLC and a good wash!

When I’m not at my 8-5, I can be found reading PD, blogging, whipping up some new recipes, working out in my home gym, or sprucing up my Murphy girl (my FIAT) – basically just trying to be a better person.

Be Grateful

We ALWAYS tend to ruminate on the bad, but I bet if you put your mind to it, you can think of a few good things in any job situation.

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One of many gratitude journals.

  1. I’m fortunate to live less than 3 miles from my job. I can literally leave the house 10 minutes before “the bell rings.” I can go home for lunch and let the dogs out – or more realistically, take a power nap. I can even come home at a decent time to cook dinner before the street lights come on. This is the second closest I’ve ever been to a job (literally, one of them was on the same block as my house), and I can definitely appreciate it.
  2. I’m getting PAID, which is more than I can say about my last position answering phones for breadcrumbs. At this point, it doesn’t matter if I think I deserve more, I still have enough to pay the bills, go on vacation, and manage the day-to-day. There are so many people who don’t have that luxury.
  3. I’m building some kick-ass marketing and people skills. These last few months have been all about structure and responsibility changes in my department. I’m throwing around the words Business Case Analyses, Marketing Analytics, and Product Playbooks, and all of that sounds pretty damn good. Whether I stay at my current job for 10 more years or decide to leave tomorrow, this should give me some ammo with the Big Leagues (as they say).

Take Breaks

Psychology Today suggests that breaks at work can improve performance.

I cannot sit still for my life. After 30 minutes (especially if I’m in a boring meeting) I’m ready to go run a mile and exercise my legs. I end up fidgeting, bouncing my leg, changing positions. I can be really distracting to myself and others. And I know it!

A lot of research shows that we should take breaks every 60-90 minutes. I usually do this by refilling my water bottle, going to someone’s office instead of sending an email, or walking to the farthest bathroom. Sometimes I even take the 10 minute round trip walk to the library down the block and back.

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I love tea time!

It’s unhealthy to get into a habit of skipping breaks or lunch because you’re in the zone. If nothing else, your eyes – and bladder – could use the break!

Find a Passion

I was called to serve, and I’m sure there are many others who feel the same. I want to help people -especially women – and do something with my life that matters both now and after I’m gone.

In my early 20s, I was in an abusive relationship. It took a while for me to leave, and when I did, I was fully stripped of any self-love, self-worth, and power that once made me proud to be me. It took years to get over it, and I’m finally at a place where I can help others escape the same nightmare.

The mission of Diary of a Snacker is to empower women to be fit, healthy, and happy. It was fitness and self-care, along with the support of loved ones, that help me bounce back from the darkness that almost consumed me.

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Proud to be me.

Today, I wake up pray, meditate, and workout, spending an hour or more with myself in my basement gym, where I feel like Wonder Woman. It’s where I set the intentions for the day and vow never to be weak again.

What are you passionate about?

Don’t let work consume you

There’s no immediate fix for job dissatisfaction, and unless you can survive on 3 hours of sleep, you’ll never have a good work-life balance. But if you dig deep, I’m sure you can think of ways to turn a not-so-good situation into a tolerable one. I have faith in you!

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Last year we celebrated Ice Cream Soda Day with this spread. There’s always a way to make work enjoyable.

Do you love your job? How do you cope if you don’t? I want to know!

Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance at home.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS