DIY: The Good Health Reward Jar

Get Crafty and Crack The Whip Before The Holidays

DIY: The Good Health Reward Jar

Chances are you've heard of a Good Deed Reward Jar or Chore Reward Jar for your little ones. How about a reward jar that could help you actually fit into your jeans come New Year's Day?

This week I posted on Facebook, "How is it possible that it is FREAKING DECEMBER on Saturday?" This status elicited some smart ass responses from the cyber versions of people in my life: various jokes about my Scrooginess and also my general disorganization. The truth is, people, it's freaking December this weekend. 

Now, after 13 years of coaching clients, let me sum up what is about to occur in 90% of your brains over the next several weeks.

"I will just eat and drink everything that passes within 3 feet of my piehole for the month of December because, come January, I am ON THAT TRAIN. Like, I AM ON THAT TRAIN FOR GOOD. Seriously, 2013 is my year. I am going to lose 30 pounds/quit smoking/get ripped/run a marathon/lose the baby belly/get more toned/exercise regularly/join the army reserves/star in a feature film/model for Victoria's Secret. This is it. But before I do I am going to just let it all go to hell for the next 4 weeks, like a junkie on my way to rehab. One last hurrah. For 4 weeks straight."

I get it. We all think like this. It's procrastination and it's lovely. 

It's also the old "two steps forward, one step back" thing... it's just the reverse order. And it's self-imposed. You are willingly setting yourself back with the knowledge that it will create more work for you in the future (a couple of extra pounds to burn off? A 3-week hangover to "motivate" you?) instead of enjoying moderation now and inching, however slowly, toward those goals you've got instead of away from them. 

Now if you really want to run a marathon and model underwear in 2013, here's a fun way to keep yourself on track for the next 4 weeks so January 1st doesn't smack you upside your bloated, hungover head. (OK, on January 1st everyone should be bloated and hungover but you know what I mean...)

The Good Health Jar

Just like a swear jar, only think of it as a reward for your good choices rather than a punishment for your potty mouth. 

You will need:

  • mason jar or other receptacle
  • sticky notes or other scrap paper
  • money

good health deed jarOK, so I'm clearly not up for any craft blogger role anytime soon but I think we can agree these are items you can currently locate within your home. So go do that now. I'll wait here.

Next, place some sort of label on your jar if you like. I also chose to decorate (and I use that term loosely) my jar with a couple of my daughter's dress-up necklaces to remind me of my children and my desire to be a healthy role model for them, as well as a nagging mother type who lives long into their own old age. So, decorate if you wish. Maybe affix a picture of yourself doing something impressive, like crossing the finish line at that last 10K or wearing a bikini!

Now you will need to do some good things. When you do the good things, place one coin (your choice based on budget and perhaps how frequently you expect to be "good" —a quarter, a dollar or two dollars, perhaps?) plus a sticky note detailing your accomplishment in the jar. I made my jar today and so far I have one Good Health Deed in there..."I stopped at home to make eggs for lunch instead of grabbing something on the go."

Now don't reward yourself only when you go the gym or if you happen to weigh in three pounds lighter than usual. The important thing here is to acknowledge, to yourself, all of the positive health choices you are making. This will not only cheer you (yay!) but keep you very present and make you less likely to go whole hog when the holiday treats and invites are coming at you. 

good health deed note

Some examples of Good Health Deeds:

  • I chose green tea instead of coffee this afternoon when I was feeling tired.
  • We ate a meatless dinner.
  • I did 50 jumping jacks on every commercial break while watching The X Factor.
  • I walked the kids to school instead of driving.
  • I tried the new core conditioning class at the gym.
  • I ate breakfast.

You get it. The magnitude of your deeds will depend on where you are at currently in your fitness journey and what your intentions are. You will feel when it is right to reward yourself and—hopefully—you will be motivated to make the right decisions because you anticipate the satisfaction of writing down and acknowledging your good choices, as well as rewarding yourself with something tangible for your efforts. 

Now, what to do with those tangible rewards? A few good deeds a day might mean over $100 tucked away by the end of December! You could put it in a savings account and see whether you can beat your total in January. Or perhaps hit the post-holiday sales and buy yourself some new workout gear? Or maybe donate to a worthy cause?

Go do something healthy! And let me know what you're doing with your money below. I'll keep you posted on mine! 



Can You Work Out When You're Sick? And Should You?


Can You Work Out When You're Sick? And Should You?

working out when you're sick

You have a runny nose and your head feels like it's the size of Lake Michigan. Should you exercise when you're feeling under the weather? Maybe. Here's how to decide.

The Handy Chart That Will Tell You If You Have A Cold Or Flu

We've already had a couple of viruses around our house, with Sweaty Kid #1 being in kindergarten and Sweaty Kid #2 visiting our local parenting drop-in centre virtually every day as well. (Not to mention the fact that I come into close physical contact with various people and their offspring every day.) We are like fish in a barrel for all those colds floating around. Meaning we are easily shot. Or at least our immune systems are. 

One of the excuses I hear most (and, yes, I am using the word "excuse" instead of "reason" intentionally) from clients and mommies in our Belly Bootcamp classes is,

"I can't work out today because I'm sick."

If you live in the northern hemisphere, where we spend virtually half of the year indoors hiding from all that white stuff that should be arriving any day now, you are going to get sick. I know there are those people who don't get sick. I used to be one of those people. And then I had children. So maybe I should say, if you live in the northern hemisphere and have children, you are going to get sick. Probably tomorrow. Just warning you. 

By the way, when is the last time you washed your hands?... 

You don't need to completely immobilize your body just because you are fighting off a virus. I know it's a great excuse to catch up on Netflix but maybe you can trade one hour of "Homeland" for a brisk walk in the fresh air?

Walk Your Way Slim: How You Can Get Running Results From Walking

Here are some workout ideas that will get oxygen to your body, circulate your blood, wake up your brain and improve your mood without straining your immune system any further:

cold and flu

  • a yoga class
  • a brisk walk on a treadmill or outdoors
  • a light to moderate cardio or stretching DVD at home
  • a light jog if you are the jogging type (you are the jogging type if a light jog pretty much feels the same as a brisk walk does to a non-jogger)
  • a Pilates class
  • a playground trip with your little ones that involves something more than you instagramming them from the bench (what? who does that?...)
  • light to moderate strength training with adequate rest periods between exercises, as needed
  • sex? If you haven't gone to that ugly sick place and can convince someone to join you, that is

All jokes aside, you can really do pretty much anything that you are up for when you are under the weather. It is less an issue of safety and more an issue of energy. When you are sick, you will generally not have the energy for a killer workout; you are probably not eating as well, maybe not sleeping as well and definitely spending some energy on fighting off that virus. That's ok. Your body will tell you what it is capable of, and not every workout needs to be killer.

The above applies to your run-of-the-mill runny nose, sneezing, popping a couple of daytime cold pills before you head to the office kind of sick. Now, if you are SICK SICK exercise may be off the menu. If you have any of the following symptoms I recommend you drink lots of fluids and rest your bones until you feel just regular person sick again (or, hey, maybe even well!):

  • aches & chills
  • a congested cough or shortness of breath
  • diarrhea or nausea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • a fever
  • dehydration or inability to eat

Moving your body is essential every day and if you use NOT FEELING 100% as an excuse to be inactive, then WHEN THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO WORK OUT? I don't know about you but ever since that first egg implanted 6.5 years ago I have been just shooting for 99%, personally. Whether it's a sleepless night, an achy joint, a bad mood or a runny nose—there is always going to be that 1% of you (or more) that doesn't feel like putting on those running shoes. Ignore it. Even if all you do is throw your kid in the stroller and head to the nearest park, you'll be glad you did.