30 min exercise: This is the minimum requirement as exercise is typically most beneficial in 20 minute segments. Depending on your goals and ambitions, try a variety of exercise routines -- cardio, strengthening, core development, etc. 1 point maximum per day, even if you exercise more than 30 minutes.
64 oz water: This is a minimum requirement and encourages healthy hydration. If water consumption is difficult or tasteless for you, try adding fresh lemon or lime or flavors such as Crystal Light.
Healthy meals: Regular information will be posted to help you in this area as it relates to designing well-balanced meals (3 meals per day) following the food pyramid. View this in perspective to your personal goal(s). This component pertains to meals enjoyed at-home as well as dining out. For example, a hamburger and french fries whether eaten at home or in a restaurant would not be a healthy choice if consumed regularly. I'll also provide information about appropriate portion sizes as much of what you eat is good for you, but portion control is important. 1 point daily for 3 healthy meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner).
Healthy snacks, no sweets and no soda (even diet soda): Once again, consider this concept as it pertains to your personal goal(s). The concept is included to keep you focused on healthy habits and to consider alternative food choices if your snacking habits are less healthy. You only get the point though if all 3 aspects are met. So, rather than snacking on empty-calorie foods (pretzels or potato chips for example), exchange for a serving of mini carrots, yogurt, or a handful of grapes. Regarding sweets -- the concept is that they're not part of your daily intake of fat, carbs and sugar -- but enjoyed occasionally rather than regularly. Again, consider your ambitions and is this something that needs adjustment for healthy living? No soda -- this is a treasured beverage for many, I know. Whether regular soda or diet soda, neither is good for your metabolism, sodium levels, sugar consumption and adds empty calories. If soda consumption is excessive for you -- you have to determine what's acceptable for you according to your goal(s).
5 fruits/veggies per day: Serving sizes varies but generally, 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked veggies is considered 1 serving. Fruit servings are generally 1/2 cup or an amount about the size of a computer mouse. Fruit juice is included as 1/2 cup is 1 serving. The concept of this healthy habit is to balance fruits and vegetables into your diet. To gain the point, make sure you get 3 of one and 2 of another -- 3 veggies and 2 fruits or vice-versa.
Since this is the first week of the challenge, use it to create focus points that guide your goals. Don't get frustrated if any or all of these components are difficult for you. Track your points -- being honest with yourself -- and evaluate the results to guide you in specific areas for next week. For some, this will be easy and others will struggle. Just do your best!
More to come later...