Last July program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill, committed to do a weekly challenge for a year to improve their health and lifestyle. Vicki and Bill decided to tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being because there is always room for improvement. Hopefully, over the past year some of the challenges have inspired you to make healthy changes.

Challenge #50 Third leg of our Triple Crown

Our challenges were divided into three categories: diet, exercise, and behavior. Our third and last leg focused on the most difficult of the three categories, behavior. It’s the behavioral changes that make for long-term success and we encourage you to choose behavior challenges from the list below.  I have been maintaining a 30 pound weight loss for over 2 years and Bill is maintaining a 40 pound lost for just over a year*. We never went on a diet. It took me two years to lose my weight and it took Bill three years. We made lifestyle changes that have stuck. We are aware of what, how much and HOW we are eating. And we get in some sort of exercise almost every day * results may vary.

When I look at the highlighted list below of our behavior changes I am amazed at how many of them we continue to do. We are not perfect but, boy oh boy; we are doing so much better with these behaviors than before we did the challenges. Some of them just clicked with us and we never looked back. We only eat with the small forks and spoons and we eat dinner at the table just about every night with no TV. Since it is summer I seldom watch TV. We purposely choose a contrasting plate color and I put everything on a plate or a bowl, no eating from a package even if it is a single serving size.

Speaking for only myself, my biggest accomplishments were the challenges that slowed down my eating rate. Rarely do I eat something without thinking about putting down my utensil and counting my chews. Add the little fork to that and it really does slow you down.

We don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but we do set goals. Although this was a challenge for only one week, it was a monthly goal for me….keep a food record. In all my years of working in weight management one of the most effective tools I have seen is to simply keep track of what you are eating and drinking. This was how Bill started on his 40 pound weight loss journey. For myself, one week a month helps me stay on track the rest of the month. Keeping an accurate food record brings it all to the forefront..the picking, the nibbling, the extra helping… It is simple but it may not be easy.

Bill and I reviewed our behavior challenges and made our picks. I chose one I still struggle with and one that I loved and do most of the time. Bill picked challenge #23, Sweet Dreams. He is having a stressful time with work right now and he thought this would help him relax.

Vicki’s picks:
The struggle: Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down. I identified this behavior problem right off the bat and spent the entire year working on this. It’s better but not where I would like it to be. My biggest problem is still in the kitchen during food preparation. From #1, “I caught myself nibbling while cooking dinner. It might have been a tomato slice or some carrots coins but it really doesn’t make a difference if it’s vegetables or something else. It is still mindless eating.” I can say this, I am now aware of tossing it in my mouth. Before I didn’t notice what I was doing.

The love: Challenge #29 Feel good week. Who doesn’t want to feel better? I practiced the strategies I teach in “Happy Class” in our non-surgical Health & Lifestyles program. I kept this up for two to three days a week but in this case more is better. In the evening I sat down with my journal and wrote down my good deed for the day and three to five things I was grateful for in my day. I like going to bed in a positive frame of mind.

Bill’s pick:
I picked challenge #23 because I thought doing the 100 constant bears and the 49 knee rubs would be good for my stressed out body and mind. Well……I did good the first two nights but then I had to go away on a business trip and I totally got out of sync and off my routine. I ended up not doing my constant bears or my 49 knee rubs while I was away. When I got home and back into my routine I realized that I had completely forgot what I was to do each night before bed. I did learn a valuable lesson that I will remember in the future. It is important to stay focused and always be mindful of the routine you set for yourself so that it becomes a habit no matter what curves life throws at you. Don’t be hard on yourself if you do fail and remember our challenge “practice makes better”.

We had a great trip around the track. We had a nose-to-nose finish and we are both in the winner’s circle. The year of commitment is coming to an end and next week we are coming to full circle.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD
Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?

The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.comp=2583
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams.
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate?
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections.
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking.
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber.
Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule.
Challenge #29 Feel Good Week.
Challenge #30 Try one new healthy food a day.
Challenge #31 It’s a stretch.
Challenge #32 TLC for heart health.
Challenge #33 The sounds of silence.
Challenge #34 10,000 steps a day.
Challenge #35  35/350.
Challenge #36 Have a super week.
Challenge #37 Stress buster.
Challenge #38 Walking the tightrope.
Challenge #39 The 7PM cut off.

Challenge #40 Primary eating.

Challenge #41 We’re gluten free.
Challenge #42 Do what you gotta do.

Challenge #43 Fighting sitting disease.
Challenge #44 Slowing down mealtime.
Challenge #45 Practice makes better.
Challenge #46 Tiptoe through the tulips with Miss Vicki.
Challenge #47 DASH your way to better health.
Challenge #48 First leg of our Triple Crown.
Challenge #49 Second leg of our Triple Crown


Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.” Contact Vicki at vbovee@westernsurgical.