yes I canWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
We have been working on our weekly healthy lifestyle challenges for the past 13 weeks. Whew! We have learned a lot, had some struggles, but have had more successes. We decided it was time for a review to check up on ourselves. I can tell you this, when you really focus on something for a week it doesn’t leave your mind at the end of the week. All the challenges were still on our minds but with some more than others. I can honestly say we are eating better and more mindfully after these 13 challenges listed at the bottom of this blog.
We got our list and we each decided what we wanted to focus on for the review. Part of this week we were traveling to visit my daughter and her fiancé in the Houston area. I spoke with her before we left and told her what were working on. When we got there, we enlisted support from both of them and we got it. This made for an interesting conversation since they are both health-minded (but not as focused as Mom). Remember when you are working on a goal, line up your support people to help you succeed.
Vicki’s observations and ongoing challenges:
• Some of the eating behaviors continue to need the most work but a couple have “stuck”.
• I don’t like eating packaged convenience foods for lunch anymore. I felt great with #11 when we ate the anti-inflammatory diet. It is more work to plan, shop, and prepare but for me it is worth the effort. We also came to that conclusion with #4 and #6. Fresh really is best.
• I quit desk-side dining at lunch, #10. The cell phone and iPad have never really been a problem for me at mealtime. Now I eat my lunch in the break room even if I am the only one in there.
• People eat more when they eat out of the package so that created #8. I was doing this most of the time but now everything in a package is on a plate or bowl. This challenge “stuck”.
• I continue to keep a food record, #9, most days. I didn’t when we were traveling and came home with three pounds more than I left with. I am back to keeping my food record to send those pounds back to “Houston, Houston. They’re going back to Houston, Houston.” As I always say, “Fast on, fast off.” I enjoyed every meal we ate out without guilt because I knew when we got home I would go right back to my routine. We usually eat out 1-2 times per month so eating out six times in four days was a lot and I was happy to get home and back to normal eating.
• Switching up the workout routine, #13, has helped. I am in Pilates class once a week and continue with the super workout from trainer Michail.
• To keep things in the forefront, I decided to really focus on my top 3 challenges that have been the most difficult to sustain but clearly showed benefit the week we did them.
1. Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down. I have gotten much better about not eating on my way to the table but boy, I still catch myself eating in the kitchen, especially when I making a meal. I am also still struggling with the breakfast shake issue. I am still drinking this all over the house when I am getting ready for work. This was, and still is, my most difficult challenge.
2. Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand. This behavior has been much improved for me but I still catch myself (and Bill). When I concentrate on this I am fine. When I get distracted while eating, I forget. The kids were really good about reminding us to put down our utensils. I think they liked the challenge of catching us slipping up.
3. Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home. This challenge showed definite results the week were vigilant about doing it. I know it increased by leg strength and flexibility. It also prevented a sideways fall on uneven pavement because it helps with balance. The sideways signs still hang in our hallway and I would estimate I do about 50% of the time. My daughter kept an eye on me at their house and when I got lax she reminded me.

Bill’s observations and ongoing challenges:
• Taking time to review the past 13 weeks of challenges was important to me and helped me refocus my mind on some of the challenges that need more work.
• I realize how important it is to have a partner or someone to talk to that understands what I am going through during these weekly challenges. Try to find someone with similar likes and beliefs.
• Some challenges I continue to do without thinking about them and others need more focus and learning. Repetition is critical to learning something new.
• I am at my goal weight and really don’t want to lose anymore pounds but it is important for me to continue using my food record. One can never become complacent and think things will always be the same.
• It is funny but my three challenges that I always focus on and want to continue are the same three as Vicki has chosen. Like minds think alike…
• I also continue to talk on the phone while standing up. I have that luxury because I work from home.
• All the challenges have been fun and beneficial to my mind and body. I look forward to our next set of 13 challenges.

We can’t do everything right all of the time but we can keep practicing on lifestyle habits that need improvement. Check out the list below and decide where you need to put your efforts to make more lasting changes. Just thinking about it doesn’t work. You have to just do it.
I loved the challenge we took on for next week and will continue with it. If you have been to my preop Steps to Success class you have heard me talk about this one. It’s another mindful challenge.
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.

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