Archive for Motivation

Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “Week 5 Check In”

Pat yourself on the back; you have made it to the halfway point! By now the cravings are starting to fade away and the inches are starting to shed. Let us know your successes and difficulties. Here are a few articles that you should read in order to expand your health and wellness knowledge and help you WIN this challenge:

Don’t forget to check in, “still in” in the comments section! Congratulations


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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “Week 4 Check In”

Wow… Congratulations! You have completed 4 weeks of pushups and sit ups, eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables, drinking 8 glasses of water, and exercising for 30 minutes each day. Let’s not forget that you have also gone over 25 days without those cookies, candies, alcohols, cigarettes, or other vices. You should be very proud. We are sure you have lots of successes to report. It should be getting easier now but if you are still having problems squeezing your workouts in, here is a great article about overcoming a busy schedule.

Here are a few of our latest articles:

Delicious Whole Grain Muffins! 

Dolvett Quince vs. Bob Harper!  

Haven’t Seen Results in the Challenge?

Thanks for reading those great articles. Don’t forget to Check In, “Still In” in the comments of this article. Also, let us know the successes that you have had since starting this challenge!

Are your kids doing it? Let us know how they have been doing as well. How can we improve this challenge next time?

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Busy Schedule? Here’s How to Squeeze a Workout In!

One of our fans, Briana Starks, had a very common question; how can I possibly squeeze a workout into a very busy schedule? Briana has 3 kids under the age of 4, is a full time student, and spends her nights studying and doing homework after putting the kids to bed. Briana has an issue that is not unfamiliar to many people trying to make their health a priority. Here’s some suggestions we have come up with. Please leave suggestions on how you have been able to squeeze workouts into your busy schedule as well.

Try Involving the Kids

Today’s video games offer many interactive family games. Pop in a dance game or workout video and try to get all the kids involved for 10 minutes. Don’t have a dance game? Just play a few of your favorite songs and have a dance party.  Don’t like dancing? Take the kids for a walk. Race them for 10 second intervals. Every 5 minutes, stop and do jumping jacks, squat jumps, squats, jump rope, and or high knee running in place. You can also use the kids as weights and lift them up and down. Playgrounds are fun areas with all types of fitness machines. Hang or do pull-ups on the monkey bars. Play tag on the jungle gym. You can even make an obstacle course for both you and the kids to enjoy. Be creative and the opportunities are endless.

Don’t Start Big

Always remember that something is better than nothing. If on Monday you can only find 5 minutes to workout, get in a five minute workout. If you can only find 5 minutes per day for weeks, that is 35 minutes of working out a week.  Compare that to zero minutes per week if you just decide to give up. Instead of trying to wake up 30 minutes earlier a day, try 5. Try to increase your amount of time for working out by 10% each week. This means if you work out 5 minutes on week 1, you would work out for 5 minutes and 30 seconds on week 2. The more you increase, the more your workout will become a habit and you will be up to 15-20 minutes per day with ease. Also, try to choose 2 days a week that you know you can get the most time to work out and make those your more intense work out days.

Write a Detailed Schedule

Start recording your day. You might want to do it by the half hour but no less than by the hour. This will be a way to review your days to find a few minutes here and there to piece together a workout routine. Sometimes you might find a few shortcuts that can be taken or a few things that can be cut out in order to make time.  I know many people, who after writing out a detailed schedule have found a way to steal 30 minutes a day to work out. Read more

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Healthified Any-Fruit Whole Grain Muffins – Healthy snack, dessert or breakfast!

I make these muffins for my family often, they are quick to throw together and are full of healthy fruit, vegetables and are a good source of high quality whole grain carbohydrates for quick bursts of lasting energy!  They enjoy them for a quick breakfast when we are on the run, as a snack to grab for practices after school or for an evening snack if their little tummies are a bit hungry before bed. They are a good alternative to grabbing a cookie or a highly processed granola bar!

You can make these with any fruit you want, or even shredded carrots! I make them different all the time, although carrots and blueberry are my family’s favorites. I keep frozen organic fruits in the freezer to use in all different kinds of ways – this is a great way to use them. The last batch I made was blueberry-apple…I only had about ½ cup of blueberries left so bumped it up with some fresh chopped apple – perfect! The pumpkin and the smashed banana are the two things I use as the base of the recipe all the time though – it adds good sweetness and a lot of vitamins! I also play around with adding chopped nuts – pepitas are our family favorites, as well as almonds and walnuts.

They freeze really well also- make a couple of batches and freeze to take out and microwave as you need them. Make them once a month and be ready for the month ahead!

Healthified Any-Fruit Whole Grain Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Use organic ingredients if you can

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2 cups whole grain flour

½ cup whole grain rolled oats – not quick cooking

1/3 cup raw organic sugar – substitute Stevia if you wish

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom, optional

1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder – optional

1 banana, smashed

½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

½ cup applesauce – unsweetened

2 Tb healthy oil

1 cup fruit or vegetable of your choice, fresh or frozen –diced apples, blueberry, shredded carrot, cranberry (use a bit more sweetener if you wish for cranberry muffins), extra banana, raspberries, strawberries, etc.

½ cup chopped nuts/seeds of your choice

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisk together to combine. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients  ( I usually start the wet ingredients by smashing the banana and beating the egg in the bowl first so I can save dirtying another bowl). Omitting the fruit and nuts at this point. When well combined pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a rubber scraper very gently, folding and combining everything well – DO NOT OVER MIX – this will make for tough, gummy muffins! When the ingredients are almost completely incorporated stir in the fruit/vegetable and your nuts/seeds of choice.

Spray a standard size muffin cup with some non-stick spray, or use cupcake liners. Fill each muffin tin about ¾ full, with about 1/3 cup of the batter for each. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the tin and serve . Enjoy!

You can make a little glaze for these if you wish. Simply mix ¼ cup powdered sugar with a drop or two at a time of lemon juice. Mix well until you have the consistency of a glaze. Drizzle lightly over the muffins.











Be sure to visit Chef Kirsten at


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Common Mistakes in the Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves Challenge

You’re 2 weeks into the JumpStart 2012 By Working on Ourselves, Challenge and haven’t seen enough results yet. You’ve been eating your servings, drinking your water, and straining through dreadful pushups and sit ups, but the scale still reads the same! Here are a few mistakes you are making and a few solutions to help you start seeing results faster!

You Traded One Vice For Another

For the challenge, you decided to give up ice cream. Now instead of ice cream you are eating more cookies. Take a look at your food journal and see what you have substituted your ice cream cravings for. I’m assuming you have some type of food journal as it is paramount to the success of this challenge. If you have traded one vice for another, take a look at our article, “Are you a Cheater”, for ways to cope with giving up vices. I noticed this same problem when I tried to buy Golden Oreos. I had found another vice.

You’re Still Eating Too Much

Again, check your food journal. If you are eating more calories because you added more fruits and vegetables, you need to make adjustments. Too many extra calories are detrimental, even if they are coming from fruits and veggies. If you are full after eating a fruit, veggie and protein source at breakfast, stop there. You may want to start cooking one less egg or eating one less piece of toast now that you are eating more fruits and veggies.

Your 30 Minutes of Exercise Isn’t Intense Enough

If you started walking two weeks ago, you should have made adjustments by now. Pick up the speed in your walk or add in intervals of jogging in order to raise the intensity. If you are biking, or riding the elliptical, you should speed those up as well. You can also try downloading our free EBook for a workout program and body weight exercises that’ll add a little variety to your workout. As we stated in our article, “Can’t Lose the last 10 Pounds? Here’s Why”, you have to change your workouts so that your body is always guessing. Don’t be afraid to push past your pain threshold. Only then will you start seeing more results.

You’re Miscalculating Servings

Do you know what constitutes a serving of fruits or veggies? It may not be as much as you think. Our article, “What’s a Serving”, will help you with this. If you are eating more than you should, you may be adding extra calories to your diet.

You’re Still Modifying Pushups and Sit Ups

It’s time to get on your toes and do a few pushups. Try 1 “real” pushup for every 3 “modified” pushups ratio. Soon you will be doing full pushups. Try the same with modified sit ups. If you don’t try it, you’ll never know that you can do it.

You Need to Divorce the Scale

Last but definitely not least, you need to divorce the scale for a while. Instead, measure your waist, legs, and arms. You should also measure your success by how far or fast you are running, how many more pushups you can do, and how long are you holding your planks! The scale is not the only success measuring tool.

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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “Week 2 Check In”

CONGRATULATIONS, you have made it through week 2. If you haven’t yet, please weigh and measure yourself and post your successes here as well. We’ve heard weight loss numbers as high as 20lbs. If you are still having trouble beating the sugar cravings, please read our article, Beat the Sugar Cravings With These 8 Tips. Many of you have asked about the emphasis on fruits and vegetables so we decided to start writing articles regarding the benefits of both. Take a look at this article An Apple A Day. Are you losing your Motivation? Get it back with these easy steps.

Don’t forget to comment, “Still In” at the bottom of this post!

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Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

I certainly have a sweet tooth. I hadn’t had a Golden Oreo in 2 months as I was doing a No Junk Food Challenge. I had successfully replaced the cookies with fresh fruits and mixed nuts. I’ve been so happy that I was able to do it that I decided to buy a pack of cookies so that I could put them away and have them sparingly. I thought since it had been 2 months and I had replaced the cravings with healthy alternatives, I would have complete control… Wow, was I wrong. Here I sit typing this sentence and all I can think about are the last 10 cookies left. This is exactly why in my article, Beat the Sugar Cravings with These 8 Tips, I wrote, “Don’t Buy It.” I know we should allow ourselves cheat days but here are some better ways to get your fix if you are going to buy it.

  • Buy only what you want to have on that given day (a serving, a scoop, or a cup)
  • Eat before going out to buy the snack
  • Think about it before you do it… Is it really worth it?

I have learned a lot from this experience and I hope you have as well. What are some other ways you beat your cravings?

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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “WEEK 1 CHECK IN”

All you need to do is comment, “still in” so that we can check you off! Make sure your first and last name are in the comment as well. Having trouble with sugar craving? This article might help: Beat The Sugar Cravings! We are so happy that you made it through Week 1! Let’s roll right into week 2! Don’t lose your Motivation!

Remember to comment, “still in!” My example is there!

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What’s a Serving of Fruits and Vegetables?

First let’s talk about the importance of fruits and veggies. A diet high in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and cancer. People who eat more of these nutrient dense foods are also sick less than those who don’t. Obesity levels are also much lower among those who eat diets high in essential vitamins and minerals. Many people trying to lose belly fat will increase their vegetable intake and reduce their intake of high calorie starchy foods. So what’s a serving? Here’s our compiled list of fruits and veggies servings:


  • 1/2 cup, 4 fluid oz of 100% fruit juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1 medium fruit
  • apple (1)
  • banana (1)
  • cherries (14)
  • grapefruit (1/2 of 1)
  • grapes (12)
  • kiwi (2)
  • mango (2 slices)
  • melon (1 large slice)
  • pear (1 medium)
  • pineapple (1 large slice)
  • plums (2)
  • prunes (6)
  • raisins (1 tbsp)
  • strawberries (7)


  • 1/2 cup or 4 fluid oz of juice (low sodium)
  • 1 cup raw or 1/2 a cup cooked
  • asparagus spears (5)
  • avocado (1/2)
  • baby carrots (1 small bag)
  • brussels sprouts (8)
  • carrot (1)
  • celery (3 sticks)
  • onion (1)
  • peas (3 heaping teaspoons)
  • salad (1 cup or about half a cereal bowl)
  • spinach (2 heaping 2 spoons)
  • tomato (1 medium)
  • zucchini (1/2 a large one)

So… Are you increasing your fruits and vegetables intake?

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HFF’s “Jump Start 2012 By Working on Ourselves” Challenge

 (Click Here To Print The Challenge Check-List)

We strongly advise everyone to weigh and measure themselves and take before and after pictures to refer to throughout the challenge. The goal of this challenge is to improve your lifestyle.

Please print the calendar checklist so that you know that you are completing each task. NO EXCUSES!

Duration: 10-12 weeks. We will know by week 6 if we are going 10 or 12 weeks.

How do I join the Challenge: In order to be considered for the challenge prospective participants must post the vice that they are giving up in the comments section of the blog post to the official rules. See 2012 Challenge Tab! Be sure to tell us your first and last name. We will allow postings until Wednesday 8pm Pacific Standard Time. After this time, participation is closed. In order to move forward each week, contestants must successfully complete ALL of the following tasks each week:

Exercise 210 minutes per week (30 min per day).

Consume 49 servings of fruits and vegetables per week (7 per day)

Complete 140 pushups and sit ups per week (20 per day of each)

Consume 56 servings of water (8 per day)

Give up one vice for the entire 10-12week duration

Post “still in” on the designated blog post at each week

Disqualification: Participants are disqualified if they fail to complete a task during the week or  fail to their listed vice. Participants will also be disqualified if they fail to report that they are “still in” the competition each week on the blog post at A link to the blog post will be posted 3 times per day on Friday at Participants will have until Saturday 9pm Pacific Standard Time to report themselves “still in” the challenge. Obviously this will be on the honor system but we trust that everyone will play fair. We will periodically post the names of contestants who are “still in.”

Prizes: Of all the contestants still participating at the end of 10 weeks, 5 names will be drawn and those participants will receive a free t-shirt. The 5 participants must post a picture of themselves wearing the t-shirt in order to be placed in an additional drawing where the 3 names drawn will all receive a $50.00 gift certificate. We reserve the right to increase the value of the gift certificates as well as the number of winners as more sponsors and donors are expected in the upcoming weeks.

Win This Shirt!


Waiver of Liability: All prospective participants should be cleared by a Doctor before trying this or any health and wellness program. accepts no responsibility and excludes all liabilities in connection with trying this challenge. It is the sole responsibility of the individual in the challenge to be in good health and except all liabilities associated with this challenge. hereby excludes liability for any claims, losses, demands, or damages of any kind whatsoever with regard to any information, content, or services provided at our Web site, including but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, or consequential loss or damages, compensatory damages, loss of profits, or data, or otherwise. By signing up for this challenge you accept responsibility for anything that might happen while being a part of the challenge and anytime after the challenge concludes. We reserve the right to change rules and prizes for this challenge.

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