Dare to Do Week One: Motivation Before Mastery

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Did you make a resolution this year? Was it to lose weight, exercise more, save more, spend less, and maybe get a little more organized? Just as the excitement of a New Year resolution may start to wear off, The Whole U is launching our 30-day challenge today. Welcome to week one! Over 1500 UW faculty and staff and family members have committed to this challenge and are ready to learn from our UW partners and experts.

This challenge focuses on four areas of wellness: nutrition, fitness, finances, and organization. Is it possible to find balance in all of these areas? Let’s try! We dare you! Each week our experts answer a few questions and we will post short videos for participants to watch and apply what they learn. If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late! Register here.


Week One Focus: How to get in the mindset for (fitness) success!

Our fitness expert, Ian Weinberg, is Chief Motivational Officer of IanFitness, a part of The Whole U discount network. For the last 10 years, Ian has made it his personal mission to help people finally get the results they’re looking for.

What happens if I have a setback? How do I bounce back?

Don’t beat yourself up about it! Change can be difficult, and negative self-talk can make it even harder. After skipping a workout or not making the best food choice, just make sure your very next decision is a positive one to get you back on track.

What if I don’t make my small goals? How do I not feel like a failure?

Trying and failing is in itself a success. There is magic in taking action and when you continue to take action and you’ll find progress is not far behind.

How do I seek support from others?

I like to say you are the sum total of the five people with whom you spend the most time, so search out people with likeminded goals. Join a boot camp or a running club, and find people who are doing or are already are where you want to be with your fitness.


Week One Focus: Cutting unnecessary calories without depriving yourself

Our nutrition expert, Ben Atkinson, works in Harborview’s Medical Center’s Nutrition and Foodservice department where he manages a talented group of outpatient dietitians, oversees the department’s technology program, and supports worksite wellness activities in retail food areas. He has worked at Harborview since 2008 when he started as a dietitian in the Madison Clinic.

How do I cut unnecessary calories? Is it okay to eat the occasional treat or do I need to cut out all the things I enjoy to make sure I see results?

First, we need to define what necessary calories are. Our bodies need a certain amount of energy and other nutrients from food. This is essential for keeping us healthy and active. Any extra energy or nutrients we eat above what our bodies need may lead to poor health. Speak with a health professional, like a registered dietitian nutritionist, a doctor, or nurse practitioner to figure out how much energy and nutrients your body requires. Choosemyplate.gov is also a good place to start. Essentially, no, you do not need to cut out all of the foods you enjoy in order to remove unnecessary calories or nutrients and to see the results you are trying to achieve. It often requires a small re-framing of how you eat your unnecessary food.

Take pizza, for example. A person may eat pizza for dinner and judging from USDA reports, we all do, as it’s one of the most common foods to eat in the US. But, when we eat pizza, it’s often that we’re eating only pizza for that meal. We could still eat the pizza, but eat one less slice, and add a few apple or cucumber slices to our plate. By doing this, we’ve still eaten a favorite food (pizza), but added some other good-tasting and healthful foods that will make that cumulative meal much more healthful.

Does choosing filling foods help? And if so, what are some examples of foods that can help me feel full longer?

Choosing filling foods really does help. That’s why I like the ‘plate method’ (choosemyplate.gov). It shows us that we should be eating a mix of food types, which will provide us with all of the energy and nutrients we need. Our bodies will digest fat (oils, nuts, some dairy foods), protein (meats, seafood, beans, nuts), and fiber (beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains) more slowly than simple carbohydrates (juice, soda, candy, desserts, refined grains). If you eat a piece of cheese with your apple for a snack, you’ve just created a very filling snack. I find that many vegetarians or people who eat salads for meals run into this issue. Fruits and vegetables aren’t terribly filling on their own. You will get hungry in short order. If you add some healthful fat (vegetable oils, nuts, dairy products) or protein (beans, nuts, and dairy products) you will keep your feeling of fullness for longer.

Cutting sugar can be particularly hard. What are some tips you can share?

Just as we defined unnecessary calories previously, we should now define sugar. When most people talk about sugar, they are referring to added sugar in desserts or convenience foods. However, some people extend this definition to include foods made out of wheat or other grains. While breads and pastas (which are made out of wheat) do have naturally occurring sugar in them, if we keep our portions to a smaller size like we did with the pizza example above, these foods can definitely be included in a very healthful diet.

Cutting out entire groups of food is unwise, and can leave you feeling drained. An athlete I was working with said she felt like she had no energy at her daily practice. Well, she was on a paleo-like diet (i.e. very few grains). Half of a sandwich before practice, and the problem was solved.

Reducing how much added sugar we eat can be a great thing for our health. If we can find a way to enjoy and savor a smaller amount of these foods (desserts especially), it can really add up. I love ice cream, but if I don’t eat any, I estimate that removes 300 calories from my day—the same number of calories I’d burn running or swimming for 30 minutes!


Week One Focus: Office Space

Our organizing expert, Kammie Lisenby, is the CEO of The Organizing Experts, also part of The Whole U discount network. Her ethos is that it shouldn’t take years, months, or even weeks to get your life organized.

What are the benefits of an organized office?

Having an organized workspace allows you to focus on the task at hand and not stress about the things you can’t find. Having organized spaces for mail/filing/projects/goals sets the stage for success and builds confidence within yourself and those around you that you’re in control of handling your task load.

What are your top 5 tips for organizing an office space?

  • Keep personal touches to a minimum
  • Have a basic filing system
  • Know how long to keep important documents and when to toss
  • Keep the desktop clear
  • Have a goal sheet handy and in clear view

 What are some tips for maintaining an organized computer desktop and mailbox?

Digital clutter is no different than physical clutter. Make sure to have a very clear, easy system when it comes to organizing your desktop. Start with large categories and keep sub-categories to a minimum. Using a program like Evernote helps to keep your ideas, notes, projects, and important emails in one mobile, organized digital space.


Week One Focus: Create a Budget

Our financial expert, Doug Stucki, is a Fidelity director and retirement planner who has more than 16 years with the organization.

How do I get started? 

Before you establish your budget, it is a good idea to first track your spending so you have a good idea of where your money is going. There is one in the Apple app store called “Spending Tracker” and one for Androids called “AndroMoney” which both require manual entry and are free. After you’ve done this, break your spending into two categories: Essential and Discretionary. Essential expenses are those where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reasonably live without them. These expenses include housing, food, health care, transportation, child-care, minimum debt payments and other financial obligations. Discretionary expenses are those that might be considered wants, but not needs. They include eating out, travel, shopping, gym memberships, etc. (Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC)

Should I establish goals from the beginning?

Establishing goals at the beginning certainly might help you to determine your priorities for saving. (Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC)

What are good resources for creating a budget?

You might find an app for your phone, or you can start with the Saving & Spending checkup on Netbenefits. You’ll see the calculator on that screen. Many also benefit from simply just writing down all of your expenses as they happen. There are some basic budgeting sheets online, but I find that most people benefit from creating their own since their expenses are likely going to be unique. Set up a budget sheet based on your own spending analysis to determine where they can save money and where they want to spend. (Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC)

Now that you have a few tools and tips, get after it and make it a successful week! Share your progress with The Whole U on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) using the hashtag #DaretoDo2017 or via email at wholeu@uw.edu.

One Thought on “Dare to Do Week One: Motivation Before Mastery”

On January 23, 2017 at 2:33 PM, Kristi Y said:

Thank you for the great tips!

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