Small Changes Challenge #3…with a twist ;)

small changes coverOver 30 people have been working on making changes in their lives with The Journey…one small change at a time.  You can join us too!

We are developing healthy habits that our bodies will thank us for…but really, it is all about learning how to turn this into a lifestyle change and stick with it.  This isn’t about buying a special weightloss product or video…it is about using what is already available to us.  The best part…ANYONE can join us on this challenge and jump right in.  You can find info about Week 1 and Week 2 at these links:  Week 1   Week 2

Last week was a tough one, I know.  We talked about sugar at our Small Changes Challenge #2.  We talked about how much is being consumed…and hopefully those that did the work actually saw how much they were consuming and became aware of that number compared to the recommendations that are out there.  It is an eye opener and trust me, my family does not fall in the “clean eating” club.  My kids ask me to have candy almost every single day (and it is rare that I say “yes”).  I throw most  of their Halloween candy out shortly after the day of dressing up.  I cringe when they go to parties and bring home goodie bags that are full of candy they don’t need after just eating cake and ice cream.  I get annoyed when I find out that treats are used as rewards in school.

Becoming aware and making those little changes towards healthier foods that don’t contain so much sugar will actually start to change your body.  If you just change the sugar content…my guess is that in a few weeks you will notice a difference in how your clothes fit just a bit.  When sugar is all around us though and hiding in spots we weren’t aware of before…you have to be on watch at all times.  Be your own advocate.  Be an advocate for your kids and husband…and keep working on that sugar consumption.

There were several questions that were posted or e-mailed about sugar and I will do my best in the next week to answer those…and we may just have a special post later this week answering those questions as best as we possibly can.  Hang in there though and we will do the best we can to help you out.  Now…on to Week 3.

small changes challenge waterThe Small Changes Challenge #3 is…WATER!

I’m doing this one right along with the group…I’ll be sharing my day to day progress on our Facebook event page and giving an update right here on our website on Sunday.  

There are many reasons why water should be part of what goes in your body.  I’ve had the unfortunate experience and learned this the hard way, which I’ll explain in a bit.  Here are a few reasons though why you should grab a water first before you might grab something else to drink:

  • Metabolism.  There is a science to what your body does, how it breaks things down and uses or doesn’t use what you put in your mouth.  Water though is a good thing that can change your body in a way that will help get that metabolism moving just a bit more…which in turns will help you lose weight.  Read more about how water changes your metabolism at this link by WebMD.
  • Headaches.  Before grabbing that pill bottle to tackle the latest headache…grab a glass of water.  When my kids say that their head hurts my immediate reaction is “go drink a glass of water”.
  • Wrinkles and Moisture for Skin.  Ever see wrinkles in your face or see eyes that look a bit on the sunken-in side?  Ever have hands that get cracked in the winter?  It may not be a sign of aging necessarily but a sign that there just isn’t enough water in that body.  Drink more…and you may not have to rely on all that lotion you lather up in (or at least what I have to do for my hands at the moment here in Minnesota).
  • Muscle Recovery.  During exercise it is stressed to drink that water.  Your muscles will appreciate it and recover faster which will help lead to less soreness.  In the cycling classes that I teach I often remind the participants that during the 55 minute class they should drink an entire water bottle plus some…or at least 55 ounces of water before, during and immediately after the class.  That is a lot of water and no one ever brings in a 55 ounce water bottle, but their body does need to replenish the fluids that they just sweated out and for the muscle recovery.
  • Dehydration.  Ok…now for the personal side of things.  If you need a visual of why you should drink water, let my own personal story be a reminder of why you should drink water.  On a normal October day in Minnesota my body was fighting a cold for about the 4th month in a row.  I had medicine, I’d get better and then I would start to get sick again.  It was just a bad cycle in general and the coughing, exercise and most likely not getting enough sleep during all of it was taking it’s toll on my body.  Besides the coughing though, I thought I felt fine.  I was lifting tons of weight.  I was pushing myself and setting some great PR’s with my deadlifts.  I had one of those mornings at the gym where I left just feeling awesome because I knew I worked hard.  I still had a cold but it really wasn’t bothering me too much.  Reality set in that night at about 1am.  I woke up and thought I was going to be sick.  I went in the bathroom, shut the door and my husband heard a crash.  I had apparently passed out on the floor and hit the tub on my arm and my leg, luckily not my head.  He tried to wake me up and after a few minutes I came to but I was very disoriented.  I tried to get up but needed his help to get back to the bed.  He asked what I wanted to do and I really wasn’t thinking clearly enough at that point to make a decision for myself.  My head was spinning.  My eyes couldn’t focus and I could hardly stand up.  The decision was made to take me to the ER and off we went with our 3 kids at about 1:30am.  I almost passed out again as I was walking in the waiting room but was soon able to lay down.  My blood pressure was checked while laying down, sitting and standing and was at crazy amounts at those three different levels.  As long as I was laying down I was ok.  I had a beautiful IV that filled me with some liquids and I started to learn more about dehydration as the doctor spoke.  Each cough that I had expells more moisture from my body.  Lifting weights uses water to help the muscles recover.  Cycling class…well, I explained that one above.  The dry air that we get that time of year was also not helping my body recover.  All of those different things together led my body to a state of dehydration.  I honestly felt fine that entire day…and so I was shocked when I passed out and that was the cause.  My goal is to never have that happen again.  😉  My kids still talk about the time that they had to take me to the doctor in the middle of the night…so hopefully it was a good lesson for them too to always drink their water.  My case of dehydration doesn’t follow all the symptoms but if you ever want to check to see what symptoms are signs of dehydration, check out this link by Mayo Clinic:  Symptoms of Dehydtration

water challengeThere are a lot of other facts and info out there too that I have heard about water and what you should do…and some are good but some may not necessarily be geared towards the healthier types of living and more of the “anti-eating” types of diets.  I agree these work to help you consume more water but the sites that have these posted and help spread the word about them aren’t always coming from a great angle.  Examples…

  • take a sip of water between each bite of food.  You will get full faster and won’t eat as much.  This is ok if you are still consuming enough food but not ok if you aren’t.
  • Drink a full glass of water before each meal.  Ditto on above…this is ok if you are still consuming enough food but not ok if you aren’t.

What If I Don’t Like the Taste of Water?

I hear ya.  I have had the same thoughts many times in my life.  Drinking more water was a mental battle at first and I had to help my body realize that this clear liquid was actually good and important.  For about a year I would actually go to the gym in the morning and drink a Diet Pepsi on the way.  We are talking about 4:45am, groupies when a pop was being consumed.  At that point in my journey water was not what I turned to when I was thirsty or wanted to drink something with my meal.  In fact, I am not sure that I even drank water during the day…at all.  I had some major adapting to do.  What did I do?  I slowly started adding water in to my daily to-do’s…and made it a priority.  That first week was more of me gagging it down.  Seriously.  I was not a fan.  Eventually though my taste buds were figuring things out and realized that it tasted good.  Water felt good too.  I had to get over that hump though and figure out how to get my body to drink more.

Here is the twist to our challenge…and it might just help you learn to like the lovely H20 a little bit easier.  Here are two recipes that I have used during those times when I just need a little boost in consuming more water.  Try it…you might like it!

  1. Froo Froo Water – an infused water recipe
  2. Citrus Infused Water


A Visual Tool

We joke in our family quite a bit about a sign that my husband put up in the bathroom at his workplace a few years ago.  We call it…the Pee Chart.  This isn’t the same one but serves the same purpose and helps you ask yourself this very important question, “Am I drinking enough water?”  Print it off and stick it up at your own workplace and start a trend of healthy living.  No one has to know it was you.  😉

Do what you need to do to get that water in!  Set those water bottles out for the day and have them gone before you go to bed.  Keep a water bottle with you all day and keep filling it up.  Pick times during the day and drink a glass of water then.

How To Get in Those 8 Glasses:  We are all starting at different levels of water consumption but before we get into improving we really need to figure out where we are at.  Day 1 and Day 2…figure out how much water you are actually drinking.  Pure, plain…nothing added type of water.  Write it down on the tracking sheet and write it with confidence because this is what you did.  Don’t try to cover it up or fudge the numbers.  This is all for you so you have a record of where you are starting.  Days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7…work on getting 8 glasses of water.  If you are exercising during one of those days you need to add another glass of water at least.  Write down your numbers each day on the tracking sheet.

Homework:  How much water are you consuming?  The homework this week is simple…How  much water did you consume at the start of the week…and how much did you consume at the end?  E-mail your number of glasses that you started and finished with to  If you have any helpful tips that you used to help get those glasses of water in…send those along so we can share them with others.

A few Extra Links of Info:

Water:  How much should you drink everyday by Mayo Clinic

Pee Chart (a different one from above but this is so you can print it off too!)

12 Tips to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Thanks for being part of The Journey!  We will have the Small Changes Challenge for Week 4 up next Sunday.  Keep working hard and if you need extra motivation…leave us a comment here or join us over on Facebook too at our event page for this challenge.  You can find us on Facebook at


Jessica is a mom of three kids and a wife to one.  😉  She is also a fitness instructor at two locations in Rochester, MN and works with women privately on their health and fitness goals.  You can find out more about her gym at  


One thought on “Small Changes Challenge #3…with a twist ;)

  1. Pingback: The Small Changes Challenge #6…It’s Not Easy Being Green | The Journey

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