December 27, 2013

Healthy You! Book Review and Giveaway

It's that time of year when we have fully sugared up our guts and are feeling lethargic for about 23.9 of the 24 hours each day. Because there are things like Nyaker's Ginger Snaps and Southern Comfort Egg Nog. And I don't even like ginger snaps, but those Swedish ones are so crispy and taste just like Christmas. Unfortunately, I like egg nog too much and hog the little half gallons by hiding them in the back of the fridge behind things like brussel sprouts and rutabagas. No one in my family but me is instigating a brussel sprouts transaction in the fridge, so the nog is safe there. 

Last year, around the end of January, I started a two-week program that really changed my whole perception of food. I still, as obvious from the first paragraph of this post, have some moments where I go overkill on large amounts of holiday junky food, but I have a stronger retract button than I did before.

So when I got a copy of Dawna Stone's Healthy You!: 14 Days to Quick and Permanent Weight Loss and a Healthier, Happier You, I was excited to find another practical two-week, healthy jump-start program that I knew could give me the energy and inspiration to detox from holiday gluttony and move on to a fresh eating slate. 

First, who is Dawna Stone? Among other amazing things, she's the founder of Women's Running. You know, this magazine for the ladies.

Second, what is Healthy You! all about? It's two weeks of dedication to healthy eating that will jump start you for a hopefully long love of healthy eating. First week is the elimination week, where you take out one item/category of food per day, like sugar, wheat, artificial sweeteners. She also outlines the purpose of eliminating these foods from your diet in the book. Some of them are to see if you have reactions to those foods when you reintroduce them, like wheat and dairy, and some are just in the general these-foods-do-not-make-you-feel-good category, like processed sugar and diet soda. 

I promise that if you just follow this week, you will feel a major difference in your clarity of mind. Especially if you have been eating like I have over Christmas break. Just taking out processed sugar alone will be like someone turning the lights on after being in a dark tunnel for years. At least that's how I felt the first time I tried it. 

Trying to process words through an egg nog coma.

For week two, the Clean Phase, you just maintain the elimination of the seven items you gradually eliminated over the first week. If you need meal and menu ideas, she's included all of that in the book as well.

If your goal is to drop weight, this will work. If your goal is to feel better, this will work. 
And hopefully through the experience, your relationship with food will change. This isn't a diet with portion sizes and points; it's a how-to guide on fueling your body with things that don't make you feel like crud. For me, losing weight is a side benefit of properly fueling your body. When I fuel my body correctly, my body finds its ideal weight. But more importantly, I feel 100% less grumpy. My kids appreciate that.

My daughter is the perfect age for skinny jeans in bright colors.

I started the Healthy You plan before Christmas, but I got too caught up in the holidays to give it 100%. But I still felt better having followed a modified version of the plan! One thing that Dawna does a great job of is setting realistic expectations and giving you real-life tips on how to keep yourself motivated without feeling like a complete failure when you eat a whole pack of Joe Joe's. Hint: don't do that if you want to feel good.

But I did lose the five pounds that I gained from Halloween and Thanksgiving, so modifications can still produce results. So I'm looking forward to actually buckling down and getting serious about following the plan after this week.

Now my husband has agreed to try it out with me (this is now on the internet and therefore cannot be retracted), and I'm looking forward to having a partner in healthy-eating crime.

Dawna was nice enough to let me ask her some questions that I thought of as I read the book (plus some fun Q&As for us runners!):

*    I've found that in the past I've given my kids the same food even when I changed what I ate. PB&J sandwiches are just so easy to make! How can I make it easier to get my whole family involved?

My kids are extremely picky (as I was when I was young) so I don’t push my healthy recipes on them. Instead, I encourage them to try a little taste of everything. I often find myself cooking one thing for my kids and another for my husband and me. Over time, I hope my kids will become more interested in trying new things, but at 4 and 6 they still want pizza bagels.

I have friends that make their children eat what they are eating, and if they don’t, they simply don’t eat at all. I’m not saying this is wrong; in fact, it would be nice to make just one meal. But as long as my kids are eating a well-balanced and mostly healthy meal, I’m not going to push halibut with a tomato and mango salsa or cranberry quinoa salad (two of my favorite Healthy You! recipes) on them. A typical dinner for my kids is chicken and green beans with a side of fruit or brown rice pasta and veggies. My son loves hummus and guacamole, and both my kids like brown rice pasta as much as regular pasta.

*      Eating healthier can sometimes be even more expensive. Do you have any tips on how to follow the plan for people on a tight budget?

It’s unfortunate that eating healthy costs more than eating poorly. I always look for items that are on sale and stock up if the item isn’t perishable. I love to buy organic produce, but it can get really expensive. If your budget doesn’t allow for always buying organic, you can still limit your exposure to pesticides by washing your fruits and vegetables with a special produce cleanser (found in your local health food and grocery stores). If you don’t have a special cleaner you can also use baking soda and water.

*      I love your idea for one cheat day. What day did you choose and why? 

      I typically make Sunday my cheat day. I found that starting fresh every Monday is something that mentally works for me. If I choose Friday or Saturday (two days that seem to make the most sense) I end up “cheating” all weekend. If I know that I can “cheat” on Sunday, I tend to make better choices on Friday and Saturday. Sunday works for me, but you need to pick a day that makes the most sense for you and your schedule.

*    What is the thing that most often knocks you off the healthy eating wagon, and what inspires you to get back on after falling off?

Like most people, I tend to overindulge during the holidays. Holiday parties, family gatherings and the stress of holiday shopping can really get me off track. I follow a few simple “rules” that help me avoid holiday weight gain but still allow me to indulge in moderation and enjoy all the festivities. I recently wrote a Holiday Survival Guide with my 10 tips for staying healthy during the holiday season. You can read all 10 tips here:

*    How do you fit running in with your travel/work/family schedule?

Fitting exercise into my crazy schedule isn’t always easy.  I found that in order to fit in exercise, I have to work out first thing in the morning. This “rule” is still the best way for me to get in a workout. If I wait until after work, something always comes up.  I’ve also found that I need to be more flexible when it comes to running. Before becoming a parent, I used to beat myself up if I missed a workout. Now, there are times when I only workout 2 or 3 times a week rather than my usual 5 times. I no longer feel guilty about missing a workout; instead, I just make sure those 2 or 3 workouts are really high quality. 

*    What's your favorite running workout/distance and why?

I’ve never been a social runner. I love swimming with a team and I love cycling with large groups, but I’ve always preferred to run on my own. When I’m not training for an event, I simply go out and run a steady and comfortable pace. My favorite distance has always been the half marathon, which is probably why I launched the Women’s Half Marathon series. It’s just long enough to feel like you really accomplished something amazing, but it’s not so long (like the marathon) that your workouts are taking away from your family time.

*    What's your favorite song for running?

My favorite song is always changing but right now I enjoy running to Katy Perry’s "Roar." (*me too!)

*    What is the one piece of running gear that you can't live without? 

I can’t live without my iFitness running belt (now Fitletic). I like to run with my phone, but the pockets in my running shorts or tights never seem to comfortably fit a phone. With my phone and an emergency $20 bill, I’m set for anything!

*    Are there any races in your near future? 

We’re thinking of doing a holiday family run this weekend. It’s just a 1-mile fun run, but I enjoy running with my 4-year-old son and my 6-year-old daughter. My son still needs to learn that he can’t run all out for the first 100 yards. The last fun run we did, I could barely keep up with him (and I’m not exaggerating). He took off like a speeding bullet, but he barely made it to the finish line.  At least he gave it his all! 

OK, she's cool, right?! I love the realistic attitude about feeding kids and fitting in workouts.

So here's the deal, Dawna and her team want to share Healthy You! with you guys too. Two of you will win a copy of her book to jump start your own healthy living in 2014. If you don't win or need it now, you can also purchase your copy on Amazon.

To enter: Leave a comment telling me one of your healthy living goals for 2014.

For bonus entries: These are completely optional! But if you do them, make sure to leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all.
* Like Dawna Stone on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like (or already like) Yo Momma Runs on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow Dawna Stone on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Share this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog. Leave a separate comment for each share!

You have until next Wednesday, January 1st, to enter, so get to commenting and sharing! And if between now and then you are caught in a showdown with a half gallon of ice cream, windmills (like the breakdance kind) and chugging water are good distractions.

I received a free copy of Healthy You! for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I am not receiving compensation for this post. And, side note, all you readers rock!