Stockings, a Healthy and Humbling Holiday Tradition!

Yesterday morning I celebrated the holidays by opening up my stocking, a great custom that turns out to be one of the few healthy traditions I have practiced over the last few days! Yeah, something I should work on, but the “eggnog” and homemade cookies are hard to pass up!

iStock_000021725524XXXLarge-Stocking-Christmas-Fruit-NutsEach year the toe of my stocking is filled with assorted nuts in their shell and a perfectly ripe navel orange. For me, the tradition of nuts and fruit go back to when my grandparent placed these items in my stocking when I was young. And, each year I would question why I received these healthy snacks instead of more candy, with the annual response that these items brought good luck for the new year.

Well, as I pealed my orange yesterday morning, my curiosity forced me to confirm this answer, or find the truth! What I found was a great history of giving, and a humbling path back to the past that will keep me placing fruit and nuts in the stockings of my loved ones.

Giving fruit and nuts goes back to the 1880’s, as stockings became a popular way to give gifts during the holidays (learn why stockings were originally hung with care). During this time, these items where hard to acquire as times were tough, but the new railway systems made it possible to deliver fresh fruit before it spoiled. Thus, an orange and nuts were considered cherished treats! For all but the wealthy, this Christmas gift was the only fresh fruit and nuts children would enjoy all winter and spring.

So, for those of you looking for healthy traditions during the holiday season, here is a practice that will not only provide good nutrition, but a story that will bring your family to appreciate the gifts received during this season. And, if you still need a little extra reason, I will tell you it brings good luck for the new year!

Looking for more healthy holiday traditions? Try these delicious recipes for Sweet Potato Casserole and Cranberry Apple Crisp! Yum!

Committing to Fitness

Our guest blogger, Sabrina, has committed to her kickboxing class, and while do so, she has found a few tricks to make her commitment stick!

9Round Shirt

After completing 50 workouts, my trainer rewarded me with this shirt. On the front it says, “I EARNED THIS SHIRT”—a token of my commitment!

For more than four months, I’ve been wrapping my hands and strapping on my boxing gloves three to four times a week. After each workout, I leave the kickboxing gym dripping with sweat and smiling. For the first time in my life, I’ve committed to a long-term fitness routine I can maintain.

I had tried (and failed) at all kinds of things—going to the gym, workout videos, Zumba classes, yoga classes, running—the list goes on.

Then in May 2014, a kickboxing gym opened near where I work, and I signed up for a year. Not a, “Oh, if I change my mind, I’ll just cancel my membership and pay an early termination fee” kind of year. A year as in, “The money is going out every month and there’s no stopping it, so my butt better go to the gym.”

And for more than four months, I’ve consistently hauled my cookies to that gym. The best part is that after four months, I still love it.

Committing to fitness isn’t easy, but there are some things I learned that made all the difference in sticking to my fitness routine:

  • Make sure it’s convenient. This gym is located between work and home. I go in for my workout before I ever even see my couch. If the gym had opened across town, this might’ve been more challenging.
  • Prepare ahead of time. I pack workout clothes for the week on Sunday night, then take my gym bag to work on the days I plan to work out. I also change into my workout clothes before I leave work, so I’m ready to hit the ground running when I get to the gym.
  • Allow some flexibility. I made a deal with myself that I would kickbox at least three times a week and would not go more than three days without a good sweat session at the gym. This way, I don’t feel like my life revolves around my workouts.
  • Set short-term goals. Long-term goals are great, but they’re easy to lose track of. My short-term goal is the CHOW (challenge of the week). Every time I go in I look at who is in the lead compared to where I’m at and decide if I’m going for the win or going for the personal record. And no matter which one I choose, I’m always choosing to get better.
  • Mix it up. 9Round is set up as a circuit with nine stations (three minutes at each station), and the workout changes every day, so I’m never bored and my body doesn’t get used to the same ol’ routine. For that reason, I’ve been sore ever since I started.
  • Make your workout get tougher with you. After four months, I’d really be stuck in a rut if I couldn’t modify my workout to make it more challenging. When I first started, I would’ve been lucky if I could do more than ten burpees in three minutes. (Have you seen or done a burpee? If not, you should check it out. And for three minutes? Longest three minutes EVER.) When burpees recently came up as the CHOW, I did 29. Next time, I’m breaking past that 30 mark. That’s going to happen.
  • Find (and give) support. I don’t usually like working out around other people, but between other kickboxers and my trainers, I have a fantastic support system. The comradery makes even the most challenging workout a lot of fun. (And laughing is a great workout for your abs—just sayin’.)
  • Have fun! If you pick a workout routine that includes the things listed here but you hate it, forget it. There are too many options to try to commit to something you don’t want to do. There are days when I don’t feel like kickboxing. But by round four I’ve got my gloves on, I’m punching the bag with all I’ve got, and I’m always glad I went—it makes me feel strong, powerful, and confident. That’s what keeps me going back.

No matter what kind of workout routine you choose, if you’re able to commit to it, you’re going to wonder how you ever got along without it.

Hey Boise, It’s Time to Take Back Your Lunch!

TBYL Graphic_BlogRemember how great it was to be a kid? You didn’t have the responsibilities of an adult, you could eat whatever you wanted, and you got a lunchtime recess! Well, we can’t take away the responsibilities and we don’t recommend reverting to your childhood diet, but we can help with the lunchtime recess!

PacificSource Health Plans, 94.9 The River, and Boise Parks and Rec have joined together to present Take Back Your Lunch! Every Wednesday (starting today) in April and May, we’re encouraging people to ditch their desk and take back your lunch hour at Capitol Park from noon until 1:00 pm.

Take Back Your Lunch ConceptWe’ve all worked through our lunch hour, and while you might feel like you’re the employee of the year, it’s actually really unhealthy to sit at your desk for long periods of time. And, studies have shown that a mid-day workout can boost productivity, energy, and creativity. So we’re asking anyone in the downtown area to join us for lunch, take a walk through Capitol Park with Misty from 94.9 The River, and enjoy some healthy snacks and water. We’re sure that the people who join us will go back to work with a little less stress and a lot more energy!

We’re challenging YOU to channel your inner child and Take Back Your Lunch. Your lunch hour is yours, so make sure to enjoy it!