Monthly Archives: December 2013

Elf for Health Recap!

I have to start this off with a bit of a confession. Last year I was a bit intimidated when I was looking into the Elf4Health challenge. I was a little worried that I would be the only one in the group who was still on my journey to health and wellness. Well, turns out I had NOTHING to be worried about. I entered the challenge and was introduced to some of the most amazing people EVER! It was silly for me to think that no one else had different goals for getting healthy! I am so thankful that I took the step to be part of the challenge, and to open my eyes to how we are ALL on our own journey, and there really isn’t an end, just reaching one goal after the other!

So here is my recap from the Elf4Health challenge part 1.

I would first like to thank Lindsay from Lean Green Bean, and Elle from Nutrition Ella for all the HARD work they did last year and this year! They worked so hard to get up all the challenges, get amazing sponsors, match all us elves up, and I am sure other work that I have no clue about! All that whole keeping up with their very busy lives.


My first wonderful Elf was Danielle over at Green is the New Black! She was so fun to get to know, and she was very supportive each day! I would suggest that you check out her blog and send some love!

Week 1:

Day 1: Meatless Monday- I am not a huge fan of meat, and normally only eat chicken, turkey and fish. This challenge got me to pull out some of my creative juices and make all my meals and snacks with out meat! It ended up being a lot of fun 🙂
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Day 2: Unsubscribe- With my husband dealing with some health issues and being in the hospital, my email had gotten out of control! Through a few suggestions from other elves, I tried a program called ‘Unroll Me.’ It helped me to get rid of many of the subscriptions from a few of my email accounts! It also gets all the subscriptions that I want to keep into one nice email every day!

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Day 3: New Workout- Today was a busy day with 10 hours of work, and then my husband was FINALLY released from the hospital. So my workout of the day was helping get my husband out of the hospital and settled in. Then helping him on and off all night long.

Day 4: Make a phone call- On Thanksgiving day I tried to call several friends and family members. Due to the holiday no one answered their phones, so I made more calls over the next few days and I was able to reach a few people and had some delightful conversations. It was especially nice to chat with people and NOT be in the hospital.

Day 5: Track Water- This is usually not something super challenging for me. I pretty much only drink water and tea. However, in the winter I tend to need a little more reminding since it is not super hot and if I forget my cup I really need more of a reminder. Keeping track with an app really does help me! So on this day I managed to get in 20 cups! Yay 🙂

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Day 6: Treat yourself- This is often hard for me to do. I will occasionally get a pedicure once in a while. This weekend I wasn’t able to get out, so I took a chance to relax with a hot bath and a yummy cup of chocolate chai.


Day 7: 100 Burpees- I was REALLY nervous about doing these burpees. Before this challenge, I had only done burpees 2 times, and only 10 each time. So yeah, 100 seemed REALLY intimidating…I decided to break them into sets of 20! My husband was my cheerleader, and kept telling me these looked really hard! Oh yes, they were hard, but I did it!!


Week 2

Day 1: Hand-Written note- This was a fun challenge for me. I took some time to work on my homemade holiday cards, and also some wedding and thank-you cards!


Day 2: Eat the Rainbow- Love me some color! I make an effort each day to get color into my meals, and I love when I can also create healthy and colorful meals for the twins I nanny! I think we did pretty well 🙂


Day 3: Make-up Free- I am pretty much make-up free every day. I only wear it a few times a month, and even then it is really minimal.


Day 4: Workout buddy- My workout buddies today were the twins I nanny for and also my body pump/combat classes. It is great to always have others to workout with 🙂


Day 5: Operation Beautiful- I was so inspired by all the amazing ways the other elves spread the love with this challenge. I had a lot of fun making up some notecards and post-it notes with messages of love and beauty! I had a wedding that evening and managed to place a few of my notes around the bathroom of the wedding and reception sites! I felt a little bit like a secret agent.

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Day 6: Fridge and Pantry Clean Out- The fridge was so full from Thanksgiving and for so many people bringing us food while the hubs was in the hospital. It felt great to finally get it cleaned out and ready for some new heathy food!


Day 7: Gratitude List – I have started a jar with the hubs and we have written down all the things we are thankful for. When things are tough we can pull out the notes to remind us of all the wonderful reasons we are thankful!

For the second 2 weeks of the Elf4Health I was paired up with Lauren! Right away I knew she would be a great source of encouragement and inspiration!! I am so glad I was right about that!

Week 3

Day 1: Circuit Workout- I am not always super great at circuit workouts, but some amazing elves put together so many fun workouts, and I will for sure be using them in times when I am traveling or not able to make it to the gym. I ended up doing my body combat class and it is the closest workout I do to a circuit. Hi-ya!

Day 2: Pay it Forward- I LOVE being able to do this! I wanted to do something a little different this time and an opportunity presented itself right on time. My pay it forward was paying for a friend’s race registration. It felt SO great to help someone in a way that they would really appreciate! She even wrote me a super sweet note that made me cry a little.

Day 3: Healthy Snack – I pretty much always have someone to share my snack with every day. The twins LOVE to eat anything that I (or their parents) are eating. So it was no exception that we shared my snack this day!

Day 4: You-time – Lately this has been REALLY challenging for me with all that has been going on with my husbands health, but I managed to take a little nap while the twins took a nap!

Day 5: Fastest Mile – I tried an experiment with my running. Well more like walk/jogging. I do most of my running pushing 2 yr old twins. So I did 2.5 miles with the twins to see what my fastest mile was pushing them, and then during their nap I did 2 more miles. The outdoor run was pretty slow at with 15:25 being my fastest mile. When I was inside I managed a 11:05 mile! I was pretty happy with that. I need to now get myself outside with no babies to push to see where I am for training purposes.

(I even won the challenge this day which I was SO not expecting at all! Thank you Elle and Lindsay!)


Day 6: Closet Clean-out – A few weeks ago I went through my closet and cleaned a lot of it out. For this challenge I went though my dresser and I also worked on my office that was a huge disaster.

Day 7: Plan Your Meals – I usually plan my meals out each week and then get the needed supplies at the store. Lately it has been so crazy with all the hospital stuff that I have gotten off track. I used my plain old note app on my phone to make up a list. Goes to show that no matter how simple or complex the application is, simply planning the meals is the way to go!

Week 4

Day 1: Meditate – This has been a real challenge for me lately. Well this year really. It has been so up and down with SO many different friends, family members and my husband, for all different reasons. So to make myself sit and actually pause and NOT think about all that is going on, even for 5 minutes is a miracle!

Day 2: Wall Sit – This is an exercise that I have not done for a long time! I was determined to try and and to make it for more than a minute! I did it 2 times. Once before I went on a run then again after a 4 mile run. I did it longer after the run. Maybe cause my legs were warmed up and not as sore yet. One of the elves posted how she practices while she brushes her teeth! I have also started doing this and I have already seen an improvement with my times 🙂

Day 3: Share Your Expertise – Today we had the chance to host a guest blogger and also be a guest blogger on our guest’s blog! It was really fun to be a part of this challenge, and to see all the different types of expertise that is out there with all the elves! If you want to see my post about DYI holiday cards, you can check it out here 🙂 If you scroll down to the last post, you can see the expertise that Debbie shared!


Day 4: 3 Food Groups – This was fun to add more food groups to each meal. As I did this challenge I realized I am already pretty solid about eating a variety of food groups throughout each meal each day! I even had the twins participate with this challenge.

Day 5: Self-Love X 6

6 Things I love about myself

  1. My eyes
  2. My Smile
  3. My muscles
  4. My giving heart
  5. My compassion
  6. My creativity

Day 6: New Fitness Goal – For 2014, I have several fitness goals in mind, but my BIG ons is that I am going to run 33 races for my 33rd year of life! I was totally inspired by my elf Lauren. She did 30 races for her 30th birthday this year! I am really excited about it, and I can’t wait for some of the really neat races coming up!

Day 7: Make a Donation – There are always SO many amazing organizations and groups to donate to. You can donate time, resources, money, your knowledge, etc. Since I was so inspired by my elf’s reason to race, and that she was raising money for the United Way for the Boston relief.
If you are still looking for a last minute place to make a donation for 2013, please consider helping Lauren to reach her goal!!!

Than you and I hope you enjoyed this recap of Elf4Health! I can not wait for next year 🙂

Welcome Debbie the RD with a guest post!!

Today, I am really excited to be guest posting on Chocolate Runner Girl! I “met” Esther through the fun holiday challenge called Elf for Health. The challenge of the day was to “share your expertise” hence the reason I am here! I am a Registered Dietitian and share my tips and recipes on my blog Dietitian Debbie Dishes. In this post, I thought I would share 8 of my favorite “superfoods”. Adding any or all of these foods to your diet regularly can provide a ton of health benefits.

  1. Pomegranate Seeds: Pomegranates are in season at the moment and are absolutely delicious. I usually add these sweet/tart seeds to salads or yogurt. They are low in calories and high in fiber, Vitamin C, and cancer fighting antioxidants.
  2. Full Fat Plain Yogurt: Yogurt is definitely one of my favorite foods since it has so much calcium and probiotics (for gut health). I choose full fat plain yogurt and add my own fruit/toppings because flavored or low fat yogurts can be loaded with sugar. The combination of protein and fat in the yogurt makes it perfect for satiating your hunger and keeping you full for hours.
  3. Oatmeal: If you read my blog, you’ll notice that I often speak well of oats! They are cheap, filling, and can be easily flavored so they are never boring. (Check out my favorite healthy oat toppings!) Regular consumption of oats, which are full of soluble fiber, has been shown to have heart health benefits.
  4. Kale: Kale is definitely in the spotlight at the moment. This versatile green is loaded with Vitamin A and C, potassium and fiber. It is also chock full of cancer fighting antioxidants such as glucobrassinin. Kale is one of my favorite additions to homemade stir fry.
  5. Quinoa: Quinoa is a healthy alternative to wheat or corn as it is higher in protein and has additional anti-inflammatory phytonutrients such as quercetin. It cooks quickly in just a bit of water or broth. I use it as a base for salads and have added it to chili – which is delicious! (Check out my vegetarian quinoa chili recipe!)
  6. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are often on my plate throughout the week since they are so easy to pop into the microwave and roast. Since I try not to eat a lot of carbs in the form of pasta, rice, or bread, sweet potatoes make for a healthy, whole-food alternative. They are full of Vitamin A, potassium and fiber.
  7. Walnuts: Walnuts are a staple breakfast topping in my diet since they are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acid. Omega 3’s have powerful heart health benefits so I try to incorporate foods which are a good source of this fat throughout the week.
  8. Beans: These little guys are often overlooked, but they are honestly nutrition powerhouses. Beans are a great source of heart healthy fiber. They are also a great carbohydrate choice for diabetics since they have such a slow, steady effect on blood sugar after consumption. (Rather than causing a harmful spike in blood sugar!) They are also a super budget friendly source of vegetarian protein. I usually make a big pot of dried beans on the weekend to incorporate in salads, tacos, or chili throughout the week. Image

Hope you found this list helpful and feel a little more excited to incorporate some of these “superfoods” into your diet. If you are interested, please feel free to stop by my blog for more healthy tips and recipes! You can also follow me on Twitter (@DebbietheRD) or Facebook!

True beauty!!

(Side note…I am a little behind with my posts due to my husband having heart surgery and being in the hospital for a few weeks, and then my computer broke! Ahh.  Be back to normal soon!)

Today the challenge for Elf4Health was to be make-up free! It really got me thinking…
I don’t really ever wear make-up to work. Mornings are not my favorite and since I am with little ones all day, it doesn’t make sense to me to even bother putting any on. Yoga pants and sweatshirts are what I usually wear too. I am all about being comfy!
As I scrolled through the pictures that were popping up on Facebook, twitter and instagram, my heart was happy with all the beautiful faces that I was seeing! Some, like me, don’t wear much make-up, and then there were others who found it more challenging to go make-up free. Whatever the case, I could tell that each and every person was beautiful!
Over the last few years I have really learned more about what beauty really means to me. As a result of some painful events early on in life, I struggled with terrible self-esteem issues, and even a horrible eating disorder for most of my life (20 of my 32 years). I am really thankful that I have been able to heal from those events, and learn to see myself, and others differently! I have been blessed to learn the valuable lesson that beauty is more than just what someone looks like! Yes, I feel all my friends are beautiful, but it goes deeper than the smile on their faces. It comes from the heart, the depth of friendship, and how people sacrificed so much to contribute to my life in big and small ways! My life has turned from shattered darkness into a beautiful light!
If you look in the mirror and might not like what you see, please remember that you are indeed beautiful!! You are worth SO much more than being a certain size or looking a certain way! You are a stunning masterpiece who was made to shine!!!
No matter what I am wearing, or if I have makeup on or not…I am ALWAYS beautiful! I am very thankful for all those in my life who remind me of that often!!

(I know I am missing MANY people, but this is what I had to work with today….Know that if you are in my life you are very important to me, and I am so blessed by you!)

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