Rise & Shine Challenge, Week 3

Shake off those winter blues and welcome spring with this fun, invigorating challenge!


Let’s face it: The Hollywood version of gently stretching awake in a sunny room is a myth for most of us. We grunt into semi-consciousness, smack the snooze button and once again wrestle enough bedcovers away from the snoring spouse in order to get another seven minutes of desperate shuteye.

But it is possible to make some small tweaks to your morning routine that will return maximum benefits. Just think of the sense of achievement you’ll get from checking off so many of your health to-dos before other people have even started their day!

This mix-and-match challenge will give you the tools you need for starting your day in a positive, powerful way. We will give you some exercise routines to choose from — a mix of cardio, strength/toning and stretching/relaxation — as well as some delicious yet easy breakfasts to charge your batteries for the day, and some motivation to get you kick-started. Pick at least one workout of each type, for a minimum of three morning workouts per week, and schedule in a healthy breakfast every day. That’s all there is to it!

Before you begin, print out our weekly worksheet. On it, you will be able to schedule your workouts and breakfasts, and get your daily dose of motivation. Put it where you’ll see it first thing — even tape it to your alarm clock so you’ll have to reach under it to turn the buzzer off! (Just no hitting the snooze button.) Also, head over to the Community to participate in this Challenge there; you'll be able to compare notes with other participants and up the ante when it comes to accountability!

Get Your Oats On
Eating a breakfast high in fiber can help you feel full and help lower your cholesterol. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, along with other whole grains; read more about the ton of health benefits you get from these grains in our Science Center's Whole Grains article.

However, not all oats are the same. Those packets of instant oatmeal are handy and tasty, yet they are not always a great source of fiber and they are often loaded with added sugar. Check the labels, or just listen to your hunger signals. If you're hungry a short while after eating, either switch out your breakfast, or add extra fiber and/or protein with some fruit and nuts, or a spoonful of peanut butter. Irish oats are a whole different ballgame from a taste perspective: thick and nutty, and truly satisfying to eat. They're not as tricky to make as some believe, and you can even do them in the slow cooker with some fruit and spices (try apple, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg).

High-powered Oatmeal Boosts
  • 1. Add dried fruit — the heat of the oatmeal will soften raisins, dried cranberries, strawberries or cherries, etc. deliciously.
  • 2. Sweeten with a small spoonful of your favorite jelly, jam or preserve.
  • 3. Loosen thick oatmeal with a little skim milk, non-dairy milk substitute or thick, creamy Greek yogurt.
  • 4. Add crunch with a sprinkle of low-fat granola or some nuts.

Buddy Up
You know the old saying, "Two heads are better than one?" Well, that holds true for weight loss, too. Buddying up as you continue with the Rise & Shine challenge will be especially rewarding around the three-week mark, as you may find that excuses for turning the alarm clock off are becoming easier to find. If you’re promised to meet a friend, or you’ve roped your other half in, however, you suddenly have someone else to be accountable to.

In order to benefit from having a weight-loss buddy, however, you need to pick the right person. Partnerships work best when the following hold true:

1. You have similar behavior goals. Your buddy system will work best if your goal matches your potential partner's goals.

2. You have a similar commitment to eating right and exercising. If you are very serious about losing weight and your partner is wishy-washy, the partnership won't work.

3. Your schedules mesh. You can't jog together easily if your partner has to start work more than about 45 minutes earlier or later than you.

4. You agree to reinforce positive behavior and offer each other lots of praise. It’s great to develop healthy new behaviors, but if it’s not reinforced, it’s less likely to stick.

5. You exercise at similar intensities An effective partner not only shares your activity, but also does it at the same intensity as you. If you walk fast and your buddy dawdles, someone will have to change speeds.

If you can't find the perfect buddy in your circle of friends and acquaintances, look in your community. Post a buddy-wanted note at work, church, social organizations or the local parks and recreations department. Once you’ve found that important person, you'll both be on the road to weight loss in no time.

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