Monday, September 12, 2016

Simply Fit Challenge #2


It's time for Simply Fit Challenge #2!

First off, how did you do with #1? Is drinking water becoming more of a habit now? I hope so! Don't stop! Increasing Water Vs. Decreasing Sugar should now be your constant goal.

Slowly we're adding to our challenges.

Step #2: Increase Clean Foods Vs. Decrease Processed Foods

Does this sound scary, impossible, and even expensive? Don't click away yet. Give me a chance!

Our grocery stores are filled with processed and chemically modified foods. Stuff our bodies do NOT handle well.

What if you tried, for the next 2 weeks, to put aside those boxed and frozen dinners and tried to eat as clean as possible. Try centering your meals around whole foods and cook your own food.

My tip? Shop the outer perimeter of the store. What do you find on the outer edges of the store? Fruits. Vegetables. Meats. Give it a try!

I'm not going to leave you flailing for how to get started. My life is filled to the minute with life, especially doctor and therapy appointments for my youngest. Quick easy meals are a MUST for me.

So here are 3 Get Started options I've got for you...
  • I've created a Pinterest Board full of easy whole food ideas. 
  • Download this meal plan that I've used many times. It can give you a glance at ideas and how we eat when we're following a plan.
  • I have TWO full month meal plans that a coach in our online accountability group put together. It's an amazing plan that includes every part of your day, what to eat, and delicious recipes. They're not easily downloadable but use the "Contact" form to the right of this post and drop me a note that says "I want the full meal plans" and I'll email them to you. They're absolutely FREE!
Remember - this is a gradual increase and decrease challenge. Make little changes in the right direction each day. You have 2 weeks before our next step!

Don't forget our previous goals...

 - Make a schedule for when you'll make time for exercise. Start with just 4-5 days a week. Schedule it and make it happen!

- Find an accountability partner to join you on these little challenges. Daily exercising with my hubby and keeping track of my workouts in an accountability fitness group online has been critical for me.

Step 1: Increasing Water Vs. Decreasing Sugar

Need some ideas on how to make time for your workouts? Read my ideas HERE.

For some Beginner Fitness Tips read THIS.


What is the Simply Fit Challenge?

Every two weeks we'll introduce a new goal to work on. Each challenge will focus on a different area to INCREASE and DECREASE.  Follow along and hopefully by the time the New Year comes around you'll already be way ahead of everyone else who is trying to just begin to set their weight loss resolution goals.

Need help choosing a workout program that's right for you? Fill out the Contact Form in the right sidebar and I'd be happy to help.

Make sure you follow the Jess Newland Fitness Facebook page and my Instagram for videos & ideas throughout the challenges.




Monday, August 29, 2016

Simply Fit Challenge #1


Are you ready?! It's time for Simply Fit Challenge #1!

Every Simply Fit Challenge has a theme. Increase something, and at the same time decrease something. It might relate to food, it might relate to exercise. We hope all these challenges give you a little "jump start."

Is each little goal all you will do towards healthy living? I hope not! Keep exercising. Keep trying to eat right. If you're not already doing something, get off the couch and pop in a workout DVD or go on a walk!

Step #1: Increasing Water Vs. Decreasing Sugar

For the next 2 weeks we challenge you to simply work on increasing water and decreasing sugar.

Headed to grab a Coke? Fill your water bottle instead. 
Wanting to open the Oreo cook package in the pantry? Drink a tall glass of water.
Got the afternoon munchies and wanting a sugary treat? Fill your water bottle and walk out of the kitchen!
Heading to Starbucks and wanting a latte? Order a tall Americano and ask for ice water as well!

See a theme here?

Trust me - I'm needing this challenge just as much as you are. We ALL need to drink more water and walk away from all the sugary drinks and food. I'm a sucker for those afternoon munchies. But for the next 2 weeks I'll be here working on my water drinking habit.

How much water should you drink? Drink off and on all day, and your best indicator is if your pee is clear.

Will this come easy at first? Probably not. Take baby steps. Work on a gradual increase vs. decrease goal. You'd got 2 weeks to get there. :)



Will you join me in the challenge? 

We have a Facebook Group for accountability. Join HERE!

Post your water drinking pics on Twitter & Instagram and add #simplyfitchallenge to your post so we all can find you. Let's cheer each other on!

Don't forget what else you should already be doing...

1. Make a schedule for the next 2 weeks of when you'll make time for exercise. Start with just 4-5 days a week. Schedule it and make it happen! Deal? 

2. Spread the word and find an accountability partner to join you on these little challenges. Daily exercising with my hubby and keeping track of my workouts in an accountability fitness group online has been critical for me.

Need some ideas on how to make time for your workouts? Read my ideas HERE.

For some Beginner Fitness Tips read THIS.


What is the Simply Fit Challenge?

Every two weeks we'll introduce a new goal to work on. Each challenge will focus on a different area to INCREASE and DECREASE.  Follow along and hopefully by the time the New Year comes around you'll already be way ahead of everyone else who is trying to just begin to set their weight loss resolution goals.

Need help choosing a workout program that's right for you? Fill out the Contact Form in the right sidebar and I'd be happy to help.




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fit Challenges for Real People

We just finished out workout for tonight. Technically it was our day for T25 Cardio, but I smashed my pinky toe this morning on a door and the nail split all the way down. Blood. Pain. Yep! 

No way was I putting a shoe on my right foot tonight so we lifted weights again today. I'm not complaining about the workout - I love the weight lifting! My competitive nature comes out and I push hard because I want to one day out-lift my husband. Will that happen? Doubt it! But at least it pushes me harder!



Peter and I have been coming up with 2 week mini-challenges for you - and us! 

Do you ever feel lost when it comes to making healthy and fit choices? 

Do you see your Facebook feed flooded with skinny and muscular bodies? 

I may have been working out consistently for 2+ years and I can guarantee I don't look like those toned models. 


We've created these challenges for the normal people like you and I. 

Ready to take some baby steps, learn a bit, and make make some new habits? 

Our first challenge post is already scheduled and will go live right here on the blog next Tuesday. 

Come back and join us for the Simply Fit Challenge #1 - August 29!



All you'll need to do is follow along here on my site for each bi-weekly challenge. Make sure you follow the Jess Newland Fitness Facebook page and my Instagram for videos & ideas throughout the challenges.

But until we start August 29, you're not off the hook! 

I have a couple mini challenges for you to get started on now...



1. Make a schedule for when you'll make time for exercise. Start with just 4-5 days a week. Schedule it and make it happen! Deal? 

2. Spread the word and find an accountability partner to join you on these little challenges. Daily exercising with my hubby and keeping track of my workouts in an accountability fitness group online has been critical for me.

Follow our family's stories in our daily vlogs on YouTube HERE!
Monday, August 22, 2016

Family Nights

“Can we have a family night?” 

I hear it ALL the time. One thing our kiddos love are family nights. Typically what they mean when they ask for a family night is “Can we stay up late and watch a movie?” 




There’s not much I love more than evenings in the family room on the couch watching a cartoon with my kids. Piles of pillows, blankets, popcorn, a cartoon, and my family of 6 making memories that will last a lifetime. (Of course a certain 8 and 12 year old love to take advantage of family nights as an excuse to stay up late and watch a movie any day of the week. They aren’t always granted their wish!)

Filling the dining room table with board games and late night trips to the ice cream parlor or coffee shop also top my favorite “family night” memories to make.

I’m sure you too have those favorite moments with your family, enjoying these kiddos while they’re young. As a mom of a now junior in high school I believe it more than ever - these years go WAY. TOO. FAST.

Need a new family game? Here’s some of our favorites! 
(Click on the images below to check them out!)





Our growing children remind me to truly savor every moment and take time to stop. To stop sitting at the computer, turn the phone off, internet distractions, and just BE

Disconnecting is SO hard in the cyber world we live in. We have so much constantly available at the click of a button on a screen. 

It’s hard for me to shut down. I struggle to sit and watch a movie without thinking I need to check my phone. I fail at this again and again. But when I do turn it all off, I’m so grateful I made the choice to unplug, look in my children’s eyes, and see and hear them with nothing else to grab my attention.

So turn it off. Make those family nights happen!

And I’m happy to have you help me be accountable to shut down the screens. Every day. Every week. To just stop it all and make time to just BE - our family of 6 who sees and hears each other.

Each Monday I participate in the #SimplyBloggers Blog Hop! This week we are talking family nights. Check out more fun ideas...

Allie is sharing a Scavenger Hunt idea!

Heather is sharing 5 Naturally Fun Family Activities

Melissa is sharing Top 10 Family Fun Night Ideas

-Jessica


Follow our family's stories in our daily vlogs on YouTube HERE!

Jessica Newland is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Special Needs Daddy's Perspective / Patience & Time




As I began to formulate what I wanted to write about in this post, I asked myself “What virtues do special needs parents require in order to do what they do?”

It wasn’t difficult for me to come up with a long list. And as I ask this question, I’m sure that it would not take long for anyone who reads this to do the same thing - even with a little exasperation and a little mental thought of “You have no idea!”

There are 2 virtues that hung out in the front of my mind as I thought through the 5 years that we’ve had with Zachary so far. Patience and Time

Whether it was waiting nearly 3 years for a diagnosis, or our daily watching Zachary walk with his walker and wanting to yell “Dude, just let go and walk!” we have needed so much patience and time over the years.

The hard part for me about writing this is knowing that the amount of patience and time required of me is really nothing compared to what is required of my beautiful and awesome wife. And I know that our story pales in comparison to the many out there who are in far more difficult situations than us. (Serious high-fives to all of you!)

If you were to hang out in our house for a few hours here are some of the things you might hear. 

“Zach stop slamming doors!” 
“Zachary stop staring at the sun!” 
“It’s too quiet in here…Zachary where are you?!”
“Zach did you just poop again?”
“He’s throwing up again!”

I really can’t get mad at him - he’s just too cute!

Most weeks Zachary has at least one doctor appointment, if not multiple, in addition to his several therapy appointments a week. With these appointments come tests and test results. I think to a certain degree everyone knows how difficult it can be waiting for test results, especially when they can be life changing. So much patience is required while you sit by the phone waiting for the call with results. 

What we’ve learned is if they say 2 days, we try to lower our expectation automatically to a couple of weeks - keeping our anticipation down and irritation level at a minimum!

Lowering our expectations help with patience in many areas - such as trying to communicate with our mostly non-verbal child, waiting for him to learn to walk, the battles trying to get him to eat, the nightly time-consuming bed-time procedures, repetitiveness in playtime, and on and on. 

This doesn’t mean that we lower our expectation of him and how we push him to be better. It will always be our goal to improve communication and see him walk, it just takes a LOT of time!

On that note, that brings me to the other area I want to talk about, which is time. The amount of time that is required to take care of a special needs child is astronomical. For my wife and I it doesn’t seem to matter how much time we put in, it feels like we’ve not done enough. 

The natural reaction is to keep putting in more time with the hope we will improve his life. But somehow the only thing that happens is we seem to get more frazzled and our patience wears thin. There comes a point that the amount of time we put into our child begins to take away from other areas of our life that deserve our time. 

Here are some things that are hugely important when it comes to our time - areas that we’ve come to learn and can’t ignore.
1. Eating Properly: One of the first things that goes when time is lacking is eating properly. Not just eating, but getting the proper nutrition that our body requires. This not only helps us feel better, but adds energy to our life to accomplish the things that need to get done.
2. Sleep: This may simply mean breaking routine and getting extra sleep on nights we know we can, so we can be better prepared for those nights when we won’t get much sleep.

3. Quality time with the other kids: Kids have the incredible ability to adapt to any situation they are in, which makes it all the more important to set aside time where each of our kids can have our total focus.
4. Get-away time: Two things that have worked wonders for us are once a week date nights where we can focus on each other and relax, and once a year getaways to get a few extra nights of sleep and recharge.

We have found that when we intentionally try to maintain these areas of time not only does it improve our quality of life but it improves our patience with each other, with the kids, and with Zachary.

I do want to make it clear that we in no way think that we have it all together or that we can coast through life. We very much recognize that our journey with Zachary will always be an up-hill battle.

As I watch the Olympians, I see athletes dedicating their lives to their sport all for the chance at a medal, proving to the world that they are the best. For us, I see no medals or interviews about being the best in the world. Just a cute little boy who needs a lot of attention. 

As I take a step back, I smile. I hear on the TV about all the time and energy the athletes spend for those little medals. But those medals are really just going to sit around and collect dust and they will definitely never smile back! 

Our ultimate goals is to not be great in the world’s eyes but in the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who give us this promise...

“Whoever does it unto the least of these does it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40

-Peter
Monday, August 15, 2016

Simply Fit Challenges

What do you think of when you hear people talk about fitness?

Fear?
Annoyance?
Doubt?
Stress?
No time?

I'm going to say something I never thought I'd ever say...

I have grown to love working out!

More so - my husband has been working out daily with me for 2 years. That's almost more mind blowing!

We were lazy. We were tired. We were, well, lets call it "fluffy." We were fluffy and we didn't know it!

After 2 1/2 years we are still going strong with our workouts and I get asked a lot how I find time. You can read my recent post about 5 Beginner Fitness Tips where I touch on some of this.

Truly it's all been about:

1. Making the time

2. Setting a goal to complete an entire program

3. Staying accountable with someone else

4. Not letting the kiddos keep us from exercise

Making the time includes setting a schedule and sticking to it. For us that's every evening after dinner. For you it may be first thing in the morning or on your lunch break. Write it down on your calendar and MAKE IT HAPPEN each day!

Setting a goal to complete an entire program is fulfilling and gives you a chance to really record and notice your progress. Our first program was Slim in 6 and we did it! We finished a full 6 weeks. We took before and after pictures and saw a massive difference. Our next program was P90X3 and we did that one too. We completed the full 90 day program and again saw results. I love programs that include a schedule, and have a big variety of workouts to keep me from getting bored. Whatever you choose, set a goal and complete it! Maybe choose a fun reward for yourself for when you make it to the end!

Staying accountable with a friend has also been critical. Whether it's a spouse, friend, or an online accountability fitness group, joining forces with someone else who is also trying to reach similar goals can keep you pressing play on that workout even when you'd much rather sit down with the remote and veg out.

Not letting the kiddos keep us from exercise can be a challenge. Kids can sure be the first reason I try to say no to exercise. Whether I'm completely exhausted because I was up with the baby all night or he's trying to crawl under my legs while I'm trying to do active cardio workouts, I've found I can always instead come up with a way to keep him entertained.

Here's some ideas...

If the kids are older, have them join in! Our elementary and middle school aged kids LOVE when we ask them to workout with us. On school nights the 30 - 45 minutes for a workout is a perfect time for them to take a shower and get pjs on or even sit nearby on the couch and finish up homework. I've definitely helped my kids study for spelling tests while exercising!

If your kids are babies, pop them in the baby swing or set them in a play pen in the room with some distracting toys. I've had countless yoga or pilates days where Zachary is crawling under or over me. But you know what? It's okay! He's usually giggling at his clumsy mama and it's fun to have the whole family in on the action.



INTRODUCING THE SIMPLY FIT CHALLENGE


Do you ever feel like you don't know where to start? My husband and I have been coming up with little, attainable challenges to spur you on. To spur us on too! (I really need the nutrition challenges to keep me eating right!)

We're calling them Simply Fit Challenges. Every two weeks we'll introduce a new goal to work on. Each challenge will focus on a different area to INCREASE and DECREASE.  Follow along and hopefully by the time the New Year comes around you'll already be way ahead of everyone else who is trying to just begin to set their weight loss resolution goals.

The first Simply Fit Challenge will begin August 29! All you'll need to do is follow along here on my site for the next challenge. Make sure you follow the Jess Newland Fitness Facebook page and my Instagram for videos & ideas throughout the challenges.

But until we start August 29, you're not off the hook! I have 3 mini challenges for you today...

1. Make a schedule for the next 2 weeks of when you'll make time for exercise. Start with just 4-5 days a week. Schedule it and make it happen! Deal? 

2. Spread the word and find an accountability partner to join you on these little challenges. Daily exercising with my hubby and keeping track of my workouts in an accountability fitness group online has been critical for me.

3. Read the posts below from my friends. I have found an incredible group of online blogging friends who push me to be better. They are all sharing today about how they make fitness fit into their busy lives as well. I'd love you to pop in. Leave them a friendly comment and tell them I sent you! :)

Heather from The Crunchy Trail

Allie from Simply St. Augustine

Melissa from Blessed Simplicity



Friday, August 5, 2016

Favorites Friday

I find it funny that right before I sit down for my scheduled time in the early morning hours to write this post about my favorites from the week that I hear Zachary beginning to throw up in his bed. Ironic? Favorite moment? I'm not so sure!

My head had been spinning since late last night about this post. How I planned to highlight some of the great and beautiful moments of the week amidst the difficult moments. I guess today was just meant to start off difficult - and give more reason to look to the positives and how I find God amidst it all!

The Lows:

There were many tough moments this week in therapy. Zachary has easy weeks and hard weeks - all depending on his mood. There were lots of tears and screams and attitude in our daily sessions.

Eating is still a major battle. The screams start the moment I walk towards the high chair and he refuses to let me put him in. Getting him to eat is like trying to serve him everything on a restaurant menu and hoping one item he'll open his mouth for and take a bite.

One thing I've learned raising Zachary is that I have to be okay with changing my parenting methods. I would NEVER had allowed my other children to act this way. But when you're child cannot express himself with words at all and on top of that in many areas has the comprehension of a 1 year old, my previous parenting techniques have been thrown out the window. Many days I'm aching to know how to parent this kid!

We're professional puke cleaners again. Yep - we had a couple weeks of vomit-free bliss but I'm once again on puke alert. It's like my ears are trained to hear the beginning sounds of gagging from a mile away and I can jump out of my chair faster than an Olympic runner when he starts throwing up.

The Highs:

Thursday's Speech Therapy in clinic was so much fun and filled with smiles, cooperation, and pretend play! There will be footage up later on our Vlog of Zachary with his therapist. I love this pic of "Z" putting a hamburger in the microwave!


Honestly, I didn't smile as much at the sounds he was making but the genuine "pretend play" she got out of him. Zachary's play time is typically filled with light up baby toys. He'll push the buttons over and over again and press his eyes up against the bright lights. If he's not staring at the lights, he's lying on the floor flapping his arms like he's dancing to the music. Getting him to play let alone pretend to eat from a toy spoon is something I don't expect him to do anytime soon. But yesterday? His AMAZING therapist Kari got it out of him. It was a beautiful moment - a gift from God. And you can be sure I was immediately thinking where I can get cheap toy play dishes to try to encourage this at home!

THANK YOU JESUS for the encouraging moments! While there are many lows during the weeks with Zachary, there are beautiful moments that erase the gloom that may find it's way into my heart.

I find favorite moments in remembering the evenings this week lying on the floor and letting him climb and jump all over me.  We had nightly bath playtime and he learned to pour the water out from a cup! And then the moment last night he fell asleep quickly and easily at bedtime. I'm grateful.  SO very grateful.

Each week has it's moments of joy and heartache. Remembering these moments each Friday is life giving!

But enough of Zachary - ha! Let's have some fun with some of my favorite things this week online.



I am SO excited for the upcoming release of this new book from a website I love, Frugal Fun 4 Boys & Girls. You can head over to Amazon and pre-order it now. I see hours of fun in our future and no need to rush out and buy new lego sets! If only we didn't have to wait until October to get a copy!



Do you listen to podcasts? I love to listen while folding laundry, driving in the car, etc. One of my favorites is Mom Struggling Well. I met Emily Thomas in Dallas at a conference a few years ago. She's super fun, keeps me laughing, and her podcasts speak straight to my heart. Check it out!  You'll thank me later.






I very much dislike cardio. The jumping, jogging, sweating...I'd much rather break a sweat lifting heavy weights. But my body reallllly needs cardio. So Peter and I have been alternating our workouts between Body Beast (yay muscle work) and T25. (I'm sweating thinking about it!) Guys - I feel SO good and accomplished after that 25 minute cardio session. So T25 makes my favorites list this week. Need a good cardio workout? This is where it's at. And I'm SO grateful I get a major workout done in less than 30 minutes! 

If you want to try T25 for FREE for a month, consider Beachbody On Demand. We stream all our workouts to our TV from our Amazon Firestick so we're never popping in a DVD. And there's TONS of workouts on the On Demand app.
My final favorite has to be our new hobby of "VLOGGING." This new journey started as an idea and dream we had been mulling over for months. It's something we talked about doing but never took the plunge. I'm so glad we decided to quit talking about it and just give it a try. We're still learning - but it's been so much fun to document our days. Not only will we have hours of family memories to look back on for ourselves, we do have a passion and purpose to share our journey as a special needs family in the hopes others are encouraged and don't feel alone.  Take a look! We're really looking to reach our first goal of 100 subscribers so we can unlock the feature of getting our own URL. May seem silly, but it would be easier to share the link. So do it - head on over to our Newland Chronicles page and click the RED Subscribe button! We appreciate it!

Have a wonderful weekend! 

-Jessica