Eight-Week Challenge: Week One

It’s time to report on the results of my first week. As a reminder, my goals for the eight-week challenge:

  • eat more nutritious food with fewer empty calories,
  • walk at least 5,000 steps per day,
  • spend one day a week reading the backlog of magazines sitting on the end table, and
  • write at least 500 words per day for at least five days each week.

 

Week One Results

This is not a picture of success. My Body Mass Index (the measure of my nutritious food goal) remains in the desired zone, but the weight figure it is based on has been going up, not down. My failure to meet my activity goal—5,000 steps—contributes to this trend. I must do better.

I didn’t simply fail to reach my writing goal of 500 words per day. Except for the first day, I didn’t write any words at all. (I wrote the four posts published this week earlier and scheduled them for the first four days. It would have been cheating to count those words, right?)

My one success in Week One: cutting down my magazine backlog. Admittedly, I tackled the smallest magazines, the ones I could get through largely by skimming, not reading. That gives me breathing room for tackling the larger issues, Writer’s Digest and The Sun.

Here is some of what I learned from my reading last week:

From AARP Bulletin of March 2017: The median daily cost for long-term care in a semiprivate room in 2016 in North Dakota was $359, the fourth highest in the country. Only Connecticut, Maine, and New York costs are higher. More surprisingly, the median costs in the three states that border North Dakota were $205 (South Dakota), $215 (Montana), and $242 (Minnesota). I think the makings of a story can be found in those figures. I mean, North Dakota routinely appears on lists of the 10 best states to live in, raise children in, and for opportunities. Minnesota also appears on those lists. So what makes it so much more expensive to receive long-term care in North Dakota?

That issue’s “Scam Alert” article defines 19 terms to describe scams, most of which are related to online activity, though one, vishing, the use of recorded phone messages intended to trick you into revealing sensitive information for identity theft, may target someone who doesn’t own or use a computer. AARP often reports on seniors being targeted because of their greater vulnerability. (Did you notice I used “their,” not “our?” Denial, denial, denial.) AARP even offers Fraud Alerts to protect you from con artists’ scams and schemes. Sign up here.

Of more value to me are that issue’s article listing 50 ways to live longer. Those that surprised me include

  • Say yes to that extra cup (of coffee)
  • Eating hot chili peppers may add years to your life
  • Fidgeting is good. A 2016 British study finds that sitting for seven or more hours a day increases your risk of dying by 30 percent—except among active fidgeters, who see no increased risk.

The rest reflect conventional wisdom, not much news, or in my case, motivation.

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4 thoughts on “Eight-Week Challenge: Week One

  1. Pingback: Eight-Week Challenge: Week One – Caroline McCullagh

  2. Might I suggest instead of tracking your weight, which will indeed fluxuate and even rise as you exercise more, you track your body fat percentage and measurements. Rarely will those two bounce up and down frequently and in the long run are better indicators as to how your food intake and exercise are going. :-).

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Dana. I’ve read a lot that disputes reliance on BMI as an indicator of health, but, for me, it is a convenient shorthand because it’s such a simple calculation. For my height, I divide my weight by 6 and voila!

      The one measurement I keep track of is my waistline, to be sure it remains under 35 inches. I don’t happen to have a body shape that collects fat at or below my hips so I know that any excess fat collects right around those important internal organs, the worst possible place. My waist-to-hip ratio is just above the target 0.85 (it’s 0.88). Since I can’t budge the hip measurement upwards, the way I can reduce the ratio is to reduce my waist. And that means watching my weight.

      I found a body fat percentage calculator online and entered all my numbers. The result shows my percentage is higher than average. No surprise there. I will check it again during the challenge to see if my efforts affect.

      Again, thanks for the suggestion.

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