The 26 Challenge – Part 1


Yesterday I let you in on my one New Year’s Resolution and introduced The 26 Challenge. Read more about it here. I’m setting myself up for a lifetime of success by tackling healthy habits two weeks at a time.

Brainstorming 26 new habits was a pretty daunting task, so I cut that in half. Like I said in my previous post, I cut that in half to 13. Again, I’m more motivated than freaked out by 6 months of big changes. I’m putting dates with them because I’m a temporal person. I like to know times and have a plan. I’m also giving myself the time and space to work on habits longer if I need to. If I’m struggling with a habit, then I’ll alter my timeline and give myself a week or longer to really get it down.

Establish a morning routine (January 1 – 14) 

  • Wake up and get out of bed on time
  • Prepare a healthy breakfast
  • Give myself enough time to read, journal, and prepare for the day
  • Give myself enough time to get dressed, fix my hair, and look presentable
  • Leave for work on time or even a few minutes early

By establishing a morning routine, I’ll leave my house less frantic and more prepared to make good decisions throughout the day. When I sleep as long as I can and leave myself 15 minutes to get dressed and get out the door, I’m not setting myself up for good choices.

Consistently track food, water, and emotions (January 15 – 28)

The two podcasts I listen to every week always say that the first step to a healthy lifestyle change is tracking. Tracking food and water intake and how food makes you feel as well as if you were actually hungry or eating just to eat. This is how you learn about yourself! In the past, I’ve used a food tracking journal, but this time I’m going to commit to using My Fitness Pal – mrsjjcampbell

Move my body every other day (January 29 – February 11)

  • Take Buddy for a walk
  • Do a Cize video, a youtube workout, or bodyweight exercises

Successfully meal plan and prep food (February 12 – 25)

  • Set aside time once a week to make a meal plan and grocery list
  • Significantly limit eating out

We all know the phrase, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and I think that’s totally true. I’m meal planning almost every week. I don’t necessarily enjoy it, but I LOVE the results. I like knowing what I could make for dinner and that we’ll have leftovers for lunch. When we did Whole 30 (almost a year ago!) that was the first time we didn’t eat out. Prior to then, we ate out multiple times a week. That experience showed us that not only could we make all of our meals, but we started viewing eating out as restaurants as a special occurrence and not just a normal thing. We also liked saving the $$! Also, we all know that eating at home is not only cheaper than restaurant food but significantly healthier.

Consume dessert once a week (February 26 – March 11)

I’ll be totally honest. I want dessert every day and 9 times out of 10 I indulge every day. By pushing sweets and treats to only once a week, I will significantly lower my overall calorie intake, plus all the other benefits of eating less sugar. I want to be realistic. I know that if I say, “no more desserts, ever” that will only set me up to fail. So, I’m starting out by looking forward to dessert once a week.

Order well at restaurants (March 12 – 25)

Yes, we will be eating a home significantly more, but we will still eat out. I’ve always had the mindset when going to restaurants that this food is special and I can have whatever I want. Basically, in my mind, that eating out is a free-for-all celebration where I could have burgers and fries just because. There are SO many healthier options that I could choose from! This is going to be a tricky one for me!

Drink Water and Coffee Only (March 26 – April 8)

I’m balancing out the difficultness of the previous week with an easy one. I’m kind of already doing this. Every now and then I’ll get a half sweet, half unsweet tea (Southern girl!) or drink half a can of diet coke, but I want to totally eliminate that. Also, I put way too much sugar and creamer in my coffee, so I’m planning to decrease that as well.

Consume carbs only at dinner time (April 9 – 22) 

This is something I got from the Primal Potential Podcast. I trust Elizabeth. She’s one of the voices in my head! She explains this so well. This will be another tricky one because this girl loves sandwiches at lunch and oatmeal and cereal at breakfast time. Yall pray for me!

Consistently journal and reflect (April 23 – May 6) 

  • re-focus tracking habits and morning routine
  • spend time at night reflecting on the day and write out gratitudes
  • check-in spiritually

There is a direct link in focusing on gratitude when making lifestyle changes. By this point, a lot in my life will look different. Knowing myself, I’ll want to revert back to old ways, but by focusing on gratitude that will help me stay motivated!

Put effort into appearance (May 7 – 20) 

I think that by putting a little more effort into your appearance, then you’re setting yourself up for success. If I stay in my pj’s all day, then I’m less motivated to get up and get out. If I dress a little nicer and don’t look sloppy, I’ll be more productive.

Keep a tidy house (May 21 – June 3) 

Less clutter and mess = a less cluttered and frantic JJ. If the kitchen is clean, I’m more apt to prepare a meal. If the laundry is put away, I feel more put together and in charge. I really liked this blog post about clutter. 

Try new recipes and vegetables (June 4 – 17)

I can easily get into a recipe rut where I make the same thing over and over. Luke and I are pretty adventurous eaters and aren’t’ afraid to try new food so over these two weeks I’ll challenge myself to find new recipes! Also, it’s peak vegetable season, so I’ll incorporate new veggies!

Consume dessert every other week (June 18 – July 1)

By this point, I’ll have dessert down to once a week. What’s one more week?

Start a weight lifting program (July 2 – 15) 

Yes, I could start lifting weights now. I know I don’t have to wait until July to start lifting weights, but I want to get my body to a better place before going to the gym. It sounds like I’m putting it off, but I’m not. I’m not afraid of going to the gym or of lifting weights, I just want to have these other habits in place before introducing something so new.

There it is! This is part 1 of The 26 Challenge. Come along with me! You can make your own version of The Challenge 26! I’ll be posting on Instagram with #the26challenge and you should totally join in with the fun!


My New Year’s Resolution


New Years is such a special time! In the past, it’s not gotten too much attention from me because I was always swept up in Christmas. This year, I was still totally swept up in Christmas, but I’ve been able to focus and chart a course for 2017 that will result in a dramatically healthier lifestyle.

I’ve got one big resolution for 2017 and I think I’m finally ready to tackle it —-

Be the person I want to be, not settle for the person my bad habits turned me into.

For far too long I’ve let bad habits dictate my life and how I feel about myself. This year, and from here on out, I’m working to push myself in new ways breaking off my relationship with lazy, bad for me, and unhealthy habits. This is a big deal! Part of me always knew that the habits I was letting myself fall into would bring destruction, but I kept pushing them off for future JJ to deal with. Well, Future JJ is here and she’s dealing with them now!

For the first time, I’m learning how to set goals for myself and am ready to make lasting changes. What it’s all going to come down to is habit change. I’m giving myself time to break old, familiar, and comfortable habits and form new and challenging habits and I’ve got a plan!

There are 52 Weeks in a year. If I give myself 2 weeks to work on one habit to form, then I’ll need 26 new habits. Brainstorming 26 new habits was kind of daunting, so I split that in half to 13. 13 new habits to work on from now until July. Thinking this far ahead is something brand new to me and I can honestly say that I’m excited about it! I’m not stressed out by all the changes that I’m planning to make but energized and motivated at what all I could accomplish if I really stick to the habit change strategy.

My first 2-week challenge is establishing a morning routine. This includes waking up on time, preparing a healthy breakfast, enjoying my cup of coffee, helping Luke take care of our dog, getting dressed, putting on makeup, fixing my hair, and leaving for work on time.

I’m calling this The 26 Challenge and I’d love for you to come along this journey with me! I’m writing a detailed post of my first 13 and I’ll share them tomorrow. 2017 just feels different than 2016 doesn’t it? I’m charged up and ready to go!

Habits to Break. Habits to Start.

Habit. Such a weird word and kind of fun to say. The word “habit” has a negative connotation in my mind. Until now I’ve only seen a habit as something to break like biting my nails or in my case breaking my food habits. Well, they’re both my case. I’m a life-long nail biter.

Yes, there are a lot of habits in my life to break, but I want to re-wire my brain to get excited about creating healthy habits like eating a fat loss friendly breakfast every day.

I’ve identified the habits I’d like to change in my daily routine as well as new habits I’d like to create. I’m giving myself a week to form new habits and replace the old and unhealthy ones.

Habits to Break:

  • skipping breakfast
  • sleeping in / not setting an alarm /
  • late night snacking
  • indulging in dessert every day
  • procrastinating
  • sitting down 95% of my day

Habits to Form:

  • Eating a fat-loss friendly breakfast every day, not just weekdays.
  • Waking up early / setting an alarm / not lying in bed looking at my phone
  • Healthy Swaps
    • whole wheat bread > white bread
    • whole wheat pasta or zoodles > white pasta
    • lean meat > red meat
    • corn tortillas > flour tortillas
    • Halo Top > Häagen-Dazs
  • Eliminating late night snacking
    • This one is more of a mindset than something physical to do, but I’ve got ideas on how to curb my late night cravings.
  • Indulging with dessert once a week.
  • Making a list of things I need to do and want to do and working through them in a timely manner.
  • Incorporating moving throughout the day.
    • This one will take some work. I drive 25 – 30 minutes to work, sit at a desk or table, and then I come home and sit and crochet. There’s not even a flight of stairs in my daily routine!
    • I’m going to have to get creative when incorporating movement during the day, but I believe I’ll start with walking around the building every hour or so.

Yikes! That’s a big list of habits to change as well as habits to form! I really want to take my time and cement these new lifestyle habits. Who knows how long it’ll take, but I’m up for the challenge.

Do you have any habits you’re ready to swap out?

Digging up Roots + Working on the Surface


When thinking about myself, I go deep. I’m not afraid to explore the deepest depths and darkest corners of my heart and mind mostly because I’ve already done all that work. I know what’s there. That’s what I did last year. I dug up the roots. I examined the foundational issues of why I overeat, why I feel the way I do about food, and why I just can’t seem to break and eradicate old habits.

I overeat because I genuinely enjoy food. To me, food isn’t fuel, but an activity (a social activity and something enjoyed in isolation). It keeps me entertained and gives me something to look forward to.

I overeat because I see food as a reward. A huge meal with carb heavy food is a first place prize for a job-well-done and consolation prize for when I fail. It’s both.

I overeat because I see food as a celebration of my culture. I can hear my grandmother asking, “did you get enough to eat? Let me fix you another plate.” I can see rows and rows of tables full of Southern comfort food at the annual church Homecoming. I can smell the prime rib and all it’s goodness on Christmas Eve.

I overeat because gluttony / over-indulgence is one of my major personal weaknesses. I’m inclined to believe that every single person has one or two major weaknesses that they constantly battle.  They  manifest in different ways for each person. For me, it manifests in overeating and laziness. My bent towards over-indulgence stems from the root thought of “you aren’t worthy to be taken care of, so you better stock up on ______, _______, and _______.”

I overeat because up until this point, I’m not willing to break habits and make lasting changes. I think this is the saddest one of all. I know what’s wrong. I know where I can make real changes, but I’ve been clenching my fists and refusing to do things differently.

It’s driving me insane. For too long I’ve refused to think long, always “living in the moment.”

So. There’s all the issues and my feelings about the issues. Like I said in the beginning, I’ve done this work before. It’s not new to me. The roots are dug up and now it’s time to work on the surface. It’s time to move from good intentions and knowledge to action and implementation.

I’ve finally come around to the “real lifestyle change” or “maintainers mindset” way of thinking. A plan, program, or person isn’t going to do the work for me. It’s me.

It’s me appreciating the journey I’ve been on. Appreciating and understanding the underlying issues and not getting bogged down, but making the real attempt to change.

Let’s change – JJ