Welcome! My name is Jess, and I have my B.S. in Health and Physical Education. Even though I have been out of the classroom for a few years, I constantly broaden my knowledge of health and work to improve my own lifestyle. A few years ago, I started doing small challenges that have helped my personal growth tremendously! (And in more ways than just my physical health).
I tossed ideas around of how I can help others through my own personal findings. Through my health teaching experience and personal experiments, I am now bringing healthy living information, tips, and challenges to you! Like any good teacher, I’ll give you some background on where these challenges originated, so you can get a feel for what they can do in your life…
Dimensions of Health: In health education classes, the first lesson I would start with was an overview of health. I called it the “Dimensions of Health”. The six dimensions that I would focus on are: Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, Mental/Emotional, Environmental, and Physical. Now some of these topics aren’t necessarily what you’d think of when you hear “health”. You normally think of topics only residing in the Physical Dimension (diet, exercise, disease, etc.). However, all of these dimensions are intertwined and affect one another constantly. If there is a problem in one of these areas, the rest are likely to be affected by it. Balancing these dimensions is the key to overall health, happiness, and purposeful living. This is the basic idea behind Holistic Health.
Goals: I personally like to use these dimensions as a guide for self-assessment. When I feel off, I set goals in each of these dimensions to help myself get back on track. (I have included a Goal Setting page in case you’d like to get started doing the same.) Through this goal setting process, I decided to get to the bottom of what was causing my migraines. I checked out a lot of different diets that had you eliminate certain foods for a given period of time. I tried a few and ultimately found out that my migraines were not caused by any kind of food intolerance after all. However, I did find other successes through these diets and really enjoyed them!
Background: Fast forward to a year later when I was reassessing things in my life after having my daughter, Naomi. I decided to stay home with her and step away from teaching for awhile. I found that I was definitely happier staying at home, but I did feel the need reassess the direction of my life after the radical changes of becoming a mom and staying at home. As I was reassessing, I remembered some of the elimination diets I had tried. I thought why not use this same format for other areas of life? So, I took it and ran with it…
The root of the problem was that (like most women) I was unhappy with my post-pregnancy body. I was still breastfeeding, so I didn’t have the option of cutting calories from my diet. Instead of beating myself up about it, I looked at the rest of my life and saw how blessed I was. I had an amazing husband who didn’t run away from me when hormones caused me to literally laugh and cry at the same time, a healthy and happy little girl, a beautiful home, clean water to drink, nutritious food, the ability to breastfeed my daughter, a supportive church who even brought us meals after we got home from the hospital, and too many other blessings for me to even count. Why was I letting my self-image get in the way of all of these amazing things?
The Challenge: After some contemplation and prayer, I decided I needed to change my mindset about the importance physical appearances in life. So, I gave myself a big dose of tough love and decided that for the Lenten season (40 days), I was not going to wear make-up. And I did it. I called it my “Go Natural” challenge. Don’t worry I stilled shaved and everything… but, this was a BIG DEAL for me. Now that I was staying home, it wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as it would have been when I saw people every day. However, there were still several gatherings during these 40 days where I wanted to break down and put on some make-up. The hardest two events to get through were seeing family that I hadn’t seen since my wedding and my old co-workers for the first time since having a baby. But, I did it. I made it through. And I was SO proud of myself…
The Result: I would love to tell you that I completely stopped caring about what other people think of me or that I never struggle with self-image anymore, but that just isn’t true. But, two BIG things did happen. First, I always tried not to judge people by their looks before, but through this challenge, I found myself looking less and less at others’ physical appearances and focusing a lot more on their attitudes, senses of humor, and at who they were on a deeper level. And second, when I take care of my body now, I don’t do it for other people. I do it for longevity, to be a good role-model for my daughter, and for my own mental wellbeing. I firmly believe this challenge was the first step that got me on track to lose 30 pounds after I stopped breastfeeding. I ran an 8k trail run, a half marathon, and I can say without hesitation that my current self could kick the crap out of my collegiate athlete self. I am so proud of this! But, I also felt an urge to help others find this same success.
Putting it all Together: Going back to the six dimensions of health, I had a huge breakthrough in the (1) Mental/Emotional Health Dimension in how I viewed myself. This affected my (2) Physical Health with weight loss and getting in shape. But, it also improved my (3) Intellectual Health because it inspired me to bring these challenges to others and make a hobby out of sharing healthy living ideas and motivation with others. It helped my (4) Spiritual Health because I now depend more on the unique abilities and qualities that God has given me and put less of an emphasis on my appearance. It also helped my (5) Social Health because it helped me to look at others in a different and deeper way than I had before. Finally, my ability to cope with my environment in the Environmental Health Dimension also improved because I felt more comfortable just going out, wearing shorts and tanks in the heat, and I didn’t dread swimsuit season anymore! In summary, achieving just one goal through this challenge did so much for me in so many areas of my life!
What’s Next? The teacher, hard worker, over thinker, and planner in me needed a next step. So, I started more challenges focusing on different dimensions and thought of more challenges to do in the future. And then, I thought, why not share these challenges? If they worked for me and helped me to get new perspective and motivation, why not you?
Join Me! The first challenge I will be doing is the Exercise Challenge. I also have pages for a few of the challenges I have already done if you want to pursue one on your own. Help yourself break free of those unhealthy habits, those nagging internal battles, and the things in life that have gotten to be monotonous! I am always on the lookout for suggestions for new challenges, so please feel free to Contact me with any suggestions you might have. Or just introduce yourself and say hi!
My goal of this site and these challenges is to create a positive community that’s focused on health and wellness for everyone involved! If I even help one person make a healthy breakthrough in life, I’ll consider this a success! Keep a look out for more challenges, lessons, and maybe even videos in the near future!
Most of my challenges are a month long. Why? Because it takes 28 days for you to form a habit. These challenges are formed to change your habits, and the hope is that you continue these habits long after the challenge is complete. Get support and do these challenges with a friend or make it more personal and do it alone. Get out of your comfort zone, get new perspective, increase your motivation, and start a new challenge TODAY!
For more info about me, visit the About Me/ Contact page. I hope that you find the information here helpful, insightful, and motivational!
10 thoughts on “Why Challenges?”
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