Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to Get Healthy (On a Budget)

As a follow-up to one of the recent posts here (How to Get Healthy), I thought it would be helpful to acknowledge that not everyone will choose to invest in a gym membership or expensive step tracker. There are definitely budget-friendly ways to stay in shape, so I'll share the ones I know of here. I'd love your input for the rest!

  1. On sunny days, walk, bike, jog, or run outside.
  2. If you don't have a treadmill or other exercise machine, you can get a desk bike like I have for about $20 on Amazon - it's likely cheaper from a thrift store or Craigslist.
  3. Thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist are great places to look for larger equipment if you'd like that.
  4. Walk around your house/apartment. Walk up/down the stairs. This can get repetitive, but it does get you moving.
  5. Look on Hulu for exercise videos. Last I checked, there were some yoga, dancing, and strength training routines to choose from - all free.
  6. DailyBurn offers a 30 day free trial of their exercise videos. (After the trial it's $10/month - cheaper than most gym memberships but still over $100 for a year. You'll have to decide if it's worth that to you.)
  7. If you enjoy swimming, look for a pool in your area. There are a couple community pools here that charge about $3 each time. Some hotels will let you swim for a small charge, too.
  8. Invest in some weights. There's no need to go all out...you can get dumbbells from Amazon for about $5 each. If you're looking for a set, I'd suggest used.
  9. Recognize that while exercising is an excellent way to keep you healthy and is certainly important, if your goal is to lose weight, the main way to do that is to reduce your calorie intake. SparkPeople is free and a great way to keep track of what you're eating. (There are other calorie counting websites, of course, I just haven't used them.)
  10. Meat, fruits, and veggies are still important. I often shop at Aldi, since things tend to be cheaper there. The quality is sometimes not as good, but for the most part I've been happy with what I've gotten there. (And if there's a problem, their double guarantee is awesome.) Sales are good, too - and buying in bulk when it makes sense.

What else has worked for you?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Author Interview: Jaye L. Knight

I was recently given the opportunity to interview recently-published author, Jaye L. Knight, as part of her blog tour for her book, Resistance. You can read more about her book on my publishing blog, Rivershore Books.

Thilly is its own word, and it means “sillier than silly.” With that in mind, what thilly thing do you do regularly? Have you done it today? (If not, why not?)

Sadly, I had to sit and think about this for a while and came to the conclusion that I don’t really have a thilly thing I do currently. I think it’s the way my life has been for the past few years. Trials seem to keep coming one right after the other (many health related), and when I’m not thinking about that, my focus is on my writing and work. I guess there’s not much room for thilly things right now. But I wish there was, and I hope and pray things will settle a bit soon. :)

What is your writing fuel?

Definitely tea. I make a cup of English Breakfast Tea with sugar and plenty of French vanilla creamer every morning. (And by cup, I usually mean giant mug.) Before I started drinking tea a few years ago, I couldn’t understand how people were so addicted to coffee. Now I do understand. I NEED my tea, especially when I’m writing. I also keep a jar of Nutella handy.

How much time do you spend writing each day?

If I’m actually able to write (and not bogged down by writer’s block or needing to edit instead), probably 4-6 hours on average depending on the day and what else needs to be done. But if my inspiration is really flowing, I can easily go 8-10 hours or more. Especially when I’m close to finishing a book. If it’s the last chapter, I’ll go as long as I need in order to finish it. I’ve been up pretty late a couple times doing that, but I’m most productive in the morning.

What is your biggest distraction, and how do you move past it?

The internet. Things like Pinterest, while they are helpful writing tools for me, are also very big distractions. I write all my first drafts on paper, so that helps with internet distractions, however, I usually have my iPod Touch nearby and can get sucked into my Pinterest and social apps on there. Still, not actually being on the computer while I’m writing does help. I’ve just got to keep myself focused and disciplined.

And finally, what is the most rewarding part about writing for you?

Seeing all the pieces of a story fit together, especially when it happens in a way I’m not expecting. That’s happened quite a lot while writing Resistance and the other Ilyon Chronicles books. It’s so satisfying and amazing because I know it’s God working in my story.

Thanks, Jaye!

About the Author

JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as 
Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at www.jayelknight.com.

Social Media Links

Monday, May 12, 2014

How to Get Healthy (In 5 Not-So-Easy Steps)

Speaking of posts with lists...

Every so often I come to a realization that I'm unhealthy. I do something about it (exercise and eat less) for about a month...

...until this thing tells me it's not having enough of an effect and I give in to my craving of the day.

With that in mind, I have come up with a short list to help us get healthy.

1.) Join a gym - with a friend. "Do you want to go to the gym today?" can be a big motivator on the days when you really don't want to.

(If there are no friends in your area, join it anyway. Paying the monthly fee is a pretty good motivator, too.)

2.) Create an account on SparkPeople (or any calorie-counting site). Input every food and drink you have. Repeat daily.

3.) Invest in a SparkPeople tracker (other trackers work, too, but for the features it has this is the best value I know of). This counts your steps and how often you're active (moving for 10+ minutes) throughout the day. It gives you an initial goal of 6,000 steps (~3 miles), but you can tweak that to your own goals. I was surprised at how little I moved throughout the day, and have made a conscious effort to walk more - even on "non-exercise" days.

This helps me get my steps in when I'm working at my desk.

4.) Fill your fridge with fruits, veggies, and lean meats (turkey and chicken are filled with protein and few calories). If most of what you see when you open the door is healthy, you're more likely to reach for it. (That's my theory, anyway.)

But don't completely cut out those unhealthy foods you love! I have something yummy and unhealthy just about every day...sometimes multiple unhealthy foods in a day. As long as it's a small portion, I'm within my calorie range, and I've had enough protein and fruits/veggies, why not? (It also saves me from craving-binges.)

5.) Find something fun that still gets you to move. For me, that's swimming, biking, and (a recent discovery) yoga. I also love to dance.

I started getting serious in March this year, and I have done each of these steps. My results on the scale haven't been great. I keep trying to hide the dumb machine and not think about it, but there isn't a hiding place in my room I don't already know about. (I suppose it would help if I asked someone else to hide the thing.)

But it's not about the scale right now. I can tell I've gotten stronger. My endurance is up. My pants are looser. Everything but the scale says this is working. That thilly scale doesn't know what it's talking about.

Do I want to go to the gym today? Not particularly - but I will. My friend is meeting me there.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Where do you do your writing (or working or creating)?

I have this great desk, so you'd think I would use it. And I do - sometimes.

But sometimes I use this: a blanket fort...

...created from chairs, a sheet, and lots of pillows and blankets.

Right now I'm sitting up in bed and writing. Often I'll be in the living room, in my mom's comfortable chair. When the weather is nice, I sit on the deck (or, when I'm feeling extra outdoorsy, on the grass).

What is your workspace like? Do you move as much as I do?