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How to make healthy choices with #BalanceRewards #shop

I’ll fully admit that this summer I’ve been lazy. It’s possible that I haven’t been making the most healthy choices – witness the plethora of ice cream recipe posts and even yesterday’s vanilla chai cinnamon rolls. The gym and I have become strangers, too. I pretty much put my health goals on the back burner, figuring that while I may not be making progress, that’s ok.

Then I took this photo last week as I was happily finding my favorite sports team gear before heading back from camp in Minnesota. No matter how I stood or angled myself or stretched the shirt in a different way, this photo made me aware that my lazy ways have caught up to me. You can see pudge where it shouldn’t be. Before I took that photo, I could pretend it wasn’t that way. Yeah, some clothes have been fitting a little tighter, but it’s because I just washed them. Mom is never in photos, so I don’t see the evidence because I can avoid looking in the mirror. Until now. Shirts didn’t used to look like that on me.

Photos tell no lies

My kids are headed back to school, so I’m headed back to health. That’s my new goal, and I know me. I need to be accountable with it in order for it to stick.

This morning I’m “back on routine.” I finally admitted that my breakfast routine wasn’t cutting it. I had been either skipping breakfast or just grabbing something, and I know that’s been adding to my woes. Breakfast is such a key meal, and I need to jump start my body. I also know that I need protein, which means that as of this morning, I’m back to my protein smoothies for breakfast. I like them, but I just got out of the habit. They take just a few minutes to make, and they’re perfect because they allow me to drink them slowly and enjoy them.

Making protein smoothies for breakfast

The better news is that I can get to the gym again. I hadn’t been since my family was on their RV trip, frequently for good reasons but not always. There’s no childcare, so when my husband was tutoring or in institute days, I couldn’t make my classes. When I was out of town, obviously I’m not going – and I’ve been doing my fair share of traveling since the end of July. But that’s only an excuse. This morning, I made sure that I headed to the gym and did the weights class that I love (ok, love to hate). I know I’ll be sore tomorrow, but I feel good that I’ve made the first step. And tomorrow I’ll make it to step class. Because they have a calendar with limited classes, I don’t put off going – and that helps me.

Made it to the gym today!

But on Monday I can’t make it because I have orientation for new kindergarten parents that I’m helping with at our school. Thursday is our PTO meeting. Tuesday the class is at 8:30 and our bus comes later this year so they don’t get on the bus until after class stops. Those are the days and the times that I need something beyond my classes to get me making healthy choices.

It dawned on me today as I was headed to Walgreens after the gym to pick up my monthly Imitrex renewal that Walgreens may actually be my answer. I’ve used their Balance Rewards program before to earn points when I make purchases and fill my prescriptions. I love the app, and I had almost forgotten that Balance Rewards also contains a healthy choices section that I used to use regularly, and it was a great motivator for me when I used it. It had been awhile since I had logged in, but I love earning points by doing activities that I should be doing anyway – and I appreciate the reminders that I need to do more.

My Galaxy S4 does track my steps, but the challenge for me is that I don’t carry my phone with me everywhere, especially when I’m at home or the gym. It misses all the great activity that I do when I’m at Zumba or running up and down three stories to do multiple loads of laundry. It isn’t easy to add the calories I burn when I’m doing the hour long weights class I did this morning. I want those activities to count! And when it’s just the steps, I sometimes feel discouraged because I only either reach the goal or don’t – there’s no in between.

That’s where Balance Rewards comes in handy. You can download the app to your phone easily, and you can manually add activities. Honestly, adding activities manually is not my strong suit.  I need something that will make it easier or give me motivation to do so – and motivation to keep moving in general. I love that you can sync your devices and apps to the Walgreens Balance Rewards. Though my S Health isn’t one of them (yet), I’m ok with that since it isn’t fully accurate anyway in capturing all the steps I take.

Instead, you can link your Fitbit, iHealth, or Jawbone monitors, plus more. I love that Walgreens Balance Rewards can sync to so many different devices. This is yet another reason why a Fitbit is on my wish list. The Fitbit Flex is so easy to simply put on your wrist and have all the time to capture all your activity – and then it automatically syncs to Balance Rewards once you connect it via the desktop version of the site.

Since I’m not that fancy yet, I connect the app I use most to track activity instead. In addition to devices, you can sync apps like MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, or RunKeeper. I use MapMyFitness already because it does allow me to add various “extra” exercises like my Zumba and weight classes, in addition to tracking my steps. It’s an easy connect simply by following the instructions on the screen on the desktop version of Walgreens Balance Rewards and authorizing the app.

Easy to connect your devices and apps to Balance Rewards

That’s one less step I have to follow – which is great because Balance Rewards is a great motivator. I earn Balance Rewards points for logging exercise and other healthy activities (weight check, blood pressure, etc), which I can then turn around and use at Walgreens for discounts on my purchases – every 5,000 points is $5. And money is a motivator!

Today, I already had to head to Walgreens for my refill (and I discovered thanks to the awesome pharmacist that they can set me up for auto refill so I no longer have to remember what date I can call to refill my Imitrex), and while I was waiting I wandered the store to see what else I can use to make some healthy choices since I already had some Balance Rewards saved up.

I found a great new water bottle in the back to school section that I picked up and am already using. I have somehow lost all my Camelback bottles except one, and I realized this summer that I tend to drink way less water when it’s a bottle I have to actually unscrew the top to open. To me that screams lazy, but it’s the truth. When I can simply sip from a straw, I drink way more water. And knowing my (and my cats’) propensity to knock things over, it has to be one that doesn’t spill. I love this water bottle.

Great water bottle selection at Walgreens

The same holds true for my new snack. I picked up a CLIF Bar at Walgreens for my post workout fuel. Protein is so key for me in general, but especially after I work out. It’s how I keep from getting sore the next day and it also makes a big difference for me personally in losing weight. I got home, set up my water bottle and CLIF Bar snack, and I’m ready to work and keep my healthy choices going not just all day long but into the future.

Setting up to make healthy choices all day

Because I’m accountable. And I’ve got an app watching my back and keeping me connected with the goals that I’ve set (again). Just watch me accomplish them (and get rewarded while doing it)!

Tracking my fitness with Balance Rewards

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  • Jenn

    Curious, what protein add in do you use for your smoothies? Getting enough protein has always been an issue for me, and while some friends have encouraged Mixology I hate doing anything I have to get shipped to me.

    And any time you want to power walk, just holler. My pudge is bigger than your pudge, and it needs to go.

    • Michelle

      I use a protein powder. AllWays Healthy has some great ones. I was using Shaklee for awhile but it was ummm too expensive (though definitely the best tasting). And Costco has Muscle Milk or whatever it’s called that works, too.

      Definitely let’s find a time to walk. I’m swamped right now, but soon – especially on days when I can’t get to the gym because I have PTO etc. Just not when it’s swampy hot 😉

  • Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom

    Keeping track of all of those extra activities is sure to be so motivating! Not to mention, all of those extra points you’ll be racking up! #client

    • Michelle

      Definitely motivating. AND I just got an email saying I’m *thisclose* to another reward. Score, right?

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