In 2021, the City of Lebanon launched Together We Thrive, a community wellness campaign that reimagines the idea of health and wellness to create a vibrant community through all aspects of healthy living. This year, we are enhancing Together We Thrive with community celebrations to highlight the stories of your neighbors and friends who prioritize health and wellness every day.
To kick off our community celebrations, we interviewed Catie Harris. Catie and her family are currently participating in the 75 Hard Challenge and the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge.
Q: How did you get started in your fitness and wellness journey?
My husband Jamie was invited to/challenged by a coworker to do the 75 Hard Challenge along with a group of people from around the country. It’s a mix of professions all within the real estate industry. There is a Facebook accountability group set up that he joined, and the plan was to begin the challenge on January 1, 2022, which we did.
My husband invited me to do the challenge alongside him. Before I could actually process and truly think about what all the 75 Hard Challenge entails, I just simply said yes!
Q: What were your goals when you first started? How did you create those goals?
Our goals were simply to live out a better daily routine. We wanted to become more proactive versus reactive with our schedules. We wanted to simplify and control our eating habits and we wanted to set better examples for our kids on how to make yourself, your health and wellbeing a priority every single day. It’s much less about losing a certain amount of weight and more about our overall health and wellbeing.
Our goal is to spend 1000 hours outside by the end of this calendar year. 1000 hours per year breaks down to 2.74 hours per day outside. However, in the month of January, we averaged 1 hour per day. I’m sure in the spring and summer, we will average many, many more hours per day outside.
Thankfully, the 75 Hard Challenge outlines the daily tasks for you. It takes some of the guesswork out of the “okay I will do a wellness/fitness challenge, but now what?!” For 75 Hard, there are several things you must commit to every day. If you miss a task, you must start over from the beginning. For example, if you are on day 24 and you don’t get in the second workout for the day, then the next day starts over at day one. It’s intense and motivates you to keep going every day, because I do not want to have to start over! We are on track to finish the 75 Hard Challenge on March 17.
Q: What attracted you to the 75 Hard Challenge and the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge?
For 75 Hard, the simplicity of the tasks (simple, not easy!) and the focus on the whole self and not just fitness. It is a challenge that forces you to make time for yourself, manage your time wisely and pushes you mentally. 75 Hard is not a fitness challenge. Fitness is only part of the challenge. It really is a mental toughness challenge that helps develop good habits for the whole self. Below are the daily tasks you must complete:
- Two 45-minute workouts (one workout must be outdoors no matter the weather)
- Follow a diet
- Drink one gallon of water
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book (audio books and podcasts do not count; must be physical books)
- Take a progress picture
- No alcohol
- No cheat meals
I have actually come to love walking outside every day, no matter what the weather. We have walked in the rain, sunshine, snow and single digit temperatures.
What attracted us to the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge is that nature is so good for kids and adults. We are a homeschooling family with the freedom to take school out into nature every chance we get. There are studies that show children spend 4-7 hours on screens per day and only 4-7 minutes outside per day. The 1000 Hours Outside website states “The entire purpose of 1000 Hours Outside is to attempt to match nature time with screen time. If kids can consume media through screens 1200 hours a year on average, then the time is there and at least some of it can and should be shifted toward a more productive and healthy outcome!” The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge is not necessarily an anti-screens movement – it’s a movement to put nature and outdoor time at the top of your priority list.
By all reports, children thrive outdoors. It’s our goal to let them develop through play, let them fail, let them get hurt, let them pick themselves back up, let them learn, let them lead and follow, let them realize their own strengths, let them be little and have a wonder-filled childhood.
Q: Was this health and wellness challenge a hard sell to your kids? How have they participated, and do they enjoy it?
No – this was not a hard sell for the kids. Grant, age 10, and Luke, age 7, love to be outside. As of March 8, we have spent 72 hours outside. I’m confident we will reach our 1000 hours by the end of the year. However, even if we don’t, we will have at least shown them how to set a goal, how to track progress, how to push ourselves to reach certain milestones and how to handle ourselves if we don’t quite make the goal, but still have so much to show for our efforts. We don’t like to say we fail at anything. Failure only occurs when you actually quit trying. As long as you are trying to and keep making progress, you are being successful.
Grant and Luke aren’t officially doing the 75 Hard Challenge. However, when I think about their daily schedule, they could probably claim that too, with the exception of the progress picture!
Q: What is your family’s typical fitness and wellness routine?
Every now and then, things have to shift around. But for the most part, our daily schedule looks like…
- Morning workout for Jamie and me
- Read 10 pages
- Shower and get ready for the day
- Kids wake up
- Off to work for Jamie and start homeschooling for the boys
- My second workout for the day; typically this is an outdoor workout. The boys will often walk with me. Sometimes they will ride their bikes, scooters or roller blade alongside me. My second workout sometimes is a nature hike with the boys at a local hiking trail. This is when they get their outside hour(s) in too.
- Extracurricular activities for the boys. Currently, we are in wrestling season. Next is lacrosse, and then track and field in the summer, followed by football in the fall.
- Jamie comes home from work and we eat dinner
- Bedtime for the boys
- Jamie completes his second workout outside
We have found that when it comes to food, simpler is better. I used to fall into the trap of thinking I had to create these gourmet and elaborate Pinterest-worthy meals every single night, and it was exhausting…and not really that healthy, to be honest. We found a few meals that work for us for each mealtime, and we stick to those. If we want something other than what we have on our “home menu,” we will go out to eat at a restaurant. I have heard that this is called the Groundhog Day diet, but I haven’t looked into it. I eat the same exact thing every day for breakfast and lunch, and we have about four to five dinners that we rotate through. We are fans of keeping it simple.
Q: How does your family support each other in health and wellness? How do you motivate one another to keep going?
We do wellness challenges together. Whether it’s the 75 Hard Challenge, the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge, cutting out sugar for 30 days, etc., my husband and I both commit to these challenges. It makes it so much easier to accomplish when someone else is going through the challenge alongside you. It also helps keep meal planning/prepping simpler when you can make the same food for everyone versus having to make special meals for the person doing the challenge.
We also talk about the upcoming week every Sunday afternoon/evening. We plan out when we will do our workouts, what we will do for dinner and work out any logistics that could hinder our wellness goals. In addition, we also check in with each other throughout the day to ensure we are both on track with our time management.
We are both motivated to finish the 75 Hard Challenge tasks most days. However, there have been times when one of us is ready to crash. Maybe we had a tough day and we are just downright exhausted. That is when it’s so important for the other person to swoop in and recenter our focus on the end goal. Accountability is 100 percent necessary.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to another family looking to start a health and wellness journey – what would it be?
We kind of jumped in before we could talk ourselves out of it. We didn’t overthink it. You don’t have to have the perfect plan before you begin. You just simply have to be willing to try and take it one day at a time. Know that even if you “fail” by the measure of a challenge, the fact that you are trying to live a life filled with wellness means that you simply cannot fail. The goal really isn’t finishing the challenge for us. It’s finding daily rhythms that foster the love of living a life full of goodness. We want our boys to know that taking time to make yourself (physically and mentally) a priority is something that is extremely important. And the best way for them to know that is for them to see us living that out right in front of them.
A quote that speaks to me is: “If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson
Follow Catie and her family through their 75 Hard Challenge and 1000 Hours Outside Challenge on Instagram at @catieharris!
Do you know someone who has a great story for a Together We Thrive community celebration? Reach out to us! Please contact Rebecca Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-228-3110.