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2022: BB Well Challenge

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

There are plenty of New Years challenges... Dry January, New Year/New You, Blah, Blah, Doesn't Last Extreme-ism. We're all fed up with being lied to and/or sold a bill-of-goods. I like doing things with other people, so I'm setting my intention to make 10 manageable commitments to a healthier life- and I'm inviting you along.

For January 2022, here's what I propose we do: Instead of aiming to totally eliminate alcohol, let's keep it in check. Instead of aiming to exercise 60-minutes a day, commit to 8.

Instead of aiming for x-number of hours of sleep a night, let's plan to hit the hay by 10:30pm.

Let's make manageable changes that may actually stick.

I am calling this challenge "BB Well," both as shorthand for Brook Benten Wellness (because even if all of you guys are out, I'm doing this) and as a descriptor for the why: to Be Well. I hope you'll trek along with me for January 2022, then carry on on your own.

"True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross. Then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own." -Nikos Kazantzakis

For January 2022, I will be your bridge. Give me your trust for one month and I'll give you the building material you need to carry on and carry out your healthy lifestyle beyond a month's resolve. This challenge is not banal; many of you know that "Dry January" often leads to "wet February." This challenge is also not lackluster; no resolution at all means nothing changes. This challenge is manageable steps to start a lifelong pursuit of fitness and wellness.

To join this free BB Well challenge, you can simply become a member at and you'll get blog updates every Tuesday and Thursday with workout options. (See the "login" button on the homepage). But if you'd like to communicate with others on the daily, that will happen on Facebook. Simply request in to the group, and admin will let you in.

Commitment Number 1: Exercise 8+ Minutes Every Day

This exercise sesh may be HIIT, Strength, Cardio, Flexibility, or a Mix-and-Match. 8-Minutes is the low ball. Don't feel like you're limited to a duration shorter than the snooze function on your alarm clock. If you have time to go longer, go longer. But there are plenty of exercise sessions that will kick your keister in 8-minutes. I'll be sharing two a week for every week in January, dropping every Tuesday and Thursday to

Commitment Number 2: Limit Vino to 10oz/Day

Let's be honest, some people consider that to be two glasses of wine- I'm of the perspective that it's a heavy-handed one-glass. Some of you can check this commitment off your list with no problem; you already drink far less alcohol than that. Others of you have let the holidays get a little overly cheerful, and will need to be measuring with a cup to be sure you check yourself before you wreck yourself. No judgment if you're on the latter side. Plenty of you will say that that 10oz/day is still too much of a highly addictive substance. To you I'd say, great, drink less. But to those who have been housing a bottle or so of vino a day, a 10oz limit is a committed change. {If beer is your bev of choice, let's just say 18oz of beer- in other words, a can and a half. Spirits? No more than 2.25 oz, which is one and a half times a standard serving size of liquor}.

*Limit alcohol consumption to 10oz of wine or 18oz of beer or 2.25oz of spirits a day. You can do this. And if you fail, it may be a sign that you need help. Consider this not a "win or lose." It's a win or learn. Which is a win of its own.

In this post-pandemic/still in a pandemic/ WHATTHEACTUALHECK world we're living in, plenty of people- moms and otherwise- have struggled and found refuge in the bottle... which turns around and bites them in the butt with remorse, anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression, and a wigged-out addiction. If that is you, take heart that there are plenty of professionals on-the-ready to help you. Let this challenge be a test of whether or not you should seek help.

Commitment Number 3: Sleep

Nighty night by 10:30pm Every Night

Sleep is hugely impactful in your overall mental and physical health. Without getting overly scientific, I can just say if you go to bed no later than 10:30pm each night, regardless of how early your wakey wakey starts in the morning, you'll be okay to trek through the day. Your hunger hormones will be in check and you won't be yawning through every PTA meeting, waiting for your next hit of caffeine. Set 10:30pm as your hard-and-fast sleep time, and do so without television, mobile device, sex, book, or otherwise entertainment. 10:30pm is lights out, dark and cool room, sleep time. (Tweak the time, if needed, if you work a night shift).

Commitment Number 4: Meditation 8+ Minutes Per Day

Whether this time is prayer, journaling, sitting in silence, or a guided meditation app, spend at least 8-minutes per day connecting your head and heart. Regardless of your religious beliefs, your existence on earth is more than science. The odds of your life coming into being are less than 1 in 1,000,000,000,000. You are on this planet for a reason and it behooves you to spend at least 8-minutes a day seeking peace, purpose, and direction.

Commitment Number 5: Intermittent Fasting

I'm not saying to starve yourself. But the research is strong that a resting period without your body having to work to break down food is beneficial for health and longevity. Laura Mangum, RD, LD is a dietitian in private practice in Austin, TX. Mangum says this on subject:

Intermittent fasting offers numerous benefits if you take the right approach. One of the most heavily researched objectives to fast is due to the impact it has on a process called autophagy. Autophagy is a fancy word for mitochondrial detoxification, or the process of purging damaged cells, deep cleaning and healing the body. The body can’t 'deep clean' while digesting around the clock. By embracing a hard stop time for eating, the body will have more time to repair.

The goal here is to quit eating and drinking (besides water) by 9pm and not resume eating until 7am. Tweak the hours if you work a night shift, but 10-hours per day of intermittent fasting should be beneficial for overall health, and that duration is doable for most people.

Commitment Number 6: Wear "Real Clothes" At Least Once a Week

'Tis the season for lounge wear (by "season," read: March 2020 - indefinitely). But if we wear stretchy polyester all the time, we blissfully become unaware of how our "real clothes" fit. What's great about wearing "real clothes" at least once a week is that it also encourages us to get out among the real world and feed our need for social wellness. Maybe you put on your skinny jeans just to dance in your own living room- cool. I resonate with the Brooks & Dunn song, "Mama Don't Get Dressed Up for Nothing." So, this mama will be going out. Here's hoping a Mary Poppins-type is reading this blog and will magically fly in with her umbrella to babysit. If not, it's cool- I will be bringing the zoo (kids) to refined establishments. Consider yourself warned, Austin, TX.

Commitment Number 7: Veggie + Protein Suppers

In the south, we call dinner "supper." By any name, make your last meal of the day a combination of non-starchy vegetables (no limitations on serving size) and lean protein (about the size of the palm of your hand). This dinner will help your body prepare for a restful state. Let me be clear on one thing: carbohydrates are good for you. You should be eating them, and they should comprise the majority of your macronutrient intake. Carbs are great for brain function, energy, and powering you through epic workouts! But, at this point in the day, you're preparing for sleepytown. You don't need carbs to power you through a snoozefest. Dinner/supper should be primarily non-starchy veggies and lean protein.

Commitment Number 8: Drink 64oz of Water a Day

Hydration is complicated in that you consume water in many ways. Your net hydration is tallied from the water from the food you eat and the water from your not-just-water beverages (coffee, tea, Topo Chico...). As a person who doesn't just love drinking plain water, I'm always trying to justify my lack of water-drinking with the thought that I'm getting water from other sources. But, the urine doesn't lie- if you are properly hydrated, your urine will be light yellow (or bright light yellow if you are taking supplemental vitamins). By that measuring stick, I know I have to improve my pure H2O consumption. One thing that will help me is keeping ice accessible-- I like my coffee hot, but every other beverage ICE cold. I will also carry around my Hydrojug. A 80oz jug with a carrying strap and straw that accompanies me like a dependent child should enable me to drink at least (at least) 64 fluid ounces of water a day. As a fitness professional, I've tried a lot of water bottles. The Hydrojug has been the one that has worked best for me, and I would encourage you to try it, too!

Commitment Number 9: Limit Screen Time

It's hard for me to put a number on this. When Strava is tracking my run, which may be an hour and a half on a half marathon; or my kids are listening to music on my phone, it's tracked by Apple as "screen time." But what does take away from my overall presence and enjoyment in my own life is too much time with the toy in my face, visually navigating social media.

Michael Easter, author of The Comfort Crisis, noted that

We are moving about 14 times less than our ancestors. We spend 95 percent of our time indoors, and spend 11 hours and 6 minutes a day engaged with digital media. So we went from never having these digital media in our lives to now essentially becoming our lives. And that's had consequences for our attention, awareness, how we spend our time and also our interaction with others. Things have really changed, and we're too comfortable now.

Whatever "limiting screen time" means to you, put a number on it, and commit to that. (I'd also add that you should read The Comfort Crisis. It's one of the best and best-written books that I've ever read).

Commitment Number 10: Give Yourself Grace

Sometimes, you have to look at messes that you create, live with it for a moment, then shrug and say "Well, that didn't go as planned." We all make mistakes. Ruminating over it doesn't help you move on or move forward. Give yourself grace. You're human and you're dong the best you can. Commitment number 10 is just as important as 1-9 in your quest for living your healthiest life.

To join this free BB Well challenge, you can simply become a member at and you'll get blog updates every Tuesday and Thursday with workout options. (See the "login" button on the homepage). But if you'd like to communicate with others on the daily, that will happen on Facebook. Simply request in to the group, and admin will let you in.


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