I am on a quest to get families to get healthy. Helping your kids develop healthy habits early in life are one of the best gifts you can give. Every day I work with people who are fighting to stay healthy, get fit, lose weight and basically undo years of unhealthy practices toward their bodies. Some of these issues could be easily avoided if we had exposure to health and fitness as kids. Kids have a natural desire to run and eat fresh foods. (At least most do.) As parents, we need to encourage these natural inclinations and help them grow into a lifetime of habits that support good health. Please give your kids the foundation of good health so they can live long, healthy, happy lives.
Now, please know I am not talking about shoving food down your kids throats that they hate and dragging them out for grueling workouts. I am talking about being reasonable and BEING AN EXAMPLE! Choose healthful options yourself and show your kids how energetic and happy you are. Be the parent that plays baseball, not watches. Be the parent who is always eating a bowl of fruit or salad. If you start early your kids will follow your example, if not now, then later in life. What they say is true. One day you wake up and you are indeed your mother or father. LOL
So back to the best of December. My son is 5 and eats a pretty balanced diet. He's one of the few kids I know, that after years of taking one bite will now eat a bowl of broccoli. I encourage him to eat healthy, keep junk food and snacks to a minimum (Although we do let him indulge sometime, just as we indulge SOMETIME.) He gets run around time every day and I try to encourage his active nature. But like most kids, he is a picky eater. I try to introduce new foods each week in hopes that seeing me eat something new will peak his interest.
This week's new foods, pineapple and grapefruit juice. I cut up a fresh pineapple and he was so intrigued by this new treat that I had no problem convincing him to share a bowl full with me. He then proceeded to take the pineapple core and eat it like an ear of corn. What joy I felt as I saw his little face all shiny and happy with a pineapple juice mustache!
The next new treat was pink grapefruit. I have an inexpensive little electric citrus juicer. I enlist my son to help hand me lemons, limes, etc. when I use it. This particular morning he was in charge of the grapefruit. As he handed me the grapefruit, I asked him if he wanted to try some of the juice. He said no, but I told him he could take a little tiny taste and if he didn't like it, he didn't have to drink anymore. He obliged me. I poured him some in a shot glass (Don't judge me! It's the perfect size for him!) He drank it with a grimace and handed me back the glass. A few minutes later he came back and asked for more. SCORE FOR MOM!
Introducing new foods doesn't always turn out so successfully, but this week definitely made all my efforts over the years fruitful. Pun intended. :)
Here are some tips you can use at all ages your kids to eat more healthfully:
1. Introduce healthy foods early.
Eat healthy when you breastfeed so your kids develop a taste for vegetables and fruits. If you don't breastfeed, try to make some of your baby's first foods yourself at home in a blender so your children get a taste of fresh, whole foods early on. Fruits are an easy place to start with most kids. You do not have to make ALL their food. Who has time? Just make what you can. It will develop their palate so they enjoy these flavors.
2. Teach your children about healthy eating and foods that make them strong.
Do collages and have your kids cut out foods that are healthy vs. less healthy or junk food choices. Teach them that it's ok to indulge in treats, but that treats are just that - TREATS. They are not FOOD. Food nourishes and heals the body. Treats do nothing. My son eats candy, but he knows that's not what makes him grow and be strong.
This activity has a an added bonus. It helps you work with your kids on hand eye coordination. ;)
3. Create and environment that encourages your kids to try new things.
Keep fruits in a bowl on the kitchen table. Take your kids shopping with you to farm markets and produce sections. Let them pick out two things for dinner - one thing from the section of your choice (hopefully, the produce section.), one from the section of theirs. If they pick potato chips, serve them. Just use the time to teach portion control. Measure out the serving size on the bag and teach your kids to read the label. Talk with them about calories and fat, etc. Use wikipedia to give you more information or have your kids do an internet search to see what they can find and share with the family after dinner.
(This works well with kids who are a little older and may not have the healthy eating foundation.)
4. BE THE PARENT
Stop trying to be your kid's best friend by letting them do whatever they want. As a parent you have to make rules to keep order and to protect your kids. As a friend you have a responsibility to not lead them into harms way.
In our house the rule is you have to at least TRY new foods. "You don't have to love it, but you have to try." This gives kids an out if they don't want to eat something and keeps dinner from turning into a negative scene or a fight. And honor your word, if they don't like it, let it go. Seriously. Kids often say they do not like something that they have never even eaten. You do not have to force feed your kids, but make a rule that has them at least take 1-3 bites of things that you know are good for them. That at least gets one bite of broccoli down. LOL
5. Work WITH your kids.
Find a healthy activity that they like to do and find a healthy food that they like to eat, and then do that and serve that----ALOT!
The playground used to be our mainstay. Now my son hikes, runs and climbs. If they will only do one thing, then just do it. At some point their tastes will grow. It's the nature of kids to expand. For years we had organic corn as a mainstay at dinner time because it's what my son would eat. Hey, it's better than potato chips!
Thanks for reading.
This is a reason that lots of people give for giving up on fitness. We are over programmed as a culture and as a result we are exhausted! We work, live, eat, work, take care of kids, work, work on relationships, spend time with friends, fall asleep watching tv and then get up and do it all over again.
This cycle of exhaustion leaves us with little to no energy to exercise. Not to mention the emotional toll that our negative self talk plays on our psyche when we miss our goals and don't take care of ourselves. "you're fat." "you are never gonna lose this weight." "you eat like a pig." "you are so lazy!" We repeat these things to ourselves over and over in a montage of mental self defeat and then expect ourselves to operate at high efficiency when it's time to get something done in the gym. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
First thing we all need to learn is this - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Everyone has their own version of this treadmill to nowhere. We are all over programmed in one way or another. The sheer fact that you are not the only one dealing with this should make you feel better. It didn't? Keep reading then.
Second thing we all need to learn - TREAT YOURSELF WELL. Negative self talk is not going to help you get there. Acknowledge that you are tired, over programmed, exhausted, don't feel like it, too sick - whatever your problem is let yourself have it and stop talking to yourself in a tone that you wouldn't use on a child or a pet. Treat yourself and speak to yourself with respect. Then and only then, can you expect results.
Third thing we all need to DO (emphasis on the verb here) - PLAY WHEN HURT.
I DO NOT mean endanger your health by exercising when you are injured. What I mean is that you need to realize that sometimes you are going to have to get on the treadmill when you are tired. Sometimes you won't feel like working out. DO IT ANYWAY! There will be plenty of days, for some of you it will be more often than not, that you just won't want to do it. SO WHAT?! The best athletes play as much as then can, whenever they can because it is always better to be in the game than on the sidelines. I promise you that in the game of life, the mental boost you get when you "play when hurt" is well worth effort.
So what am I saying? I am saying, acknowledge your situation and give yourself the credit you deserve, then get off your butt, no matter how long it takes you to rise, and give it all you got. One day you will thank yourself. Let's hope that day is today.
Thanks for reading.
People always ask me how they should eat. Well, I'll tell you, I have a viewpoint that focuses on being healthy and sexy and amazing. Ready? Here are my four cornerstones to nutritional success, flourishing health and amazing weight loss.
1. BURSTING! Bursting is a my nickname for juicing. Give yourself a nutritional BURST by daily drinking the juices of fresh greens, raw vegetables and fresh fruits. Invest in a cheap juicer and start at home. Juice spinach, carrots, apples, celery and whatever else you can find. This is a great way to boost your nutritional profile, get rid of toxic waste in your system, increase your green foods intake and give yourself a burst of energy. All of which can create the environment you need to lose fat off your belly and waist. Aim for 6-8 ounces a day or more.
note---If you BURST, use locally grown or organic foods. You do not want to overload the system with pesticides from conventional fruits and veggies. Can't afford organic? See step 2.
2. GARDENING! Focus on eating foods from the garden. Make a large part of your daily meals and snacks, fruits and veggies. Apples, oranges, celery sticks, green salads, red peppers --- all of these items make easy snacks and are a great way to fight hunger cravings so that you get lots of fiber and remain full after a meal. The antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and super nutrients will boost your health and keep you on track to meet your fitness and fat loss goals. Aim for 4-6 servings a day or more.
3. GRAZING! Eat whole grains and grasses and sprouts. Try barley grass or wheat grass in powder or fresh form. Add bean or broccoli sprouts to your salads. These super foods will help to clean your system and remove toxins that can keep your body from losing weight and purging the chemicals we ingest every day. Scared to drink grass or eat sprouts? That's ok. Eat whole grains. Brown, red, black and wild rice, along with oats, buckwheat, barley and sprouted grain breads provide excellent nutrition and fiber to help keep toxins out of your intestines and fat off your tush! Aim for 2-4 1/2 cup servings a day. Add 2 more if you are extremely active.
4. CRACK! Crack open nuts instead of a can of chips. Nuts and seeds provide the systems in your body with healthy oils that can prevent heart disease, clogged arteries and also lubrication that gives you clean colon and soft skin. So as you shrink that waistline, you will be sparkly with a glow that makes you look young, healthy and alive! Aim for 2 servings of 20 nuts OR 2 servings of 2 tablespoons of seeds.
There you have it. BURST> GARDEN>GRAZE> AND CRACK! Those are my keys for preventing disease and having a sexy waist!
As always, BE WELL!
This week in fitness ----
Most of the time when I travel, I look forward to uninterrupted time to exercise and enjoy my fitness journey without clients, family, friends....just me, myself and my workout. I look forward to packing my running shoes and getting to know a new place on foot or exploring classes at a local gym. Well, for first time in my LIFE, that didn't happen.
Here's what did happen...I went on vacation with parents, my son and my husband. There were a lot of people and personalities to manage. Time schedules were insane. We were at Disney, so it took all kinds of activities to manage the needs of two active mature adults, two crazy parents of a preschooler and a FIVE YEAR OLD!
Normally when schedules are crazy and time won't permit a workout, I get up before the sun and do my own hybrid workout of jump rope and bodyweight exercises before anything or anyone can get in my way. This wasn't an option on this trip. Let's just say that the sleeping arrangements were weird. There was someone in every room of the house we stayed in and it was impossible to move around without waking someone or everyone. It was too dark in the morning to run outside. And as a female running alone, I consider it a major NO NO to run in the dark without a companion or a very mean dog. To top it all off, we were leaving the house early each morning to hit one of the Disney Parks. When we arrived at Epcot or wherever we chose to be that day, we would stay all day, wait in lines, get on rides, take tours, go to shows, eat and then REPEAT....It was pure madness that lasted until well after dark --- Can you say Disney Disco? LOL
At first, I was upset by this. I was enjoying my son's first trip to Disney and the family experience, but I was crazed at how the arrangements kept me from working out. After about 3 days of sulking about losing my vacation workout paradise, I decided to embrace the trip. I mean really?, this is the first time in years I have taken a break from my workout and just relaxed. Maybe this was a good time to kick back, have a glass of wine, chill with Mickey Mouse and just let it hang. I ate lots of sushi and salad and fruit on this trip but also had my share of wine and junk food -- the meatball sandwiches at Disney ROCK! (Yes, it's crap, but I ate it. So I own it. LOL)
True to my fitness geek I did learn through a trusty pedometer that I averaged between 8-10 miles of walking in 8 -12 hours every day while at the parks and burned about 700-800 calories extra over my resting metabolic rate -- between being on my feet, carrying my 40lb son around when he got tired and walking, walking, walking in the Florida heat. I have to admit that knowing that fact about calories made me feel WAY BETTER!
The point I make is this, fitness is a lifestyle, it's an every day adventure, but it also has to be balanced as part of your WHOLE LIFE PHILOSOPHY. I enjoy my life, not just my workouts, and so should you. So next time you miss a workout (I said MISS, not SKIP) see what else is in front of you that you can enjoy that day and then come back with a rested vengeance in your next workout.
This week I am working plyometrics, yoga and core training. I figured since my joints had a nice break and I am carb loaded from the meatball sandwiches, this is a good time to JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET! Join me if you dare. :-)
Getting fit is difficult. It is filled with ups and downs, challenges and obstacles. It is also energizing and fun and amazing! The best thing you can do is stay committed, keep moving forward and not let setbacks trip you up and make you lay flat. Get up, get moving and keep going!
In this blog I plan to talk about different aspects of fitness, my own journey and things that hopefully help you stay on track.
Each week comes with a new set of challenges to meet. So join me as we punch today in the face!