Help Your Child Become Body Confident

Help Your Child Become Body-Confident

We all want our kids to be happy – and a big part of achieving that happiness is finding happiness with themselves. As our social media feeds fill up with stories of bullying and peer shaming, it’s hard not to feel like we’re fighting for the unattainable. So how can parents help their children to attain a healthy body image in spite of the constant negativity in this world?

For starters, realize that it isn’t just about body image: it’s about helping them to have a healthy self image as a whole. Help them to understand that they are more than just their physical self. Yes, they have a body and need to take care of it – but they are also a soul, full of potential with hobbies and talents and goals. Help them to define those goals and map a plan to achieve them. Come back and discuss them – not in a business-like manner, but as a coach and friend. Attaining their goals and knowing that they have a true supporter interested not in just whether they check off that checkbox, but how they are doing on their journey towards it, goes a long way in building confidence and a sense of self worth.

Set a good example. Make a point to stay active yourself – but make sure that you’re balanced and not obsessive: constantly talking about your weight will only build the idea in your child’s mind that the number on the scale is a top priority. Beyond that, don’t put yourself down – your children are listening and form their own understanding of body image and how they should value and critique themselves from you. Beyond that, try not to comment on the physical – on them, yourself, or others. It is perfectly welcome – and encouraged – to pay compliments, but know that there is a difference between complimenting someone for looking particularly nice and complimenting certain attributes. Don’t comment on weight – good or bad. Don’t mention that someone walking in the mall is so thin or that the player on the other team has perfect “____.” Your child hears that you wish they were that way.

Your kids are watching and listening, and they are taking note of what you do and what you say – about them, yourself, and others. Think not just about what you say in words, but how your child will relate it to and apply it to themselves.

Finally, help them build confidence. Not based on physical image, but on achievements elsewhere. Take note of school achievements – not just for great grades, but for improvements. Take note when they achieve a new skill in their sport of choice. Notice how they play with friends and let them know how much you appreciate their kindness or compassion. And let them know that you notice. They may seem bashful or shy at first, but those positive comments will stick with them and build them up over time.

Building a positive body image comes from building a positive image as a whole. Help your child love who they are and that physical piece becomes one small part of their whole.

Help Your Kids to Create Healthy Habits

Help Your Kids to Create Healthy Habits

We all want our kids to be healthy – and a big part of succeeding in that goal is to help them create healthy habits that they will carry throughout their lives. Here are a few ways to help foster those habits and encourage healthy behaviors at every age.

Find exercise everywhere. 
In our adult lives, many of us spend a full day at the office, leaving little time to spend time with family, take care of the house, and maintain a social life – let alone get the minimum hour of activity we need every day. Teach your kids how to find balance and make activity part of their lives. That might mean a daily trip to the gym – or, it might mean a daily walk as a family after dinner, waking up early to walk the dog in the morning, jumping on the Xbox for a Just Dance tournament, or simply getting up and playing tag; Red Rover; or Simon Says instead of crashing in front of the TV. But beyond conscious activity, there are every-day and around the house ways to move – think raking leaves, mopping floors, taking out garbage. These mundane tasks keep us moving – and are also great motivation to stay active (so we can lift what we need to lift, push those strollers up those hills, and play with those we love).

A few notes about incentives.
 Incentives are a great way to get kids to do things – think of all those potty training sticker charts and M&Ms, for example. But there’s a plus and negative to incentives…

On the plus side, we like to reward good behavior. You likely do it for good grades, completing chores, and any other number of things – why not also start incentivizing healthy habits? Consider reward tracking for consecutive days of healthy eating or activity.

Which leads us to the down side… how we incentivize. Often times, we head for the ice cream shop or with ordering out. There’s nothing wrong with it on occasion, but if it becomes a frequent occurrence, it can lead to replacement bad habits. Consider instead letting someone choose dinner for the night (preferably something healthy), getting to ride in the front seat, or picking the movie for the family movie night.

By all means, use incentives – they’re a great way to get everyone on board and reward good behavior… and that repetition is how we build habits!

Be a role model.
 Your kids are watching you, so be someone you want them to watch. Be active yourself. Take the time to actively play with them. Eat healthy yourself (they know when there are empty ice cream containers). Don’t make negative comments about yourself.

The road to positive, healthy habits begins with you.

Are You Still Planning to Lose Weight & Get in Shape?

It’s time to stop planning and start empowering yourself.  The time to move is now, and a group personal training is the perfect way to get started.

Exercising by yourself can be tough.  Nobody knows if you skip, there is no one to push you a little harder, and you don’t have a commitment to anyone else.  One day off turns into two, and before you know it, weeks have passed without you even raising a sweat.  Getting fit in isolation can be done, but it’s much harder and requires a resolve few of us have.

That is perhaps why the popularity of group personal training programs is exploding:  people sign up for them because they work.

Group Personal Training Benefits

1.  The biggest benefit that a group personal training offers is support.  When you join a group personal training program, you are ensuring that you have like-minded people to motivate you and a qualified leader to help you reach your weight loss and fitness milestones.  If staying motivated is a challenge for you, then a group personal training program will energize you to keep going.  Members of group personal training programs can become close friends as they work hard and celebrate together.

2.  You will push yourself harder in a group personal training program.  During your workouts, there are no distractions to cause you  to lose your momentum or excuses to slack off.  Your coach will expect compliance, and while we will certainly work within your ability, you will be amazed at how far you can go in the right environment. The feeling you get when you know you have pushed yourself a little further than you thought you could will give you confidence in all other areas of your life.

3.  Cost wise, you can’t go wrong with a group personal training program.  They are led by certified personal trainers (not group fitness instructors), and this means that you get tailored, one-on-one help that approaches the attention that you get when you hire a personal trainer.  But it costs much less!

4.  Ready for quick results?  group personal training program generally incorporate variations of high intensity interval training or HIIT for short.  HIIT training has been scientifically proven to be more effective and more efficient than traditional exercise programs.  We’re not playing games in here.  Our goal is to change your life and have a great time doing it!

5.  It’s fun! Team training takes the torture out of serious workouts.  There is nothing like laughing with each other as you struggle through those last push ups or pant through that last few seconds of burpees.  In fact, a recent study has proven that pleasant distraction reduces pain.1 Don’t worry-we’re not going to torture you, but any serious fitness work has moments of discomfort.  The distraction of having others around you doing the same thing can mean the difference between finishing with a smile on your face and not finishing at all.

If you are tired of the same old fitness routine or tired of your good intentions to get in shape leading nowhere, then a group personal training program may be exactly what you need. 

Supercharge your Health with Green Drinks

No matter how committed we are to getting in the recommended five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits every day, sometimes we come up short.  It may be that we are busy and barely have time to eat at all, or perhaps we find ourselves in eating situations that don’t include many fresh vegetable choices.  Or maybe we just don’t like them.

On days that you find it hard to eat enough vegetables and fruits, a green drink is the perfect answer.  It is a great way to boost your health and even detox your system.

Green drinks are just that—green, because they contain the juice of fresh green vegetables and other vegetables and fruits.  There are many reasons to consider adding green drinks to your diet.

Why drink green juice?

Vegetables and fruit are full of essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes that your body thrives on.  And because you are consuming it in liquid form, your body can digest it quickly.  This is especially helpful if you have digestion issues, because the process of juicing ‘pre digests’ the food for you by breaking down the cell walls.  This means that the nutrition can easily go right into your system.

Drinking your veggies and fruits also allows you to take in more nutrients.  You may find it difficult to eat an entire bunch of kale in a day, but drinking the juice from that same amount is no problem at all!

You will also detox your body by drinking fresh juices.  The enzymes contained in the juice help to release built-up toxins, leaving your body much healthier.

Many people have found that juicing helps them to lose weight, increase their energy and even improve some medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Smoothies too!

An alternative to juicing your veggies and fruit (my preferred method) is to turn them into smoothies. While a juicer extracts the juice and leaves behind the pulp, a high-powered blender can be used to blend the juice and pulp together into a thicker drink.  Either method is fine–it just depends on your preference.  The fiber in the smoothies will cause you to feel full longer, which may help you to have fewer cravings. 

Watch Your Calories and Sugar Intake!

WARNING:  Juicing can really jack up your calorie and sugar intake when you use a lot of fruit.  Be mindful of what you’re putting in you green drink…

Get started with these recipes

Here are some recipes1 to help you jumpstart your health and energy.

Baby’s First Green (a great starter juice)

1 large pear
1 apple
1 cup pineapple, cubed
4 large stalks kale
1 cucumber

Gena’s Classic Green Juice

1 green apple
1 inch knob ginger
5 large stalks celery
1 cucumber
1 large handful parsley
5 stalks kale

Veggie Ginger Juice

3 large carrots
1 beet
1 green apple
4 large stalks celery
1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green
1 small cucumber
1 inch knob ginger

Do you juice?  Let me know your favorite recipes!

Sources:

1 http://www.choosingraw.com

How Daylight Savings Time Can Help You Lose Weight and Get Fit.

This Sunday, March 10, 2019 marks the date we change our clocks in observance of Daylight Saving Time. On this day, most U.S. residents will move their clocks forward one hour, resulting in more daylight at the end of each day.

Many people dread this “spring forward” tradition, because it means getting one less hour of sleep. But you can take advantage of the upcoming time change to help you improve your overall fitness and health routine.

The effect of daylight
The sunlight has a profound impact on our bodies, particularly two hormones that control mood and energy: serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin tends to boost mood and energy, while melatonin tends to make you feel sleepy. Too much of it can even lead to depressed feelings in some people. Winter depression is a common disorder that many people suffer with during the long, dark winter months, and it is often directly tied to the effect of less daylight, less serotonin and too much melatonin.
When sunlight is plentiful (such as during the late spring and summer months), you will produce more serotonin and less melatonin. When sunlight is less available (during fall and winter), you will produce less serotonin and more melatonin. The result can be a dramatic shift in your overall feelings of well-being and energy; you will likely find that you have more energy and motivation when the days begin to lengthen.

Put the longer days to work for you
Have you struggled to work out this winter? Has your motivation been weak? Less daylight may be the reason. If you didn’t head into fall and winter last year with a solidly entrenched fitness habit, you may have lost motivation and spent the winter merely wishing that you were working out.
Long-term fitness is the result of having a fitness routine and sticking with it. Once a habit becomes part of your life, it is easy to keep it up, even if your motivation and energy drop from time to time, as they surely will. Particularly in fall and winter.
This is the perfect time to begin building healthy exercise habits.

Take advantage of the longer days and increased sunlight. As we get closer to spring and summer, the days will get longer and longer, which will give you more time and opportunity to work out. The increased serotonin in your body will boost your mood and energy, giving you the motivation to create an exercise routine. Get serious about this routine, so that by the time fall rolls around in a few months, you will be firmly entrenched in your healthy lifestyle.
A solid fitness habit will carry you through the dark days of winter when energy and motivation lag, and you will finish the winter strong. Get started now!

Want to get healthy? Take a nap.

How often do you hear someone say, “I had a great night’s sleep last night!” or “I feel refreshed and energetic!”? Probably not very often. Feeling sluggish seems to be the new normal. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is the new normal: most Americans are sleep-deprived. But not getting enough sleep may be causing more trouble for you than just that pesky drowsy feeling: it could be seriously harming your health.

Why aren’t we sleeping?

Centuries ago, it was common for people to sleep 8 to 9 hours each day. But now, only about 25% of Americans get 8 or more hours of sleep. The reasons we are not sleeping are many. We live in a 24/7 society—practically anything we want to do is available around the clock, from fitness centers to pharmacies to department stores.

We are working long hours, transporting our kids to activities, trying to make time for friends and fitness and entertainment. When the heat is on, the first thing to go is usually sleep. And it’s usually not even a conscious decision to skimp on sleep-we just get in bed a little later most nights, because we are so pressed and pushed.

But even when we get into bed, we aren’t guaranteed sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60% of Americans have sleep problems. That means more than half of us struggle to sleep. And it is taking its toll.

Dangers of sleep deprivation

“The foundations of good health are good diet, good exercise and good sleep, but two out of three doesn’t get you there,”1
— Dr. Anne Calhoun, neurology professor, University of North Carolina.
Eating healthily and getting plenty of exercise are not enough to make up for the danger that sleep deprivation poses to your health. Adults need around 8 hours of sleep each night, although some studies indicate that as little as 7 and one-half hours can be sufficient. Getting less than that can have serious consequences:
Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: If you get less than 6 hours of sleep each night and have disturbed sleep, you have a 48% greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater risk of developing or dying from a stroke.2 Lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure, blocked arteries, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.

Obesity: Sleep shortage is directly linked to obesity. When you don’t get enough sleep, two powerful hormones that control hunger are disrupted. The result is that you feel hungrier and have fewer sensations of feeling “full.”

But without enough sleep you will also feel more stressed, which encourages the production of the hormone cortisol in your body. This hormone causes you to crave high-carbohydrate foods such as potato chips and brownies, and then deposits those carbs as fat around your belly—the most dangerous place to store fat.

Pre-diabetes is also a risk for those who don’t get enough sleep. Trying to get by on less than 6 hours of sleep per night can cause impaired glucose tolerance.

Compromised immune system: Why is it that two people can be exposed to the same germs, but only one of them gets sick? The reason is the immune system. If your immune system is functioning well, you can ward off many illnesses. But if something happens to compromise your immune response, you will be vulnerable to infections, bacteria, viruses, and even some autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and asthma.

When you do not get enough sleep, your immune system becomes stressed and compromised. You actually have a decrease in white blood cells, and those that remain are less active. The result is that you will get sick more often.

Impaired exercise performance: As if the threat of heart disease, obesity and immune suppression weren’t enough, lack of sleep can negatively impact your fitness efforts. It’s not uncommon for people to struggle to maintain their normal level of workout intensity when they are sleep deprived. You just won’t have the energy to push through. Also, your muscles repair and rebuild while you sleep: if you don’t allow your body this recovery time, you will be at a significant disadvantage during your next workout.
Make time for sleep
The truth is, if you don’t make time now for adequate sleep, you will likely be forced in the future to make time for illness. It may take significant effort to arrange your schedule and priorities to carve out time for more sleep, but the payoff will be increased health, energy and productivity!
Ready for a nap?
Sources:
1http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2010/12/02/f-sleep-tips.html
2http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/09/dangers-sleep-deprivation

How to overcome Winter Weight Gain

How to Overcome Winter Weight Gain

Today, we’re taking a hard look at winter weight gain. It’s a common problem—people tend to pack on a few pounds during the winter months.
But we want to fight back, and we hope you will join us. Let’s get after this now, while winter is still in full force. We’ll have less to deal with when the warm breezes start blowing!

The good, the bad…and the solution

Although winter weight gain varies from person to person, research shows the average gain to be five to seven pounds! Some people gain this extra weight because they have Seasonal Affective Disorder—a type of winter depression. But most of us can’t blame winter depression for our tendency to pick up extra weight during the winter months.

So, why does winter weight gain happen? According to Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, it happens because we eat more and move less during the winter months1.

This is bad news and good news. It is bad news because it would be kind of nice if we could blame our cold-weather corpulence on something exotic like the jet stream cycle and waddle off for another espresso.
But it is good news because we can do something about it. We don’t have to greet spring with softer middles and tighter clothes. So let’s celebrate leap year by tackling winter weight gain with our weapon of choice here at Fitness Revolution: discipline.
Hour of decision
According to Merriam-Webster, discipline is a “rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity2.” This is perfect. In order to fight winter weight gain, we have to discipline ourselves to follow some rules.

Here we go…

1. Banned language: For the next several weeks, do not allow yourself to say, “Just this once.” If you pay close attention, a ‘just this once’ situation comes up practically every day. You go to a retirement party. You take spouse out for a birthday dinner. Someone brings a meal by your house because you’ve been sick. Your co-worker brings in the leftover pizza from last night’s party. Your child has leftover Valentine’s Day candy. You have to say no every single time. Otherwise, you will never get ahead.
Just grit your teeth, resist what others are having and make good food choices. I’m not saying it is easy. I am saying it is necessary.

2. Plan your occasional splurge, and do not deviate from the plan. Unending deprivation is never a good idea, but you have to be intentional about the time, place and food that you let yourself splurge on.
Love the hot wings at your favorite restaurant? Then let’s make a deal. Eat clean for ten days. No cheating. And then at the end of those ten days, go have the wings. Guilt free. Just enjoy them. Then set the next goal. But you are not allowed to deviate from your plan in the meantime.
If you do, you lose the wings.
Don’t waste your fun calories on something that doesn’t compare to those wings!

3. Keep moving. Exercise is not an optional activity. Now more than ever you have to get your body in motion. Exercise is very effective at preventing weight gain—and that is what we’re after right now. Don’t even worry so much about losing pounds; just work to keep the winter scale-creep from happening to you. Try to get some cardio in at least six days a week.
Remember: spring is coming. Let’s be ready for it, and leave winter weight gain behind.

Sources
1http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/5-tips-to-avoid-winter-weight-gain
2http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline

Easy Tweaks for Healthier Eats!

Easy Tweaks for Healthier Eats

Let’s be honest – by the time our kids get home from school and we get home from a long day at work, the last thing we feel like doing is slaving away in the kitchen to make healthy, gourmet meals. It’s easy to fall into the habit of popping in a frozen pizza, ordering out, or heading for the packaged meal section… but there are easy swaps that help to make healthier meals and snacks in just minutes. Try these easy tweaks for healthier eats in minutes.

Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza? But the frozen varieties tend to be unfulfilling, while the take-out and delivery versions are laden with fat and processed starches. Thankfully, pizza is incredibly easy to make at home. If you have some time, try the cauliflower pizza crust – it’s low carb and a great way to sneak a vegetable into your kid’s diets in a way they totally won’t mind. Short on time? There are plenty of pre-made crusts at the grocery store – just opt for the whole wheat. Some stores even make fresh whole wheat dough – this is a great way to make it healthier, but still fresh. Load up on veggies and cut back on cheese.

Spaghetti Night: The worst part of spaghetti night isn’t the starch – it’s the sauce. Whole wheat or alternative noodles are a given – so now move on to amping up that sauce. Instead of grabbing the sugar-laden pre-made sauces from the pantry, semi home-make your own. Saute garlic in a bit of olive oil, then add a pinch of salt and some Italian seasoning and toast it in the pan for about 30 seconds. Add in 15 oz of tomato sauce and you’re ready to go – it’s sugar free and tastes far better than anything off the grocery store shelf.

Taco Tuesday: Tacos are fun and easy, but can become easy to over eat and make unhealthy. Try using shredded chicken simmered in taco seasoning or ground turkey instead of the ground beef – it’s an easier way to retain the flavor, but cut the fats. Next, swap the flour tortillas for corn tortillas – or better yet, get rid of the tortilla all together and make it a taco salad. Be mindful of sour cream and cheese on top – instead, try using a salsa verde to add flavor and texture.

Pantry Snack Time: The Hostess and Little Debbie snack cakes are easy, but it’s no surprise that they aren’t healthy. Clear them out of the pantry and instead stock up on quick and easy-to-grab prepared snacks, such as part skim mozzarella sticks, pre-portioned orange slices, ants on a log, or simple cheese and crackers.

Take five minutes at the start of the week to divide snacks into snack bags and leave them in the bottom drawer of your fridge so your kids can help themselves after school.

Healthy Twists on Thanksgiving Classics!

Healthy Twists on Thanksgiving Classics

Although Thanksgiving is about friendships and counting our blessings, for many, it quickly turns into a day of eating… and of course, that doesn’t mean overloading on healthy salads. Keep this year’s menu traditional, but a bit healthier, with these healthy – and easy – twists on the classics.

The Potatoes

Thanksgiving potatoes vary in prep, but whether their are au gratin, mashed, or scalloped they have one thing in common (aside from the natural starchiness): they carry lots of fat in the way of cheeses and butter used in preparation. Skip these fats and swap the butter or cream for a Greek yogurt – it’s full of the richness and creaminess that you love, but without the saturated fats and high calories. Better yet, swap in sweet potatoes instead of the Russets – it’s a healthier carb that’s also loaded with healthy vitamins.

Green Beans

Green beans by themselves are a great pick – but all too often, they get covered in butter or cream sauces. Stick to steamed green beans, or, to amp them up, consider adding some turkey bacon bits and garlic with extra virgin olive oil.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are full of vitamins and nutrients – but alone, they’re incredibly bitter (that’s why they get smothered with sugar). Cranberry sauce is an easy fix – for starters, leave the pre-made cans at the grocery store; they’re more like candy than cranberry sauce. Instead, mix together 1 c. sweetener (Splenda, Truvia, etc.), the juice and zest from one orange, a cinnamon stick, and 16 oz. of cranberries. Pop it all on the stove and let it simmer until you hear the cranberries start popping and see the sauce start to thicken. It’s that simple and this option is high in vitamins and low in sugar, while also bringing out the natural flavors in the cranberries.

Dinner Rolls

Between the stuffing, the potatoes, and the dinner rolls, it’s easy for Thanksgiving to turn into a carb fest. Opt to skip the dinner rolls all together – or, if you can’t bring yourself to forego them, look for a whole wheat version that doesn’t have added sugar. As ever, homemade is best.

Turkey

This is one swap you don’t need to make – turkey is naturally high in iron and a great source of protein. Of course, opt for roasting – no frying – and find other ways to baste that don’t include butter and fats. Last but not least, be careful of that gravy intake.

Cold and Flu season is upon us!

Cold and Flu Season is Upon Us:  How’s Your Gut Function?

Fall is here, and that means that cold and flu season has arrived.  Have you ever noticed that some people seldom get sick?  Or maybe you have wondered why after being exposed to the same virus, one person gets ill while the other remains well. 

The reason lies in the strength of the immune system.  And the strength of your immune system is largely dependent upon the condition of your digestive system.

When you are exposed to bad bacteria or viruses, it is up to your immune system to protect you from being infected.  If your immune system is strong, your body will fight off the threat.  If your immune system is weak or compromised, you may end up sick.

Microbes:  the good, the bad, and the ugly


Inside your digestive system are many microbes.  Microbes are live organisms that affect your overall health. 

Some of these organisms are beneficial and protect you from disease.  These good bacteria recognize when illness-producing intruders enter your body; they promptly attack the intruders so you do not get sick.  If you do not have enough good bacteria in your gut, you will be more susceptible not only to infections such as colds and stomach flu, but you will also be at risk for autoimmune diseases such as colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Chron’s disease.

Ideally you have a large supply of these good microbes living in your gut.  But they can easily become depleted.  If you have recently taken antibiotics, you have had not only the bad bacteria wiped out, but also the good bacteria.  Antibiotics are not selective in their destruction.

Antibiotics are not the only way that good bacteria become depleted in your digestive system.  The chlorine in your drinking water can destroy them, as can the pesticide residue on the food that you eat.

Once the supply of beneficial microbes in your intestines dwindles, bad microbes such as yeast, fungi and disease-causing bacteria begin to take up residence.  When the scale tips in favor of the bad, your immune system becomes compromised.

Enter Probiotics


If you think you might be deficient in good microbes, it is not difficult to remedy the problem.  The solution is to take probiotics.  Probiotics are good microbes that you can consume in your diet.  They then settle in your digestive system and get to work protecting you from illness and destroying the bad bacteria that may be living there.

Probiotics are available in capsule form, but you can also replenish the good microbes by eating yogurt. Check the label on the yogurt that you buy to make sure it says that it contains active cultures—those are the good bacteria that you need to eat.

Take action now and get a head start on this year’s cold and flu season.  You can get ahead of the game by improving your gut function and fighting illness.