Monkey See, Monkey Do…Fit Kids

As I sit in the park with Lady S watching her make up games as she goes and making sure the spaceship doesn’t blast off without her, I often think about how her little mind and body works! Oh the minds of kids. It’s amazing when you become a parent because once kids hit the right age, they start to do everything you do and say all the bad things you say.

Lady S is the kind of kid who repeats and emulates all that she sees and hears the people around her do.  There have been many times when we thought she wasn’t listening, only to discover later that she heard it all.  This can play in our favor and against us!  Now that she is four going on sixteen years old, she is hellbent on doing it all and mostly by herself.

Except eat vegetables.  This she refuses to do.  Even if I put cheese, butter, and bacon all over every vegetable that hits our table, she will not eat anything green and proclaim that it is nasty.  The conversations typically go like this.

  • Me:  Eat some of your green beans!  They are SO good.  Mommy made them for you!
  • Lady S:  Mommy, you made them for you, not me!  (Actually this is quite true!)
  • Me:  *insert stern parent face*  If you don’t eat your vegetables you won’t be strong like Daddy.
  • Lady S:  *insert sly preschooler smile here*  Mommy….don’t be silly.  I already have big muscles!  (The kiddo proceeds to flex her miniature bicep)

So you can see where this conversation goes….right….exactly nowhere.  For some reason she has an aversion to all things green!  Her only saving grace is that she loves spaghetti and noodles and corn and sometimes mashed potatoes.  I can often times slide in some finely chopped veggies into her spaghetti.

When we workout at home, she often decides to that she needs to workout as well.  It is complete hilarity to watch her try to do a burpee or a pushup.  She often sits on Mister S’s back while he does his workouts and has become my accountability partner while working out.

As a child and teenager, I was obese.  Always have been and it never occurred to me to do something about it.  Once I became old enough to decide what I wanted to eat, it was often an unhealthy choice.  I have heard those comments about having a pretty face.  Thank God I had a healthy dose of self confidence from an early age despite my weight.

Childhood obesity is real all over the country and it is so disheartening. It is so very important that children see the adults in their lives making good choices when it comes to being healthy.  No, that does not mean that everyone in a child’s life has to have slim to no body fat.  It simply means that kids need to see adults eating those fruits and vegetables and breaking a sweat every now and then.  They shouldn’t think that a home-cooked meal comes from McDonald’s or that desert always has to be something drenched in sugar.

Just a few pointers to help with this process

  • Keep fruits and vegetables in the home at all times.  Most kids love bananas, strawberries, citrus fruits.  Whatever fruits they like, keep them so that they are readily accessible.
  • DO NOT….I repeat DO NOT use food as a reward for good behavior and other things.  Kids are quite smart and will do “good” things just to get those sweet treats.
  • Put it on the plate –>  Whether they eat it or not, present vegetables to your kiddos at each meal.  The more they see, they more they realize it’s not an option.
  • Moderation of sweets –>  Offer sweet treats a few times a week and do it randomly so that it becomes and unexpected event!
  • Send them outside –>  Kids need exercise every single day and the sun does their little bodies good!  Although they are quite stinky when they are done playing, physical activity is important to their overall physical and mental health.

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat vegetables?  Any pointers on how you made this process easier?

 

Coffee Drinkers…yes you…come here!

I’m addicted to coffee. All kinds of it. Light, dark, medium, flavored, organic…I don’t care as long as it’s coffee! Until I’ve had my cup of joe in the morning, it’s best to not ask me multi step questions or those you want serious answers to! I simply can’t think straight! It’s one of the main reasons I avoid morning meetings at all costs.

With the coffee comes my obsession with creamer. My amazing grandfather Dupe used to drink it straight black. No sugar or cream! I’ve tried that and it didn’t fair well. I guess you could say I like mine diluted a little bit. In the eight million eight years Mister S and I have been married, I’ve converted him over to the dark side as well. Sometimes I let Lady S smell the coffee beans since it helps the airways for asthmatics. Win win for everyone!

We probably used 2-3 quarts of creamer a month. I used to just turn that creamer bottle upside down and let it rip. And the 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. I can’t even imagine the calories. Well actually I can and I am sure it was somewhere around 150-200 a cup just in creamer and sugar. Bad I know cause the creamer has sugar in it too!

That all had to change of course. I replaced the sugar with Splenda and then decided I didn’t like that either so now I use stevia and I quite like it. The creamer is a different story though. We still use it although it’s limited to 2 tablespoons. Problem is, as I get more conscious about what goes in our bodies, I couldn’t reconcile those chemicals in the creamer. I know what you’re saying because I’ve said it too!

It’s only a little bit!

The flavors are so good!

There’s chemicals in everything!

That led me to Pinterest to find an alternative. I don’t like almond milk as a creamer so that was out. I have to be in the mood to use half and half or milk as a creamer. I like flavors. What can I say! Pinterest has tons of homemade, easy recipes to use for creamer so I decided to give one a try. The recipe is simple and it gave my coffee the right amount of sweetness and creaminess.

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Base Recipe for coffee creamer

Ingredients
1-2 cups of milk – you can use whole, reduced fat, almond milk, or soy milk
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Pure extracts of any flavors you like – vanilla and almond are popular

Directions
In an airtight jar (Mason is good to use here) combine the milk and sweetened condensed milk. Add teaspoon of extract. Seal tightly and shake vigorously until well combined. Pour into coffee. Savor the flavor. Go out and be nice to people!

I found this to be a great alternative to store brought creamer. The only downside is you must remember the expiration date of your milk. Also using 2 cups of milk/almond milk/soy milk will make about 3 cups of creamer when it is all combined. Keep this in mind as well.

Now go forth on Pinterest and find all the flavor combinations you can make!

Sickness Sucks! Listening to your body…

Ah!!!! I’m sick. Down for the count. In bed looking a mess. I feel like poo and look like it too! It’s been days since I had a good run or workout and I am really hating it right now. I’ll spare you all the grimy details, but let’s just say that jumping up and down would not be in my best interest today!

There have been a few times that I’ve been down for the count with working out. There have been a few times when I stupidly drudged through a workout only to feel like a train wreck afterwards. It’s that blind optimism that all I needed to do was sweat it out and then I’d feel better. Or a little light cardio *no such thing* would be alright. I learned my lesson a long time ago to rest when it’s needed.

There are people reading this who might think that working out all the time is going to get you there faster. Or working out when your body is telling you not to, is a good idea. Well….I am here to tell you it’s not.

If you find yourself not feeling that great or your muscles are hurting to the point of pain, it will not derail your journey to rest a bit. Your body needs those rest days to repair itself and to have the opportunity to build muscles. The last thing anyone wants is to not feel your best and risk injury on top if that? It’s simply not worth it.

So what am I doing today? Lying in bed relinquishing all parenting duties to Mister S. Drinking lots of water and sleeping. The workouts can wait 😉. My body will thank me later.

YouTube workouts. Go get you some :)

The summer is coming to a close for me.  In three short weeks I will be back at work fulltime, Lady S will be starting preschool, and Mister S will be working fulltime AND going to school fulltime!  It’s going to be busy here in our house to say the least.  I’ve got my charts printed out already so that I can start menu planning for the month of September!  I have to admit I am ready to get back into the chaos that is our lives during the school year.  Anyone who knows a teacher knows we don’t really take the summer off.  We just do a little less!

I am on the tail-end of a 30 day challenge that BodyRockTV has hosted on YouTube.  It’s called Transformer and you can find it here.  It has been tough to say the least.  Since taking a hiatus from Planet Fitness, I have been working out solely at home.  Driving to the gym was just too time consuming and I really feel like I get a better workout at home.   The other upside is that Lady S will do her jumping jacks and burpees and jump rope with me!

A lot of people will ask me what I actually do while working out.  It would take at least an hour to name it all, but I try to do exercises that incorporate working all my muscle groups.  If I am going to spend 30-45 minutes of my life working out, then I plan on getting as much in as a I can.  There are a few channels on YouTube that I follow religiously.  I find workouts that I like and do those.  There really is no science to it.  If my shoulders are tight, I’ll focus on lower body and core work and vice versa.

My disclaimer is simple:

  1. Know your limitations.
  2. Practice good form.
  3. Ease yourself into the workouts if you haven’t worked out in a long time.
  4. Take breaks as needed.
  5. Stay hydrated.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Melissa Bender –>  Beginner to Intermediate Levels.   Most workouts are 15-25 minutes in length and incorporate cardio and strength training.  She also has some yoga exercises as well.
  • Fitness Blender –>  Beginner to Advanced Levels.  Workouts include cardio only, strength, yoga, Crossfit style, and weighted workouts.  Each workout typically includes a warm-up and cool-down helping you to avoid injury.  They also have meal plans and workout plans if you want to really step up your game.
  • BodyRock –>  Intermediate to Advanced Levels.  Most workouts are fairly difficult and require equipment including dumbbells, bars, or other materials.  You can easily adapt the workouts to your level, but may have a hard time with the equipment piece.  I would not recommend starting with these workouts if you haven’t been physical in awhile.  Unless you like torture.  Then in that case, be my guest 😉
  • XHIT Daily –> Beginner to Intermediate Levels.  Short and sweet workouts primarily focused on women.  I haven’t found any of these to be especially hard but they do make you feel the burn.

Have you tried any of these workouts from the channels?  Do you feel like workouts are better in the gym or at home?

Clean(er) eating?! Ah this is really hard!

I decided a few weeks ago to make an effort to eat a little bit better. A few of my friends follow the Paleo diet, Smoothie Cleanses (y’all know how I feel about green smoothies), strict diets. I simply can’t do any of that. I need to be able to eat what I want if the mood strikes and not feel guilty about it. Guilt is a great sabotager to my progress and I simply don’t have time for that.

Summer is really hard for me because I am at home with a toddler who eats ALL DAY LONG. I feel like I live in the kitchen with this kiddo! Literally every 2.5 hours this child is asking for a snack. Our typical conversations go like this…

Me: Zoned out watching t.v.
Lady S: Mom, Can I have a snack please?
Me: *Exasperated sigh since we just had breakfast 1.5 hours ago* What do you want to eat?
Lady S: I would like a snack of bananas, vanilla wafers, strawberries, and….

As Lady S grows, it appears her appetite does as well. The good thing about her constantly wanting a “snack” is that she typically asks for something healthy. We make a real effort to provide her with fruits and/or cheese as a snack and she takes to it well. Because of her food allergy, candies are typically reserved for birthdays and holidays. We make sure to keep the staples in the fridge at all times.

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. I like my carbs…yogurt, granola…coffee…more coffee 😉 That has changed as of recent weeks. Everyday From time to time, I search the internet for ideas on how to make veggies and how to hide them in the foods that we eat everyday. It has been harder than I had imagined. Mister S is picky about the veggies and fruits he eats. Lady S won’t eat a vegetable to save her life unless it’s lettuce. Plain ole’ lettuce 😦

I have the food pyramid downloaded on my phone and iPad to remind me of how many of each food group I need to eat. Most days I hit it on target but some days I simply don’t. I just move on to the next day and start over again.

There is a ton of information on the web about clean(er) eating. Take a look and see if you could incorporate some of the rules into your diet each day. Remember that big changes come from small steps.

Ro

My Scale Broke and I am not sad about it!

It finally happened.  After using that sucker for almost two years straight, the battery died.  Oh how it gave me such gratification in the beginning of my health journey.  Watching the numbers go lower and lower made me SO happy.  I was fanatical about weighing in every single day.  And then it happened….the scale stopped moving during my plateaus….and I got pissed off because I was working my arse off and it should have been moving but it wasn’t!  So frustrating.

But then something miraculous happened at the beginning of summer.  The first thing is the batteries died in my digital scale.  The second thing is I no longer carried about the numbers on the scale.  I have talked about this before, but will touch on why these two things are equally important to my journey.

When the batteries in the scale died, I was SO mad.  I wanted it to just start working the way that it was supposed to.  I had paid $30 for that thing and it should work right?  Well….here is the confession.  I don’t think it EVER worked right.  For example, I could weigh at 6:30 a.m. and it say one thing and then weigh again at 6:35 a.m. and miraculously I had gained 5 pounds.  That, to me, spells malfunction!  So I kept jiggling the thing and then I said “Oh Well!!!” And then….I felt ok which leads me to the second thing….

As I type this I feel free.  No, not that I just got out of jail free, but more of a “I finally did it feeling!”.  Let me explain….for the past 2 years it has been about the scale….losing fat and gaining muscle.  The jiggles had to go!  I was OVER it and like most people I wanted results.  I have done enough research to know that this process is long and slow and sometimes frustrating, but that didn’t stop those feelings.  So after my scale broke, I said to myself that it was time to let it go.  Let the numbers on the scale go.  I also decided to stop tracking calories through MFP.  I was sick of it because I felt like all I did was track foods.  It was tiresome and a major deterrent to my overall success.  Health and progress can be better measured by other things that have nothing to do with numbers on a scale.

So how am I measuring my progress on my journey? I am using a variety of things that have nothing to do with scales and numbers.

  • Measuring Tapes!  ->  I have tracked my measurements since the sixth month of my journey.  One of the hard things to learn was that sometimes the scale isn’t going to move but the inches will and that is ultimately what matters.
  • Fitness Milestones ->  As I work through different workouts and fitness routines, I have found new found strength that I didn’t know I had.  I could have never held a plank months ago and now I can with good form.  I can run without getting ridiculously winded or tired.  I can do squat jumps continuously for more than a few seconds….You get the point.
  • Clothes ->  One of the best measures of my personal success is how clothes fit and how they lay.  I can tell if I have lost or gained inches or weight, just by how lose or tight my clothes feel.
  • Clean Eating –>  I have made a conscious effort to eat more whole foods and eating good carbs which as I have said before are my weakness.  I am eating more fruits and veggies everyday and making a more concerted effort to do so.

When you ask me how much I weigh or how much weight I have lost….I will be honest and tell you around 100 lbs and I will also tell you that your health journey is more than numbers on a scale.  It’s about YOU and you are more than those numbers.

Do you struggle with scale obsession?  How do you monitor your progress?  Looking forward to feedback!

Things that make me go “hmmmm…..”

There are so many things that I have encountered during this health journey that have made me scratch my head.  Some of the head scratching is for a good reason and some of the head scratching is because I am shocked at how little I knew about health and how little others now about health.  I thought it would be funny and enlightening to list some of the things that make me go “hmmmm….”

Top Crazy Questions

  1. “Can I just lose weight without working out?  It’s tiring”  Why yes you can lose weight without working out.  And you will gain it all back.  Working out is supposed to be tiring.  It’s call WORK for a reason.
  2. “Can I just skip two meals and then eat dinner?”  Sure you can skip breakfast, the most important meal of the day.  Be a raging, hungry lunatic all day, and then gorge at dinner.  Your coworkers and family are going to LOVE you. (or not!)
  3. “Can you stop you are making us all look fat?”  Hmmmmmmm…..
  4. “Do french fries count as a vegetable?”  Yes someone asked me that and no I did not answer it.
  5. “Are you guys (Mister S and I) sick?”  Ummm….no we aren’t sick other than being sick and tired of being unhealthy.  NEXT!

Top Crazy Comments

  1. “Gosh you’ve lost all that weight and still have wide hips”  Jesus be some common sense for people!  While I could have found this offensive, I didn’t.  Mister S likes the hips and so do I!
  2. “Where did your boobs go?”  Ok….so….I have ALWAYS been small chested when you compare my chest to my hips.  I’m happy with them and once again…Mister S likes them so 😉
  3. “You need to feed that man (Mister S)!  Quit depriving him of food!”  For the record, I did not and do not starve Mister S.  He eats quite a bit, BUT he eats good stuff (mostly 😉 ) so….I can oblige the first part and continue to feed him.
  4. *Opening my fridge* “Where is the good food?  This is rabbit food!”  Then just call me a rabbit cause fruits and veggies is how we roll!
  5. “You’re starting to look anorexic”  This was totally head scratch worthy.  Anorexia is NOT a joke or something to joke around with.  Ah….watch those words folks….watch those words.

 I am CERTAIN that people mean well when they ask questions or make comments, but sometimes I have to wonder.  Have you dealt with any comments like these from people?

“hmmmm….sometimes I wonder….”