Archive for August 23, 2011

3 Steps to a Healthier Teen!

Many parents are faced with the problem of watching their teens become more and more unhealthy. Sodas, energy drinks, candy, fast food, and other unhealthy foods are more accessible and their motivation to exercise becomes less frequent. When they were kids they played all sorts of sports, participated in dance, and played outside with their friends. Now as they have aged sports are less inclusive, dance is for kids, and they’re play gaming systems inside with friends. Well, it’s not too late to change the tide. There are ways to get your teen to eat healthier and get active.

Have a Talk with Them

Communication with your teen is a key component in accomplishing any goals with them. Teens need logic to go along with direction. Commanding your teen to start exercising and eating right might work but chances are explaining why they should, will work better. Have the talk with them around the dinner table. Make the talk a family affair if needed. Let your teen know that you love them and are concerned about their health. Let them know that even though they feel invincible, their bodies are very fragile and unforgiving if treated badly. Have facts about type 2 diabetes, strokes, and CVD’s on hand so that they understand the seriousness of their problem. Be sure they know that being healthy is not about how you look but about how your body feels. Anticipate all their reasons for not wanting to comply and be ready to refute them.  Ask them to make small changes such as 1 less soda a day, more fruits and vegetables with each meal, and breaks from sitting around doing nothing to exercise a little. Learn what motivates them and use that to advance the conversation.

Start Cooking Better Meals and Eating Together.

After you’ve had the talk, it’s time for action. Parents have to take responsibility for their part in this. You have to make time to cook better, healthier meals. Start adding more fruits and vegetables to meals. Encourage your teen to have at least 2 servings of fruits and vegetables with each meal. If you want your teen to be disciplined, you have to lead by example. Stop buying unhealthy snacks and drinks or start to significantly limit them. Encourage snacking on fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Make these foods handy so that the choice is obvious. Try to have family meals as often as possible. Sometimes this may mean waking up earlier to have breakfast together. Make a schedule that won’t allow your teen to rush out of the house without breakfast. Pack meals the night before. Allow your teen to shop for groceries with you. Ask them to choose their favorite vegetables and fruits. At this stage variety is not important. If your teen likes asparagus, cook lots of asparagus and slowly introduce other vegetables.

Get More Exercise

You’ve already suggested more exercise, now you must guide them. First, you have to lead by example. Take them with you to your next fitness class. Get them a gym membership. Try to find out what fitness activities they enjoy and suggest they join a club or team. Remember that exercise isn’t only done in a gym or on a field. If your child likes gymnastics, dance, biking, or skating, embrace that and encourage them to commit to it. Teens love new clothes (as if you didn’t already know that). Take them shopping for new workout clothes. They’ll be anxious to wear them which will encourage them to exercise.

It will be very important to revisit the talk. You may have to continuously remind them that you love them and are concerned about their health. Let them know the possible outcomes of a sedentary unhealthy lifestyle. This will not be easy; however it will make your child live a longer and healthier life. Something they will thank you for later.


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Simple Solutions to Your Weight Loss Rut!

When our FaceBook readers were asked to sound off regarding their weight loss rut, their responses were awe-inspiring. We decided they needed simple solutions to help them get out of their rut. If your personal reason isn’t addressed here, please comment and let us know how we can help you through as well.

I Never See Results

First and foremost, be patient. Do you remember how many months went into gaining the weight? It might take just as long to take it off. Just think however; after 3 months of hard work, dedication, and commitment to your goals, you can start seeing the changes you want to see. Hard work means giving your all in work outs. Sometimes it’s going to hurt, burn, and honestly be boring, but it will be beneficial. Dedication means giving up some of the things you really like so that you can have the body and mind that you really need. Commitment means having consistency even when outside temptations are… well, tempting. You have to let others around you know what your goals are and tell them to either respect them, join in, or get out of your way.

The scale is not the only measure of results. Sometimes it lies or doesn’t change. Did you run a little farther today? Did you walk a little faster? Did you hold that plank a little longer? Did you do more sit ups, pushups, or burpees today? So many other success measurements exist, don’t get stuck hoping the scale will change. Also, set short term goals that can be measured daily, such as; I will walk for 10 minutes today. I will eat 4 servings of vegetables today. I will replace my lunch time soda with a glass of water. At the end of the day, assess your progress.

It’s Too Hot

Sometimes you have to get over it and get the workout in. Make sure you have been hydrating all day and listen to your body. If you feel overheated or dehydrated stop. Sometimes training in adverse conditions makes you appreciate the workout more. If the heat is completely unbearable, do your workout indoors. Don’t have a membership to a gym? Work out at home. There are many bodyweight exercises that you can do at home that will get you in as good shape as any gym equipment will. Another solution would be to work out earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it isn’t as hot. Don’t let time be an excuse. Get it in.

Don’t Have Time to Take Healthy Food to Work

Pack your lunch the night before work. Make a sandwich, grab a fruit, a bag full of nuts and bottled water and you have a healthy lunch. You can also keep bagels, fruit, vegetables, trail mix, beef jerky, and string cheese on hand at work. Even healthier t.v. dinners and canned tuna or chicken are better than your average vending machine snack.

 I’m so Overweight, It’s Hopeless

It’s about being healthy and that’s never hopeless. Every step forward is a step toward a healthier you. Too many people have gone from morbidly obese and sedentary to healthy and running marathons. Giving up would be a slap in the face of all those who set the path before you. Think about your job, your relationship, your children; did you give up on those when they seemed hopeless? Why are you giving up on health, vitality, and happiness? Give it time and I assure you, you will be happier!

I’m Injured

Injuries are often emotionally draining. You’ve done everything to prepare for the big race or challenge and then you are sidelined by an injury. Well I am here to tell you that injuries are hurdles that you need to plan for as they happen to everyone. Try doing work outs that don’t bother your injury. Sometimes swimming, biking, elliptical work outs, and yoga can get you through the injury period. I once had a college athlete with multiple hamstring injuries qualify for the state finals in track and field after only doing pool work outs 3 weeks leading up to it. Don’t let injuries defeat you.

I Don’t Have the Energy to do it

Every work out doesn’t have to be your best ever. When you are in a slump, don’t stress, choose shorter less intense work outs until the slump gives a little. If a slump lasts more than a week, it might be time to revisit your goals and refocus. Ask yourself, “why is this important to me”? Tell yourself it’s imperative that you get out of your slump. Repeat after me: “I am physically capable. I am mentally Strong. I will Defeat this.” Then get out there and defeat it.

Remember, at some point even the best athletes go through a rut. The key is getting through it and out of it in a timely matter. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

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Get Motivated With These 5 Easy Tips!

We know it’s difficult, but believe us it isn’t impossible. You’ve had a long day at work, it’s time to help the kids with homework, dinner is due soon, and the children want to play with their friends. Well here are a few ways to get back into a fitness routine.

Find a Family like Yours

Many families are looking for ways to get more fit and healthy. Find a family who wants to get fit together. You guys can head to a park and play games that are engaging and raise your heart rate. You can play an organized sport like football, soccer, or basketball or do some unconventional activities such as relay races, obstacle courses and fitness circuits. If there is a bike path nearby, go for a family ride. This only needs to take about 30-45 minutes but provides time for the kids to interact with their friends and get exercise. Don’t forget to bring the water and sports drinks along for hydration.

Sign Up for a Race

Don’t just sign up, pay the fee. If you do, you’ll have a goal and incentive to get in shape. Sometimes having something to shoot for keeps you motivated. Don’t be afraid to get to the race not completely ready. There are no penalties for walking a little, a lot, or the entire race. You will feel accomplished when you are done.

Get a Workout Buddy

Find someone who won’t talk your ear off or detract you from your workout. Workout buddies should be similar to you. So if you want to have your ear talked off, by all means find that person. Your workout buddy should have a similar schedule so that workouts don’t have to be skipped due to time conflicts. Also, get someone who is at your ability level so you aren’t slowing them down or vice versa. Take walks, jogs, and rides together. Go to the gym or take a class together as well.

Write your Goals

Write your goals and keep them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). An example of a SMART goal would be: I will run a 5k race in 5 weeks. Specific: 5k in 5 weeks. Measurable: In 5 weeks you will either run a 5k or not. Attainable: If you start now in 5 weeks you can run a 5k. Realistic: It can be done. Timely: 5 weeks is a short amount of time. If you have goals written, you will have tangible evidence of them.

Get a Cute Trainer

Ok, they don’t have to be cute but you should like them. You need someone who has your personality but will also push you when you need it. It is important to get a trainer who understands your goals and wants to see you accomplish them. Trainers who aren’t concerned about your goals tend to skip workouts or ignore you to talk to other clients or friends in the gym.

Try these and other ways to get motivated and back on track to accomplishing your fitness goals.

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Should Parents Lose Custody Of Morbidly Obese Children?

This topic has been trending lately. Where do you stand on the issue? If a child is Morbidly Obese and in danger of suffering life threatening illnesses, should they be removed from the custody of their parents. Yes or No? We want to hear your opinions!


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Aspartame is No Good!

Aspartame is No Good!I have two young daughters who love chewing gum.  Before we buy any at the store, they need examine the label carefully and look for aspartame.  It seems like it’s becoming harder and harder to find any gum without it.  In fact, it’s getting more difficult to find anything sweet without it.  Some might say I’m going overboard and it’s only on the market because it is safe.  Well, if you think all the products approved by the FDA are safe, think again.  Aspartame is  dangerous and you should stay away from it like poison.

Aspartame (Nutrisweet) is a chemical used to sweeten at least 9000 products on the market today.  It is found in diet sodas, light ice cream, gum and the list goes on and on.  Unfortunately, aspartame was found to cause brain tumors in rats and confirmed it might cause brain tumors in humans. Despite being ruled unsafe by the FDA in 1974 and 1980 with further studies needed, the product was pushed through and approved thanks to political forces.  This was done because Donald Rumsfeld was then the newly appointed CEO of Searle, the chemical company that held the patent for aspartame.  Searle was bought by Monsanto, a company very well known for being ‘in bed’ with the FDA. In 1981 a 5-person commission was put together to review the findings and the original decision was upheld 3-2.  However, a 6th person was appointed to deadlock the ruling and allow the director, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr. decide in favor of allowing aspartame into the market. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety.  Despite complaint after complaint since then, aspartame is legal.

Don’t believe me?  Research it yourself.  That’s what I did because I’ve always thought that putting artificial ingredients in your body is not healthy.  Aspartame is 10 percent methyl alcohol that is toxic to us.  At temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it breaks down into DKP and formaldehyde, both of which are known toxins. This list goes on and on.  Please see to find out more about aspartame.  Aspartame is NOT a good alternative for sugar.


 Ben Theiss is a devoted father and husband as well as an avid runner and cyclist. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Earth Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a Math and Science Teacher for over 13 years. Ben served in the US Army and is a Veteran of Desert Storm.

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