What’s in a Number?

Today I’m standing tall on my soapbox to vent about a negative trend where women are concerned – that trend being to fudge numbers and letters relating to our size and the clothes that we wear.

My frustration recently reached a new peak when I went to Victoria Secret to purchase a gift for a bride-to-be. I scoured the racks and shelves for some lovely little lace-diddy in her size, I found none. I inquired as to where all the 34A’s were, and was gleefully informed by an annoying overly-enthusiastic yet robotic sales girl that they no longer make lingerie sets in 34A, the smallest offering would be 32B. I immediately pounced back with “why is Victoria Secret discriminating against us A’s?” (Note, they still offer bras in A cup sizes, just not lingerie.)

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Her reply was to look me up and down and state with misplaced joy “well first of all, clearly you’re a 32C…” at which point my how stupid are you laugh cut her off and I corrected her with my proper size (like the bride, a 34A). She then asked when was the last time I was measured, and also added that even if I was a 34A, I could just as easily wear a 32B. I informed her that if you wrapped a tape measure around my ribs under my breasts it measures 34 inches, and therefore a 32 would not fit. She shot back that the larger cup size would take up the slack.  Evidently this is now a widely accepted sales approach to bras.  The question I have is WHY?  What’s wrong with being an A cup?

After a few more irritating back-and-forths with this mannequin I departed in a huff. On my way home I stewed over the fact that sizes have been rapidly getting smaller in clothes while clearly bra sizes are increasing. There appears to be a desire among designers and clothing manufacturers (and evidently the shopping public as well) to create the illusion that you’re smaller than you are (i.e., fitting into a size 6 dress when you’re really a 10). Simultaneously you can now wear a C cup bra when you’re really an A or B.

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A few months ago I went into a White House Black Market store and tried on a little black dress. I have worn a size 4 ever since I my 20’s. Their size 4 dress was too large. I tried a 2, also too large. Then a 0 still swam in the breast area, but was tad tight in the hips. When the sales lady suggested a 00, I almost screamed aloud “who the F*** is a size 00?!”

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I remember in the 80’s I wore a size 7 jeans because they fit me. Now a 7 swims on me and it’s not because I lost any weight. Quite the opposite, especially since I am a trainer and have gained a lot of muscle weight and size. But clearly whomever’s making these jeans has changed their “recipe” so that women can feel “better” about their sizes.

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I also remember that back then (when I was a rocker chick), all my band mates and male buddies described their perfect woman as being tiny waisted with very big breasts. With that still being the idea of sexy, it’s no wonder that breast implants are the norm while starving yourself of carbs. Thus, I understand that as a business Victoria’s Secret is undoubtedly looking at sales and seeing a reduction in movement of their A Cup inventories, I still wonder which executive had the gall to suggest that a 32B would be sufficient replacement for a 34A (and same goes for 36A has to wear a 34B)? Sorry young ladies who are the ultra-rare 32A – you’ll just have to shop elsewhere.

In summation of my tirade I leave you with this: just like I tell my clients that scale weight is not indicative of their fitness or body fat levels, the size of dresses or bras that you wear do not make YOU. Wearing a bra that is smaller in inches but bigger in cup size is simply playing with numbers to play with your head. Do you really feel that much better about yourself by changing to a B cup?  Better to change your perspective and be happy with where you are or make healthy changes to your body from within (nutrition and exercise).

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How To Exercise The Kids

We all know that childhood obesity is on the rise. In fact, one-third of all American children ages 6-17 are clinically obese (more than 20% body fat). The first remedy is of course nutrition, which I have addressed more than once in this blog. But the second and equally important remedy is exercise – or movement in general. Between higher educational demands, homework loads, and video games/TV being used as babysitters or “decompress time” — our kids just aren’t moving like we used to. (Let’s not forget that 75% of public schools no longer have PE as a mandatory class.)

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The solution – we must entice, motivate, and if need be push our kids to move more. But let’s face it, if we have to push them or demand they exercise, they’ll resist and/or hate it. So we have to make it fun. Now I know from all my clients (teens to adults) that you might have to drag them along initially, but once they see true results 90% of them get inspired and motivated to continue so they can see even more results (i.e., toned thighs or bigger biceps).

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There are a myriad of exercise options that you can choose from and even rotate through to keep movement fun and challenging. Obviously there are the usual options that are great for calorie burn and muscle tone but cost for equipment and/or classes/lessons (soccer, gymnastics, etc). But here are a few examples of less common ways to get the kids moving, that don’t cost as much or require as large a time commitment:

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  • Hiking
  • Boxing (just gloves and pads are required)
  • Bike Riding (street or trails)
  • Resistance Training (Age 16+)
  • Homemade obstacle courses
  • Skateboarding / skating
  • Swimming
  • Playing Xbox Kinnect or Wii
  • Walking (with or without the dog)

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The key is 30-60 minutes five times a week. For those reluctant children, if you join them in the activity they’re more likely to engage. Give them some choices, let it be their pick. As already stated you might have to make the designated exercise time “mandatory” initially, but with consistency comes results and with results comes enthusiasm and even addiction. (Don’t let that word scare you, fitness addiction doesn’t have to mean obsession, it’s more that the individual becomes self-motivated to continue because they just don’t feel as good without exercise.)

Keep in mind that children under age 16 should avoid resistance training (weight lifting) to any great extent as their muscles are still forming and risk of injury is higher. However, body-weight exercises are fine as long as kept to a minimum (i.e., pull ups, push ups, crunches, burpees, etc.)

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For especially overweight children, any new exercise regiment needs to start slow, and have easy to reach goals so they do not get discouraged by their lack of endurance or strength.  But it is essential that you push those goals forward each day. Example: if they can only handle a five minute walk or 10 jumping jacks, the next time its six minutes or 15 jumping jacks.)

Make it fun, make it consistent, make it a family affair when possible, and make it all about health and never about scale weight!  Add in healthier nutrition (include them in shopping and cooking as well) and before you know it, the whole family will be fit and healthy.

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Treadmill Tricks

If you are one of the many people who take care of your cardio needs on a treadmill at the gym or at home, I thought today I’d share a few tips that will not only shorten the time spent walking in place, but make your fat burn and muscle toning so much more effective! girls-on-treadmills First, remember that you do not need to run to achieve an effective reduction of fat and a great toning of the legs and butt. Walking at a 4-8% incline while at a brisk and steady pace will get and maintain your heart rate into a fat burning zone, while lifting and toning your glutes. image-8-385-icon_health_and_fitness_nordictrack_9600_commercial_incline_trainer_photo Second, do not – I repeat – DO NOT hold on! When have you ever walked up a hill holding on to something? I really cringe when I see people walking at a 15% incline while holding on to the readout panel. That’s a total waste of time and effort. Better to take the incline down to 8 or 9%, slow your pace down a tad (3.2-3.8 speed depending upon your leg length and stride) and walk without holding on. image-334 Third, try alternating your speed vs. incline every 1 minute. By alternating faster speed with less incline back and forth between slower speed and a steeper climb, you will confuse and thereby challenge your muscles more, while making sure to not plateau your heart rate. 20 minutes of this beats 40 minutes of straight walking or steep walking while holding on! Finally, if you feel confident and stable enough, try some more advanced moves, like side stepping (side shuffle), walking or trotting backwards, and lunge walks (at a very slow speed).  If you need to hold on during some of these moves until you feel balanced, that’s okay. screen-shot-2013-08-07-at-8-45-41-am hqdefault1 treadmillworkout7 If you live in a climate where it’s too cold, wet, or hot to take your workout to the streets for many months, using these tips will transform the treadmill from a static boring machine to a challenging and fun exercise tool. Share with me your tips or successes on the treadmill!

Deal With It Or Dump It

Who’s got baggage – and I’m not talking about luggage as you head out on a trip – I’m talking about unresolved issues or relationships that you tote around for days, weeks, and even years?  You know, those feelings of anger, depression or disappointment about something or someone that you just haven’t gotten over?

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Do you chronically complain to your friends, family, and co-workers about said issue, while never do anything to resolve it? Do you re-hash conversations and actions, constantly poking at the internal scabs? Are you in a relationship or friendship that drags you down, yet you remain intent on fixing what probably cannot be fixed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. But the more important question is what do you do about that baggage? It’s simple my friends – deal with it, or dump it.

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Staying stuck on hurt feelings or problems results in only one thing – staying stuck. By choosing to deal with your feelings or a problem (i.e., face them, find a solution, and take action) you will bring a slice of peace to your life which reduces stress and puts you in a healthier state of being. If the situation or person is something/someone that simply can’t be dealt with – then just dump it or them. As harsh as that sounds sometimes the best solution is to walk away and remove yourself from the detrimental situation or relationship.

The excuses that will blast into your brain at the thought are normal fears because change is scary, and finances, when involved, are always a valid concern. But ultimately (forgive the trite adage) where there’s a will there’s a way.

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Start slowly if you need to; take small situations and just deal with them or dump them. Have a heartfelt conversation to clear the air, or start saying NO when facing something negative that you tend to involve yourself with out of habit. Stop being afraid to simply state your feelings and needs.

As for “dumping” a person, obviously that’s tricky but with positive motivation behind you it’s not as hard as you think. I’m not taking about simple evading tactics (not answering calls, texts, or emails), I’m talking about letting a person know that your relationship/friendship is not functioning on a healthy level, and if they’re not willing to meet you half way to fix it, then you are no longer going to participate in that relationship.

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A lot of this comes down to your willingness to just LET GO. So many of us are “control-freaks” who simply refuse to let anything go even when it’s not working. We’re certain that somehow someway we can get it right. We don’t want to be quitters after all. Yet sometimes the best choice is to quit, to walk away, let it go but not see that action as a failure. It took me many years to learn that, and now I just let the crap go and/or walk away when I realize I’m swimming against an unrelenting current.

For those of you who find it hard to not focus on the problem – work on shifting your focus onto something positive that you can control, like exercise, nutrition, or just filling your time with only people and environments that have a positive affect on your life. I am well aware that all of this is easy to say and not necessarily easy to do. But nothing worthwhile is, and I can attest first hand that with practice it gets much easier.

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So take stock, and if there’s something dragging you down – deal with it or dump it.

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Breakfast For Dinner?

By now most of you should know that the best way to handle your nutrition is to eat 6 small meals a day comprised of clean, unprocessed foods with lots of water. You should NOT avoid carbs or healthy fats, but keep those items simple and as unaltered as possible (i.e., guacamole and brown rice crackers instead of cheese and Wheat Thins) and preferably organic.

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But I hear from some of you that it’s still too hard to get in that many “meals,” and you’re finding that cravings and hunger increases as the day goes on until you binge at dinner or later. With averaging only 2-3 meals and having them increase in size as the day wears on, your body is likely to start storing fat. (Especially for those of you who are still skipping breakfast.)

So here’s a trick that you can try to shake up your metabolism, and keep yourself full in a healthy way when it’s just too hard to get those snacks in. Trying reversing the order of your meals. Now I’m not simply saying have roast chicken for breakfast and cereal for dinner, but that’s close.

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If you make certain to have a large breakfast filled with solid and long-lasting proteins; keep your lunch sizes larger as well, but break them into two (have the second portion 2-3 hours later; and then have dinner be your lightest meal (i.e., an egg white omelette) you might find that your body fat reduction goals will start moving in the right direction. You will feel comfortably full all day (never feel starving), and you will probably be ingesting less calories while keeping your system revved up with fat burning proteins and energy giving clean carbs.

The other benefit of this style of nutrition plan is that if you do your next day’s food prep the night or weekend before, morning is still quick (just reheating), you will have less hunger and need less time to eat your daytime meals as the day grows busier.

Here’s a sample menu to give you a better idea of this concept (keep in mind that a lot of the listed items are cooked prior to save time):

Breakfast (sometime between 6:30-7:30 a.m.):

Oven roasted chicken and vegetables over ½ cup of cooked quinoa

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   OR

Low-Sodium Deli meat wrap with sliced or grilled veggies and humus in a whole wheat or brown rice tortilla

Lunch (sometime between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.):

Half of a Foot long Subway sandwich fully loaded with veggies, chicken, and no mayo or cheese on whole wheat bun with inside bread scooped out & 1 whole appleialkelk

   OR

Large portion of your homemade leftovers – again split into two & 1 large banana

   OR

Large salad with grilled chicken or fish & large serving of grapes

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2nd Lunch (somewhere between 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.):

Second half of Subway sandwich & large serving of fresh fruit

   OR

Second half of lunch restaurant or home leftovers & large serving of fresh fruit

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Dinner (sometime between 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.):

Egg white omelette with black beans, spinach, and salsa

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OR

Oatmeal w/fruit or ½ tablespoon of all natural peanut butter & ½ tbsp. of real maple syrup

    OR

Non-fat fruit yogurt w/homemade almond/oatmeal crumble on top

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These are just a few examples of how to eat larger portions in the morning and taper down by evening. Be certain to include a lot of vegetables in those daytime meals, because along with the fruit they will give you lots of fiber which fills you up, keeps you regular, and will help battle your sugar cravings.

Give it a try and let me know your results either way.  If you desire a custom-made meal plan specifically for you and your goals, please contact me via http://www.workouts247.com.

Want Results? Switch Things Up

Today I wanted to share with you another trick of the fitness trade that can change up your workout routines in a simple fashion that will yield super results. “Alternating” or “singles” is a resistance training technique where you either alternate which leg or arm is performing the move (back and forth between right and left), or you work one arm or leg at a time through the required repetitions, and then switch to the other (10 reps on one side, 10 reps on the other).

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This switching up of how you perform an exercises engages more secondary muscles, while gaining all the benefit of an isolation onto the primary muscles. It also requires more use of your core (and therefore more toning of same), increases balance and strength, and will re-exhaust muscles that have become plateaued from traditional simultaneous lifting.

They key is to know when to use which technique. For example, using alternating reps during a flat bench dumbbell press calls upon your abs and obliques to stabilize your core as one arm progresses through flexion and extension. At the same time, it allows you to lift a little heavier as neither arm is getting as exhausted during your reps, because they are taking turns.

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On the other hand, performing singles in this same exercise (holding a weight in one hand only – the other placed passively on your hip or ribs) not only engages the same core muscles to keep you from falling off the side of the bench, but exhausts the arm which will break down the muscle faster.

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The first approach is better for over-all toning. The second is more geared towards muscle size gain and strength, while still toning the mid-section.

Now let’s look at an example of these two styles with the legs. When performing step back lunges with alternating legs you will work on ankle, knee, and hip stability, engage your cardio system a bit more than stationary single leg lunges, and gain toning from hip to calf.

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Performing a stationary single leg lunge, requires the same overall leg stability, and although taxes your cardio system less than the other option, you can impose heavier resistance (holding dumbbells at your side or over your head) which more  seriously exhausts the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

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As to which to employ and when, well again that’s a matter of your goals and your current fitness level. At some point or another, all my clients receive workout routines employing one or both of these techniques. So I recommend you give both a try and see what kind of results you achieve from both. As always, if you would like a customized workout routine that quickly and effectively helps you achieve your fitness goals, you know who to call! (Me, in case you weren’t sure.)

The Art of Slowing Down

Life is fast – or rather we tend to live life fast. Schedules are jam-packed, the days, weeks, months fly by. As we all know this tends to push fitness (and personal care in general) to the bottom of a long list, and for many that means you never get to it. Today I’m not going to address (again) how to make fitness a priority, how to squeeze it in, and how to plan ahead so your nutrition stays on track and healthy. I’ve done that many times herein. Today I’m going to simply talk about slowing down.

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While of course I mean slowing down over all – stopping to smell the roses – enjoying those precious moments with your children and loved ones, etc., I am focusing more on slowing down when exercising.

As I’ve many times over in this blog successful body fitness can be achieved in as little as 20-30 minutes three times a week. The current trends (and my approach with clients) is faster paced combination exercises rapidly performed in a brief period of time (the aforementioned 20-30 mins). However, that does not mean that you can’t slow down the actual performance of range of motion in each exercise.

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Slowing down the execution of your repetitions will put a bigger strain on the targeted muscles groups, which in turn will burn more calories, and cause more breakdown of the muscle. Then with proper nutrition, your muscles will recover, grow in size or tone, and burn more fat calories from your body.

I laugh when I see a huge man at the gym, lifting too heavy a weight, using about 20% range of motion, and slamming the weights up and down erratically. I have, when the opportunity presents itself, taken said man, reduced the weights by half, instructed him on proper form to utilize 100% range of motion while excluding all other muscle groups (isolations) and slowed his speed down by 80%. Lo and behold, 20 minutes later the man is struggling to curl the same weight I can curl, and is sweating, exhausted and super-sore the next day.

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So the next time you’re working out, try lowering your weight a tad, make sure that your range of motion is fully extended to fully flexed, and slow down – way down. Try lifting the weights to a count of ten and lowering to a count of ten. You may only perform 8-10 reps instead of 15 but you will be truly targeting and exhausting your muscles.

I often intersperse the slow down concept with regular lifting speed.  For example, I might have a client perform a set of fast curls, followed by a set of 10-count hammer curls. They’re not happy with me during, but believe me their arms get toned quickly! Sometimes I write a routine for a client what is comprised of normal speed moves for 4-weeks, followed by a new slow routine for the next 4-weeks.

Do not forget to apply this slow down concept to stretches (and you should be performing about 20minutes of total body stretching (head to toes) at least once a week).  All muscles have a tendon leading in that has the job of protecting the muscle from being pulled to the point of “strain.” This tendon does not relax (let its guard down) for 12-20 seconds. That is why you must hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds to gain the full benefit to the targeted muscle. Once the tendon has relaxed, the muscle is then gently stretched.  Stretching slowly will taking slow deep breaths will help ease the lactic acid building up (that sore burning sensation in your muscles), lower blood pressure, and clear your head.

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Try the slow-down approach the next time you workout and let me know your thoughts / results on it. (As always, if you should desire a customized workout routine, please contact me via www.workouts247.com.)

Perception: Half Full or Half Empty?

We’ve all heard the old adage “is your cup half empty or half full?” I’m assuming most of you have fully ascertained the significance of this question, but in case you’ve missed it, the point is to demonstrate whether you are an optimism or pessimist. It’s all about perception – your perception.

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Growing up I was clearly a pessimist, especially in direct contrast to my mother, an eternal optimist, and yet, though I still lean towards pessimism (more correctly in my case cynicism), I generally see my cups as half full. I’m not sure that either approach creates more success or happiness for any of us, but I do feel that chronically seeing your life (cup) as half empty can lead you towards inactivity, indecisiveness, and depression. Some may argue that the optimistic approach can lend oneself into complacency, and they might be right. It really comes down to what you do about the cup once you clarify it’s condition.

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If you feel your cup (life) is half empty, how motivated are you to fill the rest of it?

Conversely, if your life is half full, is that enough or will you strive to “top off the cup?”

I’m asking these questions today because I find that my clients often seek my help in teaching them how to fill their lives/cups fully – regardless of whether they’re seen as half full or half empty. After all, a FULL LIFE is what we all want, right?

So my advice to this issue is to first acknowledge whether you base approach to life is pessimistic (negative) or optimistic (positive). Then find a motivating goal that fits in with your approach. In other words, if you view your cup as half full – you should seek out a goal that challenges you to work harder and gain even more positive results – capitalizing on your already existing confidence and optimism.

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Those that tend towards half empty perceptions, might benefit more from goals that change their approaches – find new ways to inspire and fill the voids – ways that blast through pessimism and leave achievement in their wake. You might also discover that you perceive some aspects of your life as half full while other areas are half empty. That’s okay, that’s probably what most of us do. Just remember to alter your goals to fit your feelings.

I tend to feel that positive viewpoints need to constantly up the challenge, while negative viewpoints need to think outside the box more. Either version of motivators work – but everyone and every circumstance needs a different kind of push. They key to remember is that motivators are not one-size-fits-all. (What motivates you to lose weight or improve your relationships will not necessarily work for the next person.)

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When none of these approaches fit the bill – I say drink the cup down, and start fresh. As you know if you’ve followed by blog for any length of time, I generally prefer to shake it all up, and be the one to control what’s happening in my life (filling my cup) – and that way I can assure that I can fill it to the best of my abilities. Lastly I will leave you with this wonderful quote from president Harry S. Truman:

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Are you giving up already?

Six weeks into the new year and I see many people/clients who were energized and committed to getting into shape (i.e., losing body fat and making healthier nutritional choices) already giving up. My standard motto is “you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make them drink.” This is highly applicable to those of you who are not fully resolved to the goal of taking healthier care of your body. No matter how many routines I create for you, no matter whether you follow one of my meal plans, or join Jenny Craig, if you are not absolutely committed to changing your body inside and out, then you have probably given up already – or are close to it.

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With that said, I hope to offer a little in-your-face re-motivation, and get you, or keep you, back on track. So let’s look at the WHY of your decision to get into shape. Did you decide to “diet and exercise” because you wanted to fit into a smaller size of clothes? Were you tired of having less stamina and energy? Was your health at risk according to doctors? Or were you simply being nagged by worried family and friends? I can tell you now that all of those reasons are not enough.

If I told you that you had one month to live unless you did 50 jumping jacks every morning and never ate another french fry again would you do it? Probably. That seems do-able, right?

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But if you could stave off death by spending 30 minutes three times a week at a gym and eating healthy small portions six times a day for five days a week (eating and drinking your favorite foods for the other two) would that be too much of a change to your lifestyle to commit too? The answer appears to be yes for many of you.

It all comes down to how badly you want it. Obviously none of you reading this are facing imminent death (presumably) so again the stakes seem less tangible – more immortal if you will. But I assure you, they’re not. If you have body fat levels of 30% or more you are in serious risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and a significantly reduced life span. But like many humans, unless death is knocking blatantly on our door, we don’t consider the future when it comes to caring for our bodies.

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So if you’ve given up your 2015 quest for health, I implore you to dig a little deeper, make the stakes more urgent and personal, get up off that chair and just DO IT. Same goes for those of you who are starting to slack off on your motivation and giving your goals less importance.

As the quote goes from one of my favorite movies (Galaxy Quest) “never give up, never surrender!” The journey from fat to fit is tough but the end result is so worth it – and if you stick with it, you might just thank me when you’re 80!

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What Are Your Kids Drinking?

Today I am getting back on my “nutrition for kids” soap-box to address a continuing trend of parents thinking it’s okay to give kids lemonade and 7-up (or any soda) with their meals. Every time we eat out with our daughter I see other kids getting lemonade or clear soda (7-up, Sprite) with their meals. At my daughter’s school every open-house, award ceremony or celebration includes cookies and 7-up or lemonade. I want to scream out “why are you offering them sugar and sugar? Don’t you know how bad that quantity of sugar is?

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If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m all about moderation, and that includes sugar. But I am astonished to see how little regard these two innocent-seeming liquids appear to have with parents.

Just on simple logic, I would think if you’re ordering high fat and carbs “kid-friendly” foods like mac n’ cheese, chicken fingers and fries, or pizza, that you’d opt for water to at least balance out these nutritionally void meals. Add into the equation that kids often get dessert after such a meal, and you’ve just given them plenty of sugar. But no, the world at large thinks nothing of sugar + sugar where kids are concerned.

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Many parents and restaurants offer fruit juices as an option, thinking that these are healthier. Well, I’m here to tell you they’re not. Perhaps you need an in-your face assessment of what is really in these drinks?

8 oz of Lemonade (like Minute Maid) = 27 grms Sugar

8 oz of Orange Juice = 24 grms Sugar

8 oz of Apple Juice = 26 grms Sugar

8 oz of 7-Up/Sprit = 26 grms Sugar

8 oz of Coke = 26 grms Sugar

1 Capri Sun packet = 18 grms Sugar

8 oz Nesquik Chocolate milk = 29 grms Sugar

(Don’t forget, you often give them refills too!)

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Now you might be saying “so what? What’s so bad about 26 grams of sugar?” Well, besides the fact that it offers no nutritional value, it can damage their metabolism, and increase their risk of obesity and type II diabetes, among other health issues (like mood swings and hormonal spikes). I’m not even touching upon the deadly high-fructose corn syrup issue (in sodas), or the quantity of sugars in a Jamba Juice or other seemingly “healthy” juices.

The American Heart Association has set guidelines for the limits of added sugar that kids should consume each day. (Added sugar means “refined sugar or sugar substitutes” as fruit and other foods contain natural sugars.) The amount of added sugar that a child should consume on a daily basis varies depending on the child’s age and caloric intake, but here’s their basic recommendation:

Preschoolers should limit added sugar to about 16 grams per day

Children ages 4 to 11 should limit added sugar to about 12 grams a day

Pre-teen and teens should not have more than 20 to 32 grams per day

Clearly you can see how one drink at lunch has already maxed out the quantity of added sugar your child consumes. Now factor in any desserts or sweet-treats they’ve consumed that day and you’ve easily overloaded their sensitive systems.

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I was criticized repeatedly when my daughter was a baby because I didn’t give her any refined sugar until she was 2. No birthday cake, ice cream, candies, fruit yogurt, or fruit juice. I was called controlling, silly, and even, albeit jokingly, evil. My Father-In-Law asked once why I didn’t give my toddler apple juice. I replied that she had a bowl-full of apple slices in front of her and a bottle of water and once in her stomach she would have “apple juice.” (He didn’t find my sarcasm funny.) I did point out that this way she was getting fiber that is missing from filtered apple juice, but he’d already tuned me out.

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The reality is that America loves it’s sugar and many well-meaning parents blindly fall into line with their children’s nutrition. But hopefully you’ll stare a little longer at the facts posted above, and at least think twice next time before giving your children that innocuous little beverage. Perhaps on another day I’ll bring up the issue of rampant use of sodium in America and how much of that harmful substance you and your children are consuming, but today my attack is on sugar. Have a sweet day!

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