Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

My Renewed Health and Fitness Resolutions

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hello, my name is Melanie and I no longer fit into my clothes. Over the past few weeks I've realized I'm no longer at a weight that is healthy for me. This year I've put fitness squarely on the bottom of my To Do list and now my bottom is paying the price.

The biggest thing I don't have in my life is training for the Breast Cancer 3 Day. I didn't realize just how much all the walking was keeping me fit. At my best, I could walk 10 miles in just under 3 hours. I may not be participating in the 3 Day but I need to pretend like I am. My health depends on it. There are three changes I need to make to get my weight under control and live a healthier lifestyle.

1. Buy ice skates
My son plays hockey. I am now team manager. I will be living at the ice rink this year. It makes sense for me to buy my own skates so I can jump on the ice during open sessions. Any exercise that requires maintaining  balance is great for developing core strength. Skating also helps work the thigh muscles. Muscle burns more energy than fat.

If your kids are into sports, use their practice time as your time, too. I remember my my mom and her friends used to walk the fields during my brother's soccer games. Fitness can happen anywhere. I need to stop making excuses and use my time more wisely.

2. Find a buddy
The 3 Day is in November. Generally, once our son heads back to school I'd join groups and train with others who were walking the event too. Having regularly scheduled sessions that I had to RSVP for before the slots filled up kept me accountable. Left to my own devices, I won't get as much exercise as I need to. If you're like me and need an extra push to stay motivated, finding a partner is the best way to make sure you will stick to a routine.

3. Drink more water
When I was training I had two refillable water bottles with me and would usually finish both. Now I drink my morning two cups of coffee and that's about it. Occasionally I'll drink something with dinner. That's not healthy. My skin looks terrible. My nails are weak. My hair is brittle. I put my 3 Day water bottles away since I'm not walking. It's time to break them out again.

I went to the store and stocked up on Crystal Light and other single serve drink powders. I know, I know. I should just use cucumber or lemon slices. But I know me and I won't do that. I don't like the taste. I used to feel guilty buying the powders, but if it's a choice between no water at all and zero calorie flavored powder? I'll choose the powder every time.

Sure, I'd love to fit into my size 6 jeans again, but it's about more than that. I'm creeping towards 40 and I'm starting to feel it. It's not as easy to lose weight as it was just two years ago. My metabolism has plummeted. If I'm going to get healthy again I have to make changes. Plus, I want to be an example for our son. We tell him all the time that he's an athlete now and he needs to take care of his body. Well, I want to make sure I'm around to see my little athlete grow into a big one.

What are your best tips for renewing your fitness goals? 
How do you stay motivated and on track? 

This is post four in a series of sponsored posts and sweepstakes for the San Diego Honda Dealers Association. Visit and comment weekly for a chance to win Amazon gift cards!

Kids, Obesity and Finger Pointing

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This post has been sitting in draft for a looonng time. Almost two years. I started it and worried I wasn't being articulate enough for such a controversial topic. But, there's no point in writing it if I'm not going to put it out there. I don't push buttons just for the sake of it, but I do think serious conversations are in order when it comes to children and obesity.

I wrote the following in March when Tyler was still in second grade, as a contribution for a newsletter piece:
A few weeks ago at morning assembly, I noticed a girl I had not seen before in the second grade classes. This little girl is obese. Not 'big boned'. Not 'still carrying baby fat', or any other euphemism people apply to children who are overweight. Obese. I watched her struggle to get up from her carpet square after assembly and my heart broke for her.
She is, unfortunately, not the only severely overweight child at my son's elementary school. There are others. Too many others. Watching these kids try to be kids; running and playing with their friends while their faces get red, their breathing gets labored and they are often left behind; it's hard not to get angry with their parents. How can anyone let that happen to a child?
A week or so after I submitted the piece I saw her getting out of a car at morning drop off. She had to swing one leg out of the car then turn onto her stomach to get out the rest of the way. Not from a tall SUV, from a regular car.

I saw the little girl again this year on the first day of school. She's gotten bigger. I have no idea what's going on in her household. I have no idea if there are extenuating circumstances or underlying health issues. And, I know I'm making huge assumptions about this girl and her family. But I feel very strongly that it's one thing for an adult to make poor diet and lifestyle choices, but kids need our help getting off to a good start.

We go out to eat. I eat ice cream and cookies after Tyler goes to bed. I know what to look for when I read a label, I know what a portion size looks like and know I can't eat like bad foods every day without consequences. Kids don't know these things until we teach them.

Tyler has years ahead of him to eat like crap and not exercise. But while he's living at home, it's my job to steer him in the right direction. We talk about healthy food. I've told him about HFCS. He knows why candy is a special treat. He understands why I stopped buying juice pouches. Hopefully, the habits we have a t home now will transfer when he's older and out on his own.

Weight is a hot button topic. Especially when it comes to children. There is always blame. I know that it is possible for an adult to carry extra weight and be healthy, but is that true for children? If a 7 year old weighs the same as an adult, is the stress on their developing bodies the same as it is for an overweight adult or is it worse? Children should not be obese! Again, I'm not referring to chubby. I think we all know the difference between a little bit of pudge and obesity. If I had to guess, the little girl, a third grader, weighs almost as much as I do.

I know the arguments people make about healthy eating: it takes too much time, there's a lack of education, access, and financial resources. To a certain extent, I agree with parts of the reasons people say eating healthy is hard for them to do on a consistent basis. Reading a label can be confusing. Some grocery stores are better than others. Organics are expensive. It's hard to keep up with the trends when, one day, agave syrup is the miracle replacement for table sugar and the next it's said it's exactly like table sugar and maybe even worse. I know this.

But when are we as a society going to call bullshit and say enough with the excuses? This is the age of instant information. If you need help or have questions about diet and nutrition, ask! Google 'healthy eating for kids' and you can get lost in the Internet rabbit hole of recipes, nutrition information, food blogs etc. That search term yielded me 130 personal results. Those are things my friends, family and fellow bloggers have posted online. Add those results to ones from various health, government and non profit organizations and 'I didn't know' just won't cut it anymore. If people on Twitter can break news before traditional media, researching healthy eating can't be hard.

We are raising a generation of children doomed to a lifetime of health issues. By no means am I saying I'm perfect or some type of role model. I'm not purposely trying to make anyone angry, either. It seems to me the fingers keep pointing in so many directions; the school system, the fast food industry, the food manufacturers, but I'm not hearing anyone say, "if you are the person responsible for the grocery shopping, you need to be accountable."


This is where I stopped writing and left the post in draft. I think the post came back to me because of a Newsweek magazine article by Gary Taubes that I read last week. I think the science of why we gain weight is more complex than the simplistic calorie intake and lack of exercise we hear, but I also think being active and monitoring what types of fats, starches and carbs we consume as well as not being sedentary is totally key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Image from PDFMagazines

I think a lot of people get hung up on a specific idea of what healthy should mean. Healthy does not have to equal eating only heaps of fruit and vegetables. Getting my son to regularly eat veggies is a challenge that I don't always win.

Healthy can be switching from whole milk to lowfat, buying wheat bread instead white, buying reduced sugar peanut butter and jelly, 100% fruit leather over other fruit strips, switching to an all fruit and nut trail mix over the ones with chocolate pieces. Skinless chicken breasts over other pieces, ground turkey or chicken over beef. Eating one meatless meal per week (marinara over meat sauce). I can go on and on. So many little swaps in the items people add to their grocery carts and tweaks to what is prepared at home can mean big changes in terms of the amount of sugar, bad fats and calories consumed.

People are overweight for different reasons. I know people struggle with food and weight. Still, I stand by my statement that a fourth grader should not weigh the same as an adult. Food choices are not as hard as some are making them out to be. Some of the excuses for not leading a more healthful lifestyle are just that, excuses.

As a nation we have enough knowledge about what kinds of things we should and should not be putting into our bodies. We know moderation is key. We know doing something physical several times a week is better than sitting around. We know if the first ingredient on a food label is some form of 'ucrose' it's not good for us. We know kids learn from our behaviors. We know we are the best example to set for our kids.

The girl I mentioned in the newsletter piece still attends Tyler's school. I can say for sure she's gained a lot more weight since I first saw her in second grade. If she doesn't weigh more than me I'd be shocked. I can't help but feel someone in her family has failed her. Whether it's from lifestyle choices or something is happening with her health, she needs help. 

I don't know all the answers. I'm not saying I'm right and everyone else is wrong. But I've watched this young girl literally gasping for breath just walking down the hallway. And that's just not right.

We need to look at what we're putting on the conveyor belt and ordering at the takeout window and take ownership. We need to look at our families and ask if we're really making the best choices. We have to stop pointing fingers in every other direction but at ourselves.

Breast Cancer Awareness: My Mammogram Vlog

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I had my first mammogram on September 10th. Everything I'd heard about them made me nervous.
Oy! The squishing, smooshing, squeezing and flattening! Yes, those things do happen, but like
Tootsie, after it was over I left thinking, "eh, that was no big deal."

I've given birth, had an episiotomy, cracked and bleeding nipples and stubbed my pinkie toe countless times. For those of you who haven't had your first mammogram, please don't stress about it. It was over in a flash and only mildly uncomfortable. It was kind of fascinating actually.

Anyway, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month I thought I'd play with my new toy and share with you the details of my second mammogram. Sorry it ends so abruptly. Apparently I talk too much. Image from here.
(Please scroll to the bottom to donate free mammograms)

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