One of the biggest complaints I hear from parents trying to make healthy changes for their kids is that they can't get them to drink water. I'll be honest with you... what I WANT to say is, "Give them ONLY water. They are NOT going to die, because they WILL get thirsty and they WILL drink it .... so that they don't die." But, that's not the most loving approach to inquiring minds... nor is it the easy approach with your children. :) SO, instead, I offer up tips that worked for me! AND, for anyone who has met my middle child, you'll know it was no easy task going into battle with him. But, it was worth the fight!
And before I get going... do know that we make hot chocolate, apple cider, milk shakes, and we occasionally drink juice. ON OCCASION! Treats are fine... life should be fun and full of yummy things. BUT, to enjoy them to the fullest, we need to feel great and be healthy. SO, finding your moderation and helping your little ones to find theirs is so important! AND, it starts with making WATER an important part of your life!
Follow these steps and transition over several months time. You'll find you buy less and less juice, soda, koolaid, etc., and eventually you'll be buying NONE. And your wallet and your kids' health will thank you!
1. Decide you won't quit. I didn't say it'll be a walk in the park, but if you want it to work, you HAVE to stick with it! Kids are manipulative little creatures. If they keep getting their way, they're going to keep putting up the fight... BECAUSE IT WORKS! Don't let it work!
2. First start by replacing the flavored drinks at a meal time with just water. Ice water is fine of course, or just chilled water. I started with dinner. YEP, they fussed, and YEP they only sipped a little at meal time, but it was a start! And, when you eat, you NEED something to wash it down, so they will eventually start drinking some of it!! Do that for a few days/weeks, then when you see they are drinking it at that meal time pretty well, slide it on into the next meal! :) That's when I started offering it for lunch too! Meal times make it easier than when they are just randomly thirsty... because they NEED the liquid to wash everything down!
3. All the while you're adding in water to their meal time, start diluting their other drinks. Just a little at first so they won't notice, but over time you want mostly water, and a little flavor! :) The more they are drinking water and getting used to it, the stronger the other drinks taste, so diluting it often goes unnoticed. And when you dilute little by little overtime, they just really aren't even aware! Our kids were already getting diluted juice when we started so by the end it was like water with a splash of juice.
4. Follow the previous steps (remember... step 1 is most important no matter how long the process takes) until you've phased in water at all meals and snacks except one "treat." Ours was a night time snack at that point. That's the only time my kids got any juice or chocolate milk back in the day still. THEN, get ready for some fussing. Once that last bit of flavored drink runs out, DO NOT RESTOCK! We literally had about 2 weeks of whining at bedtime because they REALLY wanted something besides water. They really had not noticed too much over time that little by little we took away their juice. But, that night time was ever so obvious. But, it's pretty easy to stick through it past the whining when there is NONE to give into! They got used to our "sorry... we do not have any... see" and offered them water if they were thirsty. And a magical thing happened. They quit asking!!! My kids now get Shakeology once a day (they think that's their treat... they have no idea it's just fruits and veggies), and the rest is WATER!! BECAUSE their bodies NEED it!! They get plenty of calcium during the day and plenty of healthy fats, and they still get milk in their Shakes. BUT, there is NO more harmful dyes and loads of processed sugar and artificial flavors going into their systems day after day! AND, as a result... we see the doctor a fraction of the time!! AND we save TONS on groceries each month!
Now, I completely realize some will choose to cut back on the flavored stuff and just try and get in more water, and you do have to find what works for your family, but I firmly believe the drinks our kiddos primarily want offer little to no real value for them, and most are harmful, AND also sets them up for a variety of health problems as they will be addicted to flavor and continue the loads of sugar for years to come. Sound like someone you know? That sure sounded like myself when I decided NO MORE! Your children are learning primarily from YOUR leading. In 20 years will you look back and wish you would have stood strong on the important battles?
Most people that come to me asking for help in losing weight usually come with the wrong mindset. Most of them want to see the scale move FAST and at any cost... even to their health. One of the hardest battles I face in dealing with challengers is changing their way of thinking. They HAVE to shift their focus from the number on the scale on any given day in their progress, to simply making one good decision after another ---- regardless of how fast or slow the scales are moving! I received a message last night from someone on my Facebook Page
and requested my help in her weight loss journey. She wanted to know why she could only lose 5-10 pounds a month on her own barely eating and killing herself with hours of exercise, and also stated that she had an upcoming Christmas party she really wanted to have some weight gone for. My heart hurts when I read these requests. We can be so desperate with desire to feel better in our own skin, but we can also go to such extremes that we end up doing the yo-yo dieting where we make some progress, but we can't keep up with the extreme so we quit after a month only to gain it back, plus some usually (since we just killed our metabolism in the process). SO, here was my dose of tough love, and a check list of the basics she HAS to do to get it done right... and long term! I LOVE working with challengers in my private groups, and it is the way I earn my living. But I also never turn my back on someone needing help and willing to do the work. But I always warn... it's not a quick fix, it's not instant crazy fast results, but it is what WORKS for the long haul... which in the grand scheme of things is what you need to focus on anyway! This was my reply to her:
- Okay... I'm about to tell ya bunches, but here's the very first thing you GOTTA do in order to ever get consistent, lasting results! Throwout the time line, and focus on each day, each decision you make! 5-10lbs a month is KILLER results.... like more than what is recommended!! The BEST weight loss is slow and steady (1-1.5lb/week). The first month you may loose more than that, but that's mostly water weight (and some fat too of course), and then it'll steady out. It took me 7 months to lose 50+ pounds, and that 7 months FLEW by, AND I wasn't living off of nuts. I wasn't taking any diet pills or living off of shakes all day. AND, I was eating 5-6 times a day of REAL foods... so didn't feel like I was dieting or starving. As I type this, I'm eating some homemade delicious clean pizza. If you go to extremes, it's immediate set up for failure... which is what you've learned along the way already! SO, try something new this time!! First, forget about the Christmas party as a "milestone" (if you make a milestone as a point of reference for your journey, you're very likely to quit after you make it to it), and focus on your choices today, and each day between now and then... wherever you're at in your journey, dress to feel your prettiest! Do your hair and make up the best possible, and go with it and be proud you've already made a whole months worth of good decisions regardless of what the scales say. AND, if you're a slave to the scale and they kill your motivation, chunk them and quit looking at them! Please trust me on that one!!!
SO... here's you a checklist to get you going!
1. Set up a free account on myfitnesspal.com ( you can sync it to a free app on a smart phone if you have one too). Set it up to lose 1.5lbs/week and stick to it! DO NOT eat less than 1200 calories a day. You'll kill your metabolism... and you NEED that metabolism for progress... so starving yourself will never get you results, and it's not healthy, and it just plain sucks to be hungry all the time. Your nutrition is KEY to your success. You HAVE to know what you're eating, or what you're not eating to get where you need to be!
2. PLAN PLAN PLAN!! I ALWAYS say "failing to plan, is planning to fail." Pick a day each week that you will plan out a full menu of foods for you and your family and what day you are going to the grocery store. Plan a week at a time and buy groceries a week at at time!!
3. Eat 5-6 small meals a day... combine a lean protein and a complex carb at every single one of them if at all possible! That'll fuel you longer, keep your metabolism rev'd up and make you feel fuller longer!
4. Set your minimum amount of days you're going to exercise a week and DO IT no excuses!! NONE!! Even if you do it half awake on a given day because it's all of the sudden 11PM and you haven't gotten it in for the day. Pick a quick workout and do it anyway! You do NOT have to work out 3 hours a day, and you do NOT have to kill yourself working out. 80+% of your body is formed in the kitchen... not while working out!! Pick a workout that pushes you without injuring you, and one you don't mind doing time and again! And just DO it!
5. Choose the cleanest foods possible! Stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store as much as possible! Stick to whole foods... fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and cook your meals! You don't have to be a slave to the kitchen hours a day! Spend some time prepping foods up front and do quick and easy meals and snacks through the week, AND do leftovers to keep from cooking every day! When you do get foods in a box or bag that come with a label, stick to ingredient lists that are short, and have words you can pronounce... that's always a good starting point!!
6. SET goals... that aren't necessarily a number on the scale by a certain day. You can't control that number totally... you can only control each decision you make day by day and each of those decisions can get you closer or further away from your long term goals. Keep your goals health and family focused, and don't forget them! Never let your feeling that things aren't happening fast enough be the reason you quit. You never know just how close you are to "getting it"!!
7. Take measurements and pictures!!! Our minds have a way of viewing ourselves as the same we've always looked in the mirror. You'll want those measurements and pics to compare as you make it through your journey!
8. Enjoy treat meals!! Limit them (decide if one a week is okay, two a week, etc), but decide how often you'll let yourself eat some delicious treats (nothing is off limits for me when I eat a treat meal, I just don't eat ALLLL of it... I eat a normal portion and move on). Not feeling restricted long term is key to staying consistent for a lifestyle change
9. Find someone who can hold you accountable day after day until you feel like you're on cruise control! It's as simple as a quick rundown of your day to someone who can say "good job" or "don't forget your goals.... you can do this"! And, if you're interested in doing one of my challenges and me being the one working with you daily, just let me know and I will send you more info!
10. Last... NEVER QUIT! You'll have good days, you'll have bad days, the scales will go down, the scales will go up. Just NEVER stop focusing on what your goals are, and where you WANT to be and decide to adjust to help your weaknesses, celebrate your strengths and KEEP PUSHING FORWARD. NEVER QUIT!
Let me leave you with a few words.... THE BEST progress you can make in the right direction is to change your way of thinking about food and what it's for. Do not view it as the enemy, depriving yourself of the enemy to hit your goals. You NEED food. You NEED calories, and fat and carbs... all those things people cut out unfortunately when trying to lose weight! You NEED them!!! You just need the RIGHT ones! Ask yourself if the foods you are choosing are going to fuel you and make your body work and shape correctly, or are they going to hit an emotional need, or the lack their of? AND, throw out the idea of FAST results. You want REAL, LASTING results... those two things are vastly different in how you get to them, AND their long term effect on your health and your mental state! SO... decide today to do it the RIGHT way, make out your menu for the week (TONS of healthy and clean delicious recipes to choose from online... like infinitely many), hit the grocery store and try and stay out of all the processed food aisles, make your exercise plan, and start eating 5-6 small meals ASAP! Get the kids involved (my kids eat everything I eat... no dieting here), and start marking off one day after another. TIME FLIES and before you know it, next year you'll be facing another Christmas party. Will you be bummed that you tried to starve yourself and exercised yourself into an injury only to give up under all the stress and pressure and you're right back at square one next year, or will you find that you changed your mind, and somewhere along the way, you changed your body by one good decision after another! Mark my word... next year will be here in the blink of an eye. Go ahead and set your shopping day for next year's Christmas party attire, and make each day count!!
by Jared Lawson
We've all heard it before, and probably even said it to our kids once or twice through the years. "Enough is enough!" I'm beginning to think we've heard it frequently enough through the years that we've had it ingrained into our way of thinking about most things in life. How much stress you will allow yourself to go through; how much of a tough time or trial you can handle; how many toys the kids can leave pulled out in the house; the constant asking of "why" from our four year old; how many shoes can someone have; the amount of candy our kids eat on Halloween. Have I made my point?
Now, let's take a minute and see how we apply this thought to the foods we eat and the exercise we do. How much is "enough?" If we were all honest for a second, the food part of this question should be fairly easy to answer, right!? We need to consume enough food to provide the energy for our bodies to function at an optimal level. No more, no less. That's enough. Now, of course, that varies from person to person depending on a number of things, but they are all things that we can figure up with relative ease. Depending on your sex, age, height, weight, and activity level, you can determine a fairly accurate range of what you need to eat through the day. Going over or under on that number ends up having an effect on your body in the way of weight gain or loss. Anyone who is conscious about their health most likely has a handle on this part, or, at the very least an understanding of what range they should
be in. There could still be a struggle with the "how," but if you're a child of the 70's or 80's, you should know that "Knowing is half the battle." (If you missed that G.I. Joe reference, then I'm sorry, you missed out on a good part of life).
How about that other part... you know, the dreaded "exercise" word. If you have paid attention to any form of health advise, articles, news, or anything else over the years, you know that being active is a vital part of being healthy. From increased heart strength and blood flow, to increased stamina, energy and mental awareness, being active just helps your body function better. So, what's the point!?
When you look at the "exercise" portion of your health, how do you know when "enough is enough?" Is going for a walk around the block with your kids enough
? How about walking around the local water park and swimming in a pool for a few minutes? Or, what about the times when you had to take ten trips to the other side of the office building through the day... that's a lot of walking! Are any of these enough
While being active in any form is certainly a good thing, I'm beginning to think that there are times when we use these events from our day as a crutch (better yet, an excuse) to skip out on our exercise for the day. I've started using a three-part question to help me figure out if my daily activity constitutes "exercise" or if I'm phoning it in for the day and cheating myself on my results. Here's how I gauge my activity:
- Was my activity planned to be my exercise for the day?
- Did my heart rate maintain an increased level for more than just a few minutes as a result?
- Did my level of exertion match up to the level of my end goals?
If I can't answer "YES!" to each one of these, then I don't consider it to be my exercise for the day. That means when I go to coach my sons soccer team for an hour and a half, it doesn't count to me as exercise. When I go for a walk around the block? Nope. Not even when pulling a wagon with the kids in it. Swimming at my parents house? Not unless I'm swimming concentrated laps for more than a quick "down and back".
Am I off base here? Perhaps. But, when I look at where I'm going there's only one way to get there, and that's to make sure that I'm doing enough
by Jared Lawson
Take a second to think of a time or event in your life where you were truly happy. A moment where that something happened and you didn't care about anything else because things were just "right". Can you think of anything? I hope so.
There are a few different events in my life that come to mind. Possibly one of the days that would most impact everything about my life would be the day I got married. Did I have any idea what all would happen or how things would go in the coming years? Absolutely not. Has everything gone the way I planned? Not a chance. Have there been ups and downs along the road? Without a doubt.
If you ask me "Was it worth it?" I would respond with a resounding "YES!" But, then again, to really answer would depend on what you mean by worth? If I take the approach we most often take in regards to worth, then you would be asking did what I get in return equal or outweigh the financial cost of what was given up. If that's your question, then I don't know that I could respond with the same enthusiasm. See, we could have simply gone to the court house in regular clothes and ended up with the same result: We would be legally married. It would have saved a lot of time, effort, and definitely money. So, why not take that approach?
We decided to go the route of a traditional wedding complete with ceremony, reception, tons of friends and family all because it was worth it for us. It was worth the extra time and effort, and it took sacrifices from our families in order to make it happen financially. They were willing to do so because there was an importance and the end result had a higher value than the process of just getting to the end result.
Another event (or events) that stand out to me are the days when each of my children were born. Talk about life changing. I think it's pretty safe to say that things haven't always gone how I thought they would. But, then again, I don't think I even began to think I could understand how my kids would impact my life. Regardless of what has gone on each day since they were born, one thing remains the same and will never change. The day I saw them for the first time and getting to hold them and see Cassie with them. Those times are absolutely invaluable. Even getting to see how they would react when their baby sister was born. It truly was love at first sight. You realize pretty quick that there is a value to everything in life, and it isn't always measured by how much it costs.
Now, take a minute and think about YOUR worth. What is your value? Do you struggle coming up with that value? The more that I learn about how God views me, the more I understand my worth. Some things just can't be fully explained in words. Instead, they have to be sought out for understanding by each of us on an individual basis.
As I learn more about my worth, I learn that I should care for myself as if I am a priority. I can't just let things happen and expect the best outcome possible. I have to plan for it and work for it. I have to learn about the things that I surround myself with and determine if the worth aligns with my value. I have to make time for reading God's Word. I have to lead my family with intentions. I have to feed my body with foods that work for my body. I have to commit to living a fit life on a daily basis.
Now that you've had some time to think it over, what is your value? Are you making decisions today that build on that value or are you going about life just filling it in and getting by one day at a time.
If you are married, your spouse is worth the effort to love. If you are a parent, your children are worth the effort to lead. If you are breathing, your life is worth the effort to care for. Sometimes there is a financial commitment to taking care of yourself and when you tell yourself (or let someone else tell you) "it's not worth it," you could really be saying "I'm not worth it." Don't let that be the case. Determine your value and make decisions that align with that.
If there is one thing that I can say I have learned from being a father, it's that our kids are watching what we do. Like it or not, the things we say are being heard by them. More impressing on them than our words, are our actions.
The old catch phrase, "Do what I say, not what I do" may work for you in some walks of life (although I really can't think of any), but when it comes to our kids it really isn't going to fly! When the insanely famous basketball star proclaims that he isn't a role model (ahem... Charles Barkley) how do you react? Are you adamant that they are indeed a role model and should live a life of an upstanding, fine citizen because your children are watching them? What about when that athlete is living a life that we would all love for our sons to grow into (sans the Tebow-mania)? In either case, I'm beginning to think that the impact these all-star role models are going to have on MY children will be heavily dictated by the path they have started walking as a result of following MY leadership.
As a father, I was given a gift. A gift that carries with it an expectation that I would be a good steward of what has been given to me. Yes, I realize being a good steward of your belongings is typically reserved for discussions of money and material belongings. And, I may occasionally be a little "off" in my way of thinking; but, maybe I can explain a little behind this. See, when we think of our money, we want to use it in a way that will return in it's most profitable form. Whether it's using it to purchase a house, car, food, or even putting it towards a trip, you want the best that money can buy. If you listen to any financial adviser around, they will undoubtedly tell you that you should be saving and investing a portion of your money for the future. You know, in the event you ever get the opportunity to retire.
When it comes to my children, I believe I was given them for a short period of time to help shape and mold the best I can and then return them to God for use in the way He sees fit. They will always be my "bean," or my "bug," and even my "moo," but they are not mine to keep and hold never to be returned. I feel an overwhelming responsibility to "invest" my beliefs and my ways into them. As they grow and mature I expect to see these investments compounding in them with hopes that they will grow into healthy, God-fearing adults who look to invest into the lives of others.
Like all things in life that we care about, we want to see that our attempts are yielding results. When they are at a party and skip the grape soda and sweet tea only to grab a bottle of water; and at a family gathering when they get just one scoop of peach cobbler because they know how they feel when they eat too much (by the way, is there really such a thing as too much peach cobbler??). See, our kids habits can fall in line with the lifestyle that we live, even without us having to tell them constantly what choices to make. It makes me feel good that my kids are starting to make "better" food choices; but, those fall behind in importance to what I truly hope to teach with my actions. It's the times that my oldest comes home to tell me about the girl in his class that he wants to pray for because she said she isn't saved. Or the kid in his class that he explained the Gospel to and he thinks he got saved. Even the nights when I tell my boys that it's too late for a story only to get the question I secretly hope to hear: "Well, can you tell us a Bible story?" Those are the moments when I know that they are getting it. Yes, those are the times I know I must be careful in my actions because I know that they are watching.
Being a father has shown me that my decisions matter to more than just me. It's important to live a healthy lifestyle; it's important to take care of yourself; and, it's important to lead your family. Just the same, your decisions matter to more than just you. I would challenge you to not make decisions based solely on you. Don't use the crutch that "it's my life and I'll live it how I want." Stop for a minute and think on how your decisions and commitments impact those who are watching. The results can reach farther than you would ever think.
Most of us are coming into the first day of the work week today after a 3 day holiday weekend. Which means most of us loosened the reigns and had a little more of a "treat" than normal. Or maybe a LOT more of a treat than normal. We had several "events" over the weekend and I don't know about your part of the world, but here in the south a get-together requires lots and lots of southern comfort foods... none of which resemble "healthy eating." If I were to feel like I've been on a "diet" this is the point at which I would feel out of control and ready to JUMP off the wagon.... not fall, I'd want to just run from it as fast as I could! Here's why...
Whatever foods you eat, you will crave. If you stick to workouts, you'll want to workout. If you lay on the coach every spare second you can, that is what you'll continue to desire. If you stick to eating healthy and fight through the cravings for junk, your body will start to crave the good stuff.... it really does! If you fill your body with junk for days.... you will again crave junk! If you get lazy, you'll want to stay lazy! SO, in the days that follow a vacation or holiday where you've loosened the reigns more than you had planned, here are some steps to tackle to get yourself back on track!
1. Shake the guilt and move on!
You can't change your choices you made last week, yesterday, or 5 minutes ago, but you can control the choice you make next! Guilt over bad choices keeps you in a place of defeat. Shake it and move on! After all, living a healthy lifestyle isn't being 100% perfect 100% of the time. It's about giving 100% Most of the time!
2. Throw out the leftovers that you have no will power against.
For me, that means chunking the leftover desserts! I can turn down just about anything else, but if there is anything sweet here, I WILL graze on it. That would keep me in a place of defeat. SO, get rid of what calls your name from the kitchen and be done with it! If it isn't there, you can't make a bad choice with it!
3. Commit to a full week of staying back on track.
For me, within about 2 days I've shaken the cravings for junk and the fueled hunger. For others, it may take less or more time. BUT, commit to a full week of giving it your all again and before the week is up, you'll feel your control over your lifestyle again. Plan your meals and snacks, and your workouts, and stick to it! I have some of my favorite clean meals on tap this week so I know I'll stay satisfied with the taste as I'm trying to push out the thoughts of that delicious homemade icecream from yesterday.
SO, before you binge on leftovers, get them out of the house, plan your meals and get clean groceries if you haven't already. And before you crash on the couch this evening to catch up on the DVR'd shows you missed this weekend get that workout in today. Do this for a few days and you'll be feeling fabulous again in no time!
It's NOT a diet, it's not about perfection.... it's a lifestyle. Just keep living it!
There aren't many days that go by that I don't get asked about clean eating and reading food labels. I LOVE to talk about this lifestyle that has changed both mine and my family's health. There's a lot of details, and a quick conversation only scratches the surface. And as many of you guys know I love discussing it on Facebook, but Facebook isn't quite designed for full explanations... and after a few days it's really hard to find that tidbit of info you want to revisit. SO, insert the birth of my Simply Fit blog! This will be a great place for me to be able to share multiple images and more detailed explanations of the things that are working for me and my family!
I hope you enjoy and are able to gain knowledge you can use day to day to get your healthiest! I am no expert, but I am really passionate and have a strong desire to help lead others! SO, here I am! :)