A few weeks back, Gisele looked fabulous. She was basking in her full glory while her glam squad coiffed her curls and primped her luscious lips, as she simultaneously breasted her 1-year-old daughter, Vivian. But the truth is, we don’t all have a glam squad waiting in the wings to put us back together after a long flight, too much egg nog or one too many sweet potatoes at the family get together. Plus, there is no team of nannies at the ready, waiting to whisk our children off to exciting endeavors as we get our butts kicked by a fabulous fitness trainer, like Tracey Anderson. What’s more, when we fly, we don’t fly private. So yes, we have to keep our screaming children seated and belted while onlookers judge us.
Despite our best wishes for turning over a new leaf in the coming New Year, when January 1st hits, we are often just as overwhelmed as we were on December 31st, but with the addition of a few more pounds thanks to all the holiday feasts and festivities! How can we get back in shape for the New Year and feel good about the way we look, all the while juggling the millions of things we constantly juggle?
To help, I’ve devised 10 calorie-saving, fat-burning rituals to work into your day so you too can be your very own Gisele:
1. Use portion control. Try serving yourself the same portion sizes as you would your kids, and eat small, regular meals just like they do. I promise I haven’t gone bonkers; returning to fist-sized portions is actually a great way to shed those extra pounds.
2. Combine your afternoon lull with excercise-packed TV time. How? In my house, we like to have a “Dance Storm.” I choose a music-packed DVD, like The Wiggles‘ “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” or The Gigglebellies, which are my family’s favorites. Then, we all get up (kids included!) and dance for the entire length of the DVD. It might feel like it will never end, but trust me, you can do it!
3. Get the single, double or tripple stroller out, and pile everyone in for some hill walks (or a run if you’re feeling particularly daring). A brisk 20-30 minute outing while pushing around all those extra pounds of children will work miracles.
4. Try to see clean-up time not as an oppressively annoying chore that never, ever ends, but rather as a chance to add in some extra cardio. Set goals for how quickly you’d like each task accomplished and time yourself. All that squatting is golden.
5. Eat with your kids. This will mean you’ll eat earlier than usual, which is far better than falling asleep right after gorging on late night burrito!
6. Treat your body like you treat your kids’ bodies! Just like we wouldn’t let our children eat excessive amounts of candy and unhealthy foods, apply the same good common sense and care taking skills to yourself. Remember, it’s not just for you. They need you to be healthy, too.
7. If you don’t have child care but are the type of person who needs an exercise class to kick your sweet derriere into action, consider the following: There are many strollercise groups that meet in local parks that you could join. And if there isn’t one near you, get some of your favorite moms together and organize your own so you can split the cost of a trainer who can lead the class. Alternatively, look for gyms that have child-care options so your wee one gets to play while you crunch.
8. Just as kids’ bedtimes often slip during the holiday season, so do ours. We need adequate amounts of sleep to be able to make good choices when it comes to food and exercise, so bump your bedtime forward just as you have theirs.
9. Reconnect with your partner. Not only does it burn calories, but it benefits your relationship, too. Make it a part of your new regime—a healthy relationship means a healthier you.
10. Don’t beat yourself up. I often find I get so hard on myself for not working out enough or being healthy enough that I become so overwhelmed I don’t do anything at all. Give yourself praise for small achievements. Even 20 minutes of exercise here and there or cutting a few late-night snacks from your weekly norm is a step in the right direction.
And if all else fails, strip down to a white robe, fly on your private jet and have your glam squad ready in the wings each morning to beautify you as you roll out of bed. Ahhh, at least we can dream! (Ahem, Gisele.)
Football season is now in full swing. Whether your little athlete plays on a team or prefers to watch from the sidelines, you’ll want to encourage a positive attitude towards sports. We spoke with Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, to get his advice for keeping kids moving and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
Make sure it’s fun. “Even as a professional athlete, if it’s not fun, something is wrong,” Andrew says. He recommends letting your child play as many sports as she wants. “Diversity helps. Playing basketball helped me become a better football player.”
Emphasize the commitment. “My parents never forced me to play anything, but if I started a season of any sport, I had to finish it out,” he says.
Help your child prepare correctly. That means fueling up on the proper foods, getting enough sleep, and understanding what the body needs.
Practice, practice, practice! “I used to throw for hours with my dad after work,” Andrew says. “But on occasions where he didn’t have a lot of time, we’d just do five minutes. Even that helps.”
Andrew also gave us his tips for throwing the perfect spiral. Perfect the move yourself, and then teach your little one:
1. Grip the football correctly. Hold the ball so that your ring and little finger are across the laces and your thumb is underneath. Your thumb and index finger should make an “L” shape. Don’t grip the ball too tightly–you should hold the football firm, but it should still be moveable and comfortable in your palm. 2. Position your body. Face 90 degrees away from your target and turn your hips to the side you throw with. Keep your front shoulder pointed at your target. 3. Keep it by your ear as you prepare to throw. This will keep the ball at the proper height. 4. Release the ball with your fingertips. As the football leaves your hand, it should only touch your fingertips. The last part of your body to touch the football should be your index finger, giving it a nice spin. 5. Practice makes perfect. Play a game of catch with your child, and you’ll both get better through repetition.
Want to win a $15,000 grant for your school? Andrew has teamed up with Quaker Oats and Fuel Up to Play 60 for the Make Your Move video contest. Film and submit a video of students showcasing how they are active by November 27, and your school could win all sorts of great prizes! Check out the video below for more details.
With physical activity as a proven brain booster, the Institute of Medicine is recommending that schools provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for students.
Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind law in 2001, 44 percent of school administrators report slashing big chunks of time from physical education, arts, and recess in order to boost classroom time for reading and math. Mandatory PE classes can help lower our nation’s childhood obesity rates, increase brain power, and add a healthy dose of fun to our kids’ school day, experts say.
Playground made from trash gets children back in the swing
Ruganzu Bruno and his troupe of fellow eco-artists created a playground made of recycled materials to raise awareness about environmental degradation. (via CNN)
Pregnancy Hormone May Predict Postpartum-Depression Risk
Levels of a stress hormone released by the placenta could predict a woman’s risk of developing postpartum depression, new research suggests. (via Yahoo! News)
NYC School Principals Send Letter Refusing To Consider Recent State Test In Fall Admissions
Principals around New York City are fighting back against what they see as flawed state tests. (via Huffington Post)
Report: Nation’s kids need to get more physical
The prestigious Institute of Medicine is recommending that schools provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for students and that PE become a core subject. (via Yahoo News)
Parents Argue School Is Violating Separation Of Church And State
Does teaching yoga in public schools violate the separation of church and state? That’s what two parents are contending in a lawsuit against Encinitas Union School District in California. (via Huffington Post)
CDC: 105 Children Died During Flu Season in US
Health officials say the flu season is winding down, and it has killed 105 children — about the average toll. The flu season started earlier than usual and ended up being moderately severe. (via FOX News)
Babies Shouldn’t Get Solid Foods Until 6 Months Old
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found many mothers are feeding babies solid foods earlier than the recommended age of six months, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (via FOX News)
Kids Who Exercise Are Less Likely to Have Fractures in Old Age
It turns out that strengthening bone to avoid fractures starts at a very young age.
Physical activity, such as the exercise children get in school gym classes, is important for fighting obesity, but the latest research suggests it may help to keep bones strong as well. (via TIME)
Celebrity Endorsers May Impact How Much Kids Eat
Celebrities who endorse specific foods in TV commercials are a powerful influence on children, and that effect may extend beyond the advertisement itself, according to a new study from the UK.(via Reuters)
Some Schools Urge Students to Bring Their Own Technology
Educators and policy makers continue to debate whether computers are a good teaching tool. But a growing number of schools are adopting a new, even more controversial approach: asking students to bring their own smartphones, tablets, laptops and even their video game players to class. (via The New York Times)
Study: Childhood ADHD May Lead to Troubles Later On
Nearly a third of people diagnosed as children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) still have the condition in adulthood, according to a large new study that also found they’re more likely to develop other mental disorders and to commit suicide. (via Reuters)
K-12 Student Database Jazzes Tech Startups, Spooks Parents
An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares. (via Reuters)
U.S. Baby’s HIV Infection Cured Through Very Early Treatment
A baby girl in Mississippi who was born with HIV has been cured after very early treatment with standard HIV drugs, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday, in a potentially ground-breaking case that could offer insights on how to eradicate HIV infection in its youngest victims. (via Reuters)
Rewards Get Kids Active, But Don’t Improve Health
Children will meet activity goals to earn rewards, but the extra effort doesn’t necessarily affect their weight and health, according to a new study. (via FOX News)
Los Angeles Board Race Attracts National Attention and Money
On Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles will go to the polls for a mayoral primary. But much of the attention will also be on the three races for the school board, a battle that involves the mayor, the teachers’ union and a host of advocates from across the country — including New York City’s billionaire mayor — who have poured millions of dollars into the races. (via New York Times)
6-Year-Old Transgender Girl, Not Allowed To Use School Bathroom
At first, Jeremy and Kathryn Mathis didn’t think much of their son’s behavior. Coy took his sister’s pink blanket, and shunned the car they gave him for Christmas. (via Huffington Post)
Is One of the Most Common Drugs Prescribed During Pregnancy Safe for Your Baby?
Many expectant mothers are wary of taking drugs during the early weeks of pregnancy, as this time period can be crucial for the development of their baby. However, sometimes it’s hard to know for sure just what kind of effects medications can have on an unborn child. (via Fox News)
Texas Ten Commandments Resolution Calls For Prayer, Religious Displays In Schools
Texas state Rep. Phil Stephenson (R) filed a resolution on Monday calling for more “acknowledgement” of Christianity in public schools, encouraging Ten Commandments displays, prayer, and use of the word “God.” (via Huffington Post)
Children With Autism Show Increased Positive Social Behaviors When Animals Are Present
The presence of an animal can significantly increase positive social behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to research published February 20 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Marguerite E O’Haire and colleagues from the University of Queensland, Australia. (via Science Daily)
School Safety Addressed At House Education Committee Hearing; Arne Duncan’s Sequestration Hype
On Wednesday, members of the House Education & Workforce Committee mulled over ways to keep schools safe in light of the horrific Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting, reports Politics K-12. (via Huffington Post)
First Lady Announces Effort to Help Kids Exercise
Imagine students learning their ABCs while dancing, or memorizing multiplication tables while doing jumping jacks? Some schools are using both methods of instruction and Michelle Obama would like to see more of them use other creative ways to help students get the recommended hour of daily exercise. (via Yahoo!)
No Exercise, More Than Couch, Tied To Fat In Kids
For kids, time spent inactive seems less of a factor in higher body fat than does a lack of exercise, according to a new study. Researchers found that the more minutes kids spent exercising at the pace of a fast walk each day, the lower their body fat percentage was. But the time they spent as couch potatoes made no difference, according to results published in the Journal of Pediatrics. (via Reuters)
Childhood Trauma Leaves Legacy of Brain Changes
Painful experiences early in life can alter the brain in lasting ways. A difficult reality for psychiatrists and counselors of child abuse is that young victims are at high risk of becoming offenders themselves one day, although it’s unclear why. But now a team of behavioral geneticists in Switzerland report a possible reason: early psychological trauma may actually cause lasting changes in the brain that promote aggressive behavior in adulthood. (via TIME)
Sleep Stealers: What’s Keeping Children From Getting Enough Shut-Eye?
The latest research homes in on the biggest sleep robber. Children are sleeping less, and there’s no shortage of reasons why: with television, video games and the internet, they are finding it harder to shut down and go to sleep. (via TIME)
Some Children Lose Autism Diagnosis: Small Group With Confirmed Autism On Par With Mainstream Peers
Some children who are accurately diagnosed in early childhood with autism lose the symptoms and the diagnosis as they grow older, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health has confirmed. The research team made the finding by carefully documenting a prior diagnosis of autism in a small group of school-age children and young adults with no current symptoms of the disorder. (via Science Daily)
Risk To All Ages: 100 Kids Die of Flu Each Year
How bad is this flu season exactly? Look to the children. Twenty flu-related deaths have been reported in kids so far this winter, one of the worst tolls this early in the year since the government started keeping track in 2004. (via Yahoo News)