By Jodie Lynn
Each year people make the same resolutions for the New Year. Did you know that?
Among them are:
begin an exercise program
back up computer files
play with kids more
take out more personal time
stop drinking so much alcohol
While this may strike a chord with you and your loved ones, why not jot down what is not only meaningful to you, but ask the whole family to join in. Each person can make up his or her own list. For those that cannot write, write it for them.
Discuss each list. Do not laugh or make fun of what another family member comes up with. It may seem silly to you but to them it is important.
After everyone has had a chance to contemplate their lists, add a T for True or F for False beside each one that can really be accomplished. Now, redo the list and leave off all of the false ones.
We add more stress to our lives by trying to do too much too soon and end up feeling guilty and totally giving up.
Take the list that you think can be realistically done and cut it into half. Now, you have a list that you can stick to and are happy about.
Midway through the year, if you feel like you are ready to take on more, add the other half of the list and try to obtain those goals.
Make eating right and exercising some of the top priorities for you and the whole family.
Here's a little firsthand knowledge from what I have learned by being a fitness instructor and teaching changed eating habits (healthy eating) over the last few years to women and children:
Get a physical. This is the first thing that kids as well as adults need to do before changing their eating habits and especially before beginning an exercise program.
Make gradual changes. Unless your doctor says otherwise, do not throw everything out at once or try to change every little bad habit in one sweep. It only creates frustration and you will end up stuffing yourself with food, and who knows what, after only a short time of your new program. This not only makes you feel bad about yourself and make you feel like a failure, but your body can have an instant reaction in weight gain, water retention, bloating and/or upset stomach.
Have a least one bite of a forbidden treat every other day. This will suffice in a low calorie or sugar free candy in your favorite flavor.
Have whatever you want for one meal once a month. If you are working out on a regular basis, do not cut your carbs in half and go ahead and eat your favorite meal, maybe with smaller portions, at least once a month. Children as well as adults need carbs while in an exercise program or strenuous sports or activities.
Include weight training, which also goes by the term, "strength training," with your exercise program. If your child is under the age of twelve, do not allow weight training.
This has been a controversial topic for years. Not too long ago the American Association of Pediatrics stepped forward and issued a warning as well as a recommended right way and wrong way report on strength training for preadolescents and adolescents. Some say the report became better well known after years of complaints voiced to doctors during which kids were constantly having problems with same or similar areas with their bodies.
In fact, one recent news bulletin, it was reported that a coach required his sixth grade team to lift weights five days a week during a four month school semester and some of the students ended up irritating or harming rotator cuffs, lower backs, as well as stress and strains on various muscles and bones. Most of the students were age twelve.
In reality, reports have been staggering and plaguing doctor's offices for the past few years and finally through reviewing the reported cases, the safety issue had risen to an alarming status. The AAP distributed a report and asked doctors to become updated on the right way and wrong way of lifting weights with preadolescents and adolescents while encouraging them to avoid competitive weight lifting, power lifting, body building, and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity, i.e., see report.
Children have growth plates made of cartilage at the end of their bones, which are prone to injury. Until up to age 14 and maybe a little afterwards, children should not lift weights with the same rigorous force, size and repetitions as adults as well as not as often and should always be supervised by someone who knows what, how, when and why to strength train.
One last thought, as a parenting/family/health columnist, one of the things that I would love to see on a New Year's resolution list would be more family time and just "hanging out" with your kids. Doing no-brainer fun things together.
This would be nonscheduled playtime and as described in my latest book, Mommy CEO, revised edition, it consists of silly, quirky "be yourself" goofy time that is almost nonexistence in today's society. All kids need this as well as parents. It not only builds healthier minds and spirits but also feeds nutritional food to our souls.
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