8 Habits of Healthy Families

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Here’s a disclaimer: Healthy Families are NOT Perfect Families. They may grab a pizza for dinner or let their kids watch too much TV one day. Their kids throw temper tantrums and insist they must wear the same shirt 3 days in a row. And guess what? It’s OK! The biggest thing is that we’re trying. I was inspired to write this post after this article on extraordinarily healthy families. I thought some of the tips were really great, and wanted to add some of my own advice and experiences to it.

Some of these tips you may already do and there might be some new ideas for your family to try. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to make all these a habit with your family in one day or even one week. Remember: it’s our small, daily efforts that add up to big results!

1.Get Outside And Play

With the weather cooling down,  the temperature is perfect for afternoon and early evening playtime. Cold winter months means lots of time indoors, so take advantage of the nice weather and play outside as much as possible!

“Ideally that means, for children, some kind of physical activity every day, and for adults, a minimum of four days a week,” clinical psychologist Steve Orma says

Kick a soccer ball in the grass, play catch, draw silly pictures with chalk, visit the park, or ride bikes and scooters. Use this time to develop healthy habits, but also to bond as a family.

2. Have a NO PHONE zone

With younger kids, this can mean a NO SCREEN TIME zone. I typically power off my devices for an hour or two each day so I can focus on my children and spend quality time with them. When my phone is powered off I’m not tempted to sneak a peek at my messages. For some families, the no phone zone is during homework time or dinner time. Other families have a drawer or other charging station where phones go at bedtime so no one can use them after a certain time. Do what works best for you family.

3. Make Meal Prep a Family Activity

Why should mom do all the work when it comes to meal prep? Mealtime is a great opportunity to teach children healthy eating habits and cooking skills they’ll use later in life. You can talk to your family about why what you’re eating is healthy and good for your body. If you cook certain things like chicken ahead of time to use throughout the week, have kids help you scoop up the portions of chicken and transfer it into a freezer bag or Tupperware. Most young kids are eager to help in the kitchen, it’s usually the adult who shoos them away.

“Take them to the grocery store and help them learn to read labels. Choose a recipe together and then say, ‘Let’s get your ingredients.’”

For older kids, try teaching them a simple meal to make, doing it once together. Then, the next time you make it, have them do most of it on their own. I know families who have their older children in charge of a dinner each week.

4. Organize Your Schedules Around Good Health

“To keep your family on the track toward healthy living, try getting a calendar and putting it in a place where everyone in the family can see. Then use it: Schedule the night the kids are in charge of making dinner. Add the once-a-month family bike ride to the park or the weekly driveway basketball game.”

Don’t do something once and then never do it again. Writing it on a calendar and part of your normal routine will help make these ideas into healthy habits that are just part of your normal family life.

5. Rethink Snacktime

The easiest way to tackle this is to get the junk out of the house and fill it with healthy options (for tips, see my post on cleaning out the junk). Make healthy foods accessible to your family (keep them in a bowl on the counter or on a low shelf in the fridge), and if you haven’t already, make sure each member of your family has their own reusable water bottle.

6. Communicate

I heard a great family tip the other week: another mom shared with me that the first Sunday of each month is a time when the parents have a one on one council with each child. They keep it informal and just ask about how things are going and if the child has any problems or concerns they want to talk about. I love this idea and can see how it would be especially beneficial if you have school aged children!

“Mental health, sleep, experiences at school and how they’re interacting with others are so closely linked, and if something is bothering or troubling a child, it will affect their overall well-being.”

Of course dinnertime, rides to school, and when your playing outside together are all other great times to talk openly as a family. Make communicating a fun part of your day where all members of your family take turns talking and listening to others. 

7. Wind Down Together

Try to establish a strong bedtime routine and make it a family affair (even if your kids go to bed earlier than you). Get things ready for the next day such as lunches, homework and outfits. Read books together, tell each other what you were thankful for that day, and start to relax and unwind. Experts suggest to give yourself at least 1 hour to unwind before bed…so if you want your kids in bed by 8, start your routine at 7.

I know a mom who tells her kids she will read books to them until 8pm. So that means if they can get in PJs with brushed teeth and go potty quickly, they have more time to read. But some nights they drag their feet and complain and only have 10 minutes to read. I thought this was a clever idea.

8. Keep Exercise Fun

Staying healthy and active is a life-long habit. What is your attitude when it comes to working out? Do your kids hear you grumbling and complaining? You are their example for healthy living…a lot of times your attitude becomes their attitude. Don’t be afraid to try new activities or to ask your children what they would like to do.

We went paddle boarding on our recent family vacation for the first time with our little buddies. They sat really good and just chilled while we were on the lake. It was fun, relaxing, and a workout all at the same time!  For more tips on keeping exercise fun, see my post on incorporating kids into your fitness routine.

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Who’s Your Buddy?

Today’s post goes with last Thursdays post I wrote on having F.I.T. Relationships. You can read it HERE.

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It’s easier to commit to a healthy and fit lifestyle if you recruit a buddy to do it with you. Having a workout partner makes it easier to commit to a program and make healthy decisions. You’re more likely to show up for your workout if you’re meeting someone to get it done. You’re more likely to choose healthy food options if you know you are accountable to someone else. This is why my challenge groups are so successful! We’re a group of people who may not live near each other, but are accountable to each other through daily online check-ins. Studies have shown that when you have consistent accountability, you’ll enjoy the actual exercise more and do it more often.

And an article I read from Intermountain Healthcare  goes perfectly with last week’s topic on having a healthy relationship with your spouse. Why choose between date night and working out? Working out together makes the perfect date night! There are so many benefits to having your spouse (or someone else in your household) as your workout buddy!

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Your spouse knows you–so they know an excuse when they hear one! Your live-in buddy won’t let you get away with cheating on nutrition or skipping workouts! It’s also a lot easier not to be tempted to eat unhealthy meals if you’re both eating the same thing and have similar nutritional goals. You can even take turns cooking new healthy recipes for each other.

13445470_912689895507611_1805082329019166322_nA workout is usually a lot less expensive than dinner and a movie–and your location for your workout can change! Use the track at the high school, a hike in the mountains, or the front lawn of your own home!

Take turns choosing the workout, enjoy the friendly competition, and don’t be afraid to try new things! Go swimming, go dancing, stream a new workout online, and invite other couples to join in with you! A fun group date could be bringing a healthy picnic to the local park and playing a game of volleyball afterwards.

 

 

The Secret to Change

Do you ever think…. “If I could just be skinny I would be happier… or more confident?”.

That is how I used to think. I struggled really bad with my self-esteem and had very low confidence. I was also very unhappy…

I would try to lose weight all the time! Just fail time and time again. I would become desperate and try to find solutions that were quick fixes so that I could love myself. Just to become frustrated… quit… and hate myself even more.

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Little did I know I was doing it all VERY WRONG!!! Those quick fixes will NOT bring happiness. The results are also only very short term.

It is all about overall HEALTH and getting the best nutrition possible and exercising. That is it! Yes it takes time— but it also lasts a lifetime and the rewards are so much greater! Many of you know that for 7 years I could not have children…. for the first time we are carrying a sweet little baby! I know that I HUGE FACTOR in that is the weight I lost (the healthiest way) and the lifestyle change that has come into my life!

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It is through the PROCESS, the journey, that you find joy and learn to love yourself! NOT the end result. As you can see— my end result is much, much, different than I had expected!!

 

Yesterday, I started a new round of the 21 day fix with shakeology with my challengers. This is the program that has completely changed my life! I learned how to eat right. I learned the importance of counting nutrients that I put into my body instead of calories. I learned how to eat healthy without ever feeling deprived. I learned how to love exercising! AND most of all– I learned to love myself!

We start another group soon, and I want you to join us!! I want you to be able to create a lifestyle change that helps you to be happier and healthier for life! Comment below if you want more info or send me a message if you’re ready for change in your life!

These are the kinds of things I LOVE hearing from people in my challenge groups

  • “I am learning to eat healthier and don’t feel bloated anymore”
  • “I never thought I could even lose 10 lbs…. now I have lost 40!”
  • “I went from a XXL shirt to finally being able to just wear a Large!”
  • “I will forever love you and appreciate what you have done for me and my family!”
  • “I have always HATED exercising and now I love how it makes me feel and refuse to miss a day”
  • “I dont get migraines all the time anymore!”
  • “I have so much more energy and finally feel like a good mom and enjoy being one!”

–> THIS is why I coach!!! I do it for all of THEM!! ^^^^^

I also do it for me and my children because it helps me to also be healthier and happier, a better mom, and helps me to to contribute financially to our family.

If you have nutrition and fitness goals you want to reach. Please send me a message! I would love to help! We have another challenge group starting soon!

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The (un)intentional benefits of exercise

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When people think about  exercising, they usually envision a leaner, more toned body or maybe even dropping a few pounds. However, there are some other great benefits to exercising! Here are just 7 of them (source):

“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey.”Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”

13087537_10154118668812179_8752922046992669995_nSeriously… A light jog or walk will completely change your day! If I am stressed— I go for a jog. If I am sad—- I go for a jog. If I am just needing to think about some things— I go for a jog.  Most of my creative ideas, inspiration, and positive vibes come from going on a walk or jog!  Today, we went for a light jog just before it started to rain. It felt so good!

1. Exercise reverses the effects of stress by releasing “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Studies have also shown that when you use exercise as a way to manage your stress, you actually reverse the signs of aging! YAY!

2. It lifts depression. “Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.” It’s no secret that I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, and now that I’ve made fitness a part of my life, it’s so much more manageable!

3. It improves learning. “German researchers  found that high school students scored better on high-attention tasks after doing 10 minutes of a complicated fitness routine compared to 10 minutes of regular activity. (Those who hadn’t exercised at all scored the worst.)”

4. It improves body image and self esteem. And it doesn’t have to be because you’ve dropped a lot of weight. “Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.”

5. It gives you a feeling of euphoria. When you push yourself more than yesterday, when you finish an especially hard workout, or even just resist of the urge to give up when you’re feeling all sweaty and tired…that feeling of accomplishment is like nothing else! It leaves you feeling great all day long!

6.It keeps the brain fit. “Even mild activity like a leisurely walk can help keep your brain fit and active, fending off memory loss and keeping skills like vocabulary retrieval strong.”

7. It may keep Alzheimer’s at bay. “The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

So keep on making fitness a part of your day! It really is good for the mind, body, and spirit!