Friday, April 21, 2006

10 Tips to Help Improve your Child’s Body Image:

The next time you’re in line at the market, grab a glance of the dozens of gossip mags or flip on television show and you’ll have proof positive our children are inundated with unhealthy, unrealistic Hollywood images of what a body should look like. Here’s another way of looking at it, you probably know hundreds of people. In my 18 years of experience in health and fitness, I have personally trained thousands of fitness professionals. Of all those people, I would venture to say I have never met someone as thin as Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsey Lohan, Kelly Rippa, Nicole Ritchie, Terry Hatcher, the list goes on. Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but even this salon blonde can draw some reasonable conclusions. It’s obvious that what Hollywood considers appropriate is far from a healthy weight. It’s interesting that Lindsey Lohan rarely graced the covers until she was but the mere skeletal remains of what was once a curvy sexy young woman. I don’t blame the starlettes. I know that if I were to gain 15 pounds, I’d have a tough time selling videos. It’s tough.

We live in an image conscious world. When young women succumb to grips of it, the result is often a combination of anorexia, bulimia, diet pills and depression. Yet like a fatal car crash, we careen our necks to grab a glance. We declare our disgust; yet want to see more photos. Public demand drives the media, which rewards these women, sometimes girls with more work and more publicity.

The message we are sending our children, and especially our girls is that to be rich, famous, perfect and beautiful, your body must have an emaciated quality. Sadly, protruding ribs and hips, shoulder blades that appear as though they could tear through the thinnest of upper back skin seem to be the hottest trend in fashion.
We are all subject to constant inundation of Hollywood’s standard of beauty. Let’s face it… thin, young and beautiful is just looks better on camera. (Dang it!)

It’s not news to you. Everyone agrees that pop culture has a tremendous effect on the way our young view or in many cases loath their bodies. Even well grounded sound minded adults find themselves comparing themselves to Hollywood standards. This we know. But I can’t help but wonder what we should be doing as parents to help minimize the affect?

My full time job is helping people get fit and lose weight. Yet, I’m fully aware of the sensitivity young children and especially girls have to body image and the quest to be thinner than the next girl. Early on, Bret and I set some early ground rules. I hope these suggestions help you.

1. Never disparage your own physique in their presence. (We all have body parts to complain about, but do it in the privacy of your own bathroom!)
2. In the presence of kids avoid negative words to describe someone, like “fat”, “huge”, “chubby”, “Lazy”.
3. Occasionally compliment your kids muscles, energy, strength, or healthy glow. Avoid comments about weight or negative reference, even of a joking nature with regard to their body.
4. Don’t allow the word “fat” to be used in your household unless you’re describing a paycheck. It’s easy. In fact, I remember my son, not sure what word to use, asking me, “What do we call someone who has a big, big, big, big body?” My reply, “Someone who needs to try Turbo Jam.”
5. Try a little spin control. Make a point to comment on how “unhealthy” or “weak” stars look when their appearance is obviously under weight, malnourished and skeletal. Conversely praise those who exercise, eat right and maintain a healthy appearance and have nice muscle tone.
6. Talk about foods that make you “energized and strong” and never declare you’re on a diet. Instead, announce you’ve decided to stick to a healthy diet, which means moderation, not deprivation.
7. Make healthy eating and fitness central in your life, but declare nothing “off limits”. All foods are fine, in moderation. When my kids want chocolate or ice cream or even french fries, I make a point of telling them it’s fine because they were so active that day. If they want more than their share I remind them that it may make them feel slow, sluggish and cranky.
8. When your children make a healthy food choice on their own, praise them and reinforce their choice by
9. When asked why don’t you want a particular food in the house, avoid condemnation, like “because I don’t want to get fat.” Instead try, “Because it slows me down” or “I just prefer food that helps me feel healthy”
10. Children often confuse boredom with hunger. When your child declares, “I want something to eat,” and you’re hunch is dull drums, get in the habit of offering an activity instead of a bag of junk. The trick is not to mention boredom or food. Instead, retort with an instant activity, “Hey, want take the dog on a walk with me?”

Lastly the best thing you can do for your children is to create for them a safe and supportive environment to develop their own self-confidence and unique identity. Allow them to fail and praise them for their courage to try. Don’t shield them from every heartache and life lesson. The number one common trait of those diagnosed with eating disorders is an overly involved, over-bearing parent. Yikes! May the force be with us!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Just When You Thought You Had it Going On

Just when I was thinking I had cornered Cool-Mom market, my kids jumped in to save me.

Cierra (my 6 year old says to me, "Mom, do you know you look just like that lady who is on the cover of the magazine by the couch." My ears perked up. "Really??" I asked.

Mentally I reviewed every rag mag I've bought in the last several weeks. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. In deed this was going to be just the ego boost my, "not feeling so cute" day needed. I grinned and replied, "That's so nice. Which on?"

Now in my head I've already narrowedd it down to either Jessica Simpson (curvacious, young, beautiful blonde - fabulous comparison and Cierra is due for a raise in her allowance). I also thought the possibilities of it being Britney Spears (a bit chubby faced at the moment, and going through a bit of a white-trashy phase at the moment, but again....young, pretty and nothing to sneeze at). Other blonde frequenteirs of the Star, People, US, InStyle, all made breif appearances in my mind. Could it be Reese Whitherspoon? Does she think I look like Nicole Richie. Couldn't be Paris Hilton. What about Meg Ryan. What about Kristen from the Laguna Beach fame?

I'd just die and go to heaven if it were still a teenager Hillary Duff.

Oh, I know... It must be Heather Locklear. My husband likes to think we look alike. No, no, no she's too old for Cierra to see a comparison.

It's has to be Jessica Simpson. That's it... Jessica Simpson.

"Cierra, show Mommy which lady you're talking about." Together we walked to the pile of magazines. I watched with excited anticipation as she pulled from the stack a copy of Orange Coast Magazine. It wasn't Jessica Simpson on the cover. My heart sank to my knees and my ego face planted on the floor, an irriversable dive. On the cover was

..... drum roll please....

Oh yes! Oh yes! Not Daisy Duke, but Murphy Brown. How ya like me now?? Now don't get me wrong. I only hope to look half as good as Candice, WHEN I'M HER AGE! But come on! Cut a Mom a break will ya! Why is it our kids know exactly when to rip the "coolness" rug right from under us?

I love my kids.

Ego firmly in place. Miracle face creme slathered on,


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Change a life - Throw a Party~

Okay okay okay okay...I'm like so flippin' excited I can barely get a thought together. I got two of the coolest e-mails today....

First, one of my friends here in Orange County just got off the phone with a local dance club and is going to be holding her party there FOR FREE!! Here's what she did to convince them... She explained what an awesome PR move it would be for them to promote the fact that dancing *is* exercise. She promised them she would be contacting the local papers and that all they would have to do is supply the dance floor and TV for the early afternoon (not interferring with the evening dance club hours). The club owner LOVED IT! She's passing out flyers at her son's school, the coffee house, gymnastics classes, hair salon, grocery store, everywhere with her e-mail address on it and the Houseparty link! I love this idea! A dance club is a great fit! When you really get lost in the workout and that's what it feels like... when your favorite track comes on and you run to the dance floor (Married, 2 kids, and no club life.. Turbo Jam is now my healthy adult version of going to the club!!)

Second.... This one is near and dear to my heart (I might cry)! The Orange County Register did a great story about adolescent obesity and poor eating/no exercise epedemic in our Nation's schools. A local high school invited me to "Jam" with their student body. It was a great fit! Teenagers love TJ. Well, it gave this lady an idea, so she's gone to her daughter's local high school and she and 4 other Mom's are organizing the whole school and all the teachers to do the 10 day together (incorporating the fruit cart idea from the newspaper story). They're meeting with the principal to arrange for their party to be held in the gymnasium and inviting the student body and their parents to join in and commit! Here's the cool part... they're challenging all other surrounding high schools to do the same and see which high school get the best results! Their local paper will eat this up! Here's a link to the story that inspired the idea...

These are all grandious ideas. Think big! This is our chance to change the direction of our Nation in a day! Print flyers, business cards, talk it up, share your passion and let's make this a mission bigger than the pounds on the scale. Just think what an impact you can have on someone's life! This will be life chaning and you are steering the ship! Just wait until you have someone with tears in their eyes hug YOU and say YOU are the person who motivated them to make a change in their life. It might be me on the videos, but it will be you who will inspire families, children, friends and co-workers to lead healthy fit lives. You will be the catalyst and for those of you who do... I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is my lifes passion, the reason I believe God put me on this earth. Thank you for helping me to reach thousands of others.

We can't allow our reputation as the fattest nation in the world to persist. I volunteer my time every week at the local schools and I am appalled at what I see. Obesity starts with us, the parents. If we care about our the health of our children and the people around us, it's time to make this happen!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This means the world to me.


There is nothing more rewarding than helping others live a fuller life. Give others the gift of power, energy, patience, and a better self image. Change lives...throw a party!