How to Raise Healthy, Active Kids

As moms, we want the best for our kids so it is very important to create good habits since early childhood. You know how it is so much easier to develop habits and learn things when we are kids. Everything can be like playing.

So, if you haven´t started to help your kids be active yet, now is the time! Turn off the PS4 or Nintendo and go outside! Even if you have to start just hunting Pokemons, lol.

Get active with them. They´ll love it. Just as they love to do anything else with you. And that way, it will be beneficial for the entire family.

Because, as you probably already know, exercise has countless benefits for your kid´s overall health but if you want a reminder you can read about some of them in 11 Benefits of Being Active.

Samantha Clayton, Olympian, Personal trainer, Fitness expert, Fitness model and Mother gives you these 6 great tips that may help you get or stay on a path to raising healthy, active kids. An active lifestyle is a great family goal that can be achieved with a few creative changes.

1. Talk to your child’s physician
I always advise that you talk to your child’s doctor about what kind of fitness is right for them —especially if it’s a drastic lifestyle change. The words ‘active’ and ‘kids’ used to go hand in hand, but in today’s modern world, many kids hardly ever run around or play sports. Going from complete inactivity to a sudden active lifestyle can be a shock to the system. All changes in physical activity should be gradual. Checking your kids’ health before making any lifestyle changes should be the first step to achieving your family’s fitness goals.

2. Create a routine
The best way to get going on your family fitness journey is to write out a schedule and pick two activity days per week. Consider planning outdoor activities such as hikes, bike rides or sports to make it feel less like a duty and more like playtime. The more you can involve your kids in the planning process, the more enthusiastic they will be about the change.

3. Embrace modern technology
If you have children that are reliant on modern technology such as computers, video games, and tablets, you might face a full-blown rebellion if you try to swap gadgets for family fitness time. Instead, you can embrace modern technology and ease into an active lifestyle with fitness games and challenges. There are many dance, fitness and activity games available that combine technology with simple tasks to help entertain kids into getting active. This tip shouldn’t take away from traditional outdoor activities, but it’s a step in the right direction.

4. Go back to basics and keep it simple
Remember how much fun it was to play a simple game of catch with your friends when you were younger? As you move towards more traditional fitness-based activities, focus on fun coordination and body awareness moves. Kids have developing nervous systems and would benefit greatly from engaging both small and large motor skills. These activities include kicking, catching and hopping, and they could feel more like a game rather than fitness.

5. Be smart about fitness
Children get so many ideas of what think they can do. Your child may see photos in the media of other kids lifting heavy weights. In reality, it’s not a good idea for children to be doing heavy lifting. There are differing opinions on the correct age that children should start lifting weights, and it’s a decision that should be discussed with your child’s physician. I believe doing exercises that use your body weight are a perfect way to build strength for kids and adults. I started my weights program at the age of 15. My husband started using weights at the age of 17, and we’ve both been successful in the fitness world. My children will be well into their teens before they touch a weight. Until then, they’re going to have fun with squats, pushups and playing on the monkey bars!

6. Lead by example
The greatest gift you can give your children is to lead by example by practicing healthy habits. Try popping in a fitness DVD or follow a fitness routine on the computer to set an active example. If your young children want to join in, you should let them! Just make sure they stay away from the equipment, especially weight machines and treadmills. A fall on a moving treadmill can cause permanent scarring and burns (I know this from personal experience – you don’t need to make the same mistake!).

And most of all, have fun together!

Simple 4-Step Method To Help Your Mind Embrace Healthy Eating Habits

Yes, I know, the mental part is the toughest. I became a Nutrition Coach because of that so I could better help moms get permanent weight loss results.

Every mom knows pretty well what to do if she wants to lose weight. The really hard part is to actuaclly make yourself do it AND stick to it.

If you want to change your current eating habits for healthier ones you have to do it gradually. Start small and don´t get overwhelmed.

And if you relapse and fall into the trap of any old habit, don´t blame yourself or feel guilty. Just get it right on your next meal. You´ve got this!

To make is easier, follow this simple step-by-step guide:

1. You can start by writing a Food Journal. You must register EVERYTHING you eat and drink in this journal. Even when you only take a bite at your son´s sandwich, try the meals your are cooking or finish what your daughter left unfinished in her plate.

It is quite normal for us mothers to eat what is left on our kid´s plate. I used to do it all the time too until I started thinking: “Better in the trash than in my butt”. This small thought helped me stop eating every left-over I came across.

Writing everything down in a journal is a great way of being really conscious of what you eat and I promise you will be astonished on the amount of food (calories) you eat without even realizing.

Just doing this will allow you to eliminate some calories that you didn´t even know you were eating and it will make you really aware of what your eating problems are.

2. You wrote your journal and now you know what you need to change.

Make a comprehensive list of every habit you need to change and every food you need to eliminate from your diet. Consider what you drink too and remember to add more water to your day. You can read about it in my previous blogpost Is Drinking Water Really THAT Important?

3. Choose 1 small habit you want to change and don´t introduce any more changes until you get used to that one and it feels like the natural thing to do for you. If the habit you want to change is too big or hard, try to break it into smaller parts and choose only 1 of those at a time.

This process will be so much easier if you have an accountability partner, someone you can go to when you are about to fall into temptation. It can be your hubby, your kid, your friend or a Coach, like me. Whoever you feel more comfortable with.

4. Keep making small changes as you master the previous ones until you are done with your entire list.

If you have any questions, please don´t hesitate to ask. You can reach me at cirila@cirilavalmaggia.com

And if you haven´t done it yet, download your Free copy of my eBook DIETS DON´T WORK – How Any Mom Can Lose Weight For Good and start getting the permanent weight loss results you always wanted.

10 Good Reasons To Eat Hummus

Hummus is a mixture of boiled chickpeas, tahina (sesame paste), olive oil and lemon juice, among other things. You can personalize the recipe and add different ingredients to your own taste.

Imagen de Ajale en Pixabay

There are many reasons to eat hummus:

1. The most important thing is that it is an easy way to take legumes. Legumes are a great source of protein and they should be present in your family´s diet at least two or three times a week.

2. Preparing hummus is fast and easy and it doesn´t need cooking. It is ideal when you don´t have time to cook, or you just don´t feel like it. Your kids will have fun helping you.

3. The mixture of chickpeas and tahina provides quality proteins. Sesame is rich in methionine, an essential amino acid present in very small amounts in legumes so the ingredients complement themselves quite well.

4. Hummus contains monounsaturated fats, from olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, from chickpeas and sesame. This makes it a heart-healthy food, which will also help lower cholesterol levels. By the way, it has a moderate energy value: 150-200 kcal / 100 g.

5. Smashed chickpeas make the legume much more digestive so your body will assimilate the nutrients more efficiently. And if you add a few tablespoons of yogurt, the digestibility will increase even more.

6. Hummus provides fiber, from chickpeas and sesame. This will help you reach your recommended daily intake of 25 to 40 g/day.

7. It contains calcium: sesame provides about 150 mg / 100 g and chickpeas 120 mg / 100 g. So it is a good dish for children and women (especially pregnant, lactating or over 35 years old) who need extra dose of this mineral.

8. Lemon juice provides vitamin C and its preservation power from the rest of the vitamins on the plate.

9. It is versatile: it can be an entree, a canape, garnish, crêpe filling, even cream to spread a sandwich.

10. It is a dish of affordable ingredients.

Oh… and it´s DELICIOUS!

4 Practical Tips To Defeat Your Sugar-craving Hormones

Staying active has many benefits for your physical and mental health. I know you know that.

BUT with so many hormonal changes that you go through in your lifetime… sometimes it is not so easy to stay motivated and keep up with your workout routine.

First it´s monthy periods, then pregnancy and postpregnancy and, finally premenopause and menopause!!

Some of us (myself included) are really lucky and have very little to none symptoms but most of you experience cravings, huge hunger, cramps, bloating, pain, liquid retention… or all of the above.

When you are not feeling like it is when you need to exercise the most. It sounds crazy but you should stop “couching” and start working out (even if it is going for a walk in the park). It will make you feel much better. And remember to drink plenty of water and eat the right amount of protein.

But don´t listen to me when you can read it directly from Samantha Clayton, Olympian, Personal trainer, Fitness expert, Fitness model and Mother of triplets plus 1.

“Here are some practical tips to help keep you away from the cookie jar and up off the couch.

1. Consistency is key

As your body is going through changes, having a set time of day that you focus on yourself is important. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes doing something that you enjoy. Exercising at the same time each day helps to create a sense of routine, which can mentally give you a boost and make you feel accomplished. Having control of something during a time when physical changes seem so out of your control is essential.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of walking.

Walking is a fantastic form of cardiovascular exercise for people of all ages. You can add in a challenge by walking up hill or perform some lunges along the way to strengthen your legs. When you are suffering from hot flashes, performing high-intensity workouts may make you feel worse so a low-intensity routine is best. When you have cramps, the last thing you need is to make yourself feel worse, so listen to your body and do only what feels right.

3. Meet up with a friend.

Consider exercising with a friend, or treat yourself to a personal training session or fitness class each month. As women, we naturally feel better when we have a support system around us. The added sense of accountability that comes from meeting someone for a workout will help you to keep focused.

4. Keep healthy snacks handy.

I know that you may want to eat a pint of ice cream, indulge in potato chips or worse, visit a fast food restaurant to help improve your mood. However, chances are you will feel way worse afterward and gain excess weight in the process. Eating and binging during your cycle is something that so many women do, and it sometimes feels unavoidable. The professional in me wants to tell you to avoid all unhealthy calorie options and eat only nutrient-dense snacks, but the real woman in me says try to find a balance. I personally try to fill up on healthy fruits, veggies and protein. I also ensure I am well hydrated. Only then, if I am really craving a sweet or salty treat, do I indulge. At that point chances are I will only need a small amount to feel satisfied and won’t totally overdo it.

I have been through a lot, from difficult and unpredictable cycles, infertility struggles, pregnancy, post-pregnancy hormones, and a major surgery that has caused my hormones to be out of sync. But, my stable and consistent approach toward nutrition and exercise has allowed me to keep my body composition and my sanity intact. I hope that you find a way to navigate your way through life’s changes in a healthy and active way.

Regardless of what challenges you are going through in your life, fitness, focus and friendship can pretty much get you through it all, so stay active and help others stay active, too.”

Thank you, Samantha!

17 Tips To Lose Weight Safely And Naturally

If you´re looking to lose weight safely and naturally you should focus on making permanent changes in your lifestyle rather than going on a restrictive diet or any other form of temporary method.

You have to make healthy changes and stick to them so you can lose weight and keep it off for good. It is usually better if you introduce those changes gradually so start with one and once it becomes part of your life, introduce another. And so on…

And if you need any kind of advice, don´t hesitate to ask. I´m here to help!

When it comes to weight loss, nothing beats a personalized program but here´s some general tips:

1. REDUCE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE

Booze will completely mess your weight loss plan. It will make you gain more weight or, at least, prevent you from losing it. Espcially if you do coctails where alcohol is mixed with sugar.

A glass of red wine is a better option.

2. FOLLOW AN EATING SCHEDULE

Eat small, healthy meals and snacks approximately every 3 hours throughout the day. It will help you mantain your energy levels and control your cravings. Also it will keep your basal metabolic rate high all day long, therefore burning more calories.

3. ADD A VEGGIE TO EVERY MEAL

Choose high fiber vegetables and add them to every meal and snack. You will get all the vital nutrients they contain and the fiber will keep you fuller and you will end up eating less.

4. KEEP HEALTHFUL SNACKS AT HOME AND AT WORK

Avoid having unhealthy snacks, candy, chips, candy bars on hand. Keep healthful snacks instead because you will tend to eat what you is convenient.

These snacks will help you meet your nutritional needs and, at the same time, avoid excess sugar and salt.

These are some good snack options:

  • natural nuts (no added salt or sugar)
  • fruits
  • crudites (chopped raw vegetables)
  • low-fat dairy products (yogurt or cheese)
  • dried seaweed

5. SET THE TABLE WITH DESSERT OR SALAD DISHES

Size DOES matter. Using smaller dishes will solve the portion problem. With smaller dishes, smaller portions. You will still feel like you had a full plate of food but you will end up eating less calories.

6. GIVE UP SOFT DRINKS

Forget about sweetened beverages like juice, soda, energy drinks and even some “healthy” sports drinks.

Drink water instead and only indulge on liquid calories in special ocassions, like at a party or restaurant.

7. HOLD YOUR FORK IN YOUR “WRONG” HAND

It takes some 20 minutes for your brain to acknowledge saciety. If you eat too fast it will probably miss the signs and you will overeat.

A great way to slow down is to hold your fork with your non-dominant hand or use chopsticks. You will eat less and have fun trying.

8. BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTER EVERY MEAL

Apart of making your dentist happy, you will prevent after-meals snacking (especially after dinner). Your fresh breath will act as a signal to stop eating.

9. TAKE PHOTOS OF YOUR MEALS

It is very important to be conscious of what you eat because it will help you to naturally regulate your food intake.

You can take photos, log your food in a phone app or keep a written diary. Whichever you choose will do the trick.

10. GOT A CRAVING? GET DISTRACTED

You can stop succumbing to your cravings just by thinking: “Why am wanting to eat this?” More often than not it´s not hunger.

Get distracted! The intense feeling will go away in about 15 minutes and you will have avoided the unnecessary extra calories. Trick yourself into playing on your phone, reading, painting, watching TV or whatever will absorb you enough until it passes.

I used to tell myself that I will go for (whatever it was I wanted) after I finished (doing anything that I enjoyed). After waiting some minutes I didn´t want that food anymore and I could completely escape temptation.

11. MAKE A BEDTIME AND STICK TO IT

Sleeping too little has two main undesirable effects:

  • Hormonal inbalance: Ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels will increase and leptin (saciety hormon) levels will decrease.
  • Less impulse control: you will be less likely to stick to healthy food choices and correct portion sizes the following day.

12. TREAT YOURSELF WITH A TASTY PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

Protein will keep you feeling full longer than carbs or fats and it is a great ally in your weight loss journey.

A delicious way to add protein to your diet is through smoothies. Be creative and enjoy!

13. SAY NO TO TREATS AT THE OFFICE

It is part of office culture to share all sorts of delicious treats, with or without motive for celebration. They are awfully hard to resist, but remember that free food will also turn into fat in your body.

Don´t think of it as deprivation. You will just be taking care of yourself by not adding unnecessary empty calories.

14. GIVE YOURSELF A CHEAT DAY OR A CHEAT MEAL

Thinking that you can´t have this or that food will make you want it even more. So if you know that you will be able to eat it on Sunday (or the day you choose), will make it so much easier to control your cravings during the rest of the week.

Choosing a cheat day or a cheat meal willl depend on how much you intend to cheat and what your goal is. Don´t cheat too much or you will ruin all your week´s perfect behaviour.

15. STEP ON THE SCALE ONCE A WEEK

When it comes to weighing yourself it is great to do it once a week.

On one hand, it is counterproductive and not accurate to weigh yourself every day. It will only discourage you because of the “crazy” readings and you may get obsessed with your weight. Relax.

On the other hand, if you never control your weight, it will “misteriously” tend to creep up over time.

So, do it the same day (Sunday for example) every week, in the morning, after peeing and naked.

16. DON´T TURN A BAD MOMENT INTO A LOST DAY

It will happen that sometimes you will give in to cravings, drink a soda or get tempted by some treat at the office. Don´t think the day is lost and use it as an excuse to eat the entire fridge because you will go back to your healthy habits “tomorrow”.

You just tripped but you must get back on track immediately. No guilt. No problem. Back to your healthy plan.

17. IGNITE YOUR PASSION

Having sex can be very helpful when you are trying to lose weight. Not so much because of the extra calories burned but more for the hormonal and emotional components.

The endorphins released during orgasm will improve your mood, reduce stress and suppress your appetite.

The more you lose weight, the sexier and more confident you will feel and this will improve your intimacy.

How to Get More Beneficial Fats Into Your Diet

There are basically two kinds of fats: saturated (unhealthy fats) and unsaturated (beneficial fats).

If you eat a lot of saturated fats (mainly present in animal products like butter, cheese, whole dairy products and meat), you may have a rise in your cholesterol.

Unsaturated fats are considered beneficial for you, because being derived mostly from plant foods, they can help to maintain blood cholesterol levels within a normal range. Apart from this, they have numerous other health benefits.

There are two kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats are present in nuts, seeds, olive oils and avocados. They are beneficial if you eat them moderately.

Polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fats. To be in optimal health you will need both of them but they compete with each other in your body so you need to get them in the proper balance. You normally eat too many omega-6 fats (chips, pastry, etc) but not enough omega-3s (fish, nuts, seeds and leafy greens).

It is a good idea to supplement with a high quality omega-3 supplement.

But remember, however beneficial and healthy, added fats will add a lot of extra calories to your diet. All oils, regardless of their source, have about 120 calories a tablespoon. Olive oil is a beneficial fat, but this doesn’t mean you should pour it all over your food.

Be carefull With the quality and the amount of Fats you eat if you aim To Keep Calories in Check

So, how can you include these beneficial fats into your day?

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans are considered tree nuts, which have more heart-healthy omega-3 than peanuts (not actually nuts, but beans). Here are some ways to include more nuts and seeds into your diet.

  • A handful of nuts make a filling snack.
  • Try stirring some nut butter into oatmeal, yogurt or protein shakes; or spread some on apple slices for a quick snack.
  • Finely ground nuts make a delicious crispy coating for fish or chicken. Dip fish fillets or chicken breasts into beaten egg white, then lightly coat with ground nuts. Season with salt and pepper, then bake or saute.
  • Sprinkle nuts or seeds into green salads, on top of cooked vegetables, yogurt or hot cereal, and into your shakes.
  • Add nuts and seeds to trail mix.
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste) makes a delicious base for a salad dressing or sauce.
Olive Oil and Olives

Olive oil is also one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fat. If the flavor of extra-virgin olive oil is too strong for you, look for light olive oils that have the same calories as regular olive oil, but are lighter in flavor.

  • Use olive oil to replace vegetable oils and butter when you cook.
  • Add whole olives to salad, or chopped olives to pasta sauces, or stirred into whole grain dishes after cooking.
  • Make your own salad dressing with 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice or vinegar; salt and pepper to taste.
  • Use a tiny bit of olive oil to flavor cooked vegetables.
  • Try an olive spread on whole grain crackers. Whip up chopped olives, garlic and a little tomato paste in the blender.
Seafood

Fish fat naturally contains heart-healthy omega-3.

  • Order fish more often in restaurants.
  • Canned tuna and salmon are super-convenient. Flake some tuna or salmon on top of a green salad for a quick meal.
  • Add frozen cooked shrimp and scallops to soups or pasta dishes.
  • Use fish instead of chicken in some of your favorite dishes like tacos or one-dish meals.
Avocado

Avocados are technically a fruit and a good source of monounsaturated fat. Here are a few of my favorite uses for avocado.

  • Use mashed avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad or egg salad.
  • Mash into guacamole with a little lime juice and salt; use cut veggies rather than chips for dipping.
  • Try a few slices of avocado in an omelet, or on top of hard-boiled eggs.
  • Mix diced avocado, mango and red onion with a little lime juice and cilantro into a delicious salsa.

from Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing Beneficial Fats

6 Tips To Lose Weight On A Budget

When you think about starting a healthy, active lifestyle it may seem expensive and time consuming. This, of course is “the perfect excuse” to stay in your comfort zone and do nothing.

Of course, if you do nothing you will remain exactly as you are. This means that with time you might probably get fatter and your health may deteriorate.

So, forget about your excuses, read these tips and find out how you can lose weight on a budget

1. STOP BUYING EMPTY CALORIES

First of all let´s cut some expenses. Stop spending money on empty calories. By empty calories I mean all those foods and drinks that have very few nutrients but a lot of calories.

Examples: fast food, sodas, energy drinks, chips, candy bars, sweets, ice-cream, pastry… you know what I mean.

If you can´t cut them out of your life drastically, do it slowly and gradually. But do it.

2. EAT MORE HOME-MADE MEALS

If your daily activity forces you to have your lunch or any other meal (including snacks) in any place different than home, don´t let this circumstance mess with your health and/or weight loss goals.

Take your meals or snacks with you when you leave home. If you choose something to eat when you get hungry you are more likely to make poor choices.

Planning your meals will prevent you from making unhealthy choices.

When there is no way that you can manage to prepare and take your meals with you, use natural supplements (choose wisely, not all of them are good for your health). They are low in calories and packed with nutrients. And so much cheaper than eating out.

3. CHOOSE BUDGET-FRIENDLY PROTEIN SOURCES

Eating the right amount of protein is essential to lose weight but this doesn´t mean it has to be expensive.

Remember to have some protein in every food intake of the day.

Some options could be: canned tuna (no oil), all beans (especially soybeans), ground turkey…

4. FOLLOW THE SEASONS

Eat in-season fruits and vegetables instead of choosing expensive out-of-season imported or organic ones.

They will be ripe, delicious and full of nutrients, and you will save money.

5. STICK TO WHOLE FOODS

Most foods are much cheaper in less processed forms and they are often sold in larger packages that allow you to save even more money.

Also they are healthier than their processed counterparts.

Cheaper and healthier. WIn-win!

6. BUY FROZEN FRUITS & VEGGIES

Fresh fruits & veggies are only in season for few months a year and they are usually quite expensive.

Their frozen counterparts are almost just as nutritious, much cheaper and available all year round.

Also they are frequently sold in large bags, they are ready to use and they are easy to portion.

They will save you time and money.

11 Benefits Of Being Active

In recent times, our lives have become more and more sedentary. We have a lot of gadgets to make our lives easier and we spend a lot of time in front of a screen (TV, tablet, smartphone, computer…), sometimes even two at a time.

Funny but sad at the same time

No matter how busy you may be it is of the utmost importance that you make time to do some kind of physical activity because exercise has a lot of benefits for you and it will help you prevent innumerable diseases and health issues.

11 Benefits of Exercise

  • It improves cardiovascular function, both in healthy people and in individuals who were victims of heart attacks, angina or underwent heart surgeries. It also stimulates the formation of new coronary vessels. These fantastic effects significantly reduce cardiovascular mortality.
  • It burns body fat and eliminates subcutaneous fat in overweight and obese people, and defines muscle tone in athletes.
  • It helps lower blood pressure in hypertensive people, decreasing the requirement of medications.
  • It lowers your total cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as “bad cholesterol” and triglycerides, and increases the “good cholesterol”, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack.
  • It reduces your blood glucose levels. When practicing an aerobic exercise, the glucose present in the blood is used. This decreases blood glucose levels and there is no insulin reaction. Diabetics can benefit from exercise.
  • It improves your lung capacity, circulation in general and the use of oxygen (not only by the muscles, including the heart, but also by the internal organs and the skin), which is reflected in greater capacity for efforts.
  • It improves your digestive, renal, and endocrine functions.
  • It helps you get better sleep and higher mental functions.
  • It firms the tissues and the skin recovers part of the lost freshness,. This will make you not only be and feel younger but you will also look like it.
  • It increases the reabsorption of calcium by the bones, strengthening them and decreasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
  • It decreases circulating levels of adrenaline (the stress hormone) and increases the levels of endorphins and other brain substances, helping to lower emotional tension and improve mood, which is reflected in a great sense of physical, emotional and social well-being.

So… choose some physical activity that you have fun with and STAY ACTIVE!

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