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Sep
4

HELPING TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD OBESITY

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Over the past four decades obesity rates in the United States have soared. And it’s not just adults.

kids fitnessWe have witnessed childhood obesity grow to epidemic proportions. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight—that’s roughly one child in every three.

These youngsters are at early risk  for developing serious health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, cancer, asthma and even stroke – conditions usually associated with adulthood. In addition, overweight children often suffer from depression, low self-esteem and are frequently the victims of bullying. These psychosocial consequences can hinder kids academically and socially.

But childhood obesity is something we can fight.

The effort begins at home. Parents have enormous influence over their children’s lifestyles by the example they set and the decisions they make. By modeling healthy eating and physically active lifestyles, we can help children develop a lifetime of good habits.

Here’s what you can do:

Get Moving!

The American Heart Association and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommend that teens (middle and high school students) get 225 minutes (almost four hours) of physical education every week.

Although physical education is offered in schools, it may not be enough. So parents should consider supplementing physical activities at home.youth_SeatedCurl_web

Aim for 60 minutes of sweat-generating exercise a day.  Encourage your children to work out with you at the gym or on your Total Gym, go for family walks or jogs, sign-them up for after school activities like swimming, baseball, dance, nartial arts, etc…

You can even incorporate fitness into your child’s weekly chores – raking leaves burns almost 175 calories, sweeping floors – 156, vacuuming – 170,  washing dishes-88, carrying groceries or laundry upstairs can burn up to 442, even making the bed burns up to 68 calories.

The key is to get them moving.

Turn the TV off!

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids and teens spend about six hours a day in front of a screen, whether it’s watching TV, playing video games or using the computer for non-homework activities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting the amount of time kids and teens spend in front of a screen to two hours or less a day (not counting the time they spend doing homework).

Encourage kids to play.  Traditional children’s games and activities like hide-and-go-seek, riding bikes, rollerblading, running through a sprinkler and playing tag with friends are not only FUN but burn calories.

Careful Consumption

Every serving of soda increases a kid’s risk of becoming obese by about 60 percent.  Sweetened drinks and fruit-flavored drinks offer nothing except sugar.  And even 100% fruit juice, despite the valuable vitamins and nutrients provided, is loaded with calories.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids ages 7 and older drink no more than 12 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice a day (one serving of fruit is equal to four ounces of 100 percent fruit juice).

Instead, keep water and milk on hand to quench kid’s thirst.

Bedtime Burn

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a correlation between childhood obesity and the number of hours a child sleeps each night– the fewer hours of sleep each night increases the risk of being overweight or obese.

It’s suggested that kids 10 years old or older and teens need nine or more hours of sleep every day, but more than 90 percent of teens don’t get that much. In fact, 10 percent of teens sleep less than six hours a day. For every additional hour of sleep a child gets, the risk of obesity decreases by 9 percent.

And in addition to the extra hours of quiet you’ll reap from putting the kids down to sleep, your body actually burns calories while sleeping. On average, you could loose about 350 calories during eight solid hours of sleep.

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

bowl of oatmealSkipping breakfast may actually make you gain weight. Kids who don’t eat in the  morning are not only more tired, irritable and hungry during the day, and they tend to reach for high-calorie foods to compensate.

So make sure to make time for breakfast – whether it’s a sit-down or a grab-and-go meal, a cup of yogurt and trail mix or peanut butter on whole grain toast goes a long way.

Family Dinners

Eating dinner together increases the chances of eating healthy. Sitting down for a home-cooked meal each night typically means less fried foods (obviously no fast foods) and more veggies.

A study found that when families ate dinner together more than five times a week, there was a 23 to 25 percent reduction in the number of kids with weight problems.

Snack Healthy

Snacking is actually a good thing – it just comes down to what kids are snacking on.

Snacks should be no more than 100 calories and preferably low in fat, sugar and sodium.healthy-food

Although a bag of potato chips, pretzels or candy aren’t out of the question, it takes a larger quantity to satisfy the craving in between meals.  So kids can eat these sugary or salty treats, but just not as much.

For example, kids can snack on two Oreo cookies or a whole cup of blueberries; twenty potato chips, or a cup of carrots and hummus.

Combining food groups also contributes to making a healthier snack. Protein and carbohydrates pair well (think cheese and crackers or fruit and yogurt). Combining food groups will fill kids up just enough and provide an extra burst of energy until the next meal.

Knowledge is Power

It’s simple – teach your kids how to take care of their bodies.

Bring your kids food shopping with you (Bonus: an hour of shopping can burn anywhere from 100 to 240 calories) or let them help out in the kitchen when you’re preparing dinner – this gives you a chance to explain what nutrients the body needs. Teach them about the food pyramid – it may not be what you learned as a kid, so educate yourself as well by visiting www.MyPyramid.gov.

Show your kids how to read a food label.  For example, the food label on a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola reads100 calories. What kids might miss, though, is that it’s actually 100 calories per serving, and there are 2.5 servings in that bottle. Drink the whole thing, and you’ve consumed 250 calories—that’s almost the same amount of calories in one 7-layer burrito from Taco Bell.

Get Involved

Raising a healthier generation of kids means becoming aware of and involved in what’s going on in our community at large. There are a number of child obesity healthcare initiative’s already in place that you can take part of including First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program, Food Corps, The Foundation for Improving Patient Outcomes “Childhood Obesity Initiative” and even local programs created by caring teachers who want to help their students.

And during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, look for local businesses who are supporting the cause. Jamba Juice is running a pledge promotion now through September 27th to help fight childhood obesity.  Go to www.myhealthpledge.com and make a weekly pledge to do something healthy.  Your pledge will donate $1 toward athletic and fitness equipment for a local school in need.

 

 

Jun
7

TARA’S FRIDAY BITE – ON GOING ORGANIC

It’s hard to turn your head at the grocery store without seeing the word Organic.  Many see it as a synonym for health; others see it as simply a way to spend more money, however very few understand what it really means.  This month I wanted to break down the word organic so you can decide if it’s right for you!

Organic Fruit & Vegetablesgrocery shopping decisions

When you buy an organic fruit and vegetable it means that both the soil and produce are maintained and replenished without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen to see which of the produce you eat contain the most pesticides.

Organic Meat & Poultry

The term organic when applied to animal protein starts at birth.  The animal must be born and raised on land that is free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  All the feed that it receives must also be 100% organic and can never contain any animal by-products.  Finally, they can never receive any antibiotics and must have ready access to open pastureland.

Organic Grains & Packaged Food

When it comes to packaged foods you shouldn’t assume that the product is actually healthy, but rather it has come from healthier ingredients.  For instance if you buy an organic cookie – your flour won’t come from wheat crops that have been sprayed with pesticides or any other unpleasant chemicals. The same applies to all the other ingredients you put in those tasty cookies. None of them will have been treated or grown or developed with anything bad, like growth hormones or artificial pesticides or anything similar. However, it is still a cookie – unfortunately the word organic doesn’t turn it into broccoli!

Basically, organic means getting back to basics. It means you know you’re getting something that’s been safely and responsibly produced. However, as we’ve seen with the cookie example, organic doesn’t always translate into healthy food. It all depends on the ingredients and whether you eat them in moderation.

Finally, organic is not always just a health issue, but rather a financial issue.  If you are wondering where to spend your money check out my article on what to buy organic.  Also, remember the most important thing is that you get fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains into you.  So you can’t afford organic or it’s not available in your area don’t use this as a reason to skip out on your fruits and vegetables!

 

TaraColemanHeadShot

 

 

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at tara@taracoleman.com.

 

 

Dec
24

HOLIDAY FIT TIP: WHY YOU SHOULD GO BACK FOR SECONDS, THIRDS AND FOURTHS!

Every year around the holiday season, I read articles about the best ways to fight holiday weight gain. They all have tips about eating before you go, bringing a healthy dish to share or making exercise a priority. These are all great tips! In fact, I recommend them.

However, this year I want you to try something a little different. Instead of focusing on all of the stuff you shouldn’t have, go back for seconds! Let me explain…

Typically at holiday dinners, we build one enormous plate of food. It is piled high in a way that defies gravity and, if broken apart, could most likely feed a family of four. Then we sit down and eat the whole thing. Regardless of whether we like it or are even still hungry, we eat every last bite simply because it’s there. You can blame the clean plate club, or starving children in [insert country], or the belief that starting tomorrow we may never see turkey and mashed potatoes again. Whatever the reason, the end result is eating until we are sick and starting the New Year feeling bloated and disappointed.

This year, I want you to grab a very small amount of everything during the first go-around. It may seem silly or look funny in comparison to the leaning tower of latkes on your family member’s plate, but don’t worry! This isn’t the end of your meal. After you finish that plate, go back for seconds and grab your absolute favorites. When you are done, if you are still hungry, go back for thirds. You can go back as many times as you would like as long as you are still legitimately hungry.

What you will find is that, even with all the trips, you end up eating less than you would have with one giant plate. You also give your body a little time to register that it’s full so you don’t finish your delicious meal with antacids.

So, at that next big holiday feast, don’t be afraid of seconds – plan for them. This simple step will allow you to enjoy every bit of the holidays without spending the first quarter of 2013 making up for it.

And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes.

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at tara@taracoleman.com.

Dec
21

HOLIDAY FIT TIP: HAVE YOURSELF A VERY HOT CUP OF COCO

As the weather gets colder outside

There’s no reason to feel you’re denied,

Cause you don’t have to cheat

with this Hot Chocolate treat –

Use the recipe here we’ve supplied!

This Healthy Holiday Tip is brought to you by JayDee Cutting.

 


JayDee Cutting is a GRAVITY Master Trainer, certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor and creator of the “Core Golf Fitness” program. JayDee’s Core GolfFitness DVD offers on-course and warm-up exercises proven to help advance your golf game and is available for purchase at http://coregolffitness.com
Dec
14

HOLIDAY FIT TIP: AN EASY “WEIGH” TO STAY MOTIVATED

‘Tis the season of Friends, Family and Food.

But for those that are trying to stay fit and eat healthy during the holidays, it may seem like an upward battle.

Research shows that regular exercise plummets in the month of December and people eat 75% more calories when dining in large groups or at parties with excessive amounts of food.

However, for those that want to stay focused on their fitness goals, there’s one easy tip to help curb overindulging in the seasonal schmorgesborg.

 

 

This Healthy Holiday Tip is brought to you by JayDee Cutting.


JayDee Cutting is a GRAVITY Master Trainer, certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor and creator of the “Core Golf Fitness” program. JayDee’s Core GolfFitness DVD offers on-course and warm-up exercises proven to help advance your golf game and is available for purchase at http://coregolffitness.com
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Nov
16

TARA’S FRIDAY BITE – TIPS TO HELP TACKLE HOLIDAY EATING

The holidays are a lonely time for a nutritionist. My clients who typically bounce through the door, excited to see me suddenly have problems with “cell phone reception” and inexplicably “lost” e-mails. It really is the strangest thing. Then, January 2nd rolls around and in they sulk, 5 – 10 pounds heavier, with a look of frustration and disappointment. Holidays: 1, Client: 0.

Had they not had those “terrible cell phone problems,” I could have informed them of some simple ways to enjoy the holidays without ringing in the New Year bloated and defeated!

First, let’s look at the five pounds that people often gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This breaks down to an extra 17,500 calories in one month!  Unless you are doing something extraordinary, there is no way that these pounds are gained solely on the big days of eating. Instead, the calories squeak in through little bites that you may not even enjoy and barely remember.

Think about your co-worker’s cookies at the office holiday party. They weren’t even that good, but you still had three because they were there. Or that box of peanut brittle from your Secret Santa. Or that dip at your neighbor’s party.

So how do you stop an unconscious habit like this? Just reading this post increases your awareness and is a step in the right direction. Here are a few tips to help you make decisions during the holiday season:

1. Step Away From the Food Table – Your physical location (e.g. bellied up to the buffet table) is the biggest culprit when it comes to mindless eating. Prepare a small plate of your favorite foods and then head to the other side of the room. This is true for the bar as well. Plus, at office parties, it may not only help save your waistline, but your job too!

2. Eat Before You Go – Always make sure to eat a little something before you head out to holiday parties. If you’re starving when you get there, you are more likely to overeat. I always keep healthy snacks like nuts divided into single serve bags so I have something quick to grab when I’m on the go.

3. Bring Something Healthy to Share – The holidays are a time for sharing and spending time with loved ones. What better way to take care of those around you than to bring a healthy dish to share? Think of party favorites like dips, spreads and even party beverages. One easy way to give these treats a boost is to add naturally calorie-free green tea. You may want to try Salada’s Green Tea Martini, Boston Iced Tea with cranberry juice, Green Tea Fruit Twist Smoothie, or even traditional or classic lemon iced tea.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Seconds – Make your first plate at holiday dinners a small one. You can always go back for more if you are still hungry.

5. Enjoy Yourself – The holidays are a time to spend with loved ones and eat wonderful food. When you are eating something that you really love, make sure to savor it. Chew slowly, taste all of the flavors, and truly enjoy the act of eating. Good friends and good food are great reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes.

 

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at tara@taracoleman.com.

 

Sep
28

TARA’S FRIDAY BITE – FIGHT FLU SEASON WITH TEA TIME

Summer is over and it’s time to start thinking ahead… to flu season.

There’s no better time to start revving up your immune system than the present. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you be proactive and stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at tara@taracoleman.com.

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