HOLIDAY ROAD & CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Over this past summer we went on an awesome vacay with the fam-jam. A four-day road trip to Toronto and Niagara falls, where we took our offspring to places like Canada’s Wonderland and The Great Wolf Lodge. It was a whole lot of fun, but I couldn’t help but feel sad for some of the kids and families we encountered on this trek.

childhood-obesityYou see, I have no problem with grown ups eating themselves into an early grave….they chose that path. HOWEVER, seeing neckless, ankle-less toddlers waddling around jonesing for their next sugar fix breaks my heart. It’s one thing to read about how childhood obesity is on the rise around the world, but it’s seeing it in our very own backyard that hits the hardest. I saw children, barely a year or two old, that outweigh my two kids (4 and 6 years of age) put together. Children cannot buy groceries alone and they didn’t make the choice of eating massive amounts of sugar and deep fried food, its just what their parents have taught them and allow them to do. And yes I will say it… I believe that letting your child consume more food in one meal than a grown up should eat in an entire day is child abuse. Some of these kids could barely walk they were so plump!

Don’t get me wrong, we indulged in treats too! Ice cream, snow cones….but in moderation. We also ensured that our kids got their helpings of fruit and veggies while many children barely had a speck of colour on their plates (it was all brown, refined, deep fried crap). Even at restaurants, the kid’s menus always had the option of steamed vegetables for sides and we chose those for the kids. But a single glance around said restaurant would show that we were one of the few who made that choice. We packed lunches (which not only ensures a balanced meal but also saves a couple dollars) and had granola bars, apples and loads of water on hand.

Kids are not born picky eaters, picky eaters are created! Parents are the children’s only hope to form good eating habits. Amusement parks and tourist attractions do offer healthier food options, but I do understand that they also push a lot of the junk food that kids crave way more of. That’s why its up to the parents to filter out the junk. This problem doesn’t only fester in theme parks, but in your kids’ school cafeterias as well!

One of my favourite people on this planet has to be Jamie Oliver…. He is a passionate father, chef and food activist who is constantly fighting against childhood obesity by approaching schools and they way they prepare the children’s meals (Jamie Oliver’s appearance on TedTalks is definitely worth the watch!!!). He is in Canada at his very moment to help spread awareness by reaching out to our very own Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau!

Best of luck, Jamie!

#Vacation #Childhood #Obesity #Parentharder #JamieOliver #FoodRevolution #JustinTrudeau

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Rock On, Social Media! Rock On!

“If heavy metal bands ruled the world, we’d be a lot better off.”

 – Bruce Dickinson

Disturbed is coming to Ottawa Wednesday and I am beyond excited!! I love the band and have seen them live years ago, but with the constant grind and routine I figured it’s time for me to have a little fun!

I was reading up on the band’s history last night and as I was doing so, I noticed that they rely heavily on social media to reach out to their fans. After the band’s 5 year hiatus, they resorted to subtle, mysterious hints that they would reunite the band and produce more music…

“Return from hiatus and Immortalized (2015–present)
On June 20, 2015, on Disturbed’s Facebook page and website, there was material posted hinting at a possible return of the band. The website shows a new Disturbed logo, plus a video of the band’s mascot “The Guy” appearing to be on life support, still breathing.[60] The new Disturbed logo was also posted to their official Facebook page, along with the video of their mascot, and their profile picture changed to solid black, indicating new activity within the band.[61] On June 22, 2015, Disturbed posted another video on Facebook, this time showing The Guy awakening from life support, as well as an 18-hour countdown on their official website, giving speculation to a definite reunion. On June 23, 2015, Disturbed officially announced the end of their hiatus and the coming of their new album entitled Immortalized. On the same day, the official music video for the new single “The Vengeful One” was released on their YouTube channel.[62] Immortalized was released on August 21, 2015. For currently unknown reasons, John Moyer did not perform on the album, with all bass tracks being performed by Dan Donegan. Moyer is not in the band’s video for “The Sound Of Silence” released in December 2015. However, Moyer remains a band member, having appeared in promotional photography for the album as well as continuing to perform live with the band.
On the album’s release day, the band played their first show in four years at the House of Blues in Chicago. The show featured the live debuts of four new songs (“The Vengeful One”, “What Are You Waiting For”, “The Light” and the title-track) and the song “Hell”, a b-side from Ten Thousand Fists in its entirety for the first time.[63]”

– Wikipedia
In fact, a lot of musicians and public figures do so these days. I find it quite interesting how social media, like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, have essentially brought celebrities closer to their adoring fans. Don’t get me wrong, I still remember writing letters to bands (yes, I am that much of a nerd) and freaking out with joy over getting a response, even though it was clearly mass produced. But these days, you can essentially interact with celebrities online! How cool is that!? Have any of you reached out to a personal favourite via Social Media? Get any responses? Do any of you think that this accessibility to celebrities is a positive thing (of course when you think of the dreaded Kardashians, maybe not lol)? Does it diminish the uniqueness of celebrity to fan relations? I would to love hear your opinions! In the meantime, rock on, disturbed ones 😉

#Disturbed #heavymetal #socialmedia #RockOn #Immortalized

Want the scale to go down, then best get down with SCIENCE!!

“CARBS ARE THE DEVIL!!!” I once heard this in a passing conversation. Another one I hear a lot is “I eat like a caveman because the “cult”-ure of crossfit says the Paleo diet is the best way to get shredded as fuck!”. Or, “Hey! Dump some butter in your coffee! I swear you’ll drop POUNDS!”. “Nah, I can’t eat that, I’m having steamed broccoli and chicken breast 4 times a day for the rest of my life…”

Remember way back when you were in school and they made you sit in that boring health class? Well, I bet you didn’t know this, but the very secret to maintaining a healthy body weight was sitting right in front of you that whole time. Only it was hidden by that boring health teacher blabbing on about food pyramids and stuff.

Sure it doesn’t have the same pizzazz as those exotic foods or that gadgety feeding system subscription your colleague talked you into buying, which you then realized was a mere pyramid scheme and now your stuck with weird bottles, pills, and shakes.

Well, it’s back to the basics for sustainable, safe weight loss! Never mind the bodybuilder at your gym who praises the daylights out of $600+ of monthly supplements and timed eating and carb cycling…wait, we are still talking about food…right?

All you need to know are your MACROs (macronutrients!). So, back to that health class. In this class you would have learned that macronutrients include carbs, fats, and proteins. Micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals. Pretty simple, right? Well, the human body relies on all of these things! Yes, carbs included! In order to lose, maintain, or even gain weight all you need to do is calculate your macronutrient intake to fit your goals. No need for a vita blender or snake oil…just plain old food. What’s really cool about going back to the basics is that you can eat pretty much anything you like. You can call this IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) or flexible dieting. I would go into the details, but Dr. Layne Norton does a better job at doing so.

Don’t feel bad and don’t engage in an emotional binge eating fest, I fell for a ton of stupid health and fitness gimmicks, one of which was this ridiculous cleansing system that came with a plethora of bottles and rules….this did nothing for me. All I got was hungry and angry. So, I decided to re-educate myself in health, nutrition, and even in professional sport nutrition (The Health and Sciences Academy offers a free nutrition course! What a great way to start!). Boy, did my eyes ever get widely opened!

I did think that IIFYM was a a little too good to be true. What do you mean you get to eat pop tarts and still look lean? I needed proof. It wasn’t sufficient to just read about it I wanted to see if I could do it, so I conducted an experiment (similar to Sohee’s  one Snicker’s a day bikini contest prep) and completed a 12 week cutting program based on tracking my macros and some heavy lifting. No gimmicks, no Saran wrap, no potions or cutting out entire food groups, just plain hard work, dedication, and portion control. The results were awesome! I never thought I could do it, but I did. I was still eating pizza and chocolate, but in calculated amounts ( a great tool to check out for tracking) Don’t get me wrong, I also ate chicken and broccoli, just not religiously. After all, this is the balanced diet approach.

cutting

My cutting experiment had finally concluded. In the span of 11 weeks (1 week short of my program, due to results being outstanding) I managed to lose 13lbs all the while eating balanced meals and lifting 5 days a week. 

To conclude, skip the bullshit and educate yourself. Your body is with you for life, treat it well.

 

 

 

 

PUMPKIN SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE!

With Fall’s arrival comes a need to “pumpkinize” everything. The smell of cooked apples and spice permeates the air and the thought of comfort food is, well……comforting! But it doesn’t have to go straight to your love handles. Here is a way to enjoy the season and stay buff. I’ve combined my two fave desserts, cheesecake and pumpkin pie in this high protein, low calorie recipe! It’s creamy and bursting with Autumn  flavours!

Protein Pumpkin Crustless Cheesecake

1/2 cup of Hemp Pro 70 protein powder
2 tbsp of liquid stevia
1 1/2 Teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
12 Ounces (340g) Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt
16 Ounces (452g) Fat Free Cream Cheese
15 Ounces (425g) Pure Pumpkin
Blend all your ingredients or use a mixer. Pour into parchment lined 9 inch cake pan and bake at 325 for 30 minutes then an hour or so at 200. You can insert a toothpick in the middle and if its clean when you remove it, your cake is done. Let cool in the fridge for 6 hours to overnight.
Macros per serving (1/8)
168 calories
4 g fat
14 g carbs
20 protein
Topping ideas could be light cool whip, diet syrups, greek yogurt, nuts, etc….
In this serving, I added a cookie butter drizzle! YUM!

 

Bon appetit!

pumpkinspice
#pumpkinspice #Fall #cheesecake #recipe #IIFYM #macros

I call Bullshit!

The internet and its myriad of social media channels are creating new and innovative ways to voice your opinion. But has this evolution in communications negatively impacted the way we read critically?

Ever hear of a tree dwelling octopus? Or how the miraculous “It Works” body wrap takes away inches from your waist without having to set foot in a gym? Have you ever taken medical advice from google? I did once, and apparently all symptoms lead to cancer….according to the internet.

One of the biggest reasons I decided not to build a career as on online personal coach is that I grew impatient and tired of trying to reteach clients the ACTUAL truths of fitness and weight loss. No it doesn’t require eating steamed broccoli and fish for days on end, protein shakes are actually supposed to be consumed POST workout, flexible eating is science and it works….you can treat yourself without guilt, and no that $300 per month subscription to companies like Isagenix are not integral nor necessary to achieve the physique that you seek. If this job didn’t involve constant debunking of internet lies and full on arguments with clients already set in their ways, I may have considered it.

Here are some tips on how to use the internet critically and sort out the bullshit.

When reading an article, a website or blog post do…

  • ASSESS whether the claims or promises being made are “too good to be true”. Especially when it comes to your body. That picture of the hot chick in a sports bra is so photoshopped it would make your head spin, but sex sells and it can sell big lies. Buyers beware!
  • EXAMINE the evidence, if any. Check for sources. Is the writer credible? Is the author an expert in the subject matter being discussed? Are their sources credible?
  • PAY ATTENTION to the context of the article. To which audience is the author writing too?
  • QUESTION everything!! Don’t be so gullible! Just because the internet claims that homeopathic crystals can realign your chakras does not mean you should go on a mining expedition.

chakras

 

Other sites that provide tips and approaches to critical thinking in this new age of communications include, but are not limited to;

Happy and safe web surfing, my fellow keyboard warriors!

 

 

The Winds of Change are Blustering

My life used to revolve around my two kids…. for a whole seven years……that’s nearly a decade. I got up with them in the morning, prepared them for their day; packed their thoughtfully prepared lunches, checked school agendas, slathered them with sunscreen and drove them to school. “Hugs! Kisses! I love you!”

Climb back into my black minivan and off to the gym I went. After an hour or two of lifting, and I mean heavy lifting; deadlifts, squats, bench, and such I drove home, chugged my protein shake and showered. For the rest of the day I ran errands and cooked and planned meals and walked the dog for hours on end. I live in Rockland, so I was quite limited in the amount of adventurous discovery during my long walks but I got to know the ins and outs of the small town I call home very quickly.

Now, things are very different. After 7 years of being a stay at home mom / gym junkie, it was time to trade in my “bro life” for that of a working mom. Rise and shine at 5:00 AM, throw on some gym gear, grab my lunch, my work bag and out the door I go. I drive for a good 30 minutes before getting to my work gym, I train as hard as time allows me, jump in the shower and promptly report to my desk for 7-7:15 am.

Once I’ve done my 8 or so hours, it’s back into the car I go (no longer a minivan due to mechanical problems) and drive as efficiently and quickly as possible to pick up the kids at after school daycare. Herding children is very similar to herding cats….it requires great stamina and miles of patience, which I have noticed is wearing a bit thin after a long day. Agendas have been checked, snacks and lunches eaten, forms filled out and now it’s time to make dinner. Then ensues the kids’ bedtime routine, which is never linear, but more like a spirograph. To top off the day, a calming walk with my dog along the no-longer-familiar streets of Rockland in the cool end of summer air.

This whirlwind of change is slowly starting to settle as I chaotically adapt to this turbulent new lifestyle. Hopefully, I will master the act of balancing the several roles I have taken on; as a mom, a public servant, a gym rat, a student, a wife, a friend andwonder-woman-family somewhere in all of that the role of just being me. I also hope that my returning to work provides a positive influence for my kids. After all, the role of mom trumps them all.

Social media has been by my side through all of this. It has become my personal assistant in the way that it helps me keep appointments and commitments on track, pay bills on time (most of the time) I can magically remember everybody’s birthdays (thanks, Facebook), I can keep abreast on the local news, coordinate birthday parties with ease and even touch base with dear friends in Denmark with just a few strikes on the keyboard. I am able to track my fitness goals and create meal plans for my family, I can vent and get support or advice from mom support groups, I can even get the latest news straight out of my kids’ classrooms thanks to their newly developed school blog. Social media has been interwoven throughout the many aspects of my life for years and now I am counting on it to advance me in my career.