Author Archives: Carmen

About Carmen

A busy mom of six who's maintained an 80 pound weight loss, Carmen helps moms and families navigate a realistic healthy lifestyle. She's also training for a Muay Thai black belt.

Don’t Wait Until the New Year to Start Your Resolution

We all know someone who made a New Year’s Resolution to get fit, lose weight and become a much healthier person. Maybe that person is you. There’s nothing wrong with that sentiment. In fact, I did it myself. The problem lies in the fact that there is an entire month between now and then. You might think to yourself: “So what, it’s just a month. No big deal. I’ll enjoy my holiday time as much as possible with free access to any food that I want and just deal with it in January.”

The trouble is, you can put on a significant amount of weight when you allow yourself complete, unfettered access to foods for an entire month. Once you begin your weight loss efforts, you’ll be that much heavier, and have that much harder to work. Wouldn’t it be better to begin now? What are you waiting for? After all, there’s nothing “magical” about the first day of the new year – other than the fact that it’s the first day.

Go ahead and like yourself enough to declare a stop to the free range grazing, put the kibosh on unlimited snacking, and take yourself for a walk around the block. Join a fencing class. Get a group of girlfriends together and go to Zumba. Take your husband for a romantic evening of ice skating, or chase the soccer ball with your kids. Explore self defense or join a running group. Pick an activity and lace up your shoes and go.

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Healthy Stocking Stuffers for the Whole Family

Hanging Christmas stockings never gets old. Even though you may be the one that packs them, it’s still an exciting and integral part of many families’ holiday traditions. Instead of packing them with candy, here is a list of pint sized products – every one of them completely tested! – that can help your family members get a leg up on a healthy, active lifestyle before the New Year’s Eve ball drops!

Handful Bras
– Originally created because company owner Jennifer Ferguson  couldn’t find a flattering sports bra, this pocket sized product is a dream come true for smaller breasted ladies. Holding you firm without flattening or causing the dreaded “Uni-boob” image, this is the one sports bra that does it all. I let my two older daughters try this bra, and it has already become a favorite. It doesn’t ride up, it flatters and holds everything into place. In other words, it does exactly what it’s *supposed* to do and none of what it isn’t.  Attractive enough to be worn alone, or flattering under a traditional work out top, this bra would make a wonderful addition to a Christmas stocking.

Myorope Balls – These “balls on a rope” appear innocent and safe, but one quick trial and you’ll know that these balls mean business! I’ve long been a fan of self-massage and trigger point pressure, even going so far as to carry a lacrosse ball in my boxing bag. It can be tricky to get the ball at just the right spot, which is where the unique design of the Myorope comes in. Offered in 2, 4 or 6, the design allows for one ball to be anchored and lets the rest get into every nook and crevice that needs help. If you’ve got a runner, CrossFit enthusiast or triathlete – or if you are a fan of foam rolling, these will be the hit of the day. (I’ve been badgered for my set every time I enter the gym!)

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Parents, You Can Raise a Healthy Child With Diabetes

If you are a parent of a child who has diabetes, you know that dealing with the illness can be a full time task. Even more difficult than dealing with insulin, sugar counts and keeping track of exercise can be the reality that your child just doesn’t care or can’t  be bothered. Further compounding these issues, maybe you don’t know enough about diabetes yourself to be well informed. How can you help your child without becoming a nag?

Dr. Sarah G. Khan, resident pharmacist for Diets in Review, shares, “The biggest hurdle for children, I think, is understanding what is going on in their bodies. Parents should be very educated and give them a generalized picture. “Your body doesn’t produce as much or any insulin. Insulin helps the body when we eat something. That is why I need to give you this shot everyday.”

Focus on moderation in their diets. Often, children hear that they need to modify their diets and perceive it as an “all or nothing” type of scenario, and most of us don’t like to be told that we can’t eat certain foods. By helping your child to learn moderation and the reality that a treat can be incorporated in to the diet, you are teaching your child a valuable lesson.

Dr. Khan is a fan of Bayer’s new blood glucose meter known as the DIDGET. “The more the child tests (their blood) they get special codes to Nintendo DS games. It plugs right into a Nintendo DS or DS lite. Once they become more advanced with their blood sugar control it gives them a second level where they can monitor their sugar levels before or after a meal.”

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The Most Frustrating Aspects of Weight Loss Focus on Time Commitment

So you’ve decided to lose weight. Congratulations! Often, making the decision, as well as actually getting started, can be one of the most difficult aspects of weight loss – but not always. I recently asked on Twitter what the  most frustrating aspect of weight loss was for our readers, and was surprised at the number of people who had an answer ready.

Kalisa Hyman from The One in Heels – Those first several lbs. Once I’m down several lbs I am highly motivated to do more.

Shae from Skinny Shae – Working hard and not seeing body changes when losing weight. So sad to be so jiggly.

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Thanksgiving Fun with Your Family Takes the Focus off Food

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my very favorite holiday ever. Lots of friends, lots of food, no gifts to buy – it’s just about the perfect holiday, in my mind. There’s just one small problem – the food and the festivities tend to make one a bit, shall we say, sluggish. After filling your belly with a week’s worth of calories, you feel like taking a 3 hour nap. Instead of doing that, why not try some of these fantastic, family friendly options that will help you not only enjoy the day but end it feeling as if you’ve done something good for you?

Start the day off right. This year, all of my kids are finally old enough to participate in a Turkey Trot and I hope to make this an annual tradition. Even just running a mile, first thing in the morning, gets the blood flowing and gets everyone off on the right foot. Knowing you’ve done even a tiny bit of exercise makes it less likely that you’ll fall, face first, into the pecan pie.

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Ellen Degeneres Announces Plans to Open a Vegan Restaurant

One of the funniest women comics around thinks that her new restaurant is the breath of fresh air the restaurant industry needs.

Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi have teamed up with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and film producer Steve Bing to open a vegan restaurant. The unnamed eatery will be located on Ventura Boulevard in San Fernando Valley, California. The menu will be designed by Tal Ronnen, who is best known for catering the wedding of DeGeneres and Rossi. Ronnen was also the chef responsible for the food for Oprah’s Vegan Cleanse and cooked the first vegan meal for the U.S. Senate.

Vegans do not ingest any animal products. They avoid all forms of dairy, meat, honey, and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.

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Halloween Party Eats That Won’t Haunt Your Waistline

Halloween is a fantastic holiday. There’s no pressure to buy just the right gift, no cleaning or decorating, no resolutions or 100 degree picnics. It’s a day devoted to getting dressed up, scared out of your mind and filled up with candy. Well, maybe the last part isn’t the greatest idea, but how can you avoid it? One way is to serve healthier alternatives at your party. Make ’em fun, and chances are, the kids won’t even miss the junk.

Pumpkin is quite possibly the most well-known Halloween fruit. Take advantage of the orange globe’s popularity and serve Mini Pumpkin Muffins. To reduce the fat in the recipe, substitute applesauce for the oil. An additional choice of  Butternut Squash Muffins will round out the (delicious) options. Stir orange food coloring into low-fat cream cheese for a yummy spread.

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Creating a Healthy Dinner in 10 Minutes or Less

I try, as much as I can, to have dinner plans made well in advance of the evening hustle. It’s my goal to, at the very minimum, know what I’m making for the evening meal, and many times if I have time I will prepare the dinner in the afternoon. Last Tuesday, life had a very funny way of getting ahead of me and I found myself at 5:15pm scrambling for something to feed my family.

We’d left an afternoon workout and were headed home, and I knew that we had just about 45 minutes before we needed to leave the house for a different class. Everything that could have created a meal was still frozen, and there was precious little in the way of fresh produce. I did not want to stop at a fast food restaurant, didn’t want to resort to sandwiches or breakfast for dinner, and so I stopped at a grocery store. Walking around, I spotted the traditional last minute dinner choice – a rotisserie chicken – but I wanted something new and different. Happily, there were many choices available and we grabbed a fast and nutritious dinner that gave us energy to complete the evening.

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Velveeta Shells and Cheese Cups Recall Caused by Wire Bristle

My kids are huge lovers of macaroni and cheese. I’ve tried to get them hooked on homemade, healthier versions, but they still beg for the boxed, orange dust variety. Even more than the regular cups, though, they love the microwaveable single serve cups, and I will buy them once in a while. They aren’t a great source of nutrition; in fact, I don’t equate them with a healthy choice at all, but I’d rather they eat a cup of pasta and cheese than a bag of chips. Today’s recall might be enough to change my mind, however.

Alaska state officials have announced the recall of three varieties of Velveeta Shells & Cheese microwaveable cups due to the fact that they might contain small bits of wire bristle.

Kind of gives the idea of “iron-fortified” a new meaning, doesn’t it?

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Join the Anderson 5 Day Family Dinner Challenge

On a recent episode of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, the personable host talked about his own issues with food, and brought up a topic that has been much discussed of late: the family dinner. He began a 5-Day Family Dinner Challenge. What’s the challenge? For 5 nights in a row, cook and eat dinner together as a family. He set the following ground rules:

1) No one can be late
2) No TV or cell phones
3) Everyone has to try everything
4) Every night during dinner, play one game.

For busy moms and dads out there, this type of challenge can seem overwhelming. Many of us struggle to get a balanced meal on the table in a timely fashion, never mind making sure that each member of the family is present and accounted for. Also, Norman Rockwell paintings aside, I’ve yet to see a family with teenagers that doesn’t include at least one sullen face, accompanied by short, terse answers. It’s not exactly a formula that cries out success, is it? Don’t despair – the challenge is not as tough as it seems, and it can be downright fun! Here are some great idea to get you started, and if you’ve decided to take the challenge, let us know!

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