Recently I attended a group meeting with my daughter’s third grade teacher. All the parents were encouraged to sit in our child’s designated spot. As my adult-sized body balanced precariously on the uncomfortable wooden chair beneath me, I wondered how in the world little bodies – with much less backside cushion – could stand to spend eight hours sitting on what is essentially a small plank with legs. Evidently, teachers have also struggled with this ergonomic conundrum over the years and now, many schools are adopting a new seating strategy – stability balls.
Normally used in the gym for exercises that improve core strength and posture, a new line of stability balls are now being marketed for use in the office and classroom. Available in friendly primary colors, the balls are equipped with legs to discourage kids from rolling them around the room or having ball races. Because, yeah, they’re way ahead of you on that one, you little shenaniganizers. The idea behind the use of stability balls in the classroom is based around the theory that when the body is engaged, the mind is, too.
The balls aren’t cheap, particularly when you’re outfitting an entire classroom, but teachers who have adopted the new seating arrangement say they’re pleased with the outcome. Though a few teachers had trouble with students throwing the balls or other mistreatment, most said they noticed an immediate improvement in their students’ attention spans. A few educators noticed they had trouble with kids bouncing on them for the first few days, but that quickly diminished with redirection. One form of redirection included going back to the wooden plank chair.
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Megan is a pizza-lovin redhead who’s known for her unique recipes and food styling. Megan is not only a regular contributor to Betty Crocker, but her blog, Take A Megabite, has also been featured on CNN, Huff Post and Buzzfeed. I forgot to do a name-drop alert, there, but seriously, she’s hot stuff right now.
I was first introduced to this talented foodie when I wrote about my fave food blogger of the year, Billy from Wit & Vinegar.
More about Take A Megabite –
Why did you start your food blog? I started to realize that I wanted to bake, and talk about food with other people who also loved to talk about food. It also stems from growing up with a mom whose cookies were known as the best ever and coming home to homemade bread after school.
When I got older, and my parents moved away, I realized that I couldn’t count on my mom to set me up with homemade jam and bread. I had to make it myself! Food and entertaining has always been a big deal in my family, and now, I like to show my love with food too!
How would you describe your approach to eating/health? I would say my approach is all about balance. I can totally eat cake, but I need to eat plenty of salads and veggies too. If I’m making mac & cheese for dinner, I’ll do my best to pair it with a veggie-filled salad.
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When Kristen White moved away to attend college, she defied the odds by losing 30 pounds instead of gaining the dreaded, “Freshman 15.” Faced with a new routine, different foods and, “more natural movement around campus,” Kristen lost weight without really thinking about it. The epiphany that she could lose weight without fad diets and by simply eating in a more mindful way, gave Kristen the motivation to lose more. Now, 85 pounds thinner, she’s excited to focus on her next learning experience, a new baby!
Family strife can have a profound effect on the way we take care of ourselves. Kristen’s parents divorced when she was just nine years old. She recalls this life event being the catalyst for future years of emotional eating. “I didn’t know how to manage all the emotions that stirred up,” she explained. “I did a lot of comforting myself through food. This became a habit that took years to break.” She tried losing weight in high school, but the diets never stuck.
After losing 30 pounds during her first year in college, Kristen felt empowered. For real weight loss, she focused the following:
- Getting healthy on the inside; healing old wounds was a huge factor of success for me.
- Learning to eat more mindfully (i.e., eating when I was hungry, stopping when I was full).
- Learning about food and nutrition so I could understand what would be healthy for my body.
- Learning to exercise in a way that I enjoyed.
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In her new book, Yoga XXL: A Journey to Health for Bigger People, author Ingrid Kollak asserts “Yoga is for everybody.” In this thoughtful illustrated guide for beginners and beyond, Ingrid, a registered nurse and yoga teacher, focuses on the benefits of yoga for the mind and body, regardless of the body’s size.
At the DietsInReview compound, we’re routinely bombarded with books and DVDs about weight loss and exercise. Many titles in our library contain the same healthy buzz words over and over including, “Diet this” and “Walk off that,” so we were intrigued when “Yoga XXL” arrived in the mail.
The in-your-face title not only got our attention, it left us a bit stunned. Was it politically correct? Was it unkind? After interviewing the German-born author, I’m convinced that regardless of the title, her motivation was completely sincere.
Before she became a teacher, Ingrid remembers attending yoga classes where students with larger bodies were treated with either indifference or outright cruelty. “In classes I saw yoga teachers who plagued their students physically and mentally,” she recalls. “Many yoga teachers had an outdated view that all yoga students should look a certain way: lean and limber. I noticed that these teachers did not encourage or help students who did not fit that strict model.”
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Donna and Tora want you to have a, “joyful relationship with food.” As authors, health coaches and fitness professionals, these fit ladies know a thing or two about creating healthy recipes but that wasn’t always at the forefront of their minds. Donna (pictured left) struggled to lose weight while Tora (right) fought her own demons and battled an eating disorder that once left her at just 81 pounds. After finding the strength to help themselves, they vowed to help others. Donna & Tora.com is their love-child blog.
More about Donna and Tora -
Why did you start your food blog? We started off just having a few recipes on our healthy living blog, but the recipes were by far the most popular things we wrote about so we kept going! We love food but also want to stay slim and be healthy, so we set out to find recipes that were easy to make and, “upgrades” of the things we love. For example, our recipes are all gluten-free and sugar-free, but we don’t want to feel deprived so we find delicious alternatives instead.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health? Our philosophy is “health is a lifestyle, not a life sentence,” so we are firm believers in eating healthy food and also having treats – we actually plan treats into our week so we don’t end up with such severe cravings that we go and pig out. We’re always upgrading, but we make it fun as we go.
Have you always had an interest in healthy food or did it come later in life? Great question! Donna used to be a smoking, drinking, dieting disaster and I used to be extremely fit but very unhealthy. Donna’s real passion for healthy food has grown since we started our business, while I had a wake-up call in my early 30s that I needed to start eating healthy food, and my passion for healthy food has grown ever since.
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