Monday, February 20, 2017

How to Exercise When You Have Kids

During my pregnancy, I was motivated to exercise to keep Emmett healthy. It felt good to move, even if I had to do a lot of modifications. After Emmett was born, I was motivated to exercise to lose the baby weight and to be able to run again. Now, I feel fit and healthy again so my motivations have changed. I’m training to run three half marathons this year and my motivation to exercise is driven by my internal competitiveness to get faster. I’m also motivated by my toddler who doesn’t sit still and I have to keep up with him.
As a parent, our motivations and ability to exercise changes and evolves depending on what stage we are in with our children. A lot of what we do is driven by the fact that we are a parent and we have these tiny humans to care for.
You as the parent aren’t the only one who needs to exercise. Our kids spend an awful amount of time strapped in car seats or plopped in front of the TV, setting them up for a life-time of sedentary behaviors. It’s never too early to start building a good habit of exercise.
How, you may wonder, can I get my exercise in and help my child get the recommended one-plus hours of daily physical activity when there’s a long list of other things we need to do? The answer is to rethink your idea of exercise and to stop having negative thoughts about it.
You don’t have to lift weights or run laps to get your workout in. Think of exercise as leading an active lifestyle and building activity into your daily routines. Think of exercise as something you can do with your children and you will be able to fit in more exercise than you think.
Here are some ideas to help you turn every day into an opportunity to get fit and exercise together.
1.     Go for pre or post dinner walks

Build a walk into your daily schedule and make it a habit. We love to go for post dinner walks around the block that typically last 15 to 20 minutes, just enough time to get the blood flow going and heart pumping. Now that Emmett is getting a little older, we try to make the walk more interesting for him by playing “I spy” and pointing out different things along the way.

2.     Crank up the music and have a dance party in your living room

You might feel silly at first but quickly you will forget that you’re an adult and you’ll start to dance like it was 1983. Dancing is a great form of exercise but with all the fun you’re having with your kids and family you won’t remember that you’re working out.

3.     Turn TV commercials into workout breaks

Invent fun names for exercises like superman-squats, bob the builder push-ups, and princess sit-ups and do them until the show comes back on. You might even find that your kid doesn’t want to stop. Make it fun and r

4.     Plant a garden

Let the kids play in dirt and grow some summer vegetables – it’s a double-win. Also, research shows gardening can be as effective as weight training for preventing osteoporosis so you might even consider it a triple-win.

5.     Video record your exercise sessions

Encourage your kids to do exercises with you and record them working out. Kids love watching themselves on camera so if give them a reason to be on camera.

I guarantee that if you make exercise a priority for you and your family, you will feel more connected with your children, feel more confident, and have more energy.

Julie Harris has been working in the corporate fitness and wellness industry for eight years but decided it was time to fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian. She is currently a distance dietetics student at the University of Northern Colorado. She owns an online coaching service and blog for women who are ready to make lasting changes, The Healthful Peach.  When she isn't studying or writing, she is spending time with her two year old son and husband, probably on a hike or a run somewhere. You can follow her on instagram,facebook, or sign up to get emails from her blog

Monday, February 13, 2017

Self-Image In Children

I have been interning with a Registered Dietitian (RD) who works with eating disorder clients. Last week one of the sessions that I shadowed was a ten-year-old girl who is recovering from anorexic behaviors. This child started restricting her food at the young age of eight because she was afraid of getting fat and afraid of getting a “belly”. She had safety foods and foods she wouldn’t eat because they would make her fat. She had to work-out every day and often would skip meals if her parents made her eat something she felt was too much. Her hair had stopped growing and she was way below where she should have been on the growth scale for her age. But over the past year, this little girl has made very positive changes and is on her way to a healthy body image and healthy eating habits. 
Sadly, this little girl’s thoughts are not abnormal. Four out of five 10-year-olds say they are afraid of being fat and 42% of girls in first through third grade wish they were thinner. The worst statistic is that half of girls aged 9 or 10 claim they feel better about themselves when they are dieting (1). In another survey, teen girls were asked what they would wish for if they had three magic wishes. Hypothetically, they could ask for anything in the world and the number one wish was “To lose weight, and keep it off.” (2)
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (3), with anorexia nervosa being the single deadliest mental health condition. Five to twenty percent of people diagnosed with anorexia will ultimately die from its effects on the body and mind, including cardiac complications, organ failure, and suicide (1).
With such serious statistics, it is critical that we make address body image with our children. Parents and other adult role models need to play a pivotal role in promoting a positive body image. It starts with our children and our homes. We can blame the media, Barbie, and food corporations but that doesn’t solve the issue. Instead, here are five ways you can be a positive influence and role model for your children.
1.     Think About You Own Body Image Issues

As we know, children are good imitators of their parents, so parental body image has a powerful influence on how our children feel about their own bodies. If you talk about your latest diet, how you are always trying to lose ten pounds, or how clothes make you look fat, your children will naturally think similar thoughts about their own bodies. Phrases like, “I need to lose weight to fit into this dress,” or “I don’t like the way my thighs touch each other when I walk,” or even, “That actress is so pretty and thin,” can all create negative self-image thoughts in our children. It can be very challenging to modify how we talk about our bodies but with practice we can change our talk and change the negative influence we have on our children.

Take some time to evaluate your own body image thoughts by writing down your negative thoughts that you may have. After you write them down, take some time to evaluate your thoughts by coming up with a positive counter thought. Study the positive thoughts and the next time you start to say the negative thought, stop yourself and instead repeat your positive thought. Rephrase the negative and repeat the positive thoughts.

2.     Focus on Health

Losing weight may be necessary in order to increase your health but it is important to shift your focus from a specific weight number and start focusing on being healthy. Focus on delicious nutrition, fun physical activity, and how being healthy can contribute to a better quality of life. Talk about playing together as a family and enjoying regular meals, and making smart, tasty food choice. Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight are great goals because they give us energy and the abilities to do the things we enjoy doing. Don’t pressure your child (or yourself) to be a certain size or weight for clothes, to be like someone else, or because we think that’s what we are supposed to be but focus on health.

3.     Set Eating Routines 

Adults and children who eat regular meals tend to make healthier food choices and tend to maintain a healthier weight than those that graze throughout the day with no specific mealtimes. Eating as a family and setting eating routines can help establish a healthy relationship with food. It helps us understand that food is fuel for our bodies but also gives us an opportunity to enjoy food together as a family. It also gives you an opportunity to identify any food triggers or issues that your child may be going through.

Meal times should be about enjoyment, about family time, and about nutrition. You can encourage each other to eat healthy, but don’t talk about how “bad” you have been if you ate a cupcake at work, or say phrases like, “This second helping is going straight to my hips”.  Make dinner table talk positive and include your children in meal planning.

4.     Understand What the Warning Signs Are for Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are patterns of disordered eating that often a result of a negative body image or other psychological issues. Warning signs for an eating disorder include:
--      Weight loss
--      Skipping meals
--      Eating in secret
--      Upset stomach or bloating following meals
--      Frequent visits to the bathroom after meals
--      Constipation or diarrhea
--      Depression
--      Anxiety about food
--      Weakness or dizziness
--      An intolerance to cold
--      Wearing layers of clothing in warm temperatures

These are just a few of the warning signs and individuals who have eating disorder behaviors will often try to hide feelings, emotions, and behaviors. If you do think your child is suffering from an eating disorder, please enlist help. Registered Dietitians can be a starting place and will often enlist the help of physicians and psychologists to create a team for your child. 

5.     Talk about Body Images

Help your child become a savvy media critic by talking about what the body images they see on television, in magazines, and on the internet. Help them understand that often times media images have been retouched or manipulated to appear different. Talk about how we want our bodies to be healthy and not look like everyone else. These can be difficult conversations to have and often it takes multiple conversations but these words can make a difference.

There are certain celebrities that recognize body image issues that the media has created and are being advocates for healthy body sizes. When you hear these stories, share and talk about them so they know that it’s not about being a certain weight or look a certain way. Encourage them to be advocates for healthy

I was one of those ten-year-old girls who wanted to be skinnier and struggled for over 17 years with eating disorder behaviors. There are still days when I have to use my positive phrases and mindfulness techniques that I have learned to make sure I don’t slip back into those negative behaviors, as I think we all have those days. But the difference now is I know how to manage those thoughts. And that’s what I want us to teach our children.

3. Smink, F. E., van Hoeken, D., Hoek, H. W. (2012) Epidemiology of eating disorders: Incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(4), 406-414.

Julie Harris has been working in the corporate fitness and wellness industry for eight years but decided it was time to fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian. She is currently a distance dietetics student at the University of Northern Colorado. She owns an online coaching service and blog for women who are ready to make lasting changes, The Healthful Peach.  When she isn't studying or writing, she is spending time with her two year old son and husband, probably on a hike or a run somewhere. You can follow her on instagram,facebook, or sign up to get emails from her blog

Thursday, February 9, 2017

SCAN Symposium Topic-- Thyroid Disorders: Butterflies, Cramps, Chills and Weight Gain

It is estimated that 27 million Americans have thyroid disorders, half of which are undiagnosed. Although thyroid function is influenced by factors such as stress, autoimmunity, and chronic disease, diet—including intake/status of iodine, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D and overall calories— plays an important, often underrecognized role. The first part of this session will review thyroid function and endocrinology with emphasis on current understanding of the role of key nutrients in hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and euthyroid sick syndrome. Emerging research supporting the role of nutrition and other dietary factors in optimal thyroid function will be discussed. The second part of this session will focus on biochemical, clinical and dietary assessment for thyroid disorders and the appropriate medical nutrition
therapy, culminating with interactive case studies. This information will be helpful for dietitians working with patients in all of SCAN’s practice areas including wellness, weight management, sports, cardiovascular disease and eating disorders.

Learn more about the symposium here:


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

VOTE 2017: SCAN Members on Academy Ballot

SCAN is proud to announce that seven of our fellow members have been selected for the 2017 Academy ballot from among many excellent nominees.
This is OUR Academy – If you want a voice in how things are done, VOTE! The election will occur February 1 through February 22, 2017. If you are not familiar with these and other candidates, click here to view all candidate biographical information.
SCAN members on the national ballot:
House of Delegates
ACEND Practitioner Representative, RDN
Nominating Committee
Leader with Board of Directors Experience in the Past 10 Years
National Leader
Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
Nancy DiMarco, PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD (TX)