Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Children and Physical Education

As most of you know, teaching Physical Education was a dream come true for me.  Going into it I was hopeful that I would impact children, especially children who dreaded exercise the way that I did as a child. 

I was going to make a difference, a true difference. 

The experience teaching PE was great!  Mostly positive, although larger class sizes and lack of space made it difficult a lot of the time.  Most importantly I was involved in helping kids MOVE, helping them be active and I made sure to help children see the FUN in all exercises and sports.  It was a huge part of my passion, still is. 

For me what I remember as a child in PE was one of my coaches calling out my weight during class and me wanting to crawl under a rock...but couldn't. 
I remember skipping out of the mile run EVERY chance I could get.  I remember being hot and sweaty the moment I walked outside and hating it.  I recall faking injury after injury just to avoid having to participate in many of the activities we'd have.  Ugh.  I try not to focus on regret but how I wish sometimes that things would've been different for me growing up but that's okay because I use my past to help in my children's future...that matters! 

You may ask, how does a girl like that become, or want to become a PE teacher??
It's simple...TO BE DIFFERENT.  To change the cycle and make a difference in a positive way rather than leaving children with only negative and defeated memories from physical education.  In a perfect world, exercise should happen throughout the day at school.  Before, during and after we should be able to find kids running, jumping, or organizing their own game of football. 

As I was teaching I'd talk with children and really listen.  MANY do not have a positive relationship with exercise.  How sad is that?  At some point they have felt discouraged or defeated with a physical activity that makes them doubt their abilities and that makes me sad.  And so many just were not exposed to it at home, at all.  Ever.  How incredibly sad is that?  So many of our positive memories are made laughing and playing with family.  Did that vanish from our homes as technology took over?  When I left teaching four years ago to raise our sons, I left a great atmosphere, amazing children and a great job! But it will always be a part of me and this week I was asked to help out in PE and it was eye-opening on so many levels. It was like I had never left, I used my "PE voice" and helped in every way possible!  I missed it, I can't lie but the changes in children that have taken place is scary to say the least.  FOUR YEARS of being away from physical education and our children are unhealthier?  How is that possible?  And I don't mean by a little, I mean a lot.  Growing up I was not the norm.  Most children were healthy, played outside after school for hours, ate fairly healthy and played sports.  Many did not own video games as I did and if they did, they rarely played them.  They knew how to play kickball, soccer, baseball, volleyball and four square but what I saw this week would amaze most of you...

Children who rarely get more than 15 minutes of recess, were begging to go indoors and lay down on the gym floor.  YES.  They were all "tired, sad, discouraged and gave up by laying out in the grass"...3/4 of a large class needed to be taught the basics of kickball.  As in, no motor skills to roll, kick or run.  YES.  It was not a low income school or a school out in the woods, this is a great community, full of active adults and families but To play was a CHORE to many of these children.  Because sadly most of them NEVER play that way elsewhere.  The recess times are down to nothing and many are not required to "play" during that time, so they choose to sit around and talk. The short amount of time they have to get that blood pumping, those endorphins going...and it's spent sitting. They love when the bell rings because they are closer to video games and less sunshine and human interaction and movement?  They de-stress in front of their electronics, do homework, eat and go to sleep?  Yuck. 
Curriculum must be changed to minimal skills because the things you and I did as kids are not what kids these days are doing near as much.  Where did we lose touch? 

Since when is it more important to pass a standardized test than it is to nourish our bodies and get our heart pumping??  Oh it blows my mind...

What good is our brain if we have an unhealthy heart paired with it?  Seriously. 
We are raising smart, unhealthy people?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE?
So if I sit around feeling sorry for my childhood experiences with my health issues, then how should we feel about today's youth?  Scary isn't it?  Is it the norm?  I sure hope not but from what I saw...I'm very afraid of the future. 

We must wake up and see what is happening to our children...all of our children.  And I do not speak on behalf of anyone but myself and what I have experienced and witnessed.  I am simply an observer and health educator wanting to make it a happy, healthier place for my children and yours. 
They return home from school, after 8 hours of sitting behind a desk and we ask them to sit down and do homework for 1, 2, maybe three hours?  We PUSH for better grades but shove McDonald's into them because it's quick and easy.  Recess used to be a time to get sweaty and run around like crazy but now it's taken away as punishment for behavior IN that classroom?  NO WAY.  If we don't know then we must begin to pay attention. 

I'd rather my children work hard in ALL aspects of their lives, what about you?  I want my children to focus on their education, the way they fuel their bodies and how they take care of their heart through physical activity.  MORE important than all of that I want them to LIVE LIFE.  Truly live it.  Feel it and breathe it.  All that it can offer and to not have it cut short by a health issue that could have been prevented. 

Our children need to feel defeat and failure just as much as they feel success and achievement.  But only if it's done the right way.  They need to learn how to win and lose in everything.  They need to know that life isn't always fair and that working hard for something is the only way you earn it!

Physical sports and competition, field day and other activities teach this but sadly if  "all children do not receive a medal or a ribbon" it's quickly taken away from school programs.  Why?   

I'm ashamed that Texas hasn't stepped up with this issue.  It's a HUGE issue but many don't see it unless they SEE IT.  Out of sight-out of mind for most and that's okay but I wanted to shed light on something very close to my heart and wanted to share how worried I am after that experience.  This blog is my place to do that and I apologize if this offends any of you.

How many of your children attend PE every day?  It's rare around here these days due to class size and other block courses.  What about recess?  What does your child do at recess? How long are they outdoors?  Is it taken away on test days or days with behavior issues? 

Would LOVE your thoughts!!! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

grow and learn

As a child, I lived life FAR differently than I do now.  Because I chose to learn and grow from my past.  
My son's school has a yearly 5K and fun run so this year my oldest decided to take on the 5K rather than the 1K.  I was assistng at the finish line and was a bit terrified of him running three miles WITHOUT me.  But sure enough, 32 minutes after it started, he crossed that finish line with a smile on his face!!
As a child, I would never have had the desire, endurance or confidence to take on a 3 mile or WALK.  
I hated it. Hated everything about exercise. Sad but true. Hated the failure I had set myself up for before beginning.  I hated sweating, hating feeling exhausted and had most of the time eaten too much with each sitting to be able to move that much without feeling sick.  Ugh...
NOT ANYMORE. My children are a reflection of that...
It's because I changed. I changed my way of thinking and with that, it changed my entire life! 
I now use my life as a chance to do better, be better and to teach them better.  To teach my children, family and friends. I decided to learn and grown...and to help change the lives around me.  And while most days are not easy, but instead are struggles for me, I push through because I know what that other life looked and felt like...

If we don't use life's experiences to grow then we allowed a great lesson in life to pass us by.  We risk the chance of sharing our struggles, the ones that can be prevented, with the people that we love most.  WHY NOT learn, grow and help them not make the same mistakes we made in our past? 

I have many moments in my life that stand out and are amazing but some are painful.  One that brings me joy was watching him come across that finish line on Saturday.  I held back tears because it's proof that if we grow from mistakes we made in our past, then our families and loved ones gain the benefits! It's true! As I say, they are ALWAYS WATCHING so how will you lead? 

For me, The girl that skipped out of PE to help a teacher in a classsroom, the girl who ate her packed lunch PLUS bought junk food from the snack bar, the girl that made EVERY excuse NOT to sweat, to move or to be healthy...she is raising two, healthy boys and is able to do that from learning from her own experiences.  There is NO greater gift.  I am giving the gift of health and the gift of helping my children feel alive.  How beautiful is that?  

For that reason, I have no regrets because if that wasn't my past, I'd have nothing to fuel me to help change the lives of therefore, it was all worth it.  The good and the bad.  And while I had PLENTY of amazing moments in my life growing up, I will always feel as though my health and weight held me back.  It is thoughts like that which keep me focused on the future and focused on why healthy living is SO important.  

Do you have exeriences that helped you learn and grow?

LETS EAT!!! Mmmmm

Move It Mommma Turkey Meatball Stew:
frozen turkey meatballs or prepare fresh using lean ground turkey, whole wheat breadcrumbs, garlic and egg whites. 1 can diced tomatoes- no sugar added and then fill that can with water and dum in.  1 container low sodium turkey gravy.  Add veggies-I used okra, carrots, broccoli nd then some sliced onion.  Pop in crockpot until veggies become tender.  

I served the kids meatballs with some homemade macaroni and extra broccoli. I served mine and my husband's as a soup!  YUM!

low sodium rice cake, neuftchael cheese and some pumpkin butter...ohhh!!!!  

1/2 NAAN, PB, berries and a few slices of banana sprinkled with cinnamon!  

Breakfast for champions!
whole wheat bagel thin, 1 egg 2 egg whites pan cooked in coconut oil spray,   1 slice Boar's Head low sodium turkey breast and some fresh fruit!   SOOOO yummy!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

what voice?

watching last week's eoisde of Biggest Loser I realized that the've done it once again.  MIke, a contestant this season, shared a poem he wrote and I felt like he was speaking directly to myself and the women I help each week...
although it's tough to read, I believe he's speaking about the voices within each of us.  We have that voice that pushes us forward and the one that holds us back.  Unfortunately after listening to the women that I work with each week and reflecting on my own journey, that negative voice tends to speak loudly and dominate in our minds most frequently.  While many people around us TRY and tell us that we can do something, that negative voice-that "lesser man" wins each time...IF we allow it.  
I have realized over time that no matter how much support a person may have, the inner voice is always more powerful but knowing how to turn that voice off is SO important on this journey.  Once we STOP paying attention to it, that voice growns softer until ALMOST silent but the struggle is not only to stop listening to it, but to allow that former voice to make us stronger.  

Many of us make a decision each day to NOT listen to that voice but to hear the voice and understand that it is defeat trying to control us.  But we use it to make us stronger and it makes us fight harder.  I believe that if it weren't for that weaker person within myself, I wouldn't be where I am today.  I hear her sometimes, trying to distract me from my goals and bring me back to that dark place where I once lived inside myself but because I remember how that person felt all the time, I remember how lonely and afraid she was and that is ALL I NEED to shake that voice from my head and find that new, stronger voice and she takes over...BUT I am constantly thrown temptation and it is then that I find that inspiration in who I used to be and where I'm headed now...

Years have passed for me and that voice is STILL there.  I'm starting to think it will be there forever.  I think it's there for a reason.  It is there to allow me to help others who too, hear that voice.  Our minds are so powerful.  The mind will help us succeed or will constantly lead us to failure.  

After reading "the lesser man" on the episode, it helped me see just how many of us struggle EVERY day.  
Scary, isn't it?
That a lazy, depressed individual that is hurting both mentally and physcailly can be defeated by the mind.  
It can cause a person to forget who they are and leave them only remembering the bad, the defeat and the failure.  How sad is that? 
So as a person who helps others on their weight loss and health journey's, we are fighting so much more than simply lack of motivation but fighting weeks, months or years of THAT VOICE.  That person within that makes them feel worthless when in reality they are far more than worthless...their lives are SO important to their family, friends, and children and they may not even realize it and that is what keeps me awake at night.  It is what keeps me fighting for them...each of them.  The ones that can't find their strength and the ones who allow that voice to dominate their lives every day.  

Breakfast ideas that keep me on track:
1/2 NAAN whole wheat bread, PB and fresh blueberries.  This leaves NO excuses, it takes less than 2 minutes, is filling and tastes delicious.  

1/2 c cottage cheese, 1/2 clementine and some grapes!  Mmmmmm...and don't make me tell you how long this takes to prepare :)  it's EFFORTLESS.  

After spending the summer at boot camp with me, these boys sure learned a thing or two about exercises.  They came home from school the other day askng what we had been doing at our workouts, I showed them our decline push-ups and of course they gave it a try  They were so excited and thought it was so much fun to see who could hold it the longest.  Yay!  Our children are WATCHING...always WATCHING.  The good and the bad habits so pay close attention to what you are teaching them.  They SEE the priorities in our lives and it reflects onto the choices they make in their lives as they grow older.  My hope is that these boys cherish their health, that they take care of their bodies and put their health as a priority in their lives.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the HOLE

My husband and I met almost 14 years ago.  We fell in love and as time passed, we gained weight together.  Looking back, we had gained weight by giving up on exerise and our health...just like that.  We found love, what else did we need? Funny how that happens so quickly after working SO hard.  I had worked HARD and threw it all away...
going back a bit- For the first two years that we dated, I refused to eat out.  Our dates were at the movies, the local sports bar or hanging out with mutual friends because I would NOT enter a restaurant.  AT ALL.  
How sad was that?
You see, I was always one extreme or the other, it seemed like.  If I was heavy and not "dieting", I was binging on fattening food and indulging eery chance I'd get.  If I was "dieting" and losing weight then it was no restaurants, no seasonings, no carbs, NO NOTHING.  I had NO clue how to find was all or nothing for me.  It was all I knew.  EVEN after studying health and nutrition, my mind was more powerful than the knowledge of what was fact.  I knew what was right and what was balanced but it seemed like those rules would never apply for me...I was different.  Those book and professors couldn't possibly understand wha it was like to struggle with emotional eating and weight problems.  NO WAY.  
So As time passed, I became most couples do and the weight started slowly creeping back.  THE first restaurant we went to with friends was okay, I managed to order my "diet food " and move on...but the next?  NOT SO PRETTY.  I binged.  I kept eating and eatng...and eating.  And he did too (most men do!) and that made me feel okay with it, ya know?  I mean we were already in love, he knew all of me but he didn't know this.  I hadn't shown him the compulsive eater I could be, but now he knew and he accepted it?  Yay.  
After that it became the norm.  Friday nights were for Mexican food together.  We'd eat enough chips and queso to feed 20 people and then fajitas piled high with cheese and sour cream...and don't forget the beer!  
I guess you get the idea of where things went from there?  I gained quite a bit of weight-but kept it somewhat in control and I'd go through spurts.  I'd workout for a while, eat and cook healthy but seemed like one bad meal would trigger a total loss of control for MONTHS...
So today while at boot camp, I was speaking to a friend about frustrations of losing weight and gaining it back...and then some.  A story I know all too well.  I did it MANY times but each time it left me feeling the same...empty and like a failure.  Ugh.  She expressed that she felt the same.  "Look how far I had come years ago, losing all that weight and now I'm right back where I started, only 20lbs heavier".  Been there?  I know her and I are not alone.  Even if it's not regarding weight loss but thinking of a time in your life when you were a competitive athlete, a runner, when you were at your healthiest....same feeling of failure, right?Any feeling of "we aren't where we used to be" would fit this description.  
She had a very valid point so I had to quickly think about how I deal with that same thought of failure and the BIG mountain I have to climb all over again...I had to think about why when we have set backs in life, do we not totally give up on ourselves.  

I told her for me it was like a hole.  

The hole I used to dig for myself. That hole I'd create each time I'd gain the weight I had worked so hard to lose.  Each time I was working out and was on a roll, but that little bump sent me back where I had started meant that hole grew deeper and it felt like the larger the hole, the more I'd want to crawl inside it.  

I'd live in that hole, in secret mostly.  It was where I felt safe. It was the hole I cried in, where I wrapped my emotions into my foods and where I THOUGHT about how badly I wanted to change but would never actually change.  It was where I could be true with myself.  While in public, I'd put on the front-the "it's okay that I'm unhealthy, nobody is perfect right?"
As I started to slowly climb out of that hole, I started to see and feel a new way of life.  I was still ME but a different, much happier, full of life ME.  It felt amazing...

**So back to my husband and I and our Friday night binges together...
I found myself sinking back into that hole. Little by little I lost sight of what I wanted so badly. 

It was when I realized that my "bigger" clothes weren't quite so BIG that I started fighting back again...and slowly.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself for allowing myself to take two steps back, I said okay it's time for TWO STEPS FORWARD!  
I realize that it feels better to slowly climb out of the hole than to sink and hide in it. Make sense?  
So instead of looking back on where I WAS I think about not letting that hole bury me.  It was going to get worse, wasn't it?  I mean we can't eat unhealthy, never exercise or take care of ourselves and just expect to have perfect health right? That hole would have only grown bigger and deeper...pulling me down with it.  
By not allowing my health to hide me and take over my life, I proved to myself that I can and will fight back...a million times again! 
I think as people with a goal in mind, weight loss or whatever...if it seems like that mountain is TOO big, we just cilmb down.  But instead we should focus on climbing out of the hole we've created.  We are meant to make mistakes-it's how we learn and help others.  BUT we are not meant to QUIT.  Not meant to GIVE UP or STOP TRYING.  

and it's also very important to surround yourself with those people that want you happy and healthy.  DO NOT surround yoursself with those that are only out for themselves...they will not lift you up when you need them most.  Trust me.  
What are your thoughts on climbing out of the hole rather than climbing the mountain?  

Monday, October 13, 2014

WDW reflection

Walt Disney World...
what a fantastic place where we find a way to have a great time while making memories with one another that will last a lifetime...nothing quite like it!  Here's just a few pictures...

While it's always an incredible vacation and we seem to have it all figured out, or so we think :)
I couldn't help but look around and feel worried for the health in our country.  
It upset me so much that I had to remember the raw emotions so that I was able to come home and post about reflect on what I witnessed while there.
Of course I DO NOT JUDGE.  I was there, I struggle day to day to keep myself in check but do I worry?  Absolutely.  I can't help but feel compassion and to immediately want to help BUT HOW?

As we walked from park to park, enjoying rides and shows I was troubled by the amount of motorized scooters seen throughout the parks.  They were EVERYWHERE.  
Not from broken bones or handicaps but from obesity.  Yes.  
One family really struck a cord with me and I can't seem to remove them from my mind.  They were waiting in line, parents both in scooters-mid-40's and obese.  Their children were probably 10-14 years old, two daughters.  They passed around a Krispy Kreme box FULL of donuts and shared them while waiting in line.  Meaning they ate the entire box as a family.  
Do I judge that family?  Absolutely not.  Will some families?  Yes but that's not the issue here.  The trouble I have with this is that the children were already obese, parents are both incapable of walking throughout the park, yet they all choose to "nourish" their bodies with junk.
Now I made sure to think about this situation and would it be different if it were a family that was not physically overweight consuming donuts in the park? For me, NO...I'd feel the exact same way because our insides determine our health.  Our heart, our arteries, bones and muscles...NOT our physical appearance. Will obesity decrease our health?  Yes but it does not mean that over a dozen donuts for a family of four is okay...that is NEVER okay.  
Will people pass judgement differently on a non-overweight family?  Probably.  
And that is SAD to me as well.  

We should focus on feeling healthy, nourishing our bodies with GOOD FOR YOU, NUTRITIOUS FOODS and we should focus on doing the same for the people that we love most.  Not just ourselves, but everyone around us.  We should make an effort to impact as many lives as possible!  EVERY DAY!
And I guess what hurts SO much is that no matter how badly I wanted to help that family, I couldn't.  No matter how badly I want to help people that I love-family, friends...everyone.  
I can't unless they truly WANT IT.  It is something I cannot accept and I struggle with it daily.
I WANT TO HELP EVERYONE.  I feel like I can care a million times over but if they don't want it, I can't help.  THAT makes it unbearable.  I've been there, in that place of helplessness and fear and I wouldn't wish it on ANYONE.  EVER. 

  When will it end?  When will enough be enough?  These parents clearly are feeling the side effects that come with obesity, yet they are allowing their children to follow in their footsteps.  Ugh.  It breaks my heart for those teen girls.  
Had they all just given up, lost hope and just decided THIS was their life and they'd live modifying life's special moments and medicating through food?  

I'm not perfect, never will be and am learning as the days go by.  But I do know living life overweight is NOT fun.  Not one day of it is fun.  The waking up, getting dressed, struggling to catch my breath while climbing stairs, consuming food to temporarily coat my own frustrations, feeling the "looks and glares", the shopping, the house chores, the getting in and out of my car...
it was ALL WORK.  It was exhausting to simply BE ME. 
How sad is that?
Sad for anyone but extremely sad for a child.  A child who did not ask for 6 donuts for breakfast but ate them because it was the "choice" that day.  I cry as I type this because how do we "fix" it?  How can we make it better and educate families to better care for themselves and their children?

I'm at a loss for words and that RARELY happens...thoughts? 

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