Posts Tagged ‘screen time’

“Go Outside & Play!” Let the Broken Record Play on…

July 28th, 2015 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Let the Broken Record Play on – Focus on Free Play

Oh for the love of child’s play and activity in the peak of the summertime. School’s out and it’s time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. It’s every parent’s challenge to keep kids engaged and busy so you don’t hear the common mantra “I’m bored” until it’s back to school in September.

Who doesn’t love summer? It’s a perfect time to start a “movement movement” (as I describe in my book) and make a pact for the kids and parents to get and keep more active. As I sit here and write I can hear the birds chirping under the clear blue sky. It’s as perfect as any movie set, even better because it’s real.

Let’s reverse the abysmal stat that shows only a small percentage of kids meet the benchmark of one measly hour of activity each day. Given it’s the peak of summer let’s adopt some new behaviours that we’ll work on this season and each one following! It takes a conscious effort to “get your party started” to get and keep moving. However, if everyone in the household does it together each can lift each other out of the “lazy” part of the “lazy hazy crazy days of summer”!

The best place to start is setting a few limits. As much as I’d be tempted to suggest you pop a tube in your TV to get the kids outside, that wouldn’t be fair, would it? Set some limits around the time the kids (young and older) sit in front of any screen – TV, computer, game devises, phones.

Get outside and enjoy free play – throw the ball, ride a bike, play on the swings in the park, jump rope, play tag or hide and seek, run through the sprinkler, hit a tennis ball on the wall, climb a tree, go for a walk, you name it, just let your imagination run wild along with you!

Let the Broken Record Play on – Do What I Do

On the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on being a role model. The stats show that a child is very likely to participate in “unorganized physical activities” at age 4, they are likely to still be participating at 17. Having active parents reinforces that in spades. As a parent you might be very good at wagging your finger and telling the kids what THEY should do. I suggest you stop and take stock of your own activity level, then look in the mirror and do the same to yourself if you indeed are not active.

Light Your Own Fire Within
I blog often about setting goals, re-evaluating your activity level and giving yourself a much needed kick in the back side to vamoose and get moving. I might write it for you, but I certainly do it for myself as well. We all have days we want to just lie around – you know, as the song says “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”. We need to change lazy to blazing by lighting a fire under ourselves.

Play Together
I have divulged that my parents were active when I was young. We all took part in various activities and sports, including some lifestyle sports. We did our share of playing as a family. The great thing about that is that we can still do some playing together when I fast forward today by taking a walk or playing golf.

Destress Valve
Truly though as life becomes more stressful, I find activity is a proverbial valve that helps it release. I cope better after I get back from a walk then have to face the music of real life. And how great is this time of year to better appreciate the birds singing, the gardens flourishing, the kids playing, the sun shining, fresh air blowing. What’s not to love about this scenario, start and continue.

Stealth Moves
I have written about ways to sneak in stealth activity in my book if you’re going through a super-duper busy time. The key is to find 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, another 15 minutes somewhere else and before you know it, you’ve chocked up a half hour of moving. I’m a bad parker so I routinely park further away – that’s 5 minutes right out of the gate. To work in an extra walk I take my grocery bag under my arm and walk to the store at times. A great dovetail of a few activities at one time. Find some of your own stealth moves and get going to show the kids you are truly a gamer.

Let the Broken Record Play on – Organized Sport
Continuing on the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on signing the kids up for activities. Let’s take stock of the school year that just passed. Were you stretched so far because of all of the obligations that you allowed the kids commit to? Let’s try to take the pressure off.

Family DISFunctioning & Signing Up
Sometimes organized sports can add to an existing DIS organized household. And, many of these cost money to sign up for in addition to the uniforms, shoes, equipment and more. I AM all for sports and teams, don’t get me wrong. But it’s ok as a parent to fallow the field for a season and encourage the kids to enjoy free play. We sometimes get caught up in what other families in our neighbourhood are doing and sign the kids up out of guilt. Free play is a perfect activity. I’m in your corner.

Sporty Spice Through the Ages
If you DO have the time and the means, then go ahead and get the kids into activity programs and/or sports. Consider those that the kids can continue as lifelong activities in addition to the team sports. As an adult it’s not as easy to arrange a volley ball, base ball, soccer, ball hockey game when you need a dozen busy people to get together. If you have the flexibility consider getting your kids involved in tennis, squash, badminton, golf, bike riding, hiking, running, etc. which can be more easily continued through the lifespan.

Life Lessons in Sport
I will divulge that I played competitive tennis when I was a teen. When I reflect on that experience I realize that I learned many worthwhile life lessons. I learned that life isn’t always fair even when you do your best. I learned that some people (including parents) cheat to get ahead. I learned how to lose graciously. I learned more from losing than I did from winning. I was a slow starter on the court and learned how to bear down and take it up a notch right when my opponent thought they had the win in the bag….. I also learned that through life people don’t change all that much – from the sand box to the court to the office cubicle. I’m wiser from the experience and that’s a good thing.

Do it, Do it, Do it ’til You’re Satisfied!
You who know me well by this point know my view on this. Doing something is better than doing nothing so just get started already. Do something you enjoy and encourage the same for your kids. Avoid living your glory days through your kids in sports. You had your childhood and they have theirs and never the two shall meet. Follow their lead and gently encourage their participation in something they can call their own and enjoy.

Let the Broken Record Play on – Rainy Day Play

Continuing on the theme of “playing on” let’s focus on changing plans on a rainy day. Ahh yes just when I blathered on about getting active in the summer a thunder storm blows through! It’s times like these that reminds me how important it is to be flexible with our plans. Nothings carved in stone unless Mother Nature has the chisel.

Rules of Thumb
The first thing to remember on the weather change-up is that in most places it usually doesn’t rain all day, every day. So do try to get out when it’s over. Second thing is to remember that safety comes first, stay inside or ensure you take cover when there’s an electrical storm with thunder and lightning. And finally, rain without thunder storms won’t make you melt if you get sprinkled with rain. Really!

I rather enjoy walking in the rain. I have not melted yet. I have a trusty raincoat with a hood and it travels with me to many places to shelter me from the rain. Your kids won’t melt either and may love splashing in puddles and carrying on.

Board Game Help Ward off Boredom
I know a teacher who divulged that kids who’ve grown up without playing board games have more trouble with simple life skill, such as adding the dots on a couple of dice, for example. On a rainy day drag out some old games, blow the dust off of the boxes and get playing. When you get right down and think about it there’s a social aspect to game playing in addition to the simple counting thing, plus following directions “Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go and do not collect $200″. Like Snakes and Ladders we all have to cope in life with slipping on a proverbial banana peel, or a snake that sends you back 15 steps, only to recover in the near future. Yes, a metaphor of life.

If you have the odd rainy day inside, aim to get out when you can then play outside longer tomorrow when the sky clears.

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Weight loss fast or slow? Changing habits is the way to go!

October 20th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I read the headline flurry about that study conducted deducing whether you lose weight at a fast or slow rate, people gain the weight back. Somehow I knew that UNsound sound bite would be retweeted by many, good grief.

I get my eyeballs frosted with studies AND reporting like this. Both groups of study subjects were put on diet regimens designed to lose weight quickly or slowly both groups using some degree of liquid meal replacements. The last time I checked I don’t believe Optifast was served at my Thanksgiving dinner last weekend, how about at yours? I describe in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books that before you try any diet make sure it passes the Thanksgiving Dinner Test. Hit the buzzer on these folks as they fail on all accounts.

If you talk to any Yo-Yo dieter I’m sure all will agree how easy it is to lose weight, as many admit “I’ve done it many times!” There’s a clue in that statement folks it’s the word “diet” because diets don’t work – period. If you do want to lose weight the secret is in your ability and commitment to change habits and your mindset for the better, for good. I discuss in my ebook details about the National Weight Control Registry of “Successful Weight Losers”, which is a perfect group to emulate if you want to do this.

I feel for people toying with the idea of changing their habits for the better who many now stop in their tracks and exclaim “forget about it!” after reading those headlines.

Let’s hope they find wisdom to embrace change one tiny step at a time so the pebbles of change turn into an avalanche of positive results in time. Don’t give up!

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Posted in Francy Rants, Miss Behavin', Nutrition News, Successful Loser Logic, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Add a Dash of “Creation” to ReCREATION

September 19th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I read an article in the newspaper on why our local parks aren’t being used as much as intended and what the city can do about it. Hmmmm, I wondered. They thought perhaps we need to add elements to the areas to add interest and entice usage. At which point I put the paper down and scratched my head in wonder….. good grief!

I gave this more thought and reminisced about back in the day, that your park is what you make of it. Just add a ball, for example. You can kick it, hit it, bounce it, double dribble it, throw it, run with it and more. The skies the limit really, don’t you think?? What’d be really great is if parents limited their kids screen time and sent the kids outdoors to play and just be kids. Trust me, they will figure it out and you might just need to fight with them to get them back in the house.

The best part about free play is the “creation” part. From a young age, kids these days get accustomed to new-fangled, high-tech games where you use more of your thumb power than your brain power. Try giving kids a clean slate in an open park and allow them to just have fun with it. That’ll put the CREATION back in ReCREATION in no time!!

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High Action Thriller Filler

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Another interesting study has been published by the Cornell Food & Brand Lab led by Dr. Brian Wansink. This time this savvy research team looked at various types of TV programming paired with eating. They found that people eat double while engrossed viewing a high action thriller, compared with watching a talk-show. They had the same findings whether they used M & M’s or with veggies. They also found people still ate 36% more when the volume was nixed on the thriller program. Hmmmm.

All of this got me thinking more deeply about eating with distractions which led me to impart 1 main message, and that is to avoid paired eating activities especially those involving TV viewing of any kind. One of the articles I read mentioned how it would be a good way to get “non veggie eating kids” to eat their veggies – NOT! That is a slippery slope of a strategy NOT to consider EVER as this would indelibly ingrain this bad habit.

Numerous studies have been done looking at eating with distractions that show time and time again that viewers can eat so much more mindlessly. Think about it folks, we’ve all been caught at one time or another eating with distractions whether it was a mother-load-tub of popcorn at the movies or noshing while working. Instead of focusing on the wonderful food, taste and eating experience your focus is elsewhere and that’s just a crying shame because eating enjoyment is one of life’s simple pleasures.

The take away message on this is to avoid eating with distractions at all costs, whether it’s TV viewing, driving, working. Prepare a plate of fab food, sit down at a table, eat and enjoy!

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Finding 5′s….

April 21st, 2014 3 Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s nice to have a long weekend with extra time to think, write and just breathe – ahhhh. This busy contest called life sometimes seems to snatch our good intentions and eat into our free time. How often do I hear “I don’t have time to exercise!”? Too often, that’s how often!

We live in a world of conveniences and yet we still proclaim not to have the time to move. For the coming days think of ways you can find 5 minutes’es – five here, five there another five somewhere else to make up 15 minute intervals and suddenly you’ve gathered yourself the hottest resource on the planet – time!!

Chop Chop… or NOT - Yes ladies I have spoken about the importance of getting your 5-10 a day of fruits and veggies, it’s true. If you’re really stuck for time treat yourself to some pre prepped produce and bestow onto yourself 5 minutes. Now you have time to wield your weights around to a stronger you.

Close the Lid… of your computer that is – Sometimes I feel bug eyed sitting at my computer for the better part of the day with messages streaming in, one more document to proof, one more post to write, just one more…. It’s healthy to just save what you’re working on and close the lid. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Listen to the birds, work out the creaks in your joints from sitting so long and escape. I find I come back refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated and end up being more productive. Make it a habit!

Making Two… meals at once - I routinely cook more than I need at any one meal and end up enjoying a schmorg of sorts another night. This frees up a mittful of time to be able to fit your activity in.

Dovetail - Be a master juggler and do a few things at the same time: example throw your laundry in while you’re doing something else like making dinner. Even better enlist everyone in the household to pitch in and presto you have more time. How often do we neglect to just ask? When was the last time we said “no”? You reap what you sow, you know!

Hold the Phone – Do you spend reams of time yacking on the phone?? Use that answering machine of yours to screen your calls. When you’re ready call them back and dovetail a catch-up call without eating into a fresh 30 minutes of your day.

Get Anti-social – All this social media with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus can put a dent in your spare time. Give yourself 60 seconds to catch up then refer back to “Close the Lid” and just stop.

Zone in to Zoning Out - That boob-tube aka the television can be a big time sucker for many. You sit down for one show then all of a sudden, oooops it’s time for bed – ug. Be mindful of what you’d actually like to watch then get outside in-between for an evening walk or bike ride.

Ponder over what’s eating up your time and find a bunch of 5′s adding them make up 15 minute intervals, like I explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books, the new interval training. Get a minimum of 30 minutes each day of activity and ensure your kids get 60. Time is a funny thing so if you have 5 minutes in front of you jump into that open space with gusto before it passes. When it comes to activity you don’t need to do it all at the same time either. A healthy and stealthy activity strategy, that’s for sure!

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Family Healthy & Stealthy Tips – Take 5

November 20th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s that time of year when the jingle jangle of advertisements beckons us into the Christmas spirit vortex. To offset that, our thoughts often turn to what we can do to help our family be healthier to create balance. I don’t know about you but I much prefer to take a stealthy approach when it comes to healthy. Don’t you think? Ok so call me passive aggressive, but who needs an argument?! Consider these 5 healthy and stealthy strategies to adopt now and into the New Year:

Get Fruity! Does the fruit you buy rot in the refrigerator drawer when it’s out of sight it’s out of mind, as the saying goes? Put your washed fruit in a bowl in a high traffic zone in your kitchen and watch it disappear!

Time Out! Is family life encircled around the television and computer screens during these cooler days of the year? Put a few limits on screen time. Do some bargaining around watching favourite shows then flick it off and put a lid on it. Aim to fill that time with activity.

Go All In! Do you think not allowing favourite food will deter your family from wanting and getting it? Think again! Allowing all food to fit, factoring in moderation will take the pressure off from food seeking behaviour. When you know “forbidden food” is allowed it’s a mute point.

Go Team! Did you know that cooking with your kids is good for their health? Ok so the crumb count might rise in your kitchen, but they’ll gain life skills galore and will eat healthier when launched out into the real world. While you’re at it, get them to help with the clean up too… another important life skill!

Bottoms Up! Do you have a storage cupboard filled with pop, flavoured drinks and crystals? All of those sweetened, coloured bubbled drinks get gulped down your loved ones gullets – gulp. Put a stop to the pop and fill your own jug of water with lemons, limes and fresh mint to quench everyone’s thirst. Great for your health and Mother Nature’s too!

Making small positive steps of change can certainly help you and your family lean in to be healthier as the New Year approaches. Trying a stealthy approach there’ll be peace in your world while you do it!

Find more healthy and stealthy ideas in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books on Amazon,  i-Tunes, Kobo/Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Diesel and Sony.

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Rhyme Time – Choices

August 26th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , ,

A bowl of cherries
A cup of tea
A mit-full of almonds
Some Vitamin D

Some soup to start
To slow you down
A baked potato
Instead of a French fries mound

A few extra chews
To enjoy your food
An extra walk in the day
To help lift your mood

The choices we make
Add up every day
Take time to think
So your goals come your way

Be the best you can be
Put your health first
When middle age hits
That bubble might burst!

Decisions decisions
What’s right and what’s wrong?
Let common sense prevail
Fads and gimmicks, be gone!

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The Good Ole Summertime

July 26th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I took a stroll by Lake Okanagan before dinner while in Kelowna BC a while back. I passed a number of parks smack dab beside the lake and marvelled at the flurry of activity by the masses. There was beach volley ball, a twosome playing badminton, kids making sand castles, bikes riding by, some rowing a canoe or kayak while others balancing on boards, then there was swimming, water skiing, kite-sailing and more. The sight made my heart sing la la la la la la….

I’ve been by that lake to witness a group of super fit gals doing a yoga class on boards in the water in unison. What a sight of poise and balance I can only dream of doing on my recreation room floor?! A very beautiful thing.

I love being in the thick of summer witnessing people of all ages playing outside with the boob tube off, tech toys stowed and having fun. If you’ve been tied to your desk let me ask you: what are you waiting for? I can almost see August from here so there’s plenty of time to turn the beat around your activity routine and take it up a notch.

There are many benefits of getting and being regularly active physically, mentally, socially and more. For me, taking a walk with Mother Nature allows me time to process problems that weigh on my mind or infuses creativity into a concept I’m noodling over. If you haven’t been active it’s certainly time to join in. Enjoy the weekend!

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Hockey’s On Ice! How’s Your Activity Routine Shaping UP?

June 26th, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok so this hockey season is now officially over; one of the shortest season ever, ending on the heels of July amidst steamy heat. The truth be told the only ice I want this time of year is in cube form floating in my drink or a slab I can lie on to make a pretend snow angel to cool down after taking a long walk….. ahhhhh.

Nadal’s knocked out of Wimbledon while Raonic remains; the Blue Jays are as hot as Toronto’s temperature….. mostly. Does a day every go by when there isn’t one sport or another on the tube to watch rather than join in and do?!

I’ll divulge when the closing hockey game started I bolted for the door and out for an evening stroll. With all of the back biting and fighting is it any different than the Desperate Housewives with a dash of testosterone throne in?! It’s so easy to get sucked into a routine that snuffs out your activity good intentions. Whether the excuse is wanting to watch show after show or game after game; or hibernating because it’s too cold and now it’s too hot; or rain is threatening the excuse list is lengthening. The hammer needs to come down on all of these reasons not to move altogether; pronto already.

Good intentions turn into action when you take the first step, literally. Don’t give it another thought. Here are some tips to win the argument over inertia and get moving:

  • Don’t hesitate, just GO – deafen that devilish voice trying to thwart your activity efforts
  • Take an umbrella or a raincoat to keep you dry if it’s raining, you won’t melt!
  • Drink your fluids before you set out and/or bring a portable water bottle when it’s sweltering (don’t forget your sunscreen)
  • Set your phone or clock alarm to when you made your goal time in your day to move – let that be your wake up call and refer back to point 1!
  • PVR your favourite television shows and watch ‘em when you return (commercial free… bonus!)
  • Chunk down 15 minute intervals and sneak them into to your day to move more – your new movement movement!! (as described in )

Ponder how much of your valuable time is eaten up with time wasters each day – gabbing on the phone, gossiping by the water cooler, scrolling through Facebook ad nausium, ditto for Twitter and more. Sitting it touted as the risk factor du jour for some time now and it’s summer folks. If you say you’re too busy to find a measly 30 minutes each day for activity or exercise count up all of that time you find yourself whittling away…. Let’s turn the beat around and get constructive with your time usage to move more.

It’ll be easier to keep it up by autumn.

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Driving Kids Lazy

May 23rd, 2013 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Yet another report card is out by Active Healthy Kids Canada issuing a D- for overall physical activity levels for kids – ug. Although there are many contributors to this crummy grade, the dependency on driving kids even short distances was highlighted. Think about it.

A survey revealed that 58% of parents walked to school when they were kids yet only 28% of their own kids do the same – what gives?! All you need really is to help kids accumulate 60 measly minutes to get-a-move-on each day. Five minutes here, fifteen minutes there can add up when you think about the various to-ing and fro-ing you do chauffeuring kids short distances. In time they could accumulate the minimum activity requirement if you turned the beat around creating a new norm to hoof it or ride from point “A” to “B”.

Do you shower your kids with new shoes that never seem to get worn out? How about scooters, skateboards, roller blades, bicycles and more that have treads that never get a chance to wear? It’s time for a new test drive of any or all of these play-things. Make a pact to use them. While you’re at it, blow the cobwebs off your cross trainers and lace ‘em up and get outside and play.

It’s a perfect time of year to start a “movement movement” sneaking in “interval training” of 15 minutes of accumulated activity to add up to an hour a day. Our bodies were built to move. Let’s not make the movie Wall-ee come true.

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Posted in Francy Rants, Miss Behavin' | No Comments »