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Study: When moms spend time with kids it’s usually eating, watching TV

The two most common activities mothers and children do together are eating and watching TV. Then comes homework. Way down the list is going for a walk, bike ride or dancing together.

Here’s the breakdown for top three activities mothers and children do together: eating a meal (90 percent), watching television (79 percent), and doing homework (65 percent), according to new survey conducted by Woman’s Day and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national non-profit founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation working to combat childhood obesity.

When it comes to exercise, only half of the 1,154 moms surveyed had gone out together for a walk, run, or bike ride with their kids (ages 5 to 18) in the last week and just 26 percent had played a sport, run around or danced together.

According to the survey, when mothers spend ten minutes or more doing something with their children, it is more likely to be sedentary or involve a screen than be physical.

“The survey results underline the increasingly sedentary lifestyle many of our kids are leading,” says Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in a press release. “The good news is, there is opportunity to change this trend—and families can make small changes that make a big difference.”

Woman’s Day and the Alliance encourage families to #Commit2Ten and visit http://www.commit2ten.org/ to receive a personalized fitness profile, a 30-day activity calendar, resources and motivation to commit to 10 additional minutes of physical activity per day.

Woman’s Day Editor in Chief Susan Spencer offers the following tips for incorporating more exercise into the day:

— Walk with your kids to school. One of the magazine’s readers lost 90 pounds by walking the mile to school with her daughter daily instead of driving!

— Turn exercise into a game, like setting up an obstacle course in the backyard for younger kids or challenging older kids to see who can be the first to hit 10,00 steps a day.

— Make sure you’re setting a good example. If you’re grimacing through a workout dvd, it’s not going to encourage your children to join you. Do something that puts a smile on everyone’s face, like dancing around to music.

— Younger kids especially thrive on routines, so schedule exercise in daily like you would other regular activities. You could take a daily walk after dinner as a family or kick off each morning by doing yoga together. Knowing exactly when you’ll get active helps eliminate the “when will we fit this in?” question.

— Sign up for a group walk together. Whether a mile race or a 5K, kids will love the challenge of getting to the finish line together.

New app lets users see what they’ll look like after losing weight

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For those looking for a visual incentive to stick with their weight loss plan, a new smartphone app may come in handy.

Called Visualize You, the app can process an image of a user at his or her goal weight by utilizing 3D model technology.

The target weight photo can be saved for future inspiration and shared on social media.

The app is available in the Apple App store and Google Play store.

Planet Fitness bans member who complained about transgender woman in locker room

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A Planet Fitness gym in Midland, Michigan, has banned a member after she complained to staff about a transgender woman using the locker room.

According to ABC News, Yvette Cormier, 48, said she spoke to a staff member at the front desk last weekend after she noticed someone "dressed like a man" in the women's locker room. 

Cormier said the person was wearing blush and a wig but looked "very manly."

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The staff member said, "Whatever gender you feel you are, that's the locker room you're allowed to go in," according to Cormier.

The staff member reportedly told Cormier that if she felt uncomfortable, she could wait until the transgender woman left the locker room. 

"I stood back and said, 'How about he waits until I'm done in the women's locker room? Or get a unisex bathroom,'" Cormier told ABC. "He asked if I would like to talk to the manager, and I said, 'I'm calling corporate.'"

The corporate office reaffirmed the company's gender-identity policy. Cormier said she told several other members about the incident, and the gym eventually revoked her membership.

"Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity," the company, which markets itself as a "judgment-free zone," said in a statement. "The manner in which this member expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that management at the Midland club deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement, and as a result her membership was cancelled."

In an interview with WNEM-TV, Char Davenport, a professor and member of the area transgender community, praised Planet Fitness for its effort to be more inclusive. But she also stressed that many people don't understand transgender issues and may be caught off-guard in similar situations.

"Private showers and changing areas really would go a long way in resolving these issues," she said.

Super-fit mom accused of fat-shaming women with Instagram photo

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British mom Abby Pell says pictures of her fit body she posts to Instagram are meant for motivation and that getting in shape is 'about priorities.'  But critics say she is fat-shaming people everywhere after a picture she posted last year read: "I have a kid, a six pack, and no excuse."

The picture recently started making its way around the Internet after Pell came in 4th place at  a World Beauty Fitness & Fashion bodybuilding competition. Many of the comments left were negative in nature. One Instagram user wrote, "Exploiting your motherhood to show off is despicable and shameless," according to the Daily Mail.

The 33-year-old says she only meant to inspire others."I've been accused of adding to unnecessary pressure put on women and more specifically mums to lose weight," she writes. "I would like to clarify that this is not my objective whatsoever."

Pell – who goes by @superabs on Twitter and Instagram – tells People magazine she works out four to five times a week, concentrating on different body parts each time to achieve her figure. 

Despite the backlash, Pell says she's proud of her pictures and has no regrets.

A photo posted by ABBY PELL (@superabs) on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:06pm PST

Yoga could be as beneficial for the heart as walking, biking

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Good for the mind and good for the body: Scientists say doing yoga can improve your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and, most importantly, your heart. 

The health benefits of yoga have long been known, but a review of 37 previous studies claims it can be just as effective as biking and walking.

One lead researcher of the study, Paula Chu says, "This finding suggests that [people] who are physically limited in some way do not have to 'pound the pavement' in order to improve their cardiovascular risk profile."

The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and shows both healthy people and those with health risks saw similar benefits from yoga.  

Researchers believe yoga's health benefits might come from a reduction in stress. 

The American Heart Association says stress can lead to an increased heart disease risk, and high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also affect eating, drinking and smoking habits. 

Yoga is becoming more and more popular in the U.S. A 2012 study by Yoga Journal found about 20.4 million Americans practiced yoga nationwide, up from an estimated 15.8 million four years prior. 

And Women's Health points out there are plenty of different styles of yoga to choose from.

Still, even though the study looked at about 2,800 people, the researchers say not to draw any "definitive conclusions" from the study, mainly because there are so many different forms of yoga. The amount of practice needed for these health benefits to happen is also a factor. 

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

Guilt free treats during the holiday!

Now is the time of year when many of us decide to say “heck with it”!  regarding our eating and just wait till the 1st of the year to start a new diet/exercise program.   There’s so many tempting foods out there and ‘hey- why resist when you’re going to start your new regime soon?      Here’s a way to get through the holidays without ADDING any weight and still enjoying some yummy treats.    Then when you DO start your new exercise program after the 1st you aren’t starting with an even bigger (ha,ha) deficit – which will only make it harder/take longer to lose.

I call them cheat days!   It’s kind of a mental trick…allowing yourself to eat what you want without feeling like ‘you’ve blown it’ (which for many of us just puts us on binge track!).   

Here’s how it works:

If you are craving let’s say a piece of cake, or a cookie OR something very tempting is put in front of you then tell yourself TODAY will be my cheat day and go ahead and eat what you want (within reason!).    

You can do so guilt-free knowing that you’ve chosen to ‘take the day off’ from eating ‘good’ but that you will get back on track.  You may even find that it’s a Tuesday…and you know you have your ‘cheat day’ coming whenever you want…and decide to wait…and wait…. And before you know it, it’s Friday, and you haven't even used your ‘cheat day’ yet!    Again, it’s kind of a mental trick of diet forgiveness knowing that you can have that one day (or one meal per week) guilt free!    As I always say – if you eat well/exercise the majority of the time  (i.e. the 'ole 80/20 rule), then bring on the holiday treats and it won’t have any impact on your diet!

 

Must-read fitness, health, and happiness books for 2013

With the new school year in full swing, it’s time to bury our heads in the books. But we’re not here to assign you any nap-inducing texts — instead we’ve put together a list of 24 books that will keep you up and reading way past your bedtime. With plenty of pictures, humor, and hardcore science, these books tackle topics as varied as sex, nutrition, and endurance running. Check ’em out and put good old-fashioned learnin’ back in style.

It’s worth noting that there are tons of health and fitness books out there, and we had to be extremely choosy about which ones to include on this list. All the books here have come out in 2013, or are due to come out in 2014. The authors offer new and insightful takes on subjects in health, fitness, and happiness, and most are pretty influential on social media or on a personal website. Read on and don’t forget to let us know your favorites in the comments section!

Food and Cooking

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya Von BremzenAs almost everyone knows, food is more than just sustenance. The smell of certain meals cooking takes us back to our childhood, making us feel comforted or scared. Food writer Anya von Bremzen grew up in the former U.S.S.R., where food had a special significance, representing everything she could and couldn’t have. In her latest book, she and her mother Larisa take on the tremendous project of cooking their way through their own history. Each dish — fish pie, Georgian stew, blini — represents a different time of their life, and with each recipe von Bremzen tells an equally captivating story about her memories from that period. — SL

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by Ree DrummondEven city slickers can get plenty out of Drummond's frontier-themed cookbook. After meeting and marrying a rancher (yep, an honest-to-goodness person who wrangles cows), the author moved from L.A. to rural Oklahoma and learned to cook for a crowd. In her latest cookbook, Drummond covers 12 holidays, from New Year’s Eve to Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving, and all the traditional foods that go along with them. We’re talking glazed Easter Ham and caramel apples for Halloween, each recipe complete with step-by-step directions. Most of the recipes are hearty rather than healthy, with plenty of dishes that work well for a crowd. Best of all, perhaps, is Drummond's storytelling voice. At the same time warm, goofy, and competent, she comes across like a combination between your best friend and your favorite aunt. — SB

The Taste of America by Colman AndrewsWhat's so special about eating in America? Colman Andrews, a noted food writer and editor of The Daily Meal, explores distinctive foods made in the U.S. of A. in his new book. Taste of America features 250 hand-picked food items, from Blue Point oysters to Junior Mints. Andrews explains the cultural, regional, and culinary significance of each entry in the anthology, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. You'll never be curious about the provenance of beef jerky again! — SB

The Oh She Glows Cookbookby Angela LiddonFive years ago, Angela Liddon created her blog, Oh She Glows, as a platform to share how nourishing, plant-based meals that actually look and taste good helped her recover from an eating disorder. Now the enormously popular blog is killing it with hundreds of healthy recipes and drool-worthy pictures of hearty salads, homemade energy bars, and raw dessert bars. Due out early 2014, "The Oh She Glows Cookbook" is an extension of the blog with original breakfasts, snacks, entrees, and desserts. Most recipes are allergy friendly with many gluten-free and soy-free options. — NM

The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde DusoulierJulia Child may have made mastering French cuisine accessible, but many of those meals centered on meat, fish, and poultry. "The French Market Cookbook" is all about shifting that focus to the fresh, colorful, seasonal produce France has to offer. Written by Paris-born food writer, Clotilde Dusoulier, this book includes 90 seasonal recipes — many of which are vegan — as well as 75 beautiful color photographs. From ratatouille to gnocchi, "The French Market Cookbook" goes to show, vegetables can be the main act of any meal. Check out Dusoulier’s accompanying blog, Chocolate and Zucchini, to continue the discussion about plant-based eating, food ethics, and food and the environment. — NM

Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook by Del SroufeThe adjectives “vegan,” “oil-free,” and “low-fat” don’t exactly conjure up images of mouthwatering cupcakes and ice cream. But Del Sroufe and his collaborators (including Isa Chandra Moskowitz) are here to prove that healthful, plant-based eating can be tasty, too. "Forks Over Knives" is actually a food movement that inspired a 2011documentary film, and the new cookbook is full of classic recipes from around the world for all three meals. There's breakfast quinoa with apple compote, grilled eggplant steaks, polenta pizza, and apricot fig squares. Best of all, there’s no slaving away in the kitchen or emptying our wallets: All the recipes are relatively easy and affordable to prepare. — SL

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm GladwellThe age-old tale of David and Goliath teaches us that underdogs can win. But it's not always as easy as throwing a stone. Malcom Gladwell, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of other bestselling psychology books, challenges modern perceptions of obstacles and setbacks. After he breaks down the story behind the giant and the shepherd boy, Gladwell asks the question: "When it comes down to the underdog versus the favorite, who really has the advantage, and why?" To tackle this topic, "David and Goliath" examines heavy topics from the minds of cancer researchers, murderers, and civil rights leaders to poor education, disability, and loss. — NM

Before Happiness by Shawn AchorSome people are blonde; some are brunette. Some people are happy; others are doomed to a lifetime of misery. Right? Wrong, at least according to Shawn Achor, a psychology researcher who’s written and spoken on cultivating happiness in the workplace. In his latest book, Achor talks about changing the way we perceive reality so that happiness actually becomes a legitimate possibility. It’s all about the small stuff — think keeping a daily gratitude journal or starting the workday by listing everyone’s successes. "Before Happiness" is not only an uplifting read — it’s also an impressively well-researched book that’s still a breeze to read. — SL

For a list of 24 must-read fitness, health, and happiness books for 2013, go to Greatist.com.

Time to work out? Seriously?

I know I know – get the kids to daycare or school/go to work/errands at lunch/grocery store on the way home..then full on parenting once you get home until the kids go to bed.  Who has time to work out??!

As difficult as it is to create  new habits around working out – you have to have the attitude that your health is worth it!  You are only given this one body in your lifetime and if you don’t take care of it – there are nothing but negative consequences ahead for you (gaining weight, health issues, strain on your joints etc etc).   On the upside – there are only positive consequences when you incorporate exercise into your life:   weight loss, muscle gain, feeling better about yourself, looking better, increased health, etc.

So – find the time! Here’s a couple of suggestions:

  • Recruit a friend at work to go to the gym with you at lunchtime (or to go walking) – plan to do it at least 2-3x a week NO MATTER WHAT!   
  • Set your alarm clock an hour earlier and knock out your workout first thing in the morning.  Personally, I’m up between 4:30-5:00am every day to go to the gym…and as hard as it is sometimes to drag myself out of bed, I feel GREAT for having done so the rest of the day.    
  • If you can’t leave your house to go to the gym, then buy a good exercise DVD (Jillian Michaels has tons that are great) and exercise in your living room.
  • Or after work – tell your kids/significant other, etc that 2x week you are stopping at the gym on the way home and that you need a 2 hour exercise break on the weekends as well.     It’s hard to ask for that time for yourself when laundry, meals, cleaning, etc are waiting – but again YOU should be YOUR priority as no one else is going to take care of your body but you.  Make 3x/week your goal and don’t let anything get in your way!

Best of luck in your quest for health and wellness!

Hidden Gems - Outdoors on a Budget

Summer in Atlanta can only mean one thing.  It’s time to get out doors.  If you are like most people in “these parts” then you probably aren’t from here and the idea of spending long amounts of time outside might bring to mind a scene from “Deliverance”  But as a native of Atlanta, I have found some great ways to explore our fabulous southern surroundings for less than the cost of large sweet tea!

  • The Swimming Hole:  There are a ton of natural swimming holes all around Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  One that is easy to get to and is pretty popular is Vickery Creek at Old Roswell Mill Park.   Vickery Creek is part of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area park, and it is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River.  Vickery Creeks’ popularity comes from the small waterfall that runs over a historic dam and the 19th century cotton mill.  Enter the park through a trellis at the Old Mill and take a path to stunning lookouts, a picnic area, relics of the mill’s hydropower equipment and the dam. Enjoy the sounds of the waterfall, the warm sun, the shallow millpond for cooling off and large flat rocks for sunbathing. In addition there are  miles of hiking trails.  Want more? Visit http://www.swimmingholes.org/ga.html 
  • Pickin’ and Grinin’:  Summer time just conjures of the imagine of blackberries sliding down the side of a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Just crack open any summertime issue of Southern Living and you will see what I mean!  Blackberries are plentiful and easy to pick. Last weekend while spending some time in Lawrenceville,  I found a wild thorny thicket bursting with the berries and managed to pick a pint.  Blackberries grow wild all around Georgia but if you need help find a spot, check out the map of where to pick berries from Concrete Jungle.  This website is great for showing where fruits are  growing naturally in  Atlanta and  to show places to pick blueberries., blackberries, peaches and plums just to name a few.   
  •  It’s the Wheel Thing:  Everyone knows that traffic in Atlanta can be epic.  Take a road less traveled and find a bike trail.  Over the past 20 years Atlanta has done a great job of growing the number of trails and bike paths throughout the 16 county Atlanta metropolitan area. This has really helped to take biking off busy streets and into more protected areas.  The Silver Comet Trail (silvercometga.com) begins 13 miles west of Atlanta in Smyrna and runs more than 61 miles westward to the Alabama border.  Another popular trail runs through the city beginning at the Carter Center and runs more than 19 miles to Stone Mountain.  Peachtree City has a 90-mile path system that not only accommodates bicyclists but also golf cards and walkers.  Check out The Path Foundation for path and trail details. 

Try something different this summer and step into the wonderful world happening outdoors all around Atlanta.  You will not only find some hidden gems but you will also make memories that will last a lifetime. 

 

Things to do: Chestatee River

Whether you enjoy paddling, tubing or fishing – many recreational options await you less than an hour from Atlanta.

The Chestatee River in Dahlonega, GA is a favorite for first-time or seasoned paddlers. If boating isn’t your thing you can always take a tube float or try some fishing. The river features some beautiful scenery, fun Class I & II rapids and is teaming with wildlife. Blue herons, wild turkeys, and kingfishers are frequently spotted as well as ospreys, otters and occasionally beavers.

Quick Facts:

  • The Chestatee River is a major tributary of the Chattahoochee River, which begins at the confluence of Dicks Creek and Frogtown Creek in northern Lumpkin County and continues for 50 miles where it eventually spills into Lake Lanier.
  • A popular day trip (approx. 3 hours) is a 6 mile run that travels around a mountain with put-ins and take-out located along Highway 19/60.  From Atlanta, travel north on Georgia 400 until it ends in Dahlonega then turn right on Highway 19/60. map
  • Take-Out: Located on Highway 19/60 about ¼ mile north of Georgia 400. This is a new facility offering plenty of free parking, complete with bathroom and changing areas.
  • Put-in: Highway 19/60 about 3 miles north of the take-out. Parking information listed under the outfitter listings.Alternate Put-in @ Highway 52: From the put-in head north on Hwy 60 then east on Highway 52. The road for the put-in is located on the right before the bridge. This adds another four miles to the trip if you take out just north of Georgia 400. Putting your crafts in the river could prove a little challenging due to the very steep incline. After you put in, you will paddle through residential areas and a golf course – be wary of flying golf balls.

Outfitters:

Chestatee River Adventures – Catamarans (aka angler kayaks) $25. Tube rentals $5. Shuttle service for your personal craft - $5. Parking is also available for $5 – please call 770-540-9950 for more information. Appalachian Outfitters – Tube rental $6, kayaks and canoe rentals - $28-$48. Shuttle Service $10. Please call 706.867.7116 or 800.426.7116.

 

Want More Adventure? Class II+ rapid action happens in the upper section of the Chestatee near Turners Corner – to learn more visit American Whitewater

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