Posts tagged ‘children’

July 3, 2013

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!

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“But Lacey, it’s scary to change the way we eat.” These are words a great friend spoke recently at a catch-up lunch date. The words resonated with me long after I cleared my plate of fabulous quinoa salad and hummus. (You do not have to clean your plate, Lacey… repeat!) As we chatted life, kids, work, fashion, and yes, nutritional advice in the sunshine on the patio at Nick and Sam’s Grill in Dallas, Texas, I didn’t immediately hear the fear in my friend’s voice. I figured that, like most people, she was sharing that her hurried life, differing preferences and personalities of family members, and list of professional and personal obligations left no room for preparing healthy food at home.

For the sake of time, I’ll share that the lunch date came and went without any action plan or new revelation to make implementing healthier choices easier or more convenient.  The evening, I finally heard my friend. She called a little after 8:00 p.m. to share that her evening was filled with yelling, crying, and bitterness, all stemming from a meal she prepared, with love, for her family. Something can’t be right… so much anger and fearful emotion over food? Are we making things too difficult? I stopped my inner-questionnaire and listened to her story.

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She was four weeks into a new fitness plan, and became interested in the way I balance my nutrition. As her coach, I saw much improvement with our workouts simply because, before our work together, she didn’t workout at all! This is a passion of mine—to get sedentary people moving. Success! Once she saw the difference in her physique, she wanted more. She became eager to see what her body was capable of if she fueled it with optimal nourishment. Heck yeah—I’m excited to show her! Full speed ahead… until the evening of the somber phone call, that is.  Her words; her story:

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After work, I made a quick stop at Sprouts (a neighborhood farmer’s market shop) to grab something to make for dinner. I got the good chicken, the good bread, and the organic produce for a nice salad. I even got hummus and the good crackers for an appetizer, I thought we could enjoy as dinner finishes cooking. I even got a bottle of organic wine, which we never opened because the evening went south. I got home and got to work in the kitchen. The kids weren’t letting me concentrate, so I got short with them a few times.

They started bickering the minute (her husband—no names necessary) walked in. He put his things down right on my salad prep area and asked, “what the heck is going on here?” I didn’t love his tone. He grabbed a light beer before I could even show him the wine. Frustrated I went back to the appetizer tray. I proudly called everyone to the table and presented the appetizers, but nobody was interested. Strike two in my book, after the chaos my husband walked into. When we sat down to dinner, everyone’s facial expressions summoned tears to well up in me that I sucked back in time to ask, “What?”

Dinner looks boring… where’s the gravy… is this it… comments and questions shot out like bullets. I was done. I told everyone they didn’t have to eat it if they didn’t want to but that I wasn’t making anything else. The kids disappeared, and (her husband) asked why I was making such drastic changes.

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It occurred to me that we all find our “nutritional ah-ha moments” at different times, and that pacing change is best for long-term success. A former business leader comes to mind when I reference The Golden Rule: Treat others we you would like to be treated. Who wants to immediately and abruptly change what you eat and drink? Who wants to be told they can’t have something? My friend was trying to make too many drastic changes all at once, too quickly, and without any notice and very little helpful resources. I would have definitely given her my copy of, “How to Make Your Family Read Your Mind.”  Although her heart and intentions were in the right place, her delivery needed some work, and she needed a sprinkle of my creativity dust to encourage the household transformation along in a positive manner.

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Together, we realigned, reorganized, and re-energized her effort and excitement for implementing positive nutritional changes for herself and her family.  I want to share some of my favorite tips, in case you find yourself in the same spot as my friend, or if you’re ever the recipient of a good-intentions-meant chicken breast with a side of not-a-chance-I’m-eating-these kale chips in the future. Enjoy, and remember to find your own happy pace with a fit and fun lifestyle.  –Lacey

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  1. Make it fun! Implementing nutritional changes (or any changes) has to be fun, or most won’t be interested, much less excited. For example, add a fun salad side or a favorite dish made with a healthier recipe. No need to announce until everyone mentions how yummy it was.)  Decide to have a vegetable at every meal and let a member of the family choose the veggie each night.  If you’re going out, announce that everyone will be sharing, and ask them to pick a buddy to sit next to and share with. Use your imagination and tailor ideas to your family’s personality.
  2. Make it Flavorful! Use spices, herbs, and healthy oils to create flavorful sauces, dressings, and toppings. Seeds add a crunchy punch to veggies and meats. Trying to pass off mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes? Adding Italian herbs, garlic, or Greek yogurt and sea salt can help your effort. Who knew how yummy cinnamon is on spinach!?  (Simply shake spinach, a little olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon in a freezer bag and POOF!)
  3. Communicate! Send your family members an email, text, Tweet or Pinterest board of options for dinner and ask them to select three favorites. Implement these into dinner so they have an investment in the change. Special note to moms (and step-moms): I’d refrain from posting anything on their Facebook wall, or sending photos of food options to Instagram, or otherwise communicating with them in public, on public forums… even if you think you’re hilarious, which, I’m sure, you are.
  4. Take it Slow! Implement healthy options a few times a week, then have a healthy meal each day, and soon you’ll be able to incorporate healthy options at every feast. We have appetizer night to reduce portions, make creative finger foods, and have the freedom to take dinner outdoors or to eat while playing a game together. Celebrate each week’s healthy changes!
  5. Theme Days! Who doesn’t enjoy a great theme party or costume party. A great way to introduce chickpeas, new greens, alternative protein options, and other healthier alternatives is to make it “Mediterranean Night” or “Asian Evening” or by enjoying another culture’s fare. What a great way to share the world with your family and educate them on other countries and foods. Did you know that breakfast in Egypt is often purchased and consumed at a street stall, and that it’s usually bread wrapped around assorted fried vegetables: eggplant, beans, tomatoes, and peppers? (Nobody would know if we grilled ours…) Also, according to folklore, pretzels were initially created as a gift to children who recited prayers correctly.  The pretzel shape was supposed to signify arms folded across the chest in prayer. One or two with almond butter could make for a great incentive for young children!
April 2, 2013

Sugar or Salad?

I often get asked how come I don’t compete in fitness competitions. And for me, I have a few set reasons, but one resonates a little stronger than the rest. There is nothing wrong with fitness competitions, at all, but for me, and my life, its just not something that fits in. Let me tell you one of the main reasons which directly relates to my children and to the purpose of this article.

I am raising two daughters. I want them to have a healthy view point on fitness. I worry that because I am so into fitness that I will do one of two things…either push them towards donuts and pizza or give them a false sense that they need to be perfect. Let me start by talking about the first option….they resent health and fitness.

I try to maintain balance. Yes, we eat healthy. But every Friday we do donut Friday. This is a tradition where I take them to the donut shoppe before school. Why? I don’t eat donuts, and they are so unhealthy. But I want my girls to know moderation. That yes, nine times out of ten we are eating whole foods that fuel our body, but that it is okay to enjoy a treat. I want them to know moderation and to be able to make good choices as they grow up. In turn, my youngest daughter orders salad every time we eat out and my oldest daughter drinks nothing but water. I don’t want to deprive them of fun foods because there is the risk that when left to their own choices they will eat unhealthy on purpose.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum. I work out because I love it. Truly. Its my hobby in addition to my career. I don’t scrapbook, or bake, or garden…I train. I don’t do it because I feel I need to look a certain way or weigh a certain weight. My body is merely a by product of my love for working out. But, I worry. I don’t want my girls to feel like they have to be perfect. I don’t want them checking calories or flipping out if they see a little baby fat on their bodies. I want them to love themselves, and love the way physical activity makes their body feel. In a day and age where the media does such a good job of showcasing the “perfect” female body there are so many body issues amongst young girls that I don’t need to paint that picture at home for them as well.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Your children are watching you. No matter what you say, they do what they see, and so its crucial that you provide balance and guidance in paving the path of a healthy lifestyle for them. Train because you enjoy it. Eat foods that fuel your body and enjoy treats within moderation. Image

February 12, 2013

An early delivery….

If you are reading this on the day it was posted, then today is February 12, 2013. Exactly 7 years ago today I was blessed with my second daughter, Bianca Elle. She was born at 6:10 am weighed in at 6lb 2 oz. She was perfect. I can remember holding for a quick second while the nurse snapped a picture and whisked her away. I thought to myself, wow, this is new since my last child. What I didn’t realize is that they were giving me the picture because they were not allowing her to stay with me. Bianca, while a healthy weight, and breathing on her own, and seemingly perfect, was born 6 weeks early. Let me take you back….

Before I got pregnant with Bianca I had gone for my yearly check-up and the doctor discovered some pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. We did a procedure called a LEEP, which removed the part of the cervix that was affected. When I became pregnant with Bianca, the doctor told me that this could cause me to have a condition called an incompetent cervix. He said I could go about my pregnancy as normal, but when I reached 16 weeks, they would start to do transvaginal ultrasounds every two weeks to monitor the length of my cervix. If it shortened each week, and reached a certain number, I would have to go on bed rest. I thought to myself, no way that will happen. At the time I was still an elementary school teacher and I bartended one day a week. But, as the story goes, I indeed did have to go on bedrest from month 5 of my pregnancy on. It was tough…I had all these grand plans of writing books, scrapbooking, showering…lol…but mostly I watched television and tried to not worry about my butt growing larger and larger. One night , February 9th, I woke up in the middle of the night to wet pants. I thought, geez Danielle, did you really just pee on yourself. But, as I examined closer I realized that it was clear and odorless. In a panic we called the doctor and he informed me to go directly to the hospital as it seemed my water was leaking. Oh no! Please no. Its too early..my baby wasn’t ready yet. The doctors decided to hold my labor off some…they gave me steroids to strengthen Bianca’s lungs, and then induced me on February 12th at midnight. 6 hours and a few pushes later, there she was. Perfectly healthy and a really great weight. They said at that rate she could have been 11 lbs had I gone full term (my theory is that she was just crowded in my belly, because I am a pretty small person, and decided it was time to come out). They took her to the NICU and for the first time in my life my heart was completely broken. Matter of fact, as I write this, I am overwhelmed with the memory of that feeling. To all you mothers out there who did not go home with your baby right away, or ever for that matter, my heart hurts for you. Because Adrianna was 4 at the time, I knew I had to go home. I asked to be released the very next morning, which they agreed to. I saw a lactation specialist and pumped and pumped and pumped in hopes of producing enough milk to bring back up to the hospital each day. I called the nurse every hour, and she was happy to talk to me and tell me how Bianca was doing. I would drop Adrianna off at daycare in the morning and sit with my Bianca all day until it was time to pick Adrianna back up. I would just hold her against my skin and when it was time to go, I would cry and cry until I had no tears left. She was only in the NICU for a week, but that week seemed like an eternity.

But here we are, 7 years later! Bee is such a unique kid. She loves Harry Potter, and dinosaurs, and garage sales. She has never a met a paper clip or a piece of paper that she didn’t want to put up for safe keeping. She plays volleyball, loves animals, and makes my heart melt with every smile and funny joke she makes.

Happy Birthday Bianca Elle Hinson! Image