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Improving Your Child’s Self Esteem Through Exercise

Improving Your Child's Self Esteem Through ExercisesBy Lynn Bode

Raising a pre-teen or teenage daughter (or son) is not easy and can cause any parent a lot of stress.  There’s so much to worry about – dating, drugs, alcohol, sex, school grades, just to name a few.  But one crucial element often gets overlooked until it manifests itself in extreme ways (like through an eating disorder). I’m talking about self-image. It’s extremely important that parents ensure that their children have a positive self-image, especially in relation to their body.

The key to ensuring strong self-esteem and a positive body image starts with the parent. If you don’t feel positive about your self-image, then how can you expect your children to? While this is important for both genders, it is especially critical for raising a healthy daughter. And beginning the lessons when a girl is young is imperative, so don’t wait until it’s too late – teaching your daughter to feel good about her body needs to start at a very young age.

Eating disorder experts say girls are developing eating disorders as young as 5 and 6 years old. And a recent study indicated that 70% of the sixth-grade girls they surveyed said they began worrying about their weight between ages 9 and 11. Why are so many young girls thinking that they are fat? Many are obsessing about their weight because they have parents who are preoccupied with their own poor body images.

While the statistics are disheartening, the good news is that there’s a lot that can be done to help our children have positive self-images. And, even small changes that parents make can help. Here are few tips to help your children avoid warped and negative body images:

Establish a “no diet talk” rule. When your children are nearby, DON’T talk about dieting or how fat you feel! This is extremely important. Remember, kids are listening all the time (even when you think that they aren’t – especially then). So, even though asking your spouse or friend “do I look fat in this?” may seem innocent, it can have a life-altering effect on your kids when they repeatedly hear it.

Parents aren’t the only adults that influence their children. Set the “no diet talk” rule mentioned above for all adults that are around your children. This means you shouldn’t allow your friends, parents, siblings, neighbors, or anyone else to talk about being fat or being on a diet when they are around your children.

Set a good example. If your children never see you engage in fitness or if they hear you complain about working out, then they are going to have a negative image of exercise. Let them know that you workout to stay healthy, to be strong and to have more energy and stamina (so you can keep up with them)!

Get your kids involved in sports. Experts say that playing sports really helps build confidence and improves self-esteem (especially for girls).

Teach your children to include physical activity as part of their daily routine. But don’t force them to exercise. Make sure that the physical activity is seen as something fun to do rather than teaching them to think of exercise as a necessary evil. Good activities include taking a nightly family walk, turning off the t.v. and instead turning music on that you all can dance to, or taking a weekend family bike ride.

Try to prepare (or if you are short of time purchase) healthy meals. And teach them the importance of good nutrition. Don’t let them have the misconception that there are “good” and “bad” foods. If a kid thinks that candy is a “bad” food, then naturally they will just want it more. Just try to encourage your kids to eat a balanced diet each day and to eat sugary and/or fatty foods in moderation.

Remember that something as small as talking about losing weight in front of your kids can have very detrimental effects on their self-image as they age. Damaging behavior learned from a parent at a young age can take years for a child to overcome. So, the sooner you start incorporating the tips above into your life, the better for you child. But don’t forget that it has to start with you – make sure that you are incorporating healthy fitness and eating rituals into your daily routine and that you have a positive body image (no matter what your size or shape is)!

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To learn more about workouts for children and teens or to have a personalize fitness program created for your child’s fitness goals browse through our fitness page by clicking here

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Five Eating Styles That Can Lead to Weight Gain

by The Editors of Prevention,

The last dish has been washed, and as you sit back and watch Modern Family, what’s in your hand? A pint of Haagen-Dazs or a cup of tea? On weekends, do you watch your calories as carefully as you did Monday through Friday, or do you take a healthy eating vacation and go to town?

Certain ingrained habits—even seemingly minor ones—have a significant effect on your weight. The hard part, too, is that even when you make the decision to, say, eat more fruit or hit the gym one more time a week, past behaviors can sneak in and undermine your best efforts. Those patterns can be grouped into five basic eating types. Chances are, you’ll identify with one or more. Once you recognize your type (or types), you’ll be able to develop strategies and solutions tailored specifically to your needs. 

 Type # 1: The Weekender   You live “by the book” all week, only to throw it out the window on Friday night. Or maybe you travel a lot for work or pleasure, and as soon as your surroundings change, so do your eating and daily calorie-counting habits. 

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Fix It: 
Go (mildly) wild on Wednesday. It’s hard to resist going nuts on Saturday and ordering the mac ’n’ cheese when you’ve been buttoned up for 5 days straight, so consider working one splurge night into your week. If you inject a little food-related fun into the weekdays, you’ll be less likely to “reward” yourself with major damage on the weekends. 
 

Type # 2: The Calorie Drinker One of the biggest diet mistakes is thinking that if it’s something you sip, the calories won’t stick. Unfortunately, liquid calories are stealth fatteners—they go down quickly, making it easy to drink more and rack up the calories—fast. 

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Fix It: 
Make smarter switches. Whether your weakness is sweet coffee drinks or soda, there’s a way to alter your particular poison so it doesn’t sabotage your progress. Skip the sweetener (and whipped cream) in coffee and drink seltzer instead of sugar-packed soda. You’ll save hundreds of calories and barely notice the change. 

 

Type # 3: The Snacker  These days we’re confronted with calories everywhere we go, from bagels in the conference room to king-size chocolate bars in the checkout aisle. In an environment with such an abundance of cheap, easy calories, temptation lurks around every corner and chips away at your willpower. 

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Fix It: 
Track every single bite. It’s always important to track your meals, but in this case, it’s extra important that you take note of everything that slips between your lips. Until now, you probably haven’t been “counting” all those free samples at the supermarket, but they can easily cost you 100 calories or more. Seeing how all those extra bites add up is motivation enough to make you say no to the free muffin sample.  
 

Type # 4: The Stress Eater  Do you find yourself looking for solace in a red velvet cupcake after a long, stressful day? Do you empty a bag of tortilla chips whenever your mother-in-law is in town? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then stress eating is a part of your life–and probably a major hindrance to your weight loss. 

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Fix It:  Name that theme.  Are there any common themes among your stress-related binges? Do they generally occur at work? Do they happen mostly in the evenings, when you’re dealing with family, bills, or housework? If you know that a certain situation or person tends to push you over the edge, prepare yourself for the stress that will inevitably come. Just being aware that a binge-inducing situation is on the horizon can help you brace for it and lower the chances that you’ll give in. 

 
 
Type # 5: The Follower  Do you wonder why you’re not losing weight when you seem to be doing everything right? You may be falling for healthy buzzwords on a package of high-calorie processed food. Even actual “healthy” foods–some of which offer many benefits–can be calorie bombs. 

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Fix It: 
Don’t buy into marketing gimmicks. Read every food nutrition label and decide for yourself whether or not something makes sense for your calorie budget. Also, stop personalizing your food choices. Try not to categorize them as “good” or “bad”–and definitely don’t apply that black-and-white thinking to your character. Eating an apple does not make you a “good” person any more than eating a cookie makes you a “bad” person! If you’re an ecoconscious eater, “good” and “bad” have other connotations for you. While your efforts to green our planet are applause-worthy, don’t forget that words like organic, sustainable, and grass-fed do not necessarily mean “low in calories.” Being good to the Earth doesn’t automatically mean you’re making good choices for your waistline. 
Finally, beware of healthy calories. If eating larger portions of lower-calorie foods is your thing, that’s fine, but some foods can throw you off your budget when you indulge with too much abandon. For example, almonds are often touted for their nutritional power–and they do pack lots of protein and a nice dose of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. But if you eat just 1/2 cup of almonds (easy to do in one sitting), you’re taking in 400 calories.

www.healingpowerhour.com

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For Healthy Food Recipes that are low in carbs but big on taste click here.

Top 10 Fitness Time-Wasters

Wasting Time In the Gym

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro

Avoid these time thieves and make the most of your trip to the gym.

We’ve all done it. We give ourselves an hour to get in a workout, then end up wasting nearly half of it — running an errand or two, getting dressed at the gym, chatting with acquaintances we bump into along the way. Even with the best intentions, you can sidetrack your progress if you don’t make good use of your time. Think you might be frittering away precious fitness time? Check out what three fitness experts identified as the top 10 fitness time-wasters, and see where you can improve.

1. Spinning Your Wheels.

When it comes to strength training, doing too many repetitions with lighter weights equals wasting time. “When we’re trying to build strength and build muscles, we want to attack as many muscle fibers as possible,” explains sports conditioning coach Fiona Lockhart. That means upping the weight and decreasing the reps: “Fifty biceps curls might build muscular endurance but you’re not going to build the strength you’re looking for,” Lockhart says. Of course, it also takes a lot more time to do 50 reps with light weights than 10 to 15 reps with more weight.

A good rule of thumb: If you’re able to do more than 15 repetitions of an exercise, it’s time to increase the weight, Lockhart says. The same is true of cardiovascular exercise. It’s easy to hop on the treadmill and type in the same speed, incline, and time every single time. But your body gets used to it. “If you’re trying to maximize time at the gym, work at a higher intensity for a shorter time,” says Teri Trese, MS, a fitness trainer at Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa. “If you can get and stay near 85% of your target heart rate, you’ll accomplish more for your total fitness.”

2. Failing to Plan.

If you haven’t been this person, you’ve seen her — wandering from machine to machine with the 100-yard stare of someone whose mind is elsewhere.

It happens all the time, says Lockhart. You get to the weight room and float around until you find an open machine. Then your time is over, and you’ve only gotten through three or four exercises. “Think about what you’re going to do in advance, then stick with it,” says Lockhart. “If it’s cardio, then get on the treadmill or bike and focus. Throw in some two-minute intervals.” For weight training, if you’re not working with a trainer, become your own. “Write a list of six or eight exercises (for different muscle groups) that you are going to accomplish in the given time,” Lockhart says. “When you have tasks, you get a better workout.”

Have an alternate exercise machine in mind in case the one you want is being used, suggests Debi Pillarella, MEd, exercise program manager for the Community Hospital Fitness Pointe in Munster, Ind. “You keep your metabolism stoked by keeping your body moving,” Pillarella says. “You shouldn’t rest for more than 90 seconds or your body will go back to the pre-exercise state and you increase the risk of injury.”

Using Bad Form Lifting Weights3. Using Bad Form.

Don’t just do the exercise; do it right, says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, certification and exam development manager for the American Council on Exercise.
Improper exercise technique not only poses a greater risk of injury to muscles and joints, it also wastes your time.

You may be thinking you’re strengthening one muscle when in fact you are straining another or stressing a joint. For example, doing bicep curls with your knees hyper-extended and your back muscles shortened could do more harm to your knees and back than good to your arms.

Fitness trainers or floor assistants are on hand at most gyms to assist you with proper form. Use them. Ask for someone to walk you through the equipment, showing you proper technique with machines and free weights.

4. Being Too Social.

“Social support is great,” says Trese. “Knowing that a familiar face will be there at the same time” can keep you going with your exercise regimen. “But you don’t want to make it just a social hour.” When walking on treadmills with a companion, Lockhart suggests agreeing to chat during the warm-up and cool-down, but to stay quiet and commit to pushing yourself for the time in between.

“Work at an intensity that burns significant calories and is too high to carry on a full-blown conversation,” Lockhart suggests. When you work out with a friend or friends, set some rules first to be sure everyone stays on track with time, Trese advises. Try doing 8 to 10 exercises in 30 minutes, and resting no longer than a minute between exercises.

5. Getting Stuck in a Rut.

Muscles have memory, says Pillarella. They adapt, they adjust — and our bodies plateau. “If you always use the same piece of equipment, your body will become adept at that type of exercise,” she says. Instead, mix it up. “If you always use the treadmill, get on the bike,” Lockhart suggests. “If you always work at the same pace, practice doing intervals — shorter surges to build your upper-end capacity. It’ll jog the body’s systems — make your body wake up and have to regroup.”

To add intervals, increase incline or speed for short periods during cardio exercise, says Trese. With your strength routine, change the order of the exercises or rotate from machines to free weights. “With more versatility, your muscles won’t be prepared and your body will not automatically know how to respond,” Trese says. This will keep things fresh for your mind, too, she says, “making workout routines less boring.” Lockhart advises varying your exercise program every six to eight weeks if you’re working out consistently. This is enough time for the body to benefit from the routine without getting complacent.

6. Watching TV or Reading.

“People tend to get on cardio equipment and think they’re paying the piper,Wasting Time in Fitness but they’re so into their book they’re wasting precious caloric time,” says Pillarella. The bottom line is that when you’re focused on other things, your workout suffers, she says. You can walk at a 4 mph pace for 45 minutes and burn 300 to 400 calories, says Pillarella. But you could get the same calorie burn in 20 to 25 minutes doing intervals (running or walking as fast as you can for a minute or two) every 90 seconds.

“It’s the total number of calories burned that counts,” she says. If you need a diversion to make it through your session on the elliptical machine, try music, suggests Comana. Invigorate your workout with a fresh mix on your iPod instead of spending your time staring at the crawl on Fox News. “Music can inspire you to pick up the tempo,” Comana says.

7. Resting Too Long.

The machine you want to use is occupied, so you grab a towel, get a drink of water, run to the bathroom — and the next thing you know, 10 minutes have passed. To avoid such time-wasting, rest only 30 to 90 seconds between strength exercises, says Comana.

To maximize time, alternate a set of exercises for your biceps with a set for triceps, he says. That allows you to shorten the rest interval in between — while one muscle group is working, the opposing group is getting active recovery.

You can also save time during your warm-up by mimicking exercises you’ll be doing in the workout. For example, Comana says, if you plan to work your legs by doing lunges and squats with weights, warm up with high knee steps, butt kicks, lunges with a twist, and sumo squats. “Perform movements that are the same as you’ll do in the exercise so that you can better prepare the body for the exercise,” advises Comana. “You’re warming up the joints while tying into the neuromuscular system to create movement preparation.”

8. Isolating Muscle Groups.

How can you fit in separate exercises for your biceps, triceps, deltoids and lats when you only have 30 minutes to work out? For body-builders, concentrating on two or three muscle groups per session might be fine, but this doesn’t work for the average person. There’s not enough time to get to all the muscle groups in three 30-minute sessions a week.

Instead, says Pillarella, choose exercises like squats and push-ups that target several muscle groups at once. You’ll get a better workout in less time and you’ll also be training more functionally (mimicking the way you use your body in daily life).

9. Changing Clothes at the Gym.

Dressing at the gym can be a big time-waster. Change before leaving work or the house and you’re less likely to change your mind about working out once you hop into the car, Trese suggests.

You’re also less likely to get into a conversation in the locker room that could shave 10 minutes off your workout. “Some people even go to the extreme where they wear their workout clothes to bed so they can just get up and go,” says Trese. If you don’t like the idea of sleeping in shorts and T-shirt, try laying out your workout clothes the night before to save time in the morning.

10. Waiting until Afternoon to Work Out.

With determination, it’s possible for late risers to fit in regular afternoon fitness sessions. But there’s no question that people who work out in the mornings are more likely to stick to their routines, Trese says. There’s less time to make excuses, and fewer things to get in the way of a workout.

If you promise yourself a 4:30 p.m. walk, it’s much more likely something will come up, Trese says. Before you know it, it’s 5:30, and you’ve missed your window.

Waiting until late in the day, “is setting you up for a downward spiral,” she says.

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