I just accepted a contributor position last night for Anne Cohen’s website. It’s a big change, but I’m excited! Here is my first article for her. <3
This post was contributed by Samantha Thayer from USANA Health Sciences and infographic design by Mikelle Williams. For more information on how you can love life and live it, visit us on our blog, What’s Up, USANA?.
It’s always a struggle to change our habits. The majority of the time, we start habits young and they end up staying with us into our adult years. We learn these habits from observing our environment, our teachers, our friends, and our family. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss how we can encourage youth to start healthy habits and maintain them throughout the rest of their lives.
There’s a difficult road that children have to navigate to live a healthy lifestyle. There are many barriers, including socioeconomic status, education levels, and the environment of which they live and are raised. More than a third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are overweight or obese (CDC). Some contributing factors to this may be poor exercise and eating habits. Here are some more sobering facts about exercise and diet for children and adolescents, and some ways to improve them:
- Children ages 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours a week watching TV and playing video games.
- 74% of children between the ages 5 and 10 don’t get enough physical activity each day. The physical activity guidelines for school-age kids recommend that each day (from kidshealth.org):
- Get 1 hour or more of moderate and vigorous physical activity on most or all days
- Participate in several bouts of physical activity of 15 minutes or more each day
- Avoid periods of inactivity of 2 hours or more unless sleeping
Some ways we can encourage an increase in the level of physical activity our children get is making it part of their daily routine. If there’s time, try going on a family walk in the evening either before or after dinner. Encourage playing tag, riding bikes, and building snowmen in the winter. Another way to help is limiting the amount of time spent doing sedentary (non-active) activities. I know it can be difficult with so much technology in our hands nowadays. Here is a list of apps that you can get to set screen time limits on your devices. Try it out! 🙂
- For children ages 2-18, 40% of calorie intake is empty calories, such as sugars and unhealthy fats.
- Try leaving some fast snack options around the home. Pre-slice fruits and vegetables so your kids can grab and go. Celery with peanut butter, carrots with hummus, sliced apples, and raisins are all great options!
- Cereals marketed to children have 56% more sugar and half the fiber of those aimed at adults. Crazy, right?
- Always try to encourage your children to spend more of their days being active, and remind them to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Use a quality vitamin supplement for children, if needed, to fill in any nutritional gaps.
Thank you for reading. I hope that this encourages you to be mindful of the examples we are setting for our kids. It’s more difficult than ever, it seems, to define “health” and help our children make healthy habits.
Hopefully this blog post has helped provide useful information for you, and if you know another mom who would like this, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. For more information on the importance of starting healthy habits, check out our infographic below!
Hi everyone! 🙂
Just a quick announcement for those who follow my writing (and thank you for that – you know who you are 🙂 ).
As of today I’ve officially been published in the Huffington Post, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!
You can see the article here: An Unlikely Friendship Between a Pregnant Collegiate and a Gentle Black Man
Thank you for your support!
New Crunchy Mom
If you have taken dagger to your flesh in yearning for release, I want you to know that there is an other side to this. It doesn’t end with this and it doesn’t continue in it. God has healing for you. Maybe you’ve cried out to Him for it but didn’t receive anything. Or perhaps you are too angry or hurt or ashamed to ask for it. You may think you deserve to feel this way or that you are beyond saving. I have been there.
I remember the rush of panic and how feeling so out of control was ironically my only sense of control. Self harm was easy and hard at the same time. It was scary and satisfying. I have felt so much emotion boiling up inside of me that I had to give it a way out. And after tears dried up, after the breaths evened and the attack stilled, I was left feeling shocked at the wounds. How did I get to this point? Am I too far gone to ever not do this? Where will this go from here? How will I hide these marks? I don’t want to be this way, but yet I kind of do. See, my ‘want’ was broken. I didn’t really want away from these feelings because they were mine. They were familiar and reliable when the hurt the rest of the world gave me was outside of me. I couldn’t control those hurts and I couldn’t face them like I could the ones I made myself. So I hid there. And when life got too stressful, I would go to the knife drawer. I would hold the blade against my arms and just press it in, then a little deeper, to see the mark. Many times it would end there, but sometimes it wouldn’t.
Please hear me. I have not only been free from this destructive battle for 4 years, but my marks are all gone. Jesus took my scars and added them to His own. You are worth more than feeling this way. Your creator and Heavenly Father wants you. He wants you. 2 Corinthians 11:2 “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.” You need to reach out. One of the things keeping you in the pit is isolation and darkness. Carefully seek a trustworthy councilor, confidant, a support group, and church family. They will help you find your way to freedom. Purge all unholy things from your life. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This includes tasteless television shows, foul music, sour relationships, and poor dietary choices. What we put in to our minds and bodies effects what comes out.
Forgive. Forgive those around you and forgive yourself. Bitterness alone is enough to weigh a person down. And breathe. When you feel the escalation coming on from being overwhelmed, stop and just sit, slowly counting your breaths, then seek help. There is no shame in having weak moments. We were made to be in community. We were designed to receive and give support. One day you will be healed. You will be healed. And God will use your testimony to help heal others from the same. Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
You are not alone in this. You do not deserve to feel this way. You are not too far gone. You are wanted, loved, and are being waited for, longed for, by our God. Find the courage to step out and see what that really means. Find the strength to be healed forever.
I’m Stacy, an early 30’s stay-at-home mom who has a degree in film production that I do little to nothing with. I was born in raised in Las Vegas, NV then moved to Maui two times in three years. My husband and I have an amazing marriage because God is in the center of it. Our first child was born last year and we currently reside in Oklahoma City. If babies can be assholes, ours is one. Each day I just try to laugh, serve, and be a better version of myself than the day before. I love cookies, coffee, and Jesus. I am a neurotic organizer. I like to craft, drive fast, and feel pretty. I am funny, sometimes in a twisted way. I love loving people and sharing what I have grown through. I’m very transparent so let’s chat about anything!
Sitting on that crinkly paper, my feet dangling above the sterile linoleum floor, my heart sank to my stomach at the same time that all the blood rushed right to my face.
I didn’t meet the doctor’s eyes… because I was working up some courage.
I was going to have to say no. I was going to have to speak up.
As a child, I was the teacher’s pet. I always followed the classroom rules, sometimes to the point of being obnoxious. I always wrote my last name on my assignments, got anxiety if I didn’t finish homework on time, and adored my teachers.
I like people in authority. I’m a people-pleaser.
But I’m learning.
Back when I was nineteen, and a fresh-faced new college student, my mom sent me to a college-required-check up over Fall break.
“You’re not sexually active?” the doctor asked, skeptically.
“No, I’m not,” I replied, blushing profusely.
I had decided to save myself for marriage at a young age, and that decision wasn’t changing just because there were some really cute guys in my Philosophy class. After all, going to a Christian college, many of the cute guys had also made the decision to choose abstinence until marriage.
“You know, you can tell me. I won’t tell your parents,” the doctor continued, conspiratorially, almost at a whisper.
With a few well-placed digs at my integrity and honesty, and a promise that a prescription would have no side effects and would even clear up my acne (“A fresh new start in a new place is nice, you know…”), I ended up with birth control pills that I definitely didn’t need.
So began my experience with pushy, distrustful medical professionals.
About two years later, still faithfully taking my birth control pills and still just as faithfully a virgin, I headed to the doctor to get my finger looked at.
My bad habit of biting my nails had brought about an infection, and I was pretty sure I needed some antibiotics to clear it up.
“You’re not sexually active?” the doctor asked, skeptically.
“No, I’m not,” I replied. I didn’t blush this time. This was sounding pretty familiar.
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely. I’m a virgin.”
The doctor poked at my (very sore) finger.
“Hmm. This looks like it could be gonorrhea manifested in the joint.”
“Gonorrhea!? I’m a virgin.“
“Well, yes, that’s what you’ve said…”
Three swabs, three hours, and a blood test later, they finally released me with my antibiotics for a soft tissue infection, which cleared up in less than a week. I got a big medical bill – and a good dose of humiliation that month, for tests I didn’t need.
Four years later, and I’d been off of those birth control pills for six months.
A newlywed, I was finally taking charge of my body. I’d done research. I’d started charting my cycles.
I’d tried everything I could to get my temperatures to jump at cycle day 14, or cycle day 18, or cycle day 23. I painfully, obviously, heartbreakingly was not ovulating. While we weren’t actively trying to conceive, knowing that my body wasn’t doing what it should was alarming.
So off to the doctor we went. An OBGYN – a lady – who came highly recommended from a new friend of mine.
“You’re trying to have a baby?” the doctor asked, looking at me sideways.
“Well, not really trying… but if we get pregnant, that would be great. I just want my body to be healthy. I’m not ovulating… see?” I pulled out my carefully detailed charts. She didn’t look at them.
“So… you’re not trying to get pregnant, then? You should be on birth control.”
“Well, I don’t want to fill my body with hormones when I don’t need them… and I don’t like how hormonal birth control acts as an abortifacient. I have a moral issue with it.” (I told you, I did my research. Big words and all.)
“Well. I’d recommend birth control. It will regulate your cycles.”
Perched on the crinkly paper, I looked down, my hands folded, and I took a deep breath. I finally said what I should have said four years before. Six years before.
“No. You’re not listening to me. I don’t want to be on birth control. I want to find out why I’m not ovulating.”
The doctor narrowed her eyes.
“If you choose not to take my advice, perhaps you should see another doctor.”
Perhaps, indeed. And so I did.
I’m still not ovulating, I still struggle with infertility, I still bite my nails.
But I am no longer afraid to speak up for my own medical needs.
It’s uncomfortable, and I still blush.
Why do we think that a doctor knows better than we do about our own bodies?
We’ve been told for so many years that we can’t really understand what’s going on within us, health-wise, that doctor knows best.
But what about when they don’t?
You have a right. You are paying for care from your medical professionals. You have a say in your own health.
I’ve heard so many experiences that are similar to mine. 28-year-old women told they have no other option but to have a hysterectomy to control endometriosis. Doctors with no bedside manner who scare their patients into treatments they don’t want. Lab techs questioning patients, doctors who don’t answer questions, nurses who don’t believe answers to screening questions.
It’s not okay.
And you don’t have to put up with it.
There are doctors out there who listen.
After all these awful experiences, I finally found a doctor who cares about what I want and what I believe. Instead of pushing a treatment plan on me, he sat and listened. He asked my opinions. He answered all my questions without huffing or rolling his eyes.
Isn’t it crazy how a doctor like that is the exception to the rule, it seems?
This is your life, and your health. Find a doctor who understands that.
Don’t be afraid to speak up, to ask questions, to get more information, to ask about alternatives.
And if your doctor has a problem with that, find a different doctor. Please.
We deserve better than this. Let’s begin to demand it.
Ally loves coffee, motorcycles, blogging, and Jesus (not in that order, although coffee is toward the top of her list). An accidental country girl, Ally often finds herself wondering how she ended up living on a 21-acre hobby farm. She and her husband work at a Bible Camp ministry in Iowa, where they are blessed to share the love of God practically and behind-the-scenes.
Ally writes about what God is teaching her, finds the joy, and shares her blessings at The Speckled Goat Blog.
Ally | The Speckled Goat