What to expect when you stop losing weight

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I ended my cut recently and it went well. I definitely look and feel faster, slimmer, and my energy levels are back up. I did it all by myself this time, calculated my own macros, and let myself be flexible. 

I was able to tailor my diet and macros towards things I liked to eat and never really felt deprived. A lot of anti-diet advocates focus on the depravity of diets and how you have to postpone all your favorite foods, but in reality as long as you account for them it’s not like you have to lock away all your favorite foods.

Discerning your priorities when it comes to nutrition is what makes a cut really difficult.

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So when you have to choose between 150 calories worth of tortilla chips, vs a big yummy sweet potato, you can opt for the tortilla chips when you’re really feeling it. It’s not moralizing the choice (that tortilla chips are “bad” and you should choose the “good” sweet potato) but rather knowing that when you’re cutting calories, and need to keep your nutrient profile relatively healthy, sometimes you do need to choose the sweet potato.

Of course, you can fill in the blank with whichever foods you prefer, I just chose sweet potato because I found it to be the most recent and relevant example to me. This comes in to play for all kinds of foods, and all kinds of choices.

There are other things I really didn’t expect when I ended my cut, which meant about a month/two weeks each of adding back in some calories bit by bit so my metabolism had time to keep up. I used Renaissance Periodization’s maintenance article to guide me as well as my own hunger cues.

Maintenance is the period of time after you lose weight- you either stay at the weight you’re at, or you give your body a break between cuts to adjust to the new size. So I’ve been upping my calories slowly these past few weeks.

Things I didn’t expect:

The mentality

Going from eating a smaller amount of food to a little bit bigger amounts every two weeks took some getting used to. As I entered my food into MyFitnessPal, all I could think of was “really? All this? And I’m still not at my goal yet?”

It was weird adding an extra serving of tofu, or beans, or whatever else it might be in order to reach a higher calorie goal.

There was a bit of guilt, too, since I advocate for a mixture of intuitive eating and watching what you eat, I felt uncomfortable talking openly about my cut. But as my friend, who’s undergoing her own IE journey, and some fellow RDs (Nutritionist Sam, doctormeetsdietitian) remind me, everyone works best doing their own damn thing.

You can be against the shame, black and white thinking, and sizeism that the diet industry pushes out every day while still personally knowing you need to log food to make sure you’re getting what you need.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but with my ADHD, if I don’t log and watch my food, I’ll be eating those dopamine-hitting foods all day err day. Chocolate, chips, (vegan) cheese, you name it, if my brain gets an extra dopamine hit from it it’ll be there.

It’s not depriving myself of the joy of food; it’s knowing my limits. Which is part of what makes IE make sense to me.

Blooooaaaatiiiing

I already have IBS, so bloating is not a stranger in my life. But wow, adding more food makes you more bloated at the end of the day and feel just a /bit/ more full.

One of those things that I logically knew but then when I experienced it, I just went “oh, well, that’s a thing”.

Energy!!!!!

When I first felt sluggish adding in more food, that slowly gave way to more energy when I lifted and better lifting sessions. I timed it well (on accident, as most things in my life) that my cut ended just in time for my program to get heavier.

I also have had to go for easier cardio now that my energy needs to go towards big lifts, which is another weird feeling. I love a hard cardio session at the end of the week, so gliding away on the elliptical is an experience I haven’t had since my early college days.

Finishing a weight cut and moving to maintenance is, like weight loss itself, a process.

It deals a lot with listening to your body, paying attention to how you feel after you eat, and changing your routine just enough that your body can get used to the new weight.

We’ve got a ways to go yet (I probably won’t cut during the summer and jury’s still out if it’d be worth cutting during my internship), but I’m pleased with how I’m doing so far.

I’ll talk more about body image in another post but for now, don’t forget to do your homework, eat a vegetable, and smile at someone today.

See you soon!

Meeting Independence Halfway

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When I left the gym today and walked to my own car- the one I was paying for with my own money- and a thought popped into my head without prompting, as I jingled my keys:

Damn, I missed this independence.

Up at school I would have some semblance of independence. I lived in an apartment, could take public transport, and would often be on my own with my own agenda. It taught me how to be resilient, how to hold myself accountable, and most how to be by myself.

“Close enough to home that I can come back for a weekend if I need to, far enough away that I get the experience I need” is what I would tell people. By the time I was planning to transfer I knew it was time to spread my wings and go.

Of course, I still cried a lot when I left home. There’s a picture of my Dad and I crying, with me holding a replica of Sully’s clipboard in Monster’s Inc that had Boo’s door.

My friends in High School got a lot more independent a lot quicker than I did. Part of it was ADHD, which I know now, another part was I didn’t know if I was ready.

I get that it can be scary for parents- is it just a matter of time, or if we never let go, will our teen ever grow? Will they ever fly?

Only you can gauge for yourself what your teen is up for and what they want to do. When I write about my personal experience, know that this is coming from an undiagnosed ADHD adult who made it through adolescence alive and doing pretty dang well for herself. I’m here to help reassure you, guide you, advise you when I can.

Everyone works on different timelines, too. My brother became independent way before I did and even now, to me, he’s more emotionally and financially independent than I am (damn you, FAFSA). My sister is in between the two of us. But we all know she’ll get there eventually.

It’s in the independence where your teen figures out who they are and what they’re like. I learned that at school and camp, too.

For a while, I didn’t really like being alone. Part of it, I think, was because I didn’t really know what I was like. But as college went on, as I made mistakes and learned from them (sometimes calling my parents about the mistakes), who I am slowly became more and more clear.  Even things like having to get my own groceries and developing my own palette helped me slowly become the person I am today!

But I won’t pretend to know 100% who I am, or what I can do, because I don’t think that’s a question that will ever have a definite answer. Just like the physical growing pains that come with puberty, so too will the emotional and mental ones come along in their own time.

We just need to be patient for those who seem a bit behind the curve. There’s a fear, especially among people my age, that once you hit 25 you’re on the downhill slope when it comes to careers, love, family, goals.

It creates this anxiety and rush for everyone who thinks that there’s this drop off of options at 25. Because of that, I think people miss a lot of opportunities to grow. Patience, too, I think gets lost in the mix of growth.

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We see this in pervasive diet culture, in school choices, in athletics. This sense of “goals need to be met ASAP or else”, or “if I don’t get it now, I never will” seeps into how we see everything else. Dating, jobs, even just going through the Starbucks drive thru becomes a “how quickly can I get this thing I want”.

(No hate on Starbucks, you all know I love my lattes).

Setting up long term success is what goal setting is all about. Rather than a light at the end of the tunnels, goals should be more like street lamps: there to light the way and see where you’re going.

If I could go back in time to high school and tell my former self one thing, besides stop frying your hair, it would be to just chill and keep working. Things come with time. You will grow up. It’ll happen, you just have to keep working. Everything you want in life won’t come to you, but it will meet you half way.

What goals have you made recently? Have you achieved any of them?

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. See you soon!

It’s my job to like me (not yours)&other random thoughts

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For people without ADHD it can be tough when you’re at a party, or out and about, and you suddenly get the intense feeling that you need to just shut up.

It can be for whatever reason: you said something ridiculous or rude on accident, you realized you were talking over the person you’re with, whatever it is it triggers some unique defense mechanism that just tells us to shut our damn mouth.

Having ADHD, this happens at least once a week.

I was often on my own these past two months before I started getting out and doing volunteer stuff, seeing friends, and stopped laying on the couch wondering what I could even do. I downloaded some dating apps (realize I’m saying this because I don’t care what your opinion on them is) to meet people.

I’ve found that the person I was in uni is really slowly crawling her way back to the surface the more I leave my house. (“But Em! Why were you home so much?” Because it’s cold and I’m weak, okay? I admit that). Instead of despising everything I say or thinking it’s ridiculous, I’m getting back to the place of realizing people don’t have to like me, and I don’t have to care if they do.

I can definitely run my mouth. If you get me talking on theatre or nutrition, (Or even the difference in Christian denominations, apparently) I’ll go for a while. These things are typically what get me into the shut up, Em! mode.

It’s like an Energizer bunny thing. And I hated it. I would wish I could just keep quiet, not talk too much, and listen.

Personal development of listening skills aside, I realized that what people thought of me wasn’t any of my damn business, either. It took realizing that I was a pretty rad person before I started shutting up my ‘shut up’ instinct.

I listen. I interact. I want to hear what people are saying- but if people don’t want to do the same for me, then why keep them around?

New Job

New job rocks. I can’t say much, since it’s a hospital job and I don’t want to give too much away, but I love it. It’s working with patients to order meals and help them feel comfortable while they’re in the hospital. While it is technically food service, I’m not on the line (auditory processing has taught me that would be an awful job for me), but rather on the phone.

This is also part of why I mentioned the stuff above. I’ve gotten much, much better in the span of my first week there not taking people being mad personally. I haven’t had screaming yet, just upset people, and I help them without crying after! It’s such a freeing feeling.

I like the comradery of the diet office too. If you want to know more, in the near future I’m actually going to do a split screen with Libby Rothschild! Who has been for a while someone I totally look up to, so you can bet I was fangirling when she asked me to go live with her!

I’m working hard on scheduling my writing days wisely so you guys get content from me regularly. The last thing I want to do is stop writing and podcasting for y’all. But if I start to get quiet around here, message me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and tell me to come back!

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. See you soon!

Weight training in your teen’s routine

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Even though I did Tae-Kwon-Do (a Korean martial art) since middle school, I was never really into fitness and exercise the way I am now. Before I graduated high school, working out was a means to an end, a way to lose weight, or just something I had to do so I could eat.

Now I know that that’s not the right mindset at all. When I go to train now, I know that the progress I’m making is because I eat, recover, and take days off when I need to.

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But after I got my black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, my parents still wanted me to be active when I wasn’t in theatre. So my Dad took me to the gym, showed me a couple lifts, and that was that.

Since then I’ve been lifting since 2011, not really hitting my groove sports-wise until I started Olympic weightlifting back in 2016. Now I have a sport that I constantly practice in, set goals for, and sometimes love to hate.

Like other extracurriculars, exercise is a great way for teens to practice patience, goal setting, planning, and helps them socialize with other teens participating in the same sport.

Regardless of your teen’s activity, I would encourage you to try weight training with your teen.

Weight training is different from Weight lifting– “weight training” means just lifting for general fitness and health. Weight lifting typically refers to the sport I do, Olympic lifting, but I’ll be using ‘training’ and ‘lifting’ to mean the same thing in this post, since that’s how it’s used in real life.

What are the benefits of weight training?

When we look at weight training, we’re not looking at Olympic lifting, bodybuilding, powerlifting, or strong man- which are all lifting sports. We’re looking at lifting for general fitness.

Weight training helps improve balance, strength, endurance, and joint mobility. If your teen is on the computer or phone all the time and you’re concerned about their posture, training abs and back can help improve how they sit, stand, and walk by strengthening core and back muscles. 

As you go about your day, take note of how many times you pick something up or move something. I know it doesn’t seem like it, because it’s not stereotypical lifting, but you are using your muscles! It’s better to have your teen learn how to properly lift things now, so they can avoid injuries (like throwing their back out) later in life.

Embarrassing story time: I did hurt my back once as a teen because I didn’t know how to lift properly. I was not at the gym…I was lifting my backpack. Yes, really. So get them started now!

Weight training has other long-term benefits like an increase bone density. The thicker your bones are, the less likely they will break or sprain, reducing a risk of fracture. People who have periods also benefit from weight lifting because this benefit reduces the risk of osteoporosis as they age.

If your teen participates in sports, weight training can also help with their performance on the field.

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Does my teen need to be an athlete to weight train?

Nope! Lifting is for everyone. And if you have a teen whose mobility is impaired, there are personal trainers who would be happy to work with you and your teen to find a routine that works for them.

Something I really liked that I read while researching for this post came from stanfordchildren.org. In this article they give a lot of the benefits and things to consider when your teen starts lifting, but I do want to emphasize one point in particular:

Training shouldn’t get in the way of other ways your teen likes to be active, or a substitute for having fun. Really, weight training can supplement any active lifestyle.

Think of it like hot sauce- some people only need a little for the flavor they like, some people love having lots of hot sauce. Even things like bodyweight exercises go a long way in long-term health.

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Okay…but why should my teen try lifting?

Maybe I’m a little biased but…because it’s fun! 😉

In all seriousness, not to sound all ‘technology is scary!’ but we do live in a predominantly sedentary society. We have this fear of exercise like it means going to the gym for hours, sweating, grueling away at a goal that we’ll never reach.

In reality, a balanced life is about figuring out how much of a hobby you want moving around to be. My brother, sister, and I are all active, but we do COMPLETELY different things!

Danny walks EVERYWHERE! He does some lifting, but it’s more weight training. But damn does that boy walk.

Becca does Tae-Kwon-Do. She’s an instructor, so she teaches, and she even competes!

I do Olympic lifting and have been prone to zone out on cardio machines every now and again (it’s when I let myself watch let’s plays, don’t judge!)

By exposing your kid to all different kinds of activities, there’s bound to be one that sticks. Something that gets them off the couch, gets their blood flowing, and helps them move better the older they get.

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Here’s a photo of my sibs & I congratulating my sister for placing at state! 

Sounds like a plan. Anything else we should keep in mind?

I’m so glad you asked! Here’s a small list:

  • Whether it’s you, a family friend who’s lifted for years, or a trainer, make sure your teen gets instruction on how to lift properly.
  • Lifting could be a fun way for you and your teen to bond! Don’t be afraid to give it a shot, or to let your teen tag along to your lifting sessions. Some of my fondest high school memories are lifting with my dad.

Weight training is a great supplement to active living and can even become a fantastic hobby for your teen to make friends in after high school. It teaches your teen to invest in their health early on in life, to set meaningful goals to work towards, and impresses people at parties…what’s not to love?

What’s your favorite way to move? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

Remember to do your homework, eat a vegetable, and smile at someone if you can today :). See you soon!

Patience, jobs, and internships…oh my!

Today I want to talk about something I’ve been dealing with “behind the screen” for the past few months.

Patience, jobs, and internships- oh my!

While my first job is going fine, I discovered after graduation that there was a low enrollment number in the diabetes course I was supposed to teach. No one was at fault, and sometimes these things happen, but the hours I had weren’t enough to cover graduate school costs, a car, and groceries while living at home. So I set out in search of a second job to help supplement the one I have now.

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My fellow busybodies know that not having places to go can start to drive someone up the wall. I did my best to keep working in any way I could: I kept this blog up, which proved to be a benefit because there’s a lot of regular traffic here now- hi, daily visitor! I started learning everything I could about social media and how to market yourself to other people.

In the beginning it was difficult to know what I would be up against while I job searched in the “real world” vs my undergrad. I assumed that I would be frustrated, but in the end I would be fine- after all, I knew I’d have a job eventually, so why stress? I love working on this blog, writing, podcasting, creating stuff for you guys, so I thought that would help pass time.

(By the way, shameless plug, but have you listened to my podcast? They’re super short snippets of info that supplement the blog)

But it’s not that easy. After getting used to living on my own, buying my own groceries, and having an established routine at school, living at home was already an adjustment  and not having a regular paying job on top of that was stressful.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know what to expect emotionally.

For the first few weeks I felt normal, fine, and a little bit relieved to have some time to relax.

For the next few I started feeling anxious and antsy, a bit “cabin-fever-y”. Living in the Midwest in the middle of frigid January (oh, how I miss my undergrad’s tunnels…) didn’t help.

By the time we got to February I was constantly depressed, like there was a cloud following me everywhere. I was reminded constantly that I didn’t have places I needed to go, and I felt lonely. I love my dogs, but I missed my friends at school.

I had to realize it was okay that I was looking for a job. I’m one of the lucky ones where my parents were just as upset about my hours as I was, in a “man, that sucks that that happened to you” way rather than a “what do you mean you’re not working!” way. They were patient while I sorted through the feelings and applied everywhere I could.

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I also had to realize that the depression I was feeling was okay too. Accepting that I was sad because I wasn’t working was one of the hardest parts of these past few months.

After weeks of nothing I finally broke down to my mom, crying and wondering if I would ever achieve anything, and while in the moment all these feelings felt real and painful, I knew they would pass.  Still, for the week following, I wondered if I would get anywhere.

Remember way back, when this blog was a baby, when I talked about resiliency? (Am I at the blogging stage yet where I cringe at my old posts? Or is there a time frame I’m still in? Is there a blog honeymoon stage? …Did I take my meds today?)

I had to remember those lessons too.

Sometimes we slip back and regress in the face of stress and disappointment. It can feel like you take 10 steps forward, 9 back, and you start to doubt if you were ever strong in the first place.

You just have to keep going. It sounds easy when you say it out loud or think it when things are going well, but over the past couple years, I’ve learned that waking up and filling out more applications, or waking up and job searching, is all you can do.

If you just wake up and feel depressed, that’s okay too.

Just keep going. One day at a time.

I just got a job as a diet clerk at a hospital, so I’m really excited to start getting more clinical experience before I hear back on my internship. I’ve turned in all the pre-hire paperwork and now, luckily, the waiting game is hearing my start date.

One day at a time.

Do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. Talk to you soon!

Em

Teen athletes need more protein

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I wasn’t a school athlete. I was one of those ‘too cool for school (sports)’ theatre kids who never really understood the hype of a home football game, or lacrosse game if your town is anything like mine.

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Yeah, I’m not kidding, we have a lacrosse team. And before you ask, I have no idea what lacrosse really is except tall sticks with nets on top that’s KIND of like Quidditch but there are no broomsticks involved. I did like running, but I wasn’t on cross country, and I didn’t start lifting until my senior year of high school.

So it might not be a surprise when I say that my knowledge of sports nutrition comes more from an angle as an adult who’s trying to fuel her workouts, who looked into the difference between teen athlete nutrition and adult athlete nutrition. What do we know already?

  • Teens are growing rapidly in a way like when they were babies, which burns calories
  • Moving around burns calories
  • Teens like to eat (as they should, food is awesome)

So what does this mean?

Teen athletes need a lot of calories, especially…(drum roll please) PROTEIN!

Yes, protein, the magical macronutrient we’ve covered in the past. Let’s look more in depth on how to fuel your teen athlete:

how much protein does my teen need?

Eatright.org currently recommends .5-.8g/kg of your teen’s bodyweight. Since they exercise more than teens who are just sedentary, try to aim more for .8-1g/kg body weight.

Teen athletes are still growing, so we want to make sure they’re not just getting enough protein for their sport but for their growth as well! Protein doesn’t just help build muscles, but it makes red blood cells, white blood cells, and is used for hormones (which we know teens have a lot of!) and enzymes.

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Protein helps us enjoy a lot of the good things in life! 

Lots of people tell us that the US is protein-obsessed and takes in too much. Is that true?

Yes and no. So, yes, there is an idea that we eat way too much protein which can have negative health effects like kidney strain. But what we need to look at is the quantity and quality of the protein you’re getting.

In a vegan diet, protein is coming from soy meat products, tofu, seitan, tempeh, beans, lentils, nuts.

In a standard American diet (not Mediterranean or DASH focused), protein sources are often large servings of red meat, processed meat, or restaurant style portions of animal products. Not just meat, but cheese or dairy.

If your teen is vegan and paying attention to their protein, they’ll have no issues getting their protein amounts in daily. If your teen is not vegan, it’s better to get their protein from sources like chicken, fish, eggs, nut butters, and dairy rather than red meat.

Another source of worry when it comes to protein intake is supplements.

While teens  can use protein shakes for various reasons- building muscle (“bulking”), losing weight (“cutting”), 1 scoop of vegan protein powder can offer about 20g of protein.

So while these can be really helpful when it comes to athletes, it still should be treated like other protein sources- rather than something on it’s own. Most protein powders, especially vegan powders, are safe for consumption. One place I like to go is truenutition.com and make a custom blend of soy, rice, hemp, pumpkin protein. Chocolate flavor of course!

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Mine rarely looks this good…

Fueling your athlete’s practices and games are important not just for performance but for growth  and muscle repair.

Notice how eatright’s source mentions around 3,000 calories? Don’t let that number scare you. Remember, calories are not morality currency where the more you take in, the less humane you are. They’re just the way your body takes in energy to use for the things you love to do.

And it’s important you let your teen know their appetite is normal.

If your teen is an athlete, you do want to make sure these calories are full of fruits, veggies, complex carbs, and our friend protein.

So let’s say your teen is 160lb. How much protein do they need?

160/2.2= 72kg. If they’re an athlete, let’s say they’re aiming for .9g, so:

72/.9= 80 grams of protein a day at least.

There has been a new study in sports science where they upped the protein requirement for muscle building, which I’ll write more about soon, but wanted to share it here for my fellow study nerds!

What do you think? Share some of your favorite after-practice snacks below!

Twitter*Instagram*Facebook

 

Should my teen lose weight?

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No.

Phew! What a post. That’s all from me. See you guys next week for more funny anecdotes, stock photos, and hard-hitting research!

Seriously?

…Alright, there’s more to the story than just a ‘no’.

Diet culture is so invasive that we see messages everywhere about how to slim down, tone up, and look great while ignoring health and what it feels like to be as healthy as possible.

This media trick isn’t missed by your teens. According to this article, ½ of teen girls and ¼ of boys have tried to alter their body shape through dieting. You’ll notice that this article mentions that most of the girls who try to diet are already at a healthy weight.

What if my teen is overweight?

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In adolescence, your teen going through a massive developmental period that rivals when they were infants. It’s important to make sure your teen is getting the nutrients they need for a healthy puberty rather than focusing on their size.

Rather than worrying about their weight, I want to shift the focus to their habits and health instead. This is where my slogan, “putting health back in the spotlight”, comes into play. By encouraging healthy habits in adolescence, your child is more likely to have a healthy puberty and healthy adulthood.

Why shouldn’t they lose weight?

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In Dianne Neumark-Sztainer’s book, “I’m, like, SO fat!” she chronicles two long term studies regarding teens who diet: most of them gain it back, and were more likely to binge in adulthood. Meaning that in the end, these dieters gained weight rather than lost it.

That weight might be used for growth spurts later. If your child was designated female at birth, the weight gain from puberty is also seen as normal. In Sandra Susan Friedman’s book When Girls Feel Fat, Friedman touches on the fact that weight gain is normal. It’s just the pressure of society that stresses children out when their body gains weight to use for puberty.

What can cause a change in appetite in my teen?

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Lots of things! While it could be emotional eating (more on this in a second), it’s more than likely your teen is having a growth spurt.

This awesome blog by Jill Castle, RD explains how to spot a growth spurt. Notice how she mentions a huge uptick in your teens appetite.

My teen isn’t eating well. I don’t want them to develop unhealthy habits. Should I talk to them?

When it comes to your teen’s health, there are lots of ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle for your child.

Talking to them is a slippery slope, as they’re already at an age where they’re becoming more body conscious (both due to puberty and starting to take note of the sex they’re attracted to/an interest in dating), but there are ways you can talk to your teen about their health in a way that doesn’t make them feel self-conscious about their size.

If your teen is the one to bring up their size and mentions dieting, Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer recommends these tips (these tips and more can be seen in “I’m, like, SO Fat!”)

  • Figure out the reason your teen wants to diet. Go beyond the size and see what’s bothering them
  • Talk to your teen about what a diet means. Do they mean cutting back on fast food? Meat? Helping identify what that means to them helps you make sure they’re still getting a healthy balance of food.
  • Focus on behaviors that encompass a healthy lifestyle rather than dieting, and offer to help them adapt these behaviors into their life

Is there anything, besides talking to them that I can do?

Leading by example and showing your teen that you’re in their corner is an amazing step, one that you’ve already started by reading this post!

Other suggestions, again from Dr. Neumark-Sztainer and Jill Castle are:

  • Model healthy behavior

This means that you don’t diet and don’t talk down about yourself around them. For teens, hearing you say positive things about your body that aren’t weight related will help set their mindset that their body is an awesome powerhouse capable of a lot of things that don’t depend on size.

  • Create a supportive environment

Easier said than done- I know that I always buy bananas, thinking I’ll eat them, and then suddenly I have a bunch of brown bananas with nothing to do with them.

This is a great way to help your teen development independence and take charge of their health. Have them come grocery shopping with you and pick out some of their favorite health foods so they have it on hand for snacks and lunches.

Let them help figure out certain recipes they’d like to try and help them learn how to cook it with you.

Find ways to decrease screen time where possible- don’t make screens negative, but offer to go on a walk with your teen after dinner, or another active activity you both like to avoid too much time sitting down.

Have any questions? Suggestions for fun activities to do with your teen? Let me know and join the #centerstageensemble on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

 

 

In Defense of Breakfast

 

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photo credit: jeshoots on PEXELS

It happened again.

Your alarm went off WAY too soon, you’re scrambling to get out the door, and breakfast is nothing but a quick cup of coffee before you get to class.

You’re a little hungry, but you know lunch is coming up soon, and you push through it until your head starts to ache and you get grumpy. As you eat lunch, the symptoms get better, and you tell yourself you won’t do that again until the alarm goes off WAY too soon the next morning…

Breakfast is heralded as “the most important meal of the day”! And despite what you may hear, this still rings true.

Why is that?

Our bodies burn energy even while we sleep, so the food you ate the day before is burned as energy while your body works to repair, rejuvenate, and ready your body for the next day. So when you wake up, your body has been burning energy for a while, even if you haven’t be conscious enough to notice it.

I remember back when I was in high school, it was always advised to drink a tall cold glass of water before even considering the idea you might be hungry. I would eat minimal breakfasts and then wonder why my head ached a few hours later.

Because you were HUNGRY!

Even if it’s just a piece of toast, fruit, and some peanut butter, that kind of energy can go a long way from avoiding that mid class burnout.

Activities that need your attention and brain power, like work and class, can only be hindered by the brain fog that comes on when you start to get hungry. And if you can’t sneak a snack, that can only make it worse.

So eat your breakfast!

Time-Saving Tips

For people like me with ADHD, switching tasks can be difficult. This is, in part, due to executive dysfunction. That difficulty is often due to the overwhelming-ness that comes to moving from one task to another.

A lot of reasons as to why ADHD people have issues switching tasks, here’s an article from Adult ADD Strengths.

How can we apply some of the advice that Pete Quily offers to breakfast?

  • Plan ahead! Make your breakfast ahead of time so you can just grab it the next day
  • Set alarms for when you need to get up, shower, get dressed, so you have an external motivator for staying on task.

Need some ideas?

Feel free to poke around my Pinterest account for some breakfast ideas, and here are a few I rely on when I’m in a jam!

…Get it, jam?

Anyway.

Overnight oats! 1/2c oatmeal, 1/2c milk (or water), and about 1 Tbsp chia seeds.

Combine these into a bowl or mason jar and add any extras you might want (eg, some cinnamon, vanilla extract, cocoa powder) and stick it in the fridge overnight.

It’s better to add stuff like protein powder, peanut butter, and fruit in the morning just so these things don’t get soggy.

Yogurt Parfait: 1c yogurt, frozen or fresh fruit, nuts. Combine all of these in a container and let it sit in the fridge!

Both of these meals are easily transferable to Tupperware to take with you on the go, so if you are running a little late (and let’s face it, we all are sometimes!) it’s a great way to stay healthy on the go!

I’m planning a round up of some other of my favorite recipes I’ve tried and seen around Pinterest, so stay tuned! I’ll include some vegan recipes too!

What are your favorite recipes? Please give me some new ideas!

Til next time, beans!

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Advice from a new graduate

Graduation came and went in the blink of an eye. One moment I was grueling over my human physiology final, the next I heard my name announced with “Cum Laude” attached to the end.

If I look even further back, it feels like just yesterday I watched my parents drive away on their anniversary 2.5 years ago. They were headed back to Chicago, back home, and I was left in Green Bay without an idea of…well…anything.

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I still remember not knowing that the cafeteria wasn’t open at normal hours so ate out of the vending machines in our community center for a few days, and the first salad I was able to get was suddenly attacked by a wasp. I think I cried over that salad!

When I was working out with my Dad yesterday, he admitted that the first semester had been the hardest for him. “But,” he said, “It was fun getting to watch you grow and mature in your craft, which you wouldn’t have done if you were home.”

My cousin and I talked about how we believe things turn out the way they do for a reason. It can sound weird, especially when looking at personal suffering, but things will happen the way they do and all we can do is make the most of it.

My time at Green Bay was filled with a lot of things: pain, growth, education, failure, and success. Being able to sit in my cap and gown, knowing I had made the most of my time at school, really helped me feel at peace with ending this chapter in my life.

Our keynote speaker gave us five tips on how to make our lives “epic”. Among them were read books, asks for facts (something nutrition majors know all too well!), and be a champion to others, as well as find your champions.

The idea being to always seek out new experiences, never stop learning, and be there for others. And let people be there for you.

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Seeking out champions

As someone with ADHD, it can be difficult to reach out for help. Especially since I was diagnosed later in life, I had a stubborn commitment to myself to do everything I could to be independent. Combining that with the fact that I was 19 when I finally left home to finish my degree, there was a bit of shame there as well. I was behind all my high school classmates who were getting ready to graduate, who had jobs, who lived out in the world instead of with their parents.

I loved my time at community college and I’d do it over again, but feeling behind really took its toll.

My advice for any neuroatypical kid heading off to college, or who is in college now, echoes what my keynote speaker said: find champions. They don’t have to be neuroatypical, they just need to be there for you. I have friends, professors, and supervisors who wanted nothing more than to see me succeed. And yes, you will have bosses waiting to see you fail. I’ve had those too, but luckily not away at school.

Surround yourself with people who care for you regardless of your differences. If you let them in, you’ll notice how fiercely they care for you and your success.

“Sure is easy for you to say” you’re thinking. “You’re done, you’re successful, you’re set”.

Sure. But it took me 5.5 years to get my bachelor’s, and some people (who will tell you the same thing) took even longer.

Blogs, social media, and graduation ceremonies are the “after” of before and after. Your story, and mine, lies in the “and”. To make that “and” count, find mentors. They’ll guide you on your path and make sure you have a safety net when you fail. I’m privileged enough that for me, my parents and family were a safety net.

Being a champion

Just like my cousin and I believe that everything happens for a reason, I also believe that you get out what you put into the world. It’s important to seek out mentors, but rarely will you feel fulfilled if you don’t help others on your journey.

It doesn’t have to be volunteering all the time and losing time for work, school, and socializing. It can be tutoring, helping a fellow student, whatever you feel is best about helping others. I liked my jobs as a resident assistant, teaching assistant, and getting to work over the summer with my camp kids.

Just a little bit of time goes a long way when it comes to championing for others. With mental illness, it can sometimes be a huge drain of energy, so do whatever you can when you can. Know that you’re doing your best, and that’s what matters.

Adjusting to being back home has been bumpy. My triscuits were already devoured by family (I was silly enough to not label them, since my roommates and I didn’t share food), I’m back to sharing a room, and a coffee shop is still a ten minute walk away, but I prefer the company of my beagle most days!

My new job starts on January 2nd. In a few days, I’ll post about what I’m doing to prepare for entering the work world…no word yet on graduate schools, but I’ll keep you guys posted on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

November Recap (I missed you!)

It’s been a while, beans!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. It’s been a long, rewarding month for me. I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming when it comes to this blog and I think I’ve got a good amount of ideas of where I want this to go.

Since it’s been so long since we last saw each other, why don’t I give you some quick updates on what’s been going on my side of the screen. In the comments below, let me know some of the highlights of your November! I’d love to hear it.

Legally Blonde

My first and last show at my University has come and gone. It was a fun three months of blood, sweat, and tears to work with a company to put together such an amazing show. We sold out every single night, and my family was even able to come on closing night!

An interesting thing that this company does that my other school’s company didn’t is they require actors help with strike. From 10:45pm to 2:30am the next day, I got to flex my tech theatre muscles for the first time in months helping take down the BEAUTIFUL set.

Blonde was a wonderful way to end my time in undergrad and I’m lucky I had the time to do it.

Christmas Walk

My town does a Christmas walk the day after Thanksgiving. In recent memory, I’ve only missed it once and that was because I was in A Christmas Carol a few years back. It’s our town’s way to represent all its small businesses. It starts with Santa lighting up the tree that stands in the middle of our downtown area, and then we’re free to go about and explore what goodies the shops have set up for the occasion!

Mom had gotten some delicious samples of infused balsamic vinaigrette at a networking event she had attended a few weeks back. My Dad, looking for ways to flavor his food without using salt, wanted to give it a shot and I wanted to see what it was like. (Disclaimer: I’ve spoken with the manager of this store, and asked about employment opportunities. But that was a result of the experience and I’m not being paid to say the following).

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Olive ‘n’ Vinnies was bustling when we walked in. We were greeted immediately by one of the owners. He walked us through some of the vinaigrettes they offer.

I was skeptical about balsamic being infused- not that I didn’t think it was possible, I just didn’t know what kind of taste to expect.

We started with the espresso infused balsamic and beans, I LOVED it! It was so yummy. The mouthfeel was great, and the espresso blended into the balsamic well. I also enjoyed their raspberry, and of course, their lavender flavor.

I loved this little store and I’m looking forward to going back. I’ve got less than 20 days left of undergrad, and I hope my mini bottles of lavender and espresso balsamic will tie me over!

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Aren’t they cute?!

It was great to spend time with my family. We didn’t have to prep a lot for Thanksgiving (my cousin hosted us), so I got to walk my beagle girl and chill out with my Mom for a while.

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Selfie by the tree Santa lit 🙂 

“Back at the ranch”

Now I’m back up at school and I have more free time than I did before break. Finals are coming up in a week and a half, but until then I picked up crochet in hopes to get away from screens a little bit more.

I’ve also started a sourdough culture. I explained this on Instagram, but my Mom makes an amazing sourdough bread stuffing every Thanksgiving and Christmas. My major must have rubbed off on me, because I realized while helping my Mom cook that I could make my own sourdough bread. So now I have a small culture in a large mason jar, getting ready for Saturday when I’ll give baking a shot.

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Graduation is soon and my senioritis is strong. I can’t wait for the next chapter of my life to start.

Tell me how your Thanksgiving went in the comments below! Try any new recipes?

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