Validating emotions, the Fitbit Versa, and some Gary Vee

Validating emotions,

We had a bit of an upset this past week at our home when my younger sister was told she would not be competing in state this year for her sport, Tae Kwon Do, after she had thought she would be able to go. My sister and I are often on similar wavelengths when it comes to emotions and how we express them, so when she got home after hearing the news we were all on comfort mode.

And, of course, a little bit of familial anger- something I suspect you’re not a stranger to. You know, when someone in your family is wronged and you can’t help but feel a little angry?

My sister took it in stride though and did what we had been raised to do- bitched about it for a while, then set a plan in motion to fix it. And she did it without blaming her coach or team, she took responsibility and went with it. She just needed some time. 

I feel like we discredit the importance of “venting” and “bitching” nowadays because of the over abundance of memes about wanting “positive vibes only”.

In trying to create a positive culture out of the ones filled with jokes about suicide, as well as a world where death feels like it’s lurking everywhere, we forget that people sometimes just want to talk about sad things and get them out into the void and move on to fix the problem.

I’ve been neglecting this question lately, but it’s always good to gauge where someone’s venting is going. “Do you want advice or to vent?” is a nice way to understand where the person you’re talking to is taking the discussion.

This somehow ties into being a nutrition care professional, and I’m learning about that as I go.

Other cool things about this week:

Fitbit is my ride-or-die watch company since like 3 years ago. I currently have the Charge HR with athletic tape holding the strap together (hey, it works), but I’ve also been looking to upgrade since I got this replacement Charge HR.

I tweeted about this today, but Fitbit has a great policy for returns/replacements and that’s kind of what’s been keeping me there for so long. And the fact they found my tweet without me “@-ing” their company means they’re somehow watching me.

Fitbit just announced a new smartwatch, the Versa, that will include menstrual cycle tracking and phone-free music. I’ll be interested to see if I can just use spotify, but considering my sport involves throwing weights over my head, not having to worry about my phone will be nice. As far as the cycle tracking, I currently use Clue, but anything to dial down my phone apps would be nice.

Here’s the article about the Versa.

Next Friday I’m doing a comparison post on Fitbit’s calorie tracker and MyFitnessPal’s!

I’m almost done reading all of Gary Vee’s works. Libby Rothschild made me aware of him a couple weeks back and I flew through “#AskGaryVee” and “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook!”. Currently reading “The Thank You Economy” and love it. I think it’s useful not just in an entrepreneur setting but everywhere- learning to listen carefully, build relationships, and put work into it.

Match day is coming fast. Two weeks from Sunday…fingers crossed for all my “RD2Bs” out there, and keep some fingers crossed for ya girl as well.

This is a much more laid back blog post so let me know what you think of these kinds of posts. The fun part about Center Stage Nutrition is that nothing is set in stone, and I’m here for you, so I want to hear what things you like and don’t like.

You can keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

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

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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!

It’s OK if your teen wants to be vegan

Teens can be vegan

Veganism, the diet (eating-kind, not weight loss kind) that excludes all animal products has been on the rise since 2014. According to Live Kindly’s recap of Veganism in the past year, there are huge increases in demands for animal-product free foods.

One quick search on YouTube for veganism shows recent uploads of what I eat in a day, suggestion videos, ‘why I went vegan’ videos, and vegan vlogs.

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Click here to be taken to the newest ‘vegan’ youtube uploads!

Why the increase? I think that in the digital age, where information can be transferred quicker than we can blink, we’re seeing a lot of other vegans blogging, vlogging, podcasting, and just tweeting about their ideas and beliefs. As with all discussions, people are seeing other’s point of view and changing.

We also see more vegan celebrities and athletes paving the way and spreading the message of the benefits of eating a plant-heavy diet.

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I personally went vegan because of Beagle Freedom Project, a nonprofit that rescues animals from animal testing. After a while I realized that if I’m against animals being tested on, why do I eat them?

Of course, there are people against animal testing but might feel differently about eating them. And that’s okay!

But what if your teen wants to be vegan?

The common definition of veganism, the one I shared earlier, can be a red flag. It focuses on the exclusion of things rather than the inclusion- so let’s change our focus!

What do we add when someone goes vegan?

Since vegans don’t eat cheese, meat, milk, or eggs, they include more legumes, beans, plant milks, whole grains and other forms of protein like nuts, seeds, and tofu.

Veganism can be focused on junk food (there’s a whole list of accidentally vegan junk food), but ultimately a balanced vegan diet includes lots of colors of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.

It’s totally okay if your teen wants to be vegan

Puberty and adolescence is the time where teens are going to experiment with their independence, which can look like a bunch of different things: eating more fast food than normal, not wanting to go to religious services with you, cutting their hair/growing it out, and going vegan.

There are a lot of different ways you can support your teen if they decide they want to go plant-based. I wrote an article for Athlegan on how to transition to a vegan diet that will be helpful for you to read. I break down a typical transition into four steps.

  1. Decide the reason
  2. Accept that mistakes happen
  3. Start small
  4. Find Vegan friends

Ask your teen why they want to be vegan. If it’s because they saw videos of factory farms, or because they just don’t like meat, then you have a way to discuss with them about their meal options.

Have them help cook dinner and decide their lunches. This is a big shift if you and your family normally eat animal products- especially if your teen is using this as an excuse to be extra picky. Help your teen figure out what they like and don’t like by having them pick out recipes with you.

Even if it’s just a new spin on beans and rice, your teen getting a say in recipes and learning to cook them not only helps you but helps them learn an important skill: cooking!

One of the things that I wish I had learned before I left for school was different cooking skills. I could do the basics and even now I’m not too bad, but I wish I would have had a couple handful of recipes before I went away for college.

Vegan diets can be extremely healthy. Vegan Health.org goes over some things to keep track of for your teen, and here are some things to consider:

  • Vegan diets emphasize a lot of fruits and vegetables
  • The main protein sources are whole foods: beans, legumes, etc
    • They’re high in fiber which help keep you regular
    • They’re extremely versatile when it comes to dishes (look at my Pinterest for inspo!)
  • For burgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets, there are meat substitutes you can buy for cookouts with your teen (yes, I know it’s March, but I’m just optimistic for those warmer days!)

Other tips and tricks are available through One Green Planet’s article on Feeding Vegan Teens.

Some key takeaways from that article are:

Eat or drink something high in Vitamin C to help your body absorb iron (this can look like a glass of calcium fortified orange juice and some cereal, or oatmeal).

Remember: A vegan diet isn’t a deprivation diet. You can be extremely healthy on a vegan diet. You can even veganize some of your teens favorite recipes, like pizza, smoothies, and desserts.

We’ll go into how to spot if your teen’s veganism is covering an eating disorder in a later post!

Are you vegan? Why, or why not? Let me know and join the #centerstageensemble by telling me your reason on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

Slow Sunday: Movement and Mochas

Hey, ya’ll!

So, the University gym doesn’t open until 1pm on Sundays. For the most part of my time at school, I’d just wait until the gym opened before I did about half an hour to an hour of cardio.

This semester is a little different.

I decided that I’d give a local coffee shop a try (something you’ll learn about me really fast: I love coffee. Plain, lattes, mochas, you name it, I love it). Only thing is, I don’t have a car, and it was in the downtown area.

Now past me would have balked and stuck to the campus coffee shop (I can walk there) so I could get my cardio in. But current me realized that with my bike I’ve got the freedom to head off campus. So I biked for about 40 minutes to reach the coffee shop, and I loved it! Definitely going to add it into my weekly routine.

 

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Almost done reading Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s “The Hungry Brain” and drinking a really good iced soy mocha!

 

Here’s my IG post about it!

What about the gym, though?

Good question. I want you to recognize what comes to mind first at the word “exercise” or “movement”.

Did you picture going all out in a workout class, or at the gym? For a while I did too.

There was a stretch of years where I really didn’t feel accomplished if I spent a long time at the gym, burning a certain number of calories and achieving a certain level of sweatiness. If I didn’t reach this level, I’d often feel grumpy or wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that I moved at all. I would even sacrifice important healing time from illness to work out.

Over the years though, I’ve come to realize something: while movement is important to keeping us healthy, (the CDC recommends about an hour a day for teens) it doesn’t necessarily have to be the level I had been trying to force my body to perform at day in and day out.

If you’re in the place where you’re at the gym for hours a day to fit some kind of ideal, start peeling back what “head space” you’re in. Ask yourself:

  • What happens if you don’t workout but instead, go for a walk with a friend, family member, dog, or a podcast you really like? (other kinds of movement can go here too: dancing, biking, gardening)

The answer is: not much! 

  • You’ll get movement in and you’ll get out of the house.
  • You won’t be blacklisted on some kind of fitness list.
  • Your joints will get a break from intense exercise and muscles will have a chance to heal.
  • You’ll spend quality time with someone important to you, another key component in living a healthy lifestyle.

My challenge for you guys this week is to find ways you like to move.

Maybe you don’t exercise at all- that’s okay too! Keep in mind that a little movement is always good.

Remember: you don’t have to go to a gym to start moving and living a healthier, more active lifestyle. You can bike to your friend’s house instead of driving! Try a hike with some of your family members or with your furry friend! Give a workout DVD a shot as a break from your Netflix binge!

Side note: If you find yourself still obsessing with calories, I challenge you to take off your fitness tracker and switch displays on cardio machines (if you use them) so it won’t show calories burned. It’s something I do when I find myself becoming more focused on numbers than how I feel and I’ve found it to be really beneficial. 

The main idea is that you pick up a hobby that helps you both short and long term: you get the immediate benefit of movement (mood improvements, some time outside, or even time with friends, feeling of accomplishment afterward) and the long term benefits (combating chronic disease, energy levels gradually increase, improved sleep health, making friends through a shared hobbies).

Next week on Slow Sunday I’ll write about why it’s important to not sit for long periods of time, so until then, my challenge for you is to move a little bit every day and if you can, tag me on Instagram (@centerstagenutrition) to show me your weekly movements! I’ll try and share my movements, too!

If you’re looking for some Facebook groups to help support this new habit, I really recommend Body Positive Fitness with Michele Burmaster. I’ve been a part of this group for about a year and the atmosphere is just fantastic. Michele is someone I look up to, both personally and professionally, regarding body positivity and fitness!

 

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat!

 

Much love,

Em