January 2009

Want Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies? Tell Them to Eat Their Barack-O-lli and It Just Might Work!

You think I am taking this Barack-O-Mania too far?

Well, how’s this for a story: I was giving a talk to a school here in NYC on kids and eating issues. As we got to talking about the Picky Eaters, one parent raised their hand, and told us that that as she started to ask her 6 y/o son to eat his Barack-O-lli, he actually did! This after years of pleading and the 100th try that she had been counseled to do by the school of the “Offer your picky eaters the foods they won’t try 150 times and they will ultimately surrender.” That of course, if simply a whiff of said food doesn’t make you throw up by the 49th try!

But there are legions who subscribe to this method, and here we have a success story! Hats off to this Mom’s perseverance and ingenuity, and I say, let’s capitalize on the Obama-mania that is sweeping the land!

If this however, doesn’t work, console yourself that you are amongst the millions of other parents who want to pull their hair out, because they simply can’t get their kids to eat broccoli, or any vegetable. Console yourself that if they eat any fruit at all, even one fruit, that they are getting their vitamin requirements. Their needs will expand as they get into pre-adolescence, but it is quite likely that they are getting their nutritional needs met. I haven’t heard of one case of scurvy reported lately, have you? Most of our foods are also fortified with vitamins.

We do all want our kids to have healthy eating habits though, and often worry when they won’t try a food group, (usually veggies), Parents fret, angst, try many things, or simply give up and hope that at some point in their life their kids will eat vegetables. Everyone has a different approach that works for their family and parenting style. I must confess that with my benign neglectful attitude, my kids take on the responsibility of asking for vegetables and say: “Yes, Mom, we need a veggie with this meal!” (I get very tired of figuring out what to feed them all the time, anyone with me on this one?)

So if you want to give this trick a try, along with the many other options available such as putting broccoli into other foods, etc., or simply waiting until their tastes expand, see if you can capitalize on our current President’s enormous wave of popularity.

Unwittingly, he has made a contribution toward the health and nutrition of kids in America. Imagine it now: legions of kids around the country chanting: “Yes We Can! Barack-Olli’s the Man!” (Of the vegetable world, that is).

Okay, I will stop now. I couldn’t resist. But try it. You never know, your kid just might listen this time.

Weight Loss Tip No.2: It’s Good to Feel Bad

Now that Oprah has come out about her struggle with weight, (I am glad she is going to get her audience back, I think she was alienating herself by getting a bit too thin; the rich part we can handle), more focus is going to the ‘emotional aspects’ of people’s struggles with food.

The irony to me is that it is also coming during a period of time, where the exuberance and excess of the past is certainly crashing. Perhaps it will become fashionable to not only have less, but to be uncomfortable.

There is no way around it: We are facing months ahead of discomfort. Of having less ‘stuff’. How this fits into any kind of diet plan, you wonder? I will show you how. In the same way that the group collective is beginning to get with the idea of sacrifice and struggle, we can gear up to feel good about feeling bad. In fact, in order to lose weight, there is no escaping one simple truth: “You need to practice feeling uncomfortable.”

The practice takes this form:

1) You eat enough to make sure you are feeding your body physically. Now you don’t need a degree in nutrition to figure this out and there is ample information out there for you to grab onto. You know the places you get stuck.

2) Contemplate those times. Prepare for them and anticipate feeling something. Learn what that feeling is. Get acquainted with it. It is your friend. As much as it will try to trick you, don’t believe it. Don’t keep the feeling in business by eating. It will always win and come back again if you don’t practice keeping it a feeling vs. making it a fact

3) Practice, practice, practice. Even if you fail, try again. Increase the time between feeling something and putting something in your mouth. Your goal is to get to tomorrow morning, and notice then, how strong those feelings or the feeling was. Has it changed? Probably. If not, it will change through the course of the day. And if it stays at a 10 on a scale of 1-10 for more than a week and you can’t handle it, consult a professional.

We don’t get a lot of training to put up with uncomfortable feelings. Let’s build a collective muscle. There can be a great relief in knowing that it is okay to feel bad. Try sadness, anxiety, mild agitation, boredom, you name it, on for size, and you diminish the chance of actually changing your size

So to the good, the bad and the in between, let’s celebrate taking the pressure off of ‘being happy’, and learn how to feel good about feeling bad.

You Snooze, You Lose. Weight, I Mean.

You think this is some kind of diet trick, don’t you? Actually, if you sleep for a few days instead of eat, it might work!

Now I am not trying to be facetious even though I do feel like groaning as I hear yet one more news segment on weight loss. Okay, collectively, how much weight did we gain over the holidays? Now I know that we are less fixated on the news since the election, but do we not know these diet tips yet? Do we really need one more expert suggesting that we eat a little bit of chocolate so that we don’t binge? Or that we should make sure we don’t stay away from our absolutely favorite foods? (Okay, guilty as charged.)

I know that information is generally helpful. I have no doubt that we as a nation have an abundance, of nutritional information, and we are ready, set go! Let’s lose that holiday weight!

I get depressed just thinking about it. Thinking of the upcoming winter months, (okay, you guys out in L.A. and in the South, go ahead and gloat. We in New York are about to face months of grey skies and damp. Yuck. I think those bears had something there. I mean in hibernating.

So here I am back to the central theme of this meandering piece. Sleep. Sweet sleep. Did you know that optimal caloric burn happens when you get 7-8 hours of night? Now that is not 5, nor 6, it is not 9 or 10, but rather, 7-8 beautiful blessed out hours of zzzzzz’s.

Seems less possible than keeping your hand out of the cookie jar, huh? But if you get frustrated with your dieting, go to sleep. Simply, tuck yourself into your favorite pyjamas, hunker down with some good old television, or a good book, settle yourself down, if at all possible, and get some sleep!

You will find all kinds of excuses to avoid this. Stop any attempts at martyrdom, and keep thinking, “Burn, baby burn!” Calories, I mean. Prone. Not moving. Well, shifting some I would guess.

So I urge you as the most important diet tip yet: Find a way to turn the world out, despite all the doom and gloom, and start to dream. You might actually find yourself waking up in a better mood. Feeling a stronger resolve to stick with whatever diet you have put yourself on to shed those holiday pounds.

Happy Sleeping!