A Summer of Healthy Diet

kiwi-pops-lgGenerally when its summer everyone believes the “livin’ is easy” and we don’t have to worry about what we are consuming, if you thought that, then you’re wrong!  People who take a summer vacation from work and school tend to take one from healthy eating and end up adding pounds to their waistlines.

During the summer, how can anyone deny ice and frozen desserts.  In fact,  according to a High Beam Business report, Americans enjoy about 25 pounds of ice cream and other frozen treats per person a year!  In United States Department f Agriculture analyses, a cup of premium ice cream usually contains more than 500 calories and is made up of added sugar and saturated fat.  To start a summer of healthy eating try a cup of soft serve yogurt has about 230 calories.

Keep a limit of how many icy and frozen treats you eat; only a couple times a week.  Go for regular and no premium options and vanilla contains fewer calories than other mix-in flavors.  Also, whipped or slow-churned frozen treats have lower calories per serving than other non-whipped options.  Try 100% fruit pops, lighter ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars have fewer calories and are portion controlled, which many only have 100-150 calories per serving.

During a hot summer you should always keep your hydrated and calorie-free water should always be your first choice; it’s the best option for healthy eating.  Avoid those sodas, slurpees, smoothies, and strawberry daiquiris because liquid calories raise your brain’s hunger and satiety regulators which make it even harder to control your calorie intake.  Alcoholic beverages are the worse to drink during the summer because they are high in calories and alcohol stimulates appetite while it decreases inhibitions and activates the food areas in the brain.  Try to limit drinking liquid calories to no more than 150 a day and if it’s an alcoholic beverage drink a low calorie option.

Sure, we all enjoy air conditioning during the summer, but by cranking up your AC you might be turning your metabolism down and your appetite up.  In the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University report in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition researchers found that air conditioners might play a role towards the obesity epidemic.  When the body is exposed to heat and humidity, a persons appetite tend to decrease and they eat less.; this can actually help you work towards a healthy eating goal because you will eat smaller portions.  When you are sweating, your metabolism will actually work extra hard to help cool your body temperature.

In reference to Don’t Let Summer Sabotage Your Diet


Fat Camps – Helping With The Emotional Side of Teen Obesity

They used to be called “Fat Camps” and they might as well have been called “Detention Camps”, as they used military-like exercises, starvation dieting, and punitive jibes and commands to keep their campers’ noses to the grindstone.
Couple this with the fact that some of the campers were teens mixed in amongst the adults of all ages, therefore assuring it was the parents who locked their kids up demanding they lose weight…or else… and you had an all-around recipe for weight loss disaster.

Kids came out pounds thinner, but far more traumatized and with even lower self-esteem than when they went it.

Thankfully times have changed. Now there exists reputable weight loss camps specifically designed for teens that addresses their weight issues from a far more well-rounded approach–dealing with the body and spirit of the teen and considering the emotional side of teenage obesity.

Counselors at such reputable weight loss camps have been given sensitivity training and have been taught how to gently coax from the teens deeply buried feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem to the surface.

Bullying, jeering, or mocking are discouraged and exposed for the negative behaviors that they are. Campers are encouraged to share their feelings with other campers, many of whom have faced the same problems and challenges.

Shy kids are coaxed carefully and with great patience and not rushed to reveal too much until they are ready. Positive reinforcement makes that time come all the sooner. Teamwork–and more importantly–team support is given for individual efforts as well as efforts undertaken as a team (and everyone makes the team.)

Overweight teens often learn to make excuses for their obesity (“I am big-boned like my mother” or “My dad was fat when he was in high school.”) These excuses are understandable, but not allowed to stand at weight loss camp. Rather they are brought out in the open so they can be dealt with. Once teenagers learn the nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices they need to lose the weight (and keep it off), the excuses are no longer necessary and fade away.

Soon the layers of shame and humiliation every obese teen is wrapped in begin to peel away too. What stands in their place is a slimmer, confident, and prouder young person–one who has a plan to take the weight off, keep the weight off and live a healthy life–one in which they are in control. Their future looks much brighter.

Why is Camp Shane NOT a fat camp?

Camp Shane is based on the model of a traditional camp, with all the fitness activities, sports and special events that the best-equipped traditional camps have. We don’t obsess over dieting, the emphasis is on friends, fitness and fun! We work on learning or improving physical skills so that campers can continue to be active after camp, learning about nutrition so that campers can make healthier food choices at home, and working on self-esteem issues that help campers build confidence in their ability to succeed.

Camp Shane is not a fat camp because we promote improving health for the long-term, not losing as much weight as possible in the shortest time possible. Fat camps do not mind if the weight returns; in fact, they are happy to get repeat business.

At Camp Shane, we do not care if you are 0, 10 or 50 pounds overweight – in fact, we have many campers who have achieve weight loss results but return for the good times and good friends. The fat camp mentality is part of a culture that demands makeovers – the faster and more extreme the better. But Camp Shane works to internalize the changes that make losing weight about better health choices…NOT thinness at any cost.

We encourage our campers to want to look their best, which we define as healthy and fit. We discourage trying to achieve the impossible perfection of the teen supermodel, which can promote psychological problems, including eating disorders. Often, children don’t want to tell their friends they are going to Camp Shane because of the fat camp stigma, but when they return home, healthier, more confident, and yes, thinner, they love to share stories of the great time they had and are proud of what they have accomplished.

Fitness Camp – The Power of Example in Child/Teen Weight Loss

When your kids were small, your mother might have cautioned you against saying something in front of them with the time-worn phrase, “Little pitchers have big ears” meaning children hear and understand more than you think.

Well, those little pitchers have big eyes too and they don’t stop watching you just because they are now older (even when they are teens). Your every move is watched and even emulated. When it comes to weight loss and healthy eating habits, you can provide a good example (or a bad one.) This is particularly important for when your kid returns home from weight loss camp. You don’t want to undo all the good results they have achieved, so now is the time to look to your own diet and exercise habits.

Consider starting the day with some stretches –a habit that will be useful well into the years when you are a grandparents. If you do these on your living room floor, your kids will notice as they bound by. Invite them to join in.

Next comes breakfast, the most important meal for a reason, it is the fuel for the day. Ask your kids to research which juices and fruits are best for your family and have them report the results to you–then buy (or better still-squeeze the juices). Let them experiment with juice combinations too. Make sure there are several healthy cereals available for those rushed mornings, as well as yogurt, fresh fruit, and a handy blender for a dash-for-the-door smoothie. Don’t you dare limit yourself to a cup of coffee because you are late for work!

Pack your healthy lunch for work and let our kid pack their own lunches from the ingredients you’ve assembled. Make sure you have nuts and fruit and whole grains in transportable pieces for ease of use. Banish soda and soft drinks from your house. Buy a water filter pitcher and keep plenty of organic juices around. Start monitoring your own fluid intake–making sure you get plenty of liquid to flush your kidneys. Trade in whole mile for low-fat milk in your refrigerator. Investigate drinking soy milk or almond milk instead–as your kids for their opinions of each.

Keep fresh fruit, like apples or dried fruit in the winter, for a quick handful of energy. Replace them (uncomplainingly) when your kids eat them all. Substitute sources of protein (other than meat) when possible–find out what type of beans (kidney, navy, garbanzo) and tofu your kids like and start eating them yourself.

Buy a rice cooker and brown rice. Keep it and salt-free soy sauce handy. A bowl of low-fat milk, honey, and rice even make a great sweet substitute.

Invite your kids out for an after-dinner walk (and, if you are lucky, talk. Tell them you enjoy their company and love talking things over with them.) Enjoy a light dessert, like natural sorbet or frozen yogurt, when you return and throw out the cookies and cakes (if you find yourself jumping in the car and driving to the store for a fattening dessert at night, you might need to visit an adult weight loss camp.)

Join a gym with a family membership. Set a schedule when you will go and stick to it. Let your kids know the schedule will be kept and that they are always invited and will provide the ride. Buy a bike and use it. Train for a marathon–in front of the whole family. Get them rooting for you. Then follow through on that and all your healthy changes. When they see your commitment, they will know you are serious and it can start the gears in their brains a-turning.

Parenting doesn’t have to be all, “Do it because I said so”! It can be “Do what I do,” if you utilize the power of example.

Teen Obesity

Changing the Face of How We Eat

When America was an agricultural society, huge meals were served midday (this meal was called “dinner” in the Farm Belt). Everyone came in from the fields and were served mountains of potatoes and bread, creamed vegetables, butter-fried meats and rich desserts like pie ala mode (pie bake-offs were a staple at country fairs.) If children were still in school (many were given time off to work the fields), they lugged these calorie-laden foods to school in their lunch pails. The kitchen was the “heart of the home” and the word “dieting” was never uttered. Yet not half as many people were obese as are today. What has changed?

Plowing, seeding, weeding, haying, and taking care of animals required hard physical work. Even school kids hauled buckets and mucked stables and sowed feed when they got home from school and, at school, recess meant energetic games of Red Rover and Kickball. Girls jumped rope for hours and boys wrestled each other constantly.

These days, however, kids spend most of their post-homework time on the computer or playing video games. Teens spend time on MySpace instead of expending their energies outside. Since few of us grow our own, food seems to appear magically on store shelves with no more effort required of us than to drive to the supermarket to get it.

So the new reality is we must educate ourselves about nutrition and plan for exercise must be arranged and followed–but how to get an overweight child or teen to start and stick to such a program?

The answer is weight loss camp. For a short investment of time –just several weeks in a summer otherwise filled with more video games and boredom –your child or teen can take the first steps to a healthier life and learn to change how they eat. By changing what they take into their body and how they move that body every day, your child will begin taking control of their life.

At camp, outdoor activities are encouraged and everyone gets to participate–not just a select few. Team sports become fun with the encouragement and support of fellow campers and the trained staff, and new sports can be tried without risk of embarrassment that comes with joining in an activity where everyone is fit and your child is not yet so. Even singular activities like swimming, hiking or dancing become more inviting when a kid knows they will not only feel a sense of accomplishment, but will get some applause from other campers for having achieved the goal.

Weight loss camp also teaches the obese child or teen how to make good choices in foods to eat. They are taught about nutrition and calorie intake, how to read a label in a supermarket, how to cook healthy food, how “real” food –as opposed to the empty calories and chemical additives of processed food–tastes and how such choices affect their health. No one ever goes hungry at weight-loss camp, but the proper food choices paired with the increase in physical activity will result in a before and after weight loss your child or teen will see and feel. Their energy will be increased, they will sleep better and their attitude will change. Self-image will improve and exercise–once a dirty word–will come to mean “fun”. The healthy habits they learn (and the friends they meet) will build a foundation for a lifetime of good health.

Weight Loss Summer Camps for Kids

Kids & Fast Weight Loss Diets: A Bad Combination

We live in an instant gratification society where everything we want is as close as a click on computer’s keyboard or a drive to the mall. So it is to be expected that we’d like to believe that a problem that took quite a while to develop–like our child or teen’s weight gain–can be solved in an instant.

Ads on TV and the internet inundate us (and our kids) with “magic diets” and “miracle weight loss” products touting everything from pomegranates to maple syrup as the ingredient that will serve as they key that unlocks the fast weight loss.

The old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is,” should be applied here. Not only are the diets not workable, they are flat-out not safe–particularly for growing children.

Pills may in fact raise a child’s metabolism causing weight loss (along with causing sleeplessness, inattentiveness, possible heart palpitations or worse). Diuretics may effect a loss of water weight (while putting the kidneys at risk). Reducing the diet to one ingredient or abandoning carbohydrates or relying on protein shakes for all one’s nutrition certainly doesn’t supply the necessary nutrition to the still-growing body of a child or teen and, what’s worse, the moment regular eating habits are reverted to again, all the weight lost will return–and more.

At a reputable weight loss camp, the emphasis isn’t on miracle dieting (or constant exercise plus starvation as is shown on such TV shows like “The Biggest Loser”) rather it is on healthy nutrition, teaching our campers how to have a new relationship with food, and exercise that serves the body in the short and long-term and that overweight children and teens find fun (multiplying the chance that they will continue exercising their whole life long.)

As a parent of an overweight child or teen, it is understandable that you’d like fast results. No one wants to see their child suffer and, make no mistake, the overweight child is suffering. But have patience and encourage your child to have patience. Investigate weight loss programs like those at Camp Shane and you’ll see that, when it comes to child and teen weight loss, slow and steady truly does win the race.