Monday, January 21, 2013

Helping My Cousins (Guest Post)

In today's guest post, Carolyn shares how the smallest members of her family inspired all of them to make some big changes. As someone who is always struggling with what to cook and how, this post reminds me that while eating well and exercising might not be easy, it's definitely worth it, especially since I am setting the standard of normal for Emily and Drew.

After reading Carolyn's advice here, be sure to visit her blog for more tips on healthy living. Then, come back to MaMe Musings each day this week as I share different ways we are making small changes for better health.

Helping My Cousins: Diabetes Prevention for 2013

The New Year came really quickly for my family. It seemed like we were just preparing some diabetes-friendly meals for Christmas when all of a sudden, it was 2013! I'm grateful for so many things, particularly my little cousin's ongoing progress after recently being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Last November, during American Diabetes Month, I learned that my family wasn't alone in this kind of struggle. More and more kids every year develop Type 2 Diabetes. The two main controllable factors of type 2 Diabetes are a healthy diet and physical activity. According to St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 of today’s kids are diagnosed as obese, with a large majority of them obtaining a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis as well. So with the New Year, my resolve is still the same. I want to help my cousin achieve better blood sugar levels while also educating those who have a similar situation on how to help their kids stay away from this chronic illness.

Getting Started in 2013

My cousin has come a long way from where she started. With a love of sugar, kids really develop these unhealthy eating habits that help lead them along a path towards diabetes. All of my cousins have struggled with this recently, but my younger cousin really had the worst time and was actually diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Throughout my family, that was a wake up call and we started to plan meals better. That's really what it takes to beat diabetes. You have to make sure that you regulate blood sugar, stay away from fast food and processed snacks, while also providing lots of energy foods.

Portion control became my little cousin's mantra. Non-starchy vegetables, some lean protein and something hearty like mashed potatoes (we have now switched to mashed cauliflower though, because it is a healthier substitute) or corn was allowed. Treats were also allowed but only for complex sugar like strawberries, melon and oranges (my cousins looove to get frozen yogurt and add these fruit toppings!). My cousins still aren't used to eating this way but this is how habits start, and it's a journey.

Exercising in the New Year

Kids don't really jump to the word exercise, but they love dancing, being silly, competition and sports, and playing. Outside, I love a game of basketball or 21 with my cousins. They love the competition and are always running around. Some other fun games to play inside include Dance Dance Revolution and Zumba for Kids. These are wonderful programs that really get kids moving around and burning off all the energy that they take in with food.

Additional activities we have done:

- Swimming at the indoor pool at the local college
- Yoga and Pilates in my “workout room” in my basement
- Scavenger hunts and obstacle courses when the weather was warmer
- Neighborhood games of kickball, soccer, capture-the-flag, and tag
- Nature hikes in the woods by my house

Whatever activities you choose, it’s easier to get kids on board if they don’t think of it as exercise. Use the things they like and get creative with it are a sure way to get kids more active on a regular daily schedule!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at!


Tami said...

I made a 'silly song' for my daycare kids. They have the best time wiggling and giggling. And I get the exercise!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

This is a great post...and a great reminder how important it is to model good habits for our kiddos. It benefits the whole family! Best of luck!!!

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